Reformed Baptist Fellowship

A Mormon on a Mission

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on September 7, 2010 at 9:24 am

One of the most powerful voices of conservatism today is Glenn Beck.  He has lately taken on the mantle of “America’s Real History Teacher”.  While Beck was once all about conservative politics, he has been content lately to let others run with that ball.  Instead, Glenn Beck has transformed his studio into a classroom each day on Fox News to teach us what we have never been taught about American History.  This is the hidden history that has been concealed by the evil forces, of greed, expansionism (Manifest Destiny), power and even religion.  Glenn Beck is especially concerned that we learn what has been forgotten about Native Americans.  In fact, he tells us these Native Americans were possibly descended from Jews or maybe Egyptians.

Glenn Beck makes history come alive.  He is articulate, interesting and passionate.  The ratings prove that people are eating it up.  His recent non-political rally on the Washington Mall (which itself came because of Beck’s view of “Divine Providence”) shows how popular he has become.  Evangelical Christians are tuning in, excited to learn what Glenn Beck and his team of experts (many of them Christians) has to tell them next.  Glenn Beck loves to talk about America turning back to God.

It all sounds so good to so many, but who are Glenn Beck’s teachers?  I believe Glenn Beck is on a mission.  It is a much more effective mission than those young 19-21 year olds on bicycles.  Glenn Beck is a Mormon convert – if you doubt that – simply google “Glenn Beck as a Mormon” and you can hear his own touching “conversion” story on a YouTube LDS website.  Glenn Beck is now teaching us what he has learned in his eleven years as a Mormon.  He is sharing what he no doubt truly believes and is very excited about.  He wants us to know “the truth”.   I don’t think his goal is necessarily to make sure we all become Mormon converts.  His goal is much more subtle than that.

With talk of “Divine Providence”, with quotes from the Founding Fathers, with his own particular spin on history, especially going back to 19th century history books, with a field of experts, many of them Evangelical Christians, Glenn Beck is trying to open a door.  Glenn Beck is on a mission.  He wants us to understand that Mormons are Christians too.  His goal is to make Mormonism and its beliefs acceptable to the Christian community.  His goal is to bring Mormonism into Orthodoxy.

That could never be done through Theology.  It could never be done by overtly stating, “Mormons are Christians too”.  It can’t be done through politics alone, although the vast majority of Mormons share a politically conservative mindset with a majority of Evangelicals.  However, with a Mormon spin on history – combined with a Conservative philosophy – and with the help of some Christian teachers, Glenn Beck brings his views into the mainstream of conservative thought, which includes a large percentage of Evangelicals.  While most Evangelicals recognize that Mormonism is “a cult”, many are at the same time, listening to and embracing Mormon teachings through one of its most ardent converts.  It is very subtle, and I fear, being executed very effectively.  Rush Limbaugh calls himself the most dangerous man in America.  Glenn Beck with his theology and mission is far more dangerous.

Pastor Dan Urroz has provided the following link to Glenn Beck’s own website where you can hear a version of history as seen through the lens of the Mormon Church.  “Divine Providence” is a term used often by the Founders, and Glenn Beck, as a Mormon, readily embraces it and takes it for his own.  The following link is from his August 18, 2010, broadcast and is offered as proof of my assertions:  http://watchglennbeck.com/video/2010/August/glenn-beck-show-august-18-2010-divine-providence-vs-manifest-destiny/
It will take about 45 minutes to watch all three presentations.  You won’t find a lot of offensive material in the first ten minutes, but those minutes set the stage for all that is to come.

Steve Marquedant
Sovereign Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Ontario, California
www.sgbc-ontario.us
  1. Maybe that is why I have never felt good about listening to Glenn Beck. Not that his information is all wrong but something in my spirit said: “Watch out, there is something not quite right here”. I know Mormons consider themselves Christians and they can fool a lot of people but those who understand their theology and those of a true Christian can’t be fooled. Thanks for sharing this with us, Pastor Steve. I pray many will heed your words.

