Is Mormonism a Christian religion? Though we have discussed this question here so many times, here we go again. Because of the flap Pastor Jeffress caused in publicly identifying Mormonism as a “theological cult” on October 8 (2011), it seems that everybody is talking about where Mormonism fits into the religious landscape.
Non-Christians and Mormons, predominately, think that defining Mormonism as a non-Christian religion is nothing but a nasty slur. Christians, on the other hand, generally understand the wisdom of sticking with a theological definition of the Christian faith. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote this week,
“It is neither slander nor condescension to state clearly that Mormonism is not Christianity. Taking Mormonism on its own terms, one finds a comprehensive set of teachings and doctrines that are self-consciously set against historic Christianity. The larger world may be confused about this, but biblical Christians cannot make this error, for we are certain that the consequences are eternal.”
Brent Hunsaker, reporter for ABC News Salt Lake City, thinks it is wrong to say Mormonism is not Christian. Though he frames the question personally, as whether Mormons themselves are Christians, his argument is broader. He wrote,
“[W]hy am I so disturbed by Pastor Jeffress declaration that Mormons are not Christians? — Because he does not grant me the same privileges.
“How is it that you, Pastor Jeffress, or for that matter, The Southern Baptist Convention, have obtained patent to the title Christian?
“Mormons, or more correctly, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe their only hope for salvation rests in Him whose name the Church bears. They believe the scriptural declaration that Jesus Christ is the great ‘I AM’ and the Only Begotten Son of the Father.
“Quibble all you want over the meaning of St. James, but Mormons take him at his word that ‘faith (in Christ) without works is dead’ and yet also believe in His saving grace. They hold that the two concepts are not exclusive or contradictory.
“Sounds ‘Christian’ to me…
“Mormons have what they believe are very good reasons for calling themselves Christians.”
What Mr. Hunsaker has failed to realize is that while he rejects the historic (biblical) theological definition of “Christian,” he demands that his own definition be recognized and accepted in its place. “Mormons have what they believe to be very good reasons for calling themselves Christians,” he argues. But what about those on the opposite side of the debate, who have what they believe to be very god reasons for saying Mormonism is not Christian?
Christians have been busy in the media over the last couple of weeks, explaining the reasons Mormonism is not recognized as Christianity. What follows are a few of these explanations (heavily edited – please click on the links for the complete stories). From an article in NewsOK:
“Mark McClellan, dean of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry at Oklahoma Baptist University, said there are several theological differences in what the ‘historic Christian Church’ — which he described as mainline Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic Church, to some degree — believe, and the faith beliefs to which members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ascribe…
“McClellan said the historic Christian Church and Mormonism differ on the role of the Bible.
“He said the historic Christian Church believes that the Bible is the revealed word of God and is the one inspired and authoritative Christian book.
“He said, and [President of the Oklahoma City Stake of the LDS Church, Kevin] Graves agreed, that Mormons have not one book, but a set of standard books which they ascribe to…
“McClellan said the historic Christian Church is monotheistic, viewing God as being one eternal God. He exists as one God in three persons (the Trinity)…
“By contrast, he said Mormons believe there are a number of gods… Mormons don’t have the same view of the Trinity, either.
“He said [Mormons] believe that God the Father was once a man and…that men can become gods, McClellan said.
“Graves said McClellan’s assessment of this aspect of Mormonism is true…
“McClellan said another difference can be found between views of grace.
He said the historic Christian Church says men are saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ alone. By contrast, Mormonism holds that men are saved by grace but by also being obedient to the requirements of the Book of Mormon and Mormonism.
“Graves agreed with this assessment…”
To recap, both the Christian and the Mormon in this interview agreed that Mormonism is radically different from Christianity in the areas of Scripture, the nature of God, the nature of man, and the way of salvation.
An explanation by Pastor Mark Driscoll:
“Historically, there has been a very clear line drawn between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity, with all leaders of the church across a wide spectrum of Christianity agreeing that Mormonism is not only heretical but also a cult…
“The Christian is not a Christian because he or she is good or even like Christ, but because he or she is in Christ. Out of this comes good works (Ephesians 2:10), but it is not our good works that make us Christian, it is Jesus’ work on the cross (1 John 1:5-7)…
“For the Mormons, it is not Jesus blood that makes us righteous, but rather his sacrifice that gives us grace to be good, which leads to righteousness and salvation. The Mormons do not find the work of Christ to be sufficient for salvation but rather the starting point…
“Thus, it’s important to understand what the cult of Mormonism teaches, to understand that it’s antithetical to Christianity, and that, while it’s certain there are some Christians in the Mormon church who love the Jesus of the Bible and don’t understand or agree with what their church teaches, the Mormon church could never be considered orthodox unless it made some serious and massive changes to it’s theology.
