Saturday, August 31, 2013

Are Mormons Christian?

Do you know that Mormons are classified as Christians?  This is one of the questions that Mormon missionaries will ask of a potential convert. 

As a Christian, that question grates on me.  For a few reasons.  But rather than getting into that, I guess it’s worth thinking about.  Is there any possibility that Mormons actually are Christian?

First of all, I guess the question should be answered – what is a Christian?  By definition the word Christian means "Christ-like".  In that sense of the word; it seems Mormons are actually more Christian than Christians...  hmm that sounds confusing...  I will from here on out use “orthodox Christianity” to provide some clarification.  Mormons have potential to be more Christ-like than orthodox Christians.  Now, before I get excommunicated, let me explain...

Mormon doctrine around the person of Jesus Christ is vastly different from that of orthodox Christianity.  Mormonism teaches a belief in “Eternal Father”, who was once a man like us.   They believe that Jesus Christ was the first born of His spirit children.  Lucifer is also one of His spirit children.  And each one of us is also a spirit child of Eternal Father.  We existed in spirit before the creation of the world, in coming to this earth, we were given a ‘tabernacle’ of flesh for our spirit to dwell in; and if we are fortunate enough to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, our bodies will be resurrected at the consummation of this age.  At that point we will have advanced to the Celestial Kingdom; and now have the potential to actually become Gods ourselves, with spirit children of our own, and worlds at our command.

The orthodox Christian view of Christ is that he is the only Son of God.  We are all children of God, in that He is our Creator, and Lord, and His Spirit actually lives in us.  We have been brought into the family of God.  But Jesus is God’s Son in an exclusive sense.  He has a unique relationship with God the Father.  Jesus and the Father are one.  They are of the same substance, the same essence.  Jesus was begotten of the Father, not made by the Father like the rest of us.  In orthodox Christianity, Jesus is the second person of the triune Godhead, and as such he is altogether different from those of us who are among the created.

So you can see that according to Mormon doctrine, the only difference between us and Christ, is that he happened to be born first.  The difference between your average Mormon and Christ is not one of kind, it is one of degree.  So, by definition ("Christ-like"), Mormons could be considered more Christian than orthodox Christians. 

But you can also see that the beliefs around Christ between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity are irreconcilable.   It is not possible for the same person, (even if that person is God), to adequately fulfill the qualifications of both Mormonism and orthodox Christianity.  Therefore, it follows that Mormons and Christians cannot possibly believe in the same Christ.  

So... I guess I can concede that Mormons are indeed Christian, as long as it is understood that the Christ they are 'like' is a different Christ than the One found in orthodox Christianity.

Claiming that Mormons are Christian without that qualifier seems a little bit like talking to someone in Brazil about football without telling them that what you really mean is American football.

Please take a moment to pray for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Thank you.

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