  2. What? Unorthodox? On a mission to gain acceptance as part of the xtian tradition? Nothing new here!

    What encouragement can be found in
    this discussion lies in the resultant inter-ecumenical efforts to bring the defining issues of orthodoxy to the forefront.

    Conferences such as the one referred to on the RCA.org website (see S. Davis article 2009) which brought Reformed, Roman catholic and Anglican theologians together to discuss orthodoxy in contrast to Mormonism in of all places -the campus of BYU!

    It’s efforts like these that provde the opportunity for xtianity to get the orthodox message out and may provide the needed impetus for the birth of an ecumenism which resists post-modern efforts to re-characterize the faith.

    While it’s important to recognize Mormonism as unorthodox it’s also equally important to recognize that it is postmodernism at play within the churches seeking to redefine Mormonism as part of the xtian tradition.

    The question we should ask ourselves is “what part would a Reformed Baptist play in all of this?

  3. Another (related) question we should ask ourselves is why is it a Mormon, and not a Christian, who is calling America back to God? Does the gospel belong only within the church? Or have we been commanded to preach the gospel to every creature (including American creatures)?

  4. Everyone should triple check everything Beck says.

    Much of what he says is not correct.

  5. The subject regarding Glenn Beck is too large to distill in a few lines; so rambling is resorted to. Annette’s and Julie’s posts give the warning, but not the plumb line by which to measure. Rob’s post has merit, as do others.
    But the real issue to begin with is how are Christians, particularly reformed Christians to understand human history, or God’s Providence? Asw: “Christ is the meaning of history.” (RE:a book by this name by Hendrikus Berkhof [1962 in Dutch, translated and published by SCM, England in 1966; my copy 1979 reprint by Baker Books] is a good starting place.
    Seem simplistic? Read the book.
    It is obvious that Glenn Beck doesn’t understand this concept because he doesn’t understand the purpose of creation; or the entering of Christ into the history of the world as the last Adam after sin, much less “faith” and “imputation.” His is a broad general cliche type view. At best he’s a self-help Pelagian heretic: “I changed myself.”
    For the biblical Christian, so much for Beck’s religion. Yes, he does use to color his commentary, but he is also on to some very vital data which is very much like what I heard from Carl McIntyre, Billy James Hargis and John Noble back in the 1950’s and 60’s, about the communist infiltration [especially through public education] into our country. Did I swallow all their stuff? No, but they made us aware there was an insidious problem. Politics is never the answer, any more than it was in the days of Isaiah or Jeremiah. But the false call to “repentance” of a self-helpnick is also powerless.
    When Barak Obama says he’s “5 days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” I’d like to hear what others understand about that concept.Obama’s associations speak volumes about his slant.Who but Beck even touches that?
    Beck may be a Mormon on a mission, but understand that subtilty and check him out. There seem to be no others uncovering the infiltration of America like he is.You don’t like his re-revisionist history? Then research it yourself. Beck is on to something, even though he doesn’t understand the divine operation of the Gospel of Christ and the new birth. His view that some sort of repentance may be helpful is futile. But not his kind ultimately.Without the preaching of God’s Gospel (Romans 1:1-6)ultimately there is no hope of salvation of any kind.
    Perhaps the most egregious statement I’ve heard him make was that George Whitefield preached a message of “God loves you.” That made me wonder if he’d ever really read Whitefield? Well: ad infinitum.
    Is Beck helpful? with biblical discernment only.
    Another perspective. I do appreciate Steve Marquedant’s view.
    Bob

  6. Bill:

    There are many Christians who have and continue to call America back to God – faithful pastors each Lord’s Day, right? The question rephrased: Why is Glen Beck become the Conservatives’s political / values spokesperson – why does he seem to be the only one calling America back to *god*? Also the same answer, there have been and continue to be many – Dr Al Mohler for one. Most people, even Christians buy into the wrong view that morals, values, “back to *god* is the answer to the economy, stock market, housing, jobs, war effort, immigration etc. While faithful pastors and key individuals are more visible, like Dr Mohler, most people still see him / them as giving a religious answer. They won’t accept that the real issue is a heart issue. A co-worker said yes he knows Beck is Mormon, but he isn’t pushing Mormonism, he is pushing values and things we can agree on. One side overlooks his Mormonism, the other side considers his religion as far worse than the problems he is addressing.

