Friday, May 06, 2011

Choking on Ecumenical Bones

Are Mormons Christian? Well, without writing an insufferably long post, my reply is, in a word ...

No.

I still can hardly believe I read a supposedly orthodox Christian theologian claim otherwise but then this is an age when definitions shift to suit the desires of the day.

17 comments:

William Watson Birch said...

Amen, brother, and I plan on addressing this mess as well. I cannot tell you how troubled I am lately with those in our camp.

Jc_Freak: said...

Yes, Mormons are not Christian, but if you are talking about the person I think you are, he didn't say that Mormons were Christian. Only that he had no idea himself since he had no knowledge of their theology.

A.M. Mallett said...

JC, I would like to think that is true but as a theologian he should know better than make such comments on matters he might not know anything about. Given the various ecumenical outreaches that have occurred I tend to not believe that is the case. Instead, I consider the brother's theological perspective to be a total wreck even though his grasp of Arminian soteriology is pretty good. If this was not a pattern I might not be as concerned.

William Watson Birch said...

I agree with A. M. M. That gentleman's conclusion was "I have come to the conclusion that many LDSers are, from my perspective, anyway, very confused about theology. IF Bob believes Jesus always was and is and always will be God equal with the Father and the Son, then I have no problem being open to accepting him as a Christian."

I don't care if ANY Mormon believes that Jesus "always was and is and always will be God equal with the Father," that does not make a Mormon a born-again Christian, and he should know better.

The Seeking Disciple said...

AMEN! But this is what happens when you don't embrace the Bible as the final authority for faith and practice. When the Bible is cast aside in favor of feelings, denominations, etc. then you can rest assured that Mormons will be welcomed into the "kingdom."

At least our brother James White still is preaching that cults are cults!

Wesley Wong said...

Jc_Freak has been more objective here.

Jc_Freak: said...

The Seeking Disciple:

Actually, he does embrace the Bible as the final authority on faith and practice. So... clearly you are wrong on that point.

Jc_Freak: said...

Billy and AMM,

But he says he is unsure! I agree with you that he shouldn't make a strong statement about Mormonism while being ignorant about them. All of his statements are conditional, and within the combox he consistently complains about how muddy the theological waters of Mormonism is. Indeed, his whole point to me seems to be that Mormonism is so disjoint that it is difficult to say much on it conclusively at all.

Now, I would say that the mormons are heretics. No problem there at all, but I seem to know a bit more about them, and when I first started investigating them, I had the same position he did. He is trying be fair as he is beginning to look into them, and I don't see how that is a bad thing.

A.M. Mallett said...

JC,
If what you suggest is true, that the gentleman lacks a working knowledge of Mormonism, why in the world is he engaged in "ecumenical" discourse with them? Instead of running to the "ecumenical" conferences with heretics, he might be better served by sitting down with people who have studied these cults and can reasonably explain why they are not Christian. Rob Bowman would be an excellent resource and he is easily approachable.

I am rather certain I can find a Mormon, a Jehovah Witness or an SDA adherent that will say all the nice things I want to hear but having some working knowledge of what these cults and sects actually teach their followers allows me to refute their use of common terminology.

Lastly, rather than extend a welcoming hand to the heretics hoping they might "reform" themselves to Christian orthodoxy at some point, I feel it is better to "stand in the gap" and preach the Word of God to them. With the conviction of the Holy Spirit, let them come out of their spiritual whoredoms rather than rest in them with the acquiescence of Arminian academics.

Perhaps its time for some of those who claim to serve the LORD to step away from dusty books and safe conferences and start putting boot, shoes, sandals or whatever on the ground. They will find a LOT of people who actually do believe the things the academic says they do not know or understand.

A.M. Mallett said...

Wesley,
You may be right since I have a strong bias against those sympathetic to aberrant theologies. I honestly believe that Arminianism, at least the classical and or Reformed variety of orthodox Arminian theology, is not at all well served by such brethren. We have enough to deal with among our Calvinist friends who label all of us with these same aberrations without having to fight against them in our own camp. However, such are the pratfalls of the "big tent".

A.M. Mallett said...

Roy,
I will give James White at least that much but please don't ask me to give more ground than that. :)

Pumice said...

Now this was a post that was easy to read and understandable. What is sad is that there are so many who might argue with you.

Grace and peace.

A.M. Mallett said...

Pumice,
It is a sure bet there are factions of Christians who will adamantly declare Mormons and others to be Christians. I believe the brothers here are not of that mindset. Perhaps the problem begins when we try to be all-inclusive with a big tent approach and advance the idea that there are no boundaries to what we can embrace as evangelical Christianity.

Thanks for stopping by. I enjoy your proverbs blog a great deal.

Jc_Freak: said...

AMM,

I think it is useful to have both irenic persons and polemic persons in the fold at the same time. Personally, I am rather irenic, much like the gentleman we are talking about, so I can see where he is coming from, though I disagree with him currently. However, despite the fact that I am sometimes put off by more polemic persons such as yourself, I realisze that it is necessary to have people who are going to attack.

It comes back to the idea that we have difference giftings. If everyone was polemical, then we would all be on constant attack mode. If we were all irenic, we wouldn't be able to stand for anything. I think it seves the body of Christ better to have some who are irneic and some who are polemica, rather than having everyone one find the perfect balence themselves.

Jc_Freak: said...

Additionally, I dont think that reading secondary literature is always the best methodology. How does one assess the honesty of that secondary literature? I believe that it is important in a situation like this to have both primary and secondary sources.

In other words, one should consult a person like Bowman, but should also talk to those who truly are Mormons, and then compare. Often these people that present these cases are biased, and do some misrepresentations. On the other hand, one cannot expect to get a broad picture of a full organization like the LDS church simply from talking to the few that you might meet. Therefore both is necessary. Again the point is balance.

I hope that the good doctor does supplament his investigation in to the LDS church with some secondary material. However, one cannot blame him for wanting to hear things from the horse's mouth.

A.M. Mallett said...

JC,
I would add to your suggestion as well that one interested in understanding Mormon doctrine explore the actual Mormon resources that provide the actual teachings of the Mormon church rather than rely on the public relations wing of the LDS. They are very good at playing the PR game. To see that in action, search "Are Mormons Christian" on Youtube. Their elders are quite active in this regard.

Jc_Freak: said...

Absolutely. I would agree 100% with that. Of course there is also the question of whether or not a church can repent. The SDA would be a possible example of that, though LDS would not. I would never except the LDS as Christian unless they officially come forward and recant certain positions.