“The danger facing the Christian church is always to capitulate to culture. As Mormonism becomes more culturally acceptable, the temptation will be to make Mormonism more acceptable to Christians as well. This can’t happen if the Church is to preserve its witness in the world to the true triune God of the Bible as worshipped by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians alike.
“Many Mormons are good neighbors, friends, and fellow citizens. But, we cannot go so far as to call them brothers and sisters in a common faith. To do so is to not only confuse real Christians, but to also diminish the importance of lovingly speaking with Mormons about the errors of their belief in hopes of seeing them come to know the real God of the Bible and avoiding eternal damnation for worshipping a false god.”
To recap, a person is a Christian when he or she is born again in Christ–made righteous by the blood of Christ. Christianity teaches that Jesus is the beginning and the end of salvation; Mormonism says Jesus is the “starting point” of salvation, but the end point is determined by personal righteousness.
“…for evangelical Christians, our concern must start with theology. Is Mormonism just a distinctive denomination of Christianity?
“The answer to that question is definitive. Mormonism does not claim to be just another denomination of Christianity. To the contrary, the central claim of Mormonism is that Christianity was corrupt and incomplete until the restoration of the faith with the advent of the Latter-[d]ay Saints and their scripture, The Book of Mormon. Thus, it is just a matter of intellectual honesty to take Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, at his word when he claimed that true Christianity did not exist…
“From a Christian perspective, Mormonism is a new religion, complete with its own scripture, its own priesthood, its own rituals, and its own teachings. Most importantly, those teachings are a repudiation of historic Christian orthodoxy – and were claimed to be so from the moment of Mormonism’s founding forward. Mormonism rejects orthodox Christianity as the very argument for its own existence, and it clearly identifies historic Christianity as a false faith.
“Mormonism starts with an understanding of God that rejects both monotheism and the Christian doctrine of the Trinity…Furthermore, Mormonism teaches that we are now what God once was and are becoming what He now is. This is in direct conflict with historic Christianity.
“Mormonism rejects the Bible as the sole and sufficient authority for the faith, and insists that The Book of Mormon and other authoritative Latter-Day Saints writings constitute God’s final revelation… Nothing makes the distinction between Mormonism and historic Christianity more clear than the experience of reading The Book of Mormon. The very subtitle of The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ – makes one of Mormonism’s central claims directly and candidly: That we need another authority to provide what is lacking in the New Testament.
“The Mormon doctrine of sin is not that of biblical Christianity, nor is its teaching concerning salvation… Mormonism’s teachings concerning Jesus Christ start with a radically different understanding of the Virgin Birth and proceed to a fundamentally different understanding of Christ’s work of salvation.
“By its very nature, Mormonism borrows Christian themes, personalities, and narratives. Nevertheless, it rejects what orthodox Christianity affirms and it affirms what orthodox Christianity rejects. It is not orthodox Christianity in a new form or another branch of the Christian tradition. By its own teachings and claims, it rejects any claim of continuity with orthodox Christianity.”
Again we see that Christians reject Mormonism as Christian based on its theological claims as well as its own repudiation of historic Christianity.
Dr. Phil Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary explains,
“It is important for us to remember that the question here is much broader than just evangelicals. Virtually every self-confessed Christian movement in America rejects Mormonism as a true expression of biblical or traditional Christian faith…
“When I was director of interfaith evangelism at the North American Mission Board, we generally approached the idea of a ‘cult’ as a religious movement which claimed to be the only true expression of the Christian faith and yet had altered or changed one or more of the essential doctrines of the faith. Using this as a working definition, Mormonism is clearly, absolutely, completely, and thoroughly a ‘religious cult.’ And while the word ‘cult’ may be less than academic, it still carries popular meaning when used in a doctrinal sense as Dr. Jeffress has done…
“When I am asked the question, ‘Is Mormonism a cult?,’ I generally respond by saying there are three elements that everyone must be clearly aware of when it comes to Mormonism. These elements make it an aberrant expression of the Christian faith…
1. Mormonism radically redefines and doctrinally reconstructs the Christian faith. There is no major doctrine of the faith, whether it be God, Jesus, salvation or inspiration of the Scriptures that Mormonism has not severely and completely altered and changed from its original intent…
2. Mormonism radically redefines and reconstructs the Christian worldview…
3. Mormonism is disingenuous in its approach to proselytization. While claiming to be true to the Christian faith, Mormonism has seriously redesigned and recreated it. The whole basis of the church is built on the words of Jesus which are canonized in Joseph Smith’s religious autobiography. Joseph Smith claimed that God and Jesus commanded him not to join any church because ‘they were all wrong … their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors [members] were all corrupt.’ Mormonism, in fact, has set itself apart from main-stream Christianity…
“… Mormonism has been, is, and probably always will be a radical departure from Biblical faith.”
Dr. Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, wrote,
“For evangelicals and others, ‘Christian’ is more than a self-identified label. It is hard for people in tolerant America to hear, ‘I know you SAY you are a Christian, but you are not.’ Yet, basic to evangelicalism (and historic Protestantism) is that some people are Christians, some people are not, and not all people who think that they are Christians actually are.
“’Christianity’ is not based on what you say about yourself or your beliefs. ‘Christianity’ must be connected to how your beliefs agree with the beliefs of biblical Christianity.
“…the view that ‘Mormons are not Christians’ is the widely and strongly held view among Protestant pastors. That does not mean they do not respect Mormons as persons, share their values on family, and have much in common. Yet, they simply view Mormonism as a distinct religion outside of basic teachings of Christianity. Many of these pastors may know Mormons consider themselves Christians, but Protestant pastors overwhelmingly do not consider them such…
“The fundamental issue is: how divergent can your views be and still be a part of a faith group (in contrast to forming a new one). Can you believe, for instance, that Muhammad is not the prophet and still call yourself a Muslim? The vast majority of Muslims would say you cannot. For Christians, calling yourself a Christian while not believing that God has always existed as the triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is as inconceivable…
“…Christianity has been defined a certain way for centuries. There is no reason to be shocked that devout Christians consider those with a different view of Christ as non-Christians. In the current cultural climate it may be uncomfortable, but it is anything but shocking.”
Me and Kate are not saying this as if it is what we teach. The Bible and God says this and we are just repeating what we read from God. Also go back and read about Moses, He misrepresented God and guess what? God did not allow Moses to enter the promised land. Read about Job, same thing and God called him and his friends to account, God did not just blow it off as nothing.
Then we read the Bible warning us of false teachers, false prophets, Doctrine that is not from God. The Bibles warns us over and over, yet you seem to think it is nothing.
Funny how you blow it off as an administrative matter, Yet the BoM teaches their are only two Churchs. The True Church and the Church of the Devil. The BoM is clear, if you are not part of the True Church, you are part of the Church of the Devil. So if you get the boot from the True Church, where does that leave you? With the Church of the Devil. Is the Devil’s Church saved?
Mormonism’s claim to fame is “revelation” both of the personal type and the form that goes with the guy they refer to as the prophet.
This Mormon revelation has proven to be about as reliable as the cars made in the former Communist block eastern European countries. Individual Mormons get pretty excited over their belief that they are hearing on a regular basis from the Mormon god who lives on Kolob. He communicates with them because he provided the spiritual sperm and one of his goddess wives provided the spiritual egg thus they are literal offspring.
So anyway personal revelation is the way the Mormon god of Kolob encourages and guides his offspring as they strive to emulate him and become gods also. What about communicating with Jesus? I don’t think that’s happening. The Mormon Jesus is after all, just one of the Mormon god’s kids too, albeit a very successful one.
I believe in revelation. The first revelation dealing directly with the NT Church takes place between the pages of Matthew-Revelation. The other type of revelation is the Holy Spirit illuminating God’s Word providing insights and guidance as we walk in the newness of life in Christ.
There is another form of revelation and it’s explained by Paul in First Corinthians 12-14 and modeled through-out the Book of Acts. God’s Gifts are distributed as the Holy Spirit wills in the Body of Christ.
Now does this sound like what’s going on in Mormonism?
If Mormons want to be called Christians I’m going to suggest that they be called “Kolob Christians”. This would help identify that they are participants in a different brand of religion that uses many names and terms similar to orthodox Christianity but has it’s home on a star far, far away.
“These are my leaders, the leaders of my church. Certainly LDSs are in a better position to interpret the words and actions of our leaders.”
These were my leaders, I was LDS for 40 years and I think that gives me the right to question and interpret their words and actions. In fact, anyone wanting to look at Mormonism has the right to interpret their words and actions, especially potential converts.
“The LDS church decides what the LDS church teaches and believes.”
This is exactly what I have been telling you. Lay members have no authority and so why ask them what they believe? Go to the source, LDS leaders and prophets. I see that you haven’t addressed my questions to you concerning Adam/God and I suspect you never will. I know that you can’t. That’s why you wave it off as not important, just like the rest of the Mormons on this blog. If I could say one thing to you it would be this. There is life after Mormonism. It’s a good life too. There is freedom in Christ. Please find him.
Mormons wonder why Christians don’t consider them part of the Christian family and why (Christians) don’t/can’t take them seriously.
I’m sorry but I just can’t get by the fact that Mormons believe that the Mormon god and his wife/wives live on the planet Kolob where they procreate spirit children, that Mormon men believe they will also become gods and along with their goddess wives rule their own planetary system and that the Mormon founder “translated” Mormon scripture, the BoM, by putting a magic rock in his hat and shoving his face in the hat.
