Thoughts on Moore on Glenn Beck and the Gospel

Post image for Thoughts on Moore on Glenn Beck and the Gospel

Glenn Beck as been a recent driving force for (neo?) Conservative politics in America. His big push is to bring God back to the center of American life both politically and socially. I understand his sentiment. There is a sense in which I agree.

In recent times when Glenn Beck has spoken on the issue of putting God back into American culture he mentions God, Jesus, the atonement, etc. On the surface, these sound like something Christians should embrace. And they should as far as understood from the biblical Christian perspective. Yet, Glenn Beck is a Mormon and the Mormon definitions of these positions are not the same as the Christian definitions (i.e. see chart below).

As I recall, I’ve written three posts concerning Glenn Beck and his acceptance by Conservative Christianity despite his theology: One Nation Under A Mormon God?, Liberty University, Glenn Beck and the Gospel and The Political Gospel of Glenn Beck and Liberty University? I’m not alone in airing my concerns as a Christian for the integrity of the gospel. However, there has not been much in response to Beck from more popular, visible Christian leaders until now.

Enter fellow Southern Baptist Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He gives a needed and welcome voice in God, the Gospel, and Glenn Beck. Moore begins:

A Mormon television star stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial and calls American Christians to revival. He assembles some evangelical celebrities to give testimonies, and then preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that they’ve heard the gospel, right there in the nation’s capital.[Read the whole thing!]

I offer my thank you to Dr. Moore. I appreciate his stand for the gospel in this area. As expected, he is already getting some push back in the comments.

One commenter said:

Much like Moore’s inept commenting on this event, there is an integrity crisis in government leadership and the media which supplies only half truths to appease their audience and leave them clapping (like comments above).

Moore’s comments are not inept, but right on! At the same time I agree that there is an integrity crisis in government leadership and the media. These integrity issues exist on the right and the left and did not appear yesterday. The bigger issue for Christians is that there is an integrity crisis in Christian leadership. Too many find comfort in conservative political ideology as the motivating force for change while the gospel sits waiting for the right laws to be passed. (See my posts above on Beck and Liberty U.) For Christians, the engine for change is not a political rally to call everyone to the generic god of their choosing. Rather, the motivation is the exclusive gospel of Christ.

But it was non-political event says Beck. I’m not sure how a revival rally with a God and Country theme can be non-political. Actually, I wish it were political so that it would be easier to support. The religious themes make such an event difficult to support for this Christian. As one live blogger of the event noted:

Dave Roever closed the rally in prayer. Glenn calls people to “spread the word” after they leave. A gospel tune concludes the rally: Hallelujah, Thank You Jesus. Jo Dee Messina sang “Heaven Was Needing A Hero Lyrics” and “America, the Beautiful”.

The same blogger noted that it was stated at the event that “Mosques, churches, and synagogues must stand for the truth..” What truth is that? Religious truths that don’t ultimately agree? As Beck and his supporters call people of all faiths to turn American back to God my question is – which god will people of many religions turn America to?

I asked Glenn Beck this question on twitter and someone else responded with, “When you are a Christian there is only one God. What God do you worship?” The best reply was sent from a friend who told me, “Right and Glenn Beck is not a Christian!” Although some Christian leaders have asked whether or not those of us who take this position if we’ve heard Beck’s testimony. I’ve heard him claim to be a Mormon. And until I hear his testimony that he no longer believes the Mormon doctrines of God which are redefinitions of the Christian view, I will continue with the position that Beck is not a Christian.

To the issue of Mormonism I don’t think Joseph Smith would hold me or other Christians today in any higher regard than he originally held. He criticized the very professions of faith that are still used today which contain the same doctrines that Christians’ today hold.

In his first vision in 1832, he claimed that God told him not to join any of the churches of his day because “all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Official Mormon source)

As Dr. Moore said in his article, “What concerns me is about what this says about the Christian churches in the United States.

Brief Comparison between Mormonism and Christianity

Mormonism

Christianity

God

More than one god. God the father is an exalted man who was as we are now and has a body of flesh and bones.

God

There is only one God who is spirit and eternal.

Trinity

The father, son and holy spirit are three gods separate and distinct from each other.

Trinity

One God Who exists in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Jesus

Spirit brother of Lucifer, a literal off-spring of god the father.

Jesus

Eternal Son of God, second person of the Trinity.

Holy Spirit

A distinct god from father and son, a spirit man and a spirit son of God the Father.

Holy Spirit

The third eternal person of the Trinity.

Salvation

By presenting our best efforts and obedience to god’s commands and then by grace. Man can become a god.

