Summit Lecture Series: Is Mormonism Christian or a Cult? with Douglas Groothuis part 5

Summit Lecture Series: Is Mormonism Christian or a Cult? with Douglas Groothuis part 5 May 24, 2016

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The source of authority within the Church of Latter-day Saints is supposedly the Bible, but it is in fact the Bible, AND The Book of Mormon, AND The Pearl of Great Price, AND Doctrine and Covenants. Moreover, the president of the church at any given time is also considered a prophet who can receive revelation. To them, revelation is ongoing and is not even limited to their four sources of authority. There can be new revelation spoken by the president of the Mormon Church.

For example, in early Mormon teachings, black people were considered inferior to white people. Mormons believe in preexistence as a spirit before one takes on a body – which is not at all Biblical teaching – and that during this preexistence, people who failed in someway were punished by being born with dark skin. Then, in 1978, after the civil rights movement, the Mormon president had a revelation that black men could become priests and full members of the Mormon Church. This is what is referred to in Mormonism, as well as in Islam, a revelation of convenience, revealing that it is indeed man-made and not God-inspired.

So, their source of authority is not the Bible and the Bible alone, it is the Bible in light of Joseph Smith. It is not the great doctrine that was revived at the reformation, Sola scriptura: scripture alone is the final authority on faith and practice and everything that it touches. Mormons claim that they believe in the Bible but just have another testament or that they simply have a deeper understanding of Jesus, but this is not true.

One most go back to the source of authority on doctrine.

Now, very religion has some understanding or account of who we are as human beings. The main problem lies in how we find liberation or salvation.

Cults of all sorts always demote God and promote human beings. As Walter Martin stated,

“Biblically God is utterly holy, a personal, moral being, distinct from the world, the source of goodness, and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Only God can bridge that gap through Jesus Christ. We utterly ruined, and, as Isaiah 64:6 said,

“Our righteousness is like filthy rags to God.”

One can never give God enough good works to exonerate oneself. God must come down to us, in the incarnation. It is impossible for us to climb the ladder to God. God is perfectly holy, utterly good, and does not grade on a curve. He has an absolute standard, and because of that he sent his perfect son into the world to live a flawless and virtuous life, to teach the truth, to cast out demons, to heal people, to fulfill prophesy, and to die on a cross.

Christ, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, did everything required for our salvation. However, we must receive it and accept it. We must be able to confess Christ as lord and, in doing so, admit we add nothing to add to our salvation. We contribute no good work and there is no experience or ritual that can bridge the gap between God and us. God must do this Himself through the incarnation and we must receive that with the open, empty hands of faith as a gift.

Mormons do not believe that.

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