Mormon Leadership Not Appropriate at a Christian Event

StopIn a blog post on Monday (March 9, 2015) Jana Riess told readers about the recent cancellation of a Christian retreat at which Dr. Riess was scheduled to speak. The reason the retreat was cancelled: Christian church leaders deemed that, due to Dr. Riess’ Mormon faith, she is “not an ‘appropriate’ person to be a leader at a Christian event.”

Dr. Riess says God has called her to a ministry “to help build bridges between Mormonism and other Christian denominations.” She points out that she and her Protestant husband are raising their daughter as a Protestant, and that she speaks at Protestant churches and retreat centers “all the time.” She is deeply disappointed that the retreat’s Christian church leaders characterized her Mormon faith as “drastically different” from their own and that they failed to see how (in her estimation) “there’s far more that we share, resting on a mutual belief in the Savior, Jesus Christ.”

These Christian church leaders made an inconvenient call when they cancelled the retreat, but they were, in fact, fulfilling their sacred duty.

The Bible tells us that when God calls people to leadership positions within His church, He calls them to absolute fidelity to His truth. Pastors are to preach the truth and nothing but the truth. Elders are to assure the integrity of the doctrine being taught and protect God’s people from false teaching. Here’s a biblical rundown of what God requires from His church leaders:

“According to the New Testament, elders are responsible for the primary leadership and oversight of a church. The function and role of an elder is well summarized by Alexander Strauch in his book Biblical Eldership: ‘Elders lead the church [1 Tim 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 5:1-2], teach and preach the Word [1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9], protect the church from false teachers [Acts 20:17, 28-31], exhort and admonish the saints in sound doctrine [1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:13-17; Titus 1:9], visit the sick and pray [James 5:14; Acts 20:35], and judge doctrinal issues [Acts 15:16]. In biblical terminology, elders shepherd, oversee, lead, and care for the local church.’”

TruthMattersNoBackgroundDr. Riess seems to suggest that a mutual invocation of the name “Jesus Christ” trumps any “real theological differences between Mormons and evangelicals,” failing to recognize the real and deep theological differences inherent even in her simple assertion of a “mutual belief in the Savior, Jesus Christ.”

In truth, the Mormon “Jesus Christ” is not the biblical Jesus Christ. The Mormon “God” is not the biblical God. Theologically speaking, apart from terminology, there is virtually nothing Mormonism and biblical Christianity share. There are no “core similarities,” as Dr. Riess calls them; there are only superficial similarities. Any Christian leader who takes His God-given calling seriously will not fail to protect his flock from false teachers and unsound doctrine – both of which are intrinsic in Mormonism.

But what if Dr. Riess does not personally hold to the theological doctrines of Mormonism, embracing instead the biblical doctrine of God? If that were the case, should the Christian church leaders then consider her to be an appropriate person to be a leader at their Christian event? I would think not.

If anyone is unable to recognize the unbridgeable gap between Mormon theology and Christian theology; if anyone is unaware that God calls His people to absolute unwavering worship of and allegiance to Him alone; if anyone finds it immensely sad when Christian church leaders are “willing to sacrifice all the effort and expense they’ve put in to planning” an event in order to care for the spiritual well-being of God’s people – people whom they have been tasked by God to protect; such a person would not be an appropriate choice to be a leader at a Christian event regardless of that person’s religion.

I thank God for Christian leaders who follow God at any expense. May they be blessed for their obedience and loyalty to the One who called them to care for His people.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

This entry was posted in Authority and Doctrine, Christianity, Friendship, Interaction, and Evangelism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Mormon Leadership Not Appropriate at a Christian Event

  1. Rick B says:

    I have lost count of how many times I have said this in person to Mormons or on various websites.

    If LDS can claim to be Christian, then why is it I cannot call my self a Mormon, go door to door or stop people on the street, attended LDS services or what ever it is I want to do, and simply tell people My name is elder Beaudin, I am a member of the Latter Day Saints of the Church of Jesus Christ and then give the Gospel I believe.

