BGEA No Longer Considers Mormonism a Cult?



mitt-romney-billy-graham

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is under fire for recently removing an article from its website that listed Mormonism as a “cult.”  Part of the discussion surrounding the change is that it happened after Mitt Romney visited Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham last week at the elder Graham’s home.  Billy Graham at that meeting pledged his support to Mitt Romney.

BGEA explained their decision.  In a statement Ken Barun, the BGEA chief of staff said, “Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.”

Some thoughts…

Based on how BGEA defines what a cult is – Mormonism still fits.

  • They do not adhere solely to the sixty-six books of the Bible as the inspired Word of God. They add their “special revelations” to the Bible and view them as equally authoritative.
  • They do not accept that our relationship to Jesus Christ is a reality “by grace through faith” alone, but promote instead a salvation by works.
  • They do not give Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, full recognition as the second Person of the Trinity, composed of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

What do Mormons consider scripture?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have additional scriptures.  In addition to the Bible which they use an LDS Church published version of the King James Version.  They also consider the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price and Doctrines and Covenants as scripture as well.

How do Mormons define salvation?

Mormons also believe that salvation is attained through a combination of faith in the Atonement of Christ and good works.  On their own website the LDS Church explains:

…This rebirth occurs as individuals are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It comes as a result of a willingness “to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days” (Mosiah 5:5). Through this process, their “hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, [they] are born of him” (Mosiah 5:7). All who have truly repented, been baptized, have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, have made the covenant to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ, and have felt His influence in their lives, can say that they have been born again. That rebirth can be renewed each Sabbath when they partake of the sacrament…

…Eternal life is to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and dwell with Them forever—to inherit a place in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom (see John 17:3; D&C 131:1-4; 132:21-24). This exaltation requires that men receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and that all Church members make and keep sacred covenants in the temple, including the covenant of eternal marriage. If the word salvation is used in this sense, no one is saved in mortality. That glorious gift comes only after the Final Judgment.

How do Mormons view Jesus Christ?

Looking at their official website, I’m struck more by what’s not there compared to what is there.  No where is their a reference of Jesus Christ being fully God and fully man.  There is no reference of Jesus being the 2nd Person of the Triune God.  They use the terms, “Savior,” “Redeemer” and “Son of God.”  But the rub is what do they mean by those terms?  They do say that Jesus is was “the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New.”  What does that mean?

They also say “Jesus Christ is the only Begotten of the Father in the flesh.”  Again, do they view Jesus as God who is co-existent and co-equal with God the Father?

I want to be careful not to put words in their mouths, but the statement on Christ has a lot of familiar words to a typical evangelical, but it is lacking clarity on this issue.  Also their statement says, “On January 1, 2000, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued the following declaration. Titled ‘The Living Christ,’ this declaration bears witness of the Lord Jesus Christ and summarizes His identity and divine mission.”  What was their position before this?

Mormonism Research Ministry also pointed out the following quotes which should be considered:

“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'” (LDS Church News, week ending June 20, 1998, p.7).

“It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (LDS Seventy Bernard P. Brockbank, Ensign, May 1977, p.26 ).

We should consider past statements made by their leadership as well.

So where does that leave us?

I don’t like the timing of BGEA’s decision because the removal of Mormonism as a cult seems political in and of itself.  That said I don’t doubt their commitment to the the Gospel.  Also when we consider what the word cult means today and the stigma attached I don’t really see its use as helpful.  Though I haven’t always seen it this way, I now see that its use is pejorative, and it doesn’t help with sharing the Gospel with Mormons.  It just puts up walls so other than trying to point out that they’re different what is the purpose of the word’s use?  Can’t we do this through other means in civil dialogue?  We are to speak truth, but we are also to do so in love, (Ephesians 4:15).   We also are to be ready to share the hope that we have within us through Jesus Christ, but we are to do so with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15-16).  So we can’t not address false teaching in our midst, but can do so without throwing barriers in the way of the Gospel through our words.

That said it would be inappropriate to lump Mormons in with Christians as some are apt to do because there are many, many differences in doctrines even though Christians and Mormons share similar terminology.  I believe BGEA recognizes this so I’m not concerned about their commitment to the Gospel and Christian orthodoxy.

