Summit Lecture Series: Is Mormonism Christian or a Cult? with Douglas Groothuis part 7

Summit Lecture Series: Is Mormonism Christian or a Cult? with Douglas Groothuis part 7 June 7, 2016

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Ron Rhodes perfectly summarized some of the things that devout Mormons have to do in order to be fully exalted in his book The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions:

“Once they enter mortality, they [Mormons] are faced with an unbelievable list of requirements to progress towards godhood. The list includes repentance, baptism (which renders them “born again”), membership in the Latter Day Saints church, innumerable good works, keeping the Mormon “Word of Wisdom” (which prohibits the use of coffee, tea, alcohol, or tobacco), eternal marriage (so that as gods in the future, they can procreate and give birth to spirit children), and a variety of temple rituals. These temple rituals include the endowment ritual (in which one is given a new name, learns secret handshakes, and is given protective sacred undergarments) and baptism for the dead (whereby one can be baptized on the behalf of a dead relative who believes the gospel in the spirit world following death. They must also progressively become more “perfect” and “worthy” by living a perpetually clean life – requirement for being granted entrance into the temple. Each of these plays a critical role and is necessary in the Mormon system of salvation.”

Let me contrast that with the good news of the Gospel. In Ephesians 2:8-9, we read Paul’s summary of the gift of the Gospel and how it is received.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.

Isn’t that clear? Jesus drew people to Himself for salvation. He said, “Believe in Me”. We cannot possibly, as sinful and corrupt beings, justify, authenticate, or prove ourselves before God by good works. Nor is it a combination of grace and good works. The Biblical understanding is: we are saved by grace, we receive it by faith, then we become disciples of Christ and we do good works. We further the kingdom, we love God because we are citizens of God’s kingdom – because we know God as Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit lives within us and leads and directs us.

So it’s natural (supernatural, really) that we would bare fruit. And the fruit that lasts (the good works) is a confirmation that we are born again, redeemed, and reconciled. It does not add to our status as being reconciled or redeemed.

You are justified through the merits of Jesus Christ alone. You receive that by faith, knowing that you are inadequate, sinful, and guilty. But, Christ took all of that upon Himself on the cross.

THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS!

And Mormonism denies it.

Don’t be fooled. What is one of the reasons why Mormons try to be so squeaky clean, good, wholesome and wonderful? They want to progress to godhood. They have to do these things in order to eventually become gods themselves.

Now, does this mean that all Mormons are hypocrites and nasty and horrible people?

NO!

But, you have to realize that their motivation is “works based”. It is not a “grace based” life in Christ. This is so fundamental for discernment.

Every cult denies the Gospel. They say they believe it, or they say that they are restoring it; but in fact they are defacing it. They erase and replace it with a counterfeit.

Cults also always redefine the person and work of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

While Scripture says that Jesus was God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

…No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. (John 1:1-3, 14, 18)

We believe that Christ is truly God. And, if you look at Colossians 1:17-18, Paul says that:

He [Jesus Christ] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

The Mormons teach that Jesus was once merely a human who attained godhood through a long process. So, there was a time when Christ did not exist.

This is thoroughly unbiblical. Jesus, as the second person of the Trinity, has ALWAYS existed. Think of Jesus’ own words in John 8:58,

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Jesus Is Gods Selfie
Image: Tony Evans

Jesus Christ is eternally God the Son. Then, He took on human nature for us, for our salvation, and to further the kingdom of God. However, Mormonism says that we should pray to the Heavenly Father, but they do not and are not suppose to pray to Jesus.

That’s quite telling.

The Bible has examples of people praying to the Father and to the Son, and really, theologically, there is no reason to not pray to the Holy Spirit because He is equally God, along with the Father and the Son. But, Mormons do not pray to Jesus. He is not their total Lord and Savior.

Moreover, Mormon theology is very family-oriented, even with respect to God. Because humans become gods and then procreate other humans who become gods. According to Mormons, this goes back to the infinite past. Therefore, they are not monotheists. They do not believe in one God. They do not believe in the Holy Trinity – one God in three Persons.

We know from Scripture that the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and supernaturally conceived the human nature of Jesus. But, Mormons believe that the heavenly Father literally had sex with Mary in order to procreate another god.

I told you they are family-oriented!

This is not the God of the Bible. This is not Jesus Christ.

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