Over the years, I have heard many reasons given by sincere Christians in an attempt to explain why Mormons are not deserving of that label. Some say that Mormons are not Christians because they do not have an accurate understanding of who God is. Others say that Mormons are not Christians because they do not have an accurate understanding of who Jesus is. Still others claim that a Mormon cannot be a Christian because he does not have an accurate understanding of the Word of God. In essence, these and almost every other reason that I have heard can be stated more simply as: Mormons are not Christians because they do not follow sound doctrine. This seems to be why most Christians reject Mormonism as a false gospel.
But let's take a moment to consider the issue in light of Scripture. Does the Bible teach that we obtain salvation by following sound doctrine? Does it teach that one must have an accurate understanding of God, Jesus and the Bible in order to become a Christian? Is it even possible for us as mere mortals to have an accurate understanding of the things of God? The answer to each of these questions is, no. The Bible teaches that there is only one way to become a Christian, and it is not through adherence to a particular set of doctrines. According to the Bible, one becomes a Christian by accepting the truth of the Gospel which is spelled out for us in I Corinthians 15:3-4.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
If it is really true that Mormons are not Christians, then the reason for it must be found in their rejection of the Gospel. Thus, the question that we need to ask is not what do the Mormons believe about God or Jesus or the Bible, but rather what do the Mormons believe about the Gospel. These other doctrines are important, but it is acceptance of the Gospel which is the crucial dividing line between Christians and non-Christians.
When we consider Mormonism in light of the Gospel, it becomes abundantly apparent that Mormons are not Christians for the simple reason that they reject a single, crucial element of the Gospel as it was explained in I Corinthians 15.
You see, Mormons do not believe that Christ died for our sins. They agree with Christians that Christ died for something, but they identify that something as the provision of a general revelation and not as the atonement for sin. Christ's atonement for sin is the centerpoint of Christianity, but according to the doctrines of Mormonism, there is no real atonement for sin. Bruce McConkie, one of the 12 apostles of the Mormon church, explained this in his book Mormon Doctrine where he wrote:
1. Unconditional or general salvation, that which comes by grace alone without obedience to gospel law, consists in the mere fact of being resurrected. In this sense salvation is synonymous with immortality; it is the inseparable connection of body and spirit so that the resurrected personage lives forever.
This kind of salvation eventually will come to all mankind, excepting only the sons of perdition ...
But this is not the salvation of righteousness, the salvation which the saints seek. Those who gain only this general or unconditional salvation will still be judged according to their works and receive their places in a terrestrial or a telestial kingdom. They will, therefore, be damned; their eternal progression will be cut short; they will not fill the full measure of their creation, but in eternity will be ministering servants to more worthy persons. [emphasis added]
This is the kind of "salvation" which Mormons believe was provided by Jesus through His death on the cross. They teach that nearly all men receive this kind of salvation, but they also teach that this salvation is insufficient to atone for one's sins. McConkie continued in order to explain how Mormons believe that one can receive atonement for his sins:
2. Conditional or individual salvation, that which comes by grace coupled with gospel obedience, consists in receiving an inheritance in the celestial kingdom of God. This kind of salvation follows faith, repentance, baptism, receipt of the Holy Ghost, and continued righteousness to the end of one’s mortal probation. (D. & C. 20:29; 2 Ne. 9:23-24.)...
3. Salvation in its true and full meaning is synonymous with exaltation or eternal life and consists in gaining an inheritance in the highest of the three heavens within the celestial kingdom. With few exceptions this is the salvation of which the scriptures speak. It is the salvation which the saints seek. It is of this which the Lord says, “There is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.” (D. & C. 6:13.) This full salvation is obtained in and through the continuation of the family unit in eternity, and those who obtain it are gods. (D. & C. 131:1-4; 132.)
