I have long admired the writing of World Magazine’s Andrée Seu. She is clever, funny, provocative, and a delight to read. She also has a habit of making eminently good sense.
This is why it was so surprising and disappointing to read her latest piece on Glenn Beck. She calls the conservative commentator and professed Mormon “a new creation in Christ.” Later she adds, “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.”
This is her conclusion:
I have heard all the criticisms, and I can find sympathy for them—about the Mormonism, about the dangers of religious syncretism, etc. But regarding the Mormon thing, I think we should regard Beck as an Apollos and pray for a Priscilla and Aquila in his life, to steer him better (Acts 18). I just don’t see how anyone can listen to the man for a solid week and not be as blessed as I am by his courage, his utter lack of fear of man, and his sharp and personal testimony of Christ’s transforming power.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I don’t have time today to say much about Seu’s article or Glenn Beck. But I have to register my dismay at the creeping syncretism (see, ironically enough, Marvin Olasky’s latest piece for the same warning). At the absolute best, perhaps Beck knows so little theology that he is a Mormon in name only and all he cares about (spiritually speaking) is that “Christ died for my sins.” But even if this were the case (and I have to believe he means something Mormon by Mormon), it is still unwise to liken him to a great, but slightly off, evangelist like Apollos. It is equally dangerous to assume a new passion for God equals a new creation in Christ.
All this Glenn Beck-Dinesh D’Souza at King’s College–restoring honor rally in D.C. business has exposed the temptation we all face to sacrifice theological precision at the altar of political likemindedness. It’s fine to agree with D’Souza’s economic philosophy or Beck’s approach to the Constitution and limited government, but there is a deep theological divide (or there should be) between a Reformation evangelical and a Roman Catholic or a Mormon. Many evangelicals may be thankful for Beck’s courage on certain social or economic issues, but the courage we really need, to borrow from a David Wells title, is the courage to be Protestant.
Not to mention the discernment to know who is and who isn’t.