Mormons Are Christians

by Rusty Lindquist on January 25, 2011 · 7 comments

As I posted to the question “Are Mormons Christian“, the answer, of course, is a resounding and emphatic yes, and I explain why that answer is so clear.

The dictionary, used to determine socially accepted definitions terms, defines a Christian as “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ”, and “one who follows Jesus Christ”, and of course, Mormons do.

Still, there are some who seek to strain at the definition of Christianity, to have it be somehow exclusive, and who somehow claim authority over that name as if it were a kind of brand that they could copyright and control, thereby denying all others their right to associate themselves to the term.

These, who would claim the corner on Christianity, endeavor to cast doubt upon the “Christianity” of others (such as Mormons) simply because their beliefs aren’t identical to their own.  But in doing so, they illustrate their own improper understanding of what being Christian really means.

Still, these people work diligently to perpetuate certain common arguments intended to confuse and mislead those who sincerely want to know.  For this purpose, I have decided to entertain open discussion of these arguments here.  I do this for those who have been confused by some of these things, that they might hear the full truth, and then consult with the Lord for themselves, rather than accepting in full the personal opinions of others.

Below, you’ll find a set of posts based on the most common of these arguments.  Click on each post to read the argument, the answer, and for discussion specific to that topic.  If there are additional arguments not listed here, please let me know in the comments here, and if necessary, I’ll create a post dedicated to it for further discussion.

(note:  I’m writing these sections now, one by one, and will post them as they’re done.  If you have comments pertaining to one of these, please save it for the dedicated post, so that the conversations can be more focused.  If not listed, then feel free to post here, and I’ll add to this list appropriately.)

Rusty

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Greg December 3, 2008 at 10:58 PM

Hi Rusty – Thanks for your thoughts on this issue. I see this question online a lot. I look forward to seeing your related posts on this subject. I also recently posted on this subject – see Are Mormons Christians? at Believe All Things.

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2 Rusty Lindquist December 3, 2008 at 11:28 PM

It’s my pleasure, I’ve been meaning to post it for a while now, and figured that I’d wait until Dec, since according to Google trends, in December there’s always a spike in people searching for the terms, “Christianity”, “Christian”, and “Christ”. It’s a natural time when peoples thoughts turn to our Savior, and when people do a bit more online research into His teachings. They have renewed interest in following Him.

I wanted to be sure that when they did, they were able to have another witness, another voice out there testifying of His reality, and the restoration of His church.

But what’s more, it’s an enduring question that will be relevant for a long time to come. I want to make sure that there’s adequate coverage in as many places as possible that YES, Mormons, are indeed, Christian, and clarify any statements/beliefs that would say otherwise.

Thanks for your link. I’m heading over to read it now…

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3 ponderingpastor December 4, 2008 at 6:30 AM

Rusty,

Long time, no posts from me.

As you consider this question and wrestle with how to describe Mormans as Christians in as clear way as possible, I’d ask that you also fairly consider how Mormon belief in Christ is different than Islam’s understanding of Jesus Christ, or for that matter Baha’i. I think it will be an interesting and fruitful line of research.

The questions/answers you raise in this series of posting has been at the heart of Mormonism since its beginning. If asked, what has been the one nagging question about Mormonism that never seems to be answered to the satisfaction of those who are not Mormon, it is this question.

One little bit about Lutheranism connected to a comment you make in your next post. Lutherans are indeed named after a man (Martin Luther) but it wasn’t our choice. “Lutheran” was a pejorative term used against those who were attempting to correct the abuses of the church in the 16th Century (as was the term “protestant” … notice “protest” in the name). Sometimes names your opponents give you stick. That doesn’t make Lutherans any less Christian than members of “The Church of Christ”.

Pondering Pastor

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4 David December 4, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ was and is the only begotten Son of God. He created the earth and the heavens. We believe He is the only means of salvation, period. Because of His atoning sacrifice, each person may be forgiven of sin, and all mankind will be resurrected.

Many who claim that we are not Christians do so because they say we believe our works will save us, not Christ. This is simply not true. We believe we must have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and keep His commandments. We believe we must obey Him to be saved. But this does not mean that our obedience is what saves us. It is simply what He has asked us to do. His sacrifice is absolutely the power that rescues us from our fallen state.

We offer every prayer in His name. We partake of bread and water every week to remember Him and His sacrifice. In doing so, we also promise to follow Him and keep His commandments. Everything in the church is based on Him and is intended to strengthen our resolve to follow Hiim.

The church bares His name. Our mission is to bring all people to Him.

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5 Brad December 4, 2008 at 12:33 PM

David, there are some very significant differences between what the LDS church believes about “Jesus”, and what other “Christian” (let’s say Evangelical) churches believe about Jesus.

It’s not just a difference in grace vs. works, though that is one of them.

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6 Rusty Lindquist December 7, 2008 at 5:07 PM

P.P.

I’m so glad to see you’re back. I hope you’ve been well (Merry Christmas, by the way). I quite sure I don’t entirely appreciate the significance of your suggested research. I’m also quite sure that I don’t think as deeply as do you (I’m not being modest, believe me, that’s not in my nature ;-). I do tend to simplify, and sometimes I miss things in the process.

Moreover, I know without a doubt, that I’m not nearly as educated (after all, I didn’t even finish college), and also don’t benefit from your years of research and training. I WOULD, however, love for you to elaborate on the path you mention. Again, I’m not being disingenuous, I’m sure there’s a really interesting discussion there, but I don’t think I’m qualified to address it without further clarification.
Thanks, and thanks for returning.

Brad,

True, there are many differences. Although, there are more similarities than there are differences. And one of those similarities are crucial… we all believe in Jesus Christ. And while we can strain at the differences of the implications of that belief, particular to our various religious preferences, there is, at the core, that most important similarity. And while salvation may lie in the details, we’re not talking about “which church is true”, we’re talking about “are Mormons Christian?”. Our differences do define us, but as I’ll discuss in the post “Doctrinal Differences”, they have no bearing on our Christianity, which is characterized by the one person in whom we believe, in whom we put our trust, and in whom we look to for salvation. Our Lord and Savior.

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7 Hailey April 21, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Why would Mormons want to associate themselves with the mainstream Christian name when according to several Mormon writings found in the Pearl of Great Price & BoM we are told that the Mormon church is not like the rest because all of the others are wrong in reference to the Christian church in all of its denominations?

If I were a Mormon, I would not want to classify myself as a Christian because the Mormon church claims that none of them are the true church. I would want to be separate from that unless I wanted to use it as a conversion ‘strategy’ which then seems distant from the heart of God. The church’s claim that they are Christians makes it seem like they are just another denomination of mainstream Christianity while they preach that those other denominations are all corrupt. I don’t see how the church can hold onto both of these claims.

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