Yesterday I wrote a post highlighting a recent column by Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in which he blasted the idea that Evangelical Christians would support a Mormon like Glenn Beck as he called the nation to revival.
Moore called it a “scandal” and shortly after it appeared online Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Tweeted his support for Moore’s article, which got me wondering about Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, because I know that Land has been among those working closely with Beck in recent weeks:
A few weeks before organizing a massive rally on the Mall that had the feel of a religious revival, Glenn Beck sought the blessing of some of the country’s most prominent conservative Christian leaders.
The Fox talk show host wanted their support as he shifted from political commentary to a more spiritual message, he told the group of about 20.
This is where God is leading me, Beck declared, according to Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, who was there, along with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.
Land said most in the group found Beck’s faith genuine and heartfelt, although not everyone agreed to embrace him publicly.
“We walked back to the hotel after and said: ‘That was extraordinary,’ ” Land said of his conversation with Dobson after the dinner in Manhattan. “I’ve never heard a cultural figure of that popularity talking that overtly about his faith. He sounded like Billy Graham.”
Today, Land sat down with NPR’s Robert Siegel and disputed Beck’s claims that President Obama’s Christian faith is unrecognizable while also claiming that though Mormonism is not a Christian religion, it is an “Abrahamic faith”:
SIEGEL: Glenn Beck is a Mormon. Is that brand of Christianity as distant or more so from yours than the National Council of Churches mainline Protestantism you…
Dr. LAND: Probably more so.
SIEGEL: More so.
Dr. LAND: And look, Glenn knows this. He said, look, I’m a Mormon. Most Christians don’t think that I’m a Christian. And so, you know, I’ll quote the pope, when he’s talking about liberation theology.
I do not think Mormonism is an orthodox Christian faith, with a small O. I think perhaps the most charitable way for an evangelical Christian to look at Mormonism is to look at Mormonism as the fourth Abrahamic faith.
SIEGEL: Not a Christian faith.
Dr. LAND: Not a Christian faith.
Really? That is pretty amazing that Land would place Mormonism on par with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, especially considering that the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board labels Mormonism a “cult” [PDF]: