Skip to comments.Glenn Beck to Address Baptist Grads, but His Mormonism Sparks Debate
Posted on 05/15/2010 7:58:57 AM PDT by Colofornian
Glenn Beck is a darling of Fox News viewers and a must-see for legions of religious conservatives. So given his profile and right-of-center views, it was no surprise when it was announced that Beck would be a featured speaker at this Sunday's commencement at Baptist-run Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the brainchild of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority.
Falwell's son, Jerry Jr., is the current president of Liberty. In a statement explaining the invitation, he called Beck "one of the few courageous voices in the national media standing up for the principles upon which this nation was founded."
Yet if conservative Christians share Beck's political and social views, many of them also remain extremely suspicious of Beck's Mormon faith. Beck became a Mormon as an adult and credits his faith with turning his life around. But evangelicals generally consider Mormonism a "cult" and not Christian.
As a result, Beck's appearance at Liberty has generated an unusual amount of public infighting among evangelicals -- and creating the kind of controversy that is often associated with Catholic colleges, such as Notre Dame experienced last year when President Obama was invited to be the commencement speaker.
Ryan Begue, a Florida pastor who is in this year's graduating class from Liberty's theological seminary, said he was "shocked and disappointed" at Falwell's invitation to Beck.
"It seems that the leadership's decision in this matter gives the impression that it is more committed to conservatism than the Gospel," Begue wrote in the Florida Baptist Witness. "I have no beef with Glenn Beck as a person, but I certainly do with his religious beliefs. Why does Liberty not invite a Christian?"
Liberty University's Facebook page also lit up with the debate, while prominent Christian conservatives also weighed in.
"Alliances such as these are not glorifying to God, in that what association has God with false religions?" wrote John Ferguson, founder of the Voice of Truth blog. "The tangential dangers when the evangelical community unites with the secular world for the sake of social or political agendas are numerous because it leads to a dilution of truths from the Word of God, opens the door to give credence to non-believers within evangelical circles and ultimately leads to the eternal destruction of lost people."
A 2007 Pew Forum survey showed 25 percent of Americans would be less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate for president, with only Muslims and atheists earning higher negatives. But among white evangelicals who attend church weekly -- the GOP base and the dominant demographic of Liberty University -- the number rises to above 40 percent. In 2008, Focus on the Family, a leading lobby of the Christian right, pulled an interview with Beck over concerns that they would appear to be sanctioning his Mormon faith.
And during his 2008 bid, Romney faced a serious pushback from evangelicals who even opposed the idea of John McCain selecting him as his running mate on the Republican ticket, one of the factors that led McCain to finally choose Sarah Palin.
(Mormons insist they are Christians because they believe in Jesus Christ and consider the Bible Holy Scripture. But most traditional Christian churches do not accept the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- the formal name for Mormons -- as Christian because of the religion's beliefs on the nature of God, salvation, the Trinity and their scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon, and other texts discovered by founding prophet Joseph Smith in upstate New York in the 1800s.)
Falwell seemed to anticipate the risks of the Beck invitation when he noted in his statement that Liberty University has always held two end-of-year ceremonies -- a baccalaureate ceremony to confer degrees that "always includes a gospel message brought by someone who is in complete theological alignment with the university" and a separate commencement ceremony that "has always featured leaders from all walks of life and all faiths who share the university's social values and traditional family values."
"Commencement speakers," he noted, "have included representatives from the following faiths: Roman Catholicism, Judaism, mainline Protestant denominations such as the Episcopal Church, and even some speakers with no religious affiliation at all."
Falwell's effort did not forestall the controversy, however.
"We are not to put politics first and the Lord second," wrote Steve McConkey, another prominent Christian conservative, who is upset at the Beck invitation. "If this country is to have another revival, we need to get back to the basics, just like an athlete who has to go back to the basics to learn proper skills. We join Glenn Beck in many of his viewpoints, however, we do not endorse his Mormon beliefs."
There has arguably been some softening, at least among the Southern Baptist leadership, in their view of Mormonism, perhaps influenced by the "ecumenism of the trenches" -- that in a culture war, all social conservatives must stick together. That is part of the reason that evangelicals and Roman Catholics now collaborate on fights against abortion and gay marriage despite their historical cultural divide and their ongoing doctrinal differences.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints used to be listed under "cults and sects" by the Southern Baptist Convention, but today is categorized among "newly developed religions" by the SBC's North American Mission Board. Similarly, some Southern Baptist leaders, such as Richard Land, have referred to Mormonism as the "fourth Abrahamic religion" after Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
But as the Glenn Beck commencement controversy shows, even fourth place isn't enough to overcome such long-held suspicions
What next for Liberty? Sun Myung Moon owns the more conservative alternative to the DC Post - The Times -- and was at least for a while anti-Communist due to his times of being locked up by them in Korea...So I suppose we now can expect Liberty to invite the head Moonie and a whole host of future cultists?
Or since Islam vehemently opposes homosexuality, Liberty will wait to see which Muslim leaders emerge as outspoken on this issue -- and we can now expect Liberty to bring us an Imam who will discuss this subject as well?
