Skip to comments.MORMON CHRISTOLOGY: A CHRIST-TEST FOR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY - OPEN
Posted on 07/15/2010 7:46:51 AM PDT by greyfoxx39
MORMON CHRISTOLOGY: A CHRIST-TEST FOR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY
Is The LDS Jesus Christ Exclusively Different from the Biblical Jesus Christ?
This paper will establish the nature of the controversy, set forth an
exegetically derived, succinct christological test for identifying genuine Christianity
and compare Mormon Christology with this test. It will be argued that Mormon Christology
does not pass the Christ-Test and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
should not be identified with Genuine Christianity. And it will be demonstrated that the
LDS Jesus Christ is exclusively different from the Biblical Jesus Christ.
THE NATURE OF THE CONTROVERSY
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are generally outraged about the evangelical assertion that Mormons are not Christians, or that the Mormon Church is not a Christian church. Consider the following remarks uttered by President Boyd K. Packer, in his role as acting president of the Quorom of the Twelve.2 Packer directed his comments to contra-Mormon apologists as he addressed a large gathering of Brigham Young University students and faculty five months before the 1998 annual June meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City.3
My message is for those who teach and write and produce films which claim that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Christian church and that we, the members, are not Christians. . . . Such individuals are uninformed and unfair . . . I bear witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives. He is our Redeemer and is our Savior. He resides over this church. He is no stranger to his servants here and as we move into the future with quiet confidence, his spirit will be with us.4
Frankly, I can empathize with President Packer and the Mormon people for their oft' expressed outrage. I too would be more than a little livid if anyone asserted that I was not a Christian or that my Church was not a Christian Church. For this reason, when engaging a Mormon person for the purpose of leading them to genuine repentance and faith in the genuine Jesus, I distinguish between the two religions in the following way. I use the terms "LDS Christianity" or "Mormon Christianity" in contrast to "Biblical Christianity," "Traditional Christianity," "Historical Christianity" or sometimes even "Genuine Christianity."5
On the other hand, informed evangelicals are generally concerned about the Mormon assertion that Mormons are Christians, or that the Mormon Church is a Christian church, an for good reason. Consider the following remarks made by Republican Presidential Candidate, the Honorable Orrin Hatch, at a recent meeting of the Christian Coalition in Washington, D.C. Hatch was only politely received at the largely conservative evangelical event when introduced. Referring to a poll that indicated that 17% of Americans would never elect an LDS member to the presidency, Hatch remarked, "Well, I can't do anything about bigots or bigotry, but I can do a lot about people who are misinformed. . . . I take my Christian faith very, very seriously." 6 Then Bishop Hatch bore his testimony saying,
I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that he lives. I know that he died for you and me. I know that he has provided a means by which we may go back to our Father in Heaven to live in peace and prosperity . . . It is from this land that true freedom has gone all the way around the world . . . God bless America, and God bless all of you.7
There are at least two features of Hatch's speech that demand a non-conciliatory apologetic response. Hatch enjoyed a rousing standing ovation from the Christian Coalition after his testimony of Christian identity in light of the cool reception he got at the time of his introduction. And the Deseret News gloated openly when it issued the headline, "Hatch wins over skeptical Christian group--Standing ovation after he stands up for his religion."8
Now, consider also the concluding comments from Stephen E. Robinson's book, "Are Mormons Christians?" Robinson poses the criteria for Christian identity as simply knowing, loving, or worshipping Jesus Christ. He writes,
Though all the world may say that Latter-day Saints do not know or love or worship Jesus Christ, I know that we do, and if this is not the issue in question, or if this is not enough to be counted a Christian, then the word has lost its meaning.9
LDS apologists Daniel Peterson and Stephen Ricks also weigh in. "By every New Testament standard, Mormons are Christian," they write.10 They also assert, "What made a person a Christian in the first century, and what makes a person a Christian today, is, simply a commitment to Jesus Christ. Such commitment is central to the religion of the Latter-day Saints." 11 This Peterson-Ricks definition, commitment to Jesus Christ, is indeed a suitable working test for Christian identity. What remains unsettled is a suitable biblical description of commitment and of Jesus Christ. A description of the latter term is the subject of this paper.
