Gordon B. Hinckley, Current President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “ Are we Christians? Of course we are! No one can honestly deny that. We may be somewhat different from the traditional pattern of Christianity . But no one believes more literally in the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ. No one believes more fundamentally that He was the Son of God, that He died for the sins of mankind, that He rose from the grave, and that He is the living resurrected Son of the living Father” ( Ensign , Feb. 1998).
How do we answer the question? By comparing and contrasting beliefs.
Beliefs to Compare & Contrast
The Person of Jesus Christ
The Person of God
The Integrity and Authority of the Bible
The Person of the Holy Spirit
The Means of Salvation
The Integrity of the Bible Christianity “ All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). “ The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).
“ It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain. Especially is this the case with the New Testament. The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church, is so large that it is practically certain the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book in the world.” Sir Frederic Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts , 55. The Integrity of the Bible Christianity
The Integrity of the Bible Christianity “ The Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries.” Sir Frederic Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts , 55.
“ We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ. We deny that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.” Chicago Statement of Faith , Article XIX, (1978). The Integrity of the Bible Christianity
“ We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly ; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God ” ( The Articles of Faith , No. 8). The Integrity of the Bible Mormonism “ While the Latter-day Saints do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete, or the final word of God , they accept the essential details of the Gospels and more particularly the divine witness of those men who walked and talked with Jesus or were mentored by his chosen apostles” (Robert L. Millet, A Different Jesus , 67).
“ Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book , which is the book of the Lamb of God. And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest…because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them ” (1 Nephi 13:28-29). The Integrity of the Bible Mormonism
The Integrity of the Bible Mormonism “ Above all, in being a negative word, it is quite inadequate to express the glory of the revelation of God in the Scripture.”— The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 10 vols., 3:283 on IGLCD. “ I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth , and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church , 4:461).
The Person of God God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob OR An Idol
" God is not a man , that He should lie, Nor a son of man , that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) " God is spirit , and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth“ (John 4:24). The Person of God Christianity
The Person of God Christianity “ God is not a man…”—Balaam “ God is spirit…”—Jesus
"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything , since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things;” (Acts 17:24-25). The Person of God Christianity
“ When first the self-existent Father , He who is inconceivable and without substance , He who is neither male nor female , willed that His own ineffability should become realized in something spoken, and that His invisibility should become realized in form, He opened His mouth, and sent forth similar to Himself a Logos” (Hippolytus: “The Refutation of All Heresies,” ANF 5:93). The Person of God Christianity
“ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. God Himself is an exalted man , perfected, enthroned, and supreme” ( Encyclopedia of Mormonism , p. 1669). The Person of God Mormonism “ The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s ; the So also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us” ( Doctrine & Covenants 130:22).
“ In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so ; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see ” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church , 6:305). The Person of God Mormonism
“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1-3). The Person of Jesus Christ Christianity “ And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God’” (Luke 1:35). “ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). The Person of Jesus Christ Christianity
“ For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). “ And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). The Person of Jesus Christ Christianity
"In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints do not believe in the traditional Christ. “ No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak ” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News , June 20, 1998). The Person of Jesus Christ Mormonism
The Person of Jesus Christ Mormonism “ And the Lord said unto me [Abraham]: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all .” (Abraham 3:19).
“ As God the Father begat the fleshly body of Jesus, so He, before the world began, begat his spirit. As the body required an earthly Mother, so his spirit required a heavenly Mother. As God associated in the capacity of a husband with the earthly mother, so likewise He associated in the same capacity with the heavenly one . Earthly things being in the likeness of heavenly things; and that which is temporal being in the likeness of that which is eternal; or, in other words, the laws of generation upon the earth are after the order of the laws of generation in heaven .” (Orson Pratt, The Seer , 158-59). The Person of Jesus Christ Mormonism
The Person of Jesus Christ Mormonism “ God the Father is a perfected, glorified, holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events , for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine , 742).
The Person of Jesus Christ Mormonism “ Now there is another personality of which I desire to speak, one that the world calls by a name, but in whose reality as a personal Being it does not believe and that person is Satan, the Devil. But according to our understanding and teaching, Satan is a person with a spirit body, in form like that of all other men. He is a spirit brother of ours and of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Elder Brother in the spirit world .” (Joseph F. Merrill, General Conference Reports, April 1949).
