Not to exaggerate, but reading Andrée Seu’s latest article felt a bit like a punch in the gut. She is one of my favorite writers at World Magazine. She writes with skill, grace, wisdom, and spiritual insight.

But now she is saying that she is convinced Glenn Beck is “a new creation in Christ,” even though he is a practicing and believing Mormon.

It’s tragic that she would believe this, write this, and that World would publish it.

A few short thoughts in response.

First, we should recognize that Andrée Seu’s conclusion is a temptation that is common to all (1 Cor. 10:13a). It is easy to hear passion and mistake it for true spiritual zeal. It is easy to be moved by talk of having faith in Jesus, without asking who the person understands Jesus to be.

Even the great J. Gresham Machen—who became a stalwart warrior against modernistic liberalism—was initially captivated by his systematic theology teacher at Marburg, Wilhelm Herrmann. Machen wrote to his parents in 1905:

The first time that I heard Herrmann may almost be described as an epoch in my life. Such an overpowering personality I think I almost never before encountered—overpowering in the sincerity of religious devotion. . .

My chief feeling with reference to him is already one of the deepest reverence. . . . I have been thrown all into confusion by what he says—so much deeper is his devotion to Christ than anything I have known in myself during the past few years. . . . Herrmann affirms very little of that which I have been accustomed to regard as essential to Christianity; yet there is no doubt in my mind but that he is a Christian, and a Christian of a peculiarly earnest type. He is a Christian not because he follows Christ as a moral teacher; but because his trust in Christ is (practically, if anything even more truly than theoretically) unbounded. . . .

This attraction to passionate commitment even with Bible-denying theology can be hard to combat, but we must resist it at all costs (as Machen learned to do).

Secondly, more than ever we need to be clear that Mormonism is fundamentally incompatible with biblical Christianity—starting with the most basic building block that Christians are Trinitarian monotheists (one God in three persons) and Mormons are polytheists (more than one god). It is a religion founded by a false prophet.

For brief reviews on the differences, see the FAQ I pulled together from the ESV Study Bible, as well as this similar summary comparison. I have been helped in the past by reading Reasoning from the Scriptures with Mormons, by Ron Rhodes (who wrote the ESVSB essay).

Third, we simply cannot assume the gospel. Several pastors and theologians have been beating this drum for a while now, but it needs to get louder. Is there any better demonstration of this than Ms. Seu’s line, “I can say without hesitation that I have not heard the essentials of the gospel more clearly and boldly in any church than on his program.” Despite what mainline evangelicalism has taught for years, the gospel is not “I trusted in Jesus and he changed my life.” Two things (at minimum) on this topic: (1) Listen to D.A. Carson’s talk, “What Is the Gospel?“, then (2) Read Greg Gilbert’s What Is the Gospel?

Finally, we have to have a grid for thinking through degrees of error, damnable beliefs, essential beliefs, etc. I’ve been helped here by Michael Wittmer’s excellent book, Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough. He classifies Christian beliefs into  three categories:

  1. What you must believe,
  2. What you must not reject, and
  3. What you should believe.

I asked him to explain the three categories:

In the book of Acts, the bare minimum that a person must know and believe to be saved was that he was a sinner and that Jesus saved him from his sin. As Paul told the Philippian jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:29-31; cf. 10:43). This is enough to counter the postmodern innovator argument that we can be saved without knowing and believing in Jesus.

But any thinking convert will inquire further about this Jesus. While he may not know much more at the point of conversion than Jesus is the Lord who has saved him, he will quickly learn about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, deity and humanity, and relation to the other two members of the Trinity. Anyone who rejects these core doctrines should fear for their soul.

According to the Athanasian Creed, whoever does not believe in the Trinity and the two natures of Jesus is damned. However, since it seems possible for a child to come to faith without knowing much about the Trinity or the hypostatic union (this is likely not the place where most parents begin), I take the Creed’s warning in a more benign way—that we do not need to know and believe in the Trinity and two natures of Christ to be saved, but that anyone who knowingly rejects them cannot be saved.

The final category is important doctrines which genuine Christians may unfortunately misconstrue. I think that every Christian should believe that Scripture is God’s Word, know its story of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation, and know something about the nature of God, what it means to be human, and what Jesus is doing through his church. However, many people have been genuine Christians without knowing or believing these things (though their ignorance or disbelief in these facts significantly diminished their Christian faith).

Thus, I believe that every doctrine in this diagram is crucially important for sound Christian faith. And some are so important that we cannot even be saved without them.

If Glenn Beck is a Mormon, he knowingly denies beliefs that one must believe in order to be saved. Let us pray that he leaves this religion in order to embrace the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, and his atoning cross-work so that he has fellowship by grace alone through faith alone with the Triune God.

Update: In the latest issue of World Marvin Olasky writes about how “Beck is syncretizing Mormon and Christian understanding in the service of a civil religion,” which he calls “a radically unequal yoking.”