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Comments

  1. says

    There is no question: Mormonism is NOT a part of orthodox Christianity. Some have been very critical about Evangelical support for Romney on the ground that it blurs the line between orthodoxy and cultish heresy, and that it mainstreams Mormonism. These are concerns I share, although I think that horse was out of the barn a long time ago…

  2. Jim says

    As a pastor of an evangelical church in Utah, I concur with your comments here regarding Mormonism. Two things throw up immediate roadblocks to ongoing dialog with Mormons: denying them the title “Christian” and labeling them a cult. The LDS community wants desperately to be considered part of the Christian mainstream. Indeed, they consider themselves more entitled to the title “Christian” than all the rest of Christendom since they are the “one true church”. But beware. While their terms are identical to the rest of Christendom, they all have drastically different meanings. Simply ask a Mormon what “salvation” means or what “heaven” means and you will quickly see the differences. Even Jesus is not the same Jesus as the Bible. For them, Jesus is a created being rather than having existed eternally. In fact, Jesus was created by Elohim who immediately afterward created Lucifer. So yes, Jesus and Lucifer are brothers in Mormon theology. Beware of this clever counterfeit and pray for your Mormon friends who are blind to it.

  3. Frankie Carpenter Kemp says

    We need to be careful and not too quickly judge the Grahams. If we look at the testimony of their life’s work, we know that their lives prove to whom they are most loyal–it is to God and the message of the gospel.

    Just throwing this out there–perhaps they realize the urgency of getting the gospel message delivered while they still have freedom to do so. They are not unwise as to who is Sovereign in this world. They are simply doing what they can with what they have been given to complete their mission, which is to deliver the gospel. They are not upholding Mitt Romney as Christ–they are taking advantage of what chance they still have to be able to broadcast the gospel.

    I will be honest . . . as of today, I have chosen that my conscience will not allow me to vote, let alone endorse either candidate–but I have not been placed in the same “power position,” if you will, as the Grahams. God love them for being strong enough to be obedient, even when fellow Believers may criticize their actions.

      • Frankie Carpenter Kemp says

        Oh, no–absolutely not. I didn’t mean to imply you were . . .sorry for that. You aren’t, but many are and will. When I first heard what they had decided, my first reaction was to judge what they were doing, based on my understanding of the issues at hand. That’s what we do, sometimes when we’re struggling with our own decisions about many, many things.

  4. connorcarpenter says

    I appreciate that you conceded that the term “cult” isn’t very helpful when relating to Mormons. I am a Mormon with many Christian friends, who I love and respect as fellow followers of Jesus Christ. There is no denying that they have the Holy Ghost with them. But when we start to talk about religion, and they bring up that I’m a part of a cult, it makes me think that they see me as a brainwashed, irrational fanatic. I’ve attended Evangelical Christian churches where the preacher uses this word to define Mormons, and I immediately cease to feel welcome in their midsts. I love Christians, but then to see them holding signs and shouting out front of our temple or in the entrance of Church events makes me think they see us not as brothers, but as the enemy.

    I understand Christians technically have a different definition of the word “cult” than does the secular mainstream, but I wonder if they sometimes confuse the two definitions themselves when this word is used. Can’t we find a different word? Unorthodox Christianity? Non-traditional Christians? Something a little more inclusive than exclusive?

    Anyway, I’ll stop ranting now :) God bless.

    • Frankie Carpenter Kemp says

      Jesus, Himself, was not inclusive. He said in Matthew 7:13, “Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the
      way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in
      thereby.” The entirety of the Bible points to Jesus Christ the Lord as the only way for the redemption of mankind. Acceptance of the grace and forgiveness His Blood bought for us comes to us when we see Him as He is, hear His voice speaking to us in the quiet places of our own hearts, and respond by confessing with our mouths what He has done for us. ANY religion that teaches that salvation is earned by our efforts or found in any other way is a false religion. We cannot claim the Jesus Christ testified of in the Bible without accepting the truth of the Bible.

      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5, NIV)

      Those are not my words. That is the Holy, irrefutable, Word of God.

      If you are truly concerned with another person’s soul, you will tell them the truth or point them to it. The Holy Spirit of the Living God will provoke His people to speak truth in the midst of all kinds of lies and deception in this world. If we want to know whether or not a religion is speaking the truth, we need only ask them what they do with the Jesus who is the embodiment of the Word of God.

      Does that mean we should protest outside the temples of any religion that is not preaching the Jesus Christ of the Word of God? No . . .I don’t think that’s wise, and you are right, it is not the way to open a dialogue with a person if you are truly seeking his or her heart. BUT . . .to give someone a false hope and tell them that their religion preaches the truth when it does not affirm the Divinity of Christ is sending them down the broad way to their own destruction with your blessings. I can’t do that.

