Is Glenn Beck a Christian or a Proselytizing Morman on a Mission?
By Bob Anderson
Right off the bat let me say that I do not for a moment question Glenn Beck’s patriotism. I once admired of Beck for his conservative, political positions. However, Beck has become gradually more and more religiously and spiritually oriented. Now, hardly a TV show goes by that he doesn’t talk as much about God, spirituality, or the coming apocalypse as he does about politics, although he often manages to weave the former into the latter.
Beck, a Roman Catholic convert to Mormonism, claims to be a Christian, but to rephrase President Ronald Reagan’s well-known line about liberals, the trouble with Beck is not that he is ignorant, but that he knows so much about Christianity that isn’t so. I will expound upon this later in the article.
Recent reports have Beck starting his own television network ala Oprah Winfrey. According to a New York Times Internet story, Beck and senior Fox News executive Joel Cheatwood may soon join forces at Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Company when both of their contracts with Fox expire at the end of the year. The story points out that Beck could also expand his current Web show that currently charges fans $9.95 a month for access. Media consultant Larry Kramer compares Beck to Arianna Huffington and Howard Stern who have each parlayed their personalities into media empires.
Why would Beck want to start his own cable channel? Well, for starters money. Beck reportedly earned $4 million last year from his Web operations, compared to “only” two million from Fox. However beyond the money, like Oprah Winfrey who has started a cable network to promote her new age beliefs, Beck also would have more opportunity to preach his Mormon spiritually unabated. Make no mistake, Beck’s a true believer in the Mormon doctrine. Yet, I have often heard Christians make statements such as, “He must be a Christian, look at his values, good works and his attempt to return America to its Christian roots.”
First of all, there is debate as to how many of the Founding Fathers were actually biblical Christians. Many no doubt were, some weren’t. Some were Deists, Free Masons, or followed the philosophy of the Enlightenment, and at least one was an atheist. But the biggest mistake Christians make is naively assuming that Beck is a Christian, or that the various Christian leaders that he has had on his programs have led him to biblical salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Beck dispels any such speculation in his testimony available on line, as well as in a book he coauthored with psychiatrist Keith Ablow Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life.
In the book Beck states that he treated Mormonism as a “hostile witness,” even checking out anti-Mormon literature (he doesn’t state what literature he checked out) but says that most of it was “unfair or just plain wrong.” He says he “tried every trick I could think of to find a contradiction” to Mormon doctrine and couldn’t find one. Either he wasn’t looking in the right places or he was self-deluded before doing the research. He says that Mormonism seems to explain the world and his place in it better than any other faith. “It answered many spiritual questions that had gone unanswered for me for my entire life.” (Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life, p. 149)
One of the first books Beck claims to have read in his search for God was New Age advocate James Redfield’s The Celestial Prophecy. No wonder Beck was drawn to Mormon doctrine, which is also very New Age. Some Christian apologists have dubbed Mormon founder Joseph Smith “America’s first New Age Prophet,” in as much as Mormonism has far more in common with Hinduism than it does with Christianity.
Unfortunately, to prove Beck’s wide acceptance among Christians, he was asked to speak at the 2010 commencement at Liberty University (the nation’s largest evangelical college) with the assumption that his speech would be on politics and the problems of socialism that the Obama administration was pushing on the country, and not on spiritual matters.
However, Beck changed his speech at the last minute and laced it with religious terms such as atonement, faith, the gospel, the Holy Spirit, and “personal revelations” from God, which of course have a much different meaning and significance for Mormons. Keep in mind that the Mormon God lives on a planet near the star Kolob, has a physical body, and practices polygamy. The God of the Bible is spirit, John 4:24. Jesus said a spirit does not have flesh and bone, Luke 24:37-39
Like he often does on his TV and radio program, Beck exhorted his Liberty audience to “seek truth,” “question everything I have told you,” and “read the scriptures everyday.” And he received a standing ovation.
Were the scriptures Beck alluded to in his speech meant to include the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrines and Covenants, which are all considered scripture by the Mormon Church? And what about Joseph Smith’s Inspired Version of the Bible (I.V.) that he personally translated without having any knowledge of the ancient texts just to make sure it was right? In fact, Mormons believe that only the Bible, among their five authoritative books, contains error. And according to Smith, the Book of Mormon is “the most correct book ever written.” Many of the ideas mentioned in Beck’s speech can be found in the Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life.
So how can Beck continually exhort his audiences to “check out everything” he tells them and “question everything” he says when he doesn’t follow his own admonition? As I see it, either Beck is a lying hypocrite who tells people to check out things when he knows that he has failed to do so, yet he tells them that he actually has done so to purposely deceive them about the great differences between Mormonism and Christianity, or Beck is seriously deluded about the great disparity between the two faiths.
So how can such an obviously intelligent person like Beck be so deceived? I would argue that that spiritual deception has nothing to do with intelligence. Every cult has very intelligent people with graduate degrees who have been deceived. They are people with master’s degrees and Ph.D.s, and like Beck, they also believe that they have found the truth.
Paul writes in II Corinthians 4: 3-4, “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.” In other words, Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see and receive the true gospel of Christ. Please pray that the God of the Bible would remove the veil from Glenn Beck’s eyes, so that he might be saved. What a testimony that would be!
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