Mormons Are Christians!
A Response to Mormonism... True or
I am responding to a
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Sorry, But Mormons ARE Christians!
I recently read an electronic article presuming to be a letter by a person named Reuben. This character writes the letter in a pseudo-loving way to an apparent Mormon friend/relative. This Reuben character displays a self-contradictory argument in that he is saying he respects and "loves" his Mormon reader, but attacks in a very shallow and judgmental way. The tone of the letter is arrogantly condescending, and is typical of anti-Mormon bigotry. This is a direct response to expose the shallow arguments of this insensitive and phony letter.
One of the first remarks made in this letter is: You see, traditional Christianity, and myself, see Mormonism as not true Christianity; nor really having a right to refer to itself as "Christian". The basis for this denial of letting Mormons consider themselves Christians is a self-righteous, judgmental, and perverted definition of a Christian. The only reason for this denial is this Reuben character's self-interpretation of scripture. Whatever his definition of "traditional Christianity" is, it most definitely is not the only definition of a Christian. Just because someone wants to call themselves a Christian and deny everyone else based on their interpretation of scripture, does not make it true! This is circular reasoning and false definition at its finest!
After the letter displays a general ignorance of Mormon belief, it states:
Perhaps the following 5 Points of Biblical differences versus Mormonism will
help to explain my point of view: (hope so) This is the classic
straw man approach used by anti-Mormons of the Evangelical slant. But let's
look at the five points and see if they stack up. First he says: The
one true God exists as three eternal distinct persons. One God: "Ye are
my witnesses saith the Lord, and my servant whom I
have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he:
before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after
me" This is followed by an onslaught of Biblical passages
which prove nothing against the Mormon viewpoint, and frankly, I could not
see any passage which supported the above statement. The "traditional
Trinity" concept is not taught in the Bible at all, and can only be
clarified and proclaimed by the man-made creeds defining the Trinity.
Contrary to Reuben's demands, the word "Trinity" is nowhere found
in the Bible! The finished doctrine of the Trinity is not in scripture. In
fact, THE BIBLE IS COMPLETELY SILENT ABOUT IT. Trinitarianism appeared full
bloom only after 325 A.D. at Nicea by the
Problems arises when in gospel of John (17:11) the Jesus "part" of God prays to the Father "part" of God. Thus concluding (if you accept the three-in-one dogma) God practices praying to--himself! Furthermore, if Jesus and the Father are one "essence," or even the exact same God, then Jesus wanted the disciples (whom he prays to himself for in chapter 17) to become part of this "one" God also! If not, why in verse 21 did he pray "that they all may be one as thou Father art in me, and I in thee"? And continues, "that they all may be ONE IN US"? Taking this in the same literal light as Reuben is implying in his statement, then twelve more parts should be added to his godhead for a total of fifteen "parts." It is not in this case, a "trinity," but in reality it is a "Fifteenity"! And as we read in John 14:20, "I am in my Father and ye in me and I in you." Thus supporting this confusing "Fifteenity." Looks like Reuben is the real anti-Biblical one with his anti-Biblical statement!
Jesus also remarked that "he will go unto his Father." How can God go to himself? After Christ's resurrection, he told Mary not to touch him, "for I have not yet ascended to my Father." (John 20:17.) How can he ascend to himself if he was already there? In Matthew 26:39-42, "Let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I WILL BUT AS THOU WILT." Why would God ask permission from himself? If you look in John 14:28, you may think God is greater than himself! (The Father is greater than Jesus.) So much for Reuben's Trinity!
Reuben's complaint about the Mormon interpretation of Jesus was with the speculation (NOT doctrine) by Brigam Young that Jesus was married. Who cares? Would this take away the divinity of Christ? Would this take away his power? Certainly not! Speculate all you want... the only time you deny the divinity of Christ is when you ACTUALLY DENY CHRIST'S DIVINITY! And the other complaint was that Brigham Young stated that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father, and not the Son of the Holy Ghost! Nothing "non" Christian about that!
Reuben statements about the Mormon concept of the Holy Ghost (taken from Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine) does not contradict the Bible at all. Funny he didn't explain it! Reuben's comment on Salvation was a misnomer. He says that salvation is by grace and not by works, but fails to explain what he really means is grace is the anti-Biblical concept of faith ALONE. Simply put, we must follow and obey God and Christ within our faith for salvation to be full.
When faith is isolated from "good works," then salvation is declared as "passive justification," rendering obedience as a mere "by product," and not part of the actual justification process. As will be seen, this sharply contravenes the Bible. James, who is Reuben's bete noire, lays clearly the path of faith regarding justification: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? [James 2:14.] Reuben answers that question with a hefty, "YES." But James, in verse 17, obviously meant something else for an answer: Even so, faith, if it hath not works, is DEAD being ALONE. [Added emphasis.]
