GRAPEVINE, Texas — A popular megachurch minister in Texas has come under fire for inviting radio host and author Glenn Beck to speak at his church as part of an Independence Day celebration.
Ed Young of the multi-site Fellowship Church invited Beck, an outspoken Mormon, to speak during all of his Sunday services today as part of Young’s Freedom Experience event. Beck’s presentations were advertised on the church website as “a message of hope and history as we look to honor those who have provided us with our freedom.”
The announcement was met by criticism from some who expressed concerns about a Mormon being invited to a Southern Baptist Church to speak during the Sunday services.
Andy Boyd, a spokesman for Fellowship Church, said that Beck was invited since he is a known American historian, and also because the he has “shown his love for God in many ways.”
“At Fellowship, we wanted to bring in one of the most qualified people to speak on that subject,” he told the Christian Post. “Glenn Beck is a man who is undoubtedly an American patriot, loves this country, and has shown his love for God in many ways. His knowledge of our history and his understanding of our nation is unmatched, and we’re excited to have him here.”
Beck, noting the controversy over his invitation, soon also released a statement.
“My topic is Gods role in American history and how we always rise to the occasion as we turn back toward God. … I am not speaking about theology this weekend and I do not wish to do anything but strengthen people’s faith in one God—the God of their understanding,” he said in part. “The God who established this nation and the God that is telling us if we turn our face to Him, He will heal our land.”
Beck, classifying himself as a “born against LDS Christian,” said that he fellowships with those of a variety of beliefs.
“[I speak] about God and Jesus more than any other mainstream radio or television host in the last 70 years,” he said. “[I study] the Torah with rabbis on a regular basis and met today with the Dalai Lama. Oh, I almost forgot, I was texting my atheist friend from the meeting with the DL.”
Beck said that he believes that evangelical separation from Mormons is of the devil.
“Isolate and ridicule. It stops us from uniting. Abe Lincoln had it right, divided we fall,” he wrote. “Darkness knows if we, the children of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, present a united front we can and will defeat any force on earth. If we are on God’s side, who can stand against us?”
But some are still uncomfortable with the invite. Warren Throckmorton wrote an article on the matter for Patheos on Thursday.
“I disagree when Beck says he won’t speak about theology. He contradicted himself in these sentences. Surely, claims about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, how one may strengthen one’s relationship with that God, and how He established and ‘will heal’ America are theological claims,” he wrote.
“More to the point, Mormons have very specific theological claims about the founders, the founding era and the founding documents. Beck is animated by those beliefs and will present them in some form to Young’s congregation,” Throckmorton continued. “Make no mistake, Beck will teach theology this weekend.”