Mormons do you even have an inkling of how preposterous these things sound? And here’s the other part of the Mormon faith equation. The more convoluted and bizarre an idea is, the more those in aberrant religious sects embrace it. Believing bizarre and convoluted claims is seen as faith.
Mormons want us to ignore all these things and look at all the good their church does. I don’t think reinforcing a delusion and hiding basic facts about the history and practices of the religion is doing good.
I suppose we could have discussions with Mormons on a topic like, let’s say, the Beatitudes, and what good would that do?
In my mind, Mormons need to be constantly reminded of the basic beliefs of their religion and why these beliefs are so far out of the mainstream of Christianity.
I can’t remember which of our former Mormon posters said it, but he said that one of the reasons he finally left the Mormon fold was because he just got tired of defending what he finally realized was indefensible.
We repeat these things often because of the rotating nature of Mormon lurkers who pass through here. Many don’t know or haven’t considered these things and need a shot of reality.
Kate- I posted a ~299 word response to your adam god question at 1120 or so, right after my preceeding post. It says it is still awaiting moderation. If it doesn’t pass the moderation process (whatever that is), I’ll try to repost.
Falcon, you my friend are spicy. I find your posts so inflammatory and antagonistic I have nothing useful to say in response. Which is probably fine. Are you really interested in my responses anyway?
I’m not here to convince you guys what I believe is true. I’m here to explain what I believe and what I feel the LDS church teaches. I feel some people prop up an inaccurate representation of what the LDS church teaches then blow it to pieces. A straw man fallacy becomes a popular pinata. The vast majority of what people reject about the LDS I also reject, because it isn’t true. They don’t believe it. Neither do I. Why spend so much time talking about things we both reject?
Once *I* feel you’ve heard an accurate version of what modern, current and living LDSs believe, my job is done. You don’t have to agree with it, but do you understand it well enough to explain it to someone else? Once *you* feel you’ve understand my point of view, say so and we can move on.
As far as “mormon trolls” who come and go – I can see why. It is difficult to be in a hostile environment where it feels like everything you say is going to be interpreted in the most negative way possible and stretched to an unintended extreme – then tossed back in your lap. Who chooses to expose themselves to that?
Anyone want to answer my previous question? Can someone explain in simple terms what evangelicals understand about the trinity and Christ’s relationship to his Father?
bws71, Hitler a christian ? WOW. No wonder you can’t give a clear answer to my question
concerning the prophet Christopher Nemelka . You said concerning the question of who is
or is not a true Christian : ” I can’t do it. I submit that no person can .” Well Spencer W.
Kimball was not as PR oriented as you appear to be. He said Mormons are the true
Christians ! At least he could me a straight- forward answer . Now concerning your attempt
to remove the spotlight from an evaluation of Mormon prophets and apostles teachings as
being from God , or , only the ideas of religious men . Mormon leaders claim to be faithful in
relaying spiritual truth from God on fundamental doctrines , teachings that affect a person’s
relationship with God . I’m told that these men have been reliable spiritual guides from 1830
to today. You said your leaders make mistakes. This is not news, because all men are sinners.
But when a Mormon prophet tells me not worry about being misled into false doctrine because
he will never lead me astray, I tend to take that as an assurance that God is giving him the info .
You also made this incredible statement : ” These leaders make mistakes even when they
believe they are revealing God’s will and wisdom .” And what does God call such prophets ?
Are not they self-deluded ? Consider : Jer 23:21; Micah 3:5 a Do we just say ” who cares ” ,
or ” it does’nt matter because I’m sure they try to live moral livestyles “. [cont]
First, from a step back, I find it interesting that this discussion went from what Christians think about Mormons being Christian to what Christians say LDS’s beliefs are and how LDSs should say what LDSs believe (along with requests from Christians here to LDS here to state what they believe for themselves) to now (twice) bws71 asking for the Christians to not only state what they believe (thought it seems like this has been done tons) but what they believe about the most difficult thing to understand – the nature of God.
Now, Christians do know quite a bit about God, but the details of the nature of God – the Ultimate Highest Reality-is something everyone will have to guess at.
So it seems strange that instead of actually talking about what bws71 and other LDS here do believe they would like the Christians to attempt to discuss the most difficult topic to discuss. I will assume that this is done in an honest desire to understand Christians more, but I find it both interesting as an observation of the general course of this thread.
Second, I thought it interesting that as someone here talked about the common usage of the word “cult” being an unfair and undesirable depiction of LDS, so too, the common usage of the word “christian” (as “i am a christian”, nothing to do with beds or people ethics) would in a similar but opposite way be unfair and undesirable from a Christian point of view to be applied to LDS. So just as LDS don’t think “cult” is fair or just as a description of their religion, Christians don’t think “christian” is fair and just as a description of LDS religion.