    Jesus is God
    The Bible is the Word of God and Only scripture we need
    We will go to a burning lake of fire for all of eternity if we reject the simple message of Jesus
    One Trinity on 3 separate gods
    Jesus was born of a virgin
    Etc, Etc

    As many here know, The LDS always claim I cannot do this and it is a lie and deceitful.

    Well if it is a lie and deceitful, the the LDS who claim to be christians are lying and being deceitful, Otherwise if they are not then neither am I.

    Also why is it LDS wont allow FLDS or RLDS to call them selves Mormons when they believe closer to LDS about JS and the BoM than us Christians do, yet they can claim they are christians?

  2. historybuff says:

    Since some Church of Christ and all Catholics believe one cannot be saved without baptism, are they Christian?

  3. MJP says:

    Historybuff, the question, as I see it, goes to the basic identification of Jesus Christ, apart from any works. By that, I mean that acknowledging and placing saving faith in the one true Christ trumps belief that the works save us. There is room for disagreement on whether a Catholic (or other Christian) believes baptism is necessary for salvation, as long as faith is put in the right Jesus Christ. I don’t know the hearts of these people, and so I won’t speculate where their faith is. Also, as I understand Catholicism, there is room for the unbaptized to find exceptions into heaven.

    However, with Mormons, the very identity of Jesus is radically different. Further, there is no question the Mormon believes the works gain you additional levels of salvation, such that those who may accept Jesus may just barely be outside of outer darkness. To be truly, fully saved, to receive the full glory of God, you have to do x, y, and z. So, not only is the Jesus and God very different, there is no question that works play a huge role in determining where one ends up.

  4. Ironman1995 says:

    And true Mormon leader is one who is leading himself out of the church as i did in 2011. All others are but followers. And when i crossed that line i became a follower of Jesus and not a leader or follower of LDS teachings .

  5. Rick B says:

    Historybuff,
    Sometimes I wonder about you.
    Christians can disagree about Minor issues, issues we would call in-house debates. Their is a differance between in house minor debates and major doctrinal issues.

    Minor non salvations issues would be, can women be the lead (Head) Pastor.
    Is the rapture of the church, Pre-mid or post trib.
    Can men have long hair or facial hair.
    can we set up christmas tree’s or drink coffee or eat pork.
    The issue of baptism has been dealt with.

    Now as far as Major Doctrine goes, God has clearly laid out to us who He is and what He is about.
    Either we believe it and Believe Him or we dont. The Problem is many dont believe Him thats why we have false prophets. We also have many that are lazy and dont do their own research or homework as Acts 17:11 says, and so they just blindly believe everything they hear.

    I have never seen a single reply by you stating in detail information about you, so lets say we do this.
    If someone said to me, Rick, Tell me about History buff, you seem to know a lot about this person.

    Ok I say, I say, History buff is a 9 year old little girl, she was adopted from China, She dresses in a goth fashion, loves the most graphically violent horror movies ever made, the more gore the better.
    She cannot read past a 3 year grade level and trys to fake it as she goes.

    You would take great offense at that if I was saying that was true. So why is it people like LDS can read what the Bible says about God, totally ignore it, start telling people what they think it really means and says, and then get mad when we claim thats not true. Why can everyone get offended if we get are facts about them wrong but God it seems is not allowed. God clearly tells us, he places his Word above His name, but He also takes His name pretty serious and simply will not allow us to run around and misrepresent Him and what He is about with out incurring any form of punishment.

  6. falcon says:

    buff,
    As the resident former Catholic here on MC, I need to clear something up that you said about Catholic theology and baptism. I’ve explained this before but this appears to be a teachable moment so I’ll give it another whirl.
    For those who have no opportunity to be baptized, the path to God is the path of love.
    A person who loves God above all things else and desires to do all that God wants him to do has “Baptism of desire.” If circumstances make it impossible for him to receive sacramental Baptism, his Baptism of desire will be sufficient to open for him the gates of heaven.
    The highest form of substitute for sacramental Baptism is what we call Baptism of blood. “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

    Even without Baptism, anyone who suffers martyrdom for the sake of Christ is certain of his eternal reward. Martyrdom is defined as “the suffering, from a supernatural motive, of death or a mortal wound inflicted out of hatred for Christ, His religion, or a Christian virtue.”
    http://www.beginningcatholic.com/baptism.html

    Now, to be fair, the website does say the following:
    “Baptism is necessary for salvation for anyone who has heard the Gospel of Christ and has the possibility of requesting Baptism.”
    So it is, in a way, a little confusing.
    Personally, I believe we are saved by grace through faith and that’s pretty much it. Someone who has come to Christ in faith will live like it. Baptism is our identification with Jesus and is an outward sign of an inward grace.

