It is impossible to reconcile the doctrines of Mormonism with the doctrines of Conservative Evangelical Christianity.  There is disagreement on every major theological point, from the nature of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit to the authority of the Bible as scripture, to the very process of transformation, regeneration and new life in Christ.  Without going into a long comparison of the obvious differences, it is relatively easy to sit down with the works of recognized Mormon theologians, and recognized conservative Evangelical Christian theologians, and note the differences.  There is little, if any, common ground.  Many of the terms are the same, but the meanings attached to them are substantially different.  Regardless of which side you fall on, it would be impossible for a conservative, Evangelical Christian to accept Mormon teaching as truth, as impossible as it would be for a Mormon to accept conservative Evangelical Christian teaching as truth. 

That’s why last weekend’s rally at the Lincoln Memorial, headlined by radio commentator Glenn Beck, has raised some eyebrows and some questions.  Beck appears to be setting himself up as a sort of morals and values revivalist preacher and in so doing, seems to be pulling in some support from Evangelical Christians who share his political perspective.  In making that transition, it appears that there are at least some Evangelicals who are giving him a pass and ignoring his Mormon faith. 

Most Evangelicals, including the Baptists among whom I grew up, weigh the transforming, deeply spiritual encounter with Christ that is generally known as a “salvation experience” as an absolute essential for belief and membership in the church.  The authority for describing this experience, and for receiving it, is the Bible, considered by the vast majority of both Evangelicals and Protestant Christians in America as the sole authority for faith and practice in the church, and inerrant and infallible in its original autographs.  It is unthinkable, in thousands of Evangelical churches, to put someone in a position of leadership, or of being a representative spokesperson, who cannot personally testify to having such an experience, and holding such beliefs.  Mormons do neither.  So it is, at the very least, disturbing to see that there are some Evangelicals willing to compromise their convictions for the sake of politics.  Beck hasn’t given any kind of indication that he agrees with either the salvation experience leading to a personal relationship with Jesus, or with the idea that the Bible is inerrant and infallible.  So I have to wonder what people are thinking, people who are professing Christians involved in conservative, Evangelical churches, in attaching credibility to anything Glenn Beck says related to faith, simply because they trust him when it comes to politics. 

It has pretty much been a standard among politically conservative, and politically active, Evangelical Christians that the media can’t be trusted.  I won’t argue with that.  Money, and the acquisition of large amounts of it, is the bottom line and when that’s the case, the facts and the truth often get obscured by sales tactics.  Beck is no different.  Yeah, he’s a conservative, and of course if you agree with someone’s politics, you think they are trustworthy.  There is plenty of evidence that Beck’s image is built around the acquitision of dollars, and that clouds his perspective related to his position as much as the same does to any liberal reporter.  And I think it is a bit naive not to recognize that. 

But I think that allowing Beck to continue his crusade, with no visible conversion having taken place, and with his continued membership in and support for the Mormon church, will not have a positive outcome for the Evangelical Christian leaders who are blind to the differences between conservative politics and conservative religion. 

You will reap what you sow.  That’s worth some thought.


About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

2 responses

  1. Sam Swart says:

    Isn’t it possible to cooperate with non-Christians on basic issues of morality and values where ours and theirs overlap? I didn’t listen to his speech (and not particularly interested in doing so), but as long the issues are broad and not specifically contradicting our basic beliefs, I don’t see an issue. We may be suspicious of his sincerity or motives and those are reasonable reasons to keep our distance, but I’m not sure his religion is sufficient to refuse cooperation. But you have a lot of experience with Mormons. Do you set them apart from other non-Christians as unique and requiring more caution than we would exercise with other religions?

  2. Lee says:

    It is possible for Christians to cooperate when common values and morals are involved, from a political perspective. But I think Beck is crossing the political line and attempting to take a position as a spiritual leader without having the spiritual transformation. He depends heavily on his speaking ability and his voice, ironically, something that many conservatives criticize in the President.

    I don’t see any evidence that Beck has had what most Evangelical Christians would describe as a conversion experience. The fact that he seems to be jumping into some kind of spiritual leadership role at his own invitation indicates that he doesn’t have an understanding of conversion from an Evangelical perspective.

    The problem with cooperation, when Mormons are involved, is their tendency to use it as a means to legitimize themselves, and to point to it as proof that they are mainstream Christian, and accepted by mainstream Christians. It is no coincidence that, as Beck becomes a self-appointed prophet, the Mormon church is bathing the airways with advertisements showing how open minded and accepting they are. I don’t know if you’ve seen the commercials in Texas or not, they end with the line “My name is Joe, and I’m a Mormon.”