The representative LDS comments above which claim LDS Christian identity demand an apologetic response that compliments the evangelistic approach suggested above. The price is simply too high to ignore or patronize the unsubstantiated and false claims of LDS Christian identity which are made in the public arena. To do so necessarily gives ground to pluralism since Historic Christianity and LDS Christianity make mutually exclusive truth claims about the object of religious commitment, Jesus Christ, and mutually exclusive truth claims about the nature and practice of that commitment to Him. If pluralism prevails Christianity itself is stripped of its distinctive truth, distinctive way of salvation and distinctive eternal life. And if pluralism is true, then Christianity of any description is irrelevant.
The Bible strongly suggests that a christological test is a legitimate way of discerning Christian identity or redemptive status. In other words, one's redemptive status before God in this life and the next may be directly related to what one believes about the person and work of Jesus Christ. For instance, Scripture clearly asserts that one must not reject the Sonship, incarnation, death, burial and resurrection of Christ to enjoy the blessings of salvation.12 Consider especially 2 John 7-9,
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son (NKJV).
Matthew 16:13-20 also makes a very strong claim that identifying Jesus correctly is a proposition that constitutes the Rock upon which the very Church is built,
When Jesus came into the region of Ceasarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But whom do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock [of confession] I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (NKJV) [italics mine].
Now if a Christ-Test in general is legitimate for discerning Christian identity or redemptive status, and I believe it is, then what remains are the particular test questions for the LDS context. A particular test for LDS Christology is required because Mormons happily confess the Sonship of Christ together with His incarnation, death, burial and resurrection. What they do not happily confess, I will demonstrate, is the biblical meaning of some of these terms. Now, I should like to set forth my biblical Christ-Test primarily derived from a thorough theological-exegetical analysis of the Christology of Colossians 1:15-20 stated in consideration of LDS Christology.13
There is an abundance of evidence in this Colossians christological passage to assert confidently at least six essential aspects of the person and work of Christ:
1) Jesus Christ is uniquely fully divine, yet a distinct person.
2) Jesus Christ is uniquely fully human, yet without sin.
3) The fundamentally distinct human and divine natures of Jesus Christ are uniquely unified in one person without confusion, change, division, separation or identity.
4) Jesus Christ is the unique perfect revealer of God's essential nature.
5) Jesus Christ is the absolute LORD-Creator of all creation ex nihilo.
6) Jesus Christ is the unique and efficient reconciler of creation.
1) Unique Full Divinity
The two strongest witnesses in this passage for the unique full deity of Christ may be found in the image of the invisible God phrase of 15a together with the firstborn phrase of 15b. These two phrases paint a glorious picture of Christ that depicts Him as the unique, eternal, visible, representation and manifestation of God who is otherwise unobservable. Christ is exactly equal to God and exactly like God, so exactly equal to and like God that He does what only God can do. He creates ex nihilo. Additionally, Christ is so exactly equal to and like God that He BE-s what only God can BE. He necessarily BE-s. To be exactly like God is to BE necessarily. And to BE necessarily is to BE eternally. And Christ is so exactly related to God that He is called only what God may be called, the Image of the invisible God and the Firstborn over all creation.
2) Unique Full Humanity
The two strongest evidences in this passage for the unique full humanity of Christ also lie in the words image of the invisible God of 15a and in the phrase firstborn of 18c. These expressions describe Christ as the full revelation of true humanity, as Man par excellence, as the Ideal-Human who is created in the image of God, able not to die on the one hand, but certain to die because of Adam's sin on the other. As the Firstborn from the dead, Christ is fully human on the basis of His dying and fully human, as well, on the basis of His bodily resurrection.
3) Unique Unification of Two Fundamentally Distinct Natures in One Person
This christological proposition is not derived from one biblical proposition, but is, however, a necessary derivation of the assertion of the two above propositions: Christ's unique full deity and unique full humanity. Full divinity and full humanity are two fundamentally distinct kinds of beingness. Only Jesus Christ is fully both. The exact relationship between these two fundamentally distinct natures in one person is a profound mystery, but cogent thinking and biblical thinking demand an isolation of certain incorrect descriptions of this relationship. Ancient incorrect descriptions include Apollonarianism, Nestorianism and Eutychianism.
