Discussing
What beliefs define a true Christian?

Andy Rau

James McGrath
September 16, 2008

I asked my students in my "Heresy" class a similar question today, after we looked at some Gnostic texts that definitely had some features they found odd, but which also included praises offered to God/Jesus for the wonderful salvation they had experienced, with all the exhuberance of a CCM praise song (and even some of the language one might expect to find in one). How might one approaching Gnostic texts from the perspective of what became orthodoxy assess whether these Gnostics had a genuine experience of salvation, and thus whether their different views even on some potentially important theological points are nonetheless perhaps ultimately "non-essentials"?<br>

Leanne
September 16, 2008

"By the simple dictionary definition of a Christian as one who believes in or worships Jesus Christ, the case is compelling. "<br><br>I see the attempt at logic in this statement but what sticks out to me is the question, "Which dictionary are we using and which Jesus are we talking about?" The Jesus of the Bible is not the Jesus of Mormonism.<br><br>It wasn't until dialoguing over an entire summer with a group of Mormon missionaries that we were able to name the disconnect we had always experienced when talking about Christ and Christianity. <br><br>Once we got on the same page as to the DEFINITION of Jesus (me, using the Bible, they using the Book of Mormon) were we able to see that while we both believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we had COMPLETELY different definitions of WHO and WHAT Jesus was to each of us.<br><br>It was VERY eye opening and has served to bypass the all too often rabbit trails Christians and Mormons find themselves caught in. That being said, the logic of trying to argue "apples and oranges" as one in the same does not compute.<br><br>

Pcg
September 17, 2008

"Are Mormons Christian? By self-definition and self-identity, unquestionably so." — Mormon apologist<br><br>"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." — Jesus<br><br>In other words, saying it doesn't necessarily make it so. However, that's not really what you asked. :-)<br><br>Being a Christian means following Christ, being conformed daily to His image through the power of the Holy Spirit. So then, the question becomes, "Is the group that claims to be Christian really following Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible?" I'm convinced that the LDS does not, that they follow a false god in His place.<br><br>So then, believing the right thing is tricky. It's less about the checklist — "Well, you believe 8 of the 15 bullet points, so you're in!" — and more about the object of one's faith. Saying "I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior" but having the wrong Jesus isn't going to cut it. Saying "God has forgiven my sins" but having the wrong God isn't going to cut it.<br><br>We ultimately don't need creeds or checklists, though. We simply need the Bible, nothing more, nothing less. Does the Bible affirm or condemn the group's view of Christ? (This becomes simpler than answer the more open-ended question, "Is the group's view of Christ a Christian view?") Believing that Jesus is A son of God (as opposed to THE Son of God), the LDS clearly fails this test. Does the group believe that the Bible is the sole and ultimate authority, the unique word of God? Believing that the other testimonies given to Joseph Smith were God-inspired, the LDS clearly fails this test. And so on.<br><br>So while I'm not smart enough to be able to "clarify what beliefs define Christianity", I'm a little better at recognizing those beliefs that are incompatible with Christianity. Maybe I could work backwards and come up with my list of non-negotiables... :-)

Smitty
September 17, 2008

&gt;What’s your immediate reaction to that?<br><br>Membership in a Baptist church.

Marc
September 17, 2008

It all depends on your definition of Christian of course. The Bible offers no explicit definition because the term 'Christian' was not used at the time so each denomination may take a certain verse and say they meet that criterion. However the NT lays a very strong focus on being "in Christ" though and this is, I think, not a tangible quality. Ultimately we stand alone before God and the question is going to be: does he count my worth or Christ's worth in my judgement?<br><br>A word to belief: a belief is not what you suppose, assume or assent to - it's your deep-seated impression of reality which you can hardly choose. If Christ is real for you then you believe in Him.

Toledomudhen
September 17, 2008

I think the Mormon has it right on this one. Most people look at this question in the wrong context. Mormons are Christian. They believe in the saving blood of Christ. They just believe in a different way of attaining it. The question is, does God call us to be Christians, or he more concerned with our salvation? <br><br>Because people can be afraid to judge on the basis of salvation, the theology of a group is called into question instead. So, while Mormons may be Christian, they may not be saved... and that is what the debate is truly about.<br><br>One last thing to consider; How does the secular or non-christian world look at this debate? Probably somewhat like we may have seen the conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda. They are all Rwandan, but fighting over subtitles. Granted, that conflict resulted in much more violence among the people, but the argument is the same.