    Bill Murphy had asked: why is it a Mormon, and not a Christian, who is calling America back to God?

  7. Rob, what can a Roman Catholic say about orthodoxy except to reject it? What was the Reformation all about? 🙂

    Rob said in part:
    Conferences such as the one referred to on the RCA.org website (see S. Davis article 2009) which brought Reformed, Roman catholic and Anglican theologians together to discuss orthodoxy in contrast to Mormonism in of all places -the campus of BYU!

  8. I could only stomach a few minutes of the first presentation. Mr Beck’s statement about the difference between Divine Providence and Manifest Destiny was bad enough. His definition of DP is basically, God helps those that help themselves. He is a very good communicator, showman that is granted – may the true God convert him, then use him to relay the true gospel rather than this poison.

    Pat

  9. Pat,

    I agree with you that Al Mohler–and some others–is great about publicly engaging the culture on specific sins with the gospel, though in venues mostly Christians tend to frequent(church, blogs, etc.).

    Of course, the Bible does have the answers to the economy, stock market, war, crime, jobs, immigration, etc., which non-Christians can’t accept due to their stony and humanistic hearts, until they are regenerated by the gospel and the Spirit.

    I hope more pastors continue to publicly call Christians back to God, to His morals and commandments communicated in the Bible, for true answers to these societal problems. As Schaeffer asked, How should we then live (now that we are saved, and in the world, though no longer of it)?

    And as we (Christians) live out God’s principles in public (rejecting the moral/social principles of the non-Christian culture around us), may we confront our humanistic culture in America with God’s law and gospel. May His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    Pat wrote:

    “There are many Christians who have and continue to call America back to God – faithful pastors each Lord’s Day, right? The question rephrased: Why is Glen Beck become the Conservatives’s political / values spokesperson – why does he seem to be the only one calling America back to *god*? Also the same answer, there have been and continue to be many – Dr Al Mohler for one. Most people, even Christians buy into the wrong view that morals, values, “back to *god* is the answer to the economy, stock market, housing, jobs, war effort, immigration etc. While faithful pastors and key individuals are more visible, like Dr Mohler, most people still see him / them as giving a religious answer. They won’t accept that the real issue is a heart issue. …”

  10. Pat wrote: Rob, what can a Roman Catholic say about orthodoxy except to reject it? What was the Reformation all about?

    Remember Pat that even Luther believed the church of Rome to be legitimate although containing superstitious practices. Not all Christians of the reformation necessarily agreed with the propaganda, and many including Luther hoped it would reform but not necessarily in the tradition of Zwingli or Calvin.

    More to the point its important to recognize that The Roman tradition (as Gods providence has so designed) is still the most highly recognizable Christian tradition in the world. Thus when we address the worldwide problem of post modern thought we have to ask ourselves which tradition will be recognizable as the voice representing xtian doctrine? Rome is the giant elephant in the room!

    Continued separatism and the rejection of an ecumenical voice means we could become our own worst enemy as did xtians of the reformation whose internal fighting (wars) helped usher in modern secularism and later enlightenment thinking.

    In this case failure to care about other xtians might mean the sustained victory of postmodernism in the church. Christians not interested in dialoguing are doomed to losing what voice they might have had in a world where there profession should positively affect those around them.

    Separatists tend to become irrelevant after awhile.
    Rob

  11. Enjoyed this article Steve, I watch and listen to Beck from time to time due to my interest in politics and history. There is no doubt that the moralism of Beck is driving him and this set of programs about American history is a great primer on where the Mormon’s come from on these things.

