one of the things about being a pastor in the town where i live, is that a lot of people that i don’t know, know or find out quickly who i am and what i do. such was the case today.
i officiated a wedding this past weekend and met several new people. i ran into one of those people today while in a shop downtown. this person then introduced me as “pastor of cave city baptist church” to someone else. after a few moments of initial greetings and pleasantries, the conversation turned a corner and the topic of mormonism came up.
the question was:
“is mormonism a cult or just another ‘denomination’ of christianity (like baptists, methodists, presbyterians, etc.)”
my answer? “i have known many mormons and call several “friend”, but no,mormons are not christians”.
this isn’t merely my opinion, it is fact,based on the historic and orthodox meaning of the word “christianity”. i am a christian. i am a christian pastor. i also teach theology at a christian school. i am not claiming world renown expertise, but i am saying that i know christian doctrine, and mormon doctrine contradicts the very foundation and essence of christianity.
al mohler writes(in this article that i highly recommend):
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.
they have “feel good” commercials.
they have nice looking buildings
they are exemplary citizens
but are mormons christians?
this has been a hot topic of conversation since former massachusetts governor mitt romney announced that he was running for presidency of the united states.
in an effort to comfort those who may have been afraid of his mormonism, romney has declared his belief in the bible, saying:
“I believe it’s the Word of God…I mean, I might interpret the Word differently than you interpret the Word, but I read the Bible and I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I don’t disagree with the Bible. I try and live by it.”
again, this sounds like a safe christian answer.
but what is it that mormons believe?
here are some examples of the teachings and beliefs of the church of jesus christ of latter days saints, the mormons:
- there are many gods, and the head of them rules the universe along with his council (joseph smith teachings of the prophet joseph smith pp.348-49)
- god has wives (“a mother in heaven,”) and they live on a planet near a star named kolab.
- through endless sexual encounters, “elohim” and his wives produce billions of spirit children
- god has and is limited by a physical body. he is not omnipresent, in fact, it is impossible for him to be in more than one place at once
- adam is identified as michael the archangel
- jesus and satan are brothers
- jesus was given savior status of earth, enraging lucifer, who revolted.
- jesus was not born of a virgin, because god had sex with mary, which produced jesus
- jesus was married
- humans can achieve god status
- the bible (unless it is the mormon approved version) is incomplete and contains errors, and is only one of four holy books
- all churches except LDS (mormon) churches are false churches
- the final judgment is in the presence of jospeh smith, the mormon jesus, and “elohim”.
[sources: book of mormon; mormonism: what you need to know by ed decker; fast facts on false teachings by ron carlson and ed decker; mormonism unmasked by r. phillip roberts, and mormons answered verse by verse by david a. reed and john r. farkas]
at the bare minimum, to be a christian one has to confess that:
- there is but one god, who exists in three persons (father, son, and holy spirit)
- jesus was/is god incarnate-born of a virgin
- there is no salvation outside of faith in jesus christ- and only those who repent of their sin & place their faith in him will be saved
mormonism denies all three of these. there is obviously much more to the mormon faith than outlined above, but just from scratching the surface we can see that mormonism is not a part, branch, or denomination of christianity.
does that mean we cant be friends with mormons? of course not. i have had and currently do have mormon friends who are genuinely nice, caring, and wonderful friends. i hope that they are always treated with love and respect by everyone.
does that mean christians cannot vote for mitt romney for president? i dont think so. [*however, this post or its content should not be viewed as an endorsement for or against voting for romney]
what it does mean is that when we have conversations with people who are discussing mr. romney or any mormon, that we do not let it slide when people equate mormonism with christianity. we should do so in love and with gentleness, but we should make sure that there is no confusion:
mormons-the church of jesus christ of latter day saints are no more christian than muslims, buddhists, or jehovah’s witnesses. so let us be compelled to love them- indeed, everyone- by sharing the true gospel with them.
what is the true gospel? i’m glad you asked!
the gospel is good news that because of the great mercy & love of god, we- a sinful people who have made ourselves enemies of god, & because of our sin deserve his wrath- we can be made right with god by turning away from a life of following our own sinful desires (even if the world/culture around us finds them acceptable)& instead turn to jesus christ, trusting in him alone- that his perfect life, substitutionary death, & literal, bodily resurrection was sufficient to pay the penalty for our sin & makes us righteous before god so that we can rejoice in him & enjoy him forever! (romans 5:1-2, 6-11; 1 corinthians 15:3-8)
for further reading see sources cited above as well as: