Is Glenn Beck helping the cause of outreach to the evangelical community? Well, read this article, and you may be convinced he is. Some of the key evangelical leaders LOVE Glenn Beck. Now, it is true they love him because they don’t really believe he is a Mormon. They seem to imply he joined the Church because the Church was the vehicle he used to overcome his alcoholism and that he doesn’t really believe all that golden plates and Joseph Smith stuff.
Regardless, is Glenn Beck helping close the divide between evangelicals and Mormons? Read the attached and decide. Here are the key excerpts:
I have interviewed persons who have talked specifically with Glenn about his personal salvation – persons extremely well known in Christianity – and they have affirmed (using language evangelicals understand), “Glenn is saved.” He understands receiving Christ as savior. (Note: I have never discussed with Glenn this topic.)
On one occasion three of us were walking near the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The person to my right asked the man to my left – who is with Glenn Beck a great deal – “I heard Glenn Beck is a Mormon. What is he?” The man to my left, without missing a beat, without even turning his head to look at the questioner said, “A Christian.” That answer comes from a man who has been with Glenn often. At the risk of throwing a verbal grenade, there is no ambiguity about Glenn’s faith, such as what we see in the “is he a Muslim / is he a Christian” discussion regarding our President.
But what about Glenn’s Mormonism, many ask? That is a legitimate question. Glenn was raised, as I understand it, as a Catholic. He became a heavy drinker, destroying everything in his life. It was the Mormons that got him into the equivalent of a 12-step program. His life was turned around. His wife, as I understand it, is a strong Mormon. My personal read-out would be that Glenn’s Mormon ties are not profoundly deep rooted. I am not saying that to denigrate his theological understanding. I simply do not see evidence that he has deep Mormon theological motifs.
Here’s a key quotation (note the number of evangelical leaders involved):
I have listened and watched very carefully regarding clues to Glenn’s spiritual condition. I have interviewed several people who have been with him and have talked very specifically with him regarding his own personal salvation. Glenn has said unequivocally that that he relies on the atonement of Jesus on the cross for forgiveness for his sins, and those are almost the exact words. Few people use the term atonement. Glenn did.
On one of his TV shows about a month ago, he laid out the gospel, using his well known blackboard, in the clearest explanation of the crucifixion and the resurrection that I have ever heard on national TV. I called James Robison, and asked, “Did you hear that?” James said, “Richard Land (Southern Baptist) just called me and said he never expected to hear the Gospel so clear on secular television.” It was quite remarkable. A few days ago, Glenn laid out America’s problems and then concluded, “We need God!”
As Mormons, we often talk about our need to decrease the antagonism mainstream Christianity feels towards us. For good or bad, Glenn Beck appears to be doing that with key evangelical leaders. We also bristle when evangelicals insist we are not Christians, but here we have key evangelical leaders beginning to understand that we ARE Christians — even though in their minds our understanding of the gospel is not perfect.
We are living in very interesting and surprising times. A blowhard, often extremely uncivil circus clown is nevertheless doing some good work in unexpected ways. Who would have predicted it?