Dear Mormon—I Can’t Call You a Brother in Christ

Dear Mormon—I Can’t Call You a Brother in Christ

Yesterday I had lunch with a very kind and gracious man in our community.  This man is a committed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  In short, my friend is a Mormon.  He was respectful, gracious, and I enjoyed our conversation very much.  However, at one point the conversation shifted and he asked me if I was willing to call him a brother in Christ?

I explained that we both hold to very different doctrines that cannot stand in harmony—especially the teachings about the person and work of Jesus Christ.  He said that he was offended by that statement.  I acknowledged how that would be offensive, but I must stand upon the gospel of Christ.  The most loving thing I could do would be to point him to the truth.  The most unloving thing I could do would be to ignore the differences and embrace him as a brother in Christ.

The devil is the father of all lies and he is really good at causing people to embrace error as truth.  How do you determine the difference between denominations of Christianity and other religions outside of Christianity?  In other words, we know that Baptists and Methodists are quite different on many theological levels, but they’re both Christian denominations.  Today, a growing number of people continue to purport the idea that Mormonism is just another denomination like Methodists within the family of orthodox Christianity.

How can we determine if Mormonism is Christian or cult?  Based on foundational doctrinal evidence—I can’t embrace Mormons as fellow Christians.

Mormonism Rejects the Sufficiency of the Bible

If you can add to the authoritative body of teachings of the church each year by a vote—it would make the religion more fluid and apt to change with culture or adapt over time based on pressures from the culture.  This is true of the Roman Catholic Church regarding their belief regarding the RCC’s official tradition.  The same thing is true of the Mormon religion.  At one point polygamy was defended as permissible, but later it was changed.

Christians stand upon the absolute sufficiency of God’s Word—something that does not change with time, circumstances, and geographic location.  Not one other source from church history is needed outside of God’s Word alone as the sufficient guide for God’s revelation of himself to humanity.  For the Mormons, they hold to a group of writings called the “Four Standard Works.”  This body includes the King James Version of the Bible (as properly translated), the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and The Book of Mormon.

Anytime a religion adds books to the same divine level as God’s Word—that should cause an immediate red flag to be raised.  Consider what Joseph Smith said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church,4:461).

Mormonism Rejects the Deity of Jesus

While the Mormons do uphold Jesus as “a god”—they do not embrace Jesus as “very God of very God” who is one with the Father (John 10:30; John 8:58).  Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but they also believe it’s possible for any human to become a god (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345–354).  In John 10:33, we find these important words:

The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

The driving reason that Jesus was nailed to a Roman cross was on the basis of his teachings—which threatened the authority and teaching of the religious establishment of the day.  Jesus made it clear that he is God.  If Jesus is the Creator of all things—how can he be a created being?  That does not make sense and it certainly doesn’t align with the Word of God.  Mormons claim that Jesus was the first of the spirit beings begotten through a physical relationship between Elohim and one of his many heavenly wives.  This is in clear violation to Matthew 1:20, but nevertheless, they maintain aberrant doctrines about God the Father existing in flesh like a perfect man who would be capable of such a relationship.

According to the Articles of Faith on the Godhead, the LDS doctrine of God consists of a God who possesses a physical body.  In comparing the LDS beliefs with Christian doctrine, their Articles of Faith read, “But where Latter-day Saints differ from other Christian religions is in their belief that God and Jesus Christ are glorified, physical beings and that each member of the Godhead is a separate being.”  Jesus said something quite different in John 4:24, “God is spiritand those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Mormons are not Christians based on several key teachings.  Some of those troubling teachings include the spirit brotherhood of Satan and Jesus, the baptism for the dead, a racial problem, a polytheistic view of many gods, and a clear denial of the Trinity. These teachings stand in clear contradiction to the teachings of God’s Word—and have never been embraced as merely another Christian denomination.

Mormons have a troubling past with Joseph Smith Jr.—the founder who had multiple wives—one of whom was only 14 when he was 39.  Their troubling past also includes a lengthy letter by Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia University who was said to validate the translation of Jospeh Smith’s writings (Book of Mormon) from the “Golden Plates.”  According to Professor Anthon, “The whole story about my having pronounced the Mormonite inscription to be ‘reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics’ is perfectly false.”  While all of these things are troubling—none are more troublesome than their rejection of the deity of Jesus Christ as second Person of the Godhead who is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit.

In short, the Mormons have one Jesus and the Christians have a very different  Jesus.  Make no mistake—they aren’t the same Jesus.  For that reason—I can’t call my Mormon friend my brother in Christ.  I want to, but I simply can’t.  Therefore, I will continue to have such gospel conversations praying that God will open his eyes to the truth.

