Evangelical Megachurch Pastor Defends Support for Glenn Beck
Around 2,000 ministers and religious leaders are expected to attend Glenn Beck's "Divine Destiny" event Friday night ahead of the television and radio personality's more publicized "Restoring Honor" rally on Saturday.
Beck will hold Friday's faith-based event at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington to rally conservatives of different faiths around their shared values, principles and strong belief that faith can play an essential role in reuniting the country.
"Whether we care to believe it or not, our country is in our danger's hour," says Beck. "And there's only one answer."
For the event, Beck spent the past year trying to reach out to some of the biggest names in faith – an effort he says "has been extraordinarily difficult because of my faith and because of who I am."
Beck, a Mormon who had been raised in a Catholic home, has become increasingly popular among social conservatives for his political commentaries but has not been so easily embraced by Christian theological conservatives who regard Mormonism as heresy or, at best, non-Christian.
Before deciding to stand by Beck, evangelical megachurch pastor Jim Garlow said he had to do a lot sorting and watched Beck as closely as he could.
"I have listened and watched very carefully regarding clues to Glenn's spiritual condition," said the lead pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, Calif.
"I have interviewed several people who have been with him and have talked very specifically with him regarding his own personal salvation," he added.
And according to Garlow, Beck has said "unequivocally" that that he relies on the atonement of Jesus on the cross for forgiveness for his sins.
"[A]nd those are almost the exact words," Garlow recalled in a five-page memo released this past Tuesday. "Few people use the term atonement. Glenn did. "
Garlow also credited Beck for laying out "the clearest explanation of the crucifixion and the resurrection that I have ever heard on national TV" about a month ago.
Even prominent Southern Baptist leader Richard Land was reportedly surprised to hear the Gospel so clearly on secular television.
"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,'" Garlow reported. "He understands receiving Christ as savior."
Still, Garlow made it clear that he doesn't see eye-to-eye with Beck on a number of things, including theology. But the megachurch pastor noted that everyone's theological understanding is off and that only the most arrogant would say that its 100 percent perfect.
"Here is my question: if your theology is off slightly, but you still trust exclusively in Jesus Christ's death on the cross for your salvation, and in his resurrection, are you still saved? Going to heaven? Yes," Garlow argued.
"How far off might your theology be – and yet still trust exclusively in Jesus Christ's death on the cross for your salvation, and believe in his resurrection – and still be saved? Is it 10% or 15% or 20%? Or what?"
That said, Garlow expressed his belief that Beck "is being used by God – mightily."
"Glenn is not perfect. (For the record, neither are you or I.)," he wrote. "But his expose on America's sins is stellar. I am convinced his motives are pure. His research department is profoundly skilled, checking footnotes down to the last detail."
So, based on all he knows about Beck, Garlow said he is "proud" to stand with Beck at the "Restoring Honor" rally this weekend.
"It (the rally) is about Restoring Honor. That is the issue," concluded Garlow, who will also attend Friday's event. "It is much bigger than Glenn Beck and he knows it. And God knows, we need it."
According to organizers of the "Divine Destiny" event, Friday's gathering will feature uplifting music and messages from nationally-known religious figures "from all faiths" that will be reminiscent to those given during the struggles of America's earliest days.
The event will kick off at 8p.m. and be broadcast live on Beck's Insider Extreme website, www.glennbeck.com/extreme/.
The next day, the "Restoring Honor" event will be held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The three-hour event is intended to celebrate America by honoring its heroes, its heritage and its future.