The Best Of Men

As the 17th century English adage goes, “The best of men are men at best,” so it should come as no surprise when a remarkable and admirable person does something stupid. That’s the way I look at it anyway.

So when I learned today that Franklin Graham and his much revered father were instrumental in having Mormonism removed from the list of religious cults on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s website, I shook my head. Too bad.

For half a century Billy Graham has stood for one thing–the clear gospel message that all have sinned and come short of God’s glory, and that Jesus died to redeem us from that sin. That’s it. Sermon after sermon, crusade after crusade. He preached the good news night in and night out.

And now, having met with Governor Mitt Romney some weeks before the election, Franklin Graham, according to news reports, promised to do whatever he could to help Mr. Romney’s campaign. And off the cult list came Mormonism.

Ouch.

The fact is, Mormonism belongs on the cult list. One of the worst things coming out of this election–yes, one of the worst!–is this murkiness surrounding Mormonism. Christians need to be clear. Mormons use terms like “son of God” and “atonement” but they mean something very different from what the Bible means by those same terms.

For one thing–and this is something Mormons can’t disguise–this false religion uses extra-Biblical sources to arrive at their beliefs. The Book of Mormon is only one of those. They believe that the leaders of their church also receive utterance which has the same, or more, authority as the Bible–more, because it is more recent. God, they believe, continues to update His revelation.

Mormonism is centered on Jesus Christ and His role as Creator and Redeemer. He is not only the center of Mormon worship, He leads the Church personally through revelation to His prophet (the President of the Church) and by giving the authority to church priesthood-holders to act in His name . . . Mormons wish they had even more scriptures and know that more will be given as they are more worthy to receive them. (excerpt from Mormon Beliefsemphasis mine)

Equally troubling is what Mormons believe about Mankind. We are first spirit born–children of God in a very literal way, offspring of his union with his spirit wives, so when we are born physically we are leaving the father and will one day return to him.

According to Mormon theology, God the Father, Elohim, dwells on a planet with His many spirit wives producing numerous spirit children who await to inhabit physical bodies so that they too may one day ascend to godhood as their parents did. (from “The Mormon Doctrine of Jesus: A Christian Perspective” by Patrick Zukeran, Probe Ministries)

From the Mormon Beliefs website:

For Latter-day Saints, mortal existence is seen in the context of a great sweep of history, from a pre-earth life where the spirits of all mankind lived with Heavenly Father to a future life in His presence where continued growth, learning and improving will take place.

And another explanation from Mormon Beliefs:

Mormon doctrine holds that all people have existed eternally as individual “intelligences,” and then that God the Father created us spiritually, before we came to earth. (emphasis mine)

This idea of Mankind is a contradiction to what the Bible tells us about Creation. It also has major ramifications for what Mormons believe about Jesus. They believe he is simply the first of God’s spirit children. In other words, he is a created being himself.

According to the Mormon view, Jesus is not unique from the rest of mankind. He is simply the firstborn spirit child. The Doctrine and Covenants states, “The difference between Jesus and other offspring of Elohim is one of degree not of kind.”{4} That is why Mormons refer to Jesus as elder brother. (Zukeran)

In addition, Jesus is Jehovah, the one who interacted with man in the events recorded in the Old Testament. Yet he is a distinct person from the Father, not “the fullness of God in bodily form” as Scripture states.

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ has always been a separate person from God the Father. In some ways Christ Himself is our father—He is the creator of the heavens and the earth; He is a father to all those who are born-again; He is one with God the Father in all the attributes of perfection, power, and authority.(Mormon Beliefs – emphasis mine)

In other words, He is not God in the way Christians understand the tri-unity of God the Father, Son, and Spirit.

There’s more, much more. This post barely scratches the surface. But I think it’s enough to illustrate that Mormons believe very differently from Christians on major tenants of the faith.

For a succinct overview of what Mormons believe by an ex-Mormon, visit Recovery from Mormonism.

Published in: on November 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 Comments

  1. I was as disappointed as you when I heard that the Grahams’ position caved. then catered to politics and Mormonism. (We attended the same church as Franklin when we lived in NC) Surprisingly the practices and claims of the cult hardly surfaced during the campaign. To believe what they do based on one man’s bizarre testimony without any supernatural or historical evidence requires more faith than I have.
    Thankfully Jesus proved himself and that His Word can be believed.

    • All these years Billy Graham refused to take political stands. It made me sad. For Franklin, too, because I think it taints his reputation. From all I’ve heard, he is staunchly Bible-believing, so this move was especially surprising.

      Yes, I thought some of Mormonism’s more outlandish beliefs would likely surface during the campaign. Instead I thought the media treated them gently, perhaps because they’d endured persecution. Well, yes, their practices of polygamy and later overt racism brought persecution.

      I’ve never understood why someone would believe a religion based on a book that can be so easily discredited. It stands in such stark contrast to the Bible. Take historicity, for example. There’s not one bit of evidence of the native American Indian group that Jesus supposedly came and evangelized after his resurrection. Whereas the Bible gives names, dates, numbers and genealogies that clearly anchor it in history.

      Becky

  2. Why is Billy Graham and his son Franklin are trying to please the Mormon? Any other gospel preached that is not is true is a false gospel and that person is accursed. The Bible saids it and to me that is what I follow.

    • James, your point is well made. They shouldn’t be so concerned about winning an election as to hide the truth about the gospel.

      If I give them the benefit of the doubt, I guess I could say talking with Mr. Romney convinced them that he believes what they believe. But this is not about one man. It’s about what a religious organization believes, and a little research clearly shows Mormonism may use the same words Christians use, but they don’t mean the same thing at all.

      Becky

  3. [...] Mormonism is one example of this need. Are they a cult or are they Christian? Another is the murky theology of those who are “progressives” or who identify as “emergent.” [...]


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