The Person of Jesus Christ “ Who is Satan? Satan was the spiritual offspring of Deity. He was a spiritual brother to the Chosen, the one whom we have come to know as the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee , on Infobases Gospel Library CD-ROM. Mormonism
The Person of the Holy Spirit Christianity
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God ” (Acts 5:3-4). The Person of the Holy Spirit Christianity
He guides (Jn. 16:13)
He convicts (Jn. 16:8)
He grieves (Eph. 4:30)
He loves (Rom. 15:30)
He intercedes (Rom. 8:26)
He speaks (Acts 8:29)
He can be lied to (Acts 5:3-4)
He motivates (2 Pet. 1:21)
He creates (Ps. 104:30)
He regenerates (Jn. 3:6-8)
He indwells (Rom. 8:9-11)
He has a mind (Rom. 8:27)
He has a will (Lk. 12:12)
He distributes gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-11)
He sanctifies (2 Thess. 2:13)
The Person of the Holy Spirit Christianity
“ However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:9) “ The new work of the Spirit is to involve a permanent indwelling within God’s people ” (G. E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament , 332). The Person of the Holy Spirit Christianity
“ And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father—possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit , that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things” ( The Lectures on Faith in Joseph Smith Begins His Work , 2:53). The Person of the Holy Spirit Mormonism God Jesus
“ The Holy Ghost , called also Spirit, and Spirit of the Lord, Spirit of God, Comforter, and Spirit of Truth, is not tabernacled in a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of spirit; yet we know that the Spirit has manifested Himself in the form of a man ” (James E. Talmage, The Study of the Articles of Faith , 38). The Person of the Holy Spirit Mormonism
“ As a Spirit personage the Holy Ghost has size and dimensions. He does not fill the immensity of space, and cannot be everywhere present in person at the same time ” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation , 1:38). “ He [the Holy Ghost] is a spirit in the form of a man. He does not have a body of flesh and bones. He can be in only one place at a time , but his influence can be everywhere at once” ( Gospel Principles , 137). The Person of the Holy Spirit Mormonism
“ For by grace you have been saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Means of Salvation Christianity “ For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works , which God prepared beforehand , that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Grace through Faith
“ We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus , even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ , and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified ” (Galatians 2:15-16). The Means of Salvation Christianity Grace through Faith
The Means of Salvation Christianity “ But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). “ He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Ephesians 1:5) Grace through Faith
“ From an LDS perspective, there are two types of salvation made available through the atonement of Jesus Christ—universal and individual” (Robert R. Millet, A Different Jesus? , 94). “ We believe in an individual salvation as well as a general salvation , and in order that men may be exalted, they must comply with the laws and ordinances laid down by the lawgivers , even before the foundation of this earth” (Elder Jonathan C. Cutler, General Conference Reports , October 1918 on IGLCD). The Means of Salvation Mormonism
“ Flattery is a tool of Satan (D. & C. 10:25-29); he uses it to lead souls to destruction. (2 Ne. 28:22.) Ministers of false religions obtain the support of their congregations in large measure by flattery, in that by appeals to vanity and through other means they hold out false hopes of salvation to their worshipers. For instance: Certain saved-by-grace-alone fanatics flatter their followers into believing they can be saved through no act other than confessing Christ with their lips ” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine , 287). The Means of Salvation Mormonism
“ We must keep all the commandments and endure to the end in order to receive the gift of eternal life in the celestial kingdom of God” (Rulon T. Burton, We Believe: Doctrines and Principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 131). “ We have our agency and many, very, very members of this Church, when they come to the judgment and are judged according to their works, are going to be consigned to the telestial kingdom; others to the terrestrial kingdom; because that is the law that they have willed to obey; and we are going to get our reward according to the law that we obey .” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation , 2:28). The Means of Salvation Mormonism
If the Bible is an unreliable document for faith and practice,
Is Mormonism Christian?
If God cannot tell the truth about who or what He is,
If Jesus is the product of incest and the brother of Satan,
If the Holy Spirit is an incorporeal man, and is confined in time and space,
If the means to salvation and reconciliation with God is based upon one’s own efforts,
Then Mormonism is Christian.
If the Bible is a reliable document for faith and practice,
If God has told the truth about who or what He is,
Then Mormonism is NOT Christian. Is Mormonism Christian? On the other hand,
If Jesus is God very God, supernaturally incarnated in the flesh, and the Creator of all things, including Lucifer,
If the Holy Spirit is also God very God, and simultaneously indwells all Christians, everywhere and at all times,
If the only means to salvation and reconciliation with God is based upon God’s grace, through faith, alone,
Paul Derengowski apologeticsonline.net [email_address]