Are Mormons Christians?

Depends who you ask. Mormons believe they are Christians because their definition of “Christian” is “somebody who believes in Jesus Christ and tries to follow Christ’s teachings.” Other people have different definitions of what the word “Christian” means and therefore they may or may not consider Mormons to be Christians. Since nobody has the ultimate authority on who is or isn’t a Christian, it becomes a matter of semantics and subjectivity.

Here’s an excerpt of a conversation between me and a friend of mine who believes Mormons are not Christians:

Q: Tell me more about this “cult” thing. We Mormons are always accused of being part of a cult, but we have no idea what that means. What’s a cult and how is it different than any other religion?

A: It’s probably more concise if I use the term Christian cult

Basically, a Christian cult is a group or organization that claims to be Christian, but is not. Mormonism is definitely a Christian cult.

Q: Fair enough. So what’s your definition of “Christian” and why don’t Mormons fit that definition?

A: Christians are defined by what they believe. They must believe in the historical tennants of the Christian faith in order to be deemed a Christian.

Christians believe:

That the Bible alone is the word of God (Mormons tack on the BOM and other books)

That there is only one God (God as the uncreated creator of the universe. Not the Mormon God that was once a man, or that man can become a god, etc.)

That God is a Trinity (Mormons hold to a distorted view of the Trinity)

That Jesus is God (also the uncreated creator, not just a god and not the brother of Satan)

That salvation is by faith alone (Mormons add good works to faith based salvation)

So, there it is in a nutshell. What Christianity holds and the contrast between standard Mormon beliefs. Some similarity perhaps, but at the same time, quite a difference.

Q: So who came up with these rules in the first place?

A: Jesus, John, Peter, Paul…..they come straight out of the Bible. They were also ratified by various Church councils throughout Church history.

———— end of transcript

And from there things get a bit convoluted and several tangents emerge. Suffice it to say my friend and I have different interpretations of the same words in the Bible. But I can say I don’t give a hoot for what was ratified by various church councils throughout church history. What authority did this “church” have to make such decisions?

Comments

  1. Catholics also believe that you can not ascend to heaven by "faith alone". Good works were part of Jesus' teachings and continue to be an important part of Catholic faith. The "faith alone" tenant was part of the prodastent (sp?) split in the 1600's when Luther published the 99 Thesis.

  2. That is only because the Bible was not available to the general public to read at the time, so the people did not know what was in it except what the Catholic church told them. The church sold people "indulgences" making them believe they could buy favor in heaven which is not biblical either. Luther was able to study the Bible himself and read that the "works" the Catholic church was adding was not supported by the New Testament.

    It's not that Luther brought about the "faith alone tenet," it's that he actually read the Bible for himself and realized that was it's message, not what the church had been feeding people. Over a billion other people who have now been able to read the Bible for themselves since it became available realize this is it's message also…I never read anything of Luther's until recently and I came to the same conclusion of faith alone and who Jesus is by reading my Bible…only those who let a church decide for them what is needed for salvation come up with anything other. Luther's 99 Thesis has nothing to do with it, it's all there in the Bible, he just "protested" the church's authority because they were not adhering to the New Testament teachings.

    It's institutions such as the Catholic or Mormon churches that need it's people to rely on THEM, to rely on their claims of "authority" so they can keep bringing in "indulgences" (or tithing) to keep control and stay in business.

  3. Luther misrepresented the Bible on his sola fide teaching. The apostles Paul and Peter taught otherwise.

    Read the Bible!

  4. The Prince of the Apostles also wrote on Justification. However, much as His Lord and Master is ignored, so too are the Apostle Peter's words drowned out by Protestants. Indeed Protestants usually seem to have more respect for the words of St. Paul then those of anyone else in the entire Bible. It will be demonstrated overwhelmingly that the Apostle Paul is no friend to Protestant sola fide theology later on. In the meantime, here are the views of the Apostle Peter on Justification:

    1 Simon Peter, servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained equal faith with us in the justice of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 May grace and peace be given to you in abundance in the knowledge of our Lord: 3 As all things of his divine power which appertain to life and godliness, are given us, through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his own proper glory and virtue. 4 By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world. 5 And you, employing all care, minister in your faith, virtue: And in virtue, knowledge: 6 And in knowledge, abstinence: and in abstinence, patience: and in patience, godliness: 7 And in godliness, love of brotherhood: and in love of brotherhood, charity. 8 For if these things be with you and abound, they will make you to be neither empty nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he that hath not these things with him is blind and groping, having forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time.11 For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [1]

    So we are exhorted to supplement our faith with many virtues culminating in charity so that we are productive in Christ. We are exhorted to labour that our election can be made "sure." This sounds a lot like justification by faith working in love according to the Apostle. If works were not involved in justifying a person, then it would be pointless for the Apostle Peter to exhort his followers to supplement their faith with them. If works were not a necessary and integral part of a saving faith, such a statement would be superfluous. It would also be superfluous to tell people who had no reason to worry about falling from grace that their election could be made "more sure" by supplementing their faith if it was not possible to fall from grace without such supplementation. So much for "once saved, always saved." Since Simon Peter makes the claim that faith alone is inadequate (v. 5-10), obviously our works play a key role in our justification.

