Patriotic Ecumenicalism or God's Word?

Patriotic Ecumenicalism or God's Word?

By Brannon S. Howse

Would you approve or disapprove if some of America’s evangelical pastors and religious leaders announced they were going to show up at “Oprah’s Divine Destiny” meeting at the Kennedy Center for an evening that would include uplifting music and nationally known religious figures from all faiths as they unite in prayer and recite historical speeches? Would it concern you if you knew that on her radio program Oprah has taught the book A Course in Miracles written by Helen Schucman? This book and the associated workbook include such quotes as:

“A slain Christ has no meaning.”
“The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.”
“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.’”
“My salvation comes from me.” 


Bible-believing Christians would not approve of evangelical pastors and leaders uniting with Oprah in a self-described, religious and spiritual meeting. Why? Because most biblically thinking Christians do not agree with Oprah’s liberal politics, and they know that God’s Word and Oprah’s pagan spirituality do not mix. 


Strangely, many of these same Christians have no problem when some of America’s evangelical pastors join Glenn Beck for a spiritual program. Unlike Oprah, they reason, they share Beck’s conservative political views. To many it makes no difference that Beck is a Mormon. His agreeable political views trump his religious views, and for this reason many felt justified taking part in “Glenn Beck’s Divine Destiny” August 27, 2010 program at the Kennedy Center.


The Apostle Paul warns Christians against uniting with unbelievers in spiritual endeavors in 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” In verse 16, Paul further declares that Christians must be spiritually separate from non-believers. 


“Glenn Beck’s Divine Destiny” program was not a political gathering but “a unique spiritual event,” as described by organizers. The operative word being “spiritual,” biblical Christians should have stayed away.


While I do agree with some of Beck’s conservative and constitutional views, that does not give me or any other Bible-believing Christian justification to compromise biblical truth by joining Beck in such an event. Beck’s website clearly advertised that this was a one-world religion friendly event: 


“nationally-known religious figures from all faiths will unite….” 

“The audience for the event will be overwhelmingly made up of pastors, ministers and clergy....” 

the event “will help heal your soul.”


The problem begins with Beck’s Mormon faith. His definition of God the Father is not the same as that described by Jesus in the Bible. Glenn articulates his willingness to bend points of doctrine for the sake of unification: 


"I have been reaching out to the biggest names in faith for the last year….I have met with the biggest leaders of faith in the country privately and I have asked them to help me put differences aside and to reach out with one another so we can remind people to get down on their knees for our brethren’s shield in our dangerous hour." 


Christians who want to be committed to biblical truth cannot “put aside” the cross and Gospel of Jesus Christ nor the supremacy of Scripture by uniting with those who proclaim another Jesus, another gospel, and declare the cross foolishness. Many American Christians allow their commitment to reclaiming the country, reining in Congress, lowering taxes, and defeating progressives override their commitment to the biblical mandate declared in 2 Corinthians 6, as well as the mandate of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, which commands Christians to expose every “high and lofty” thing lifted up against the principles of the Lord. 


American Christians should not and cannot rate our success on whether or not we return our country and culture to political and social conservatism. Our success or failure must be based on whether or not we have been faithful servants of the one and only true God and have earnestly contended for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). 


While Christians could join an unsaved national talk show host or unsaved politician in opposing tyranny, socialism, cultural Marxism, and the like, we cannot join unbelievers in spiritual enterprises. We can be co-belligerents on many moral issues with non-Christians, but we cannot find common ground theologically, doctrinally, and spiritually. This is not according to me, but according to the Word of God. Christians must understand that the Jesus of the cults is not the Jesus of the Bible. Just because unsaved people talk about Jesus—on the radio, TV, or person-to-person—does not mean it is the Jesus of the Bible. 


Several years ago, I supported Glenn Beck in the face of advertisers who threatened to withhold advertising as leverage against some of his political views. I launched the website but at the time Glenn was not promoting spirituality. He was simply providing excellent information about what was happening in the arena of civil government and law. However, when Glenn moved into proclaiming New Age Mormonism, I had to draw a clear line theologically, doctrinally, and spiritually. I hit the “unsupport” button.


Some Christians have argued from Mark 9:38-41 that partnering with Glenn Beck for a “unique spiritual event” is acceptable biblically even if Glenn Beck is not a Christian. They cite verse 40 in which Jesus says, “For he who is not against us is on our side.” But Mark 9 is not addressing a non-Christian doing something good. It is clearly speaking of a true follower of Jesus Christ—in this case, one that was successful in casting out a demon. 


If it is not acceptable for a biblically committed Christian to unite in a spiritual event with Oprah Winfrey, then it is not acceptable to unite with Glenn Beck or any other religious leaders who do not adhere to biblical orthodoxy. The religious beliefs of Oprah and the Mormons are not decidedly different. Ed Decker was a Mormon for 20 years of his adult life, a member of the Melchizedek priesthood, a Temple Mormon, and active in many Mormon Church positions before becoming a Christian. Out of his vast experience in Mormonism, he has revealed to me such facts as: 


Mormons believe the cross of Christ is foolishness, and thus you will not find a cross in or on top of a Mormon temple. Like Oprah, a Mormon could say, “Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.’”


Mormons believe the blood Jesus Christ shed on the cross is not what saves. As a result, Mormons will not use red wine or red juice for communion. They use water instead. Thus a Mormon could say, “A slain Christ has no meaning.”


Mormons believe salvation is not found by placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone but in good works. A Mormon could say “My salvation comes from me.”


Mormons believe God is one of many gods and that every good Mormon man can become a god himself. This belief is called the law of eternal progression and is best described in the popular Mormon saying, “As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become.” A Mormon could say, “The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.” 