[cont] You then tried to tie a mistake riddled track record of your leaders as being just a
normal part of a Chistian’s spiritual life , which you said is sometimes ” unclear” , “imprecise”
etc. Well, the Christian life is full of challenges to be sure, but submitting to a false prophet
is not part of the program. Fact of the matter is , Mormon publications have instructed me
that Mormon prophets are the only legal channel of communication that God uses to keep His
doctrines pure , that with this arrangement conflict and confusion are thus eliminated. This is a
blatantly false claim . You then proceeded to say that “evangelicals ” should let go of false
notions like , among other things, the Adam-God doctrine . You said ” LDS have moved on ” .
You are sorely mistaken here . First of all, this doctrine was not merely a “false notion ” , it
was called for what it was/is by a Mormon apostle as a deadly heresey , (his words ). How
could the Mormon chief apostle claim to received this doctrine by revelation , then another
more recent Mormon apostle teach that it was a damnable heresey ? Lastly , you said that
” We continue to draw closer to truely understanding truth.” I hope you did’nt mean drawing
closer to God by understanding better what saving truths are. These are not new , and we did’nt
need a “modern day ” prophet to reveal what they are. Your use of Gordon B. Hinckey’s
statement on t.v. was indicative of how too many Mormons cite their past prophets; read
what he himself taught on this subject and please stop acting like the PR dept.
Well Mike, I hear you are unsatisfied with my answers. I can understand that. I feel I’ve given my best shot at explaining how i believe on this topic. If you don’t *understand* what I believe, I’ll keep trying to explain I guess. If you understand but simply don’t agree with me, that’s fine. I can live with that. Once again I hear you telling me what my leaders have said and meant on many topics. I don’t agree with some of your interpretations of their statements. That’s fine too.
I probably just maxed my post limit for the day.
Seems you think Mike and others are saying your leaders have said….
Well I hate to break it to you buddy, but when we say your leaders said…
we are simply saying what they said and can back it up with evidence.
If I said JS claimed the shy is hot pink and if you reject that then your not a christian. You would say to me, Where did JS say that? If I could not provide evidence you would call me on that, rightly so.
But when we say, JS taught no man can see God and live, with out the priest hood, But then he supposedly sees God with out having the priesthood. Or BY said, No Negro ever can Hold the priest hood and it is a unchangeable law of God, we can back these things up. Then it comes down to, you cannot argue over, did my prophets really say that. So then you instead throw them under the bus and say, Well thats not what they meant, or they are not alive to speak for themselves, so we cannot be sure thats what they meant.
The thing that bothers me most is, Many things we said by former prophets who are now dead, yet many living presidents and prophets and even average LDS agree with things they said, so they quote from them in books, or sermons or GC. Why is it you can understand them when it is something you believe and agree with, but when you dont like it, then you say, we cannot know what they meant?
bws71, there’s no need for you to keep trying to convince me who is a true christian and
who is a false christian, as I know the answer as per several prominent Mormon leaders.
I don’t feel I’m telling you what your leaders have taught. Since they are the ones who
establish Mormon doctrine I let them speak for themselves. If that comes across as “telling”
you what they have taught , that was not my intention . I feel that Jesus’ warning to beware
of false prophets who would come on the scene is very very serious . I also feel that most
Mormons might not think through the fact that not all false prophets are immoral, conniving
individuals , some make it a point to preach constantly about living a moral life-style . This is
why many decent people are misled . Lastly , it does’nt make for a fruitful discussion when in
describing some of the doctrines of some of your prophets that you resort to calling these mere
false “notions ” . This almost would be like calling adultery a “fling” or “affair” in order to soften
the impact of it . I hope that one day you can come to see that you don’t need these men as
authorities in your life. Jesus said to beware of such men . There is a better way. Take care.
The problem with our Mormon friends is that they seems to want Mormonism to be something different from what their seers and prophets tell us it is. This is a fairly common phenomenon with Mormons because the Mormon seers and revelators have left an extensive record of what they said and wrote.
So we present what these guys proclaimed and Mormons tell us we have it wrong. Wrong in what way? The Mormon prophets said it. We write what they said. Mormons blow the whistle, throw the flag and on top of it declare that we’ve gone out-of-bounds. All this because we present to them what their prophets have clearly proclaimed.
Take the Journal of Discourses. Mormons run away from what’s recorded there like they’re being chased by a grizzle bear who hasn’t had lunch.
What Mormons haven’t quite put together is that they could dump all of this nonsense, go straight for Jesus and have a meaningful relationship with Him without the hassle of a religious system that basically enslaves them.
But what we know is that Mormons have a love affair with their religious system. They mistakenly view their LDS church as representative of what God has created and requires. They may as well be worshiping a golden calf.