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94 thoughts on “Andrée Seu’s Tragic Mistake on the Gospel of Glenn Beck”

  1. Trey says:

    2 things:
    1 – I am amazed by our (american conservative christian culture) are quick to defend and work with a NONbeliever when their political ideologies line up with ours and yet how quickly we demonize someone who actually claims to be a Christian (I realize how loose that is, but nonetheless) who has a different political ideology. I think we have a tendency to be seriously blinded here.

    But 2 – i don’t watch beck and am, honestly, thankful that he is a mormon because he just seems to be overtly divisive for me w/ personal attacks and stupid things. BUT, someone has mentioned to me that he talks often about “atonement” which is distinctly NOT a mormon doctrine. Is anyone familiar with this?

    just curious.

    1. marty says:

      Can’t quote the source exactly, but I’ve gleaned over time that the Mormon perspective on atonement is that it was accomplished in the garden at Gesthemane, and NOT on the cross. Did somebody miss something?

  2. Nick says:

    Wow–I share your stunned reaction that this kind of thing would come from Andree Seu. Completely out of character from everything else I have read by her.

  3. Steven Galloway says:

    Thanks, Justin. I too was bowled over by this… Olasky has an article in the same issue with a warning concerning Beck’s religious syncretism, I guess that was World’s way of making everything OK…

  4. Dave Hintz says:

    A couple of thoughts. When we hear the phrase “You must be careful when judging a person’s salvation” that usually means, that we must include them by default. Yet, Jesus makes it clear that “the way is narrow that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matt. 7:14).” Nobody wants to be the person who personally condemns true believers, but shouldn’t our default be caution and loving inquiry? Secondly, I noticed on Michael Wittmer’s chart, that there is no mention of salvation by grace through faith alone. Am I missing something?

  5. Darius says:

    Justin, I recognize the danger here in equating Mormons with Christians. However, I did come across this column (http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=1144072) a couple weeks ago which gave me a little pause in Beck’s case. What’s the difference between a new Christian who doesn’t know any doctrine or correct theology and a Mormon like Beck who only knows and professes that Christ died on the cross for his sins but doesn’t know or necessarily hold to any heretical Mormon tenets? Both are ignorant of the meat of Christianity, but so was the thief on the cross. I’m not sure where I stand on those kind of cases. Any thoughts?

    1. Trey says:

      I think this is an interesting discussion, Darius. we had one like this a few weeks ago amongst our elders. is it possible? I think “is it probable?” i would have to say no, but I wouldn’t dismiss the discussion before it got started…actually I did try to do that, but some good points were made, so I repented and listened.

      1. Darius says:

        Yeah, Trey, I think it comes down to the question of whether or not heretical organizations/churches/denominations can still bring some people to Christ… in other words, can the Holy Spirit still reach through the haze and give light to a blind person? And can a person come to Christ yet remain to some extent connected to an otherwise heretical belief system? God is really the only judge in those cases. He knows Glenn Beck’s heart and He knows on what Beck truly rests his salvation.

        For my part, since I don’t know enough about Beck or know him personally, I can only guess at where he stands. I wouldn’t be all the surprised to see him in heaven, or that shocked if he wasn’t there. Hopefully those Christians who do know him will make certain of his eternal status by sharing with him the Gospel once delivered.

    2. David Zook says:

      Darius, I am right in line with you. The link that you provided was excellent. I would ask our conservative, evangelical brothers which I am one, how many self-professed “Christians” who sit in the pews of our churches every week are not Christian? In my experience, more than we dare to believe. Yet because of heritage, upbringing, or they just don’t know what else to say, they claim that they are “Christian”.

      I think the same is true as for Mormons or Catholics. For many of them, it’s just a label they carry around because it is where they got started. Could this be Beck’s case? I don’t know. But it is something to consider.

      1. Judi says:

        I read Glenn Beck’s testimony in either Parade or US Weekend a couple of months ago. Apparently he and his wife decided they needed religious faith so they church shopped. The Mormon church fit their needs best so that’s where they stayed. Hardly a resounding testimony of a life changed by Christ.

        1. Steve says:

          Exactly, Judi. See my post from a week or so ago below with the link to the USA Weekend article.

  6. David says:

    Mormons would love nothing more than to have Christians recognize them as Christians too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘but we’re Christians too’ when their missionaries come to the door. It seems like the classic creeds are fair litmus tests. It worked for the early church in identifying heretics and it should work for us. If Beck can say he agrees with them, then he’s not a Mormon. If he can’t, then he’s not a Christian.

  7. Todd says:

    Justin, thanks for making mention of this. For the last couple of years, I have been increasingly uncomfortable about Glen Beck, Fox News, etc. The embracing of him and others by Christian leaders because of shared conservative values blurs the line between Biblical Christianity and the cult of Mormonism. This is more dangerous than more obvious differences between Islam, Hinduism, etc.

  8. Brian R. says:

    We let our World Magazine subscription expire a few months ago, mainly just as a budget cutback. I’m not regretting that decision at all when I read that they’re publishing material like this.

