Do Mormons and Christians Share the Same Gospel? (part 2)

On Monday (18 June 2012) Mormon Coffee addressed the claim made by BYU Professor James Faulconer: “Mormons differ from other Christians in significant ways, but there is little difference between us in our understanding of the gospel.”

How individual Mormons understand the gospel may or may not line up with the teachings of Church leaders, but there is no doubt that the Mormon gospel itself is completely different from the Christian gospel.

At a seminar for new mission presidents in 2007 Mormon Apostle James E. Faust emphasized this fact:

“Our message is distinctly different because it contains the gospel restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith… The message is the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored by Joseph Smith, not the Readers Digest, not Time magazine, and not from the Bible alone. It means almost everything we have is different from all other religions.” (Church News, 6/30/2007, 5)

On the Mormon Church’s website the gospel is defined in this way:

“In its fulness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom.”

Mormon Apostle L. Tom Perry said the content of the gospel is “commandments”:

“We are now being tried and tested to see if we will do all the things the Lord has commanded us to do. These commandments are the principles and ordinances of the gospel, and they constitute the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (“The Plan of Salvation,” Ensign, 11/2006, 71)

Another Mormon apostle, David B. Haight, explained that the gospel is equivalent to “work”:

“I know that the work that we do is the gospel of our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, as taught by Him when He was upon the earth…” (“Prophets Are Inspired,” Ensign 11/1996 p. 14)

These teachings represent a tremendous difference between the Mormon gospel and the Christian gospel. As Christian pastor and author Alistair Begg succinctly said, “The Gospel is not about something we must do; the Gospel is about something God has done.”

Christian theologian Michael Horton expresses the same thought when he points out, “The Gospel never tells us something to do.” In the following three-minute video Dr. Horton explains the Christian gospel. Clearly, the Mormon gospel and the Christian (biblical) gospel are not the same at all.

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.
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15 Responses to Do Mormons and Christians Share the Same Gospel? (part 2)

  1. falcon says:

    I guess I’m too much into evidence and less into feelings. I want Mormons to prove that the gospel according to Joseph Smith and amplified and expanded on by subsequent Mormon prophets is a restoration of something that was lost. So there’s the challenge Mormons; prove that what you refer to as a restored gospel is what first century Christians believed and practiced.
    Why should we put faith and trust in Mormon prophets any more than any other people claiming to be prophets that have come on the scene with special revelation, in the last 2,000 years?
    So there’s your challenge. Take the restored gospel apart. Trace its various components, many that have come and gone, and give supporting evidence for them.

  2. falcon says:

    Michael Horton does a fabulous job of explaining what the Gospel is. I liked his point of the “proclamation” being apart of the Gospel. That is, the announcement that sinful men have been redeemed through Jesus Christ. This redemption is extended to sinners through God’s grace and accepted by faith (in Jesus Christ).
    Mr. Horton makes the clear point about what the law is in contrast to the Gospel; one not being the other. The law is not apart of the Gospel. If it were then men would have a part in their redemption.
    In the Mormon gospel, it is works that allow a man to become a god. So there are levels or compartments to the Mormon gospel with the end result being deification for men who perform at a high level.
    I have heard that there have been people, in Mormonism, who gain a special recognition from the leadership, that they (people) have done enough. They’ve done enough and the proper type of works to be declared deities when they die. I don’t know if they get to wear a special badge, insignia or get a certain kind of vest or blazer to wear indicating that they have completed the Mormon course for godhood. I imagine these folks get a certain kind of satisfaction knowing that they are the high performers in the Mormon multi-level marketing plan.
    The good news to me is that despite the fact that I am and continue to be a sinner, God accepts me because of my faith in Jesus. That’s a real hard pill for Mormons, who have been raised on the idea of works, to swallow. They just can’t understand how sinful people can be saved. I say, what other kind of people are there?