    Personally I view Beck as one of many modern voices in America calling for pluralism to be embraced. If you listen to Hannity you get it from the Roman Catholic perspective, if you listen to Obama you get it from the White House perspective, if you listen to the Imam Rauf you hear it from the Muslim side……what a melting pot modern America is…but there is one voice….there are many ways to God and even as I heard Obama this morning say ‘One nation under God’ irrespective of what you call him, the message is loud and clear, there are many ways to God and you must accept that ! This is of course anti-Christian and contrary to Scripture.

    Surely then for us as Christians living in these tumultuous times we have a great and glorious opportunity to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified in all his unique and sufficient glory !! The church must not falter and cave in to the pluralist agenda, it may not be long before it is being said to be an evangelical, Reformed and biblical Christian is to be ‘unAmerican’. Then the first century Christians under Rome will become more familiar to us than ever before. May we stand firm and be faithful to the one Lord of all !

  12. I absolutely agree, Robert.

  13. Briggs wrote: Personally I view Beck as one of many modern voices in America calling for pluralism to be embraced.

    First, one ought to distinguish between religous pluralism and theological pluralism. They are not the same, people confuse the two, not recognizing that it is in a religiously pluralistic society that the gospel can go forth.

    Anyone hostile to a religiously pluralistic society would be philosophically closer to the Taliban than a. Western modern xtian which I’m sure Briggs confesses to be.

    Secondly, while it’s true that Mormons like Beck seek inclusion, it is not Mormons who will make it happen. It will be at the hand of a fractured xtianity who while denouncing pluralism, will have unwittingly aided in it’s supremacy of post modernism by failing to be part of a broader statement of faith. Preaching the gospel and caring for the church at large does not have to be mutually exclusive.

    Sometimes our Puritan piety needs to be more closely examined-is it truly a theology of the cross or of glory?

  14. Great article! When people say that Beck is a voice calling America back to God, we should immediately ask what God is he calling Americans back to? Does the God of Mormonism line up with the God of the Bible? Does the Jesus of Mormonism line up with the Jesus of the Bible? Pretty simple questions. If anyone is willing to put these questions aside for the sake of common “values,” please know that values do not unite, Christ does. But Christ also divides and He does so with a profound question: “Who do you say that I am?”

    One thing that I also found ironic is that towards the end of the third video (from the link provided), Beck interviews Peter A. Lillback. Is Lillback not the president of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, a reformed seminary? Obviously there are voices within evangelical Christianity, even reformed circles, that do not mind being linked to this man who is clearly on a mission to link Mormonism to evangelical Christianity in the name of Americanism. How will he do it? By re-writing history and getting as many Christians to support him as he possibly can. Here is the logic: I believe in George Washington, you believe in George Washington. I believe in John Adams, you believe in John Adams. I believe in Egyptian pyramids in Ohio, maybe you should believe in Egyptian pyramids in Ohio. Oh and by the way, there is a historical book out there about epic battles in North America, I believe in that book and maybe you should too. Thanks for the wake-up call Pastor Steve.

  15. Rob,

    What’s the difference between “religious pluralism” and “theological pluralism,” and, specifically, why is religious pluralism aligned to the gospel and opposition to religious pluralism aligned to the Taliban? Do you believe the Bible instructs Christians to embrace religious pluralism? If so, would you please name some specific passages that teach this?

    Thanks,

    Bill

  16. Bill

    I’ll try to be simplistic in my explanation.
    Religous pluralism is a development of Modernity. Modernity was borne out of and a direct result of reformation ideas regarding authority. What we are talking about is the dissipation of national or state sponsored churches due to a recognition that the state sponsored churches were unable to prevent international conflict and war. Secular society is a direct result of this historic inability and the civil authority becomes the primary peacekeeper in a secular society.