The criteria for what is considered a Christian religion isn’t all that complicated. The basic points of the orthodox faith have been around for a couple of thousand years. There have been false prophets banging on their drums for centuries claiming to have the real super duper secret information revealed only to them establishing God’s “true” church.
So we examine the claims, see that they are just the same old attacks on the nature of God, the Bible, salvation by grace, the blood atonement on and on.
What Mormons need to realize is that who they need is Jesus. Joseph Smith testified to the Lord Jesus Christ in the BoM. He later decided that he wanted a different Jesus. In true form he also decided he wanted a different God all together along with an entirely different plan of salvation.
Mormon doctrine has many different incarnations depending on who decides he’s the current mouth piece for the religion. Even individual Mormon, while swooning over whoever the current prophet is, reserves for themselves the right to accept or reject what the prophet says while all the while claiming that this “prophet” is speaking for the Mormon god.
The only thing I can figure out is that Mormons must real dig Mormonism. A person would have to in order to ignore the obvious and be willing to accept a God that appears neither in the Bible or the BoM for that matter.
I keep thinking, wouldn’t it be better to be in love with Jesus? He’s the Messiah. The One who suffered and shed His blood that we, who are sinners, can be granted eternal life through faith in Him. It’s not all that complicated.
The problem comes when men get creative. They lose sight of the simplicity of the Gospel message which is that men are separated from God because of our sin. God reconciled Himself to us while we were yet sinners by dying for us.
This isn’t religion. It’s a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It’s pure, lovely, and right.
Mormons need to find out who Jesus is and what he did for us.
Bws71 said, speaking of Christ, “He is the center of my religious experience and the object of my worship.”
Why, then, did President Hinkley, in the June 20, 1998 edition of the Deseret News comment, regarding those who asked whether Mormons worship the same Jesus as Christians, reply, “No I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this dispensation of the fullness of Times.” This was not a prophet or President from the 1800s speaking here but a Mormon president of recent vintage saying that the Christ he worships is not the traditional Christ of whom they [Christians] speak.
The Christ of Whom Christians speak: 1) is God (John 1: 1), 2) said of Himself that “I and My Father are one,” 3) was “in the beginning with God,” (John 1:1-2), 4) called Himself I AM (John 8:57-59), 5) called Himself the Truth, (John 14:6), 5) has the Name that is above every name, – the Name to which every knee shall bow, whether that knee is in heaven, in earth, or under the earth (Philippians 2:9-11), 6) is the One in Whom “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:8-10).
Just a few questions and comments, if you please.
If “without Him [Jesus] was not anything made that was made,” (John 1: 3) did Jesus create Himself?” Angels are created beings. If Lucifer was His brother, did Jesus create His brother?
One can read Scripture all day long; but, as long as one is determined to twist the Scriptures, one’s heart will not be truly open to learning Biblical truth.
The Bible says that Jesus is “able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25, NIV) . How is a universal or general salvation that only gets one into the ‘lowest’ level of Heaven, unless one performs works done for the purpose of earning for oneself a higher place, ‘complete’ salvation.
Barnes Notes on the Bible, referencing the KJV phrasing of Hebrews 7:25, Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost… defines the phrase “to the uttermost” as follows – ‘This does not mean simply “forever” – but that he has power to save them so that their salvation shall be “complete” – εἰς τὸ παντελὲς eis to panteles. He does not abandon the work midway; he does not begin a work which he is unable to finish. He can aid us as long as we need anything done for our salvation; he can save all who will entrust their salvation to his hands.’
Notice, we “trust our salvation to His hands”… our complete salvation. The only place that works have in the process is that they are the natural (or should I say supernatural) outflow of a heart regenerated by, and filled with, the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity, the other Comforter, sent to guide us into all truth).
The salvation paid for by Jesus with His life is not an “after all you can do” salvation or a partial salvation. It is a complete, “to the uttermost” salvation!
“Mormons need to find out who Jesus is and what he did for us.”
This is so true, and not just for the Mormons. This is why the Mormon posters here don’t get it. They don’t know the true and living Christ of the Bible. It is so wonderful that I can let all of my Mormon upbringing go for the simplicity that is in Christ. What a burden lifted off of me. The truth shall set you free (John 8:32). It’s not about a man who claims to be a prophet, or how many gold stars I earn with my good works, or how well I abstain from drinking coffee or tea, or how I can be a goddess to my god husband, it’s about Christ and his Saving Grace. Until one finds the true Christ, they are lost and are susceptible to all kinds of false teachings and false prophets. A true follower of the true Christ is what makes a Christian. Marriedamormon used the term “knock off” and I believe that is the kind of Christ Mormonism has. A knock off. Christ himself said that there would arise many false Christs.