  3. Mike R says:

    Falcon, on one hand we have testimony from some past Mormon authorities where
    they state the restored gospel is the same gospel that Jesus’ original apostles taught
    as recorded in the Bible . Their claim was that N.T. apostles taught the gospel of
    salvation but that all the other churches were’nt teaching it . But then we have some
    Mormon authorities teaching that the “living” prophet takes priority over all the
    past prophets/apostles etc. Now since we’re talking about these men who claim to be
    officers in the church Jesus’ established after His resurrection but now re-established,
    men who have advertised that the same Jesus has appointed them with the same
    authority to preach His same gospel as the former day apostles etc . then according
    to Apostles such as Paul and John ( Gal.1:8-9 ; 2Jn 7-9 ) we should today be able
    to test what these “modern -day” prophets/apostles have taught as the “way” to be
    made right with God to receive salvation/ eternal life . If these men fail this test then
    they are to be treated as apostles not endorsed by Jesus —Rev 2:2 , and those that
    submit to them are to obey God and dismiss them from their lives . God will help .

  4. Mike R says:

    Sharon cited the statement by Mormon apostle L.Tom Perry where he said that
    LDS will be tested to see if they will do ALL things the Lord has commanded them
    to do and that all those commands constitute the gospel etc. For most Mormons
    this translates as : all things that the Lord commands = whatever the “living oracles”
    advocate , counsel, as spiritual truth will be received as ” gospel principles” by
    those who submit to this sole channel of communication that God is using today —
    the priesthood hierarchy of Mormonism . So if Mormon apostles teach that polygamy
    is a part of Jesus’ gospel , then it is . If Mormon apostles teach that a law of Jesus’
    gospel is to avoid a cup of coffee, then it is . When Mormon apostles taught in Utah
    marrying a black person violated Jesus’ gospel , then it did . If Mormon apostles teach
    what being “impure” is , in order to enter a Temple to participate in mandatory secret
    rituals required to fulfill gospel requirements for attaining eternal life , then that is
    Jesus’ gospel ” plan” . If Mormon apostles teach that the three Gods who created this
    earth are identified as Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael , then that is a gospel truth
    since a first principle of the gospel is said to be faith in God , the right God .
    These are only a small sample of spiritual truths that Mormon apostles have offered
    as Jesus’ gospel . There have been other rules, and “requirements” in Mormonism’s
    restored gospel bearing on a person being worthy and receiving God’s best.
    Compare Rom10:1-3

  5. Mike R says:

    In the above post the word, ” impure” should have read : ” pure” , instead .

  6. falcon says:

    There are two levels to Mormon salvation. The first level is a general salvation that everyone who ever lived receives. In Mormonism, it’s a sort of universal atonement that Jesus extents to all mankind regardless if they have any faith in any form of deity or not.
    The second level of Mormon salvation is based on a person’s works. So in the Mormon system, even Christians receive a pretty decent level of reward. It doesn’t matter that we reject Joseph Smith, the BoM, the LDS church, the Mormon prophet and the Mormon Jesus.
    Mormons are eligible to enter the Celestial Kingdom, one of the levels, based on their performance. The highest level, is reserved for those Mormon men who have practiced polygamy. It’s in the Celestial Kingdom that the Mormon men who become gods are assigned their planetary system to rule along with their goddess wives.
    None of this information can be found in the Bible. So in order to believe it, a person has to take it on faith that Joseph Smith and subsequent Mormon prophets got it directly from God.
    In the Book of Galatians, the apostle Paul talks about not having been taught the Gospel but receiving it directly via a revelation of Jesus Christ. None-the-less he submitted what he understood the Gospel to be, to those in authority. The apostles could add nothing to what Paul knew as the Gospel.
    The Gospel message, the revelation, can be found in the Bible. It bears no resemblance to the gospel message according to Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith had lived in the first century, the apostles would have thrown him out on his ear. What Smith taught was not revealed to him by God. It is a revelation of his own imagination.
    There is no Celestial Kingdom awaiting Mormons.

