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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Focus on the Family Explains Why Glenn Beck Interview Was Pulled

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jan. 01 2009 07:15 PM EST

Focus on the Family got to work this week in explaining in detail why it pulled from its website an interview with a Mormon author.

“We intended no insult,” expressed ministry spokesman Gary Schneeberger, in a statement. “[W]e merely miscalculated on how best to feature Glenn [Beck], whom we greatly appreciate.”

Last week, some time before Christmas celebrations, Focus on the Family took down the interview with Beck amid complaints from the evangelical community over the former CNN host’s Mormon ties.

The interview, produced by a freelance reporter in Colorado Springs and not Focus on the Family, focuses on Beck’s recently released book, The Christmas Sweater, which has been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for Hardcover Fiction for six consecutive weeks and currently ranks at No. 1.

In the interview, Beck talked about what Christmas means to him, how he came to write the book, and what message he hoped readers will take away from the book.

“Sometimes redemption has been made into a word that people don't understand,” he said. “They need to know it's true, it's real. It's not a word, it's a life-changing force. It's transformed my life, who I was to the very core of my being. If it wasn't for me accepting the gift that the Lord gave to me, I'd be dead today.”

Since the interview was published, a number of Christians throughout the blogosphere raised flags and sounded alarms, concerned that Focus on the Family was compromising central doctrinal truths to win the culture war.

“They use Mr. Beck's story as a way to show that hope can be found in God, which is true enough; the problem is that Mr. Beck's god is not the Triune God of the Bible nor is his Jesus the Jesus of the Bible,” commented Dustin S. Seger, pastor of Shepherd’s Fellowship of Greensboro, N.C., in the co-authored blog “Grace in the Triad.”

Beck, however, maintains that the book's message can be and has been embraced by people of different faiths and should not be “censored” because of his own personal religious views. The book tells the narrative of a boy named Eddie who embarks on a dark and painful journey on the road to manhood.

“The Christmas Sweater is a story about the idea of Christmas as a time for redemption and atonement,” Beck expressed in a released statement after the interview was pulled from Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink website.

“Whatever your beliefs about my religion, the concept of religious tolerance is too important to be sacrificed in response to pressure from special interest groups, especially when it means bowing to censorship,” he added.

According to Schneeberger, however, Focus on the Family could not intimate to its evangelical base that the differences in Mormon faith and the historic evangelical faith are inconsequential.

“We can, and do, gladly cooperate with friends outside of the evangelical heritage on common causes; but in no case do we intend to alter our clear distinction as unwaveringly grounded in evangelical theology,” he explained.

But Schneeberger made sure to also distance the ministry from another that had strongly rebuked it for the article’s posting.

“[W]e do not condone the tone of communications put out from UnderGround Apologetics,” he clarified, referring to the controversial apologetics ministry that spoke out against Focus on the Family last week. “And we can without reservation say that the group's news release had nothing to do with our decision to pull the article from publication."

In their statement three days before Christmas, UnderGround Apologetics called Mormonism a cult and chastised Focus on the Family for “opening the door to false religions.”

“[T]o promote a Mormon as a Christian is not helpful to the cause of Jesus Christ,” it added.

Despite such statements and the recent move by Focus on the Family, Beck, who not long ago left CNN Headline News for a multiyear deal with Fox News, said he is “humbled and grateful” that hundreds of thousands of people from different faiths have read his book and have “appreciated its uplifting message for themselves.”

“At a time when the world is so full of fear, despair, and divisions, it is my hope that all of those who believe in a loving and peaceful God would stand together on the universal message of hope and forgiveness,” he stated.

While many Christians today still view the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the official name of the Mormon church) as a cult, more have come to view it as another religion – some going as far as calling Mormonism a fourth Abrahamic religion.

Aside from rejecting the Trinity and their belief in many gods, Mormons believe their prophet, Joseph Smith, was “the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam,” according to the Mormons’ History of the Church.

Formally listed under “cults and sects” by the Southern Baptist Convention, Mormonism was later categorized among “newly developed religions” on the North American Mission Board apologetics page.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Bot said...

Tom Minnery should know that Mormons' theology is based on the Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Tom's theology is based on the Jesus Christ of the Nicene Creed. Both are Christians, as are any denomination which considers Him divine, and the Savior of the world.


Bob Ellis said...

There are some fundamental differences between Mormonism and Christianity, and they go back farther than the Nicene Creed.

Christians believe the Bible is the only holy, sacred texts, but Mormons hold the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price on at least an equal plane.

Christians believe Jesus Christ was and is the ONLY son of God, and that he has eternally been so; Mormons believe he ascended to this position of divinity, just as humans today may someday do.

There are also some critical falsehoods in the Mormon religion as crafted by Joseph Smith. Smith claimed the golden tables he found (which are missing) were written in Reformed Egyptian. Smith later obtained some papyri along with some Egyptian mummies. Smith claimed these papyri were also in the same Reformed Egyptian, and that he translated them and found them to be a mysterious and lost Book of Abraham. Those papyri were lost for about 100 years, but turned up in 1967 and a Mormon academic journal asked three professors of Egyptology to provide a fresh translation of them. It turns out the papyri were not some lost Book of Abraham, but were simple common documents often buried with the dead--a practice which started about 1,000 years after Abraham. They didn't say anything remotely like Smith claimed they said. (www.4truth.net)

Now if lied about these papyri, it's a more than reasonable assumption he also lied about these golden tablets which have disappeared.

So theological differences with Christianity aside, there are some serious credibility problems with the founder of the Mormon religion.

Bot said...

Please explain to me how we are rescuing our country (and civilization) by Evangelicals bashing Mormons, JW's, Catholics.

Can't you see the decline in the culture because Christians cannot unite? Instead some Christians just call other Christians names.

Talk about fiddling while Rome burns ! ! ! I don't think Jesus Christ would approve of one branch of his Church bashing another.

Bob Ellis said...

I don't think what FOTF did, nor what I did, constituted "bashing" Mormons and others.

FOTF should have done their homework better beforehand. However, when they realized there was a fundamental difference between their theological goals and those of Beck, they admitted their error and pulled the interview.

What I did earlier was point out the theological differences between Christianity and Mormonism. I didn't bash them, call them derogatory names or anything along those lines. I merely pointed out that because of some fundamentally un-Christian beliefs (i.e. that Jesus Christ is not the one and only eternal son of God, etc.), Christianity and Mormonism are separate theologically. Any group that doesn't believe Jesus Christ (upon whom Christianity is based) is the unique, one-and-only, divine Son of God and member of the eternal Trinity does not meet the most basic definition of "Christian."

We can still work together to fight the erosion of values and the assault on the family, and I think FOTF expressed those same sentiments. Mormons have been great allies in the fight to protect the family, as the heat they've taken for Proposition 8 in California has shown. But when Christian theology is a key thing you want to advance, as it is with FOTF, there are some areas you just can't go with someone who doesn't share your foundational beliefs.

Bot said...

Was there anything in Glenn Beck's article which was contrary to Christian theology? If not, it was pure bigotry to pull it become some bigoted blogger suggested it.

Bob Ellis said...

Bigotry...or a reluctance to promote someone with whom they have sincere disagreement over a very important theological tenet?

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