Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is the Mormon Church a Christian Church?

Whenever Mormon missionaries come knocking at your door, one of the first things you will hear, after they introduce themselves as Elder "So and So" and Elder "Such and Such", is that they will tell you that they are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a "Mormons" or "LDS").   Or you may be watching the political debates and hear all kinds of ad hoc rhetoric about politics and religion and someone mention Mitt Romney being a member of the Mormon Church.  You might even be watching FoxNews and seeing the Glen Beck program with him pontificating on the battle between Islam versus the West.  Christian (Baptist) universities like Liberty University have even had Beck as a commencement speaker.  Some think there is no difference between Romney and Beck's faith and biblical Christianity.


My desire for this article is not politically motivated.  Let me state for the record that NEITHER conservative politics NOR liberal politics; NEITHER Republican NOR Democrat, NOR Tea Party will restore America!  The restoration of this nation will only come, if the LORD wills, when the church stands up and defends and proclaims the gospel.  Only then, if the LORD wills, we will see a revival in this nation.  That being said my motivation is not political but apologetics minded in nature to assist in the exposing the ruse that the LDS Church is a "Christian church."  When you say Christian there are different connotations as to what that means, depending on who you or I are speaking to or what the talking head on the television is pontificating.    

For the record, the Mormon Church is NOT a Christian church, but a non-Christian cult that claims to be "the true Christian church."[1]   The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15 and Galatians 1:8,9 tells us that there will be those who will appear Christian but they will not be truly biblically Christian.  

Now I know that there are folks who may be reading this, and they listen folks like Oprah, and the media pundits who know little to nothing about religious differences.  But they will most likely read this article and call it  or myself bigoted.  Let's all be reminded that such an accusatory charge boomerangs back to the one making the accusation.  Most folks making such an accusation also hold to the false notion of "religious pluralism", which states that all religions are equal or that they say the same thing or worship the same "God".  These charges show an ignorance on religions and to equivocate all religions being the same demonstrates that ignorance.  We can thank the institutions of higher learning for brainwashing such nonsense into the minds of those echoing the charge.  

To keep this article at a worthy scope, I am going to deal with just two of the doctrines that are cardinal to Biblical Christianity versus the religion of the Latter-Day Saints.  You might be a Mormon reading this and might be wanting to ask where I get my authority to speak on such things.  First off my credentials, though they mean little, are all in order.  The second thing is that I have been granted by Brigham Young himself who said, "I say to the whole world. . .Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with, and see if it stands the test."[2]  Also there is another quote that I would like to remind folks of and that is another by Brigham, "Mormonism is true in every leading doctrine, or it is false as a system altogether."[3]  So, let's move forward shall we?

All this aside, I am just going to detail two doctrines that show the wide divide between biblical Christianity and the non-historical heretical teachings of the LDS Church.  Those doctrines are the historical doctrines of God and of Jesus Christ.  These are right at the heart of the issue for if you have a wrong view of God and Jesus Christ, you have the wrong God and the wrong Savior.

If you have the wrong God and wrong Savior, you have a wrong view of salvation (which will not be discussed in this posting).  Let's look and see first that Mormons have a different view of God from historical Christianity.

The Christian Church historically has believed and taught that there is one God who is Spirit, and a personal, eternal, infinite Creator of all that exists.  God is a necessary Being and by stating that He is also necessary for all other things to exist.  God has manifested His existence as a Trinity:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy. 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8; Matthew 28:19; John 4:24; 17:3). 

The Mormon church holds to a different view of God.  The god of Mormonism is an exalted man with a physical body of flesh and bones.   The founder of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith stated, "If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible-I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form"[4]   The biblical doctrine of the Trinity is denied with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost seen as three separate entities.  Smith states, "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.  Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us."[5] 

With these two diametrically opposed views of God, we that the God of the Bible is infinite, meaning without limitation in His attributes.  The Mormon view is a finite god, that was once a man as you and I and became a god through spiritual evolving into godhood.  Former LDS "Prophet" Lorenzo Snow once prophesied his couplet, “As man is God once was, as God is man may be.”   My question to any well meaning truth seeking member of the LDS church is this:  How can the finite man take on characteristics of an infinite God?   Truth is, one cannot.

The Mormon church also has a faulty view of Jesus Christ.  Earlier in this post, I referenced two passages that spoke of "a different Jesus."  The Mormon Church believes in a "different Jesus" that is not the same Jesus of the Bible.

The historical teaching of the Christian church has always been that Jesus was the virgin born God incarnate who existed in all time with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the eternal Trinity.  In His earthly life and ministry, Jesus was fully God and fully man, possessing two natures - human and divine (100% of both at the same time.) Jesus lived a sinless life and willingly died on the cross at Golgotha as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.  (See John 1:1-18; 8:56-59; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22 and Hebrews 1:3; 13:8).  

What do the Mormon missionaries, Glen Beck, and Mitt Romney believe about Jesus Christ? What does the Mormon church teach about Jesus?  To best give you the crux of the false view set forth by the LDS church, first off they teach that Jesus was the spiritual "first born" Son of Go in the pre-existence.  "Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven.   The first born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ, so he is literally our elder brother."[6]  So Jesus is our brother pro creatively speaking according to the Mormon Church?    Continue reading further. . . "And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father and am the Firstborn."[7]

Jesus to the Mormons is also the "only begotten" physical offspring of God by procreation on earth.  This is a flat out attack on the historical doctrine of the virgin birth.  "Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal father.  That is why he is called the Only Begotten Son"[8]  

As you can see there are some stark contrasts to Jesus' birth.  Even more so is the LDS view of Christ's work of atonement on the cross.  Mormons believe that Jesus' atonement (death and resurrection) provide immortality for all people regardless of their faith. "Christ thus overcame physical death.  Because of his atonement, everyone born on this earth will be resurrected. . . This condition will be called immortality.  All people who ever lived will be resurrected, 'both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both wicked and righteous'"[9]

So what about Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Ghengis Khan, Josef Stalin et al?  They are part of the subset of all people who have ever lived.  They are going to be resurrected but it will not be to one of the three levels of heaven that the LDS embrace. (See Revelation 20:11-15)

What are we to make of those who say that Mitt, Glen and the friendly little missionaries knocking at your door, are all Christians?  Do they share the same views on the nature of God and of Jesus Christ as evangelical Christians?  No they do not.  You see, just because someone says they believe in Jesus, it does not mean that they worship the Jesus of the Bible.

Today more than ever it is important to nail down our biblical convictions and make sure they are truly biblical.  That also includes the cordial conversation with one who says they "believe in Jesus" or they "believe in God."  Friends, even the word "Christian" is thrown around in this culture as meaning anything but Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or some other religion.  We have to understand that we say we are a Christian, it means that one has been redeemed by God and claims a vital personal relationship with the risen Jesus Christ.

So the next time you are in a cordial conversation, and it goes "spiritual" and someone tells you that they are a Christian, you might want to take a page from the detective Columbo and ask something like this:  "When you say you are a Christian, can you tell me what you mean when you use the word 'Christian'"?

If you would like more information about Mormonism, I have a side website that deals specifically with  the differences between historical biblical Christianity and the LDS church.  Even though it is needing some revision and updating, the links are still "live".  You can find it here.

Also after interacting with this article, you have some questions come to the forefront, please feel free to email them to rob@roblundberg.org.  I will be more than happy to respond to your question in a timely manner.

Notes
[1] Walter Martin's definition of a cult is where we are landing on this issue.  He states in his classic volume, The Kingdom of the Cults, "A cult, then, is a group of people polarized around someone's interpretation of the Bible and is characterized by major deviations from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, particularly the fact that God became a man in Jesus Christ" (The Kingdom of the Cults, 12).

[2] Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 16, 1873: 46.

[3] Brigham Young, Millennial Star, Volume 27, 1865: 675-76.

[4] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345.

[5] Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22.

[6] Gospel Principles, 11.

[7] Doctrine and Covenants, 93:21.  The Mormon church mixes the commits the equivocation fallacy with the word for being created (gennao) versus the word for being firstborn meaning pre-eminence (prototokos).

[8] Gospel Principles, 64.  The Prophet Isaiah wrote about Jesus' birth as being born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) and sent forth from God (Isa. 9:6-7).  No where do we see any physical union between a god and the virgin Mary.

[9] Book of Mormon, Alma 11:44; Gospel Principles, 74, see also Gospel Principles 11, 17-19, and 71-77.

Rob Lundberg is the founder and the director of The Real Issue Apologetics Ministry, located in Fredericksburg, VA.  To contact Rob or this ministry for information or provide feedback to this essay you can call  540.424.2305 or email Stand4Truth.Net at stand4truthapologetics@gmail.com

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