4) Unique Perfect Revealer of God's Essential Nature
The image phrase together with firstborn in v. 15 harbor the strongest proof for the revealing work of Christ in this passage. As an exact visible representation of what God who can not otherwise be observed is like, Jesus Christ is the ultimate revealer of who God is and what God does. What makes Christ the perfect revealer is that He shares attributes with both God and Man-in-the-image-of-God. He is, in one person, both Creator ex nihilo and Inhabitant of His creation. He occupies two realms: the realm of God and the realm of man. And Christ reveals God to man, in his created realm, what Creator-God of another fundamentally different realm is like.
5) Absolute LORD-Creator of All Creation Ex Nihilo
Firstborn in v. 15, especially amplified by before all things in v. 17, offers the strongest testimony of the work of Christ as Lord of creation ex nihilo in this passage. These phrases depict Christ as supreme over the creation that He creates ex nihilo. And it follows necessarily that whatever He creates, He is prior to in time. Christ is the uncreated and unprocreated Creator ex nihilo over His creation. But His special creation, man, fell prey to temptation. Man's sin brought a curse on all creation and creation stood in desperate need of re-creating or reconciliation.
6) Unique and Efficient Reconciler of His Creation
The strongest evidences in this passage for the redeeming work of Christ as efficient reconciler of creation, or in other words efficient LORD-Re-Creator, are found in the phrases reconciles all things (v. 20a) and the Firstborn from the dead phrase of 18c. Jesus Christ is the peacemaking mediator between God and fallen man, and between God and fallen creation because He is both God and man, Creator and Inhabitant of creation. Christ makes this peace with God on behalf of all creation by His substitutionary death on the cross. He makes recreation-reconciliation possible through His shed blood on the cross, and He models re-creation through His resurrection.
MORMON CHRISTOLOGY & THE CHRIST-TEST14
1) On Unique Full Deity
The LDS christological program suggests the derived, or progressive deity of Jesus Christ rather than the full deity as described by the Christ-Test above. The fully divine status of the Son of God is the subsequent result of His procreation and resurrection, therefore His deity can not be an eternal state or an exactly-equal-with-supreme-God state. An official LDS manual reads, "Jesus Christ is literally the son [sic] of God the Eternal Father."15 In a guide for LDS family home evenings, the writer remarks, "How are children begotten? I answer just as Jesus Christ was begotten of his father."16 Heber Grant wrote Jesus is the "Son of God just as much as you and I are the sons of our fathers."17 And Ezra Benson wrote, the Son of God was "sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father."18 LDS Christology suggests that there was a time when the Son of God was not was not the son of God, by suggesting there was a time when the Son of God was not begotten.19
Additionally, Jesus Christ did not even achieve what Mormons term "the fullness of deity," until after his resurrection. Consider Joseph Fielding Smith's comments, "The Savior did not have a fulness [sic] at first, but after he received his body and the resurrection all power was given to him both in heaven and in earth. . . . There were some things lacking which he did not receive until after his resurrection."20 The LDS Jesus Christ is a radically different Jesus Christ with reference to His unique full deity on the grounds that the LDS Jesus Christ does not enjoy exact likeness or eternal likeness with God.
2) Unique Full Humanity
Whatever distinctions there may be on this point are subtle, highly complex, and related to the findings of the first and third test and therefore warrant no special treatment in this brief analysis.
3) Unique Unification of Two Fundamentally Distinct Natures
Mormon Christology, its Doctrine of God and its Anthropology, effectively annihilates the fundamental distinction between humanity and deity. In other words, LDS Christology basically disagrees with the premises upon which the traditional doctrine of the hypostatic union is based, that is, deity and humanity are different states of being. Robinson wrote,
The soil from which the LDS doctrine of deification grows is the belief that humans are of the divine species and that the scriptural language of divine paternity is not merely figurative. . . . The strict wall of separation between the human and the divine . . . in my view is not really biblical but, once again, philosophical. . . . It rests on the same objection to the clear sense of Scripture that led to the equally unbiblical doctrine of the two natures in Christ, which was added to historic Christianity by the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451. . . . According to Chalcedon, Christ's divine nature never became human, never suffered, never died--the claims of Scripture notwithstanding. Latter-day Saints reject all that.21
Therefore, the LDS Jesus Christ is a radically different Jesus Christ compared with the Traditional Jesus Christ described as possessing both fundamentally distinct human and divine natures uniquely unified in one person without confusion, change, division or separation. Perhaps a new phrase "without identity" should be added to traditional christological formulations to exclude clearly the erroneous LDS view that annihilates this essential distinction.
