Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mormonism is NOT Christianity


Well, it's happening. There is, as I feared, a growing confusion over what constitutes the content of genuine Christian faith. I am sure Glenn Beck is a nice man. I am sympathetic to his fear over our diminishing liberties and a federal government that has gotten far to big. But the reason why I was not enthusiastic about his gathering in Washington is that it was a rally that blurred lines between religious faith and civic engagement. It's not that our faith should not inform our politics. Quite the contrary. The problem is that as a Christian I must not involve myself in religious observances with non-Christians. Such compromises do not honor God. What is more, the Gospel gets muddied in such events. Now there are many good evangelicals who are openly entertaining the possibility that Glenn Beck is a Christian even though he is a Mormon. I feared this would happen. I feared the lines would be blurred.

Thanks to
Justin Taylor for posting the following information:


The following is adapted from the section on Mormonism (or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) in the ESV Study Bible article on religious cults. The attempt is to be concise yet still accurate. I’ve added questions in bold to break it up a bit.

What do Mormons believe about apostasy and restoration?

Mormons claim that “total” apostasy overcame the church following apostolic times, and that the Mormon Church (founded in 1830) is the “restored church.”

What’s the problem with this understanding?

If the Mormon Church were truly a “restored church,” one would expect to find first-century historical evidence for Mormon doctrines like the plurality of gods and God the Father having once been a man. Such evidence is completely lacking. Besides, the Bible disallows a total apostasy of the church (e.g., Matt. 16:18; 28:20; Eph. 3:21; 4:11–16), warning instead of partial apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1).

What do Mormons believe about God?

Mormons claim that God the Father was once a man and that he then progressed to godhood (that is, he is a now-exalted, immortal man with a flesh-and-bone body).

What does the Bible teach about the nature of God?

Based on the Bible, God is not and has never been a man (Num. 23:19; Hos. 11:9). He is a spirit (John 4:24), and a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Furthermore, God is eternal (Ps. 90:2; 102:27; Isa. 57:15; 1 Tim. 1:17) and immutable (or unchangeable in his being and perfections; see Ps. 102:25–27; Mal. 3:6). He did not “progress” toward godhood, but has always been God.

What do Mormons believe about the Trinity and polytheism?

Mormons believe that the Trinity consists not of three persons in one God but rather of three distinct gods. According to Mormonism, there are potentially many thousands of gods besides these.

What does the Bible teach about the Triune God?

Trusting in or worshiping more than one god is explicitly condemned throughout the Bible (e.g., Ex. 20:3). There is only one true God (Deut. 4:35, 39; 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:18; 46:9; 1 Cor. 8:4; James 2:19), who exists eternally in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).

What do Mormons believe about human exaltation?

Mormons believe that humans, like God the Father, can go through a process of exaltation to godhood.

What does the Bible teach about humanity?

The Bible teaches that the yearning to be godlike led to the fall of mankind (Gen. 3:4ff.). God does not look kindly on humans who pretend to attain to deity (Acts 12:21–23; contrast Acts 14:11–15). God desires humans to humbly recognize that they are his creatures (Gen. 2:7; 5:2; Ps. 95:6–7; 100:3). The state of the redeemed in eternity will be one of glorious immortality, but they will forever remain God’s creatures, adopted as his children (Rom. 8:14–30; 1 Cor. 15:42–57; Rev. 21:3–7). Believers will never become gods.

What do Mormons believe about Jesus?

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ was the firstborn spirit-child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother. Jesus then progressed to deity in the spirit world. He was later physically conceived in Mary’s womb, as the literal “only begotten” Son of God the Father in the flesh (though many present-day Mormons remain somewhat vague as to how this occurred).

What does the Bible teach about Jesus?

