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October 14, 2011

Comments

You hit the nail(s) on the head(pun intented). Jesus is Lord and ONE with the ONE true God of all creation, the Great I Am. He's not the made over false god version of any false teacher like Joseph Smith, but rather the Lord God as presented in the Bible. He IS The beginning and end of the greastest story of all that ever was, is, or will be.

Christians aren't Mormons, whatever Mormons may be!

What a valuable post! Hope, among other things, itll be read by the pres candidates!

Isn't Christ the only one who can truly judge the Christianity of those who profess to be His disciples? The last time I checked, He hasn't delegated that Judgement.

He can judge who His real followers are, but the meaning of the word "Christian" isn't hidden. It's clearly defined for all to compare against the doctrine being offered.

Even if only Mormons were true followers of Christ, it wouldn't change this fact. It would only mean that Mormons are true followers of Christ, and Christians aren't. The word describes a particular religion, regardless of who is following Christ.

I've had this conversation with a few people recently.

First, up until about 20 years ago Mormons had zero interest in being seen as just another denomination of Christianity. In reality as the LDS spokesperson in this article hints at, the desire to be seen as Christian is a PR move.

Not to mention the most successful mission field in all of America for Mormons is evangelicals. They have just enough understanding of the Bible that they already believe in Jesus, and are more open to hearing more revelation.

Last, if Mormons were really Christians then why are they so outraged and often cut off contact with those who leave a Mormon church for an Evangelical church?

Mormon families who have a member begin to go to an Evangelical church, are not supportive of that ever.

Daughter, a couple fo questions, if you'll indulge me:

1) I'm curious if you have a response to Amy?

2) Do you believe there are any criteria for determining if one may be a Christian?

3) If you think there are no criteria, what does the term "Christian" mean, in your view?

4) If you think there are criteria, a) what do you say they are, b) why do you claim them as criteria, and c) from your perspective is the traditional Mormon doctrine consistent with that criteria?

Thanks -- I enjoy the dialog!

Best,

Son of Adam

I don't understand why this is made such a big deal. To the rest of the world it seems like both of you claim to be followers of Christ. The difference is that you guys complain and whine over details that non-Christians just won't get unless they hold your view. How does that help the your cause? It just makes people think you are narrow minded. Seriously, just relax and let people call themselves whatever. Live the difference, stop whining about it. Jesus really does need new PR

Josh, if you say we ought to let people call themselves whatever, then why do you get to call Christians and Mormons narrow minded?

Josh -

I have two small white round pills.

They're the same, right?

Wrong.

One is arsenic, one is aspirin. One kills you, the other prevents a second heart attack.

Sometimes the differences matter more than the similarities. This may be one case.

Best,

Son of Adam.

Josh,

Sometimes Satan's agenda is advanced when we argue over minor differences.

Sometimes Satan's agenda is advanced when we fail to distinguish between major differences.

The question is, are the differences between Mormonism and Orthodox Christianity major or minor?

If they're minor, we should stop our bickering. If they're major, we should highlight the distinctions.

I can understand how this looks like petty bickering to an outsider, but as it happens, the differences between Mormonism and Orthodoxy are major and thus we cannot allow them to be swept under the rug.

Take some time to educate yourself about the differences and I'm confident you'll come to understand what all the fuss is about.

Bruce Byrne

I personally believe that 5 point Calvinism, as it pertains to sin and grace, is the only true definition of Christianity.

However, unconditional love is the most recognizable mark of a true Christian.

There are many scattered throughout the cults that show the fruit of the Spirit, though theologically they are still in darkness.

God saves despite our knowledge although, when presented with the truth, those genuinely saved will become Calvinists.

I have brought up the issue of certain groups that do not qualify as Christians in discussion before and of course I would include Mormons in the list, and have been challenged with the accusation of this being just a No True Scotsman fallacy. I came to conclude that if the thing that disqualifies a group from being considered Christian is essential to the definition of a Christian, it does not qualify as this fallacy. Am I getting this down right?

