Saturday, September 04, 2010

Glenn Beck and Christianity

I think perhaps I need to change the title of my blog, because it's been a while since I have been posting once a week. Maybe I should call it "Once in a Blue Moon for God." Anyway . . . this is NOT one of my articles from the local newspaper. A friend of mine sent me a link to an article about Glenn Beck, and said, "Read this article and tell me you think Glenn Beck is a Christian." This little piece is my reply.

In a recent article posted online in Perspectives, Dr. Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, CA, stated that Glenn Beck has made a public declaration that he trusts the atonement wrought by Jesus for his salvation. On the basis of this declaration, some evangelical Christians are rushing to embrace Mr. Beck as one of our own.

Before we jump to this conclusion, it would be wise to raise a couple of important questions. WHICH Jesus is Mr. Beck trusting? Is it the Mormon “Jesus,” whom they believe was once the angelic brother of Lucifer and got adopted into the Godhead because of his willingness to come to earth for humanity’s sake? Or, is Mr. Beck trusting the biblical Jesus? This is the Jesus Who has always been the second person of the Trinity; Who, by His miraculous union with flesh, was incarnate for 33 years both fully God and fully human; Who lived a perfect life to provide righteousness for sinners, died a substitutionary death to remove the Father’s righteous wrath from His people, and rose to new life to impart this life to those Who receive Him. Which Jesus?

In point of fact, the Mormon version of Jesus is not qualified to provide atonement, and cannot save any who trust in him. To trust in the so-called atonement of this Jesus is patently not saving faith as defined by Scripture. Salvation is found only in the atoning work of the genuine, biblical Jesus Christ, and the Bible makes this claim very clearly.

Peter declared in Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by Which we must be saved.” When he said this, Peter was referring to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom he had confessed, by the revelation of the Father, to be the eternal Son of God (see Matthew 16:16-17). In other words, only the eternal Son of God has power to save, not an angel who took on the name “Jesus.”

In John 14:6, Jesus declared, “In am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” This is the Jesus, referring to Himself, Who later claimed under oath in a court of law to be the eternal Son of God, as recorded in Mark 14:63-64: “Again the high priest asked Him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven’.”

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5, “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, Himself a man.” For Paul, to put the title “Christ” (meaning Messiah) before the name Jesus (read, then “Messiah Jesus”), and then to say He became a human, meant that he understood Jesus of Nazareth to be the human incarnation of the eternal Son of God, the Messiah sent by God.

Perhaps most telling is what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4: “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” Mormons proclaim “another Jesus,” not the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels as the incarnate eternal Son of God. The Corinthian church seemed to think that the proclamation of another Jesus was acceptable. Sadly, parts of the evangelical church seem willing to do the same today.

Fascinatingly, the Mormons claim they received their revelation about their angelic version of Jesus from an angel. Listen to what God’s Word says in Galatians 1:8: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (emphasis added).

I believe there is something remaining in most Christians, including me, as a continuing manifestation of our sin nature, that WANTS to be able to call others Christians when we have no solid Biblical warrant to be certain that they are. All of us know people who have testified to a teenage experience of accepting Christ at church camp, or who went forward and prayed the sinner’s prayer at a revival, but who nevertheless bear in their lives no credible evidence of regeneration. They may be nice folks in lots of ways, but there is no fruit in their lives. Do we WANT to believe they are saved? Of course. And because of our desire to affirm their alleged salvation, without any Biblically-defined evidence of it, it is easy for us to give in to the pull of misguided passion or sloppy theology, and declare that they’re Christians.

Perhaps Glenn Beck is a born again believer, and, of course, God knows whether he is or not. In contrast to God, however, I don’t know. Yet, for some evangelicals, the desire to affirm him as a member of our camp is intense. He is popular. He is articulate. He speaks the truth. In contrast to Rush Limbaugh (and a long list of other conservative talking heads), he is neither pompous nor proud. Additionally – and this is inestimably appealing to evangelicals, who have been so often disappointed by our spokesmen-champions! – he is squeaky clean, appearing to some to have the fruit of regeneration in his life. Some evangelicals think it would be wonderful if we could add to his credentials, “And, best of all, Glenn Beck is one of US”! Tempting as it may be to make such an affirmation, I cannot: not until I know for sure which Jesus he is trusting. Because, at the end of the day, it all comes down to that, doesn’t it?

1 comment:

Greg Teegarden said...

Great commentary! You were fair in you analysis and informative in Mormon beliefs...

Thank you for your insights...

God Bless