Wednesday, October 19

It's okay to reconginize our differences

I know it’s been a while and this is going to sound like an odd thing to post about, but it’s been bugging me. So I’m posting.

With Mitt Romney, a Mormon, running for president there have been questions raised about the Mormon Church’s relationship to Christianity.

I want to preface what I’m about to say with this: I’m not attacking Mormons. They’re nice, good people. I’m not questioning a Mormon’s ability to be a good president. Being Christian should not be a prerequisite for holding public office, especially in America where freedom of religion is the law of the land.
I also recognize that there are lot of people who are Christian who don’t agree. I realize that there are some things that I believe that other Christians don’t. That doesn’t make me not Christian. There are some things that other Christians believe that I don’t. That doesn’t make them not Christian.

That said, Mormon’s aren’t Christian. There are key doctrines of faith that unite Christians with each other and at the same time distinguish Christianity from other faiths. These are the doctrines that make Christians not Jewish. Or Muslim. Or Buddhist. Or Mormon.

I realize that there is a lot of nuance in any faith, and I’m not at all claiming to know or understand the totality of what the Mormon Church professes. These are just key doctrines in which Christians and Mormon’s differ.

Christians teach:
Belief in one eternal triune God,
the Almighty, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
God has no beginning and no end.

Mormons teach:
God the Father is only one of countless gods,
He used to be a man on another planet.
He became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god in that world.

Christians teach:
Jesus is the Christ, and is “one Being with the Father”
through him all things were made.
He came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary
and became truly human.
Mormons teach:
God brought one of his wives with him to this world
with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth.
The first spirit child to be born to god and his wife was Jesus.
Second was Satan.
We are all also spirit children.

Christians teach:
Jesus was crucified, died and was resurrected for the sake of our salvation. Salvation is understood to mean the forgiveness of our sins through the grace of God.
Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. Christian hope is looking forward to the day of resurrection when God’s kingdom will be united with earth and have no end.

Mormons teach:
One must follow the laws and ordinances of the Mormon church in order to earn forgiveness.
Salvation is both forgiveness of sins and the promise of universal resurrection.

Mormons can say they are Christian all they want, but that doesn’t make it so. When one group starts with a belief in one eternal God that created the universe and the other group starts with the belief in a man who became one of many gods back when he lived on a different planet, they aren’t sharing a common frame of reference.


Anonymous said...

I had always understood that Mormons had beliefs which were incompatible with Christianity but after reading this post i have a better understanding how different the frame of reference is. Thanks. But as you say, that should not be a reason to disqualify anyone from running for President. I don't know much about American politics but Mitt Romney has appeared very honest in TV debates.

The Bug said...

You know it's funny - I always think that Mormanism sounds kooky - like how could they believe that? But if you look at what Christians (or Jews, Buddhists & Hindus for that matter) believe, it can sound just as kooky. Which is why it's crazy to me to knock another person's beliefs. Respect is the key here - & your post is very respectful :)

Single and Sane said...

Great post, clearly outlining some major doctrinal differences. I bristle a little when I hear people say that the LDS church is just another Christian denomination, when I think the differences are profound enough to make it a whole other religion. But, as you point out, Christianity is not a requirement for public office.