John
September 17, 2008

Biggest problem is with the OT and NT there are historical artifacts and (in-church/out-church) support for what is written in God's Word. The same cannot be said for the Revelation to Joseph Smith. The Morons have tried and would so love to find People and Locations identified in their holy writ. In short OT and NT represent the infallibility of God's word to couple that with apocrypha lays poor footing for apologetics. As much as you're saying "believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and profess it with your mouth and you are saved" it is critical to identify what is edifying to the body - Mar 13:6 "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am [Christ]; and shall deceive many. " and Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Jhurshman
September 17, 2008

This is a difficult question indeed. I don't think that "being a Christian" is a matter of the correct beliefs. Otherwise, as James 2.19 says, Satan and company would be "Christians", since they presumably believe all the relevant doctrines.<br><br>Being a Christian is a matter of trusting allegiance. This is why "Jesus is Lord" was the first "creed" of the Church. Trusting implies belief, but it's "belief in", not "belief about".<br><br>And this is what makes the question so hard to answer. Ultimately, of course, like Abraham, we must just say "Will not the judge of all the earth do right?"<br><br>However, I think the more distorted the view of who Jesus is, the less possible it becomes to exhibit this trusting allegiance, because the object of that allegiance is less like the actual Jesus.<br><br>To the specific point: can Mormons be said to subscribe to the gospel of the Lordship of Jesus when the meaning they attribute to those words is so different from what the NT writers meant?<br><br>How's that for a non-answer?<br><br>

Dons
September 17, 2008

As of yet, no one has posted mention of the "fundamentals" as established by some scholars around the turn of the 20th century. Even most people who consider themselves "fundamenalist" today cannot recite these basic tenets:<br><br>--The authority (infallibility, inerrancy, whatever) of Scripture as the sole basis for our understanding of God and salvation,<br>--The virgin birth and full deity of Jesus Christ, <br>--Christ's substitutionary atonement on the cross (salvation by grace alone, not of works),<br>--His physical resurrection after the crucifixion,<br>--His eventual physical second coming (regardless of when in relation to other end times events).<br><br>Without these basics, true Christianity is impossible. With these basics recognized, there can be respect and fellowship among those with different views on other things.<br><br>How do the Mormons (or any other group claiming to be "Christian") measure up to the fundamentals?

Tobefirst
September 17, 2008

"The *Morons* have tried and would so love..."<br><br>Freudian slip?

SiarlysJenkins
September 17, 2008

There are Christian denominations separated by as many differences between themselves as are Mormons with various Christian denominations. Without "Don's Basics" Don could not consider himself a Christian. There is no universally accepted authority that these are essential to ANYONE calling their own self a Christian, because, as others have pointed out, the original followers of Jesus did not call themselves Christian, and for some generations afterward, there were no church councils and creeds trying to DEFINE Christianity. A friend of Thomas Jefferson wrote that anyone who accepted that "Jesus is the Messiah" is a Christian. Personally, I believe that anyone who accepts what Jesus himself said were the two commandments on which hangs "all the law and the prophets" is a Christian, whether or not they believe in the physical, historical, truth of virgin birth, incarnation, or even resurrection. But many would disagree. I'm not sure it matters whether I consider Mormons to be Christian or not. I do not personally accept the authenticity or the authority of the Book of Mormon, I respect their right to accept it for themselves. I do not deny them the name "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," which is their self-description. I do find that Mormons post commentary which is edifying to some of my own favorite heresies -- I have on bookmarked which reviews Pelagius with admiration. Some Christians would exclude both me and Mormons from fellowship for that very reason -- but I don't claim membership in the church those Christians belong to.