Salvation

A free gift from God received by grace alone through faith alone and not by works.

Tags: , , ,
The above article was posted on August 30, 2010 by Mark Lamprecht.
© 2004-2015. All rights reserved.


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Terry Rayburn August 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

At this precise time, if one wonders if Glenn still considers himself a Mormon, the answer is “yes”.

On Fox News Sunday yesterday (Aug. 29, 2010) Glenn not only said that he was a Mormon, but added something like the following:

“Hey look, I’m a Mormon. And most Christians don’t recognize me as a Christian. So who am I to say? I’m not judging….Jesus came for personal salvation. It’s like people say, ‘You know, you just accept Jesus and you’re saved.’ That’s not what my church teaches. You are, but then you also, you gotta get in there and plug. You gotta change your heart as well. OK, that’s what I happen to believe.”

While his context was countering Obama’s Liberation Theology of “collective salvation”, it’s clear that he still considers himself a Mormon, and seems to understand that Mormonism is the grace-plus-works religion that it is.

2 Mark August 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Terry,

Thanks for the comment. It appears that Beck’s theology lines up with the Book of Mormon quite well. The BoM says in 2 Nephi 25:23, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

3 David @ Red letter Believers August 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Beck is an interesting character. Never have we had a Mormon appealing to the masses like he does. Something tells me that the Mormonism is his wifes, but the redemption is all about Jesus. I just don’t know what to make of him.

David, http://www.redletterbelievers.com, Salt and Light

4 Ethan August 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Wow, I love what that scripture qoute says. How clear and eloquent. I guess I need to read the Book of Mormon.

5 Mark August 30, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Ethan,

The teaching in that Scripture quote is no different than other religions and is directly opposed to Christ’s gospel. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves or earn salvation.

This can be seen in Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14 ESV)

The Pharisee was thanking God for his personal rightouesness yet was not justified.

6 Mark August 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm

David,

I don’t know whether or not his Mormonism is his wife’s. He is not shy about proclaiming Mormonism and the doctrine he speaks is that of Mormonism. It would be tough at this point for me to excuse his positions for his wife’s. I will certainly keep and eye out though.

7 Julie August 31, 2010 at 1:53 am

“integrity crisis in Christian leadership”

Whether Beck’s stated belief equals being a Christian is not the major issue for me. Beck lacks integrity. He is divisive and uses fear to manipulate emotions.

How can people take his call to be better people when he calls Obama a racists with a deep seated hatred of white people. Even if you do not like Obama, a Christian does not make unsubstantiated attacks against anyone. One day after the lofty words at the rally, he once against Obama’s Christianity. Beck supports gay marriage, which most Christians do not support.

Go to http://WWW.political.org to see a long list of Beck lies.

8 Julie August 31, 2010 at 2:31 am

Terry

Obama does not believe in Liberation Theology. His faith is basically like someone from a mainline church (heavy on social gospel – not socialism) plus a strong belief in the constitution separation of church and state. Beck’s intentions are continuing his nonstop false claim of socialism. Jesus repeatedly told us to help the poor or we will go to bell. Matthew 25.

9 Terry Rayburn August 31, 2010 at 9:09 am

Julie,

Maybe this is off-topic and Mark will allow it 🙂

1. I can’t prove that Obama believes in Liberation Theology, and you can’t prove he doesn’t.

He certainly talks like one who believes it.

One thing is for sure. He spent 20 years in a church that teaches Liberation Theology. Jeremiah Wright was a proponent of James Cone and “preached” Cone’s Liberation Theology doctrine and recommended his books.

Obama sure couldn’t be *against* Liberation Theology.

2. If you don’t think Obama is socialist, you simply don’t know what socialism is.

I’ve studied socialism since about 1964, and watched it advance and [very infrequently] retreat on the world scene.

It has two main components in it’s impure forms (it’s silly to talk about pure socialism, which doesn’t exist):

a. Government ownership of basic business – in that sense our nation has been somewhat socialistic for many years (the Post Office and Amtrak being prime examples).

But Obama is the first to infringe on purely private or publicly-held corporations, such as insurance and auto companies. The health-care debacle is an obvious move toward Government health care businesses.

b. Redistribution of wealth, usually through huge taxes for “those who have”, and Government handouts for “those who have not”.

While charity for the poor is a wonderful thing *voluntarily*, forced redistribution of wealth by the Government is what the Bible calls stealing. It’s immoral, unbiblical, and the *major* evil of socialism.

3. If you think a born-again Christian who does not help the poor (which they should, of course, do) will go to hell for their neglect, I fear you do not understand the Gospel.

