Are Mormons really Christians?

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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.

 

The Importance of Being Foolish

In The Importance of Being Foolish Brennan Manning does an amazing job of painting a picture of what life would look like if we truly had the mind of Christ. Manning does an impeckable job of exposing the things in our lives that keep our focus and thoughts on things other than that which consumes the mind of Christ.

Manning goes after our motives our affections and our desires. It is a fantastic read. I have been a big Manning fan ever since I first picked up a copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel and Abba’s Child when I was in College. I have since read most of his books if you have never read anything by Manning I encourage you to do so his candor and love for the gospel are evident in all his books.

Here are a few quotes that spoke to me from The Importance of Being Foolish.

If the radical demands of the Christian life are never proposed, if we settle instead for the tepid observance of a lukewarm set of precepts, how easily we become pharisaical and self-righteous. We try to save ourselves by her own works we never experience the mystery of redemption or loving dependence on God. (page 26)
If we wink at the radical demands of the new testament in our teaching and ignore the embarrassing implications of the precept of universal love, we make Christianity too easy and take away its meaning. We become as guilty as the Pharisees, ignoring the weightier matters of the difficult laws of charity, mercy, and faith while observing the positive laws of the church that are meant only as the boundaries of the Christian commitment. (page 27)

To grasp the truth of the gospel is the fall on our faces in both sorrowing gratitude. To live as Jesus lived is to move off of the floor and into the world. (page 37)

So often our self-motivated and self-moved rather than moved and motivated by the Spirit. When are sense of self is derived from our base desires, we act in ways intended to win approval, avoided criticism, or escape rejection. Deatrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “satan’s desire is to turn me in on myself to the extent that I become enslaved and become a destructive force in community. The thrust from Jesus Christ is the opposite to enhance my freedom so that I can become a creative force of love.  It is the spirit of self-centeredness and selfishness versus the spirit of openness and self-sacrifice for the good of others.”

The cure for our selfishness is to develop discerning hearts. (page 132)
A remarkable thing happens when we embrace our unity with all of God’s creation: everything we have given up is given back. Are were is considering security, pleasure, and power following in the recognition that all is well in the kingdom of God. The teaching of Jesus, “enough, then, good morning about tomorrow. Let tomorrow take care of itself” Matthew 6:34, it is known your moral maxim but a personal reality at the lived level of daily expense. In this context, the author Marry Bodo rights of Francis:

“and he was not worried or anxious about yesterday, today or tomorrow because Christ is, and all things are in him and he is in the father. Francis no longer worried, not because he was a naïve optimist, but because he become in prayer and penance a realist who saw the unimportance of Everything but God, and God and with him and through him, the importance of everything. God was everywhere and his presence charge creation with the power and the glory that made everything shine with goodness and beauty in Francis’s eyes. God’s touch on everything inspired everything that was. (page 142)

The gospel points to only one source of redemption: the Cross of Jesus Christ (pg. 152)

 

Whatever is emphasized in the New Testament should be emphasized in the church today. Whatever is peripheral should not be made central. Jesus Christ in the mystery of his death and resurrection is the center of the Bew Testament from Matthew’s genealogy to Revelation’s “Maranatha” (pg. 157)

 

” Words only get in the away when one tries to express Francis’s love for his crucified Lord” Thomas of Celano (pg 158)

 

” As Christians it is good for us not to boast of the resurrection triumph without accepting the tremendous reality of Christ crucifixion and death in us” Carlo Carretto

(pg. 159)

 

The cross confronts us with the cost discipleship reminds us that there is no cheap Pentecost and carries within it living power to enable us to endure the inevitable humiliations rejections sacrifices and willingness that the journey to the higher Christian consciousness imposes. (pg. 170)

 

” It is not how much we do but how much love we put into the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving.” Mother Teresa (page 168)

 

” Once you come to know the love of Jesus Christ, nothing else in the world will seem beautiful or desirable.”  (page 173)

 

Today Christianity is largely inoffensive this kind of religion will never transform anything. Jesus Christ the master Revolutionary offended religious and political order of Palestine. Christians too are bound to offend, and if we do not it is a bad sign we cannot be very revolutionary. (pg. 177)

 

The journey to transparency requires that we humbly knowledge, for God, but we are inordinately preoccupied with security, pleasure, and power. It requires genuine compassion for others when we see them acting out their addictions and emotionally backed demands; it is our inner solidarity in darkness that produces self-righteousness and irritability and makes compassion possible. The journey to transparency begins with an honest confrontation with the truth, which is not something we acquire, but someone. (pg. 79)

 

Remarkable thing happens when we embrace our unity with all of God’s creation: everything we have given up is given back. Our worries concerning security, pleasure, and power fall away in the recognition that all is well in the kingdom of God. (pg. 142)

The Rizers New Album: Rise Up

Have you ever gone to see a movie because the first one was so good and you left wondering why you wasted your money. I have. The new Rizers CD was nothing like that in fact I may like the second album better than the first one.

Before the first Rizers CD came out I thought that scripture songs were forced, dated and often times lame. The first Rizers CD “Meet the Rizers” set the bar for scripture songs for kids in my opinion. I was curious to see if they would be able to match the quality of their first album they did that and some.

I love how they take scripture and bring it to life in a way that it gets stuck in your head whether you like it or not. Every time I hear kids worship that is made on this level I think how blessed our kids are to grow up with resources like these. When I was a kid we had a singing Robot named Colby and Bullfrogs and Butterflys.

You kids will love this CD I guarantee it. We do a dance party with our kids most nights before bed. The new Rizers CD has made it’s way right after Party in the USA and Dynamite. Track 1 John 14:27 (Do Not Be Afraid!) is our favorite. We also like Track 04 Philippians 4:13 (I Can Do Everything!). If you have kids or are looking for some fun Scripture based worship music for your kids church you need both of their albums.

One last thing. I love the rizers because they believe in the local church and their mission statement is right on! Our mission is simple, we want to instill in kids a love for Jesus Christ and his Word through Scripture memory, praise and worship. We need more resources to help our kids love the bible. So go out support The Rizers download a disk today from Amazon, you will thank me later.

*The Rizers provided me with a free copy of their CD to review.