  9. Craig Hurst says:

    I have listened to Beck & Hannity for years now. While they have a lot of religious talk and mention Jesus a lot I have never considered either of them to be true believers. Hannity repeatedly refers to everyone as “all God’s children” and if you listen to his show long enough you will come to realize he says this with a salvific tone. The more time goes on the less I listen to either of them. Beck increasingly has less and less content and more and more antics. Hannity as well has had less and less content and I find many of his responses to be more canned (kind of like listening to Hank Hanegraaff which is why I dont listen to him anymore among many other reasons). I still listen to Rush because he always has content and he does not try to put himself out there as a “Christian” like Beck and Hannity. I think Rush is smart enough to realize he would not fair so well is he did that.

  10. Carrie says:

    The link Darius posted is well worth the time to read. A very carefully thought out piece. Perhaps Andree Seu had access to that information also.

  11. Craig Hurst says:

    I remember the article that was linked to on here discussing the success of Beck as viewed through the eyes of his Mormonism. It was very enlightening.

  12. Bob Myers says:

    Tragic indeed. Thank you for providing clear and excellent Biblical analysis of this.

  13. Wyeth Duncan says:

    Justin, I couldn’t agree more. Thank you.

  14. Stephen says:

    You are overanalyzing and being way too judgmental about Glenn Beck. He is a changed person who once was addicted to hardcore drugs and alcohol. How do you explain his transformation? Satan? I believe he is a Christian regardless of the fact that he attends a Mormon church (which he chose to attend when he was still lost). I try to judge a person by what they say and do and not their outer label. Are there no Catholics going to heaven either? The Catholic religion throws away the grace of Christ through Confession and other commands/traditions/beliefs; they practically make Mary a goddess.

    Glenn Beck has given hope to many Christians who see what’s going on in Washington and in our culture and feel alone in their walk. He speaks openly (or as openly as possible without really offending his audience) about Christ being his Savior.

    I am really surprised by the judgementalism in this blog. Some of you sound like the same people in Jesus’ day who were constantly judging others based on a label. They judged tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans, etc even though these people had been touched by Jesus and believed. I hear the way Glenn speaks about the Christian faith and, though he may be a little off in some areas (as we all are), he has a sound belief in Christ as his savior and God.

    We need to get away from spiritual rigmarole and get back to the simplicity and solidarity of our faith in Christ. Paul preached ONE thing – Christ crucified – everything else evolved around this truth.

    1. Stephen,

      Paul also preached that their is only One God, he taught the Trinitarian nature of the One God, and He firmly espoused that Jesus is both God and man. Their is not a major doctrine of orthodox Christianity that Mormons do not deny or re-invent. It is a heresy from start to finish. You cannot hold to its understanding of the atonement or the person of Jesus and be saved.

      As for his recovery from drugs and such, there are many who recover from such things without being born again. And if you start judging by external appearances, what people say and do, then you will probably conclude that there are a good many Hindu Christians, Atheist Christians, and Jehovah’s Witness Christians as well. We are not judging here on label, but on the content of the very faith he espouses. It is outside the realm of Christianity.

      1. Stephen says:

        Brad,

        I understand the importance of not tampering whatsoever with the Good News message. Paul told the Galatians that anyone that who preaches anything different from what he preached “be cursed by God”.

        However, we are bombarded 24/7 by an overtly cold secular media that ignores the incredible wrongs that are destroying our country one policy at a time. Glenn Beck is the one show that exposes bad policy and empasizes the need for a “Spiritual Awakening”. He does not throw deep Mormon theology around, he talks about his need for Christ in his life.

        A study showed that only 9% of Christians have actually read the Bible and who have a Biblical worldview – that is staggering. I also saw a study that showed, of people born after 1990, only 20% identify themselves as Christians.

        What do you say about those 91%, that their blind “belief” is more or less acceptable to God than a man who is obviously trying to evangelize Christ and not Mormonism. And what should be our focus? Should we attack each others standing with God or focus our efforts on improving our own faith and reaching out to the 80% of young adults/teenagers that consider themselves atheist or agnostic?

        I hope that we would focus on 1) impoving our relationship with Christ, 2) encouraging each other as followers of Christ, and 3) evangelizing to the hundreds of millions of lost souls.

        1. Stephen,

          I understand your frustration with politics. But I do not desire, whatsoever, a “spiritual awakening” if that means we wake up to the god of the Mormons. The reason that Glenn Beck does not throw around deep Mormon theology could be that he doesn’t know his theology, or he knows that if he does any Christian with an ounce of Bible knowledge would immediately know him as a heretic.

          As for the 91% who are in “blind belief” and whether or not is more or less acceptable than Glenn Beck’s heretical Mormonism, I say that is more cause for me to speak out against his beliefs, not less!

