Monday, 15 February 2010

Why Mormons aren’t Christians

There are many and significant differences between Christianity and Mormonism. Christians do not build temples (1 Cor.3:17), Mormons do; Christians form an open society whose beliefs and practices are readily accessible (2 Cor.4:2), while Mormons have layers of doctrine, practice and ritual that are hidden except for those initiated into them; Christians do not add to God’s word in the Bible (Dt.4:2;12:32; Rev.22:18), Mormons do; Christians believe in one eternal God (Is.43:10-11), Mormons believe in many gods; Christians regard God as Creator and us his creatures (Gen.1:27), Mormons believe themselves of the same species as God and that God is an exalted man. Yet the Mormon claims to be a Christian.

All this will be alarming to the Christian and cause for great consternation and sometimes loud protestation. On these, and many other distinguishing differences a Christian might legitimately feel moved to challenge the Mormon faith but there is one great difference between the Christian message of the Bible and the message of Mormonism that is of paramount importance. It is this, more than any other distinction, that disqualifies the Mormon from that blessed society of Christians described in the Bible. It is this that our Mormon friends need to hear.

What is a Christian?

A Christian is one who trusts fully in the finished work of Christ on the Cross (Ro.10:9-13), depending wholly on him and not one jot on anything in themselves for salvation (Ro.3:21-28). Someone who has been Born Again (John 3:5-6), who has crossed over from death to life and no longer fears judgement (John 5:24), who has peace with God through faith in Christ and stands in a place of grace and assurance (Ro.5:1-2) and knows free and open access to the Father because of Christ our great high priest, approaching God with confidence (Heb.4:14-16). Someone for whom the journey of faith is a walk of service and sacrifice and who, because of God’s grace, abounds in good works, the fruit of salvation and not the root from which salvation springs (2 Co.9:8).

What is a Mormon?

A Mormon is one who trusts in his own efforts to gain a place with God, who is “saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the [Mormon] gospel” (8th Article of Faith) and not by grace. Whose activities and works of service are understood to be the root of his salvation:

“Some degree of salvation will come to all who have not forfeited their right to it; exaltation is given to those only who by active labors (sic) have won a claim to God's merciful liberality by which it is bestowed.” (Articles of Faith, 1977, p.91)

A Mormon is someone who believes that Christ’s work on the Cross is insufficient to atone for all sins, that for certain sins a man must atone for himself:

“Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins...that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offences are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood, shed to atone...on their behalf” (JF Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vo.1, p.135)

A Christian has a Saviour who saves to the uttermost while the Mormon saviour fails to atone for the uttermost offense no matter that the sinner repents in tears. A Christian, through faith in Christ, stands in life (John 5:24) while the Mormon strives to gain by his own effort the ground on which the Christian stands. This is the great tragedy of the Mormon message, that God’s offer of eternal life as a gift (Rom.6:23) becomes for the Mormon God’s offer of life to those who strive to earn it. A Mormon cannot say with Paul:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand, And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Rom.5:1-2)

It is this justification, this peace, this access, joy and hope that we seek to share with every Mormon we meet. It is this that every Mormon needs to hear above all else.

11 comments:

  1. Mike, I don't know if you are aware of Theology Network, but listening to Mike Reeve's lecture on this subject of 'justification' makes me wonder if this distinction between Mormonism and Biblical Christianity is nothing new; it seems to have been played-out (and probably always will be) in history...

    ...take Augustine vs. Pelagius and Luther vs. Erasmus as two examples out of many others.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hadn't come across Theology Network but I understand what you mean. It is a comparison Mormons are apt to make when they want to play down the significant differences between us. The argument goes "we are in good company in making the claims we make and if 'they' are Christians of a sort then so are we."

    The trouble is the comparison doesn't work because the people, motivation and theologies are so different. Pelagius' doctrine, "What a man can do he should do" was a reaction to the gross licence and corruption he found in Rome and a call back to obedience and discipleship. Of course he went too far but the heart of the matter was a simple determination to be obedient.

