This is a question that is only going to intensify over the next few months and possibly next few years. I have had a few conversations over the past couple of weeks with people who identified themselves as evangelical christians. Each person told me they believe that Mormons are Christians. I think it’s important to be informed. This isn’t about Mitt Romney it’s about something much deeper.
Let me start by saying I have no ill will towards mormons personally. I have met and known quite a few and all of them have been very kind very nice people. That being said I think it’s important that we address a few of the distinct theological differences Christians and Mormons have.
Mormons hold other writings outside of the scriptures as authoritative. Recognizes the LDS Four Standard Works as authoritative. These include the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith 1:8).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts four books as scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These books are called the standard works of the Church. The inspired words of our living prophets are also accepted as scripture. (Gospel Principles, Chapter 10)
Mormons believe in a moral gospel – By following His teachings, we can inherit a place in the celestial kingdom. 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. (Gospel Principles Chapter 3)
Mormons do not believe in a Triune God but three separate Gods-These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible (Teaching of Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843-44, p.345)
So many Christians are willing to accept Mormon doctrine as the same as their own because their faith is based largely on what hear from others and they feel. This is very dangerous. The clarity of our faith, doctrine and gospel is imperative for us to reach a world drowning in moralism.
I love what Keller says about the gospel is that it humbles us, because we recognize on a daily basis our need for Jesus. I my hope is that through this new dialog about Mormonism we will be able to preach the gospel to Mormons in a clearer fashion than ever before. Mormons need that saving grace of a triune God through the person of Jesus Christ as communicated to us in the solely inspired Word of God just as much as I do.
4 comments On Are Mormons really Christians?
Great post Sam,
I have done a lot of study on LDS as I have ancestors who have a very rich heritage in Mormonism… and that's how they track people down – ancestry is very important to them.
If you read their basic tenants of faith that they put out for the public to read, it's easy to say that they believe the same stuff that we do… but, as you have already uncovered, it's the interpretation behind what they are saying that matters… If I walked up to you and stated, "Hey, we are both wearing a red shirt – we must be very similar in our taste in fashion." —you may walk away and think that you may have just found a new friend who has something in common with you. And what if you found out later that I stole the shirt from someone? It would really change your view of me and my attempt to relate to you; I mean, sure we both are sincere about wearing red, but what's really behind it all?
BTW – your red shirt is in the mail!
Nice post, Sam. Clear, concise, timely. Lots of grace.
Jamie and Sam you both have important and valuable things to say related to the conversation. The one thing that I keep looking at is that this is a very young religion. Less than 190 years old. When looking at Christianity in its early forms – the same discussions the LDS church is having in their wings (and the ones you are listing are discussions) remind me of the early dialogues and debates in the Early Church leaders. Trinity, works, grace etc.
I hear what you are saying Jeanette like they are working out what they believe. Here is the problem. They believe that 3 other books and whatever their president says is on par with scripture. That is more than working out a few doctrinal kinks. They also believe that you are saved by what you do rather than through the the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. They are preaching another Gospel, that is dangerous. I really have no ill will toward Mormons at all. I'm just trying to say that Christians need to know what they believe and why.