      We are living in a day when there are many religions and many false promises. If I have compassion for my fellow man, I will combat the falsehood with the truth. Ultimately, each man, woman, boy, and girl is responsible for what they do with what they hear, and I do not have the power or authority to force anything upon anyone–nor do I want to. Lord, have mercy on us all and open, open, open eyes, ears, and hearts!

      • connorcarpenter says

        Wow, that was beautiful. Thanks Frankie. Amen to that.

        I agree that we should spread the truth as we know it to others. I am fine discussing differences of our interpretation of the Scriptures and the true doctrine.

        What I don’t believe is helpful to Christians, is defining Mormons as Cultists. Talk all you want about the Word of God and how we are in error. But when you use the C word, using the Christian definition of the word and not the mainstream definition of the word, it creates confusion in what you’re trying to say. I also believe that most Christians don’t know the difference between the 2 definitions of the word Cult (as described above), and sometimes attribute characteristics of the 1st definition to the 2nd definition, which creates misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

        My second point was that I can see how Christians are adamant to allow us to use the same title: there are many differences in our doctrines. However, Jesus Christ is so central to everything we do in our worship, that I believe we should be allowed some sort of title with His name in it. I’ve heard the term Pseudo-Christian Cult, but however that may make sense in Christian perspectives, it’s offensive to us.

        It just doesn’t make much sense to put up such a dividing wall between us when the ONLY way our understanding of Christ is different than your understanding of Him is that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate persons within the Trinity. Otherwise, we worship the same Christ.

        Anyway, I can respect theological dialogue, but not what seems to me as inaccurate name-calling on the part of some Christians.

      • Frankie Carpenter Kemp says

        Theological dialogue can be a very good thing–especially if it points to the truth. According to what I believe, Truth is absolute–not as I know it. Jesus said, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No man comes to the Father but by me.” That is the most important absolute truth in all of God’s creation. It is not true because I believe it. It is not true because someone else believes it. Truth is truth whether or not we see it, believe it, or tell it.

        We must be plain and up front with people–able to expound all of our beliefs to them–and we must back them up with the Word of God, as Jesus is THE WORD. There is nothing about what I believe that I am unwilling to share with anyone who wants to know it. Can you say that about Mormonism?

        It is really quite ridiculous to say that Mormons and the “mainstream” Evangelical Christian share the same beliefs about Jesus Christ. The Jesus Christ of the New Testament was with and is God–was not created by God because He is God; He was made flesh and dwelt among us when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of virgin, lived a sinless life here on earth, died a brutal death as propitiation for all of mankind’s sin, was resurrected from the dead, remained on earth for forty days finishing His instructions to His followers who would spread His message, and ascended to the Father, promising He would send us a comforter in the form of the Holy Spirit while we wait for His return for His own one day. THAT is the Jesus I believe in.

        But, perhaps, I must go further–belief isn’t all it takes. The Bible says even the demons believe and tremble. Jesus said, “Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord will inherit the kingdom of God.” Something else has to happen inside an individual that is NOTHING he or she can do for himself/herself. There must be a broken will that acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It does not come through rituals. It does not come through any action performed by a human being. It is supernatural. It involves an up close and personal moment with the TRUTH that breaks a person’s will and drops him to his knees, acknowledging his guilt and need for a Savior. It comes after a person sees Jesus for who He is and acknowledges it in his heart and then confesses it with his mouth–we cannot truly believe in something we have not seen. It is not with human eyes that we see this–so none of the outward rituals we perform bring us to this place–it is, again, a deep moment of personal conversation with the Creator of the Universe given to us because Christ Himself has reached out and called us to Himself–and it doesn’t happen with Him appearing to us in the flesh. We will not see Him in the flesh again until He returns to redeem all of creation, including our flesh. At the moment a heart acknowledges his guilt and accepts the forgiveness for it that comes through Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection, immediately that person is able to stand before Holy God with clean hands and a pure heart–because we are claimed and covered by Christ. All we do is accept what Jesus offered to us, and we do it for the rest of our lives on this earth. What follows this first deep moment in a Believer’s life after is a continual conformation into the image of Christ–that can be seen by other people, but it’s a process and a product of the Holy Spirit working within that person’s life.

