As the preliminaries for the next U S Presidential race begin to hot up, on the Republican side, one name that is emerging as a possible front-runner is that of Mitt Romney – no stranger to such Presidential candidacy hustings.
It is well known that Mitt Romney unashamedly declares himself to be a Mormon, an enthusiastic member of ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’. An interesting article outlining Mr Romney’s Mormon connection and involvement appeared in the New York Daily News prior to his last Presidential attempt back in 2007/2008 and it can be located on http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/cliches-faith-mitt-mormonism-matters-article-1.256807
Another excellent article entitled ‘Mitt Romney’s Mormonism’ is located on http://www.irr.org/mit/Mitt-Romneys-Mormonism.aspx and gives much background to his longstanding family connections with the religion.
For generations faithful Christians have identified Mormonism as being a non-Christian cult. Exposures of it figure prominently for instance in the books ‘The Four Major Cults’ by A A Hoekema and ‘The Kingdom of The Cults’ by Walter Martin.
Disturbingly however in recent years there appears to have been a softening of this ‘cult’ view of Mormonism amongst some prominent self-proclaimed so-called ‘evangelical’ Christians. One of the first to actually label Mormons as Christians was former U S President Jimmy Carter. In an enlightening article on http://www.wayoflife.org/database/evangelicalsmormons.html David Cloud wrote this about Jimmy Carter’s views on Mormons and their religion –
In 1997 rogue Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter (he did not make his formal break with the SBC until 2000) said Mormons are Christians and should not be the targets of “proselytizing” (Carrie Moore, “Are Mormons Christians,” Deseret News, Nov. 15, 1997). During the interview, Carter likened those who reject Mormons to “Pharisees.” Carter defined his personal philosophy as “a nonjudgmental, reconciling type of spirituality.” He testified that “the people in my own local church have no interest in trying to condemn Mormons or trying to convert Mormons to be good old Baptists like me.”
Jimmy Carter is merely defining good and proper New Evangelicalism, non-judgmental, positive in its approach, reconciling rather than dividing, tolerant of other views. And to be consistent, this New Evangelical philosophy must eventually accept Mormons, at least the “evangelical Mormons,” as it has the “evangelical Catholics.”
Mr Carter repeated this claim that Mormons are Christians in an interview that he gave in 2007 as you can read by going to the article on this link http://www.dennyburk.com/jimmy-carter-says-mormons-are-christians/
In recent weeks several other so-called prominent ‘evangelical’ Christians have openly declared their belief that Mitt Romney is a Christian despite his allegiance to Mormonism and they represent high-profile young and not so young ‘Christians’.
On the more youthful side Joel Osteen has (not surprisingly considering his many other public contradictions of Biblical doctrine) affirmed Mitt Romney and Mormonism to be Christian as you can see and hear on http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=7678
On the less youthful side Pat Robertson [who once made a bid for the Presidency himself] also declared Mitt Romney to be a Christian as you can read on http://www.christianpost.com/news/pat-robertson-mitt-romney-an-outstanding-christian-57017/
In response to all this muddying of the theological waters it needs to be trumpeted from the rooftops that Mormonism is not Christianity but is a devilish deception that is leading countless millions to a lost eternity without Christ. Elsewhere on our ministry website various articles have been posted on ‘Mormonism’ and they can be accessed on the under noted links –
This confusion about whether Mormonism is Christian or not has in recent years been aided and abetted by other prominent figures within professing Christendom such as apologist Ravi Zacharias and Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, both of whom are mentioned prominently in my 2005 article listed above and entitled ‘After ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) will there be EMT’ (Evangelicals and Mormons Together).
Well, in recent times, Richard Mouw has entered the debate on Mitt Romney and his Mormonism and a very helpful newsletter was recently issued by my good friend Rob Zins who heads up the ministry ‘A Christian Witness to Roman Catholicism’ located on http://www.cwrc-rz.org/home.html
This is what Rob Zins wrote –
CWRC – A Christian Witness to Roman Catholicism
Richard Mouw in Wonderland?
The Mock Turtle
“Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense.”
Welcome to the CWRC newsletter. This newsletter is designed to be thought provoking in light of the issues of our world. We also wish to reinforce the timeless elements of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Or, in the words of the apostle Paul, “to testify solemnly (diamartúrasthai) of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
Recently, in light of the flap over a Texas Baptist preacher’s remarks that Mormonism is a cult, Richard J. Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary, released a statement concerning Mormonism. Mr. Mouw begins his statement with these words. “Some prominent evangelical pastors have been telling their constituents not to support Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidential nomination. Because Romney is Mormon, they say, to cast a vote for him is to promote the cause of a cult. I beg to differ.”