    13 Wherefore having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ, 14 As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance: 15 But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy: 16 Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy. 17 And if you invoke as Father him who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every one's work: converse in fear during the time of your sojourning here.18 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled, 20 Foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but manifested in the last times for you, 21 Who through him are faithful in God who raised him up from the dead and hath given him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Purifying your souls in the obedience of charity, with a brotherly love, from a sincere heart love one another earnestly: 23 Being born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God who liveth and remaineth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass; and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass is withered, and the flower thereof is fallen away. 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel hath been preached unto you. [2]

    Faith and hope purified in the obedience of charity. That is justification by faith working in love encapsulated according to Our Lord, St. Peter, and also the Council of Trent.

    11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul, 12 Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation. [3]

    It is "by the good works" beheld in the Christians by the Gentiles where God would be glorified. St. Peter was undoubtedly thinking of the command of his Lord and Master about letting one's light "shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).

    8 And in fine, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this are you called, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. 11 Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him seek after peace and pursue it: 12 Because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and his ears unto their prayers: but the countenance of the Lord upon them that do evil things. 13 And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good?…

    18 Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit, 19 In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison: 20 Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noah, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. Whereunto baptism, being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the examination of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. [4]

    Well now, baptism "saveth" us as the Ark of Noah saved eight souls who were "saved by water"!!! If the Apostle Peter is to be believed, we are saved by a "work" of Baptism. At least that is what the literal words of St. Peter say. There is no compelling reason to interpret these words apart from the literal sense – though many Protestants will do just this. (For many Protestants would rather sacrifice the literal meaning of the text of Scripture to adhere to their man-made traditions of misinterpreting the Bible through their distorted views of St. Paul.) It can really make one wonder sometimes how such people are even able to sleep at night when they pull such chicanery.

    7 But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers. 8 But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. 9 Using hospitality one towards another, without murmuring, 10 As every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another: as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. [5]

    It is clear again that faith requires many other aspects to be supplemented to it in order to be a saving faith. The most notable ingredient is charity which is the essence of a saving faith. This is clear from St. Peter's writing in both of his epistles. The Apostle also clearly warns his followers in his second epistle that private interpretation of the Scriptures is dangerous. Interestingly enough, this Epistle was written after the Apostle Paul wrote most of his Epistles; most notably Romans and Galatians which are the primary books of the Bible to Sola Fide Protestants. Again the literal words of the Lord and all the other Apostles must be subserviant to individual (mis)interpretations of Paul in the Protestant paradigm rather then vice versa. (We will get to the Apostle Peter's admonition of people who do this very thing before long.) Note carefully the warning of the Apostle and what he says afterwards about those that do not follow the advice he is giving here:

    19 And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Understanding this first: That no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation. 21 For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost. [6]

    Who are the "Holy men of God moved by the Holy Spirit to speak for the Almighty???" Apparently they are the ones not engaging in private interpretation of the Scriptures. But anyone can claim to be a "man of God" and even give the appearance of fulfilling the requirements of someone so empowered. After all, the devil is very clever and is a master of deception and as Peter warns us, he is "like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). The Apostle also makes note of this in his second epistle:

    1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be among you lying teachers who shall bring in sects of perdition and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves swift destruction. [7]

    Denial of the Lord includes refusing to submit to the authorities that He places over us.

    2 And many shall follow their riotousnesses, through whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you. Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their perdition slumbereth not. [8]

    The good of justification by faith working in love – the clear teaching of the Scriptures – would be spoken of as evil of by these people. This would be done by "feigned words" and catch phrases like "believe and be saved", "'never lose your salvation' once you have been 'born again'", and "justification by faith alone".