    A pluralistically religous society means people of differing faiths live and interact together such as here in the US. This is a blessing since in a non pluralistic society I might not have the freedom to be a practicing baptist. If I were a baptist just prior to the English Civil Wars of the 1600s I would have been considered a radical and political dissident and possibly subject to varying degrees of extreme prejudice. The same would be true if I were Catholic at that time. Calvins Geneva was a theocracy, you could be jailed or fined for missing church or discovered as a closet Catholic. These were non pluralistic and religiously intolerant states and times and no modern Calvinist I associate with hold to that type of mandate.

    Again this a blessing since I have the freedom to share the gospel and debate it’s merits without fear of retribution.

    Theological pluralism on the other hand can mean “many gods” or “many ways to god.” A person may be a religous pluralist and not be a theological pluralist. One is a term used in reference to a socio-religio context while the other might reference a theological perspective.

    Obviuosly the monotheistic faiths: Islam, Judaism and Christianity condemn theological pluralism except in some expressions and aberrations.

  17. Bill
    Should a xtian seek religously pluralistic societies? Many Americans believe the spread of democracy can also mean the spread of the gospel. I suppose the answer lies on what value you place on those freedoms? Would you have it any other way?
    Rob

  18. Rob, helpful clarification, thanks. I am obviously not going to be supportive of a ‘theological pluralism’ which advocates many ways to God. ‘Religious pluralism’, of course, that does indeed as you say allow the gospel to go forth. I agree with your brief overview of the English situation in the 1600’s.

    Is Beck calling for a religious pluralism? or is he advocating a theological pluralism? In a sense it may be both without understanding the differences clearly, but I do believe he would say there are many ways to God and you just need to choose the one that suits you. That is ‘theological pluralism’ is it not?

    He is no doubt using his position to advocate Mormonism as if it were mainstream to historical Christianity.

  19. Rob B

    Yea, I think he is an advocate for both in a sense. If you understand Mormonism as a polytheism of sorts. We understand the necessity of Pluralism or albeit enjoy it’s benefits but modernity and pluralism have birthed a post modern movement in the church.

  20. Rob,

    I don’t think that modernity and the idea of “religious pluralism” was primarily the result of the Reformation. Certainly, the scientific revolution, capitalism/industrialization, and the prosperity with which God has blessed the West was based in the Reformation and a turning toward more of a Biblical worldview. However, modernity (and the Reformed faith) has also been very heavily influenced by 1) natural law (as opposed to God’s law) and 2) humanism in various forms. Therefore modernity is not only a product of the Reformation and Bible-reading, but also the Renaissance, the Enlightenment (or, the Endarkenment, the counter-Reformation), Rationalism, Unitarianism, Deism, Transcendentalism, Darwinism, Nihilism, Existentialism, Pragmatism, Liberalism, and the Occult/New Age/Neo-Paganism. Natural law (man’s law) and the belief that unsaved men can discover truth, though partly rejected by Calvin and the Puritans in favor of the doctrines of depravity and of the sovereignty of God’s law, was never fully rejected by those holding to the Reformed faith.

    God calls us as Christians to beware philosophies that are after the tradition of men and after the rudiments of the world, rather than after Christ; and we are to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (Col. 2:8; 2 Cor. 10:3-6). Is that what we are doing when we call for religious pluralism as a goal or ideal?

    One’s theology determines one’s religion (Prov. 4:23), so I don’t buy that “religious pluralism” is different from “theological pluralism.” “Religious pluralism” is impossible. Because when religions in a society contradict each other, both cannot be accommodated at the same time.

    In fact, it seems to me if you work toward some ideal of “religious pluralism,” you are far more likely to face Taliban-like persecution, than if you work toward a Christian society. Look at the recent news with the anniversary of the 9/11. There is a societal ethic that praises murder and terrorism. And there is a societal ethic that condemns murder and terrorism. You cannot have a religious pluralism in any society because one viewpoint in opposition to others always wins, usually “might makes right,” in such a society. (Someone cannot be murdered and not murdered at the same time.)