          Here is what I am saying, Glenn Beck does not espouse the Jesus of the Bible. Period. Get that and own it. If he is a Mormon, he does not believe in the Jesus of the Bible. I have a kid on my U6 soccer team whose name is Jesus. He has more in common with the Jesus of the Bible than the Mormon Jesus. The Mormon Jesus is as unable to take away sins as the kid on my soccer team. This religion is a heresy. It is a damnable heresy, and the fact that 91% of evangelicals (Or 99% or 5%, as if numbers matter) don’t realize that means I ought to be saying so. Not, like yourself, saying what a great job Glenn Beck is doing to expose our nation’s political folly, that he seems to be a sincere guy, and it is horribly judgmental to say that his religion is based on a lie and so if he believes it he is a damned heretic unless he repents.

          I respect Glenn Beck too much to think that he is an innocent ignorant. He knows what Mormonism teaches. He’s no fool. And he knows that it is in conflict with orthodoxy. If he doesn’t, he needs to spend more time in the Bible and less worrying about the Obama administration. His soul is at stake, and if he gains the Congress and the Presidency and loses his soul for it he’s a fool after all.

          I wonder what you think of the embroligo that Athanasius caused when he defied the bishops of his day who taught a much less zany form of Christology than what Mormons teach.

        2. Kris D. Jones says:

          I see that most of the replies posted here take for granted the honesty and integrity of Beck. Based on this view, some see honesty and integrity and zeal as salvific, others, more reformed, do not. I view Beck as a charlatan and a heretic – much the same as I view J. Smith, a presbyterian heretic and founder of mormonism. Needless to say, I do not suspect Beck as being Christian – let alone saved.

          1. Steve says:

            Beck is a media news entertainer who professed zero knowledge or conviction about becoming a Mormon or any understanding of any distinction between Christianity and Mormonism (see my initial post with link to the interview in which he admits this). It is beyond belief that people would give any credibility to anything he says about matters of faith when there is good reason to believe he’s simply throwing around religious buzzwords to expand his media and economic empire and tickle the ears of his all-too willing-to-believe admirers.

    2. John says:

      Glenn Beck has given Christians hope? That is entirely antithetical to the message of the New Testament. Our hope has only ever been from above. The facist shift of the religious right in this country continues to disturb me. We should all ask ourselves: why does chapter one of Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship” ring so true in our culture? Perhaps because we resemble 1930s Germany.

      1. Stephen says:

        Who are you John to judge? Are you really going to compare my respect for Glenn’s religious openness and moral zeal to being fascist? If so, you are a very confused child. I do think he’s provided hope to far-right religious conservatives that are being thrown up against the ropes by everyone else. But don’t confuse hope for eternal Hope, John. I am by no means placing my faith and trust in Glenn Beck to guide me through life; I am simply proud of him standing up for faith and moral integrity in an arena where such values are NONEXISTENT.

        I see all these references from you and others from a variety of contemporary Christian works, but at the end of the day it is always, always in Christ that we grow most powerfully through prayer and His Word. If we think an astuteness and being well-read gives us authority then we are lost and our faith is fabricated.

        1. John says:

          So our eternal hope is found in the gospel, and our temporal hope is found in charismatic syncretistic public figures. Nope, no fascism there.

    3. Richard Hedren says:

      Stephen, check out the letter right before the book of Revelation. It’s a letter written by a man named Jude and it speaks directly to you.
      If your doctrine is not biblical, you are not a christian. Could not be more plain.
      or do you also think the bible is too judgemental?

      1. Kris D. Jones says:

        Thanks, Richard. Yours could be the last post – nothing else need be said…

  15. Scott J says:

    My question isn’t about Beck, but rather the Athanasian Creed. Could you explain why those beliefs are necessary for salvation? Or point me somewhere I can look into it on my own?

    1. Matthaeus Flexibilis says:

      The councils that formulated the creeds condemn those who believe something else, and the creeds have been agreed upon by Christians for a long time.

      There have been some dissenters who haven’t been cast out as heretics, e.g., Covenant and Knox Seminary prof, Robert L. Reymond, author of A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, a text used at various Reformed seminaries like RTS.

      As to why it is necessary not to reject it, see Wittmer’s book cited in JT’s post. (There were also plenty of blog posts about the book floating around when it came out.) I’m not sure that I buy that formulation either, but that’s where you’ll find the argument advanced above.

      I’d say the best biblical argument would be based on the OT commandments (e.g., the second commandment) about worshiping and honoring God as he has revealed himself and as he has commanded, rather than according to our own designs.

  16. Elliott N. says:

    This is yet another example of what happens when we make political convictions more important than theological convictions. Holding to political position X does not make you a Christian. It might mean you’re political astute (or politically naive) but it says nothing whatsoever about the state of your soul before a holy and righteous God.

    Only two things can give you an indication of that: what you confess with your mouth (i.e. right doctrine – that Jesus is Lord) and what you do with your life (i.e. right practice – not just saying “Lord, Lord” but doing what he says). If Glen Beck is a Mormon, then he only has half of it right: he can be more moralistic than the Pharisees, but if he rejects Christ as being who he claimed to be, he’s no better off than they were.