Full salvation is attained by virtue of knowledge, truth, righteousness, and all true principles. Many conditions must exist in order to make such salvation available to men. Without the atonement, the gospel, the priesthood, and the sealing power, there would be no salvation. Without continuous revelation, the ministering of angels, the working of miracles, the prevalence of gifts of the spirit, there would be no salvation. If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 1-350.) [emphasis added]
Notice the admission that this "full salvation" is not obtained through the death of Christ in atonement for our sins but rather through one's own "continued righteousness to the end of one’s mortal probation." Thus, Mormons believe that salvation from sin does not exist. One must avoid sin altogether and live a life of complete righteousness in order to obtain the salvation unto eternal life which is spoken of in Scripture. Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth president of the Mormon church also explained this teaching in his book Doctrines of Salvation in which he wrote:
None shall receive eternal life save it be those who keep the commandments of the Lord and are entitled thus to enter into his presence
And later in the same book, he wrote:
Salvation comes by grace, faith, and works. Unless a man will adhere to the doctrine and walk in faith, accepting the truth and observing the commandments as they have been given, it will be impossible for him to receive eternal life, no matter how much he may confess with his lips that Jesus is the Christ, or believe that his Father sent him into the world for the redemption of man … So it is necessary, not merely that we believe, but that we repent, and in faith perform good works until the end; and then shall we receive the reward of the faithful and a place in the celestial kingdom of God. [emphasis added]
And the twelfth president of the Mormon church, Spencer W. Kimball directly condemned the Gospel of Christianity when he wrote the following in his book The Miracle of Forgiveness:
One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.
No clearer statement of the non-Christian character of Mormonism is necessary. The belief that salvation comes solely by grace through the sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ is the defining characteristic of Christianity. It is expressly stated to be so in Ephesians 2:8-9:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The Mormon denial of salvation by grace through faith in the Gospel is a direct denial of any association between Mormonism and Christianity.
The Quotations in this article are from the article "The Mormon View of Salvation" by Dave Johnson in the July/Aug 1998 edition of the Midwest Outreach Journal.
1/13/2014 04:10:03 am
and so it goes until the end of time .... As is said in the book of Revelations let those whom have ears to Hear , hear what the spirit says to the church.
1/13/2014 10:14:52 am
I found your blog post to be an interesting read, being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints myself. However, there are some flaws in your argument.
1/13/2014 09:56:25 pm
Thank you for commenting, Katie. I wrote a reply, but it was too long for the comments section, so I posted it as a separate blog post instead. You can read it at: http://www.increasinglearning.com/1/post/2014/01/the-meaning-of-the-atonement.html
3/27/2018 07:21:23 pm
Hi, thanks for the post. I left the LDS church many years ago for a number of different reasons and became a born again believer. This whole entire debate or argument on who is right and who is wrong, is completely insane. I would challenge you to read the New Testament 1 time through and try to read it without a defensive 1 sided view or opinion. Read it with a childs heart. Born and raised in Provo Ut, raised LDS, I understand and lived the Mormon life 100%. I do however know with complete certainty that the Bible is the living Word of God and is 100% life changing. God is very clear on His judgement of the world, those who reject the Gospel. People can have all the knowledge in the universe about Christ, but if they reject the Gospel and never enter into a relationship with Him through repentance of sins and accepting the free gift of salvation by faith in who He is and what He did for us, then nothing has changed. I love my Mormon brother's and sister's, friends, family... I really do! Do not over complicate Jesus Christ and think for one second...is Jesus enough? Because my God tells me clearly He is! Read the New Testament like you were a child reading a book... It wont bite!
1/17/2014 12:43:44 pm
Ther real reason Mormons are not Christians is because they hold polytheism as central to thier belief system. Thier saying "As we are god once was, as god is we shal be" has to do with getting thier own planet after they die and populating it via celestial sex. They see Satan and Jesus as brothers and hold that God the Father came down and had sex with Mary. They like to "use" the name Christian to sugar coat thier message to unsuspecting potential converts. They have no reason that supports thier theology or I should say polyology. They keep changing thier scripture over time to patch up obvious rediculous flaws. At best they arre Poly theistic frauds parading as Christians with devious intent.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
Contact Us if you would like to schedule Bill to speak to your church, group, or club.
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)