Like most statements of *works* salvation, your awful statement brings up the question, “How much do they have to help the poor to go to heaven? A dollar for a vagrant alcoholic? $29 a month for an African refugee?”

Salvation is a free gift to those who believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord. He gives life and forgiveness through His death on the cross, and declares righteous those who believe in Him.

Then, and only then, does He works in their lives to will and do for His good pleasure.

10 tom jefferson August 31, 2010 at 10:25 am

I am glad that we as Southern Baptists have all the right answers. Let’s just criticize, condemn and complain about everybody else. We seem to be good at that.

11 Mark August 31, 2010 at 10:30 am

‘tom jefferson’,

Are you just here to just “criticize, condemn and complain?” Does Glenn Beck have all the answers? Am I incorrect in my position in the post? Was it incorrect to quote the Mormon prophet and founder who thought he had all the right answers?

12 Jeannie Byrd August 31, 2010 at 12:44 pm

This is the second day I have read blogs on Glenn Beck and Mormanism. I am a Christian and believe with all my heart that our ONLY redemption comes from the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. HE paid my debt and gives me the priviledge to go into the presence of a Holy God and have a personal relationship with HIM. After having said all of that, this is what I am pondering and would like the thoughts of others. Probably most involved in this blog will agree that our country is in a crisis condition. Glenn Beck is educating Americans on what is really going on within the inner core of our leaders and where they stand. I have not heard one single time that Glenn Beck is asking us to all become Mormans. What he is asking is that we look at ourselves and our own integrity and turn to our God to get the answers to our questions and become who we need to be.

Do we throw out the baby with the bath water so to speak? Do you believe that we throw out Glenn Beck and what he is saying about the leaders in our government, and the crisis our government is in because his religious doctrine is not Christian? Can we find some ground that we can stand together for the sake of our future, or do we “throw him out” because of his religious beliefs. If our founding fathers had this attitude, would there ever have been a revolution? I am very sure that they did not all believe in all points of doctrine. Would we have a country that gives us freedom of religion? Glenn Beck is not asking us to “worship” him, but to turn to our God. Can’t we do that and pray fervently for our government leaders and Glenn Beck? My feeling is that Mr. Beck would greatly appreciate our prayers for him.

Please let me know if you think I’m “all wet.” I would like to know your thoughts on this.

13 Mark August 31, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Jeannie,

It seems a bit anachronistic to read what Beck is doing back into what the Founding Fathers did. I don’t see the one to one parallel, but if you’d like to further make the case you’re welcomed to.

If Beck is merely calling people to worship their gods in whatever religion they choose then why did he have Christian hymns sung? Why mention Jesus? The fact is that he is a Mormon and he does not use generic religious language to speak of his god. I’m more concerned with Christian leaders who may stand with Beck and sing Christian songs as if all is okay.

There is a sense in which a vindication of Beck is a vindication of his religion. Don’t you think that Ghandi’s work helped further his religion? There are even Christians who think Ghandi may be in Heaven despite his own words of a denial of Christ.

Beck claimed his big event was non-political. So, does this mean it was religious? If the event were purely political, I wouldn’t have the same problem.

14 Jeannie Byrd September 1, 2010 at 9:54 am

Mark,

I am thinking in a much more simplistic way … by no means whatsoever did I mean to equate what Glenn is doing in comparison to the accomplishments of our founding fathers, but I can see why you understood my words that way.

I’m actually seeking answers more than trying to prove my case … do you think that having the “black robe brigade” before us on 8/28 was wrong? Do you think as believers we should not give any credance whatsoever to what Glenn has accomplished? I would not want to be a part of anything that would diminish what Jesus did on the cross for us and what that means to me. Do you think we are diminishing the Cross by supporting Glenn Beck? Please believe me when I say I’m not trying to be confrontational–I am really seeking answers on this issue. I am concerned about the Church in this country. I think that it is failing because of apathy. I’m wondering if this movement is good to “wake up” the Church (meaning the body of believers and not one particular church) or could a movement like this lead the Church astray.

Thank you for your response.

15 Mark September 1, 2010 at 10:25 am

Jeannie,

Thanks for clarifying your inquiry a bit. I’m not sure how much you’ve considered the differences between Mormonism and Christianity. Just in case, here is a good post from Justin Taylor taken from the ESV Study Bible: An FAQ on the Difference between Mormonism and Biblical Christianity

I’d also point you to a critique a friend of mine did on Beck’s church history errors which might give pause to his historical acumen – Glenn Beck – Mormon Historian?