  7. Rhythm Of The Tides says:

    Going by Jana Riess’ logic, an atheist with a vague respect for Christ could be considered a Christian because she has a protestant husband and raises their kids that way….

    It doesn’t add up.

    You don’t become a Christian because of who you choose to share your life with…You become a Christian by reading the Lord’s word, coming to a personal understanding of what he wants from you and how you appear before him in your current state…

    You get down on your bony knees and you offer up your entire life , from your sin to your joy and all that stuff in between you don’t want anyone to know about and give it to him and ask him to fix it, because if you keep going the way you’re going you’ll only make it worse.

    There is no ego or pride in a broken heart and the only one who can mend such a state is God.Time doesn’t heal a thing, all time does is throw up more nonsense to bury your troubles….Your life long membership in the ” covenant ” along with your words and your deeds aren’t going to save you…White suits and soft tones will get you exactly nowhere…

    It’s all about the heart, and God knows it better than you do yourself.

    If God can find within him to take a stray like me and give me a new heart, then he can do it with anyone…

    So maybe Riess should knock off the persecution act and hit the new testament.

  8. Mike R says:

    It’s to bad that the christian retreat had to be cancelled , dismissing Mrs. Riess from participating as a leader would have been sufficient . Without knowing much about this retreat , still I think what these christian leaders did was right . Either Mrs Riess is very naive , not very knowledgeable in Mormonism,
    or she is sneaky . Her ” calling” is to build bridges between Mormonism and Christian denominations?
    Why is she doing that ? To establish networking for social issues ? Is it more than that ? If she is knowledgeable in Mormon history and doctrine then she is proselytizing .Her speaking at a Christian retreat is a great way to for Mormonism to gain legitimacy in the eyes of those attending . That is her goal because as Mormon prophet David O. Mckay once stated : ” every member a missionary ” ,
    and that directive has appeared in Mormon church manuals since then .

    The religious leaders that Mrs Riess submits to , and desires all to submit to in order to gain God’s favor and receive eternal life , have been very clear what they believe about other christian leaders /churches . Of course Mrs Riess can’t afford to remind her non Mormon audiences of what her leaders have taught repeatedly , since that would hinder her ” bridge building” . There is good information about this issue on MRM , but one example :

    Mrs Riess could tell the christian leaders and their flock assembled at the retreat that only Mormon leaders have authority to administer the ordinances of baptism and The Lord’s supper , and that the Christian leaders at the retreat are ministers of apostate churches as such :

    ” And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them , unless they repent ….”
    [ Mormon apostle Orson Pratt , the Seer, p. 255 ] .

    Hopefully , Mrs Riess will one day soon walk away from Mormonism and come to Jesus alone for salvation . That would be a great day and would allow her to properly teach at a christian retreat as one who no longer follows a latter days false prophet .

  9. falcon says:

    A simple solution would be to give Dr. Riess a statement of faith and ask if she could, in all honesty, sign it. A face-to-face interview would be even better. A Mormon has as much in common with Christian doctrine as a Hindu.
    But Dr. Riess can now play the persecution card or collect a persecution stamp to put in her LDS stamp book. When she collects enough of these stamps in her book she can trade it in for her favorite feeling state.

  10. cattyjane says:

    So where is the line drawn? What points do you insist people agree with in order to be in the christian club and what points can you agree to disagree on?

