As you may well know by now, the GOP presidential race is heating up – in more ways than one! Because Texas governor Rick Perry is an out-spoken Christian and Mitt Romney is a devoted Mormon, the two clashed a bit this past week – religion-wise too – due to a pastor’s comments about Mormonism being a cult and anti-Christian (and he is a Perry supporter). This was quickly in the news and made for some interesting comments in the blogosphere. One helpful post was this one by RCA pastor Kevin DeYoung, who issued a fine summary of Mormon teaching – “Mormon 101” he calls it. If you have forgotten what this cult teaches, this would be a good place to start. And DeYoung has links to other places for more on this issue as well.
This is how he starts; pick up the rest at the link above.
Mormonism is back in the news. And with two Mormon presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney (the front runner for the Republican nomination), there’s a good chance we will be hearing much more about Mormonism for the next twelve months. Denny Burk has a very helpful piece on whether Mormonism is a cult, and Albert Mohler has written a thoughtful article on “Mormonism, Democracy, and the Urgent Need for Evangelical Thinking.”I won’t repeat their arguments, except to reiterate Mohler’s reminder that voting for a president should include examining the candidate’s religious beliefs, but should include other considerations as well.
Presidential elections are important. But believing the truth is even more important. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief overview of Mormon history and theology. I won’t try to debunk Mormonism or prove Christianity. But I hope this quick survey will show that the two are not the same.
…Let me highlight seven areas of Mormon doctrine. Again, I won’t try to refute the Mormon position, but I hope you will see the explicit deviation from the historic Christian faith.
1. View of history. In Mormon thinking, the rise of Mormonism was not merely a reformation or renewal of the church. It was a complete restoration. Following the death of Christ’s apostles, the church fell into complete apostasy. The church lost divine authority and true doctrine. There is no unbroken continuity from the early church to the present. Christianity, for almost all of its history, was false and without the truth—until Joseph Smith and his revelation. As Mohler points out, Mormonism not only rejects historic orthodox Christianity, their whole religion is based on the need for such repudiation.
2. View of revelation. Mormons believe the Bible (the KJV version), but do not consider it inerrant. Neither do they consider the Bible complete. What makes Mormonism unique is their belief in continuing revelation sustained through prophets, seers, and revelators. So while Mormons affirm the Bible, they also affirm the inspiration of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Through an elaborate hierarchy of President, First Presidency, Twelve Apostles, First Quorum of the Seventy, and Second Quorum of the Seventy, Mormons can receive authoritative interpretations and new authoritative revelations.