Evangelical Polygamy: The Conservative Honeymoon with Glenn Beck

Erik Raymond —  August 30, 2010

How does a Mormon talk show host get hundreds of thousands of Americans, many of them evangelicals, to gather together for a “non-political” revival?

Simple. He preaches the unifying message of morality and opportunity.

Beck estimates that the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday reached as many as 600,000 people. This is particularly impressive in light of the way Beck promoted his event with such a spiritual, non-political tone:

Overtly Spiritual
On the August 26 edition of his radio show, Beck told his audience,

“You’re going to see the spirit of God unleashed, unlike you have probably ever seen it before, at least at a public function. You are going to see the power of God.”

I think this statement is intriguing as it is uncomfortable.

Further, Beck dropped the $100 revival word. And, as one who makes his living with words, we can be sure that there was no accident when he referred to what we’ll see at the event as an “awakening”.

Doesn’t it seem somewhat odd that Beck, a Mormon, and so many evangelicals could yoke together in this venture so overtly spiritual in nature?

Not so according to this pastor who was featured on CNN:

Despite the pre-rally discussions of Beck’s Mormonism, the rally’s litany of evangelical speakers gave it the Jesus-centeredness of a Billy Graham Crusade. All theological references were clearly evangelical and biblically based.

Covertly anti-Gospel
Christians can agree with Mormons (and others outside the bounds of historic Christianity) because we agree on the Law. We agree on what condemns us. We agree on the 10 Commandments, we agree (for the most part) about morality, and we agree on many family related social issues. The issue here is that these matters of agreement are not what makes Christians distinctly Christian. In other words, these things reveal the problem but they do not reveal the solution.

The solution to the problem of sin is the gospel. The gospel is what Jesus did in history for sinners (1 Cor. 15.3-5). He did this for us, that is, in our place. It was Jesus who lived a perfect life of obedience to his Father. It was Jesus who suffered a wrath-satisfying, sin atoning death on the cross. It was Jesus that rose from the dead. Jesus obeyed the Law and satisfied the Law’s penalty by dying for us. Therefore, it is Jesus who is to be our unifying identity and message.

Americans will find great unity in morals but they will not find great unity in Jesus. There is great unity in law but not in gospel.

The Apostle Paul warned about this:

(2Co 6.14-15) 14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?

Therefore, it is sinful for Christians to hold hands (literally) with people who believe a different gospel in the context of a spiritual endeavor.

Another Babel?
The rally/revival may have been intended to showcase unity, resolve, and passion for more of God in our country but sadly it serves to be an indictment of evangelical disunity, ignorance and indifference with the gospel. So, instead of more of God it is more of us and less of Jesus.

Many American Evangelicals were outraged over the plans for a mosque to be built near the site of Ground Zero in New York City. However, we are not so outraged about building a tower of morality on the sacred site of the church. This rallying pole of morals, God and country is a lot like the old city’s motto to reach the heavens with our hands and building (Gen 11.4). In so doing this new construction of a monument to ‘Moralanity’ is obscuring the cross, which is the gospel monument to Christ, and his Christianity.

God calls the church to be a faithful bride to Jesus, his Son. Sadly, evangelicals are taking page out of the old Mormon playbook and practicing polygamy. American evangelicals need to repent and return to their first love. This running around with other lovers is unbecoming, embarrassing, and nauseating (Rev. 3.16)

Erik Raymond

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Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids while pastoring at Emmaus Bible Church. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/erikraymond

30 responses to Evangelical Polygamy: The Conservative Honeymoon with Glenn Beck

  1. We love being conservative more than we love Jesus. That’s the sad, sad reality. We want to restore America to “values” and we care little about the true joy of repentance.

  2. Reminds me of “worldly wise man” from Pilgrim’s Progress.

  3. We seem to be so in love with our country that we forget that we are citizens of “the city made without hands” (Heb. 11). What does it profit a man if he gains for his country values and yet loses his soul?

  4. amen, thank you for speaking out on this. I agree 100% We live in the age where discernment is sooo important.

  5. Thanks for writing and posting. Incredibly insightful. I forwarded this to some legalistic family members who think the gospel is having the proper morals and avoiding scandal.

  6. How sad that evangelicals will team up with a man who calls himself a Christian, while at the same time has for many years refused to discuss his religion on his radio show.

    In the past, before he became the FoxNews/conservative idol, anyone who called his radio show and wanted to talk about his mormonism was cut off and told that his religion was “personal” and he wouldn’t discuss it.

    The true church is fine, but we need to be praying and reaching out to those who think they are “the church”, yet are teaming up with a cultist.

  7. One of the things that I liked initially about the fact that Obama is our president is that at least the gospel isn’t confused with a moral america. But what we’ve seen is an increased longing to go back to when it was better, like when we had a believer (?Bush) as president. American politics cannot chiefly solve our problems. Beck and his co-pilot Palin are really riding this wave of emotion. And the confusion among evangelicals is pretty scary.

