Is It Just a Small Group of Evangelicals Who Have a Problem with Mormonism?

Is It Just a Small Group of Evangelicals Who Have a Problem with Mormonism?

By Bill McKeever

In 1998, LDS Apostle Boyd Packer complained about those who questioned the Christianity of the LDS Church. "It is one thing to say we are not their kind of Christians," he said, "It is quite another to characterize us as not being Christian at all."

Dr. Stephen Robinson of BYU stated, "...Most of the time the charge that Latter-day Saints are not Christian has absolutely nothing to do with LDS belief or nonbelief in Jesus Christ, or with the LDS acceptance or rejection of the New Testament as the word of God."

One LDS apologist remarked,

"I suppose that McKeever thinks that there is a great debate taking place between Christians (meaning his narrow kind of recent Christian heresy) and Mormons over whether what he calls 'Mormonism' or the 'Mormon Church is Christian." He goes on to say that it is a "small portion of evangelicals who happen to be engaged in the countercult movement have been insisting that 'Mormons,' that is, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are not 'Christians.'"

First of all, I find it interesting that this gentleman, while criticizing my criticisms, has no problem referring to my faith as a heresy. It is wrong for me to say that about Mormonism but perfectly OK for him to say that about what I (and millions of others) believe. Though the point of this article is not to dwell on this particular individual's hypocrisy, I think it should be made clear that the above comments are certainly without merit.

It is not at all our intention to compel Mormons to believe exactly like us. We are fully aware that within Christian thought there is room for differences of opinions on some issues. However, when it comes to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, we cannot, in good conscience, compromise. Contrary to the preceding remarks, our complaints with Mormonism have everything to do with doctrinal differences regarding the Godhead and how the LDS grossly misinterprets the Bible as a whole. Furthermore, it is not just a narrow group of conservative evangelicals who have a problem with the LDS Church's claim to Christianity.

In May of 2000 the United Methodists' national convention declared that that the Mormon Church has "some radical differing doctrine on such matters of belief as the nature and being of God; the nature, origin, and purpose of Jesus Christ; and the nature and way of salvation." The United Methodists objected to the LDS notion that the Mormon deity is a "gendered, married and procreating god" with "a body of flesh and bones." The Methodists noted that Mormonism is not at all a monotheistic religion but rather one that "more closely resembles a tri-theistic or possibly a polytheistic faith."

The 2.8 million-member Presbyterian Church U.S.A. worked five years on a statement that outlined the differences between it and the LDS Church. In this document it claimed that the Mormon Church was a "a new and emerging religion that expresses allegiance to Jesus Christ in terms used within the Christian tradition" even though it is not "within the historical apostolic tradition of the Christian Church of which the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a part." The document also stated that Mormons who become Presbyterians must be re-baptized and that Presbyterians "should not hesitate" to share the gospel with the Mormon people.

Now I doubt that few people would classify either the United Methodists or the Presbyterian U.S.A. of being a group of narrow-minded conservatives.

It should also be noted that the Missouri Synod of Lutherans has also published material in the past that declares Mormon doctrine as non-Christian. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America lists Mormonism as a cult along with Jehovah's Witnesses and the Christian Science movement. Even the Roman Catholic apologetic group Catholic Answers has carried articles claiming Mormonism is not Christian. Now, I know some Mormon might say, "But wouldn't Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox have problems with your Protestant views?" I am sure they would. But that really sidesteps the issue. In 1998 BYU professor Robert Millet responded to the objections of the Southern Baptist Convention by saying that those who condemn Mormon theology as not being Christian should at least understand the doctrine. Are we really to believe that Methodists, Presbyterian, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and several Protestant theologians and scholars really have no clue as to what Mormon doctrine really entails? If that is the case then Mormonism is really more esoteric (and therefore un-Christian) than first realized.