    8 For in sight and hearing he was just: dwelling among them, who from day to day vexed the just soul with unjust works. 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly from temptation, but to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be tormented. [9]

    The godly would not have to be "delivered from temptation" if they were already "saved". After all, if they need not truly be righteous, it matters not if they are tempted or not because their works do not have an effect on where they are going. They have "accepted Jesus" after all. So if they get tempted then it really does not matter because they are already saved right??? This position sounds like the textbook definition of 2 Pet 2:2 and many Christians today follow this path which can only lead to destruction. Note the further instruction of the Apostle:

    9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly from temptation, but to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be tormented. 10 And especially them who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government: audacious, self willed, they fear not to bring in sects, blaspheming. 11 Whereas angels, who are greater in strength and power, bring not against themselves a railing judgment. 12 But these men, as irrational beasts, naturally tending to the snare and to destruction, blaspheming those things which they know not, shall perish in their corruption: 13 Receiving the reward of their injustice, counting for a pleasure the delights of a day: stains and spots, sporting themselves to excess, rioting in their feasts with you: 14 Having eyes full of adultery and of sin that ceaseth not: alluring unstable souls, having their heart exercised with covetousness, children of malediction: 15 Leaving the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam of Bosor, who loved the wages of iniquity, 16 But had a check of his madness, the dumb beast used to the yoke, which speaking with man's voice, forbade the folly of the prophet. 17 These are fountains without water, and clouds tossed with whirlwinds, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved. 18 For, speaking proud words of vanity, they allure by the desires of fleshly riotousness, those who for a little while escape, such as converse in error: 19 Promising them liberty, whereas they themselves are the slaves of corruption. For by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave. [10]

    The reader needs to ask themselves which groups today despise spiritual government, are self-willed, and are audacious enough today to "not fear to bring in sects". Here is a small hint: there has been a never-ending proliferation of Protestant denominations for over four hundred years. That is the very definition of "creating sects." Note also the following parts of Peter's Gospel which are anathema to the "once saved, always saved" crowd:

    20 For if, flying from the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they be again entangled in them and overcome: their latter state is become unto them worse than the former. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice than, after they have known it, to turn back from that holy commandment which was delivered to them. 22 For, that of the true proverb has happened to them: The dog is returned to his vomit: and, The sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire. [11]

    In short, we can fall away after having a knowledge of Our Lord and Saviour. So much for "once saved always saved" theology. The Bible has spoken so heed what it says. And this is not all for there is so much more that it says on these matters which Protestant theologies ignore.

    8 But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.10 But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat, and the earth and the works which are in it, shall be burnt up. 11 Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of people ought you to be in holy conversation and godliness? 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat? 13 But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to his promises, in which justice dwelleth. 14 Wherefore, dearly beloved, waiting for these things, be diligent that you may be found before him unspotted and blameless in peace. [12]

    This contradicts the very notion of "imputed righteousness" because it reflects the idea of being diligent to strive to be unspotted much as the Apostle exhorted his audience to "labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election" (2 Pet. 1:10). Such advice is not compatible with sola fide theology which is probably why St. Peter's writings get ignored by Protestants espousing sola fide. (Much as the words of Our Lord do.) However, it is interesting that after making the previous comments in his second epistle, that the Apostle Peter makes the following statements about the Epistles of the Apostle Paul which are so dear to the theologies of Luther and Calvin and other Protestants:

    15 And account the longsuffering of our Lord, salvation: as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; [13]

    According to the Apostle Peter, St. Paul spoke of the very same things as St. Peter himself is outlining in this very letter. What else did Peter say about Paul's writings??? St. Peter clearly gives the following warning about the epistles of St. Paul:

    in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, take heed, lest being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness.18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and unto the day of eternity. Amen. [14]

    So according to St. Peter, St. Paul wrote speaking of these very same things and apparently his writings are easily distorted by the unlearned and unstable to their destruction. If you ask how could this be, the answer is really a simple one: it is by those who read into the Epistles of the Apostle Paul and the other Scriptures theologies that are not there. Theologies such as "once saved, always saved", "imputed righteousness", and "salvation by faith alone" among others of note. In doing this, these proponents most often are unaware that they are playing into the hands of the evil one because just as Our Lord never taught either of these theologies, neither did the Apostle Peter.

    Bibliography:

    [1] 2 Peter 1:1-11

    [2] 1 Peter 1:13-25

    [3] 1 Peter 2:11-12

    [4] 1 Peter 3:8-13,18-20

    [5] 1 Peter 4:7-10

    [6] 2 Peter 1:19-21

    [7] 2 Peter 2:1

    [8] 2 Peter 2:2-3

    [9] 2 Peter 2:8-9

    [10] 2 Peter 2:9-19

    [11] 2 Peter 2:20-22

    [12] 2 Peter 3:8-14

    [13] 2 Peter 3:14-16

    [14] 2 Peter 3:16-18

    Other Notes:

    The Scripture citations were taken from an online Douay-Rheims Bible that is similar in many ways to the online Douay-Rheims Bible located at the following link: http://www.scriptours.com/bible/

    ©2003, 2000, "Justification by Faith Working in Love", written by I. Shawn McElhinney.

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