I need some clarification on what accomplishments you think Beck might be praised for. Would you mind telling me what you have in mind?

I think Christians are diminishing the cross when they stand with Glenn Beck and he names Christ, the gospel and His atonement as his. As I understand the Bible, Christians are not to give credence to heretical doctrines. Rather, the people touting them are to be rebuked and presented with the truth.

Again, if Beck’s rally were purely political I’d have no problem.

16 Rob September 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Hi, I appreciate your efforts here, which I assume are meant for the benefit of others in bringing them to Christ. The chart above representing comparisons between Mormon beliefs and your take on someone else’s Christian tenants is interesting. Instead of clearing it up with scripture, let me propose some logic here. Why are so many evangelicals against Mormonism? What do they have to lose? The membership of evangelical churches has NOTHING to lose. After all, you said yourself that salvation comes through faith and not works, right? Find me a Mormon who doesn’t have faith in Jesus Christ. Who doesn’t believe that because he took upon himself the weight of our sins, we are saved from death and hell. You can’t find one, because every Mormon must confess Christ vocally prior to baptism. Now, what do evangelical pastors have to lose by not denigrating Mormons? Everything. If they stay quiet, people might actually check the religion out for themselves. Maybe they will see there is nothing evil about it, and get on with life. But maybe they will see and feel God in a much more tangible way than ever before, and join the Mormon church. Then evangelical pastors will lose their paychecks. That’s the bottom line.

17 Mark September 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Rob,

What do you think about Joseph Smith’s words quoted above which pertain to Christians?

You challenged,

Find me a Mormon who doesn’t have faith in Jesus Christ.

My answer is that all Mormons who have faith in the Jesus Christ as defined in Mormon theology do no have faith in the true Jesus Christ who walked the earth ~2000 years ago.

18 Jeannie Byrd September 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Mark,

Thank you for the links you referred to. I looked at both of them. Also, since our last “conversation” I had received some links leading into what Mormans really believe referred to me and I have been studying them as well.

I think you are right in that if Beck had made his case purely political it would have perhaps held out some hope for our country’s current crisis–of which I am seriously concerned about. However, after having done some more studying on what Glenn Beck really believes, I agree with you. It is absolutely vital that Christians stand firmly on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the one and only Heavenly Father who is from eternity past to eternity future.

I think that perhaps too many Christians haven’t really studied Christian doctrine and therefore are easily swayed into doctrines that “feel good” or that “make sense.”

I wish there wasn’t this Morman issue with Glenn, because I think he has done a great deal of help in teaching about the foundations of our nation and urging us to study up on what really happened, because we are being lied to within our educational institutions. Also, he has given us insight into what is happening within the circle of our government leaders today. That is the issue where I feel he has done some good.

Glenn Beck uses all the right words so that his teachings are easily misunderstood by Christians. I appreciate the extra time you took to give me further insight into this entire event. I imagine that our “conversations” will not be the only ones going on. People want so much to believe in someone who presents solutions to this country’s “downhill slide” that we grab onto that hope and can stand to be easily deceived. I now have a much different view and will sift through what I hear as it stands up to our teachings in the Scriptures.

19 Howard September 1, 2010 at 9:04 pm

1) “Obama does not believe in Liberation Theology.”

If I sat in a Klu Klux Klan style church for 20 years, and someone responded to you that I was just a mainline church kind of guy, would you buy that?

2) “Jesus repeatedly told us to help the poor or we will go to bell. Matthew 25.”

You say he is not a socialist, and perhaps that it is true to say he is any one thing in particular. He is difficult to pin down. However, you seem to admit that we are to help the poor, which in Leftist thinking is, “Tax someone who has money and give it to the poor.”

This is nothiing short of legislating your morality and forcing it upon others. In short, SOCIALISM! Redistribution of wealth is socialism. Obama has said as much even citing Marx at one point to defend his position.

Clever guy that President. He says he’s not a socialist. You say he’s not. Yet both of you at some point have betrayed your own position.

20 Mark September 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Jeannie,

I appreciate your patience with me as I attempted to explain my reasons over this medium that does not always lend it self to receive what is meant to be a gracious exchange. Comments like yours is one of the things that keeps me blogging. I’m amazed how the Lord can bless exchanges like this as we sharpen each other while seeking His glory.

I couldn’t asked for anything more than for a Christian to consider their views based on Scripture. Lord knows He’s humbled me many times through Scripture.

Thanks again for the conversation.

21 E. Stephen Burnett September 2, 2010 at 8:13 am

Thank God for both of you. Just now, reading through this original post and all the ensuing comments, your interactions have glorified God to me.

