With Glenn Beck increasingly talking about God and Christ, and using the same terminology that Christians use, it’s easy for Christians to assume, “He’s one of us. He believes the same things.” But he’s a Mormon. The Mormons are adept at using our terminology, but giving it different meaning.
Now, he’s using pretty specific terminology about salvation by faith in Christ alone, and he has presented the salvation message clearly on his show. Is he a born-again Christian living within the Mormon church? Is that even possible? Ed Decker writes, “Only after Beck announces that he is leaving the Mormon Church will I believe he is a Christian in a biblical sense.” This is all very puzzling.
The fact is, Mormons differ substantially with Christians on every major doctrine. There is no compatibility. Mormonism is an entirely different religion. You can’t be an evangelical Christian and a Mormon at the same time, anymore than you can simultaneously be a Buddhist and a Muslim.
Glenn Beck has an influential platform, and he declares himself as part of the Christian mainstream. He surrounds himself with persons with solid Christian credentials. Legions of Christians follow his program religiously. With Saturday’s rally at the Lincoln Memorial, and his new group to organize pastors, Beck has positioned himself as a leader of Conservative evangelicals. As I said, it’s very puzzling.
Richard Land, who directs public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, and who doesn’t consider Beck a Christian, says he was stunned by the “Restoring Honor” rally.
“His shows sound like you’re listening to the Trinity Broadcasting Network, only it’s more orthodox and there’s no appeal for money…and today he sounded like Billy Graham.”
So it’s important to know, when he throws around Christian lingo, what he actually believes. When he talks about Christ or God or salvation, don’t apply your own understanding of that word. As long as he identifies himself as a Mormon, those words have a different meaning based in Mormon theology.
I researched Mormonism years ago, but had forgotten much of it. So I did a quick refresher study, wanting to be reminded of the fundamental beliefs of Mormonism. Listen to Glenn Beck all you want. Join his causes. Just be aware of what his religion is all about.
God. God was once a man named Elohim living on another planet, who became a god by following the laws of that planet’s god. He then came to earth with his wife, and they produced offspring–Jesus, Lucifer, and all the rest of humanity. God is not a spirit, but has a flesh-and-bones body. Mormons say, “As man is, God was. As God is, man shall become.”
God says in Isaiah 44:6, “I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.” Mormons don’t believe that.
Jesus. Jesus was merely the first child of God. Lucifer was the second child, and you and I are equally children of God (Jesus is our oldest sibling). Jesus is now a god.
Trinity. Rather than God in three persons, the Mormon trinity involves three separate persons–the god who rules our planet, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (the only god who doesn’t have a body).
Bible. The Bible is accurate only as far as it is correctly translated. Mormons believe it has been corrupted over the years. It is basically trustworthy, but not infallible like the other Mormon holy documents: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
Book of Mormon. An angel directed Joseph Smith to some gold plates, which he translated. The Book of Mormon is more authoritative than the Bible. It contains a lot of really strange stuff.
The Church. The church is the Mormon church with its organizational structure and laws, not the universal body of believers. Mormons view themselves as the true church of Jesus Christ. After Christ’s death, the church fell into apostasy. When Joseph Smith came along in the 1800s, the true gospel hadn’t been preached for 1800 years. Thomas A’Kempis, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley–all heretics.
Man. We exist as spirits in heaven until we are given human form as babies, at which point our memories of preexistence are wiped out. We all have the chance to become gods of our own planets.
Salvation. Mormons achieve perfection not through Christ’s atoning death on the cross, but by works–by following the tenants of the Mormon church.
Former Mormon prophet Spencer Kimball wrote, “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.”
Christ’s sacrifice is not enough to cleanse us from our sins. Good works are necessary. Also: There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. (Brigham Young wrote that only polygamists would become gods.)
Baptism. It’s necessary for salvation. Your ancestors can be baptized by proxy, which is why Mormons are so big on genealogy research. (Christians believe baptism is an important ordinance, but not necessary for salvation.)
Heaven. Everyone will go to one of three levels of heaven. The Celestial Kingdom is for Mormons who become gods, the Terrestrial Kingdom is for moral people and lukewarm Mormons, and the Telestial Kingdom is for everyone else.
Hell. There is no eternal punishment. Hell is just a temporary place between death and resurrection. “Eternal damnation” refers to anything less than becoming a god.
Living Prophets. The head of the Mormon Church is a living prophet whose pronouncements carry more weight than scripture. Brigham Young believed his sermons were equal to Scripture. “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture.”
David Barton tells Christians to ask, “What fruit do you see produced by Glenn?…Christians concerned about Glenn’s faith should judge the tree by its fruits, not its labels,”
That is a dangerous, dangerous attitude. It is not our works that make us Christians, but our faith in Christ. We can find good, moral people doing great work in every religion, including atheism. But their fruit doesn’t make them fellow Christians.
Ed Decker describes the problem this way:
Beck = Christian,
Beck = Mormon
Mormon = Christian
Just because you like what Glenn Beck declares regarding President Obama and the Founding Fathers and everything else, don’t assume that he is a brother in Christ.
Matthew 24:24–“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”