 

Glenn Beck and the Polytheistic god of Americanized Politics

Glenn Beck and the Polytheistic god of Americanized Politics

This past Saturday, a large crowd of Americans assembled in Washington, D.C. for a crusade titled, “Restoring Honor.”  The purpose, according to Glenn Beck, was not politics.  It was deeper than that!  He talked about prayer, divine providence, tithing, charity, worship, revival, grace, visions of biblical events, divine destiny, America, historical figures such as John Newton, and most importantly – “God.”  He stated in an interview on Fox News Sunday that his purpose was spiritual in nature.  Here is what Glenn Beck said about the rally:

We all know that the Country is in trouble.  We may disagree on how to solve it, but we all know the Country is in trouble.  And I’ve come to the place where I believe that there is no way to solve these problems…these issues…there’s nothing that we can do to solve the problems we have and keep the peace unless we solve it through God or unless we solve it by being our highest self.

Who would have dreamed of an open Mormon rallying hundreds of thousands of people to the National Mall in D.C. to talk about reviving our nation through a return to “God Boot Camp” as he put it in his speech?  Better yet, who would have dreamed that many thousands of professing Christians would gather and whistle, clap, and cry as an open Mormon preached the gospel of being your “highest self?”  Although he sounds like a Joel Osteen repackaged for politics, Glenn Beck is leading a charge of confused religious conservatives on a roller coaster of politics that somehow morphs into it’s own religion.

The problem with Saturday’s rally is not Glenn Beck or the desire for well meaning American citizens to gather to “restore honor.”  The problem isn’t that concerned parents and grandparents gathered in D.C. because they want a better America for their children.  The problem isn’t that dedicated soldiers from the past, present, and future assembled on the grass because they too desire to see true honor in our great nation.  The problem is centered squarely on the fact that Glenn Beck has harnessed his movement to his god.  The question is – what “god” is Beck crying out to when he leads hundreds of thousands in America to pray for revival?  The issue is much deeper than politics and honor for the American flag!  The issue is divine in nature and centers on the perversion of the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the true and living God of Holy Scripture.  Beck is committed to Mormonism which is a cult that denies the deity of Jesus Christ and worships a false god!  Therefore, when Christians assemble and climb into the buggy with Glenn Beck as he rides off into the sunset on a pursuit of a better America – they are being asked to cry out to his polytheistic god of Americanized politics!  True Christians should be concerned with this type of religious movement.

What is Glenn Beck’s motive?  Well, nobody other than Glenn can truly answer that question – but we do know that he is a brilliant American who is seeking to capture a certain dynamic in America to further his agenda.  Like a seasoned marketer, he has somehow figured out a way to rally conservative, Bible-belt, Amazing Grace singing, religious, concerned Americans to stand with him and call out to his god for help!  Glenn Beck has managed to find a way to fuse together a brand of politics that blends The Star Spangled Banner with Amazing Grace. The tragedy is that thousands of gullible evangelical church attendees are buying into this new Americanized religion of patriotism in the name of – God – while his Mormonism veils the fact that it’s really god!  While we may all agree with Glenn Beck that America is in trouble and that we should seek a solution to the problem, we MUST NOT agree with Glenn Beck that his god is the answer. The cost of that error transcends conservative politics and results in a perverted theology that denies the true and living God who has revealed Himself in Holy Scripture.  It will take more than Glenn Beck, his god, his Mormonism, his commitment to patriotism, southern style Amazing Grace, and a conservative rally to turn America’s ship around.  The answer is Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords – the I AM who was before Abraham and the God that Joseph Smith will stand before and confess as Lord God.

In his post-rally interview with Chris Wallace (see video here), Beck criticized President Obama as being a Marxist disguised in religion.  He claimed that Obama has a perverted form of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  However, it is during that same moment that he goes on to describe the gospel that he embraces which itself is a perverted version of the true gospel of Christ found in Holy Scripture.  The danger with Glenn Beck’s movement is not mixing religion into politics – it’s mixing conservative political gods into the gospel of Jesus Christ!  We as Christians should be greatly concerned when some news media outlets and journalists are labeling Beck the leader of America’s Christian conservative movement. The danger is opening up the door of Christianity to all cults like Mormonism and patriotism alike.

At the end of the day – we need a true revival of saving grace in this land that will result in a genuine revival that will turn America in the right direction.  Anything else will be short lived and costly!  As we cry out to the true and living God (Yahweh) for that type of revival, we also cry out with the words of John the Apostle – “Come quickly.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”