Thursday, September 4, 2008

What do you mean we aren't Christians?

I was looking for something else on the webpage of talk show host Glenn Beck (who is a mormon) and came across this article:

Glenn not a Christian?


GLENN: ABC wanted me to do something on Good Morning America. It was my understanding, but I've been so busy, I haven't been involved in all the details, but it was my understanding that Diane was going to have a conversation with me on Mitt Romney and what was happening with Mitt Romney and what I thought he should say in the speech, but that would be too reasonable. That would be a reasonable conversation to have. Instead when I arrive, Richard Land is there and he is a Southern Baptist and I said, hello, Richard, how are you? And we talked for a few minutes and he was a very pleasant man. We get on the air and Diane Sawyer, I think the first question out of her mouth is, are Mormons Christian? And, of course, his answer is no, they're not which, you know, under two hours sleep I've got to tell you I had a hard time, you know, just smiling and letting it pass, especially since I only had two hours sleep because I had done a Christmas show the night before where I was talking about the real meaning of Christmas being with redemption and about not the birth of the baby, about the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So I had a little hard -- it was very difficult for me to let that one pass, but I did.

The next question, with about 40 seconds to go, was about the deep doctrinal issues of Mormonism, and I've got to tell you something. I want you to put yourself in my shoes. Mormons, the doctrine is different. However, that's what attracted me to it. For me some of the things in traditional doctrine just doesn't work, but it works for millions of other people and that's great. Happens to work for millions of Mormons the other way. That's great. You know, I'm not going to preach to you, you don't have to preach to me. We'll pray for each other and we'll see each other on the other side hopefully.

Now, imagine, put yourself in this position. Let's say you are in Saudi Arabia where nobody's ever heard of the trinity. You're a Catholic. Nobody's ever heard of the trinity. What, the trinity? What, it's three in one, they're everywhere and nowhere. Jesus is on the cross but he's really God. So God has died but yet he didn't die and how does this -- imagine you've never heard this before. So you've never heard any kind of explanation. So it works. You know what I mean? You've never heard anybody say, no, no, no, wait, wait, wait, you've got to slow down. She asked me two questions about deep doctrine issues and I had in my ear, 40 seconds. Oh, well, hang on. I've got 40 seconds. Let me explain this to you. You can't explain it in 40 seconds. You can't explain anything of deep philosophical viewpoint or deep theological viewpoint. It took me a year of real studying to be able to understand some of the stuff in all of different doctrines, which leads me to this. Nobody really cares. Nobody really cares.

I wonder if the issue is that Mr. Beck can't answer the question or just doesn't want to. Mormon president and "prophet" Gordon Hinckley did a similar thing on Larry King Live when asked about men becoming gods, and he ducked and dodged all around one of the most firmly held mormon beliefs. Well I don't know if we teach that...What do you mean, you are the prophet of the restored church with a direct conduit to Christ. How do you not know this stuff? The answer is that mormons know that discussing this sort of stuff on TV makes it harder for missionaries to get in the door of unsuspecting people. "Hi, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we would like to tell you how to become gods". That isn't going to get you many invites into the living room.

Mr. Beck raises the same sort of objection we often hear from mormons. How can they say that I am not a Christian, look at all of the Christian appearing stuff that I do. I go to a church with the name of Jesus Christ on the building. I read the Bible. I pray in the name of Jesus. Most mormon, especially the missionaries, trip over themselves to use the name of Christ as often as possible. Isn't that enough? Well no, it is not.

A key passage in the Bible is Matthew 16:13-17.

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17)

Simon Peter declares Christ the Son of the living God, in contrast to what other people say about Jesus. It wasn’t like He was unknown or that people did talk about Him, but just talking about Him does not make you a Christian.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' (Matthew 7:21-23)

If you don't recognize Christ as God incarnate, God in the flesh who lived a perfect life and atoned for the sins of His sheep on the cross, died, was buried and rose again, and place your trust in Him and depend on faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone then you aren't a Christ. Muslim praise the name Jesus Christ, but they aren't Christians and having the name Christ on your church sign and talking about Christmas doesn't make you a Christian.

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