I occasionally listen to an Evangelical “Christian” radio talk show on my commute home from work. The other night the statement was made by one of their respected theologians that the greatest exception Evangelicals take with Mormons is that they don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus! Granted, I didn’t get in on the beginning of the conversation, but they talked for a full 15 minutes without once mentioning Mormons. Do you have any thought on what he might have read or heard that could POSSIBLY have given him that idea? I thought I had heard them all, but that takes the cake!
If one looks at the picture from the position of the sectarian world, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormon Church) represents a significant threat to them. One cannot question the sincerity of their beliefs. However, no one looks at religion quite like the Mormons do. The members of the Mormon Church by and large have very firm convictions, born of the Spirit, that the Mormon Church is the Kingdom of God on the earth, and that to return to the presence of the Father a person must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, must repent of his sins and be baptized by immersion by a person with the requisite priesthood authority, and then receive by the laying on of hands the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the reception of this gift and compliance with the principles of the gospel that give to the members of the Church their feeling of absolute confidence, amounting to testimony, that it is the one and only true church.
The sectarian world, hearing this doctrine, immediately come to the conclusion that we think that they will not be saved. But their idea of salvation and our idea of salvation are very different. It is extremely difficult for anyone with the beliefs of the sectarian world to understand Mormon doctrine.
The sectarian world believes that in order to be saved one must confess Jesus as the Christ and believe in the Bible as the word of God. However, the interpretation of belief in the Bible is generally left to the discretion of the parishioner. So there is some sort of an alliance among the protestant churches. It is considered quite unethical for any one protestant church to proselyte another. The Protestants believe in one baptism. Thus the baptism performed by any church is generally valid in any other protestant church. One may change affiliation from one protestant church to another without the necessity of being re-baptized. Their proselyting efforts are directed to the non-Christian rather than toward other Christians.
However, it is interesting that at least some of the protestant denominations do not recognize baptisms performed by the Mormon Church. This is based on their concept of our belief in deity.
Here is the the statement of the Presbyterian belief in Jesus Christ-
“Jesus Christ as only Son of God, begotten before the worlds; co-creator with the Father; one in whom the fullness of God is pleased to dwell” (Presbyterians and Mormons: A Study in Contrasts, Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.).
Now, we have no argument with that belief. We subscribe to that statement as much as they do. However, the Presbyterian understanding of the Mormon belief in Christ is as follows:
“Jesus Christ as one of many sons of God. Known as Jehovah, Brother of Satan/Lucifer. Born of physical union of Heavenly Father and Virgin Mary.”
That statement, although not false, is extremely misleading to those who do not understand the true nature of Deity. As it is stated it is something with which they cannot agree, and so, since they believe that we do not subscribe to their definition of Christ, they conclude that we are not Christian.