Biblically, the description of Jesus as the “only begotten” refers to his being the Father’s unique, one-of-a-kind Son for all eternity, with the same divine nature as the Father (see note on John 1:14; cf. John 1:18; 3:16, 18; see also John 5:18; 10:30). Moreover, he is eternal deity (John 1:1; 8:58) and is immutable (Heb. 1:10–12; 13:8), meaning he did not progress to deity but has always been God. And Mary’s conception of Jesus in his humanity was through a miracle of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20).

What do Mormons believe about our eternal destiny?

Mormons believe that most people will end up in one of three kingdoms of glory, depending on one’s level of faithfulness. Belief in Christ, or even in God, is not necessary to obtain immortality in one of these three kingdoms, and therefore only the most spiritually perverse will go to hell.


What does the Bible teach about our eternal destiny?

The Bible teaches that people have just two possibilities for their eternal futures: the saved will enjoy eternal life with God in the new heavens and new earth (Phil. 3:20; Rev. 21:1–4; 22:1–5), while the unsaved will spend eternity in hell (Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 20:13–15).

What do Mormons believe about sin and atonement?

Mormons believe that Adam’s transgression was a noble act that made it possible for humans to become mortal, a necessary step on the path to exaltation to godhood. They think that Christ’s atonement secures immortality for virtually all people, whether they repent and believe or not.

What does the Bible teach about sin and atonement?

Biblically, there was nothing noble about Adam’s sin, which was not a stepping-stone to godhood but rather brought nothing but sin, misery, and death to mankind (Gen. 3:16–19; Rom. 5:12–14). Jesus atoned for the sins of all who would trust him for salvation (Isa. 53:6; John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

What do Mormons believe about salvation?

Mormons believe that God gives to (virtually) everyone a general salvation to immortal life in one of the heavenly kingdoms, which is how they understand salvation by grace. Belief in Christ is necessary only to obtain passage to the highest, celestial kingdom—for which not only faith but participation in Mormon temple rituals and obedience to its “laws of the gospel” are also prerequisites.

What does the Bible teach about salvation?

Biblically, salvation by grace must be received through faith in Christ (John 3:15–16; 11:25; 12:46; Acts 16:31; Rom. 3:22–24; Eph. 2:8–9), and all true believers are promised eternal life in God’s presence (Matt. 5:3–8; John 14:1–3; Rev. 21:3–7).

4 comments:

toothdoc said...

Living in the center of "mormon confusion" here in KC, I have seen this problem for years. Mormons don't even know they are mormon and "Christians" don't seem to know the difference. A sad commentary on the efforts of the church to make worship more comfortable and convenient for the layman - worshiping to no god is no worship at all.

Todd Pruitt said...

SPOT. ON.

Belle Geary said...

I do not believe the current situation with Glenn Beck has anything to do with the confusion over what Christianity is or is not. Most Americans simply no long understand what true Christianity is. All this is doing is highlighting that fact.

David Yamarick, Facilitator said...

The real question for me is this: "Is Beck a Christain?" On the surface he is not. Using our textbooks on the theology of the cults, he is not. Based on his identification with Mormonism, he is not. Assuming he subscribes to the articles of faith of the LDS church, he is not. Until I hear him say "Jesus is not God", I will not be able to tell with any degree of certainty if Glenn has been really removed from the kingdom of darkness. It's impossible for a Mormon to get saved? Is it being in the right building that saves him? As I've mentioned Todd, I heard Glenn give a rather clear gospel message weeks before the DC event. We heard this with 8 other believers present watching his TV show. Did you hear it too? What was it Jesus said to Nicodemus? "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." We might want to take Glenn at his word that he is a Mormon and immediately revert to what we know of Mormon theology and brand him unredeemed. But what is in the heart of man? Do we know? Can we know? So if he said all the rights things, this would be evidence of salvation? If he left the Mormon church, would this be evidence of his salvation? If he attended our churches, would this be evidence of salvation? If he did everything right (like us...ha!) would be evidence of his salvation? I've heard many strange things proceed out of the mouths of those who are said to know Him, including pastors in Christain churches who don't always get the gospel right. Even Paul prayed for clarity. Thanks for the opportunity to post.