    However, Christians do know what’s right, and non-Christians don’t. (Because we know Someone Who is perfectly righteous, and He has communicated His Way to us by His Word and Spirit.) Our understanding and wisdom is all by grace, it’s all for God’s glory; our apprehension is imperfect and sinful because of our remaining sin, but we have the Spirit and the Word of the true and living God! Yet with “religious pluralism,” we are the tail and not the head (Deut. 28).

    Calvin did not impose God’s law by coercion on a society that rejected it. He wasn’t a tyrant, or even a civil government official. He was certainly not a vigilante or a proponent of ecclesiocracy. He was a preacher and a faithful Christian man who “preached it” and led by godly example; and most of the city was converted to Christ, not by “might” but by God’s Spirit. Only Christianity permeated throughout the people of a society can produce a just and prosperous society. In fact, “[Calvin’s] insistence on the freedom of individual believers, and recognition that magistrates are sinful like everyone else, contributed to representative democracy and the separation of church and state.” (Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203946904574300272057149700.html) “And it was [Calvin’s] students who spread the gospel as well as proto-democratic ideals throughout the western world.” (Source: http://www.the-highway.com/theocracy_Horton.html)

    Worse, promoting “religious pluralism” paralyzes Christians and is used as a manipulative tool by humanists and other false religionists to send Christians in retreat. We know that we’ve been entrusted with the Great Commission, by Jesus’ authority over heaven and earth, to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” but somehow Christians feel it’s wrong and, well, just not “religiously pluralistic enough” to preach that Christianity ought to be the only religion supported by a nation and that Jesus Christ should be the only publicly acknowledged God of that nation. By Holy Spirit conversion, not man’s coercion. That’s how “religious pluralism” is another way of getting Christians to soft-peddle the claims of Christ in society.

    Worst of all, “religious pluralism”—as a principle to strive for—is not revealed and taught us by God in His Word. It can be shown to exist (very uneasily) in a nation before the gospel has penetrated the society like leaven, but not that a nation or society ought to hold religious pluralism as an ideal or principle. By holding on to humanist and/or natural law traditions, we are left with Christians with a compromised theology/religion. It’s important to be principled (holding to God’s views and ethics regarding man’s society), and not just pragmatic (only what doing what seems in our sight would work). Because we are supposed to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). We don’t walk by fear of persecution, but in the fear of God.

  21. No, I don’t think a Christian should seek religiously pluralistic societies. I think he should seek the conversion to Christianity of every person in his society, regardless of whether the authorities or Muslims or humanists deem it acceptable or not, as the early Church did. The spread of democracy does not mean the spread of the gospel. The spread of the gospel will spread democracy, or some other godly form of government and civil rule, as we have witnessed in God’s providence in the West’s past. Democracy on any spiritual/theological/religious base but Christianity will turn out to be nothing but mob-rule.

    Rob wrote:
    Bill
    Should a xtian seek religously pluralistic societies? Many Americans believe the spread of democracy can also mean the spread of the gospel. I suppose the answer lies on what value you place on those freedoms? Would you have it any other way?

  22. Bill

    I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment on the development of modernity. As I wrote my intent was to be simplistic and brief, the reformation amongst other developments did contribute to modernity but the reformation and Christian humanism that helped initiate the challenge to authority. We could also back and see other historical evens such as the conciliar movement and for that matter the plague. All these things help usher in modernity in one way or another.

    As I said before it is truly a blessing to live in a religously pluralistic society, some who don’t distinguish between the types of pluralism sometimes confuse them. Just ask a persecuted xtian or missionary how blessed we are.

    I agree that Pluralism carries with it inherent difficulties I just happen to believe it’s the lesser of two evils both for human life and the spread of the gospel not only from within but without.

    I’m not advocating a political principle over the gospel or it’s spread, just fine tuning in a general sense what Pluralism can mean.

  23. How are Mormons not Christian? Isn’t Christian by definition believing in Christ? It is call “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” so how can you say that Mormons aren’t Christian? Logically it makes no sense.

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