    Erasmus was, of course, a Christian Humanist and his views present a greater problem but they still emphasise the role of enlightened man in God's plan. Neither Pelagius nor Erasmus sought to deny the Bible and its basic message.

    Mormons, on the other hand, come from an entirely different place since they reject wholesale the Bible's message and build a religion of works based on the idea that men are gods in embryo who are working their way to full godhood. The starting point is different, as is the process and the ultimate goal. It is not, as Mormons would have us believe, a difference in emphasis but a different gospel.

    Frankly, I don't think that when Mormons draw these comparisons they have any idea what these controversies are about.

    ReplyDelete
  3. http://www.gotquestions.org/Mormons.html

    Great article on what clearly separates mormonism from christianity

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have heard that Mormons believe that a husband has some "say" in whether his wife is saved or "gets into Heaven"...is that true? I don't know where to look to find the answer

    ReplyDelete
  5. You will find your answer on the UTLM site:

    http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/resurrectwife.htm

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just so you don't embarrass yourself further....
    I am doing a presentation on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I just wanted you to be aware that your definition of Christian is exactly what the 'Mormons' are. The only difference is that they rely on Christ's Atonement, and good works to be saved. I think that makes sense. A person can't just say I accept Christ and then go out murdering and be saved. They must keep the commandments (which is doing something), accept Christ, and after all that we are saved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If as you say, there is a difference ("the only difference is ... ") then by definition it is not "exactly what the mormons are". In fact it is a KEY doctrinal difference ... a salvation difference.

      If someone says they accept Christ and then goes out murdering then I question whether they were truly saved in the first place. Someone who has thought about, understands and truly accepts Christ would not do that.

      Paul wanted to make sure that we knew that salvation is not gained by works. It's why he said in Romans 5:20 "where sin abounded, grace abounded much more". --- Christ's blood is sufficient no matter how much sin. No works are required.

      What you say doesn't make sense. You can NEVER do enough good works to work yourself into heaven. You will always fall short.

      However, if you are saved you will want to do good works.

      Delete
  7. Well, that's me told isn't it? Maybe you would like to unpack that a little for me Kat, before I embarrass myself further :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm sorry, Kat, but it is obvious to a true Christian that if someone does actually accept Jesus Christ then they won't be capable of doing such a thing. Someone can't "accept Christ and then go out murdering and be saved." because they never would have accepted Christ in the first place. They never had it in their hearts and ,consequentially, didn't live it. Perhaps you are implying that one could become and true Mormon and still be capable of murdering a person? If so, Mormonism doesn't seem like much of a life changing/saving faith to me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kat, if as you say, there is a difference ("the only difference is ... ") then by definition it is not "exactly what the mormons are". In fact it is a KEY doctrinal difference ... a salvation difference.

    If someone says they accept Christ and then goes out murdering then I question whether they were truly saved in the first place. Someone who has thought about, understands and truly accepts Christ would not do that.

    Paul wanted to make sure that we knew that salvation is not gained by works. It's why he said in Romans 5:20 "where sin abounded, grace abounded much more". --- Christ's blood is sufficient no matter how much sin. No works are required.

    What you say doesn't make sense. You can NEVER do enough good works to work yourself into heaven. You will always fall short.

    However, if you are saved you will want to do good works.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ephesians 2:8 & 9; "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast." Salvation is by Grace, through Faith, God's Gifts, not by works of the individual. This Truth is in fundamental and total opposition to that of Mormonism. I believe True Christians have two main goals; first to become more Christ-like day by day, and second to share God's Word with others at every opportunity. For God Declares the Power of His Word and Declares He alone determines its use and outcomes.

    Seek God with an open heart and mind. Seek Him in His Word, the Bible, and if you find Him, you will find Him by Grace, through Faith, when you receive God's gifts.

    I thank the author of this web site and pray God will use His Word to claim souls.

    ReplyDelete