Conservative ministry Focus on the Family has removed from its website an article about the latest book by former CNN host Glenn Beck in response to complaints over his Mormon ties.
“Mr. Beck is a member of the Mormon church, and … we did not make mention of this fact in our interview with him,” reads a statement prepared for the ministry’s receptionists, according to Joel Campbell, the Mormon media observer for the MormonTimes.
“We do recognize the deep theological difference between evangelical theology and Mormon theology, and it would have been prudent for us at least to have pointed out these differences,” receptionists are instructed to say to those who call in about the missing article on the ministry’s CitizenLink website. “Because of the confusion, we have removed the interview from CitizenLink."
Since last week, Beck’s interview had been featured on CitizenLink and claimed that Beck “is hoping to spread a more eternal sort of gospel through his new book, The Christmas Sweater.”
“I just want the people to understand that the message is true,” Beck said in the interview, which CitizenLink noted as being the product of a freelance reporter in Colorado Springs and not the ministry.
“Sometimes redemption has been made into a word that people don’t understand. They need to know it’s true, it’s real. It’s not a word, it’s a life-changing force,” the author continued. “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, Christians throughout the blogosphere have 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.
“I strongly discourage you from giving money to any religious organization that is so committed to a social agenda that they are willing to ignore the vast difference between biblical Christianity and the cult of Mormonism,” he wrote to readers of the co-authored blog “Grace in the Triad” earlier this week.
Though Beck’s social views are regarded as mostly compatible with many Christian views, his beliefs in Mormonism have been distinguished as not.
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.
“Every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, Junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are," claimed Brigham Young, a 19th century president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Clearly, Mormonism is a cult,” the ministry Underground Apologetics expressed in a statement opposing Focus on the Family’s promotion of Beck.
“Through the years, Focus on the Family has done great things to help the family and has brought attention to the many social ills that are attacking the family,” the ministry stated.
“However, to promote a Mormon as a Christian is not helpful to the cause of Jesus Christ,” it added. “For Christians to influence society, Christians should be promoting the central issues of the faith properly without opening the door to false religions.”
Since the debut of Beck’s The Christmas Sweater six weeks ago, the 284-page hardcover has not only hit the New York Times Best-Sellers List but has also climbed up to No. 1 multiple times.
In addition, a “living play” of the book also debuted in 420 movie theaters nationwide last week featuring theatrical animation, specially-created projections and a Christmas musical score from a 10-piece orchestra and Broadway gospel singer.
Based on a personal true story, The Christmas Sweater is a narrative of a boy named Eddie who embarks on a dark and painful journey on the road to manhood.