Jeannie, you could have assumed Mark was a naive, you-just-don’t-know-how-bad-this-country-is person who wanted to pull Christians out of politics and into seclusion, but you didn’t. Mark, you could have assumed Jeannie was another evangelical pragmatic political compromiser, but you didn’t. Instead both of you approached each other with grace and humility, asking questions to understand the other’s views, and ultimately came to a conclusion based not in bashing or critiquing an Opposite View or Bad Guy, but upon Scripture and Gospel-centered conclusions.

As a result you have inspired me to seek that same level of interaction while discussing topics like these with friends, family and online acquaintances.

May God bless you both today, as you continue to help build His Kingdom.

22 Jeannie Byrd September 2, 2010 at 11:18 am

Stephen,

Thank you for your encouraging words. It is amazing to me how God can take our quests for understanding to honor His Name. You have encouraged me.

23 Mark September 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Stephen,

What you described is exactly what happens very often online. I’m very thankful that it did not happen this time. Exchanges like this continue to shape how react online. I’m still a work in progress. Thanks for the encouragement.

24 Christian September 6, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I really like Glenn Beck’s political views, and I agree with his “general” principle that our nation needs to turn back to God. As already stated, the question indeed is, which god? Mormons do not believe in the Christ of the bible. They have constructed their own christ and have distorted the core tenets of Christianity. Like others, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they have rewritten the bible to fit their own agenda. In their view, if they are faithful enough, they will become a god themselves. The desire to be equal to God is what got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden, brought corruption to this world, and got Lucifer and a third of the angels kicked out of heaven. Just because they have Jesus Christ in the name of their church doesn’t make them Christian. They are trying to sound just Christian enough to draw people in. There is a political correctness attitude that all religions and gods are the same. This can’t be so, because they can’t all be true if they conflict with one another. Those who believe all paths lead to heaven are denying that there is a true God because they are leaving it up to “whatever works for you.” God provided the path on the cross 2000 years ago so we don’t have to find the path ourselves. However, for everything that is of God, Satan has a counterfeit.

25 Wil October 26, 2010 at 10:23 am

Jeannie,
You sound like a person who is truly concerned for not only this country, but for Christianity in America.

Christianity in America is indeed in crisis. Organized Christian churches across America have abandoned God and are following false prophets. Most churchgoers are oblivious as they go to church on Sunday morning just to feel good about themselves. They hear the “preacher” say a few words & they socialize with others then head off into the world and on with their lives.

Those of us who are truly trying to follow Christ are either on our own, or we find others in our community & on line that are like minded, and we form support groups. My recommendation to you is to seek out other like-minded Christians and join with them forming a community of true believers. If you are fortunate enough to be attending a church that has not been led astray, continue with them but also seek other true believers and help them find their way to this church.

We cannot accomplish anything outside of God. Seek Him & His will.

Our country is also in crisis. Our leaders (regardless of political party affiliation) are consumed with greed and corruption. Every time I see a politician, I am reminded of those “snake-oil” salesmen from old TV westerns. They all have the cure for what ails the nation. But their “cure” is nothing but more snake-oil. Oh, I don’t doubt that there are those who get into politics out of a genuine desire for public service and an intent to improve governance, but the truth is that we live in the world and the world is Satan’s domain.

So how can we do our part to help America out of this crisis? Well, we need to pray for the ability to identify those politicians who will make the right choices for the long term, even if it means their political future will be jeopardized. You cannot vote for someone because they get it right on one or two issues because they may be absolutely wrong on other, more vital issues to the country. You cannot vote for someone because they are the “Republican” or the “Democrat”. You most certainly cannot vote for someone as a vote against the other candidate.

You have to research the candidates. Research their history. It isn’t easy and the propaganda put out by their campaign (and their opponents campaign) isn’t to be believed at face value.
Let’s say a candidate claims to be a Christian. Where does he attend church? Assuming the election is a local election (I wouldn’t expect everyone to be able to do this on a presidential election), say for US Congress. You should live close enough to this church to take a Sunday and go and visit there and learn a little about what is taught there. As I said earlier, many churches in this country are led by false prophets…

If you indeed do care about this country then you should care enough to invest a little time and energy into getting to know the candidates. Then, with God’s guidance, I trust that you will vote for the best person for each office. If for some reason you cannot discern who is best for a particular office, I think it is best not to vote for that particular office.

26 Wil October 26, 2010 at 10:30 am

I feel like I’m coming a bit late to the party. Oh well, I am glad that I found your blog and I look forward to future postings (and commenting!).

.

Previous post:

Next post: