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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are Mormons Christians?

Anyone paying even marginal attention to the Republican presidential primary race must be aware of the firestorm ignited recently by the statements of a Baptist minister in Texas.  Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas made comments claiming that Mormonism is not a branch of Christianity, but rather is a cult.  He also drew a distinction between true, born again believers and Mormons, like Mitt Romney.
The furor that erupted provides the Church with an opportunity to consider an important issue: Are Mormons Christians?  Is the Mormon Church just another denomination within the body of Christ?  Or is it a false religion?
The pluralistic spirit of the age combined with the influence of political correctness has caused many in evangelicalism to either wittingly or unwittingly take a soft stance on the issue.  However, when we understand Mormon doctrine and compare it to the teaching of Scripture, it becomes clear that to ask the question “are Mormons Christians?” is similar to asking “are Muslims Christians?” or “are Scientologists Christians?”  The similarity between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity goes no further than the level of shared terminology.  When compared side-by-side, the god of Mormonism is not like the God of the Bible, the Christ of Mormonism is not like the Christ of the Bible, and the salvation of Mormonism is not like the salvation of the Bible.
Mormonism is purely polytheistic.  That is, there is not one God, but many.  In fact, the God of the earth was once like we are now.  We are of the same species as God.  “Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through the school of earth life similar to that through which we are now passing.  He became God – an exalted being – through obedience to the same eternal Gospel truths that we are given opportunity today to obey.”[1]  In other words, God was not always God.  He was a man and He became an exalted being through obedience. 
Mormonism teaches that you and I have this same potential.  If we are successful, we will become like God, ruling a planet of our own: “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves; to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you – namely, by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as doth those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.”[2]
But what does the Bible say about this?  Are there many Gods?  
Isaiah 43:10-11  "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.  I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.
Isaiah 44:6  Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
Other references could be quoted, but these are sufficient to obliterate the notions that there were gods before God and that there will be gods after God.  “Besides me there is no god.”  Therefore, the polytheistic god of Mormonism is a false god.
Likewise, the Christ of Mormonism is a false Christ.  First, according to Mormon doctrine, Christ was not conceived of the Holy Spirit (as Matt 1:18 tells us), but was rather the result of actual sexual relations between God the Father and Mary.  (Mormons believe that God is a physical person.)  So Christ was not born of a virgin.  Second, the blood of the Christ of Mormonism is insufficient to atone for the sins of men.  As Brigham Young taught, “There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt.  The blood Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it.”[3]  Yet, 1 John 1:7 tells us that “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 
It should be no surprise then that Mormon salvation is a false salvation.  The Mormon doctrine of salvation is not by faith alone, but is also a result of baptism, obedience to the Mormon Church, good works, and “keeping the commandments of God [which] will cleanse away the stain of sin.”[4]  This is a works-based salvation, a notion against which the totality of the New Testament cries out.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 
In Galatians 1:8-9, Paul wrote these words: But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.  This is a chilling indictment of all those who teach the Mormon doctrine of salvation.
It is obvious that the doctrines of Mormonism are heretical when compared with the essential doctrines of the biblical Christian faith.  So, are Mormons Christians?  Not if they hold to the propositions of Mormon doctrine.  The Mormon Church holds a different canon of Scripture, a different, polytheistic God, a different Christ, and a different gospel.  That our society would react so strongly against a pastor who claims that Mormonism is not a branch of Christianity demonstrates how pluralistic our society has become. 
Mormons are lost.  We cannot consider them our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We ought to have compassion on them, pray for them, and evangelize them. 
Posted by Greg Birdwell

[1]Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, 104.
[2]Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, 6:3-4.
[3]Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:219.
[4]Young, Journal of Discourses, 2:4.

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