Why Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck are not Christians (and Why It Doesn’t Matter)

WIth upcoming elections, you can rest assured that the faith of Mitt Romney will be “in play”.  Both sides will seek to use it to their advantage.  I couldn’t care less from that standpoint. I recommend that voters vote for POTUS, not Pastor.  Vote based upon the issues. My intent in this post is to make Christians aware of the theological differences which by definition preclude Mormonism from being a “Christian” denomination.

I want you to imagine this scene in your head.  The batter steps up to the plate. All eyes are on him.  The pressure is on and he knows he needs to perform.  He grips the bat tightly and prepares himself.  The ball hangs mid-air, he swings, misses by a fraction of an inch, and is called out by the umpire.

What did you imagine… this?

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What if I told you I was describing this?

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Wait, that doesn’t make sense. There is no bat, no ball, no home plate, no umpire.  It’s not the same thing.

Exactly.  If I fundamentally re-define the words I use, and apply them to things which are entirely different, I cannot claim them to be the same things.  This use of langage is absurd and can cause great confusion to the uninformed.

This brings us to Mormonism, which uses distinctly orthodox christian terms to describe things which are entirely different.  Listen to a commercial from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) or “Mormon” Church and you will hear terms which sound very familiar: God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, Heaven, Salvation, etc.   The problem is, these terms have been radically redefined.  You cannot compare this to a simple difference in orthodox christian denominations. No, Mormonism is something entirely separate.

A very brief background:  Joseph Smith, a 14 year old boy, went into the woods to pray about which church/denomination he should choose. God the Father, and Jesus Christ both appeared to him in physical form and told him ”

 19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all awrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that thosebprofessors were all ccorrupt; that: “they ddraw near to me with their lips, but their ehearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the fcommandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the gpower thereof.”

 20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.” – History of the Church, Vol 1 Ch 1 (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng)

So we see, from the very first claimed visitation, that this was not simply another denomination.

3 years later, an angel (Moroni) appeared to Joseph Smith as he lay in bed with the following message:

 “34 He said there was a abook deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the bfulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

 35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a abreastplate, constituted what is called thebUrim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted c“seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.” –  – History of the Church, Vol 1 Ch 1 (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng)

Here we have another/different/additional set of scriptures revealed which would contain “the fulness of the gospel”.

I can’t state this strongly enough; Yes, there are differences between christian denominations. However, what we have here is an entirely different religion.  Below, I’ll contrast orthodox christian doctrine with LDS/Mormon doctrine so you can see the extent of the differences on virtually every core doctrine: The Father, The Son, The Redemptive Plan, Authority of Scripture, etc.:

NOTE: I have sourced each of these differences directly from official LDS documents, and linked directly to the official website of the church. I am not using secondary sources or “conspiracy theory” pages. This is the most academically sound, and “fair” method one can use. These are their beliefs, in their own words, from their own documents, linked on their own website for you to review and verify in context, in it’s entirety. 

View of God:

Christianity:

Mormonism:

  •  There are many gods, and you can become a god yourself: “Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you” – Joseph Smith, The King Follett Sermon (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1971/04/the-king-follett-sermon)
  • God was once a man, like you and I: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345) (http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=dc48b00367c45110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=da135f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD)
  • God has a physical body of flesh and bone: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s,” – Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/130.22?lang=eng#21)

View of Jesus:

Christianity:

  • Jesus is the eternal Son. He is second person of the Trinity. He has two natures. He is God in flesh and man (John 1:114; Col. 2;9) and the creator of all things (Col. 1:15-17).
  • Jesus was born of a Virgin (Luke 1:26-35 / Matthew 1:18-23 / Isaiah 7:14)
  • His blood cleanses us of all sin (I John 1:7 / Romans 5:9 / Ephesians 1:7)

Mormonism:

  • Jesus is the literal spirit-brother of Lucifer, a creation (D&C 93:21)
  • The brothers, Jesus and Lucifer presented conflicting plans of salvation. Jesus’ was chosen and Lucifer rebelled. (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1986/06/i-have-a-question)
  • Jesus was conceived as God had intercourse with Mary: Journal of Discourse Vol 4. Page 218, Vol 8, Pg. 211, Vol. 8 Pg. 115)  (scriptures.byu.edu)
  • “The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood- was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” (Brigham Young)
  • “Man may commit certain grievous sins… that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ.” – Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, Pg. 135

