Political commentator and radio host Glenn Beck stated recently that "no real Christian" should support Donald Trump. He went on to define a "real Christian" as somebody who is "living their faith." Unfortunately, Beck's admonition produces more questions than answers.
You see, Glenn Beck is a Mormon. In fact, the website LDS Living lists Beck as "arguably one of the most influential Mormons in the media today." At the same time, Beck often discusses political matters with evangelical Christians. And Beck is careful in his emotional appeals not to get too specific about the particular deity he worships. In other words, Beck doesn't even try to reconcile the Mormon theory of "a created Jesus" with the biblical doctrine concerning "the eternal God." As a result, Beck's statement concerning a "real Christian" falls apart.
Jesus Christ cannot be both a created being and the eternal God who had no beginning and will have no end. It would be illogical to say that Christ is both. It's every bit as illogical as saying that Donald Trump is actually Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders is actually Hillary Clinton. And it is one big reason the Christian church has never accepted Mormon doctrine as biblical, true, and beneficial to the souls of men and women. In fact, Christians who know their Bible understand why Christian doctrine and Mormon doctrine are as different from one another as conservatism and liberalism.
While Beck has been eager to endorse one particular political candidate (Ted Cruz) in this election cycle, Glenn has been far from specific about the deity he endorses. And if he is going to continue throwing around the term "real Christian," then he should at least be clear whether he is referring to the God of Christianity, or the gods of Mormonism as defined by his church. Beck seems to intentionally blur the distinction, and one can only assume that he does so in order to attract a larger listening audience to his radio program. Beck certainly isn't doing the Lord any favors with his fuzzy definition of a "real Christian," while being specific about the various positions of political candidates.
Matt Slick from Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry provides an insightful list of Mormon teachings regarding the gods of Mormonism:
Mormonism teaches that there are many gods, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163).
There is a mother goddess, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 443).
After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-347, 354).
God used to be a man on another planet, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321).
The Trinity is three separate gods, (James Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 35).
God the Father has a body of flesh and bones, (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22).
God is married to his goddess wife and has spirit children, (Mormon Doctrine p. 516).
Slick goes on to write, "In Mormonism, Jesus is a creation, the product of relations between god and his goddess wife who used to be people from another world (McConkie, Bruce, Mormon Doctrine, p. 192, 321, 516, 589). Jesus is the literal spirit brother of the devil and of you and I (McConkie, p. 192, 589). Also, in Mormon theology, God has a body of flesh and bones (Doctrine & Covenants 130:22) as does his wife and together they produce spirit offspring in heaven who inhabit human bodies on earth."
The mythical gods of Mormonism have nothing in common with the God of Scripture, but are merely the fictional creation of Joseph Smith. A Mormon chooses to submit his soul to the religion of Joseph Smith. In a similar way, Muslims submit to Allah, the god of Muhammad.
Mormonism appeals to people who accept Joseph Smith's ideas, while Islam appeals to people who accept Muhammad's ideas.
Christianity, on the other hand, appeals to people who accept the God of the Bible and His Word. Scripture clearly presents God to be Three Persons in One God. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The religions of Mormonism and Islam both reject the doctrine of the Trinity in favor of what their founding prophets perceived to be the nature of god.
Rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity keeps a person outside the Christian faith because the Holy Spirit does not reside within those who reject this key biblical teaching. And so by definition, those who are "living their faith" while rejecting the Trinity are living something other than Christianity. Muslims understand this fact in their religion and their faith. Some Mormons, on the other hand, apparently do not understand this distinction. Some Mormons seem to sincerely believe that their church's doctrine is "Christian." Obviously, those who believe such a thing don't understand the Christian faith or the true teaching of Scripture.
By definition, Mormonism and Christianity are no more compatible than Islam and Christianity.
Glenn Beck needs to address a much bigger issue than which political candidate a "real Christian" should support. The larger issue for Beck is simply: "Can a real Christian endorse the gods of Mormonism?"
And you know what? Every single evangelical leader who knows the Bible answers that question with a resounding "No." Why? It is because the gods of Mormon doctrine are completely different than the true God of Scripture. One is a creation of man's imagination, while the other involves the Creator Himself who is real and eternal.