  17. Dave S says:

    Justin,
    Thank you for clarifying the fact that Mormons are Mormons and not evangelical Christians. Beck is confusing many these days. It is a sad testimony to the drought of discernment in the church today. As evidenced by the writer at World, makes no diff what your job is or where you work to be fooled.

  18. Chuck says:

    Muslims also deny Christ’s deity , yet we choose to ignore their error, and even give them extra respect, because they pose a physical threat to us if we dare criticize them. Since Mormons do not, by trade, carry machetes or explosives, they are, therefore, safe targets to criticize. This inconsistency smacks of cowardice. Like the schoolyard bully, we pick on the one who won’t fight us back. Show a little courage; expose ALL error, not counting the cost to us personally!

    1. Tad says:

      When do people on the gospel coalition or any conservative evangelical Christians give Muslims a free pass?
      Everyone Ive heard condemns the muslim religion as a religion that will lead people to hell. The issue is that muslims do not pretend to be Christians.

  19. telos104 says:

    @Chuck…Norris???

  20. Looselycult says:

    Are you sure telos104? Wow cool!

  21. Dave Bissett says:

    Justin, thanks for your important post, and the link on Michael Wittmer’s book….
    pdb

  22. markj says:

    Doug Wilson gave a nice interview about this.
    http://www.canonwired.com/ask-doug/glenn-beck/

    1. Craig Hurst says:

      Wilson is right that evangelical Christians should be yelling ourselves for not doing the same thing earlier.

  23. Dan Phillips says:

    WORLD’s dithering drift and lack of discernment was noted at least once four years ago.

  24. Reed says:

    wow. so disappointing.

  25. GLCampbell says:

    I am stunned that any evangelical, particularly one the stature of Seu, would make such remarks about a committed Mormon. Does the gospel mean nothing? If someone says he or she believes in Jesus, what is the (do I need to insert “real” here?) Christian’s response to be? Simply this: tell me about this Jesus. Mormonism proclaims a false God and a false Christ through a false testimony. If Beck stands as a Mormon, he, by definition, stands apart from the faith once for all delivered unto the saints. If he is a Christian, he simply will renounce his Mormonism. There is no other path.

    Olasky’s editing of his own writers also comes into question. This should have never gotten past a first reading.

  26. John R. says:

    I think Seu’s reasoning in this article is poor. Claiming that she knows Beck must be saved because he sounds fervent for God brings Rom. 10:2 to mind, among other verses. But I don’t find your argument against Beck compelling, either. You state, “If Glenn Beck is a Mormon, he knowingly denies beliefs that one must believe in order to be saved.” Not only is that logically fallacious (a version of the genetic fallacy), but (please forgive me), it strikes me as a bit…lazy. The man is on the record quite a bit in his own words talking about what he believes. Wouldn’t that a better way of analyzing it?

    You rightly advocate careful distinctions in theology, so shouldn’t we apply careful distinctions here as well? Undoubtedly, Beck’s membership in the Mormon Church is a huge problem–and a piece of evidence that he very well might believe a false gospel. But it’s not determinative. For a moment, let’s pretend he were Roman Catholic instead of Mormon. We recognize that Rome officially denies the gospel as well. We recognize that anyone who adopts its official rejection of sola fide stands condemned. Careful, Reformed evangelicals always maintained that this does NOT automatically mean that every individual within the Roman Catholic Church is lost. I’ve heard Dr. Sproul and many others say that one can be saved in the Roman Catholic Church–but if it’s going to happen, one’s beliefs must be inconsistent with (and contrary to) the teachings of one’s own church on those crucial issues.

    Doesn’t the same principle apply to Mormons? We recognize that Mormon theology is false and damnable. We recognize that their gospel is false and results in condemnation. But does this mean that there are absolutely zero people in the Mormon church who are saved? Or is it at least possible that there are a scattered few who either through ignorance of Mormon teaching or rejection of it have embraced the true gospel and just haven’t left the Mormon institution yet for whatever reason?

    If we say “yes,” then we have to admit that membership in the Mormon church does not in itself give us adequate information to determine Beck’s salvation (which I suspect is what Harvie Conn was getting at). We would then have to ask, “Is there any good reason to think that what Beck might be one of these exceptions to the rule–that what he believes about Christ and salvation is contrary to what is taught in the Mormon church?”

    I can’t answer that–I haven’t heard him on that topic (a lack I appear to share with most people involved in this discussion). But it seems you aren’t answering it either. More than a few theologically-astute evangelicals who’ve either listened to him discuss it on his show or talked with him personally at a theological level say the answer is yes. These evangelical leaders claim to find him using terminology, concepts, and categories that are alien (and even contrary to) Mormon theology and more representative of orthodoxy. The commenters here claim that these endorsements are merely motivated by political ideology, but I say then prove it. In response to the Mormonism objection, a number of evangelicals are putting forth their evidence that Beck is more orthodox than Mormonism is. The next step is to give counter-evidence that addresses this, not just repeat the original claim.