Llawhsoj
September 17, 2008

As has been rightly pointed out, this is a matter of definition. I think the comments by Mr. Porter (the Mormon Apologist) are accurate in that they understand themselves, and act, as Christian and while we can, and should, call into questions issues of theology, historicity, biblical authority, etc... they should be understood as somewhere within the field of Christianity.<br><br>Such a declaration has no implications on whether or not we will see them (or anyone) in heaven, nor about the issues within their theology. But since Christianity, in its broadest scope, " a body of believers who worship Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who witness that salvation is possible only by his atoning blood and grace," and they meet that category then they are in. We can critique them, discount their salvation, lambaste them as heretics, etc... but at the core, I think they count loosely within the scope.<br><br>I'd also like to add I don't think they should be considered a denomination or able to take part in broader Christian dialogue (nor do they really try to) but are better categorised on the fringe of Christendom. I think a term like 'sect' might be more an accurate description, given their tenuous and adversarial relationship to the broad world of Christians.

Jaybee
September 17, 2008

It is one thing to say that you don't have to cross your theological t's and dot your i's exactly right to be considered a Christian. The problem with Mormonism, however, goes beyond mere nitpicking. What you usually find when you talk to Mormons is that they use the same terminology that any Christian would use, but they mean something radically different. For example, "Jesus is the Son of God"--yes, they will tell you, we believe that, and how! Sounds good, until you understand that they understand the sonship of Jesus in terms of an eternal succession of gods--Jesus had a father, who had a father, who had a father. Or faith in the blood of Jesus--read that article carefully, and note how hard the Mormon apologist struggles to include Gethsemane in the atonement. What I have been told in the past by Mormon missionaries and elders is that Jesus' blood atonment means the fact that his sweat was like drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Read the article, and note that the Mormon theologian says that Jesus' atonement was actually the fact that God withdrew his Spirit from him on the cross. <br>And so it goes on. What I have found is that the more you know about Mormon theology, the weirder it gets. So no, I don't think Mormonism can ever be considered real Christianity.

John
September 17, 2008

I have known some of the most wonderful people who profess to be Mormon, but that is as far as I go. For several reasons I have a hard time wondering why they profess someone who lied and created a book, just because he was not satisfied with what he saw at the time he wrote the book. Yes, I mean the book of Mormon, because there is no truth in the tablets, the two tribes. Nor is there a new reformed language of some kind. There are no great cities, or great battles fought by the two tribes described in the book. There is no DNA proof about the tribes supposedly coming from the Middle East. Something that someone made up to satisfiy his own wants. Then in the bible it does say that there will be no other book. So, what do you do when they come to your door and want you to believe what they do? You love them as Jesus would and then remind them that there really is only one book and there are false prophets out there.

pNielsen
September 17, 2008

Don't remember if I've posted this list on TC yet, but here it is again. The seven key tenants to the faith per George Patterson:<br><br>Repent and believe (Mark 1:15)<br>Be baptized (and continue in the life it initiates; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 2:38)<br>Love God and neighbor in a practical way (Matt 22:37-40)<br>Celebrate the Lord’s supper (Luke 22:17-20)<br>Pray (Matt 6:5-15)<br>Give (Mat 6:19-21; Luke 6:38)<br>Disciple others (Matt 28:18-20)

Christiane Li
September 17, 2008

I have known &amp; been friends with many quite intelligent Mormons, and they are definitely not morons. <br><br>JHurshman, &amp; DonS,<br>Right on.

Ken
September 17, 2008

I have Mormon friends, and they are more Christian than many of my Protestant friends if you think of Christian as Christ-like. I hope very much that they are saved. I always think about how the religious leaders in Christ's time on earth were some of the ones who were furthest from the Truth, and ultimately supported crucifying Jesus. I'm sure that Christians are just as inclined to error now as the Jews were then. The bottom line question is, are Protestant Christian doctrines such as the deity of Christ and the resurrection of Christ essential to understand and believe to have salvation. It is my understanding that Mormons do not believe these doctrines. When one believes that believing these doctrines are essential to being part of the Christian body of believers and to receive the gift of salvation, it would exclude Mormons. We can only hope that we are wrong about this. Now, it is my understanding that the Mormons believe that non-Mormon Christians are saved, but on the flip side, most non-Mormon Christians (traditionally) do not believe that Mormons are saved. Not knowing a whole lot about Mormonism, I don't know what the benefits are of professing Mormonism, and being part of the only true church, according to their belief. I do wish they would hedge their bets, accept the potential loss, to increase their odds of being saved. Of course, this kind of thinking would not come from a heart of faith, and, as we read in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, " (8) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (9) not by works, so that no one can boast."