Glenn Beck doesn't merely downplay the differences between the gods of Mormonism and the God of the Bible. He completely ignores these differences, as he targets an audience including both Mormons and Christians. Beck has every right to target such a broad audience, but he does not have the right to claim faith in "Jesus Christ" while refusing to publicly proclaim whether he believes Jesus is a created being, or is instead the eternal God. Surely Glenn is capable of understanding the difference. He obviously is able to grasp sophisticated political distinctions and complicated cultural distinctions. In fact, he does it all the time. But when it comes to specifics of the deity he worships, he is as quiet as a church mouse.
You won't find a bigger theological issue concerning Jesus Christ than the fact that He is the eternal God, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. If you get Jesus wrong, you get God wrong, even if you have been "living your faith" in the only way you know how to live it.
Glenn Beck should be as clear in his distinctions regarding God's nature as he is when he compares Ted Cruz to Donald Trump. Beck has no problem clearly spelling out the differences between those two candidates. But then why is he so reluctant to clarify the differences between the God of the Bible and the gods of Mormonism? It may be that he truly doesn't understand the difference. I would like to think that Glenn is not trying to be deceptive.
Whether this Republican radio personality recognizes it or not, this theological issue is the real elephant in the room, especially with Beck's latest comments about which political candidates "real Christians" should and shouldn't endorse.
Glenn Beck needs to come out from the shadows on this issue. One way he could do this would be to discuss this revealing statement from the former Mormon president, Gordon Hinckley, as reported by LDS Church News:
"In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints 'do not believe in the traditional Christ.' 'No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.'" (LDS Church News Week ending June 20, 1998, p. 7)
Hinckley correctly identified this key difference between Christianity and Mormonism. The "Christ" of historic Christianity is not the "Christ" of Mormonism. The Mormon "Jesus" is a different "Jesus" than the One Christians have worshipped for 2000 years.
The apostle Paul wrote, "For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." (2 Cor. 11:4)
There is only one Bernie Sanders running for president, and only one Donald Trump. More importantly, there is only one true Jesus Christ. A mythical "Jesus" cannot bring you into God's family, even if you are "living your faith." You see, "living your faith" only becomes a Christian activity when the Christ of your faith is truly the Christ of history. In other words, you have to get God's nature right before you can just launch into "Christian living." The Holy Spirit indwells those who trust the real Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and for eternal life in heaven. (1 Cor. 6:19)
If you don't place your faith in the God of Scripture, then "living your faith" won't change the fact that your sins still separate you from God. Only the Jesus of Scripture can bridge the gap between sinful man and a holy God. The real Jesus died on the cross to pay the debt for our sins we could never pay in a million years. Every other deity falls far short of the mark, and has never saved even one soul for eternity.
If your faith is in a "created Jesus" rather than in Christ who is eternally God, then your faith won't be able to save your soul. A created "Jesus" is a mythical "Jesus." And that's what makes this issue a million times more important than which political candidate a "real Christian" chooses to endorse.
Glenn Beck may one day decide to become as specific about "Christ" as Mormon President Gordon Hinckley was when he made his honest declaration nearly 30 years ago: "The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak." Unlike Beck's approach to this issue, there was not an ounce of fuzziness in President Hinckley's confession of faith.
Hinckley was "living the faith" that had been passed down to him from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Those two men, who lived 150 years earlier than Hinckley, were the first two presidents of the Mormon organization. And those famous Mormon leaders enjoyed a total of nearly 100 wives between the two of them. Some of Joseph Smith's wives were as young as 14 years of age when they married this man who started the Mormon religion.
The founders of Mormonism obviously lived a much different lifestyle than the apostles of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament. And so it shouldn't surprise us that the "Jesus" of Joseph Smith's doctrine is far different than the Jesus of history and Scripture.
It's time for Glenn Beck to take a public stand regarding the nature of the deity he worships. This will be one of the best ways Glenn can "live his faith," especially now that he has started publicly defining what it means to be a "real Christian." Does Beck endorse the "Jesus" of Joseph Smith and Gordon Hinckley, or the Jesus of historic Christianity and of Scripture?
Political candidates come and go, but as the years roll by, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) And only the real Jesus can produce real Christians. Glenn Beck should know that by now, and he should stop blurring the distinction in hopes of attracting a larger radio audience.