4) Unique Perfect Revealer of God's Essential Nature
Jesus Christ is not, in the LDS program, the perfect revealer of God because of the differences that exist at the ontological level between the Eternal Father and the Son. The Son is, for instance, not eternal nor presumably capable of creating mankind (see below) and can not reveal in his own person eternality or anthropological creation. In Traditional Christology, the Son of God is ontologically the same as the Father, and therefore reveals exactly what God 's essential nature which can not be perceived otherwise is like. Mormons are, however, "thoroughly subordinationist in their theology of the Godhead."22 They "believe that the oneness of these three [persons of the trinity] is not ontological oneness of being . . . but a oneness of mind, purpose, power, and intent."23 In this way, the LDS Jesus Christ is incapable by definition of revealing exactly what the Father is like, because the Son is essentially different in person and essential being-ness.
5) Absolute LORD-Creator of All Creation Ex Nihilo
Mormons affirm several distinct doctrines on Christ's role in creation as well. The Son of God is not the absolute Lord-Creator of all creation ex nihilo in LDS Christology. The earth and everything in it were spiritually "created" (spiritual matter reorganized) by the Father before the physical "creation" (physical matter reorganized) by the Son and others. Bruce R. McConkie wrote, "This earth was created first spiritually. . . . Then came the physical creation. . . . Man and all forms of life existed as spirit beings and entities before the foundations of this earth were laid."24 Joseph Smith revealed, "In the beginning [of the physical creation], the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. . . . Now the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize. . . . The pure principles of element . . . had no beginning, and can have no end."25 Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, "It was Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who, under the direction of his Father, came down and organized matter and made this planet. . . . It is true that Adam helped to form this earth. . . . I have a strong view or conviction that there were others also who assisted them. Perhaps Noah and Enoch; and why not Joseph Smith?"26
Perhaps the most distinct of all LDS Christ-the-Creator doctrines is that the Son of God did not "create" mankind in any sense of the word. Bruce R. McConkie wrote, "We know that Jehovah-Christ, assisted by 'many of the noble and great ones' (Abr. 3:22) of whom Michael is but the illustration, did in fact create the earth and all forms of plant and animal life on the face thereof. But when it came to placing man on earth, there was a change of Creators. That is, the Father became personally involved. . . . Man was created by the Father."27 It is very clear that the LDS Jesus Christ is a radically different Jesus Christ compared with the traditional Jesus Christ on His role in creation and the basic definition of the nature of the creative act itself. The Colossians passage leaves absolutely no room for the LDS interpretation that rejects Christ's role in the creation of mankind.
6) Unique and Efficient Reconciler of His Creation
The Mormon Jesus Christ is very different on this test as well. For starters, the LDS doctrine of atonement tends to minimize the central work of Christ on the cross itself. Consider an official LDS missionary training manual that reads "The atonement made by the Savior began in Gethsemane and ended at the empty tomb."28 The careful reader will also note the strange absence of the very word "cross" in Mormon documents in general. In five entire pages of propositions and official quotations on the subject of the atonement of Christ in Doctrines of the Gospel, there is not one occurrence of the word "cross." More important, however, than the notable absence of references to the cross itself is the limited nature of the atonement itself. Jesus' atonement only effects universal immortality, it does not effect the fullness of salvation. The Articles of Faith collected in the Pearl of Great Price states, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."29 And Gospel Principles states, "When he became our Savior, he did his part to help us return to our heavenly home. It is now up to each of us to do our part and become worthy of exaltation."30 In other words, the work of Christ on the cross is not reconciling at all, it does not make total peace between God and man, it only makes partial peace and restores immortality to all mankind. Whether one enjoys the full benefits of salvation, called exaltation or deification, depends on the conduct of man himself. This is definitely not the traditional doctrine of the atoning work of Christ. Therefore, the LDS Christ is very different on this point as well from Traditional Christology.