  11. falcon says:

    cattyjane
    You want the list. I’ve put it out on this blog several times over the years but here it is again.
    1. The Bible is the Word of God.
    2. The Trinity; One God, three persons.
    3. The deity of Christ. He is God incarnate.
    4. The Virgin birth of Christ.
    5. Christ died for us. The blood atonement.
    6. Jesus’ resurrection.
    7. Saved by grace, apart from works.
    8. Jesus Second Coming.
    9. The final judgement.

    Would I be invited to an LDS event to lecture? I don’t believe in the BoM, Joseph Smith as a prophet, The LDS church as the one true church, the LDS prophet as a true prophet or the Mormon Jesus who is the spirit off-spring of one of the Mormon gods and one of his plural wives.
    Do you get it?

  12. falcon says:

    cattyjane
    Don’t start arguing with me about whether or not each of the things on the list is true. That’s not the point of our discussion. The point is that as a member of the LDS church Dr. Riess does not subscribe to basic orthodox Christian doctrine.
    You might ask if I’d invite an orthodox Jew to lecture on some topic of which they had particular expertise regarding the OT. I probably would depending on the topic since the OT provides the foundation for the NT.

  13. cattyjane says:

    Falcon,
    I had no intention of responding. Just wanted to hear what you would reply.

  14. Rick B says:

    Cattyjane,
    I agree with the list Falcon provided but I also would word it differently myself, here is how I would do it.

    The Bible tells us God cannot Lie, So if someone believes God can lie we/they have bigger issues to deal with.

    God say’s, He knows the Beginning from the End, He knows everything, So if He knows everything and He cannot lie then He provides evidence by telling us the future in the Form of prophecy.

    God says He knows of no other gods before Him or after Him. So if He makes these claims and we deny this, then it’s at are peril, Meaning God gave us the evidence, told us facts, if we reject it then we cant complain after we die and find out we were wrong.

    The Bible is full of over whelming evidence that it is true and if we reject it, then it’s on us.

  15. MJP says:

    I would state three areas of primacy in Christianity, where we would draw the line, so to speak, would be:

    1) The very identity of Christ, which means that we have to accept Jesus as Christ and as God, as a member of the Trinity.
    2) The primacy of the Bible and its inspiration from God.
    3) Salvation comes through faith in Jesus and his sacrifice for us on the Cross and acceptance of Him into our lives.

    If we go astray on any of these, we open ourselves to great error and alienation from God.

  16. falcon says:

    rick,
    What you wrote got by the goalie. Here it is:

    “We will go to a burning lake of fire for all of eternity if we reject the simple message of Jesus
    One Trinity on 3 separate gods”

    I don’t know what you meant by “3 separate gods”. I won’t jump to any conclusions. I’ll just ask you for a clarification of what you meant. I’m guessing it was a “typo”.

  17. historybuff says:

    I have a question on accepting the Bible as the Word of God.

    Just to be clear on this, when you say we must believe the Bible to be the Word of God, you’re not saying that we must believe it to be the literal word of God, correct? We can believe it’s an inspired guide to living and that some of the historical facts cited are not necessarily complete or accurate, but are possibly metaphors or parables not designated as such?

    Here I’m thinking of Biblical statements that the Earth is flat, like in 1 Samuel 2:8 or Psalms 96:10. Or statements in the Book of Job 1:12 that God and Satan got together to bet on Job’s loyalty. And the New Testament has a few sections that seem contradictory, like the number of angels speaking at Christ’s tomb: John 20:13 says there were two, Mark 16:6 says there was one. Or did Christ curse the fig tree before (Mark 11:14-20) or after (Matthew 21:17-19) purging the temple?

    A couple more apparent inconsistencies: Did those accompanying Paul hear a voice (Acts 9:7) or not (Acts 22:9; 26:14)? When Satan tempted Christ did he take Him first to the spire of the temple (Matthew 4:5-8) or first to the top of a mountain (Luke 4:5-9)? Was the baby Jesus taken to Egypt (Matthew 2: 15-23) or not (Luke 2:22-39)? I realize some of these are small matters but they at least show that the Bible isn’t clear on some points and that there are difficulties in taking it completely literally. Correct?

  18. Rick B says:

    Sorry,
    I have had a truly ruff week. On Sunday I was really sick, then monday it just got worse, went to the doctor and they said my appendix needed to be removed, shortly before it was it burst making everything worse. I was kept in the hospital for two days then let go. I’m alive but in tons of pain.
    and to everyones hopes and desires otherwise, I will live. LOL.

    I was trying to point out we christians believe in the Trinity, One God 3 persons. I was trying to make the point the LDS deny the trinity and believe in 3 separate gods. Hope that helps.

  19. MJP says:

    Buff,

    That is essentially correct. Some of the Bible is literature and should be taken as such. Some of it is absolutely accurate history, and continually gets confirmed as such. You also have to recognize that different authors wrote and recorded differently. That does not negate the truth of the matter. For instance, witnesses to a car accident may recall different aspects of the accident and/or record slightly different details.

    I do think it would be a mistake to take it all literally, as much of it is indeed literature and utilizes some tools of literature to make some points. Again, that does not discount its divine inspiration or historical accuracy.

  20. falcon says:

    Buff,
    The classic verses are 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
    The key word is “inspired”. My margin note says that “inspired” could be thought of as “God-breathed”.
    We do need to view Scripture in terms of its literary style. For example:
    Historical-Acts
    Prophetic-Revelation
    Biographical-Luke
    Didactic/teaching-Romans
    Poetic-Psalms
    Epistle/letter-2 Timothy
    Proverbial-proverbs.

    This is just a short list as there are other literary forms. Here’s a link to another list.
    http://biblestudyhelps.us/documents/Interpretation/help_files/Literary%20Devices%20in%20the%20Bible.pdf

  21. Mike R says:

    I don’t understand why Mrs Riess was surprised at being dismissed from speaking at this Christian retreat . I’m surprised at her being surprised . The only thing I can think of that would give a good reason of being surprised is that she is very uniformed about what her leaders have taught about their authority — the exclusive claims of Mormonism . It appears that she thinks that Mormonism is another ” christian denomination ” , a part of the family of christian churches etc . While it’s not clear what she actually believes as a Mormon ( we here have all met some Mormons who are embarrassed of some of the teachings by their leaders so they either downplay them or refuse to believe them ) , but since she does claim to be a Mormon her ” Protestant ” audience deserves to know what Mormon leaders have taught LDS about important Bible truths and what they have taught about all christian churches .

    It appears that the Christian leaders who chose to dismiss her from speaking at the retreat were informed about Mormonism , and thus made the right decision to protect their flock from possibly
    being fooled into thinking that the Mormon church is just another member of the family of Christian churches .

  22. historybuff says:

    Thank you for your helpful answers. As you have probably surmised, I am much more familiar with Mormonism than with traditional Christianity. Thanks to you, though, I’m learning more.

    I can’t imagine that Ms. Riess is naive about the vast differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity, and the historic enmity Mormons have had toward traditional Christian faiths. She certainly should have expected that Christians would be aware of it since virtually every early Mormon sermon, and several Mormon scriptures (e.g., The Pearl of Great Price) make a strenuous effort to demonize traditional Christianity and accuse it of being Satan’s spawn.

    “I was answered that I must join none of [the Christian churches], for they were all wrong; and the Personage [Jesus Christ] who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”” https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1.17-20?lang=eng#16

    Every Mormon — active or inactive, devout or apostate — knows that scripture.

    Even the Mormon temple endowment ceremony, which is supposed to be a sublimely spiritual occasion, accuses — or used to accuse — traditional Christian pastors of being in the pay of Satan.

    Since she can’t possibly be so naive as to not understand what’s going on, this is all a charade by her: either she’s a Mormon trying to proselytize traditional Christians, or she’s a closet Protestant trying to persuade the Mormon Church to be more open. Either way, she’s being very coy, insincere, and trying to deceive someone. Don’t be that someone.