If we are to accept what Reuben says about works having nothing to do with salvation, then according to scripture he is preaching DEAD faith! He will only teach faith ALONE (the oft cited cliché) which James says will not save. Dead faith will not save anyone. Justification faith ALONE does not request works are not a part of this justification, but merely a proof of faith. But surprisingly, James (verse 24) uses the word "justified" in an important position, to make clear that good works are inseparably connected to salvation: Ye see then how that by works a man is justified and not by faith only. Therefore, it is the WORKS that put the actual JUSTIFICATION into faith, making them inseparable to salvation. In this aspect, the Mormon concept is entirely correct, and Reuben's gospel is false.
Yes Reuben, you need to find truth in the true Jesus Christ of the Bible, instead of the processed cheese man-made creed Jesus. The only difference between me and you is that I do not deny you your right to claim the title of Christian, because that would be judgmental, and the Bible tells us not to judge, like you obviously have.
You cannot use the excuse of saying the Bible defines a Christian, because it does not! You cannot say Biblical doctrines outline a Christian, because it is subject to interpretation, and what makes YOUR interpretation better than mine? The Bible? Sorry, I just demonstrated by the Bible, that you don't comply with it's outline. We cannot invent a brand new definition of a Christian based solely on interpretation, it's that plain, and that simple. And anything else is an excuse for judgmental bigotry.
I would like to respond to the comments Alan D.
made to Reuben
As I read Reuben's comments, I felt he was attempting to be honest and objective about the differences between what he believed and what the Mormon Church teaches concerning its beliefs. Reuben cited many Biblical passages as well as quoted statements made by Mormon leaders to support his argument. In contrast Alan D. personally attacked Reuben by accusing him of: being "arrogantly condescending" and having "anti-Mormon bigotry".
Alan D. argues that he has every right to consider himself as a Christian. What Alan D. does not reveal is that the Mormon Church considers itself as the ONLY true Christian religion. The Mormon Church's own scripture, the Book of Mormon, asserts that as evidenced by this passage from 1 Nephi 14: 9-10: "And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil. And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people." Joseph Smith, Mormonism's founder said this concerning a vision he had of the Father and the Son, and: "I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)--and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.' He again forbade me to join with any of them..."
Another example of this contention is given here in a quote taken from their own publication: History of the Church, Vol. 1, Introduction, Pg. lxviii by B. H. Roberts: "I think sufficient has been said to justify the belief that the reign of Constantine marks the period when the paganization of Christianity had become complete." Parley P. Pratt, an early apostle of the Mormon Church penned these words in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, Pg. 303, July 10, 1853: "Let the Apostles of the ancient Church come up now, and be judges, not these innovators. O yes, Saints of ancient days, are these things new to you? 'NO,' they reply, 'but just exactly what we used to have among us; and you who have read the New Testament know it is so.' If this, then, is 'Mormonism,' it is nothing new, but simply that which should have been in the world in order to constitute true Christianity." I sensed here a truly arrogant and condescending attitude full of bigotry, presented by Alan D., although he would deny it. He also exhibits either a complete lack of knowledge of the early history of Christianity or chooses to ignore it to support his own position. Ever since the days of the apostles, false teachers have been trying to subvert the true Christian faith. Several of the New Testament authors condemn the heresies that were present in the apostolic period. For example, Galatians, 2 John, and Jude address this concern as their main themes while several other NT books touch on the issue. Even with the clear warnings given, heresies within, and on the fringes of, Christianity flourished. To list some of the heresies of the time there was: Gnosticism, Docetism, Modalism, Sabellianism, Aryanism.
As a result of the attempts to introduce heretical philosophical views into Christianity a doctrinal statement of faith developed over a period of time. To define Christianity properly the definition had to be based on accepted scripture. Emerging at about the same time as the statements of accepted doctrine was the establishment of the accepted canon of scripture. 90% of the NT books were accepted into the canon quite early, perhaps within a century after the death of the apostles. If the book was written by an eye witness to the earthly ministry of Jesus or written by someone who personally knew an eyewitness then the book was universally accepted as scripture. It took perhaps another 1 to 2 centuries before the remainder of the NT canon was accepted. In addition to the apostolic writings there were a number of other writings abounding at the time which were not included in the canon of scripture.
If one would take time to read some of these, it becomes quite clear why they were not included. The church developed, not at one point in time but over a period of many years, a doctrine of God which was consistent with the scriptural canon. This ultimately became known as the Nicene Creed. Included in the creed was the definition of the Trinity. Basic to any statement of faith was the adamant insistence of the existence of only one true God. This was the position of the first Christian apologists, Tertullian and Irenaeus. Alan D. is correct in stating that the word "trinity" does not appear in the Bible. However Reuben never made that claim in his message. Nonetheless, the Trinitarian doctrine is the ONLY doctrine of God that is completely compatible with the Biblical text. Reuben cited evidence after evidence from the Bible illustrating this which Alan D. chose to brush off without as much as one biblical reference to support his own contention. Now.