Or a number of years ago, when Scientologists thought they were getting the short shrift of religious liberties by govt officials and reputation-wise, they did two things:
(a) They started having some of their leaders to wear white collars so they would be officially "recognized" as "ministers";
(b) They started putting out in-depth flyers and newspapers geared toward religious liberties and how our country was founded on religious liberties and how we need to cherish and protect religious liberties. And oh, BTW, especially Scientologists' "liberties!"
Therefore, when can we expect Liberty to start inviting Scientology reps to come on campus to speak out protecting religious liberties?
I would so love to be there!
Indeed. Evangelicals led the way to oppose Romney.
From the article: (Mormons insist they are Christians because they believe in Jesus Christ and consider the Bible Holy Scripture. But most traditional Christian churches do not accept the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- the formal name for Mormons -- as Christian because of the religion's beliefs on the nature of God, salvation, the Trinity and their scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon...)
Well, the way in which Mormons reject the Trinity is to declare all faithful temple Mormons as becoming future gods. When you have a universe full of gods, its kind of hard to believe in The Trinity, let alone be a monotheist.
I’m not sure I understand—is Glenn Beck there to convert grads to mormonism, or will he be speaking about freedom and liberty and making something of your life in service to others?
As long as he’s not doing the former, I don’t see why there would be an issue?
Indeed why is Liberty wanting to lend credence to someone who believes ALL Christian creeds are an abomination to God?
If Glenn Beck believes the very First Vision of Joseph Smith
recorded in Joseph Smith History, Pearl of Great Price, vv. 18-20 its Mormon scripture
then Beck believes ALL Christian creeds are putrid and therefore NONE of them honor God.
Therefore, does Beck reject the very foundational Mormon "scripture" of his faith? Or if he embraces it, does he secretly mock the very beliefs many of his listeners adhere to?
But most traditional Christian churches do not accept the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — the formal name for Mormons — as Christian because of the religion’s beliefs on the nature of God, salvation, the Trinity and their scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon, and other texts discovered by founding prophet Joseph Smith in upstate New York in the 1800s)
So which ones do ???
So you would also be comfortable with Liberty inviting an Imam or a Scientologist or a Moonie -- as long as none of these speakers used it as a platform for conversion?
The Devil of hell just loves it when Christians get into catfights, clawing at each other and hissing, “You’re not a real Christian! You’re going to hell!” instead of uniting. The people who fight on this forum instead of uniting in a solid front, including those who sanctimoniously say, “I’ll pray for your enlightenment,” are a perfect case in point.
Also tell little Beckie not to forget the onions in his pocket so he can shed those big phony tears for all to see.
Are you talking about Christians who disagree on threads like this -- like about whether Beck's invite was a good idea? Or are you now overriding all others' vantage point that Lds are not Christians?
If it's the latter, then how can somebody who believes they will become a god one day, believe in a monotheistic faith like Christianity?
You can't get more basic to what is Christianity than by saying, "Yes, we as Christians believe in one God." A faith which embraces potentially hundreds of thousands of gods isn't Christianity.
Mormon teachings clearly teach about a "council of gods" -- about how temple Mormons can become a god...and one of its own prophets from our generation (Kimball) at one time said he supposed he was talking to 225,000 future gods.
While I'm not too sure I am real comfortable with that set-up, there ARE two events - the official ceremony where degrees are conferred has a "tradition" gospel-preaching, theologically-aligned message. The secondary event is more of a motivational event for the new grads - and apparently has included keynote speakers from a variety of walks. While somewhat dangerous - the second event isn't so much focused on the religious aspects of the grads' future, but on society and making an impact.
While I don't agree with mormonism, and would never ask a Mormon to occupy the pulpit at our church, Beck speaks of "his faith" and sounds so very "mainstream Christian". IN fact, many of handful of faith-related statements I have heard him make don't necessarily line up with the tennants of Mormanism.
This very question assumes that while the Lds send 52,000 missionaries out to the world to convert Christians to Mormonism, that Christians should lay down the sword of the Word, and stop trying to convert Mormons.
So why is it apparently "OK" for those like you who raise comments like this for Mormons to convert Christians, but when Christians dare suggest that Mormons indeed remain a mission field, you call that "hissing"???
Is Beck drunk in that photo ???
You mean there are people in this century that actually are so bored that they care about this?
He’s giving a graduation speech. If Jesus hates his faith that much, he will be turned into a pillar of salt.
If he has better things to do, nothing will happen.
Are you saying the more "counterfeit" you are the more "credence" Christian leaders should give a person?
To the best of my knowledge, they’ve had speakers like Ben Stein (Jewish) and Newt Gingrich (Catholic) in the past. It appears they invite conservatives, regardless of their religious affiliation.
So much hate in the name of religion.
God save us from ourselves.
Go back to when Obama spoke at Notre Dame. There were dozens & dozens of FReeper threads over Obama giving a mere graduation speech. Were you consistent and accused the thousands of posters of those that they were all given to boredom, and that "If Jesus hated the non-Catholic faith of Obama so much that he would be turned into a pillar of salt?" NO? (I thought not)
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