Mr. Mouw does not like the idea of calling the Mormon religion a cult.1 He confesses to having had a dozen years of behind-closed-doors dialogue with a professor from Brigham Young University, and about a dozen Mormons and Evangelicals. Mouw concedes that he and his fellow “evangelicals” disagree about some important theological questions. He does not elaborate on what these questions may entail. But he is quick to say that he and his fellow “evangelicals” have found some matters of which they are not as far apart as they thought they were. He does not elaborate on these matters either.
It soon becomes apparent that Richard Mouw is as offended as Mitt Romney might be at the use of the word “cult” to describe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Mr. Romney has long claimed to be a Christian despite his allegiance to the Mormon religion.
Mr. Mouw writes that he knows all about cults and that Mormonism is not a cult. We are surprised by Mouw’s so-called learned explanation of a cult. Having stated that he has studied cults Mouw exempts Mormonism. His exemption is based upon what he perceives a cult to be and what he perceives Mormonism to be. He says that cults are “very much us-versus-them” kinds of religious organizations. He goes on to say the following. “Their adherents are taught to think that they are the only ones who benefit from divine approval. They don’t like to engage in serious, respectful give-and-take dialogue with people with whom they disagree.”
“Nor do they promote the kind of scholarship that works alongside others in pursuing the truth. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for instance, haven’t established a university. They don’t sponsor a law school or offer graduate-level courses in world religions. The same goes for Christian Science. If you want to call those groups cults I will not argue with you.”2
Evidently those religious organization who do what Mormons have done can safely avoid being classified a cult according to Richard Mouw. But what if a religious organization does exactly the opposite of Mormonism, and the opposite of Mouw’s cult exemption criteria? Would they then be a “cult” by default? The logical answer would be yes. So let’s put Christianity to the Mouw test. The Bible teaches Christians that they alone are the true children of God (John 1:12, 13).The Bible teaches that God’s benefits of divine approval are reserved only for those in Jesus Christ. All the rest are under the wrath of God (John 3:36). Christians are taught to speak the truth in love. They are not to engage the world in a meaningful dialogue to find the truth. Christians have the truth (2 Corinthians 4:1-6). Christians are taught to believe that Jesus Christ is the center of all truth and they are to be good stewards of the grace of God. Far from needing universities to discover truth, Christians are to study to be workmen approved by God handling His revelation, the Word of God, accurately (2 Timothy 2:15).
By any fair use of the Mouw criteria Christianity must be understood as a cult. If we toss in the fact that Christians are under no biblical mandate to form universities and graduate schools it becomes exceedingly apparent that what Mr. Mouw hates most about cults is at the center of Christianity. Mr. Mouw has been in the “ivory tower” too long. He openly fawns over the very institutions that are at the nucleus of a godless university system in America. Here is what he writes. “But Brigham Young University is a world-class educational institution, with professors who’ve earned doctorates from some of the best universities in the world. Several of the top leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have PhDs from Ivy League schools.”
Whereas the apostle Paul counts all things as loss compared with the surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ, Mr. Mouw counts approval of high ranking pagan universities and colleges as the anti-dote to becoming a cult. Not content to promote an Ivy League PhD as an inoculation against cultic belief, Mouw would have us know that some of his Mormon friends actually admire Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, C.S. Lewis, and Father Henri Nouwen. How impressed should we be that a professing evangelical is jubilant over the fact that his ecumenical friends admire Roman Catholics? In Mr. Mouw’s world “logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead, and the White Knight is talking backwards, and the Red Queen’s off with her head!”3 The promotion of Roman Catholicism by a Mormon makes the President of Fuller Theological Seminary ecstatic! Worse yet it is to him a sure fire proof that Mormonism is no cult. This reads like a wacky mad magazine.
When contemplating the question, “So are Mormons Christians?” his answer predictably is that for him it is a complicated question. He goes on to say. “My Mormon friends and I disagree on enough subjects that I am not prepared to say that their theology falls within the scope of historic Christian teaching. But the important thing is that we continue to talk about these things, and with increasing candor and mutual openness to correction.”