gpark, I loved your comments on Heb.7:25, that verse sums it all up for us ! It’s sad to see
what Mormon leaders have piled on top of that simple truth . Falcon, what we’re seeing in
comments by Mormons like bws71 is an example of what Time mag referred to Pres Hinckley
strategy of ” refining his product’s branding ” , i.e. a distancing from many of the doctrines of
their past prophets in an effort to be more accepted into the Christian community . This tactic
has unfortunately proven to be profitable . I think there’s coming soon a major fracture in the
Mormon church over this as those who have been members for a long time (especially those
were born into the Church ) are going to vent their frustration at how their heritage
is being treated by the newer members etc. There was a time when Mormons were not shy
at testifying about the consistent reliability in spiritual guidance by their past leaders:
” I rejoice that in all my associations with the General Authorities of the Church since I was six
years of age I never heard one word, in public or private , fall from the lips of these men , but
what would be for the benefit , for the uplift, for the improvement morally, and intellectually ,
physically and SPIRITUALLY of the Latter-day Saints . ” [ Herber J. Grant ,Conf.Report
April 1917 p. 24 ] .
Mormons today ask us to believe that their prophets and apostles have been , since 1830,
directed personally by Jesus to relay essential spiritual truths to man kind. Yet their track
record on some crucial issues reveals otherwise.
bws71, briefly, concerning your question about describing in simple terms the Trinity.
I hesitated to oblige you with this because of your seemingly refusal to accept the fact of
your being misled by prophets . This was clearly evident in the way you sought to down-
play Gordon B. Hinckley’s position on a significant doctrine espoused by many Mormon
leaders over a wide space of time, namely Heavenly Father was once a man . This response
from you together with when you a few days ago stated that you did’nt care is J.S. or B.Y.
were false prophets or not, tends to make me think that perhaps you are here only
to argue. But I realize that I can’t judge you that strongly . This ministry( of which
I am only a guest ) is here , as it says , to ” challenge the claims of the Mormonism since 1979 ” .
So we can only lay out the facts concerning the failure of Mormon prophets and apostles to
be trustworthy guides in spiritual truths , truths that affect your salvation , and what you
choose to do with the information is up to you. The behavior for leaders in the New Testament
church is clear , and the warnings about false teachers is also clear — Matt 7:15 ; Gal.1:8.
Now for the Trinity : The Bible teaches that there is one True and Living God our Creator;
The Bible reveals that a person called the Father is God, a person called the Son is called God,
and a person called the Holy Ghost is called God, yet there is only one God, not 3 Gods. In a
nut shell that’s it. Take care .
Every post brings up 2-3 interesting topics. I’m going to comment on what Mike quoted as a “refining of the product brand.”
I endorse that notion *in a sense*, though without the insinuation of subterfuge. There is a refining process ongoing in my church. There is a notable shift in attitude and focus. To me the modern attitude is more conciliatory and the focus is more on Christ… as it should be. I perceive there *is* a rising generation of LDS who have different attitudes about the past, about our relationship to other Christian denominations and what matters most in our spiritual lives. *Unlike Time magazine, I do not believe this shift is man-made or disingenuous.* I feel God is pulling us ever closer to the truth. I feel our understanding of the gospel is continuing to deepen. I welcome the change.
What I’m about to say is much more my personal opinion than anything I’ve said yet. Beware.
I think LDSs, like everyone, are partly a product of our environment. LDSs come from a tradition of real persecution and abuse. We were harassed, tortured, chased out and killed. (Ignore our innocence or partial guilt in this treatment for a moment.) We have long held a defensive posture. I think this violence had a lasting effect on our collective psyche and produced a people who are fearful, prejudiced and exclusionary – all understandable reactions to mob violence I think. But the ghosts of that violence have haunted us ever since. I think we are finally starting to recover and embrace the idea it isn’t “us against them,” the idea that other traditions have much to offer. I welcome the change.
Another theme I have noted is the idea that I (as an LDS) need to come to know Jesus. A related theme is I need to repudiate my flawed spiritual leaders.
These insistences ring completely hollow for me because I know and love Christ deeply. Nothing can shake my faith in this. He has remade me from the inside out. He has reached out to me, personally, and snatched me from certain doom. I feel his presence in every aspect of my life.
People can criticize my interpretation of scripture or the men who have lead my church – but honestly, it really doesn’t matter. I’m not saved by men or by the ability to read Greek. I am saved by my special association with Christ. That is why I can say I don’t care about everything PPP/BY/JS/BRM did or said. I’m not saved by them. I certainly feel blessed by some of the things God has done through them. But in the end I stand or fall based on my testimony that God lives and Jesus is His Christ.