  23. falcon says:

    Buff,
    I have a book I’ve had forever, currently on loan to my sister-in-law, titled “Essential Christianity” by Dr. Walter Martin. He lays out the basics of the Christian faith in a very readable and straight forward manner. He also wrote “Kingdom of the Cults” and various other books related to these topics. I would recommend anything you can get your hands on by Walter Martin.

    http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Christianity-Walter-Martin/dp/0830710299

  24. Mike R says:

    historybuff,
    It’s good to have you here , I hope that you can learn some valuable things that will help you in your transition from Mormonism . Mormons are decent and sincere people who have simply been fooled by latter days false prophets , and that breaks our hearts .The New Testament is where you will find what is necessary to know in order to receive the gift of eternal life . A personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is what the New Testament reveals is available to anyone who comes to Him in simple faith ( trust ) asking for forgiveness and to be rescued . Matt 11:28 . He will hear and abundantly rescue . Then a new life begins — 1 Cor 1:9 ; Gal 2:20 .

  25. historybuff says:

    Thank you for the kind words. I find these conversations informative and helpful.

    By the way, I did some research on Dr. Riess and I think your fears may be partially justified, although any mother who says she’s raising her children as Protestants is definitely a Mormon in name only. They’re usually described as “cultural” or “jack” Mormons: they claim the name but not the game. And I seriously doubt the Mormon Church considers her to be a devout Mormon. For one thing, she speaks at Sunstone Symposiums, the natural lair of the Mormon radicals and feminists, and considered apostate in proper Mormon circles.

    As an example of her belief system, she believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet in a scenario “where a frustrated God chooses one who is willing to serve despite personality flaws and limited understanding.”
    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/52745310-80/riess-says-mormon-church.html.csp?page=1

    In other words, she believes God picks corrupt LDS prophets because God can’t do any better, which is an insult to God, Man and Mormon. It also means that she feels free to disregard anything a Mormon prophet (and probably anyone else, Bible scribes included) has to say.

    My guess is that she’s a liberal college professor and religious journalist who enjoys poking fun at all religions. If her personal crusade is, as she claims, to bring Protestants and Mormons closer together, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t consider that to be proselyting. After all, she noted, “I was joining a church that seemed to be excommunicating people just like me.” One of her scholarly associates described her as “a dedicated Mormon, but she has the education and disposition to be a universalist, finding truths in every faith and tradition.” Which means she’s neither Mormon nor Christian.

    So, yes, she’s technically a Mormon, and yes, she’ll say nice things about the Mormon Church (and every other religion on the planet). She would probably have made fun of the Mormon Church, then recommended it. That’s just my guess, though. You be the judge. Here she is in her own words. http://janariess.com/blog/

  26. falcon says:

    I went out and checked that blog. Talk about a big Boo Hoo from some of the posters. And there were others that were reasonable and others that were a real head scratchier. A sample:

    “Christians: proud to take you back to the 19th century.”

    “While I recognize the differences between Mormons and evangelicals (and still consider myself a Protestant Christian), I can honestly say that my religious experience has been hugely blessed as a result of studying and meditating upon LDS teachings and theology.”

    “I find it reasonable the organizers didn’t know Jana was Mormon. As this is an Evangelical conference, it’s reasonable for the organizers to assume Jana is an Evangical Christian.
    Evangelical Christians tend toward the conservative side and a conservative definition of Christianity. It is likely that Mormonism falls outside this conservative definition.”

    “Which “savior Jesus Christ” is it of which you speak?
    Is it the transcendent, eternal Supreme Being of the Bible, 2nd Person of the Trinity, the exalted and all-powerful YHWH, who declares that “before Me no god was former nor shall there be any after Me (Isa 43:10)?Or is it the highly evolved alien from Kolob, current but not last exalted deity to run off the LDS production line? It seems that neither you nor anyone else on this thread thinks the difference matters but I certainly do.
    And so does He.”

    “It is time for Evangelicals to overcome their irrational fear/hatred of Mormons. The world is growing more evil at an alarming rate. We do ourselves and God a major disservice when different sects have skirmishes over different beliefs. We need to unite – regardless of doctrinal differences – to push forth goodness, righteousness, and humbly stand together as followers of Christ.”

  27. falcon says:

    And finally…………………………….

