Cults - Mormonism

1 - 'Evangelicals and Mormons Together'?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Why are some of America's leading "Evangelical" churches, seminaries, and ministries rushing to suppress or deny the truth about Mormonism?

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part one of a series

Why are some of America's leading "Evangelical" churches, seminaries, and ministries rushing to suppress or deny the truth about Mormonism?

We live in a time when large segments of the nominally Evangelical church are "following a multitude to do evil" (Exodus 23:2). In one of the most glaring recent examples, some of America's leading churches, seminaries, and ministries have rushed to suppress or deny the cultic and pagan nature of Mormonism. Some who call themselves Evangelicals are even embracing this false religion as a legitimate branch of Christianity.

A Growing Scandal

This scandal first came to public prominence in August 2010, when noted Evangelical leaders participated in Mormon radio and television host Glenn Beck's "Restore Honor in America" rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Beck said, "These men and women here don't agree on fundamentals. They don't agree on everything that every church teaches. What they do agree on is that God is the answer."[1] Whose "God" was not at all clear.

According to published news reports, among those who stood with Beck on this ecumenical, Christ-denying basis were Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr.; former Focus on the Family president James Dobson; Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; rabbi and management consultant David Lapin; Evangelical television star and columnist Chuck Norris; mega-church pastor John Hagee; a number of Roman Catholic priests; and even some Muslim imams. Echoing the spiritually bankrupt Moral-Majority philosophy of his late father, Jerry Falwell, Jr. spoke for all of them when he said: "Glenn Beck's Mormon faith is irrelevant."[2]

Joel Osteen, pastor of 50,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston, when asked if Mormons are Christians, told Fox News interviewer Chris Wallace, "Well in my mind, they are."[3] Never mind the mind of Christ, who will say to those who profess a false Jesus at the judgment, "I never knew you" (Matthew 7:23).

Richard Mouw, while president of Fuller Theological Seminary, wrote an essay titled "Mormonism Isn't a Cult" in which he stated, "While I am not prepared to reclassify Mormonism as possessing undeniably Christian theology, I do accept many of my Mormon friends as genuine followers of the Jesus whom I worship as the divine Savior."[4] He also said that Mormon-Evangelical theological differences can be patched over through a process of "give and take conversations."

Just what he proposes that Evangelicals should "give" up to Mormons, or "take" from their false religion, is unclear. This kind of thinking echoes the "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" documents in which so-called Evangelical leaders sacrificed Biblical essentials, such as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, on the altar of ecumenical compromise in order to open the way for cooperation in political and social causes, such as those of the Manhattan Declaration.

In October 2012, Billy and Franklin Graham met with Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The Grahams prayed with Romney, and offered their support of his efforts to convince skeptical Evangelicals to vote for a Mormon. As part of that effort, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association immediately removed references to Mormonism as a non-Christian cult from its website.[5]

Given the Grahams' long record of extensive compromise with the Roman Catholic church, including having priests as counselors in their "evangelistic" campaigns and referring "converts" to Catholic parishes for followup, their romance with Mormonism should surprise no one.[6]

During the 2016 U. S. presidential election cycle Senator Ted Cruz, a Southern Baptist, has welcomed the religious - not merely the political - support of Mormons such as Glenn Beck. (Perhaps Cruz's embrace of such Mormon support is not surprising since the senator's wife Heidi is a loyal member of the Seventh-Day Adventist cult, but he considers her also to be an authentic Christian.)

Beck claimed that Cruz is the fulfillment of the so-called White Horse Prophecy, made in the 1840s by the cult's founder Joseph Smith, who claimed that the Mormons are figuratively identified with the White Horse described in Revelation chapter 6. The prophecy predicted that the United States Constitution would one day be in dire jeopardy, and would be saved by the rider of the White Horse. Cruz has said and done nothing to disassociate himself from this un-Biblical falsehood.

"Evangelicals and Mormons Together"?

We live in a time when many professing Evangelical Christians are just as willing to embrace the concept of "Evangelicals and Mormons Together" as they have been to embrace the heretical "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" documents composed and endorsed by men like Charles Colson and J. I. Packer, and the Manhattan Declaration of men like Timothy Keller.

