Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Love Jesus; How Can You Say I Am Not Christian?

by Staci Lee

One of the most difficult things about witnessing to a Mormon is how they want to show that we are in agreement. In fact, it's hard to even know where to begin showing them that we are not agreeing. We are conversing with the same terminology after all, right? We use the same words like God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, repentance, scripture, faith and heaven. We both believe that Jesus was born in the Jerusalem area, that He lived a perfect life and that He died on the cross and rose three days later. We both claim to be Christian. But our ‘agreement’ is effectively keeping us from a meaningful discussion, and the Mormon from true salvation.

You see, each of the words listed above (and many others) have been redefined in Mormonism. According to Mormonism, God is not the God, but a god; god's name is Elohim and we are his literal spirit children by one of his many goddess wives. Jesus is not God but the eldest of Elohim's children; he's our and Satan's spirit-brother. Repentance is the process of turning from each specific sin, to never repeat it again, and making restitution when possible. Scripture includes the books written by Joseph Smith and latter-day prophets.

I was Mormon, so I when I finally read the Bible without trying to find my LDS beliefs in it, it got a lot easier to understand... and told a different story than I expected. The Bible only allows for one God- YHWH - who is eternally self-existent in three 'persons', one of which is the virgin-born Hebrew Yeshua (YHWH becomes Salvation). Repentance is not abandonment of sin, but the change of heart/mind that accompanies realizing that Jesus is God come to earth to take the punishment we deserve and believing on Him as Savior. Heaven is not layered, with divisions according to the righteousness we displayed in our 'mortal probation', but it is where God is, which is why it is Paradise. 

The LDS will chalk these differences in meaning up to a different interpretation of scripture. They believe that Christians are the ones who do not understand; that when Joseph Smith restored true Christianity to the earth, he corrected what had been ruined and/or misunderstood. LDS will also try to point to specific Bible verses they've been taught, to justify their beliefs. But the differences cannot be explained away by simple misinterpretation; and Smith's 'restoration' is completely contrary to the most fundamental truths of the Bible. Mormons do not even know that they are taught a system of Biblical eisegesis which injects LDS beliefs into the Bible, instead of searching the Bible to see what it teaches.

And there's more.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gives people a false Jesus not just by redefining Him, but by allowing Mormons to simply incorporate Christ into their lives. In Mormonism (as perhaps in many religions), a person can begin to do what they think is more Christ-like -- donating money to charity, visiting the sick, praying, etc. -- without ever having to personally meet and go up against God one-on-one.

Christianity is not this way. There is no making Jesus a part of the life you already have. When I first was saved, I tried to do that. I wanted my worldly life and God's grace, too. But God was emphatic. He absolutely broke me down until all there was left to do - and I knew it - was to say, "I surrender. You are God." I was not good; I finally understood that. He alone is good; and He expected me to die to myself, to kill my fleshly desires, so that I could have the ONE THING that I was really looking for - Him.

Mormonism gives people the right words to hold, the good ideals to shoot for. What it does not and cannot give its people is GOD Almighty. Believing God is my father and Jesus is my brother makes salvation/atonement not as significant an issue. The belief that I can become a god(dess) keeps me from prostrating myself before the One unimaginably Worthy and Holy God that there ever is and ever will be, in fear, admiration, and utter awe and worthlessness. My salvation came when I finally saw God for who He truly is, and myself for who I truly am – this is the truth that has set me free. And I had to fully reject my Mormon thinking to do come to that place.

I hope that you can see why I believe a Mormon who believes the LDS doctrine is not a Christian. I have no doubts that there are some LDS who, in their hearts, worship only One God, and will be saved. But it is in spite of their religion that they do this, not because of it. I've been told by some Mormons that I am trying to create my own super-exclusive definition of the word "Christian" - but I am only trying to put the right words to my understanding of the term as I find it in the Bible. A family-oriented, hard-working, good-as-can-be, church-attendee is not, by biblical definition, a Christian. A person who knows they deserve to die because of their sin against YHWH, who has turned to the Jesus of the Bible as the only solution and believes He alone is the way to be reconciled with God... is.

A few pertinent verses: Luke 18:19; Mark 10:18; Romans 3:9-13,23, 5:8, 6:23; John 1:12-13, 3:15-17, 5:24,28, 11:25,26,27, 12:24-25, 14:16; Galatians 2:16, 3:10-14; Colossians 1:15-17, 2:4-20; Hebrews 10:10-12; 1 John 1:1,5,8-10, 2:1-2, 5:10-13; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:8-9.

© Copyright 2002 Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved. —Permission is granted to reproduce, provided content is not changed and this copyright notice

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Rocky and Helen Hulse

Rocky and Helen Hulse
Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine