Glenn Beck recently gave the Commencement Speech at Liberty University’s 2010 graduation. In light of Liberty’s statements of being Christ-centered and how this relates to their goals, mission, vision, etc. I wrote critiquing Beck’s speech in Liberty University, Glenn Beck and the Gospel. Beck’s speech had more theology than some sermons in the pulpit on Sunday.
It was very disturbing for a Mormon like Beck to speak theologically as he did at the world’s largest Christian university. Some have said that it it not uncommon for places like Liberty to have a non-Christian conservative speak at such events. This is true. Yet, it seems contrary Liberty’s own position statements. Two of the rhetorical questions I asked where -
Does Liberty really believe in the power of the gospel to change and influence lives? Or, is it more important to focus on and unite around social/political issues?
Unfortunately, it seems these questions were answered recently when Glenn Beck interviewed Jerry Falwell, Jr., Chancellor of Liberty University (emphasis mine).
GLENN: Jerry, I have to speak about something we’ve spoken about privately and I hope you don’t mind, but when we first met and I went down, you asked me to give the commencement speech and I — when I first met you, I thanked you for that and I said I know you must be getting heat because you’re an evangelical in a Christian college and I am a Mormon, and those don’t seem to go hand in hand with a lot of people in their minds. And I know you took heat for that, and I thank you for that. And you told me if you don’t mind me sharing this, that you know what — you know what time of day it is, and that we all have to kind of stand together hare and put our differences aside. That doesn’t you endorse my faith or whatever, and that’s fine. But we have to unite on things that are big, because we are in trouble, here.
JERRY: If we don’t hang together we’ll hang separately, I mean, that’s what my father believed when he formed Moral Majority, was an organization of Mormon’s, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, people of no faith. And there are bigger issues now, we can argue about theology later after we save the country. And I really think that we really do need to stand together, it’s a critical time in our nation’s history…
Let’s grant Falwell’s position that there are bigger issues for the Christian in America today than theology. And that saving the country is primary. Christians fight and unite with Mormons like Beck setting the gospel aside. A life long battle continues to save a particular type of American idealism. America is safe for now at a satisfactory comfort level. Life ends. How much better off are you? America is saved. How about you? How about your neighbor?
That is not a wager I’m willing to make. How does anyone know when America is actually saved? When is enough? To set aside the gospel to work for that which rust destroys and thieves steal brings the type of good news that changes daily with the headlines.
The wager I’m willing to make is no wager at all. Rather, it is the good news of Jesus Christ saves all who will believe in His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The eternal matters of setting aside the gospel are far greater than the short time spent redeeming a political/social structure. Even so, it would be out of this good news of Jesus that hearts and minds are transformed which in turn may change American culture.
American culture is not where it is by accident, but because of what sinful people desire.
University or Church
It’s been said that since Liberty is a politically oriented school it should not be held to a gospel standard of sending its students into the world for Christ. It is the church’s job to do the equipping and sending. I agree that it is ultimately the church’s job. However, Liberty is named as the largest Christian University in the world. Christian parents and church’s trust their children and future pastors to be taught through the Christian worldview that Liberty boasts. It is difficult to grasp how Liberty can train champions for Christ while saving theology, i.e. the gospel, for later.
Liberty’s message of the salvation of America is not to be confused with the Christian message of salvation through Christ. If they are turning out numerous graduates in the name of Christ in a way that diminishes the cross what is to become of the gospel in American culture? Fellow blogger Ben Wright asks a good question light of this situation – Is Liberty University Post-Evangelical?
The answer to Ben’s question seems to be an unfortunate – Yes.
A Greater Issue
I always get an uneasy feeling when someone talks about some uber-famous person becoming a Christian and speculating what that would do for the Kingdom. God just has not seemed to work that way throughout history. He uses the less important, the weak, the powerless, etc. Liberty is in a great place of influence to clearly promote the gospel. Instead, in their greatness, they are setting it aside for their own priorities.
Isn’t the greater issue that we are all tempted to do the same? It is easy to see the problems on the national level as seen in the Glenn Beck – Liberty University partnership. What about personally? In one’s daily life? As much as I’d love to see Falwell, Jr., or anyone from Liberty, call Glenn Beck out of his Mormonism to repent and believe the true gospel, I must reflect on my own life.
I must repent of where I am compromising the gospel in my own life for my own self-interest. Even as I write this article I must have God’s interests in mind. The motivation starts with proclaiming the gospel to exhort professing believers leading Liberty back to the gospel; to then call Glenn Beck to the true Christ and His gospel.