    Beck may not be an orthodox believer, but “he’s a Mormon” is not be the knock-down argument some think. The observations of many who have listened to him discuss his beliefs seem to indicate that a bit more analysis and investigation on Beck’s theology is required than what has been offered thus far.

    1. John says:

      I don’t accept that. He has chosen to publicly identify himself as a Mormon. I mean for goodness sakes, we live in the age of google, and he’s not a total idiot. If he’s using that label of himself, we can only disagree by implying that he is a moron.

      1. John R. says:

        Yet another lazy re-assertion of the original argument without adding anything new, or even addressing what was said.

        1. John says:

          I’m not sure if your irony was intentional, but the fact remains that you can’t accuse Beck of being an actual Christian without also accusing him of being simple-minded.

          1. John R. says:

            False dichotomy. Several other viable categories exist, such as “in transition.” I wonder how many people here have stayed in churches where they disagreed with much of what was being taught because it was difficult to leave for whatever reason?

          2. Benjamin says:

            “In transition” requires evidence. It is not a viable category until Beck provides such evidence. The only evidence he has provided indicates that he is in complete agreement with Mormon theology or that he is a “moron” (John’s word) or in “ignorance of Mormon teaching” (John R.’s words.) Was there another viable category? Btw John’s was not a false dichotomy he was instead linking two things together.

            While neither ignorance or “being” a Mormon will condemn to hell and neither will give adequate information to determine an individual’s salvation Glenn’s (two “n”‘s people!) chosen self-identification as Mormon is enough of a statement to make a reasonable judgement on the state of his soul. Definitive? No, of course not. But reasonable? Can we make a reasonable judgement?

  27. pduggie says:

    And Glenn Beck asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    And Glenn Beck said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neigh…bor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

    But then a bunch of people complained that Jesus was saying that to Glenn Beck, a Mormon

    1. R says:

      Not far, however, doesn’t mean yet in. Being not far from New York City doesn’t mean I’m in New York City.

      I guess all it means is that we should pray that all those who are not far would, in fact, come in.

  28. Jonathan Chan says:

    Seems like a few of the commenters are confusing what is a straightforward issue.

    The divinity of Christ is the very foundation of our faith. As J.I. Packer explains in Chapter 5 of Knowing God, remove the idea that Jesus always has been one and co-equal with the Father and everything else tumbles. Without it, Glenn Beck can’t call himself a Christian, much less an evangelical. Without it, our faith turns into a collection of old wives’ tales and platitudes.

    He could be called Messiah, Teacher, Savior, etc., but it was his assertion of “I AM” that the Pharisees recognized as the most dangerous assertion in human history. The Cross changes everything because it was God who was hung up there.

  29. Andy Chance says:

    I don’t think this is as much an attack on Glenn Beck as a statement condemning Seu’s writing. Glenn Beck is a professing Mormon. I can respect his profession. It’s Seu’s declaration that he is a Christian that is so shocking.

    The question on this issue is not, “Can Christians join with Mormons for political causes?” The question is “Should Christians consider professing Mormons to be Christians?”

    1. John R. says:

      However, she pronounced him a Christian based on having supposedly heard him declare the gospel more clearly than she’s ever heard it in church. Granted, she didn’t quote him, which hurts her case, but before determining that Seu is just suddenly another benighted evangelical with little understanding of the biblical gospel, wouldn’t we at least have to know what she heard Beck SAY about the gospel? From what I’ve seen, nobody here has provided a single quote from Beck regarding the gospel to rebut her. Instead, they resort to rote arguments about Mormonism itself. But that’s begging the question when the very issue at hand is whether or not Beck is devoted to the admittedly heretical theology of his church. He very may well be, but I’ve seen zero evidence adduced to that effect in this entire thread.

      1. Andy Chance says:

        “Wouldn’t we at least have to know what she heard Beck SAY about the gospel?”

        Might be a good thing to put in a controversial article designating a professing Mormon to be a Christian. If a person claims that a professing Mormon is really not a Mormon at all but is really a Christian, then the burden of proof falls on that person to prove it, not the person disputing it.

        1. Andy,

          Thank you for injecting what should be patently obvious.

        2. John R. says:

          I clearly acknowledged that Seu’s case is very poorly argued. Nevertheless, Seu’s argument, weakly supported though it may be, is not “Mormons really are Christians,” but rather, “I think Glenn Beck is a Christian and not really a Mormon.” Pointing out over and over again what Mormons believe is merely begging the question, no matter how much back-slapping and self-congratulation it results in.

  30. Andrew says:

    Christianity = Monotheism

    Mormonism = Polytheism

    Therefore, Christianity and Mormonism are different religions.

    It should be that simple.

  31. Bryan Fraser says:

    While Michael Wittmer identifies “I am a sinner” and “Lord Jesus saves me from sin” as essential beliefs to be saved, neither of the cited texts (Acts 16:29-31; 10:43) support this. They only state that one must believe in Jesus.