  7. falcon says:

    So why would Mormons believe the claims of Joseph Smith and other Mormon “prophets”; than say any other prophets of alternative gospels? These false prophets and those claiming visions and spiritual visitations are all part of the same category.
    These folks follow a predictable pattern. First of all they have a new revelation because the old (revelation) is in error. It’s the job of these prophets to straighten everything and everybody out.
    The old revelation is in error because there are so many different Christian denominations with various doctrinal ideas. What is needed is someone to set it all in order. And the newbe prophet is all too happy to accommodate the perceived void for an authoritative voice.
    What’s pretty typical is that these receivers of the new revelation have a few other predictable ideas. First of all in their view, the Bible can’t be trusted. So if people can be persuaded that the Bible is not reliable, well Kattie bar the door. The prophet can run wild with all sorts of speculation.
    The person and work of Jesus Christ is question. Jesus becomes less than God and his death on the cross becomes less than sufficient for eternal life. Even the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior is questioned or attacked. In the case of Mormonism, prophet Brigham Young taught that God the Father had actual physical sex with Mary.
    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not complicated or hidden. The NT is clear as to who Jesus is, what He did and what is necessary to gain salvation.
    Unless Mormonism can sign-on to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is clearly articulated in the NT, it deserves to be labeled a heretical cult.

  8. Mike R says:

    Mormon apostle David Haight testified : ” I want all of you to know that I know that
    the work we do is the gospel of our Savior , our Lord Jesus Christ , As taught by Him
    WHEN He was upon the earth, when He called His apostles, and the disciples followed
    Him and He carried on His ministry in teaching them.” [ Ensign Nov 1996] .

    We can read of what Jesus taught His apostles when He was on the earth by reading
    the New Testament. Did these apostles work at building Temples where secret ritual
    would take place ? Did these apostles work at building up ” Zion” by entering into
    plural marriage ? No. But yet a Mormon apostle testifies that Mormons have been
    doing the works that Jesus taught His original apostles , and these works are the gospel .
    Obviously Mormon apostles have taught some correct principles and encouraged
    their followers to live in accord with much of what the New Testament teaches . Yet ,
    they also acknowledge that a sign of false teachers is their behavior of altering the
    true gospel of salvation by adding their human ideas to it and then proceed to
    advertise that as the gospel of Jesus Christ ; this is what Mormon apostles have also
    succumbed to . Jesus does not look lightly on those who claim to be apostles and who
    revise His gospel .May Mormon apostles see the error of their way and stop
    detouring their followers with ” another gospel ” —Gal 1:8. At least these men know
    what the consequences are : ” Truly of all the errors mortals could make, God’s plan
    of salvation is the wrong thing to be wrong about! ” [Ensign May1999]

  9. Mike R says:

    The very heart of the Christian gospel message is that Jesus Christ rose from the
    dead, because if no resurrection , no salvation . Acceptance of Jesus’ resurrection
    is necessary because upon it’s reality rests the validity of the rest of the good news
    that is the Gospel message Christian missionaries preach .
    Mormon leaders claim that Jesus’ gospel was altered by evil men soon after the death
    of the last of His original apostles, it then became unavailable to mankind until 1830
    when God supposedly restored it thru Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. Just previous
    to this (1820) Joseph claimed that God the Father and Jesus appeared to him and
    revealed their plan to restore the gospel and the Church thru him, this event is said
    to be the very foundation of the Mormon church . Mormon apostle John Widstoe
    claims that upon this event rests the the truth and value of Smith’s subsequent work.
    It’s an essential part of the first lesson given by Mormon Missionaries, and it’s
    acceptance is necessary before baptism. With all this as a back drop I’m wondering
    what the gospel message was that Brigham Young preached while on a mission for
    his church in 1832 ? He had been baptized after hearing the gospel preached by
    Mormon missionaries in 1831. What was this gospel ? Did it include the very belief
    that God the Father and His Son both appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 to announce
    a needed restoration of the true church of Jesus Christ thru him ? Did those who
    Brigham preached to need to give assent to this very ” fundamental truth” before
    baptism ? Today, are Mormon Missionaries preaching the same as Brigham ?

  10. spartacus says:


    I’m back! Well, mostly; at least I don’t have to use the tablet anymore.

    I only had a little bit to add. It jumped out at me when I read the definition of the gospel on the LDS church website as Sharon quoted it:

    “In its fulness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom.”

    The words that jumped out at me were “In its fulness”, like the Book of Mormon ~”contains the fulness of the gospel”~. Everyone here knows about the issue of this latter claim since the BoM doesn’t contain nearly all of the unique doctrine, rituals, and practices of the LDS church. The explanation I have heard is that the BoM “contains the fulness” by “proving Joseph Smith’s prophethood” and “continuing revelation” and thus “pointing to [the truth of all the restoration embodied by the LDS church]”.