Salvation:

Christianity:

Mormonism:

Salvation is by grace and works: (2 Nephi 25:23) 

23 For we labor diligently to write, to apersuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by bgrace that we are saved, after all we can cdo. (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/25?lang=eng)

I could continue, but I think the point should be painfully clear by now.  Mormons hold a different view of God, Christ, Redemption, Justification, and Glorification than the historic Christian faith. They are, by definition, not Christian. I’ll wrap up this up with a summary and you make the call:

Joseph Smith, and 14 year old boy from New York, testified that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in physical form in 1819 revealing to him that all denominations and “sects” were corrupt and that God would restore the Kingdom on earth through his prophet, Joseph Smith.  In 1823, the Angel Moroni visited Joseph Smith and delivered to him the Book of Mormon:

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The Prophet Joseph received these ancient metal records written in “reformed Egyptian” from the heavenly messenger Moroni and translated them by “the gift and power of God”2 into the Book of Mormon. The sacred writings chronicle God’s dealings with his people in the western hemisphere centuries ago.

The prophetic work of Joseph Smith rapidly unfolded as the Book of Mormon went “before the world.”3 Joseph declared that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”4″ – http://josephsmith.net/josephsmith/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=c08679179acbff00VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRD&locale=0

Core beliefs of this faith, as detailed above, are that God was once a man as we are now and that he achieved Godhood. In the same way, we too may one day become Gods.

Ask yourself, does any of this sound like the historical, orthodox, christian faith? Of course not.

So, understand, that when a Mormon, be it Mitt Romney, or Glenn Beck, is using terms like “God”, “Jesus”, “Salvation”, they are absolutely not speaking of the God of the Judeo-Christian faith.

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As always, drop me an e-mail with questions!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Marc

Marc5Solas: Why I Blog

First of all, THANK YOU to those of you reading “my little blog”. I continue to be blown away by the response. The feedback has been kind, and useful. I truly appreciate the encouragement, and when necessary, the correction.  While I don’t want to ever post “numbers” (due to a fear of writing pragmatically, or for adding/chasing “hits”), I will tell you that I think it’s pretty cool that people in other countries are reading and responding.

 

So why do I blog? I had an interesting lunch conversation recently where the subject of blogging came up.  The table quickly divided over those who did, and those who thought those who did were geeks.  After a bit of thought, here are the reasons why I blog:

1. I am directed, by scripture (1 Peter 3:15), to be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in me.  This blog is the online function of how I seek to do that in my daily life.

2. It allows me to answer the same question once, and to have my response (and the work associated with thinking through and typing it!) recorded.  I can then send a link, or point people to the blog.

3. It’s a permanent (as much as anything is in the digital age) of what I believe, as a record for my girls, should anything ever happen to me.

4. It causes me to think, and to research areas that I believe are important.  Without fail, I know more about a subject after I blog about it than I did before. It causes me to read more, and better books. If nobody ever read what I wrote here, it would be well worth the effort for that reason alone.

5. It is a record of what I believe. It’s tough to  (though people still do) misrepresent what someone believes when it’s documented, in print.

6. It’s a resource for those who are interested in a given subject.  I continue to be amazed, and humbled, that people I’ve never met, on the other side of the world, are reading my blog.

The following are NOT reasons I blog:

1. Im a super-genius and world-class theologian.  Hardly.  This is just a place for me to simplify some of the actual geniuses I read, in hopes that what has been helpful to me will be helpful to others, and motivate them to read the works of men much, much smarter than I.

2. To mock/parody anyone.  I think the modern evangelical church does a pretty decent job of mocking itself. I have no axe to grind. I love the visible church, the bride of Christ.  I do, however, have a biblical responsibility to point out error as we “compare what people are saying in the name of God to the word of God.”

3. To feed my ego.  I have more than enough people in my life (not the least of which are my three young daughters) to keep me humble. I think i’ve been pretty open about the fact that I’m a flawed man who has been shown unspeakable grace by God. My hope is to share the love I have of God and His word.  My personality is such that I can come across sarcastically, but that’s the filter through which I process life.  Sometimes it’s to make a point, often it’s to soften the actual anger I feel over the goofiness which is often passed off as (or as a replacement for) orthodox Christianity.