In sum, the LDS Jesus Christ is not uniquely fully divine. He is not a bearer of the fundamentally distinct human and divine natures uniquely unified in one person without confusion, change, division, separation or identity. He is not the unique perfect revealer of God's essential nature. He is not the absolute LORD-Creator of all creation ex nihilo. And He is not the unique, efficient reconciler of creation. In short, the LDS concept of Jesus Christ is not the Traditional concept of Jesus Christ described by Colossians.
A critic might successfully demonstrate that I have misinterpreted LDS Christology or biblical Christology at some point. But, there is little chance that a critic could convince any informed observer that LDS descriptions of the person and work of Christ are the same or even similar to traditional descriptions. Even the present prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints admits as much to Mormons. According to an LDS publication, President Gordon B. Hinckley bore his testimony describing Christ in Geneva, Switzerland at an LDS gathering of five stakes in France and Switzerland on 6 June 1998. The article reads,
In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints "do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness [sic] of Times. He, together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph Smith left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.
Am I a Christian? Of course I am. I believe in Christ. I talk of Christ. I pray through Christ? I'm trying to follow Him and live His gospel in my life."31
Paige Patterson, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, penned a letter to President Hinckley in September of 1998 in response to his Genevan christological remarks commending Hinckley for his refreshingly candid remarks in light of many other church leaders and missionaries who generally tend to minimize the christological distinctions. Patterson wrote,
In my opinion, that [Hinckley's remarks] enhances both your credibility and the reality that traditional Christians and Mormons believe in two different and distinctive views of Christ. . . . Baptists, as you know, hold to a view of Jesus Christ that is based strictly on biblical revelation and that believes that Jesus was and is eternal God. This view is clearly at odds with your own faith that, as I understand it, confesses that he was sired by God, the heavenly father, in consort with his wife. He was in that sense a literal son of God. I also realize that you believe that Jesus existed as an eternal spirit form, but not in the sense as God or as the Son of God.32
The director of media relations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, later reinterpreted President Hinckley's Genevan remarks in a way that sought apparently to minimize the Christological differences between evangelicals and Latter-day Saints when asked to comment on the prophets straightforward declaration. Apparently, the message to Mormons is "We believe in a very differently described, better, Jesus than other Christians," while the message to the public is "We believe in the same Jesus described by other Christians." One can only speculate about the reason for the mutually exclusive messages, but perhaps the different messages are related to the LDS general desire to join the ranks of mainline Christianity and be publicly perceived as so for proselytizing purposes, while remaining distinctive in comments to its distinctive membership.
If a christological test for Christian identity is a legitimate test, if my particular christological test is a valid one, if my description of LDS Christology is on the mark, and if President Hinckley is correct when he observes that the Traditional Christ is not the LDS Christ, then it necessarily follows that Mormonism may not rightly claim Christian identity. At a bare minimum, it necessarily follows that Biblical Christology and LDS Christology are mutually exclusive truth claims that can not both rightly claim Christian identity. When either Evangelicals or Mormons minimize these differences, it only trivializes the deeply held beliefs of both. Perhaps Evangelicals and Mormons will have to agree to disagree vigorously about Christology, but that would be a good start toward advancing the TRUTH about Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, whatever it may be.
(END NOTES AT LINK)
Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions all follow the same truine God and understand Christ in the same fundamental manner. There is a reason we share the same creeds and other doctrines. We quibble over procedural issues and such but not over who Christ is, how he came to be, the value of his sacrifice and what he means to mankind.
Anyone who can read the Bible and the doctrines of the LDS with reason and honesty knows that the christ of the Mormons is a fabrication, a hollow and slanderous impostor of the most import man to ever walk this Earth.
Even Mormon leadership has clearly stated that the LDS follow a different christ.
Q: I read recently that the Catholic Church had rejected Mormon baptism, since their view of Christ and the Trinity is so unusual. But I have to ask: Are Mormons considered separated brothers and sisters? While their views are strange to say the least, they are still separated, and we should reach out to them. If we view them as something other than separated, doesn't that exclude ecumenism? I know that many view them as a cult, but aren't cult members separated as well?
"A: The reason Mormons are not considered separated brethren is not because they aren't "separated" from the Church-they are-but they aren't "brethren" in the sense required.