        Do you teach the return of Christ? Do you believe that Jesus is returning to judge the quick and the dead? If so, upon what will you stand? What happens to you after the judgment? What happens to the souls of those who are sent to the left? Why would God send someone to the left? Who will be at the right hand of Christ in heaven? Do you believe we will be heaven one day?

        What does it mean to be “temple worthy?” What are the hidden rituals that occur within a temple ceremony and why is the public not allowed in to the temple? Why can a Mormon be baptized after the death of another person and claim that baptism benefits the deceased?

        No matter what label anyone chooses to put on us–to say that we do not have some MAJOR fundamental differences is really quite ridiculous–no disrespect intended.

  5. CypressSteve says

    This is generally a good piece full of great advice for those that consider themselves Evangelical Christians. I am a Mormon with many Evangelical Christian (and other faith)friends. We have shared each other’s beliefs on many occasions and have done so with love and civility. There are many points where we agree, expecially where traditional values are concerned. There are at least as many points where we disagree (as the author correctly points out).
    While it is true that Mormons do not believe in the Triune God concept, and do not interpret the Bible as stipulating this as a requirement in order to be considered “Christian,” we understand that those who accept the authority of the Council at Nicea believe otherwise. In fact, a godhead that is comprised of 3 separate beings as one in purpose is rather central to our understanding of our destiny. It is unrealistic for either side to attempt a minimalization of this core difference. So the disagreement continues but it need not make Mormons and traditional Christians enemies. In fact, I believe the Grahams understand this key point better than most. They are obviously Godly people, sincere in their beliefs.
    I cannot stress any better than the author how important it is to avoid using the label, “cult” as a pejorative against those who believe differently than you do. If you truly do love Mormons and are trying to reach them in some way, I suggest that you drop this term because it instantly discredits the messenger (to a Mormon). I suggest, instead, that you begin by discussing each others’ relationship with God and how important it is to ask Him directly to reveal truth to one’s heart and mind. Then, as joint truth seekers, you can begin a journey together that I believe all will find quite enlightening.
    Just my $2 (inflation)…

    • David Shedlock says

      As pointed out above, the only reason to drop the word “cult” is because of its association with personality cults, such as Jim Jones. A much better and more biblical term would be false religion with false prophets and false teachers who teach about false gods and a false Christ.

  6. opb says

    Wow, those Mormons sure are dangerous people, aren’t they? Their radical teachings of honesty, loyalty, virtue, charity, compassion, patriotism, as well as other Christ-Like qualities must be very threatening to the self righteous, pharisaical, “Christians” who claim exclusivity to the term Christian.

    • Frankie Carpenter Kemp says

      Jesus didn’t coin the word “Christian.” Man did–they called the followers of Jesus “Christians” in Antioch because they taught what Jesus taught-it wasn’t an affectionate or respected term at the time, either.

      The deceiver of this world has done what he’s always done and stolen from God, trying to duplicate and recreate the holiness of God Himself–clues to that are EVERYWHERE in this life. He either imitates or blatantly opposes–giving the itching ears of the listener whatever deception is tailor made for that specific listener.

      No person who claims the Jesus of the Word of God, does it on their merits–so it is impossible for them to be arrogant. They know their standing is not something that they earned . . .it is something God-given through the blood of Jesus.

      Whoever wants to take the title “Christian” can take it and do whatever they want with it. It won’t change a thing. The word itself means, “like Christ.” Just because I tell someone they are like Christ doesn’t make it so . . .just as if someone else tells me I am like Christ doesn’t make it so. What makes me like Christ is the Holy Spirit of the Living God IN ME who is working in me to conform me to the image of Christ. Sometimes my actions are worthy of the title from men, but sometimes they are not. It is the absolute holiness and righteousness of Christ in me, given to me when I accepted the forgiveness I needed purchased FOR ME and all mankind through His life, death, burial, and resurrection that matters to the Creator of the Universe. There is absolutely NO WAY to get that kind of righteousness in any other way except Jesus.

