Much ado about Mormonism vs. Christianity
Much ado has been made about the status of Mormonism given Mitt Romney’s affiliation with that religion as a practicing member. Now press and liberals are up in arms because a pastor of a major Baptist church in Dallas has said point blank that Mormonism is a cult, not Christianity. (If I understand the situation, his “endorsement” of Rick Perry was personal and not in his role as pastor, but he certainly clouded the issue the way he did it. I think using that venue was unwise, but he does have a right to express his opinion in these matters.) This has also brought others out of the woodwork to spout their opinion, e.g., one Joel Osteen.
Really, in context, this should be much ado about nothing since Article VI of the United States Constitutions clearly states, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Having said that, however, there is likewise a clear definition of Christianity if you are talking about biblical Christianity, i.e., the Christianity defined in the Holy Bible. For a much more detailed description, I invite you to read my page on the theology of this blog. Suffice it to say that historically and biblically, five distinctives or fundamentals of Christianity have been derived from the Scriptures. Failure to adhere to and embrace any of these five disqualifies a position from the adjective “Christian” despite how it might make the practicioners thereof feel, and regardless of how close they are to Christian behavior otherwise.
Those five distinctives are:
- The inspiration and authority of the Bible;
- The virgin birth of Jesus Christ;
- The deity of Jesus Christ;
- The substitutionary atonement achieved by Jesus Christ; and
- The truth/reality of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Mormons do not hide their doctrine. The history of Mormonism is well known. It is a simple fact that it has been considered a cult by mainstream Christianity since its founding. In point of fact, to quote the Reformation Theology post on this point:
Mormonism is not Christian at all – it is not Christian doctrine to deny the Trinity, to proclaim that the god who rules this earth (and who we are to worship) was once a man and who lives now on a planet encircling a star called Kolob; that Jesus was conceived by a sexual union between God and Mary… that the Bible has been superseeded by the book of Mormon; that Jesus’ death and resurrection merely secured an opportunity to be saved if people will work for it.
Every Mormon needs to hear and embrace the true Gospel, not be affirmed as already being a Christian, especially by someone as prominent as yourself Joel [Osteen]. If you dont know what you are talking about say nothing – admit that you have not studied what Mormonism teaches – but PLEASE don’t affirm the Mormon faith as Christian. Mormonism is the most polytheistic faith on the planet.
A close examination of that brief overview shows that several of the fundamentals are denied by Mormonism.
Now some of you may be saying, now wait a minute, this means that not only Mormonism, but a host of other allegedly “Christian churches” are not really Christian by this definition! Yes, sadly, that is true. There is an important distinction to be discerned here, and that is the distinction between “Christendom” and “Christianity.” You see, as the Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” Many claim to be Christian but deny critical parts of the faith and so fall into the category of Christendom rather than Christianity.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23 [NKJV])
So the bottomline is, Mormonism is not Christianity although it may be considered a part of Christendom. But again this is irrelevant relative to the question of whether or not Mitt Romney is fit to be president of these United States. While his religion may inform his ethics and the way he does his politics, our Constitution requires that his religion not form his policies. This is true for every President, for every human has a religion, even the materialist atheist. I, for one, prefer a competent atheist to an incompetent Christian for critical matters like leading this country (or, e.g., brain surgery on yours truly). Remember Jimmy Carter was a liberal Southern Baptist and turned out to be one of the most feckless idiots to ever inhabit the Oval Office. (And I say that as an independent fundamental Baptist who spent considerable time in a conservative Southern Baptist church in which I was even married.) Thus, it is much more important to ascertain whether or not he is a true conservative, and to date the evidence seems to strongly suggest otherwise.