Let’s hear it for the wisdom of college freshmen. Seriously. I have 30 of them in my class at Cornerstone University and together we are studying Biblical Hermeneutics and it’s plain to see this class is going to be far from boring. So what is Beck doing in a Hermeneutics class? Helping me make it relevant. After all the class is a study in how to appropriately, accurately and relevantly apply ancient texts from different languages and cultures to the Facebook generation and stay true to what God really meant to say.
So out of the blue I asked my class “How many think Beck should be considered an evangelical Christian?” Only one hand out of 30 went up. I must admit I was surprised and said so. ‘After all,’ I told them, ‘he espouses Christian values, uses Christian terminology and has garnered the support of numerous Christian leaders – why don’t you think he should be considered a Christian?’ Several people answered at once “He’s a Mormon.”
Yes he is, and that doesn’t make him any more fallen or any less likeable than anyone else. But the fact of the matter – that these tuned-in university students got – is that the Mormon Church for its 180 year history has officially, and at times vociferously, rejected all the primary doctrines that define Christianity and set it apart from every other religion in the world.
- Only one God who has forever existed as a single tri-personal being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit — rejected.
- God the Father as a personal being who as spirit cannot be bounded by a body or any other space-time limitation (it’s what allows him to be all-powerful, all-knowing and simultaneously everywhere present) — rejected.
- Jesus Christ who existed prior to his virgin birth as God, the eternal creator and Logos, and who while condescending to become fully human and image the invisible God and make him visible to us, continued to be also completely and fully deity — rejected.
- The only way we escape the just and eternal consequences of our sin and daily selfish, egocentric choices is to exchange our sinfulness and unrighteousness for the perfect righteousness of Jesus, which God offers to us as a gift, we receive by faith – believing that God out of his goodness and grace will just give to us for the asking — rejected. For more information IRR.org has several articles on Mormon-Christian differences.
So does Glenn Beck inspire a return to Christian and conservative values? Yes. Does Glenn Beck use imagery and terminology that resonates with evangelical Christians? Sure looks that way. Do other Christian leaders seem to be welcoming Glenn Beck as a fellow Christian and expressing a certain level of comfort with how he articulates his personal beliefs and faith? Mmm hmmm. Does any of that make Glenn Beck a Christian? Not if we are going to use good hermeneutics and a historical and biblical definition for “Christian.” Until the LDS Church changes the articulation of its core doctrines and stops rejecting what Christians have affirmed for the past 2000 years, we are all going to have to continue to choose – Mormon or Christian – but not both.