The phrase separated brethren refers to those who, though separated from full communion with the Catholic Church, have been justified through baptism and are thus brethren in Christ. The Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio) of Vatican II teaches that "all who have been justified by faith in baptism are members of Christ's body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church."
Because Mormonism is polytheistic and rejects the Trinity, Mormon baptism is not valid, and Mormons are not considered separated brethren. For the same reason, outreach to them, while certainly a good thing, is not ecumenism, though it can include dialogue and social cooperation as well as efforts to evangelize them."
I beg to differ with that observation blow. Evangelical denominations accept the Trinitarian doctrine expressed in the article - mormonism does not. Evangelical denominations accept the God-man descriptions from the article - mormonism does not. Evangelical denomination accept that Jesus' sacrifice provides the FULL means of salvation - mormons only recognize a 'universal resurrection' with works required to progress past that. So I don't know where you get your definitions of evangelical denominations from, but it is erroneous.
I would act shocked if it would help...
I always like the very diplomatic way the Catholic Church says things...
Mormonism in a nutshell...
Let me point out to you that after Mormons achieve the Celestial Kingdom, they cease to be Christians (Christ followers). They use Him as an end to a means, then its adios as they achieve your own godhood and go off to rule their own world.
Feel free to declare yourselves whatever you wish, call the water sand if you so desire...
But I would advise swimming lessons before hopping into the desert...
And don't expect us support the deception...
My use of the word is singular of “works,” the same word you used. You misrepresented the meaning behind my use of the word work, knowingly I think.
Sorry, as a follower of the Truth I have no need to practice the word games of the LDS...
Sorry, as a follower of the Truth I have no need to practice the word games of the LDS...
I take note then that by skipping the other points, you are unable to disagree with my observations on other evangelical denominations and their common view of Jesus. That is good to know.
Who does the work in the 'birth' blow - the baby or the mother? Who did the work - Jesus or you? Where in the bible does doing temple endowments, ceremonies, special underware or other work place a person in heaven with heavenly father?
Paul wrote that we are saved by grace (something unearned or deserved), through faith and not of works. Isaiah wrote that ALL our works of righteousness are as filthy rags (literal translation - bloody menstrual cloths). Sounds like works are out of the picture according to the bible.
The thing is, Mormons HAVEN’T always self identified as Christian. For most of their history, they have separated themselves from Christianity. This drive to be considered Christian or ‘just another Christian denomination’ (the cry of ‘we are Christians TOO) is fairly recent (last 20 years or so).
When I was LDS in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, it was just getting started. We still called ourselves Mormon as opposed to ‘christian’. We made fun of Christians (especially ‘gracers’) and while we occasionally cried “we are Christians, too”, especially when told we weren’t Christians at all, among ourselves we patted each other on the back and said “well, we are the only TRUE Christians, the others aren’t really Christians”.
Also, blow, there are no differences between Christian churches on the person, work and Nature of Christ. There is however major differences between the LDS and Christianity.
Since you seem to think there are major differences, please enumerate them.
Marriage, Divorce, and Mixed Marriages
"Though the Church would prefer that all Orthodox Christians would marry Orthodox Christians, it does not insist on it in practice. Out of its concern for the spiritual welfare of members who wish to marry a non-Orthodox Christian, the Church will conduct a "mixed marriage." For this purpose, a "non-Orthodox Christian" is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, or one of the many Protestant Churches which believe in and baptize in the name of the Holy Trinity. This means that such mixed marriages may be performed in the Orthodox Church. However, the Orthodox Church does not perform marriages between Orthodox Christians and persons belonging to other religions, such as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any sectarian and cult group, such as Christian Science, Mormonism, or the followers of Rev. Moon."
So I think an argument can be made that the "original" church as it existed prior to that time was not bound by the rulings of Nicaea and Chalcedon.
Imagine how different this thread would have been if the Arians had prevailed.
By the way, I am not LDS and tend to the view that old Joe was making it all up.....
Christ said we must be born of the body and of the spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Sounds like work to me.
- - - - -
Then you apparently have NO clue either what the Bible teaches or what that verse means or what being ‘born of the spirit’ is.
Wow. Just wow.