Mr. Mouw does not explain the disagreements that he mentions but notice the word smithing and careful avoidance of offense that characterizes his analysis. Anyone familiar with Mormon theology could not possibly think that it is in the scope of historic or modern or eternal Christian teaching.4But what Christian could possibly say that the important thing is that they continue to talk with the unbeliever and are open to mutual correction? Is there a hint of mutual correction with those outside of Christ in the New Testament? The Christian knows that the believer has nothing in common with the unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6), and that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33). Yet, Mouw somehow thinks dialogue is the most important thing. Is it any wonder why there is no clear voice for Jesus Christ and the Gospel in anything affirmed by Mouw?
Mr. Mouw speaks out of both sides of his mouth serving up standard baloney when it comes to individual Mormons. Here is the strange reasoning of the modern ecumenist. “While I am not prepared to reclassify Mormonism as possessing undeniably Christian theology, I do accept many of my Mormon friends as genuine followers of the Jesus whom I worship as the divine Savior.”
If you are as sick of this sort of gobbledygook as I am then your frustration will rise with mine. How on earth can a person committed to a religion that does not possess Christian theology be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ? Mouw might as well be saying that he knows a lot of pagans who love their religion but are genuine followers of Jesus Christ. Or he might be comfortable with square circles or giant midgets!
Mr. Mouw closes his comments by likening Mr. Romney in some way to John F. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy ran for president as a Roman Catholic. There was some concern about what voice Kennedy would listen to if he became the President. Would he be run by Rome or would he acquiesce to the Constitution and rule of law in the United States? Mouw introduces the topic in order to bring up another point. His big point is that Roman Catholicism stopped being viewed as a cult when people began talking with Rome and Rome began talking with evangelicals. Here is what he has to say. “But the real changes in popular attitudes toward Catholicism happened more slowly, as Catholic Church leaders and scholars engaged in a new kind of dialogue with each other and representatives of other faith groups, most dramatically at the Second Vatican Council during the early years of the 1960s. Cults do not engage in those kinds of self-examining conversations. If they do, they do not remain cults.”
Essentially, Mr. Mouw thinks Roman Catholic dialogue amounts to self-examination. How naive. This is basically not true. Rome has not changed one iota despite Vatican II. Rome simply does not change. Upon this faulty premise we suppose that Rome is now an accepted branch of Christianity in Mouw’s book. This is a deadly mistake. Secondly, he thinks Rome’s willingness to talk is a good template for taking Mormons off the cult list. If Mormons have some dialogue, and have a little self-examination then they too should not be considered a cult. Why? Because cults do not do this sort of thing. How do we know? Mouw tells us so.5 Or you can go ask Alice when she’s 10 feet tall. Rob Zins.
1The Mormon religion states clearly that Jesus Christ made possible the ransom of all men from what they call temporal death. Mormons are taught that all are resurrected and that their bodies and spirits are united again inseparably at the resurrection. However, redemption is also spiritual for those who earn it. To Mormons all men are raised in immortality but only those who obey gain spiritual life. “The atonement of Christ ransoms men from the effects of spiritual death in that by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel they can be born again and have spiritual life.” (WhatThe Mormons Think Of Christ published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) We read again, “Salvation in the kingdom of God is available because of the atoning blood of Christ. But it is received only on condition of faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end by keeping the commandments of God” (Ibid page 23).
2In contrast to Mouw’s pie in the sky attempts to revamp Mormonism is this citation from Pearl of Great Price one of the standard texts of the Mormon scriptures: “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)- and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof.&rdq uo; Pearl of Great Price- Joseph Smith- History 1:18,19 (emphasis mine).
3Lyrics of the Jefferson Airplane song “White Rabbit” a take off of Alice in Wonderland
4Mormons put the Book of Mormon on the same level as the Bible. From this source and others such as the Pearl of great Price, and Doctrine & Covenants strange anti-Christian doctines emerge. Mormons baptize for the dead, believe that they can progress and become a god, their god the father has a body of flesh and bone who was once a man, Jesus was the brother of Lucifer, just to point out a few cultic beliefs.
5It has not dawned on Mouw that the very fact that Roman Catholics and Mormons dialogue leads us to the opposite conclusion. Cults do indeed dialogue. It is their way of convincing others that they are not really cults. They have plenty of success with many. Richard Mouw apparently is one of them.
Having written this article I am not advocating that Mr. Romney should be debarred from becoming President simply because he is a Mormon because the reality is that countless non-Christians have and do hold that office as you can see by my article on the current President, Barack Obama, located on
My concern has been solely to demonstrate that the religion of Mormonism and those who are trusting in it should not be considered to be ‘Christian’ by those who profess to be Evangelical Christians – to do so must put clouds of doubt over the profession to be Christian made by such persons.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 4 November 2011