  8. I’m awaiting the Savior myself. These days cause me to check my pulse more and more.

  9. Okay, so I feel really stupid. I do not get the correlation between the rally and being unequally yoked.

    My understanding of the rally was it was a non-political event calling Americans to get back to the roots of the Constitution and to get back to a time when we relied on ourselves, not the government.

    I was not there, and there was no real media coverage of the event, so I guess I did not realize this was more like a religious crusade?

  10. Excellent thoughts Erik.

    I think conservatives can work together, but we need to proclaim the Gospel of grace in a clear way, and not join hands as you say.

    It’s similiar to standing up against abortion.

    I remember doing the protest thing at a clinic, and there were Catholics there. They hated Clinton and even cursed him. Well, this one guy did.

    And others were praying a rosary, and my friend told them that was a waste of time.

    So, it’s a staying seperate in the midst of speaking out on similar issues, I guess.

    The Gospel is the only power of God that will chnage a sinners heart, no matter how good this sinner may live within our community and culture. He needs to live as Christ, the only righteous Man who ever walked this earth.

    I posted my thought s about Glenn beck as well.

    Thanks again bro.

  11. Robin,

    I saw bits of it on TV, and in the being, I think it was, Glenn said, “America is coming back to god.” What god is he talking about?

    If he kept to the Constitution and the political issues, then it would have been alright, I suppose.

    I would think he is a pluralist. He has the AA god I think. He has talked about his alcoholism, and so he may simply have “a god of his own understanding”, which says, to each his own.

    Glenn needs the one true God, who is Christ Jesus, and the Father, and the Holy Spirit; the one Triune God of the Scriptures.

  12. donsands,

    I listened to the entire keynote address, and he was talking about God. That’s Capital G, little o, little d.

    What YOU think of Glenn Beck may not be the truth of Glenn Beck. I’m just saying…

  13. That’s true enough Robin. He’s still a mystery as to his religion. Most people have said he is a Mormon. But I don’t know.

    Be nice if he would let us all in on whom he worships and loves as his God.

    I find that most Christians who love Christ want to let others know. And also let us know where they attend church, and what they think of the Bible. At least these few things would help.

  14. We live in a country where love of country has become synonymous with love of God. This is truly sad. So many Christians, as you’ve pointed out, are drunk on conservatism, and Glen Beck is a troubling bartender in this event. I think the real question that needs to be asked is “why are we here?” Why are we on this earth? Is it to reform nations politically? I don’t think so. I can find no passage in which Jesus or anyone else discussed political involvement. Jesus simply said “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, and told us to obey our rulers (in as much as it doesn’t cause us to go against the laws of God). The real reason we are on earth is revealed in Ephesians 3:10, where Paul discusses the revelation of the manifold wisdom of God to “the rulers and the authorities in heavenly places”. In other places it is revealed that we are to seek after Christ, to be remade into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18), to become a mature man (Ephesians 4:13). Here’s the crux of the situation: Jesus died on the cross, thus defeating the enemy once and for all. However, He has chosen to use us to carry out that judgement on the earth, once and for all. Some of Paul’s statements would seem to reveal that he expected the end times to play out quickly, but indeed they have not. Is this because God wanted things to take this long, or because the bride hasn’t made herself ready, and Jesus is patiently awaiting us to fulfill our purpose? Again, our purpose is to grow into a mature man, to grow into the City of God described in Revelations and Hebrews, and thus bring about the end of this age. For too many years we have been a people about our own business, content to wait for the “sweet by and by”. It is high time we sought after His will in our lives, and committed ourselves fully to accomplishing His purpose in the earth.

  15. Unless I missed someone else posting this, back in May on Glenn Beck’s Founder’s Friday he told his audience that he was reading about the life of George Whitefield. I was shocked that a Mormon would be reading about one of the greatest preachers in the history of the English speaking Church. At the time, I simply asked God to open Beck’s blinded eyes to the true gospel preached by Whitefield so many years ago. I still hope that may happen in God’s timing.

    But perhaps Beck had other motives in reading about the life of George Whitefield. Do you think he might see himself as a modern Whitefield?

    Thanks for the post Erik.

  16. Glenn is a temple worthy Mormon, that means he went through the “endowment cermony where the devil is a protestant minister.
    Glenn CHOSE Mormonism, He has a utube piece where he cries when the “prophet died.

    He has a false god of his choosing and he incorporates Mormon “history” in his “history classes on TV..He even did it a bit at the rally ..but if you do not know mormonism you just accept it.

    We are told not to let the false teachers into our homes in scripture.. yet every day professing believers turn the false teacher on to listen to him

    google “the white horse prophecy” of John smith

    That is what Beck is trying to fulfill

  17. Opps meant Joseph Smith ‘s White horse prophecy

  18. J. Erik _ Beck mentions Whitefield a lot on his program. Beck believes that he is living in the spirit (if you will) of Whitefields passion. Of course Beck isn’t calling people to repent and believe in Christ alone for salvation. Beck is calling people to lay down “Theology” and unify. As if that actually accomplishes anything. Which for the Christian this is an impossible task. Christ and His message actual divides; not unites. Glenn Beck would have served the country better by just having a political rally.

  19. Robin,

    I agree with donsands. Beck is promoting a god, but not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He may think he worships my God. But his Jesus isn’t one with God (created by the Father, coequal and coeternal) and since as a Christian you cannot seperate worship of Christ and who he is from worship of God and who he is, he is either calling people to pursue his god, or he is calling them to whatever god helps them return this country to its “historical” morality. I would want no part of that call.

    John 5.23


  20. It is as narrow as Jesus (Jn. 14.6) to invoke the name of God and not honor Christ as Lord & mediator is to deviate from the truth. The John 5.23 reference above is right on.

    And again, I don’t fault Beck. He has made no vague statements about being evangelical. He is a Mormon. The deal is that his ‘gospel’ sounds a lot like what evangelicals think good news is (conservative American politics). This is why it is embarrassing for evangelicals.

  21. Clear thinking Eric! This is somewhat amusing in that a friend of mine posted on Glenn Beck and how his Mormon presuppositions were coloring his view of history.

  22. Yes, Beck is a Mormon and Liberty University has led the way in giving him a voice with evangelicals by having him to speak at their 2010 commencement. Remember the subsequent radio interview with Jerry Falwell Jr? It is chilling. Jerry Falwell Jr’s words about their mission and his father’s mission are just chilling. All about joining hands with anybody and everybody for moralianity, could care less who God is. He came under some fire for saying that once they handle the really important things like banking regulations and “fix the country” then they can get down to lesser matters – like theology which by definition is the study of God. It comes off like unbelief wrapped up in an American flag.


    And yet, Jesus Himself defines eternal life as to know the one true God and His Son (Jn 17) and commands us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and must be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth.

  23. AMEN!!! Thank you for writing this article. You put it down in words so well. Those are basically the same words I was trying to get across in a letter I recently wrote to Glenn Beck. I have been so frustrated lately with his show on Fox. I have been more upset with his Christian guests, though, who seem to sit back and accept all that Glenn says. I grew up in southeastern Idaho where the Mormon population is in some areas 98% or more. We had to know what their religion was all about. I am just amazed how many people don’t even bother to study up. I am so tired of the Truth being distorted all in the name of unity.

    Thank you again for your article. I will definitely share it with others.

  24. How sad this article is! Jesus taught an expert in the Law to love God and his neighbor. The expert then asked who his neighbor was… Jesus told him a parable about the wrong believing Samaritans; one Samaritan in particular did what was right, when the experts of Law, and the religious authorities walked by. Who was being prideful then? The man who refused to “yolk” with that man and help his cause or the “idolater” who loved enough to help? The Jews hated the Samaritans for being half Jew, having their own places of worship, and for corrupting the religion. Does that sound like anybody you know?

    You can’t “hold hands” with a person who believes a different gospel? So it was wrong for the right believing Jew, who was leaving a religious feast to take the hand of that false believing Samaritan who helped him out in his time of need? He should have laid there and died?!?! Jesus taught against what this man is teaching!

  25. “Does that sound like anybody you know?” Beau

    Not anybody on this blog. There are self-righteous people in the Church though.

    The good Samaritan doesn’t seem to fit this subject we are discussing, in my way of thinking.

    Jesus says to care for people who are hurt.

    If I saw a Mormon beaten and laying in the road I would certainly help him. Or any human being for that matter.

    I just think you’re forcing it a bit here Beau. I could be wrong though.

  26. @Beau Respectfully, I think you missed the whole point here. It has nothing to do with helping people. It has everything to do with obscuring the exclusivity of what we believe.

    Christianity is actually quite unique. It is universal in its welcoming of people into the tent but it is exclusive in its tenants. We can and must go to all people but all people must submit to Jesus as Lord. This makes Christianity both attractive and offensive, sometimes at the same time. I think you are being offended by the wrong thing.


  27. Would you like to see the mormon in heaven completely forgiven of all his sins by almighty god? If the answer is yes, thats what unites us- we are all sinners! It is only god alone whe has the final word. Lets not judge. The same way we reject today’s prophets, the same way we shall be judged. Let everyone call upon their god, in their own way provided we get the results. Otherwise, what have you done yourself? Before you are irked by another man’s vision? Do you know your own vision?

  28. @Robert ?? I would love to see Mormons (as well as everyman) forgiven of their sins. That is the point of Christianity!! Christianity does not sit on the shelf with other world religions as a peer but as the exclusive means of receiving blessing from God. This implies that the other world religions (including Mormonism) doesn’t work.

    Your comment reminds me of an Old Testament scene where people were encouraged to ‘call upon their god, in their own way…’ and there were results. You should read 1 Kings 18.20-40.

    Before you are irked by ‘my vision’ do you understand Christianity? Read the gospel of Mark. Who is this JESUS?

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