      • opb says

        I don’t disagree with anything you just said except in this case, your definition of the word Christian. I even agree with your quote “Just because I tell someone they are like Christ
        doesn’t make it so.” My problem is that you claim authority to make that statement about Mormons. My rebuttal is this, Just because you tell someone that Mormons are NOT “like Christ”
        doesn’t make it so. The Pharisees (including Paul before his conversion) were absolutely certain that Jesus of Nazareth was a blasphemous law breaker.
        The term Christian is found 3 times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16), In Webster’s Dictionary, the term Christian may be defined in a number of ways, but the most common is “one who believes or professes … to believe in Jesus Christ and the truth as taught by him … one whose life is conformed to the doctrines of Christ.” The second most common meaning is “a member of a church or group professing Christian doctrine or belief.” …. Under this definition members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are Christians. However, if a special definition is created under which one means “only those who believe as I do,” are Christians.
        I know many who believe IN Christ, but are not “LIKE Christ.” The opposite can be said as well. Gandhi was Hindu, yet had Christ-like qualities
        My apologies for implying that all of those who believe that Mormons are not Christians are arrogant. As one who believes that Jesus he is “God’s almighty Son and he is our Savior and
        Redeemer and that Salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and
        in no other way,” * ..I find it ironic that I am not considered a Christian. Being a Christian is full of irony, is it not? God Bless.

        *(Bruce R. McConkie) https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1985/04/the-purifying-power-of-gethsemane?lang=eng

      • Frankie Carpenter Kemp says

        When I used my definition of the word “Christian,” I was referring to breaking it down etymologically. The “ian” suffix on the end of any word indicates a change from an adjective to a noun. The suffix itself means “like.”

        Words have two classes of meaning: denotation and connotation. The dictionary meaning of a word is not always what those who hear and use said word associate with that word. Words are symbols for thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Language itself is limited in the fact that one word can take on a variety of connotative meanings.

        In the end, none of us will be judged based upon titles given to us by ourselves or others. Anyone who declares his own righteousness and his efforts will not have a leg to stand on. The Bible says that our righteousness is as filthy rags.

        I also find it ironic that people who believe that only those who accept the Jesus of the Word of God and the repentance His Grace gives us are often labeled as “exclusive.” Is it not true that I would not be allowed to enter into the Mormon temple if I wanted to? If I wanted to visit and ask questions, I would not be allowed. How does one go about gaining admittance into the Mormon temple? Is it not true that the Mormon faith allows for one person to be baptized in order to “save” another person? How does that doctrine line up with the teachings of the Jesus Christ of the New Testament?

        I do not mean to be disrespectful of someone’s sincere belief. I absolutely do not mean to discredit the excellent moral positions of the Mormon doctrine. I have known many Mormon people who were much more devoted to their families and their way of life than many people in the churches I grew up in. That is a truth that cannot be denied. There are probably Mormons who even live a “purer” lifestyle than I live–and there are definitely Mormons who are willing to give up years of their lives in order to deliver their message and doctrines. I never did that–at least not on purpose.

        A sincere belief is not what it takes to make one a Believer–I’ll not even use the word “Christian.” What does it take? Please tell me, according to Mormon doctrine, EVERYTHING it takes for a person to get to heaven. What is heaven according to the Mormon faith? Who is there and how did they get there? What happens to people who don’t make it there? Do all people go? Please tell me how the Mormon doctrine prepares people to meet eternity–then, please allow me to share what I believe.

  7. Brian Casaday says

    Mormons absolutely believe that Jesus Christ is the “second Person of the Trinity, composed of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” However, they do not believe in the interpretation as defined by the Nicene Creed (one in substance), which they consider to be extra-biblical. Rather, they believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ are separate beings, united as one God.

    • says

      Is there a reason they don’t mention it then? Also, while the word “Trinity” or the phrase “triune God” is not explicitly mentioned in scripture, it is implied.

      • Brian Casaday says

        What isn’t mentioned? Mormons don’t use the words “trinity” or “triune God” for the same reason you mention- they aren’t ever mentioned in scripture, and the words typically imply the interpretations defined in the Nicene and other post-biblical creeds, which they don’t accept. However, when it comes to recognizing Jesus Christ as the divine son of God, this is mentioned everywhere in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      • says

        Yet they accept the extra biblical teaching of the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price? Like I said the principles of the Trinity are in scripture. Do they believe God is One, but reveals Himself in three Persons? If they don’t, then they can not consider themselves to be a part of mainstream Christianity.

      • Brian Casaday says

        They accept the Book of Mormon and other scripture because they believe that, like the Bible, they contain the word of God and written by prophets of God. They do not believe this is the case with fourth century creeds, which explains most of the difference with LDS theology. Yes, they do believe “God is One, but reveals Himself in three Persons” as you mention. Unfortunately, too many Christians tell other Christians differently. Really, the main difference is that (1) we don’t believe that the “oneness” is of one “substance” but rather of purpose and power and (2) that Christ and the Father have physical bodies. (not to imply, of course, that this detracts from God’s abilities or power, etc.)

  8. opb says

    “Irony in the Gospel of Jesus Christ: ‘You Aren’t Christian’, Said the Christian to the Christian

    I found this interesting…. ( https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/tag/irony-in-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ-you-arent-christian-said-the-christian-to-the-christian-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saint-lds-mormon-because-even-though-you-believe-in-jesus-chr/ )

    “Irony in the Gospel of Jesus Christ: ‘You Aren’t Christian’, Said the Christian to the Christian (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint/ LDS/ Mormon), ‘Because even though You Believe in Jesus Christ and Research Shows You’re Closer to Original Christianity, The Way I Interpret the Bible Says You Aren’t Christian’” grego

    (referring to this article)
    http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-tackles-truth-new-age-spirituality-mormonism-37663/

    A preacher preaches:
    “the religious sect does not align with historic Christianity. In fact, it preaches a false gospel.”

    -=
    grego says:

    Citations, please! The research I’m familiar with says the opposite. (Which is funny, because I haven’t ever heard a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bring that up in an explanation as to why they believe the church is true… though it’s there.)

    -=
    The preacher continues:

    “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,” according to the Mormon Articles of Faith.

    Those laws and ordinances include faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for emission of sins and the laying on of hands for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    Additionally, the way to salvation includes joining the LDS church, believing in God, Jesus and Joseph Smith (LDS founder) as prophet and Brigham Young as successor.

    Explaining what Christians believe, Phillips stated that the true gospel of the Bible proclaims that salvation comes by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and by the grace of God alone.

    “It’s not Jesus plus anything,” the pastor emphasized.

    “Salvation is a free and unmerited gift from God,” he added.

    -=
    Here are my thoughts on that:

    And who the heck does this pastor think he is, putting himself in the equation?!?? How ironic—take out Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (and many more he didn’t mention!), but put himself in… If I just need Jesus, why do I need this pastor? Anyone?

    And if “it’s not Jesus plus anything,” why is the Bible needed?

    And if “salvation is a free and unmerited gift from God”, why bother worrying about Mormons/ LDS, who will be saved anyway, right?

    And why bother worrying about whether members of his church will join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons/ LDS)? Who needs his church, anyway? “I believe in Jesus!” DONE, right?

    Oh, did someone say “money”? I don’t know, ask him, don’t ask me.

    -=-
    The pastor continues:

    “That is why Jesus became sin for us and took it to the cross and killed it.”

    … “In a time where there’s so much religious plurality, there’s so much uncertainty about faith, there’s so much biblical illiteracy, and the media does such a great job of giving us misinformation, in our times we must say without question that Mormonism is not Christianity.”

    “It is in fact actually another gospel that leads away from salvation that the Bible offers in Christ alone.”

    -=
    grego’s thoughts:

    Jesus killed? What did he kill? Sin? Could someone explain, please?

    Whoops, and here I was, thinking salvation was a free and unmerited gift, only to find out that if you are Mormon, according to some Christian pastor, you actually *demerit* yourself and can’t obtain salvation…? I guess Jesus isn’t strong enough? Or what? Anyone, please?

    • Frankie Carpenter Kemp says

      Salvation is a free and unmerited gift, but just like any other gift, it has to be received and opened. Jesus never forced anyone to take what He offered. In fact, A LOT of what He gave while He lived in the flesh among men, He gave to people who were humbled by disease and illness and the rejection of those in power–and He gave it to them because they were desperate for His healing and believed that He was the only One able to heal them. He gave to the people who saw Him for who He was and cried out to Him for mercy.

      He also called out certain people to follow Him differently and become the ones who would continue his teachings after He had made the final sacrifice and made the LAST propitiation for all of mankind’s guilt. He chose them when He called them, but He did not force them to follow. In fact, one of the twelve followed him but never believed He was who He said He was. Even that was part of God’s plan to bring salvation to those who would believe.

      The Grace of salvation cannot be received into a heart that cannot acknowledge its need for Grace. A certain condition has to occur before the gift of salvation can be opened, if you will. That condition is a broken and contrite spirit and the ability to see Jesus as the only solution for the condition. When the broken spirit bows to the authority and the truth of God’s solution and claims the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross as his only hope for this life and the life to come, instantly . . .instantly that person is justified before God, based on what his mouth confesses that his heart has accepted. It is a supernatural work of the Spirit of the Living God–something that cannot be seen by human eyes and cannot be earned by human effort or ritual. We often want to make it something much more elaborate and complex–because that is somehow more satisfying to our human minds that have trouble accepting what we cannot see with our physical eyes. Salvation is not physical or of this world–it is supernatural. Its results can be measured by the change that it brings in a person’s life as the gift continues to grow in that person . . . but the moment itself is deeply personal–between the giver and the recipient.