    Other foundation ‘belief’ texts also omit any reference to recognition of sin as a belief essential to salvation, but only point to belief in Jesus. Jesus said, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life;” and, again, “He who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life.” The Ethiopian eunuch confessed simply, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” John testifies, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”

    One must certainly confront the reality of sin after conversion, but belief in sin is not a condition the spiritually blind, unrenewed mind must meet in order to believe in Jesus unto eternal life.

  32. Andrew says:

    Food for thought:

    Jesus said:

    “…unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” John 8:24

    Correct belief in Christ is essential to salvation.

    Those with incorrect beliefs/those who reject Christ will die in their sins.

  33. Steve says:

    Beck has no informed theological conviction of any persuasion, let alone Christian. He admits (USA Today Weekend: Feb 19, 2010) that he picked his religion because his kids liked the flavor of the Koolaid in Sunday School. Here’s the link:

    http://www.usaweekend.com/article/20100219/ENTERTAINMENT01/100218001/Don-t-judge-Beck-by-his-cover

  34. Great post and shocking. I love Andree Seu writing and have genuinely been helped by her in the past. To the books you have already mentioned along with others, I would add, Dr. David Nicolas’ Whatever Happened to the Gospel? Nicholas (a PCA pastor) commissioned a study by Lifeway Research (SBC). Among the findings, only 6% of pastors give a clear, ungarbled presentation of the gospel on a regular basis.

    Perhaps we all need to get back to Mark McCloskey’s early 80’s book, Tell it Often, Tell it Well. American evangelicals are neither telling it often and certainly aren’t telling it very well.

  35. David says:

    When we as a church can no longer distinguish a Mormon from a Christian perhaps we are showing the combined failure of evangelicalism to educate the church in its distinctives. Churches need to repent of this and renew their efforts to reintroduce and reinforce the long held and time tested doctrines of the faith. As Dorothy Sayers’ reminds us, we must choose between creed or chaos. Dogma or disaster.

  36. Stephen Ley says:

    “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” 2 Tim. 4:3

    If your passions are limited government and a return to the “good old days” before Obama, then it’s tempting to confuse Glenn Beck’s version of American civil religion with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why sweat the details about the two natures of Christ, the Trinity, etc.? One answer is: because the Apostles and church fathers gave their lives to articulate and safeguard those doctrines.

  37. Robert says:

    Mormons in good standing embrace, upon examination by the elders of the church, their key doctrines, dietary code (Word of Wisdom), history, infallibility of the BOM, submit to the idea (but not practice) of polygamy, fully tithe, wear hot long underwear and memorize a long list of signs, tokens and phrases in order to get through the ‘veil’ into the presence of God.

    Let’s just keep that in mind. This is not a simple tweak, here and there, so that Beck is addressed as a Baptist who doesn’t drink Coke. This is not the case.

  38. Orthodoxdj says:

    Why can’t we do both? Why can’t we both call Mormonism heresy and accept the possibility that Beck is a Christian? Notice I say POSSIBILITY. I do not and cannot regard him as a brother in Christ as long as he espouses Mormonism. I think that we be a very serious compromise that would not glorify God and would be a terrible witness to the world. However, there’s nothing wrong with holding out a wider hope view and affirming what we have in common. That, however, should not keep us from sharing the Gospel.

  39. Joe says:

    The theological hubris here is disconcerting. Do we think all the kids at Young Life meetings understand all the theology when the convert? Do we discount their salvation? If someone believes Jesus died as a sacrifice for their sin, if they are sincerely sorry for their sins and cast themselves on his mercy, but they are confused on Trinitarian doctrine or the imprtance of ritual, then we are going to insist they are not saved? I cannot say they ARE saved, but I certainly think it is equally wrong to suggest the CAN’T be. Mormons have spurious teaching and books, but they also spend lots of time in the Bible. If it is living and true, couldn’t it get thru to many of them. You are a sinner. God died for you. Cast yourself on him. Sounds an awful lot like a message that could manage to survive lots of the Devil’s hackneyed attempts to subvert it. Otherwise only seminarians might get saved.

    1. Gary says:

      Joe, I don’t think it’s quite that simple. You do however raise a valid point. It seems apparant that the thief on the cross didn’t know anything at all about theology and he’s in Heaven. However, the thief, unlike the Mormons, didn’t think that he would one day become a God, the equal to Jesus. At the heart of the gospel is the idea that I am a sinner, Jesus is God and I need Him to save me from my sin. If you will one day become a God, the equal of Jesus, then you don’t need Him to save you.

      Someone else who commented hit the nail on the head. Orthodox Christianity is a monotheistic religion. Mormonism is a polytheistic religion. Thus, by definition, they are separate from each other.

    2. Kris D. Jones says:

      but they also spend lots of time in the Bible…
      Actually Joe, for the most part, they do not.

  40. Paul Ireland says:

    In the whole discussion about Mormonism, I think we’re missing a big part of what is going on with Glenn Beck. The problem is not simply Mormonism. The problem is idolatry.