    Rob Bowman
    Mar 12, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Try, here’s an opportunity to clear up a misunderstanding that stems from a difference in our beliefs. Evangelicals do not subscribe to the claim that “the faith” is the sole province of a particular denomination, or that each denomination is a separate “faith.” We also don’t claim that only one denomination is the only true and living church on the earth today. We take the position (to state the idea somewhat simply) that any denomination that holds the same basic beliefs about God, humanity, sin, and salvation is a legitimate part of the Christian church. This means that evangelicals are comfortable with interdenominational gatherings that serve purposes for which Christians of those different denominations can make common cause. On the other hand, religious organizations or groups that espouse radically different beliefs on those basic issues fall naturally outside “the circle,” as you put it, with regard to events intended to promote the common beliefs and values of orthodox or more narrowly evangelical Christians. So such events would also “exclude” Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and even liberal Episcopalians. One does not hear about these people being “excluded” from evangelical functions only because they rarely seek to be included in them. Mormons, on the other hand, often do seek to be included in such interdenominational events.

    I will say that I have read about events that were “interfaith” in such a broad context that there was no rational basis for excluding Mormons, and yet that happened. I don’t condone such inconsistent treatment.

    Rob Bowman is the executive director for the Institute for Religious Research

  28. falcon says:

    In reading the blog posts what emerged were a couple of themes. One was, did those organizing the event handle everything properly? First of all, did they properly vet Dr. Riess? Secondly, once they determined she was a Mormon, were their actions proper. They cancelled the conference but paid her, from what I could determine.
    I was wondering why they cancelled the conference? I’ve been thinking about this and having time to reflect I’d have probably let her speak and used it as an opportunity to compare and contrast Mormonism and orthodox Christianity. I would have asked her to do it in her introductory statement and would have reviewed it with her for content.
    This situation comes off a little too much like “….the Christians are being mean to the Mormon.” All of this of course reinforces stereotypes that Mormons have regarding Christians. Truth be known, most Christians, even of the born-again evangelical type, have no knowledge of Mormonism and probably don’t know a Mormon.
    In my area, Mormons are about as common as Big Foot sightings.

  29. Mike R says:

    falcon,
    I was thinking along those same lines concerning the canceling of the retreat . Perhaps it could have been used to inform those attending why Mormonism is so at variance doctrinally with traditional Christianity etc . At any rate those leaders who made the decision to cancel it were thinking of their flocks spiritual safety and we have applaud them for that .

    In the day in which we live it is common to be invited to community events where a Mormon is one of the speakers , these events might address social concerns of the community or similar themes . I would attend such functions . But what about a church allowing a Mormon to give a Bible lesson at a Christian function ? That is a different matter altogether .

    Considering how much progress Mormons have made in the last several decades to be accepted as another Christian church in the neighborhood , so to speak , it is very important for Pastors to inform their congregations about Mormonism . This is vital because Christians simply will not get enough of the right information by reading or listening to what Mormon leaders say in public interviews or on their official web site . The Mormon church has a top grade P.R. Dept which has been very effective in advertising Mormonism .

    It’s getting more difficult in our society for Pastors to prevent their flock from accepting imitations —counterfeit prophets , counterfeit gospels , especially when some of those prophets are polite , dress well , and talk about living a clean moral lifestyle .

  30. falcon says:

    Mike,
    The problem is that Mormons won’t be up-front about what they believe. LDS folks have perfected the technique of laying in the weeds. They have the mega-watt smile and friendly manner. They are neat, clean and orderly. They are sincere, devout and appear very reasonable. I would say it’s the epitome of wolves in sheep clothing. But they don’t see themselves that way.
    When ever I tell Christians what the LDS believe, I get the mouth agape and saucer size eyes look. No wonder the LDS have to hide what they believe.

  31. historybuff says:

    And it’s ironic that when you tell Mormons the truth about their history and their past doctrines, you don’t get that “mouth agape and saucer size eyes look” that you get from Christians and that you’d normally expect from someone learning the truth for the first time. Instead, you get a look of fear: absolute, complete fear.

    In their hearts, they already know.

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