Related Posts: Four Important Early Christian Creeds; Mormonism and Creeds of Christendom; The Trinity; The Nature of Christ; Godhead: God or Gods?
Whether or not one thinks of Mormonism as Christian can depend largely on where one stands in the debate. Mormons would like to be thought of as Christian by others, and I suspect that many non-Mormon Christians do, but many well educated Protestants and Catholics do not. So on what basis is Mormonism Christian or not Christian? In a debate with Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game, Dr. Albert Mohler argues, “Are Mormons ‘Christians’ as defined by traditional Christian orthodoxy? The answer to that question is easy and straightforward, and it is ‘no.’” (debate here) But why does he view Mormonism as affirmably non-Christian? He writes,
The orthodox consensus of the Christian church is defined in terms of its historic creeds and doctrinal affirmations. Two great doctrines stand as the central substance of that consensus. Throughout the centuries, the doctrines concerning the Trinity and the nature of Christ have constituted that foundation, and the church has used these definitional doctrines as the standard for identifying true Christianity…Normative Christianity is defined by the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the other formulas of the doctrinal consensus. These doctrines are understood by Christians to be rooted directly within the Bible and rightly affirmed by all true believers in all places and throughout all time…The major divisions within Christian history (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism) disagree over important issues of doctrine, but all affirm the early church’s consensus concerning the nature of Christ and the Trinitarian faith. These are precisely what Mormonism rejects. (“Mormonism is Not Christianity“)
Related Posts: Four Important Early Christian Creeds; Mormonism and Creeds of Christendom; Is Mormonism Christian?; Whom do we Worship?; The Nature of Christ; The First Vision; Godhead: God or Gods?
In this post the word Trinity to refers to the conventional Christian sense, not the LDS sense.
The first Article of Faith in the (LDS) church is, “We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” In Joseph Smith’s first revelatory experience he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ: “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air” (JS-History 1:17). Thus it was established early on in the church that the Father and Son were not of one essence or of the same substance. The clearest expression of this belief is this: “the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit” (D&C 130:22). Our belief in the physicality of God’s person cannot admit a rational three-Persons-concurring-in-one-Being view of God.
Does the Book of Mormon teach a Trinitarian view of the Godhead?
One passage often quoted by anti-Mormon writers is 2 Nephi 31:21. There Nephi says,
[Christ is the only] name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end.
Related Posts: Mormonism and the Creeds of Christendom.
President Hinckley said “Our faith, our knowledge is not based on ancient tradition, the creeds which came of a finite understanding and out of the almost infinite discussions of men trying to arrive at a definition of the risen Christ. Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation who saw before him the great God of the universe and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Look to Christ,” Liahona, July 2002). So I thought it might be of interest to include four important creeds.
The text for each of these creeds is taken from the Creeds of Christendom, by Philip Schaff. The words in brackets are from Schaff; they present clarification and/or latter additions to the text. Continue reading
Related articles: The Trinity; Is Mormonism Christian?; Four Important Early Christian Creeds; The Nature of Christ
All Christendom agrees that the Bible is a fundamental source for church doctrine and practice. In many of the Protestant churches it is the sole authority; as such all creeds are subordinate to the Word of God. The Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches hold that both tradition and scripture is the repository of authority and practice for the Christian faith; in these matters tradition and scripture are coordinate. However, despite these differences historical Christianity has two sources of common agreement: the Bible and the early Christian creeds. (See Four Important Early Christian Creeds.) Continue reading