Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is Glenn Beck a Christian?

Is Glenn Beck a Christian?

Let me begin this article by stating unequivocally that I am an ardent Glenn Beck fan. I love to listen to his commentary and as a high school social studies teacher, I love to watch him spread chalk on his slate while he teaches Americans what our founding fathers believed. Now, with that said, let me take off my teacher hat and put on my pastor’s hat. I have serious problems with Glenn’s theology and his ministry to fellow Christians.

Is Glenn Beck a Christian? There is only One who can judge the hearts and minds of men and I’ll certainly leave that question alone. But, I think Glenn is doing irreparable harm to the Christian faith for reasons I’ll reveal later in this piece.

One thing is undeniable. Glenn Beck is one of the hottest personalities on television. He is making millions for himself and for FOX News. Most conservative Christians would agree strongly with Beck’s conservative political views and they might assume that because they agree with him politically, they must certainly be on the same page theologically.

Rev. Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church, a church associated with the Wesleyan denomination said, "I have interviewed persons who have talked specifically with Glenn about his personal salvation - persons extremely well known in Christianity - and they have affirmed (using language evangelicals understand), 'Glenn is saved,' " Garlow believes that Glenn “understands receiving Christ as savior."

If Garlow is correct about Glenn’s conversion experience, how can some of his religious views be justified unless we assume Glenn is simply ignorant in regard to the Holy Script.

Brannon Howse, a conservative radio talk show host and founder of Worldview Weekend declared, "The Apostle Paul warns Christians against uniting with unbelievers in spiritual endeavors. While I applaud and agree with many of Glenn Beck's conservative and constitutional views, that does not give me or any other Bible-believing Christian justification to compromise Biblical truth by spiritually joining Beck."

I suppose the opinions of both Garlow and Howse could be correct regarding Glenn Beck but it seems to me that Glenn could be categorized as a New Age Mormon. He may be doing great harm to genuine, scriptural Christianity by promoting beliefs and doctrines that are contrary to Christ’s teachings. Were you to add Glenn’s listening audience together with fellow New Ager, Oprah Winfrey, millions and millions could be led astray.

Beck has written a new book with author and psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow, entitled The Seven Wonders That will Change Your Life. Excerpts from his book reveal some of his beliefs that conflict with Christianity. Beck indicates on page 56 of his book that he has read A Course in Miracles by Helen Shucman, a leading New Age guru.

Beck reveals Universalist leanings when he encourages his readers on page 132 of his book to “Pray to whatever higher power you believe in…Praying that God or Nature or the cosmos or your own internal, immeasurable reservoir of spirit allows you the courage and faith to find and then face the truth.” Jesus Christ declared, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Beck seems to agree with Oprah that there are actually many ways to salvation and to heaven when he writes on page 157, “Finding what worked for me made all the difference. Finding what works for you will do the same.”

He denies the existence of original sin. “There’s no original sin left in the world. Everyone’s just recycling pain now.” (p. 154) A few pages later he declares that “People are inherently good.” Turning to the Bible we learn that Jeremiah taught something entirely different. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

Dr. Erwin Lutzer reveals how strongly some evangelicals oppose Glenn Beck’s belief system when he expressed his opinion on Brannon Howse’s radio program. He stated that pastors who attended and supported Beck’s rally in Washington, D.C. were participating in heresy. Not only does Glenn Beck promote New Age philosophy but he also belongs to a group most Christians would consider a cult.

Glen and his wife, Tania, joined the Church of Latter Day Saints in 1999. Some may question Glenn’s knowledge of and loyalty to the beliefs of the Mormon faith but he is a very intelligent, informed man who would unlikely make such a commitment to an organization he didn’t understand. Mormons fail the Christian litmus test because their fundamental beliefs diametrically oppose those of Christianity. They believe that Joseph Smith was a divine prophet who arrived on earth in the 1800’s. He wrote a divinely inspired book call the Book of Mormon. The Christian Bible teaches strongly against such a thing in Proverbs 30:5-6 "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.”

Space prohibits the consideration of many other Mormon beliefs such as proxy baptism for the dead, anticipation of achieving God-status, inhabiting a planet exclusively your own and the practice of polygamy.

I love Glenn’s politics but when it comes to religion he is in the same boat with Oprah Winfrey and a multitude of others who are promoting another Jesus and another gospel. There is only one way, Glenn. No other way will lead to eternal life.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

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