Amy, this is a really good post. Thanks. I just have one small quibble. You said:

In Mormonism, they worship a Father God (but many other gods exist for other worlds), who has a physical body and most likely has not always been a god, but was born into another world and advanced to perfection by following his Father's plan of salvation.

According to Joseph Smith, in the "King Follett Discourse," the Father laid down his life just as Jesus did, which gives me the impression that the Father was a savior figure in a previous world just as Jesus was a savior figure in our world. Jesus didn't exactly follow a plan of salvation. He himself was the plan of salvation for everybody else. In the same way, the Mormon heavenly Father probably didn't follow a plan of salvation either.

But there are different meanings of "salvation" in Mormon theology. One meaning is exaltation, so I guess you could say that since Jesus was exalted to godhood at some point that he followed some kind of plan of salvation. I don't know when Mormons believe Jesus reached godhood, but it seems like if they are consistent, they would have to say he did so sometime after his resurrection since the earthly sojourn (probation) and resurrection are part of the road to exaltation.

Of course the "King Follett Discourse" isn't normative for Mormons. I don't know why not since Joseph Smith claimed to be passing on divine revelation in that discourse. It seems like Mormons ought to take it more seriously than they actually do.

Hi Sam, if you are correct in this; "which gives me the impression that the Father was a savior figure in a previous world" there'd be an infinite regress problem for them to resolve also, unless they propose a similar [self existent, necessary being], kind of Father as the Christian view holds at some point in the past.

@ Jesse

I never called anyone narrow-minded.

@ sonofadam

I'm not saying they are the same. I just think you guys need a different approach. Just like when Muslims say Christians are polytheists. It doesn't help the cause and they won't get it if they don't hold the view already. Just chill and make the distinction later.

Josh, We're debating the merits of the claim here. Note the distinction. I would never lead off a conversation with a Mormon by saying, "you are not a Christian", but that's not the dialog here. The dialog here is in pursuit of truth.

On the STR blog, I will definitely engage in a dialog about the merits of the claim, so that when I have the interpersonal dialog, I'm prepared in a knowledgable and winsome fashion.

Your instruction to "just chill" could be perceived as demeaning, akin to telling someone they're not a Christian.

Whatever you think of "us guys", I'm still curious what you think about the merits of theologcal claim that Mormonism and Christianity are distinct views such that one view cannot be equated with the other, and thus Mormons are not Christians?

Doesn't it say in 1st Nephi that there would be two churches: The Mormon and the Abomination?

I am assuming that since most churches are not Mormon, they must be in the category of Abomination?

Josh

"I don't understand why this is made such a big deal"

Matters that determine where one will spend eternity, is a big deal.

Brad, from what I understand, a lot of the Mormons have no problem with infinite regresses. One of the professors from BYU (I can't remember who) responded to Bill Craig and Paul Copan's chapter in The New Mormon Challenge where Craig and Copan argued that there can't be an infinite series of events or intervals of time in the past. The BYU professor disagreed with them. I don't know if his view was representative of most Mormons, though, and I'm pretty sure the LDS church has no official position on that. Most of the Mormons I've talked to just say they don't know or that it hasn't been revealed whether eternal progression has been going on forever or if it had an absolute beginning.

Josh's 'I don't understand why this made such a big deal' seems to argue that the central distinctives of Mormonism and Christianity are just cosmetic additions which don't need to be differentiated. It's a pretty condescending approach to a couple of major religions to conflate them with out even giving some decent criteria.

Josh, It's hardly a reason to refrain from getting clear on a subject just because there are some who fail to recognize the importance of that subject. Now clearly, if you and I were on the street, I probably wouldn't lead with the doctrinal distinctives of Christianity versus Mormonism. But that's just a function of what presents itself as relevant in a particular conversation.

Sam, I think Mormons believe different things about this. Some say that the Father was a sinner on another planet. Is it possible that he sinned, followed the plan of salvation, and then died for everyone else's sins? I don't know what they would say or how they would reconcile this.

But I do know that if every Mormon has the chance to become the god of a world, then it's not necessarily the case that our god didn't follow a plan of salvation, as well. Although, if he died for his people, I don't know... I've never understood how Jesus became a god without following the plan, or how the Holy Spirit became a god without ever even receiving a body.

I wish they had official systematic theologies. It would make analysis so much easier.

I wish they had official systematic theologies. It would make analysis so much easier.

Amen.

Thirty years ago, the statement that "Mormonism is a cult" wouldn't have even been controversial. These days, the general public do not know what Mormonism teaches, but worse still, they no longer know what Christianity teaches, either.

I was just trying to think of any major orthodox Christian doctrine that the LDS agrees with and I'm coming up empty. I can't think of one.

I remember years ago hearing Walter Martin saying "If I accept you as a Christian, will you accept me as a Mormon?"

Try this for fun with Mormon Missionaries.

Claim outright to be "Mormon", then engage in theological discussion, asserting the principles of "Christian" orthodoxy.

Then note the point in the discussion when they say "Wait a minute you're NOT a Mormon we don't believe those things"!

This tactic should eliminate UPFRONT the dishonest non-sensical claim that Mormons are Christians.

Amy, is William Lane Craig a Christian, since he denies the Chalcedonian formulation of the incarnation? Or, how about those Christians prior to the 4th century who did not have a fully-formed understanding of Trinitarian theology? Paul, I suspect, was not a Nicean Trinitarian. Was Paul not a Christian?

I raise these question not to defend Mormonism. Rather, to suggest that we have to be very careful when we start concluding that those who claim to follow Christ are not Christians because they have not fully grasped or embraced an understanding that they may not be intellectually or constitutionally disposed to entertain. Interestingly enough, Arius of Alexandria, though a heretic, was not declared not Christian. So, perhaps there are Christians--and I suspect there have been millions of them--who are wrong in their theology but have been touched by the grace of God and the power of Christ.

Frank, with the title, I was quoting the article, or I would have gone with "'Mormonism is Not Christian' Is Not...." My point is not to single out individuals, but to talk about the religion as a whole, which has a completely different worldview from Christianity, regardless of what an individual here or there may think.

I don't have a problem generalizing this, even if it is possible that there is an individual Mormon who is a true follower of Christ. Particularly since if there are such individuals, they ought to be warned in the strongest terms that their church is not teaching the truth about God in their most central, core teachings.

So, perhaps there are Christians--and I suspect there have been millions of them--who are wrong in their theology but have been touched by the grace of God and the power of Christ.
We are fallen sinners so I would suspect every single one of us over all of time is wrong in our theology (to greater and lesser degrees). The question wasn't really one of accuracy but of conformity - although we believe greater conformity to orthodox Christianity is also a more accurate position.

If GOD has the power to change a persons sinful nature so they turn toward him as opposed to running away, wouldn't he at the very least have the power to give them correct "theological" thinking especially on major issues?
Could GOD not teach a mormon the truth of the "Trinity"?

The biblical answer is "yes", therefore "mormons" aren't Christians in the salvivic sense, they are just nice people. Though they are "nice" people, they are "nice" fallen people, much like the Pharisees who were white washed on the outside like a tomb but inside they are full of dead bodies.

Mormonism is nothing more than a man-centered works righteousness reliogen. Sort of like Bhuddism with the word "jesus" sprinkled in for flavor.

If you ever actually do find a Christian mormon, I guarantee you he will tell you he is a Christian EX-mormon.

Their doctrines are unbiblical.

Against being saved by works: Ephesians 2: 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.


Against the doctrine of ongoing revelation: Hebrews 15: 8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Against the doctrine of eternal marriage:
Matthew 22: 23The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,

 24Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

 25Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:

 26Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.

 27And last of all the woman died also.

 28Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

 29Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

 30For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.


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