In fact, a book that is the Mormon-Evangelical functional equivalent of those documents appeared over two decades ago. How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and An Evangelical In Conversation, was published in 1997 by InterVarsity Press. On the back cover the publishers stated that the fact that Mormons and Evangelicals "don't get along together" is a "sad state of affairs" requiring correction through compromise. The authors were Craig L. Blomberg of Denver Seminary, a school tightly associated with the National Association of Evangelicals, and Stephen E. Robinson of the Mormons' Brigham Young University.

Throughout the book the authors engage in a "dialogue" from which they falsely conclude that both Evangelicals and Mormons believe in the following essentials of the Christian faith: the Trinity; the substitutionary atonement of Christ; the "gospel covenant" of the grace of God; the lordship of Christ; salvation only through Christ; justification by faith in Christ; and that "The Bible is God's word and is true and trustworthy within those parameters that the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy and the eighth LDS Article of Faith share."[7]

The Truth About Mormonism

Although many self-described Evangelicals welcomed it at the time, How Wide the Divide? was filled with deception and falsehood from beginning to end. But here is the truth: Mormonism is an anti-Biblical, anti-Christian cult rooted in paganism.

Mormonism teaches that "God" was once a man, that he is married to a goddess wife, and that Jesus and Satan are both his "spirit children." Mormonism denies salvation through the atoning blood of Christ. It teaches that each faithful Mormon man will be saved by his good works, and that his reward will be to become the god of his own planet, reigning with his wife (or wives, according to some branches of Mormonism) and fathering "celestial children." The ornate Mormon temples around the world are perversions of the Biblical tabernacle. Years ago I was able to tour one of them before it was consecrated and closed to "Gentiles" like me, so I can testify to this perversion firsthand. Mormons are sworn to secrecy concerning the pagan aspects of their temple ceremonies.

Mormonism's alleged authority for its thorough perversion of Christianity is the word of man, not the Word of God. Mormons place human writings in authority over Holy Scripture - their Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, the later writings of founder Joseph Smith and other leaders, and the ongoing pronouncements of the cult's council of elders. In reality, Mormons have no use for the Bible except to twist it to support their deviant teachings.

How, then, can many who call themselves Evangelicals suppress or deny Mormonism's cultic nature, and in some cases even call Mormons Christian brethren? It is because many self-described Evangelicals have become the kind of people the Apostle Paul warned against: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires...will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The Purpose of This Series

As we see such declension around us, we must remember that is it nothing new. Before the Flood, spiritual conditions became so terrible that only Noah and his family stood against the tide of apostasy. But we read that the Lord said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation" (Genesis 7:1). That ark was the only place of safety in a world about to experience destruction.

That ark of safety symbolized Jesus Christ. Authentic Christians flee from the world's deceptions to the spiritual safety found only in Christ and His Word. We must exercise Biblical discernment in understanding the true nature of Mormonism, comparing it to Scripture alone, rejecting it utterly, and seeking to witness to Mormons as lost souls bound for eternity in Hell apart from Christ. As we continue this series we shall examine key aspects of Mormons' teachings, constantly comparing and contrasting them with authentic Christianity, using the Bible as our sole authority.

References:

  1. Matthew Boyle, "Glen Beck's 'Divine Destiny' Event Focuses on Faith", The Daily Caller, August 28, 2010, as viewed at http://dailycaller.com/2010/08/28/glenn-becks-divine-destiny-event-focuses-on-faith/

  2. Adelle M. Banks, "Beck Wants to Lead, But Will Evangelicals Follow?", Religion News Service, August 31, 2010, as viewed at http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/
    beck_wants_to_lead_but_will_evangelicals_follow/

  3. Transcript: Pastor Joel Osteen on Fox News Sunday, December 23, 2007, as viewed at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,318054,00.html

  4. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/09/my-take-this-evangelical-says-mormonism-isnt-a-cult/

  5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/under-god/post/billy-graham-prays-with-mitt-romney/2012/10/12/1d99642c-1425-11e2-ba83-a7a396e6b2a7_blog.html

  6. For more on this subject, see our Bible Knowledgebase article, Who Is the Man Most Responsible for Evangelicals' Movement Toward Rome" at http://www.teachingtheword.org/articles_view.asp?articleid=59664&columnid=5787

  7. Craig L. Blomberg and Stephen E. Robinson, How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and An Evangelical In Conversation (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 195.

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