Skip to comments.Mormonism, Cults, and Christianity (Is Mormonism a Cult, or is it simply not Christian?)
Posted on 10/10/2011 7:50:42 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The news is abuzz with the question of Mormonism, cults, and Christianity.
A cult is often understood as a religious group with strange beliefs out of the cultural mainstream (which many today increasingly consider biblical Christianity). Since "cult" is difficult to define, scholars tend not to use it.
However, the question of what beliefs characterize Christianity is not a new debate, and is one we should not shy away from if words and definitions matter.
Many people are shocked at the idea that some pastors believe Mormons are not Christians-- "judgementalism" is decried and "intolerance" proclaimed. Yet, as that may be new news to some, the view that Mormons are not Christians is historic and very widely held view.
In 2007, LDS spokesman Michael Otterson provided a forthright article in the On Faith section of the Washington Post / Newsweek. He explains,
The question, "Are Mormons Christian?" is a good starting point for this discussion. When some conservative Protestants say Mormons aren't Christian, it is deeply offensive to Latter-day Saints. Yet when Latter-day Saints assert their Christianity, some of those same Christians bitterly resent it. Why? Because both sides are using the same terms to describe different things...
When someone says Mormons aren't Christian... he or she usually means that Mormons don't embrace the traditional interpretation of the Bible that includes the Trinity. "Our Jesus" is somehow different from "their Jesus." Further, they mean that some Mormon teachings are so far outside Christian orthodoxy of past centuries that they constitute almost a new religion.
Otterson is correct here. For evangelicals and others, "Christian" is more than a self-identified label. It is hard for people in tolerant America to hear, "I know you SAY you are a Christian, but you are not." Yet, basic to evangelicalism (and historic Protestantism) is that some people are Christians, some people are not, and not all people who think that they are Christians actually are.
"Christianity" is not based on what you say about yourself or your beliefs. "Christianity" must be connected to how your beliefs agree with the beliefs of biblical Christianity.
With Mormonism becoming a major topic of discussion, about a year ago LifeWay Research decided to ask Protestant pastors their view. According to our random sample, most pastors feel strongly Mormons are not Christians. After several reporters asked if we had some data, I decided to release it. You can download the full report here: Protestant Pastor Views of Mormonism.
The survey polled 1,000 American Protestant pastors asking them to respond to the statement, "I personally consider Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) to be Christians." It's a forthright question some will find offensive, but it will be an increasingly important question.
Three-quarters of Protestant pastors (75%) disagree with the statement, "I personally consider Mormons... to be Christians," including 60 percent who strongly disagree and 15 percent who somewhat disagree. Just 11 percent somewhat agree, 6 percent strongly agree and 9 percent do not know.
In other words, the view that "Mormons are not Christians" is the widely and strongly held view among Protestant pastors. That does not meant they do not respect Mormons as persons, share their values on family, and have much in common. Yet, they simply view Mormonism as a distinct religion outside of basic teachings of Christianity. Many of these pastors may know Mormons consider themselves Christians, but Protestant pastors overwhelmingly do not consider them such.
I know this is an unpleasant question to many, and one that some will use as a hammer on evangelicals, but let me encourage a different view.
The fundamental issue is: how divergent can your views be and still be a part of a faith group (in contrast to forming a new one). Can you believe, for instance, that Muhammad is not the prophet and still call yourself a Muslim? The vast majority of Muslims would say you cannot. For Christians, calling yourself a Christian while not believing that God has always existed as the triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is as inconceivable.
This is not simply a conservative evangelical Christian view. Methodists have said "the LDS Church is not a part of the historic, apostolic tradition of the Christian faith." Even Roman Catholics (hardly conservative Protestants) don't recognize LDS baptism.
As I said before, a cult is difficult to define. But Christianity has been defined a certain way for centuries. There is no reason to be shocked that devout Christians consider those with a different view of Christ as non-Christians. In the current cultural climate it may be uncomfortable, but it is anything but shocking.
Everyone has an opinion on this issue, but the only valid opinion is God’s. His opinion is written in Scripture.
Mormonism is a cult. Nice people, great dinner guests; but it’s a cult. It deviates from orthodox Christianity to the point where it is unrecognizable when compared to fundamental Christian doctrine.
Ping for later
This article lost me when it consigned Norman Rockwell into the “kitsch” category.
No less than the renowned American artist Everett Raymond Kinstler has proclaimed Rockwell a genuis. And he was.
Satan's greatest feat in capturing the souls of earnest people was the invention of counterfeit Christianity.
Simply looking at the differences of basic theology between Christians and Mormons demonstrates that Mormons are NOT Christians. Period.
However, this focus on Romney’s religion is being USED by the media to distract us all from the real issues of the upcoming elections.
We need to be aware of that.
I can agree with you there. But I can't agree that every self-appointed loudmouth's private interpretation of scripture is the only correct one.
That's sort of like the libtard's proclamation that their interpretation of the constitution is the only correct one.
I'm rather confident that Jesus will tell us which organized religion (if any) has a monopoly on the truth when he comes again.
I'm equally confident that he is going to look more kindly on those of us who were actively working together to keep back the hordes of godless liberals, sodomites and Islamofacists rather than nitpick against people doing the same because they didn't pass our personal Christian purity test.
And while I don't believe we can work our way into heaven without accepting Jesus Christ but in doing good works, neither do I believe we can earn our way there by making all the right professions of faith but in doing rotten works.
If your heart is set on continuously throwing mud at one of the most conservative voting religious sects in America, then I would not only question whether you are really a conservative, I would also question whether you really are a Christian.
Christ reaching out to the Samaritan woman is far more indicative about how real Christians behave.
