I knew Glenn Beck back when. I was a manager of a seminary café for eight years, which is to say that I made sandwiches and salad by myself all morning until the students trickled in at noon. Beck was my constant companion. He made me laugh so hard I had to put down the knife sometimes. He was Mr. Fun Guy back then, with not a religious or political bone in his body that I could discern.
Then I lost my job, and I also lost a couple of years with Beck. It must have been around that time that God whacked him, because when I turned the dial again, he had uprooted from his local Philadelphia station to "high atop Time Square," and was suddenly "the third-most-listened-to talk show in America."
Gone was the unrelenting mindless clowning. Gone was the Valentine's Day feature I looked forward to, where panicked husbands who had forgotten the solemn occasion until the last minute were helped by the radio host to fill in a form letter of eternal devotion.
But it was obvious to me that Beck wasn't into the extra money or fame. It was obvious to me that he was a new creation in Christ. I know he's Mormon and all that. I also remember reading a book by Professor Harvey Conn decades ago that said that you have to be very careful when judging a person's salvation---some people with lousy theology have their hearts right with God, and some people with impeccable theology are cold toward God.
Glenn Beck isn't cold toward God. He is red hot. He is "a brand plucked from the fire" (Zechariah 3:2). He knows what pit he was in---and he knows exactly who took him out of it. If I were his station manager I would be biting my fingernails every day, because the man just doesn't hold back about Jesus, and I can say without hesitation that I have not heard the essentials of the gospel more clearly and boldly in any church than on his program.
I have heard all the criticisms, and I can find sympathy for them---about the Mormonism, about the dangers of religious syncretism, etc. But regarding the Mormon thing, I think we should regard Beck as an Apollos and pray for a Priscilla and Aquila in his life, to steer him better (Acts 18). I just don't see how anyone can listen to the man for a solid week and not be as blessed as I am by his courage, his utter lack of fear of man, and his sharp and personal testimony of Christ's transforming power.
For more on this topic, see Marvin Olasky's "Beckoning Christians" from the current issue of WORLD.
For more on Andrée's experiences related to Sunday's 9/12 Tea Party rally, click here.
To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.
Editor's Note: Please see "Justin Taylor on a 'tragic mistake'" for a response to this column.