Someone here said “If you love Christ so much then how come GBH said_____?” Can you imagine how ridiculous this sounds to me? What does that have to do with my relationship with my creator? I’ve been accused multiple times here of ‘blowing things off’ and playing the PR dept. I can appreciate those suspicions from your perspective. If I’d had all your experiences I’d likely believe and behave just like you. But I haven’t. I’ve had my experiences and they have produced my beliefs. I’m anything but insincere. I don’t feel I’m ‘playing’ anything.
last post =)
I recognize there has been a time when there was a bit of ‘leader worship’ in my church. It appears there was in the early church as well (1 Corinthians 1:12) There was a tendency to whitewash difficult or negative information in the our past. We are coming out of that I think. When judging our church, think of the early christian church only a 100 years or so out. Things were not so tidy then it seems. We’re only a little over 100 years out from the restoration. As a group of God’s people we are still growing.
Many here at MRM seem to be fighting the wars of our fathers. Yes, we differ on many important topics, but not as many as we have believed I think.
Like I said before and it seems you dont care, Jesus told us, not everyone that says Lord, Lord, is saved. Some people thought they knew Him and it turns out they were wrong. Jesus said to some people, Your father is the Devil. These people believed God was their father, but according to Jesus they were wrong. Some people think they know the scriptures, But Jesus told them they were in Error of the scripture.
Jesus and the apostles mention many times about False prophets and wolves in Sheeps clothing coming from with in to kill us. You better give serious thought about what your past leaders have said and taught becuase they said and taught a lot of false things, and they are to this day teaching many false things. Paul even says if anyone teaches another gospel they will be damned.
Mormonism is both another gospel and a false gospel, and I believe you are one of those people who will stand before God and say, Lord, Lord, I did all these things in your name by way of the Mormon church and Jesus will say, Depart from me into everlasting Fire for I NEVER KNEW YOU.
You cannot pick up a rock, or football or any item you like, call it Jesus and claim to believe with all your heart it is the true Jesus and that your saved. Jesus is clear about who He is and how we are to worship Him. If JS was a false prophet and got it wrong about God, then everything he passed down is wrong to this day.
You said: Now for the Trinity : The Bible teaches that there is one True and Living God our Creator; The Bible reveals that a person called the Father is God, a person called the Son is called God,and a person called the Holy Ghost is called God, yet there is only one God, not 3 Gods. In a nut shell that’s it. Take care . This is just a general statement. I could have done the same thing. Could you back it up with verse or explain John 14:28.
Please use the following link to find a very clear and Scripture-filled presentation of the Trinity: http://carm.org/trinity. I’ve actually posted many of the same verses (and additional verses) in previous posts. The concept of the Trinity, one God eternally exixtent in 3 Persons, is found throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
You may also wish to look at an article entitled “Biblical basis for the Doctrine of the Trinity” by
Michael D. Ediger, posted at http://www.dtl.org/trinity/article/biblical.htm.
Sorry.. the word in that last post should have been existent!
Clyde, with all do respect I think you’re not in a position to ask a question on the Trinity
until you can answer the most basic question of when I asked you about your prophet
last week . The question was : If Thomas Monson testified that Jesus was not God come
in the flesh , would he be a false prophet ? I see no reason to address a question on the Trinity
until you can give a direct answer to what was asked of you. I mean no disrespect but this
is that important .
bws71, I also welcome the change in the Mormon Church that you have mentioned. I do
know that this troubles many Mormons though. I hope it can encompass at least as much
as you claim. You said that we are asking you ” need to repudiate my flawed spiritual
leaders. ” Yes you do . Perhaps if you can bring yourself to say ” false prophets” instead
of merely ” flawed” , we could see that you do grasp how serious this situation is . You said
that LDS have “moved on ” .Can you completely move on without admitting you’ve followed
false prophets ? Also, for your leaders to refuse to acknowledge that they have allowed false
prophets to be in their priesthood chain of authority is to ignore their responsibility to stand
for truth. When you can refuse to sustain these men at Gen Conf. and then help warn your
friends of their need to follow Jesus un-tethered from these men as authorities in their lives,
then great things will happen in your relationship with God . When you said that you don’t care
what your spiritual leaders have taught because you’re not saved by these men, that was
interesting because of course you’re not saved “by ” them, but I read that your relationship
with God is directly affected by your acknowledging J.S. as a true prophet with his successors
being likewise . You mentioned your leaders whitewashing negative info in their history. If this
is so then were is the apology ? Is this lying ? Dishonest? Is it “who cares” we’ll just move on ?
bws71, change coming? Hopefully you can dismiss your prophets and completely follow Jesus.
God will help you
Your asking a what if question. I believe my first answer was it would not happen, he never would say it next question. We are dealing with a what if and when doing so one may tend to over think the answer since it can’t match reality. A simply answer would be yes because the statement he makes runs contrary to what is normally taught.