Friday, September 3, 2010

Evangelical Pundit Bryan Fischer Says Evangelicals Owe Thanks To Glenn Beck, And Even Describes Mormonism Accurately...Almost

In fits and starts, Evangelicals all over America are beginning to overcome their historical aversion against Mormons and are warming up to us. Recently, Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention "upgraded" us from a cult to the "fourth Abrahamic faith", alongside Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And Glenn Beck even gave a commencement address at Liberty University in May 2010. So the barriers are slowly coming down.

But it's Glenn Beck who's the subject of this post. Evangelical pundit Bryan Fischer, who formerly served as the executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance and is now the host of the daily 'Focal Point' radio talk program on AFA Talk, a division of the American Family Association, recently suggested on RenewAmerica that Evangelicals owe a debt of gratitude to Glenn Beck for his role in leading the Restoring Honor Rally which took place in Washington, D.C. on August 28th. Fisher noted that although Beck provided the platform, evangelicals provided the message. Beck depended upon an evangelical, David Barton, for assistance in picking speakers and selecting those who would lead in prayer and worship. In Fischer's words, "A Mormon teed up the ball for evangelical Protestants. And evangelicals hit it out of the park".

Fischer believes that Beck did his best to call America back to its Protestant, evangelical roots, and says that evangelicals owe him a word of thanks. Fischer further states that in the larger picture, evangelicals should be willing to work together with Mormons when the issue is not the saving of souls but the redeeming of culture. Where we share common ground and convictions on public policy issues, as we do on the issue of marriage, we can happily work together. He attributes the victory in California Proposition 8 in large part to the vigorous participation of the LDS Church.

Fair enough, and we appreciate Bryan Fischer's obviously high regard for the level of commitment exhibited by Latter-day Saints, even if he had to visibly swallow some of his disagreement with LDS doctrine. Despite our disagreements with some of the more prominent aspects of Evangelical doctrine, to include pre-tribulation rapture, an anthromorphic Godhead, and faith-only salvation, we're just as willing to work with them on cultural redemption as well.

Of course, Bryan Fischer could not resist the impulse to weigh in on Mormon doctrine, and, for the most part, he described aspects of Mormonism accurately. A point-by-point analysis begins after the jump:

-- Fischer writes, "[A good Mormon] believes in polytheism, not monotheism. In Mormon thought, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit do not form a Triune God but are each separate and distinct gods. Mormons believe that there is a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father".

True, but we refer to it as plurality of Gods rather than polytheism. Polytheism also implies the worship of more than one God, and we only worship the Father, in accordance with the instructions in Matthew 6:9. While we do believe that each member of the Godhead is a separate and distinct personage, we also believe they are ONE in purpose ("whosoever hath seen Me hath seen the Father"; John 14:9). Read what Elder Jeffrey Holland has to say about the Godhead HERE. And yes, we do believe there is a Heavenly Mother, although we do not worship her.

-- Fischer writes, "[Glenn] Beck believes that God was once a man, and that we can follow his journey to godhood. Mormons will tell you, 'As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.' Christianity teaches us that we may become like God as we imitate Christ, but never ever suggests we can become god. But Glenn Beck believes he will one day be a god, ruling his own planet".

This is also true. To become heirs of the Father and joint heirs with Jesus Christ means we inherit the Father's glory and power. This would also include his creative power. We do NOT supersede Him; He will always remain our Father. But, after much preparation, we will eventually be ordained unto Godhood and given a slice of eternity to organize. Whether it will be another universe, or merely a separate galaxy within this universe, is unknown to us at this time. Only those who achieve celestial glory WITH exaltation will qualify for this supreme reward.

-- Fischer writes, "Mormons do not believe that Christ was God's 'only-begotten Son'. They believe instead that Christ and Satan were brothers, who offered competing plans of salvation to the Father. When God picked Christ's plan, Satan rebelled in anger. Mormons do not believe that Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit. They believe instead that he was conceived through an act of physical intercourse between God and Mary".

Partially false. We do speak of Christ as being the only-begotten Son; you can clearly see HERE that Elder Jeffrey Holland specifically describes Christ as the only begotten Son. But Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son in the flesh only. Jesus and Lucifer are brothers only in spirit, simply because they both received a spirit tabernacle from the Father; other than that, they have nothing more in common. As for the manner of the Savior's begetting, some LDS leaders have given their personal opinion that it was through intercourse, but we neither know officially how the Savior was begotten, nor do we need to know the details at this time.

-- Fischer writes, "They do talk frequently, as Glenn does, about the atonement, and use that very word. But by it they mean something quite different. For Mormons, the atonement occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane, not on the cross. The blood that saves us is not the blood he shed on the cross, but the blood he spilled on the ground in the Garden as he agonized over the path that lay before him".

Partially true. The fact is we consider both Gethsemane AND Calvary to be equally important. At Gethsemane, Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world, and is said to have bled from every pore. But it is on Calvary that He paid the supreme penalty for those sins, laying down His life for us, then taking it up three days later. Both Gethsemane AND Calvary were necessary for the Atonement. It is the resurrected Savior who we celebrate, which is why crosses are not part of our tradition.

Nevertheless, despite his obvious theological disagreements with Mormonism, Bryan Fischer did a reasonably good job of describing our beliefs. The following official websites offer more information on LDS doctrine:

-- (the new version)

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