Alan D. would have us believe that anyone who says he believes in Christ is a truly a Christian. But what belief? The Koran contains references to Jesus Christ and even acknowledges him as prophet of God (Allah). Does that mean that Muslims should be considered Christian? They would be the first to adamantly say: NO! It also means that the false teachers and false prophets that the writers of the New Testament wrote against should also be considered Christian. The doctrines that the Christian Church has followed for centuries are no longer a measure of what a defines a Christian. Alan D. contends it doesn't matter what you believe about Christ to be considered a Christian but only that you believe something about Him. Yes, heresies are still alive and well in this modern day! Another argument that Mormons often cite is how can Jesus pray to Himself if He and the Father are one God. Again, Alan D. chooses to ignore the clear teaching of the Bible that there is only one true God. He also chooses to ignore such NT teaching such as Phil. 2: 5-8 "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in the fashion of man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." This passage reveals that Jesus submitted himself to the position of a servant with relationship to the Father. As a servant, he did pray to His Father and as such epitomizes the relationship each of us can have with God. There is no confusion here, it is only a confirmation of the Trinitarian doctrine.
Alan D.'s argument is trying to fit the God of Christianity into a box by reducing Him to the level of mortal man. Alan D.'s claim that Reuben some how was hiding something because he didn't acknowledge that the Mormon concept of the Holy Ghost is totally consistent with the Bible is without a basis. The burden of proof is on Alan D. at this point. Funny he didn't explain that!
The Mormon concept of the Holy Ghost is simply a spirit being without a body is totally unbiblical. To begin with, the Greek and Hebrew words for Spirit (or Ghost) as used in this context comes from a word that means breath or wind. We get the English words "pneumatic" and "pneumonia" from this same Greek word. The only use of the word for "a spirit" or "a ghost" used in the NT appears in Matt 14: 26 comes from a Greek word from which we get the English word "phantom" and clearly is not in reference to the Holy Ghost. Jesus' discussion with Nicodemas in John chapter 3 compares the spirit to the wind, not knowing from where it comes or to where it goes. In a number of NT references concerning the Holy Ghost the followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost. How can this be compatible with the Mormon definition of the Holy Ghost? One issue that I would like to point out is Alan D.'s statement... "the only time you deny the divinity of Jesus Christ is when you ACTUALLY DENY CHRIST'S DIVINITY!" Bingo, thank you, Alan, for bringing that up because that is exactly what Mormonism has done. By denying the fundamental Christian doctrine that there is only one true God they have lowered Jesus Christ to the status of one of many gods . For their contention is that there are "gods many, and lords many", putting Mormonism on the same level as polytheism. In fact, Alan himself hopes to become a god by following the laws and ordinances of the Mormon Church. So now, how is Christ any more divine than Alan plans to be? He isn't. Instead he has brought Jesus Christ down from divinity to the level of man. This one doctrine of Mormonism is more blasphemous than any of Mormonism's other doctrines and will forever separate Mormonism from true Christianity. By claiming to be Christian, the Mormon Church is attempting to subvert Christianity into paganistic polytheism.
That brings me to the last point I wanted to make. Justification by faith or by works. Alan D. chose to quote the Mormon proof text for his statement that faith alone without works does not bring about salvation. He could have also brought up 2 Nephi 25:23 "...for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." This places works before grace not after it. I've always questioned when do we reach the point that we know we've done all we can do? With regards to the passage in James, Alan makes some assumptions that are not viable. Are works a justification of our faith or are they the justification for our salvation? I contend the passage supports the first option. In the example of Abraham, did he acted out his faith in God or was he trying to be acceptable to God? Remember that God had already called Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans to a land Abraham had not yet seen. He had already promised him that he would be the father of many nations. James is arguing here that dead faith is just that "dead". If one believes God he will demonstrate his faith through his works. One must also consider other passages of scripture that are even clearer on this issue. These are: Rom 1:17 "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."Rom 3:28 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."Rom 4:5 "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."Rom 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"Gal 3:24 "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."Eph 2:8 - 10 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
But what James is driving at may best be illustrated by this passage from Matthew 8: 5-13 "And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." This man's faith in Jesus ability to heal was demonstrated in his works when he told Jesus to just say a word and his servant would be healed. This is the kind of faith that those who call themselves Christians should exhibit. Baptism, joining a church, paying tithing, performing ordinances in a temple, or following a self proclaimed prophet: none of these save us. It is our belief and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross that save us.
Alan D. contends that the Bible doesn't define a Christian.
By what Alan D. says there are no standards by which to define a Christian.
So the next heretic to come down the pike has as much right to be called Christian as did the last one whether he be called David Koresh or Joseph Smith.
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