Let’s not help Romney get nominated and then we can ignore Mormonism.
if romney is the nominee the left will go all in to portray Mormonism as the worst cult ever, worse than Jonestown. I don’t think the LDS people would really want that.
Here's the analogous situation, borrowed from Freeper William Clark, illustrating how one can have faith in 'a' Christ but not the true Savior Christ:
"I always like to use the analogy of Jim Caviezel [In Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of The Christ']. Like the Mormon Jesus, he dressed the part, spoke the same words (in the original language, no less), and was referred to as Jesus Christ within a specific context, but it makes all the difference in the world whether one worships and depends upon him for their salvation or the genuine article."
What do they call the condition when someone on FreeRepublic bashes a story critical on Mormonism - but is referencing a quote from an entirely different posting? Is that called a “Freeperian Slip”?????
If you can’t leave without being shunned by your friends and family, and if you can’t ask honest questions without being shamed, it’s a cult.
I don’t care if a candidate is mormon, Jewish, or an Episcopalian. All I care about is the Content of his Character. Religion is secondary in my way of thinking.
Today there are on the order of 1,500 different Christian faith groups in North America alone which promote many different and conflicting beliefs. Further, many groups believe that they alone are the "true" Christian church and that all of the others are in error. Consider, for example, belief in Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ). There are Christian groups that consider him purely divine, others consider him as 100% human and 100% divine; still others consider him as purely human -- the greatest of all of the prophets.
From the dictionary:
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, AKA Mormons, are indisputably followers of Christ and therefore are Christians.
Agreed. If you believe that people have different levels of “worthiness” based on certain rules, it’s a cult. If your own parents cannot attend your wedding, because they are deemed “not worthy”, it is a cult.
“I know you SAY you are a Christian, but you are not.”
Pharisee alert. They accused Jesus Christ Himself of being from the devil.
I am soooooo grateful that Jesus Christ, my Savior and Advocate with the Father, will be my final judge, not mere humans.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the amount of ignorance about me and my faith is perfectly stunning.
RE: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, AKA Mormons, are indisputably followers of Christ and therefore are Christians.
Can one be a follower of Christ and yet preach FALSE things about Him?
For instance, Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Spirit Brother of Lucifer.
“Thus it is shown that prior to the placing of man upon the earth, how long before we do not know, Christ and Satan, together with the hosts of the spirit-children of God, existed as intelligent individuals, possessing power and opportunity to choose the course they would pursue and the leaders whom they would follow and obey” (James Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 8)
“The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desparately tried to become the Savior of mankind”
(Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15-—this book was “written and published under the direction of the General Priesthood Committee of the Council of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”).
JESUS TELLS US IN MATTHEW 7:21-23:
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me...’
Then the witch burners and Taliban Christians had to tow it back to sea because it was more fun to throw rocks at than allow the other ships to pass. Their poisonous rhetoric is the equivalent of going to an Obama rally and shouting the N-word.
There is a certain group of Americans who are politically uninformed but will cast sympathy votes just to stick it to these yahoos.
When someone says Mormons aren’t Christian... he or she usually means that Mormons don’t embrace the traditional interpretation of the Bible that includes the Trinity.
I would disagree with that statement. Not that people don’t think they aren’t Christian because of the Trinity issue but that MOST people don’t have a clue about the differences.
Mormons as I understand them do not have the same Trinity definition as the Roman Church and their offspring. But, another question put forth in the statements is that their trinity belief is not biblical. On this I would disagree. The Saints in the 1st century would for the most part certainly have the same view as the Mormons.
In the New Testament book, Hebrews, Paul says the following:
1 GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
(New Testament | Hebrews 1:1 - 5)
Again a little further in Hebrews:
6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
(New Testament | Hebrews 2:6 - 9)
One of the cornerstones of the doctrine of the Trinity is that God The Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost are co-equal and constitute one God. The early church saints did not believe this because the writings left behind by the early church writers did not convey this thought. This did not become popular until the enlightened fathers realized it had to be that way, but it was not always so.
There are many scriptural references that would make one question the doctrine of the Trinity. I will attemp to recall a few:
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
(New Testament | Matthew 26:39)
In this we see that The Son did not His own Will but that of His father.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
(New Testament | John 14:26)
Again we see that The Holy Ghost is “sent” by The Father, not by Christ but by The Father who also sent Christ.
3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
(New Testament | John 11:3 - 4)
In this we see that Christ did not just call Himself The Son of The Father, but, The Son of God. You may ask, so? but here Christ refers to Himself not as God but as His Son. A son can inherit all His Father has but is always still The Son.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
(New Testament | John 17:20 - 26)
Here we see all the reason the Mormons need to disavow the doctrine of the Trinity as espoused by the Roman Church. The concept of members of the church being one with Christ as He is one with The Father if a correct principle would indicate that the Mormon doctrine of the “GodHead”, (their equivalent of the Trinity) would make sense.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not attacking the doctrine of the Trinity. I am not a learned scholar to whom the trinity makes perfect sense all I have to go by is reading the scripture. If I studied this in seminary for several years reading the worldly philosophers who have made sense of this and what the scriptures really mean then I too would probably poke fun at the Mormons for their beliefs. They don’t do the seminary thing and are on a much simpler level of understanding than the majority of the seminary graduated pastors of other churches.
What I do say is that they believe in Christ, they believe in God and they believe in the Holy Ghost. They don’t pray to Jesus or to The Holy Ghost, they pray to God The Father as taught by Jesus in the “Lords Prayer”.
Are they Christian? They say they are. They believe in Jesus Christ as The Son of God. They don’t believe in all of the “Apostles Creed” but they do accept most of it.
I say yes, they are Christian, just not Roman Christian.