    People who follow Glenn Beck may not become Mormon and reject the Trinity, but they will likely follow his Americolatry – his worship of our nation. His view of life rises and falls on the state of our country. Christians I know who follow Beck quickly get pulled into his idolatrous fervor that declares that our nation can be our savior.

    Both the left and the right subscribe to this Americolatry. If our government does X, Y, and Z, THEN we will be joyful, satisfied, safe, and complete. Then we will live in heaven. But if the other guys get their way, it’ll be hell. In that equation, God is no longer our joy, our comfort, our satisfaction, our all. If God is brought into the conversation at all, it is to use God as a means for our own idolatrous ends. This kind of idolatry is very alluring and dangerous for Christians.

    1. Laurene Udotong says:

      The Holy Spirit of God is leading me to address a few issues previously mentioned. No idolater will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (1Corinthians 6:9 and Galatians 5:19-21). If Glenn Beck has newly received Jesus as his savior, we need to pray that he makes Jesus his Lord and for him to cry out to God to give him the desire, willingness, and courage to leave the Mormon “church.” Then, for Glenn Beck to go to a faith-filled, Bible-believing church. The power of the cross; the power of Jesus’ resurrection gives each of us (who has received Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior) the power to forsake every area of sin in our lives. I have not watched Glenn Beck to bear witness as to whether he is struggling with remaining in the Mormon group (which is a false religion). However, God knows the state of Glenn Beck’s soul. May only God’s Will be done here on earth as His Will is in heaven. I implore each of you who commented to meditate upon and devour the Word of God under the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. For God does give His children (each of us who is a diligent seeker of Him; who is a follower of Jesus Christ)the authority to judge those who profess to be in the church yet living a lifestyle of sin (1Corinthians 5:11-12), and to not have fellowship with anyone in this spiritual state. James 5:19-20, NIV states “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” Glenn Beck needs those who are willing to stand in the gap in praying for him.

    2. Carrie Allen says:

      Amen to your thoughts, Paul.

  41. Anthony says:

    Of course “Beck’s a Christian”. He’s Republican, loves war and Jesus. Isn’t that Murdoch’s definition of the trinity?

  42. Laurene Udotong says:

    2Timothy 2:15-16, NIV states “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”

    2Timothy 2:19, NIV states “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

    2Timothy 2:23-26, NIV states “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
    Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

    Also meditate upon 2Timothy 4.
    God bless all of you with a desire to devour His Word and to be doers (not readers/hearers only) of His Word!

    1. Camille says:

      Amen Laurene. Thank you.

  43. Carrie Allen says:

    Thanks, JT, for a good article reminding Evangelical Christians that Beck is NOT a Christian. I fully concur.

    But I would also like to point out that I believe Beck is not a Christian, OR a Mormon. I have followed him a bit, and it seems to me that he is trying to somewhat make his own politicized religion, which he points out is neither about politics or religion, but only “god”. I am not capitalizing the “g” for the “god” Beck refers too, because I don’t believe that Beck even knows who/what/when/where “god” he is talking about.

    I’d HIGHLY recommend (at the least), watching (or reading) the speech he made at that “taking back civil rights rally” thing that he had a couple weeks ago. I watched the youtube vid, and it scared the bejezzeeses out of me. Not scared of him.. but of just how he is leading people astray to some kind of crazy “religious” beliefs. It’s getting kind of serious now…

  44. Bill says:

    I am surprised that you are so surprised. There is very little discernment in the Church today. Too many Chrisitans have a limited practical knowledge of God’s Word. They will follow any man or woman that will help them get or keep what they want. In this age of political correctness the Church lives in fear of being labeled as uncaring, fundamental bigots. But Mormons are not Christians. That may seem too simple for some, but Mormons do not believe the fundamentals of the faith. They hold to a different Theology Proper and Christology than the Church.
    I also think it will be easier for those who hold to a Kingdom Now or Dominion theology to follow along with Beck and try to believe the best about his theology or lack of it. They probably think Beck can help them get what they want.
    Sometimes I think we should pray for courageous discernment in the Church and teach and model it in our local churches. Thanks for the post.

  45. Camille says:

    Do you really think that God looks at denominations? The Church is a corporate body made up of the elect. God does not see them as mormons, catholic, methodist, jehovah witness or whatever you call yourself. Those are fleshly labels that we use to identify with a group. A Christian chooses to identify with Christ. God looks at the heart and judges their acceptance of His Son as their Lord and Savior of their life. He grants them forgiveness for all of their sins and calls them His elect. They are the bride to His Son. They are spotless and blameles having the rightousness of His Son, given by the grace of the Father. Leave Glenn Beck alone. If he believes that he is a Christian saved by Jesus Christ then who are we to say that he’s mistaken. He was drowning and a man named Christ saved him. I’m not going to tell Glenn that it wasn’t Christ who saved him from drowning. Are you? You don’t even know the man’s spirit, only God knows so leave him be.

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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