Do these pastors and Christian leaders not understand that by appearing on stage at this “unique spiritual event” they were sending the message that biblical Christianity and Mormonism (and any other unbiblical worldview represented) can find spiritual common ground? This was a public relations victory not only for Mormonism but also for universalism.


According to the LDS General Authority and President of the Council of the Twelve, Ezra Taft Benson, LDS doctrine holds that the living prophet is above the scripture.After I wrote several articles and hosted radio and television programs on this topic, many Christians emailed me to say that Glenn Beck uses Christian terms, and so he must be a Christian. While it is true that Mormons, as well as New Agers, use many of the same terms Bible-believing Christians use, their definitions of terms are in direct opposition to biblical definitions. 


I have also received emails from people who claim to have heard Glenn Beck give the Gospel on his television program. I’ve watched the program they cite, and on it, Glenn states that he had called Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention so Land could explain to Glenn the Gospel message according to evangelicals. Glenn’s explicit purpose was to contrast it with the collective salvation of President Obama. Glenn provided the valid contrast but did not indicate that he had personally rejected Mormonism for the truth of the biblical Gospel. (Despite my aggressive opposition to what they stand for, I do urge all Christians to pray for Oprah Winfrey and Glenn Beck that they may truly come to know the Jesus Christ of the Bible as their personal Lord and Savior.)


Millions of Christian families are watching for someone who will have the discernment and courage to obey God and His Word in which He has clearly revealed His will for us concerning this matter. My heart grieves for the teenagers, college students, and spiritually immature Christians who are confused and led astray by the incessant co-mingling of spiritual worldviews. Pastors and Christian leaders should not be shocked to see that their endorsement of spiritually pluralistic events increases the already rising numbers of young people leaving evangelical churches to join the Mormon Church. Neither should they be surprised when discerning Christians are leery of their future work because of the betrayal of clear biblical instruction regarding these things.

Former Mormons understand the seriousness of this issue. Here, for example, is an email I received from one concerned convert:


"I was a tenured professor at Brigham Young University from 1999-2008, a dug-in Mormon for 30 years. Christ drew me and I went face down in surrender to the Biblical Christ, now a strong Christian. As former Mormon leaders, my husband and I have been speaking to Christians about Glenn Beck for some time and are shocked at the resistance we hear from Christians who don’t seem to understand the gravity of this false and slippery “christ” of Mormonism"


As long ago as 1898, Abraham Kuyper warned in the Stone Lectures at Princeton: “Do not forget that the fundamental contrast has always been, is still and always will be until the end; Christianity and Paganism, the idols and the living God.”


I pray that America’s Christians will understand there is an unbiblical and dangerous spiritual convergence taking place throughout the nation and the world. Today is the day to choose whether you will stand uncompromisingly for the living God or give credibility to pagan spirituality.

In 1 Kings 18:20-21, Elijah confronted the Children of Israel who were seeking to follow God while mixing their worship of God with pagan spirituality. He declared that they must choose to whom they would pledge their allegiance. “How long,” Elijah challenged, “will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”


As Beck’s August 2010 rally approached, I was encouraged that Dr. Erwin Lutzer of Moody Church, while a guest on my radio program, was willing to explain to our listeners, from the Scriptures, why pastors who stand with Beck at his rally would be involved in heresy. I was also thankful to receive a voice mail of support from Kirk Cameron. He had been asked to take part in Beck’s Kennedy Center event, but after reading one of my articles in which I explained why Christians should not join Beck in a spiritual enterprise, Kirk declined the invitation. Kirk also was a guest on my national radio program and explained how he had come to his decision after much prayer and searching the Scriptures. 


Sadly, Kirk’s convictions apparently changed between August 2010 and March 2012 when he released the movie Monumental. Many believe the film is a historically flawed, at best. Kirk’s featured expert in the film is Marshall Foster who by all accounts believes in Reconstructionism. The most troubling aspect of this development is that, despite my personal warnings to Kirk, he proceeded with the production which even includes an appearance by David Barton, whose historical facts have been proven inaccurate by numerous scholors. (Barton also has claimed that New Age Mormon Glenn Beck is a Christian.) 


A few weeks before the film’s release, Kirk appeared in Dallas as a guest on Glenn Beck’s television program. And when Monumental debuted live in some 500 movie theartes on March 27, 2012, the pre-show commentary featured Kirk sitting in his home, visiting with Beck (who was in Dallas at the time) on a large screen television in Cameron’s living room. In the interview, Glenn talked about God, yet Kirk never distinguished the God of the Bible from the god of Mormonism. (Mormons teach god was a man of flesh and bone who evolved to become God.)


Engaging in spiritual conversation with a New Age Mormon can clearly be called unbiblical according to 2 John 9-11:


"Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds."


One national talk show host reported that, a day or two after the March 27th film debute, he had a lengthy phone conversation with Kirk in which he explained that what Kirk had done violated 2 John 9-11. The talk show hosted reported that Kirk did not agree that he had done anything wrong. Although disappointed, I am not shocked since Kirk has seemingly had no problem with hosting a program for Trinity Broadcasting Network several times over the years. TBN, of course, features almost exclusively false teachers.

Kirk’s end time belief (eschatology) may be encourage him to justify participating in spiritual enterprises with people like Glenn Beck. In April 2012, Kirk announced that he would host a Monumental cruise which would include guest speaker Gary DeMar. DeMar is a well known preterest who believes rapture occurred in 70 A.D. (Yes, you read that correctly: 70 A.D.) 


Does Kirk agree with preterism? Does he embrace some form of postmillennialism that says the Church will take the stage and usher in a great revival leading into the millennium after which Christ will return at the end of those one thousand years? One wonders.

Copyright 2012 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.