  9. SJ says

    I believe that David Shedlock said a while back that a better term for Mormonism is “false religion.” I agree. It’s just too far away from mainstream Christianity to be considered otherwise.

    And the fact that BGEA just now decided to see the matter differently–that’s pretty sad. Did Billy Graham just get a revelation from Joseph Smith or something. ;)

    • David Shedlock says

      Thanks for the remarks, SJ. This is just further evidence of the lengths Christians are willing to go to elect Romney elected. They are abandoning the gospel for a bowl of pottage.

      • David Shedlock says

        I originally had the word “some” before the word Christians above and that was certainly my intention..

        Did Jesus and the disciples use perjorative language?:

        Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the lattertimes some shall depart from the faith, giving heed toseducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (I Timothy 4:1)

        Shall we warn people that Mormonism is a doctrine of devils and seducing spirits that they not depart from the faith, as James Robison, David Barton, Jim Garlow, Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen have apparently done, among many others?

        Jesus and the Apostles called these false teachers and their teachings among many more:

        Ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15),
        False prophets (Matthew 42:11)
        serpents (II Corinthians 11:3)
        wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom themist of darkness is reserved for ever (II Peter 2:17)

        with their
        profane and vain babblings (I Timothy 6:20)
        damnable heresies (II Peter 2:1)

        Galatians 2:4-5: And that because of false brethren
        unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our
        liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring
        us into bondage: To whom we gave place by
        subjection, NO, NOT FOR AN HOUR; that the truth of the gospel
        might continue with you.

        Making a deliberate choice to hide a group’s false teaching (and that is a biblical term) in order to promote one of its member’s candidacy is a choice to put politics over the gospel. They didn’t do this because they suddenly had a change of heart about the word “cult”, which I believe is still on their website. This was a POLITICAL decision

      • says

        Did Jesus and the disciples use perjorative language?

        Yes, mostly directed at Pharisees and Sadducees. I’m sure you’ve seen droves of people place their faith in Christ because of your use of it right? It’s funny how I’ve been able to see fruit in sharing Christ with Muslim kids without using the term “false religion.” The Holy Spirit still seems to do His work regardless. The message of the Gospel is not hindered whether or not somebody uses the word “cult” or “false religion.” The message of the cross is a stumbling block enough.

        Also I think I was pretty clear in my post that Mormonism does not equal Christianity and I highlighted a few of the basic differences.

        I agree with you on the timing of their decision. There is no way to interpret that as anything but being political. As far as its use on their website it was down over the weekend due to maintenance so I don’t know if they’ve completely removed the term.

      • David Shedlock says

        Shane wrote: “The Holy Spirit still seems to do His work regardless. The message of the Gospel is not hindered whether or not somebody uses the word “cult” or “false religion.”

        Then why are you worried about it then?

        I wasn’t speaking of direct witnessing, anyway. The apostles were addressing the church, as I was. I am concerned about deception in the church due to clergymen (listed above) who are inviting the wolves to have supper with the sheep, or should I say “of the sheep.”

        Billy Graham has had a long history of turning Catholic “converts” at his rallies back to their own congregations, as part of an agreement with them. His daughter praised the pope as a man of God on his way to heaven.

    • says

      I haven’t seen or heard BGEA or the Grahams say it was a part of mainstream Christianity. I certainly haven’t done so. Actually calling it a sect would be the proper term. I’m not sure calling it a “false religion” is really any better – for evangelistic purposes than calling it a cult. I’ve never had to call Islam a false religion for instance when sharing Christ with Muslim youth at the Juvenile Detention Center where I ministered. I’ve never have seen anyone place their faith in Christ because their religion was criticize or from the use of pejorative language.

      • SJ says

        Well, I think it all depends on the context. Certainly if you’re trying to minister to folks who aren’t already Christians, calling their beliefs a “false religion” won’t win you many converts. So, I agree with you there.

        But if you’re having a frank discussion among a Christian audience, I don’t see anything pejorative about the term–it’s just honest and accurate IMO.