    However, here we have the term “gospel” being defined “in its fulness” as all the “doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom.”, except that, but for a few (maybe), none of which are actually in the Book of Mormon which is said to contain the fulness of the gospel.

    It gets worse when you read the rest of the link:

    It says “The fulness of the gospel has been preached in all ages when God’s children have been prepared to receive it.” Surely the appearance of Jesus, His ministering, and making apostles among the Nephites, resulting in centuries of seemingly supernatural peace between previously unending warring peoples would qualify as “God’s children” who were “prepared to receive [the fulness of the gospel].” But then why doesn’t the Book of Mormon have the “full” LDS gospel?

  11. spartacus says:

    PS – I just noticed, in rereading the intro the BoM (copyright 1981) that it says something interesting about the Bible:

    “The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, AS DOES THE BIBLE, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” (emphasis mine of course)

    So the Bible contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel” as well, huh? Hmm, how could we get over this additional confusion over “the gospel”?

    Maybe if we could find out what is similar between the Bible and the Book of Mormon and call that the “fulness of the everlasting gospel” then we could at least save the claim of the intro and the LDS website about God’s children always being preached it. Alas, we would have to change their definition of the “gospel” as defined on the website, but that is better than revising claims about “holy scriptures” and God’s acts toward His children throughout time. So what is it, change a definition on the website and of the Church’s “gospel” or refute the claims about the scriptures and the actions of God?

  12. falcon says:

    This “fullness of the gospel” is kind of an intriguing concept. I always figure that if something is “full” it’s complete. And yet what we find when we examine Mormonism is a gospel that is anything but “full” or “complete”. It constantly changes and not only that certain aspects of it are added and then dropped. This full gospel concept is very misleading.
    The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed in Jesus Christ, preached by (Jesus’) disciples and safe-guarded by the Holy Spirit, has no relationship to the gospel according to Joseph Smith. In fact if the Bible contains the “fullness” then the BoM et. al. are totally aced out.
    The Mormon gospel is an entirely different gospel that has no basis in the Bible, the writings of the Church Fathers or the traditions of the Christian Church. The Mormon gospel is nothing more than a bunch of men playing “let’s start a religion”. It is the product of the imagination of some not so clever amateurs.
    What Mormonism is, is a spiritually appealing fraud, at least to some people.

  13. Mike R says:

    Spartacus, welcome back ! You reminded us an interesting point which was how the
    intro to the 1981 Book of Mormon(BofM) stated that the Bible contained the fullness
    of the gospel as did the BofM. That’s a true statement about the Bible, but I’ve read
    where Mormons have said it was a typo and so it was finally changed . Considering
    it was in there for quite some time and considering that the claim is made that the
    Mormon hierarchy receives daily revelation, constant communication from God
    in directing the activities of the Church , then how these leaders could not have
    noticed this “error” is rather interesting and it does’nt help bolster their claim of being
    daily directed by God .

    The ” restored gospel ” of salvation as promoted by Mormon apostles is in reality the
    ” revised gospel” since soon after it’s restoring in 1830 it became insufficient to
    offer all that is necessary to know in how to receive eternal life (exaltation) to those
    seeking such , because Mormon apostles have altered it by adding other requirements.
    This behavior rendered the gospel of salvation preached by the apostles in the New
    Testament and also what’s taught in the BofM to be rendered anemic in providing full
    salvation when compared to the current gospel offered by Mormon apostles. All this
    behavior coming 1800 yrs after Jesus’ resurrection and establishing His church and
    gospel , no wonder Jesus had Paul pen warnings such as Gal 1:8-9 , as this would help
    serve as a criteria to test any future apostles and what they may advertise as ” Jesus’
    gospel OF SALVATION ” .

  14. Rick B says:

    Hey Bill and Eric,
    I just found out that I fish with a harpoon. I know everyone will sit here and scratch their heads on this one, But you guys will laugh. And By the way, Chik is my pastor in case you did not know. Rick

  15. Pingback: What I’ve Learned From My Missionary Husband | A Life Loved

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