So, that’s it. The reason I eat a sandwich at my keyboard and read books by dead guys.  It’s a joy, and I hope it’s enjoyable to you as well.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Marc

The Five Solas: Soli Deo Gloria

What if I could give you the answer to every existential question in 3 words?  Seriously.

  • Why does the universe exist?
  • Why am I here?
  • Why do things happen?
  • What is the meaning of life?

1 blog post. 3 words.

This isn’t some semi-gnostic, TBN, “God gave me the secret to the universe while I was sleeping” craziness. Not anything that could be used to sell some mysterious spirituality which would get me invited to Oprah’s next birthday bash.  Real answer, from scripture.

Ready?

Soli…Deo…Gloria

This is it.  The dividing line of God-centered (theocentric) vs. Man-centered (anthropocentric) religions. The reason that everything in the universe was created. The reason you exist.  Why miraculous works were performed in scripture, and why Jesus came.

A concept so beautiful that Johan Sebastian Bach finished his sacred compositions with SDG.

It is the purpose for all existence.  Let that sink in, it is the very reason for all things.  And you may well have grown up in church without ever hearing about it.

The answer? Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God alone.  God does all things for His own glory.

As always, anytime someone dares to speak for God, they’d better be bringing scriptural passages (not just single verses strung together across books/authors/and subjects), in context. 

How did all things come into existence, and for what purpsose?

[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. [17] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. [19] For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

(Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)

How were they created? by Christ (v16) Why? For Him and for His glory (v16-18).

Let’s look again:

[1:1] Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
[2] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love [5] he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
[11] In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, [12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. [13] In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

(Ephesians 1:1-14 ESV)

Wow! Do you see it? You, as a believer in Christ, were blessed as HE chose YOU before the foundation of the world to be adopted in Christ to HIS glory! (v1-6).  God works this, and ALL things to the council of His will to His Glory!

The reason for all things?  God’s glory.  He does ALL things to His own glory.

So what about me? Where do I come in?  Isn’t God concerned with my happiness? My success?

God is for God. Please get that. I know, your Mom, the nice lady in your small group, and your Purpose-driven Pastor told you that God is just impotently standing around, hoping and waiting for you to step into that “God-sized-dream” he has for you, but it’s just not so. It’s just not scriptural. God works all things to HIS glory. The good news for us, as shown above, is that since God is the absolute standard of goodness, the things He works for those who love Him and whom He has called will ultimately lead to our JOY (if not necessarily our temporary happiness).  This should change your view on virtually every aspect of your life.

Success is no longer judged by my desires, or the worlds standards, but by what brings the most glory to God. In this view Paul, the prisoner is more exponentially more successful than Paul (Saul) the respected academic and Pharisee.

Happiness is no longer our focus, but joy; knowing that in spite of any temporal situation, the ultimate outcome (even if it never comes in our life on earth) is our joy, to His glory.

It is why Jesus didn’t come for temporal happiness, but for God’s glory;

[37] All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. [38] For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. [39] And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
(John 6:37-39 ESV)

The Father has given His people to the Son, the Son has come to earth to do the Father’s will, and that is that he lose none that the Father gave Him, but raise them up on the last day. “Happy”? Crucifixion is, literally, where the term “excruciating” comes from. “Successful”? The creator of the universe being executed in a manner so shameful that it wasn’t even spoken of in polite company. “Prosperous”? Hardly. Jesus, who is God, became a servant, was born as a man, and was executed. He who knew no sin became sin.  Why? To do the Father’s will, for His glory. Unfathomable!

With this view, my worship is no longer about my preference, but His glory. Not about my feelings or self-esteem, but my complete immersion in the truth as revealed in His word, to His glory. God’s glory will be made manifest in all men, either through his perfect grace to those who are in Christ, or through his perfect justice to those who are not.

In closing, we see that not only are the 5 Solas wrapped up in Soli Deo Gloria, but the purpose of the entire universe in encapsulated in the life-changing realization that all things are being done, actively, by the God of the universe to His glory which is to the ultimate good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Get this. Soak in it. Pray that the Holy Spirit would change your heart and that God would be gracious in showing you this truth.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Marc

Further reading:

Here is a tremendous little book, free in .pdf: God’s Passion for His Glory by John Piper