May 22, 2007

Are Mormons Christian? (Part II - What about Jesus?)

I remember watching Sesame Street as a child and there was a segment that had this great little song...

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

As the song played I would decide which one was different. As you consider the differences between Christianity and Mormonism you might want to hear that song playing on the radio of your mind. When compared side by side it is clear that they are not the same.

The Mormons have done an admirable job of making a decidedly non-Christian theology sound Christian. In the last post I pointed out the obvious and vast differences in the view of God presented by Mormonism and the biblical understanding of God. Take a look at the difference in the understanding of Jesus presented by each (are you humming the song?).

Christianity's view of Jesus is nicely summed up in the Nicene Creed of A.D. 381 which states,

"And {we believe} in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end."

A few of quick points; 1. Jesus is co-eternal with God (Very God of Very God). 2. Jesus existed before the creation. 3. Jesus is God incarnate (God in the flesh).

This stands in stark contrast to the Mormon teaching. They teach that Jesus is the physical offspring of God created by procreation on the earth (
"Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal father. That is why he is called the Only Begotten Son" (Gospel Principles, p. 64)). They teach that Jesus is not co-eternal with God but is, in fact, our older brother. ("Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ, so he is literally our elder brother" (Gospel Principles, p. 11).

Note the following quotes gathered from an article by Dennis Higley

LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley made a statement June 4 th, 1998 acknowledging that he (and the LDS Church) does not believe in the same Jesus Christ as traditional Christianity. He said,"The traditional Christ of who they speak in not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak had been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages." (Church News, June, 20 1998, p. 7. emphasis added)

In the LDS Church's 147th General Conference, General Authority Bernard P. Brockbank, stated that "the CHRIST FOLLOWED BY THE MORMONS IS NOT THE CHRIST FOLLOWED BY TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY".

He said: "It is true that many of the Christian churches worship A DIFFERENT JESUS CHRIST than is worshiped by the Mormons." ("The Ensign," May 1977, p. 26.)

It is interesting that even the Mormon leadership will openly affirm that the Jesus the Christian church is talking about is different from the Jesus they are talking about, but they will bristle at the notion of not being Christian. Help me here. "One of these things is not like the other...".

Next up, salvation.

1 comment:

dadsprimalscream said...

Interesting anecdote my LDS mother used to tell...

Her brother my uncle served in the US Navy sometime in the 50's and died sometime thereafter in a car accident. I didn't know him but remember visiting his grave site in Salt Lake City. I always thought it was odd that there was a Star of David engraved on it.

According to my mother, it had to do with when he initially enlisted in the Navy. Apparently at that time there were limited check boxes for religion. Being a veteran, the Navy gave him a headstone I guess.So, upon enlisting my uncle had to choose between Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. The reasoning went something like this:

"Well, we're not Catholic and were never part of them so we can't be Protestant. I'll choose Jewish."

At that time, Jewish felt more comfortable to a Mormon than any other Christian designation. It wasn't until the 80's that there was this big push to suddenly be considered part of the Christian body. Mormons in fact think they are the ONLY valid Christians, so it hardly makes sense either way.