Archive for November, 2008

If you do not believe the doctrine of the Trinity, and favor another view yourself, I am going to give you some free advice. I am going to tell you exactly what you need to do in order to defend your non-Trinitarian position as a superior alternative to the Trinitarian view. I know, this is very generous of me, but in the interests of full disclosure I think it only fair to make this information available to the opponents of the doctrine of the Trinity. Read the rest of this entry »

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This month’s issue of First Things includes an article in which Bruce D. Porter, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Gerald McDermott, a religion professor at Roanoke College, discuss the question, “Is Mormonism Christian?”

Mormons, not surprisingly, consider any negative answer to this question to be an expression of religious bigotry. Who do you think you are, saying that Mormons are not Christians? Mormons certainly profess to be Christians; wouldn’t they know?

In almost every discussion I have with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this question comes up—and I’m not the one who brings it up. If I’m trying to have a conversation about whether Jesus really did deliver the Sermon on the Mount to the Nephites almost verbatim as it appears in the Gospel of Matthew, I’m likely to hear, “You think we’re not Christians, don’t you?” I encounter many Mormons who bitterly resent anyone who denies that Mormons are Christians. In my experience, Mormons often use this question as a “gotcha” basis for shutting down reasoned discussion of our theological and religious differences. The mainstream media is now following this same lead, with reporters asking evangelical leaders if Mormons are Christians in order to generate an inflammatory headline (“Evangelical Muckety-Muck Says Mormons Are Not Christians”).

On the other hand, admittedly some evangelicals do seem to think that blurting “Mormons are not Christians” is a sufficient, clear, and helpful statement on the matter. More seriously, tracts and articles on the subject often pose this very question and then proceed, without ever defining the term Christian, to argue that Mormons are not Christians based on a litany of doctrinal errors. These resources often have good information, but the way it is presented or framed invites some confusion, as well as polemical exploitation from Mormon apologists. Worse still, some evangelicals accuse Mormons of “posing” or “pretending” to be Christians.

What I propose to do here is to take a fresh look at this question. Read the rest of this entry »

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