Glenn Beck has taken a Christian leadership role in his radio and tv program. He regularly invokes the name of God. He ends his nightly show with a prayer that invariably ends with “in Jesus’ name.” He does not claim to be a Christian Leader, but his actions would define him as such.
Having just watched “The Man in the Moon” last night (a very good program I recommend to everyone who has kids), one can see that Glenn is building a brand around a spiritual message (one that claims to be Christian) that the root of all things is God. When men and women take leadership roles, we are called to discern who we hold up as Christian Leaders and who we do not.
On today’s morning show, Glenn Beck decided to take time to call out the followers of Christ who were, in his words, being unnecessarily divisive. He called out a ‘major evangelical leader’ who told Glenn over the phone that he doesn’t agree with Glenn’s beliefs. Glenn said he almost hung up the phone on him.
At this point, Glenn decided to call out not only the Evangelical leader, but also the followers of Christ. He declared that he wanted to have a bumper sticker on his car that said “Jesus- Save me from your followers.”
While I still recognize Glenn as a leader in the civic, I would challenge any Christian who would give Glenn the status of Christian Leader to rethink that assessment. I would also challenge Glenn Beck to be consistent in our shared freedom and liberty standards. It’s ok to believe you are not in the Christian fold. It’s ok for you to believe you do. We, as Christians, would hope you would be tolerant of our beliefs as we pledge to be of yours.
Glenn began his challenge of the unnamed Evangelical leader and the followers of Christ in a way that demonstrate that he is decidedly not a Christian Leader. Leaders are called to be mature in their faith, which requires them to know the foundations of the faith. What Glenn said next demonstrated he is not that mature leader.
Glenn challenged people to recognize the goodness of Christ, even if Christ is just a man. He claims that it’s ok to just focus on Jesus as a man and forget about that ‘divine stuff.’ He is free to believe that, but we, as Christians, are also free, and, I would say, compelled by scripture, to challenge his assertion given his very public demonstration of being a Christian leader.
You see, if you dismiss Jesus’ own claims to the godhead, then Jesus is a madman at best, hardly someone that should have any credibility with you. If he is not a madman, he is a liar. But more than that, his teachings are all centered around the truth of the godhead, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, not pop psychology.
You die to self and live in Christ, This is the first fruit of salvation. From this death to self, death with Christ, and life THROUGH Christ, we are changed to the new person. This never happens if Christ is not divine. His teachings don’t hold together if Christ is not who he says he is.
Glenn Beck also called on people to ‘forget theology’ and just worry about taking care of people. Again, he’s free to believe that, and I would feel no reason to challenge his assertions if he did not take what seems to be a Christian leadership role. If Jon Stewart, for instance, said what Glenn said today, I would not feel compelled to challenge him. Stewart has not taken any Christian leadership role. But Glenn has, and pretty overtly.
Glenn is a Mormon. There’s nothing wrong with being a Mormon. It doesn’t affect my commitment to join with Glenn in civic affairs. But Glenn should understand that Christians, including myself, believe Mormonism is not aligned with the Unity doctrines of the body- You, if you believe all of Mormonism, believe that God is not the only God, but the God for this planet. You, if you are a Mormon, don’t believe God created anything from nothing, but rather He manipulated matter that has existed eternally.
You, if you follow all of Mormonism, do not believe grace alone is sufficient but that you earn your salvation through works. After you have done “all that you can do”, then and ONLY then, does Christ’s grace cover you.
These are just a few of the key differences between “Orthodox” Christianity and Mormonism. This is not at all a claim that I am right or that you are right, only that there is a reason for Christians like me to not call you one of our Christian brothers. These are not trivial matters, these are, theologically speaking, Unity issues.
This is not an assault on your beliefs, Glenn, but an explanation for you of why Christians do feel the need to make it clear that, contrary to some of the claims you have made on your own show (numerous times) that they don’t view you as being a member of our faith.
So long as you claim the mantle of “Christian” and act like a Christian leader, we are compelled to proclaim the truth.
Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
Certainly, you are free to disagree with us, but we are also free to disagree with you and follow our teachings that tell us to challenge those who proclaim what we would call a ‘false gospel.’Yes- theology matters, Glenn. We can walk with you in the natural. We can stand with you in defense of liberty. We have no desire to ostracize or ridicule your faith, but we will NEVER include you in our family of believers.
There’s nothing wrong with that, Glenn. In the ‘natural’, we ‘orthodox’ Christians believe in freedom and liberty for all, not just Christians, so we can walk with you and other folks who hold beliefs that are outside of our basic unity beliefs (That would be theology, by the way, Glenn).
You talk about knowing where you are going and what you stand for. Well, Glenn, for Christians, the same goes for us in how we live out the Kingdom. We need to know the truth we stand on and never equivocate or compromise with that truth. We are not called to just take care of the people in front of us, we are called to love them as Christ loves us, proclaiming the Gospel (through word and deed). In order for us to proclaim the Gospel, be it through word or deed, we must KNOW what the Gospel is. This, once again, goes back to Theology (which is really just a call to know the Word, the Truth, the plumb line). Do you see how, with this belief system, theology DOES matter?
While you accuse the followers of Christ of being divisive, it is actually YOU who are acting divisive. Will you demand acceptance of your beliefs from your Christian audience, from the Christians you have on your show or will consistently practice the standards of freedom and liberty that seek not to demand coerced acceptance of ANY belief?
When you pray to Christ, if you follow the Mormon faith, your Christ is not the same as my Christ. I respect you but I would never join in that prayer with you. Would someone like me be excluded from being on your show because I would refuse to validate your beliefs as being aligned with my own? Judging from today’s show, I’d say that would be the case.
NOTE: This article has been edited. I have added a deeper explanation of why I feel compelled to challenge Glenn Beck’s de facto position as a Christian leader, as well as eliminating some needlessly invalidating language.