      • SJ says

        The problem here, of course, Shane, is BGEA’s reason for the switch. Do you think it was really out of genuine love and concern for Mormons? If so, exactly where was their genuine “love and concern” before the switch? :) Since in another comment you stated, “There is no way to interpret that as anything but being political,” I don’t quite get your remark here.

        In general, though, I think it’s a mistake to be overly concerned about being “pejorative.” What is the exact meaning of “pejorative”?

        expressing contempt or disapproval

        In Lev. 20:13, homosexual behavior is called an “abomination.” Is that pejorative? You bet your bippy. :) But is it unjustly pejorative? No. In general, I think a better question to ask is: “Is it the truth?” Of course, I don’t believe that God expects us to use the term “abomination” when trying to witness to homosexuals, but that doesn’t change the truth of the matter.

        Anyway, I think that being overly concerned about being pejorative is an avenue that leads straight to the gilded palace of political correctness. Personally, I think there are nicer rooms at the Hotel California. ;)

  10. says

    Hi, my names Billy graham.

    For decades I have been spiritually informing my flock that the quasi religion known as the ‘Mormons’ or Latter Day Saints as a ‘cult’. Up until a few days ago it was well known that my Organization believed and informed the world that Mormons were worshippers of the Devil and would not be received by Jesus.

    During this time, my spiritual guidance on the matter has really hurt a lot of people and in some cases tore families and communities apart.
    I’m certain as a result of my spiritual advice, young LDS children have been tormented and castigated and made to feel like outsiders, while LDS adults are considered unholy and the hand servants of Satan by those who have taken my advice or been on the receiving end of it.
    I’d just like to say none of that matters anymore..

    We have a Christan black man in the White House, and all that Devil talk, and all that Mormon spirituality nonsense was just that, total nonsense.
    Forget everything I ever said about Mormons.. and the Devil.. andreligion.. This is a war of Caesars and it should NOT be compromised by ethics, or religious convictions.
    And let’s face it, wouldn’t you rather have a crazy white Mormon, than a black Christian in office?

    Thank you, Billy Graham….

  11. says

    I appreciate your post Shane and after reading though the comments and what not, I was reminded of the nearly 500 comment post I read on Francis Frangipane’s Facebook page earlier today (actually, it would be yesterday now).

    https://www.facebook.com/francis.frangipane.9/posts/10151117272130698

    After sifting through a few radical posts, many Romney supporting posts, a few bizarre posts, an occasional Obama supporting post, and much deliberation about whether or not bible believing Christians should vote for Romney, here is my conclusion:

    We are voting for a president and not the pastor of our church. While the Mormon religion has many bizarre and deceptive teachings, most of their values, morals, and principles align very well with those of true Christianity. Although Romney has not been consistent with his pro-life or pro-traditional marriage stances, his positions and character are much better than Obama’s. Neither candidate seems to speak the truth on all occasions (one seems more prone to it than the other), which is extremely unfortunate.

    As far as beliefs and actions towards Israel goes, which I believe to be of primary importance, Obama has strained our relations with them & if he is re-elected, I fully expect the relationship to completely deteriorate. The bible has verses specifically warning against mistreatment of Jews & Israel and dividing the land. I recently watched an episode of Sid Roth, where his guest shares the consequences of not siding with Israel:
    http://www.sidroth.org/site/News2?abbr=tv_&page=NewsArticle&id=12112

    From what he says, I believe Romney will stand with Israel & restore the relationship to where it needs to be.

    Finally, there are people that believe not voting, writing in a candidate, or going with an outside party is the best way to go. While there is some merit to that, I don’t find it to be wise. Unfortunately, there are only two candidates, who have a realistic chance of winning this election. A vote for Ron Paul, Robert Griffin III, or Jesus Christ will basically take a vote away from Romney and give the advantage to Obama, which is the last thing our nation needs. Another four years of his radical beliefs, wicked ideologies, horrible policies, disdain for the constitution, facilitation of Islamist influence & power in the US & abroad, along with the issues discussed above, and our once great nation will end up in ruins. I guess I could add the health of our economy onto all that, but I think I’ve made a clear enough point. May God have mercy on our country & restore blessings to this nation!

    As far as Billy Graham & his ministry goes, I recently viewed a video of him on YouTube. While I appreciate the great things Billy Graham has done and honor him as a brother-in-Christ, I believe his words/actions of the past few years are completely off base and may have been detrimental to many people.