Summit Lecture Series: Is Mormonism Christian or a Cult? with Douglas Groothuis

Summit Lecture Series: Is Mormonism Christian or a Cult? with Douglas Groothuis April 26, 2016

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So, we’re talking about Mormonism… how to spot a cult.

But first, keep in mind what Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Colossae:

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Throughout Scripture, we find several “warning passages” that tell us, “This is the truth of the Gospel that has been delivered to you. Keep it. Know it. Because people will come later denying it, twisting it, distorting it and come up with counterfeits.” Peter wrote in his epistle:

“Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Mormonism is becoming more of an issue than ever before in American culture. Republican leader Mitt Romney is a long-time Mormon. He did his missionary work in the 1960’s in Paris, France. When he ran for president in 2012, many Christian Republicans asked themselves, “Can I vote for a Mormon?” His candidacy significantly raised the public awareness of Mormonism.

The Mormon church is very influential. It’s extremely wealthy and growing, both nationally and globally. It has a family-oriented appeal. It’s practicing members are largely wholesome people who take care of their own and have a strong sense of community. This extends far beyond church attendance, but is seen in their abundant financial support and volunteer service.

Mormons are also intensely evangelistic. Every summer, you see pairs of men between the ages of 18 to 20 canvassing neighborhoods with bicycles, wearing white shirts and black ties, going door to door with their message.

It makes me think of Hank Hanegraaff’s words when he said:

“Are we willing to do for the truth what cults will do for a lie?”

Image: Free Republic
Image: Free Republic

Mormons claim that they are simply one of the several Christian denominations. So, if you ask a Mormon, “Are you a Christian?” they will immediately answer in the affirmative. They will then follow up with words that sound just like those of any other Christ-follower. They will say that Jesus Christ is their Savior.

But, there is actually a lot of work to do to get to the redemptive bottom of this.

Truthfully, Mormonism is a non-Christian worldview. What makes it very deceptive and alluring to so many is that it uses Christian language and it appeals to the Bible and seems to advocate Christian moral values.

I’d like to spend some time taking a look at the fundamental issue of discerning truth from error, in light of Biblical texts. Through this lens, consider Christ, the Church, and the truth.

We know from John 14 that Christ Himself is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. Through this lens, we see the singularity, uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY Mediator. Jesus is the Lord.

Or, think of Acts 4:12, which reads:

Salvation is found in no one else. There is no other name given under heaven to all humanity by which we must be saved.

 Or, think of 1 Timothy 2:5 –

There is one God and one Mediator that is between God and human beings – the Man, Christ Jesus.

So, Christ embodies, incarnates and expresses truth. Everything He said was true. Everything He did reflected the truth of the triune God. He never sinned. He submitted to the Holy Spirit. He lived to serve others.

The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

Jesus also said, in Luke 19:10,

The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

In 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul wrote to Timothy:

The Church is the pillar and the foundation of truth.

So, the true Church is true to the true Savior and Lord of the universe.

However, we are given so many warnings about deception, counterfeits and illicit imitations. The primary way that we address all of these things is through the Scriptures and relying on the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and insight as we read, study and meditate on the meaning and truth of Scripture.

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