“Is a True Mormon a True Christian?” – Reno Gazette-Journal
Is a True Mormon a True Christian?
By Pastor Jim Wallace
(The following is an opinion article written for the Reno Gazette-Journal “Your Turn” column by Pastor Jim recently. Click here to see RGJ’s edited and published version.)
Overlooked in the debate about whether Mormon Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is a true Christian are two vital questions: Who or what really should determine what a “cult” is? and What distinguishes true Christianity from a “cult”?
The answers from historically orthodox Christianity are simple: The statements of Jesus Christ and the Bible.
And what do they unanimously say?
To be precise: a true Christian is someone who personally and exclusively trusts that Jesus Christ, who is fully God & fully man, saves him through His death for our sins and resurrection. (John 3:16; 10:30; John 14:6). Such a person does not trust in his own good works or anything else to save him: “He saved us, not on the basis of deed which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5).
Neither Jesus nor the Bible uses the word “cult” to describe errant forms of Christianity. Rather, they speak of false prophets whose teachings contradict core beliefs which Jesus and the Bible say are essential for salvation.
One essential teaching–that Jesus Christ is the one and only unique Eternal-Creator-God and is fully man at the same time–is stated in many Scriptures, includingJohn 10:30:“I and the Father are one” (NASB). Jesus said failure to believe this results in eternal condemnation: “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24b).
The other essential teaching about getting to heaven is “the Gospel.” The Apostle Paul defined it in I Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Faith alone in this message guarantees heaven: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works.” (Ephesians 2:8-9a)
The Bible says any so-called prophet who denies these teachings qualifies as a false apostle and thus, as a promoter of pseudo-Christianity (II Corinthians 11:3-4; 13-15).
Regarding Christ’s being the unique Eternal-Creator-God in the flesh, Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s chief prophet, denied it. He ultimately embraced polytheism, claiming men become gods, just like Jesus. He stated: “You have got to learn how to be Gods (sic) yourselves” (Times and Seasons, August 15, 1844).
Regarding the Biblical Gospel, Smith himself contradicted it when, upon his wife’s discovery of his adultery, he received a convenient divine revelation–polygamy was necessary for salvation (Doctrine & Covenants 132)!
The Church of Latter-Day Saints no longer promotes this requirement of its own prophet. This is despite the fact that it says, “No man who rejects the testimony of Joseph Smith can enter the Kingdom of God.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 190). It also teaches that salvation depends on good works: “Men have work to do if they would obtain salvation” (Doctrine of Salvation, Vol. 3, p. 91).
Thus, Mitt Romney may well be a moral and credible presidential candidate, but if he is truly a Mormon, he is not truly a Christian according to the authorities that count—Jesus Christ and the Bible!