Christiane Li
September 17, 2008

Ken, I am very glad for your post on a couple of levels.<br>First, I do not hope I am wrong about any of the Biblical tenets upon which my faith holds. And that leads me to my next point, i.e., your comment that your "Mormon friends...are more Christian than many of my Protestant friends if you think of Christian as Christ-like." I am so glad you wrote this, because it is a crystalization of how many see Christianity. <br>Christianity is not about acting Christ-like. Christianity is Christ. That Mormons may act charitably, even "better" than Bible-believing Christians, I have no doubt - my Mormon friends do - but they do so because they are working their way to heaven (which, as you noted, is an incompatiblitiy with the Holy Bible, not to mention a doctrine for which I know I will never be ashamed of, or have cause to wish I was wrong about).<br>True people of God can act reprehensibly. Even Abraham (is anyone reading this as great as Abraham?) placed his wife in total jeapardy and had to be rebuked by a pagan pharoah. David justified his adultery and conspiracy to kill Uriah for months and months. Annaias and Sapphira flat out lied to the Holy Spirit. I won't even begin to tell you some of the ignorant, foolish, Spirit-grieving things I've done. But thank the Lord Jesus Christ, I am not saved by being "Christ like." I am saved by the Lord Jesus Christ Who dwells in me! Christianity is about knowing you're forgiven when you fall - and oh, I am so glad, for I need His forgiveness so much today. It's about the Lord Jesus Christ loving us not only to the uttermost, but as my pastor says, "To the guttermost."<br>I'm so glad.

Leanne
September 17, 2008

John Bird nailed it when he said we have to look at how Mormon's or any other religious group, denomination, etc. defines things.<br><br>Not only do Mormons say Jesus is A son of God (and not God) they also say he is the BROTHER OF LUCIFER and was conceived through God having SEX with Mary.<br><br>Uhhhhhh. Definitely NOT the Jesus of the Bible.<br><br>Once, as I originally posted, this became clear to me, just like PCG said, I worked "backwards" with my Mormon friends to re-define ALL of our "like" terminology.<br><br>It was then that we ALL sat wide eyed.

Donnymcclintock
September 17, 2008

Are Mormons Christian? By self-definition and self-identity, unquestionably so....<br><br>I think this questions is wrong because of how it's worded. First off, Mormons, as already pointed out in the first post) have a clearly different view of Jesus and a different Gospel. <br><br>Remember what Paul said in Gal 1:8 about having a different gospel. "Let him be accursed."....only a demonic world this lost would someone say Mormons are Christians. <br><br>Who is Jesus Christ? God in the Flesh. (John 1:1,14 Col 2:9). He claimed to be the "I AM" , "Before Abraham was I AM" same like in Exodus. The Mormon Jesus is a brother of Satan. That alone is heresy. so I I'm putting my faith in a brother of the Devil who am I really putting my faith in? Not in God, that's for sure. <br><br>The questions is also VERY misleading because it assumes the dictionary (written by men, no doubt) are accurate in "their" term for Christian. Also they ask "by self identify" and "self definition"...we already know (from their own words) who Mormons really believe in....and it's not the God of the Bible. God is spirit it says in John, but God the Father (in mormon teachings) has a physical body and was a man but is now exalted.......<br>Finally, I will leave you with this to think about...<br><br>2Jn 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. <br><br>Who do you say that I am? Jesus asked his desciples. <br>Luk 9:20 Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God."<br><br>Mat 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). <br><br>Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. <br><br>who is Jesus Christ really? God<br>Who denies this? all workers of iniquity<br><br>2Jn 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. <br><br>Analogy: If I told you I believe in Jesus Christ and He died for our sins and only He can save us, but I pointed to a "rock" and called the rock Jesus....I'm saying the right things, but what is my faith in? Not the God in the Bible right? Same problem here. May the LDS readers repent and believe in the real Jesus Christ. <br><br>Again, Jesus will say,<br><br>Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. <br>Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' <br>Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'<br><br><br><br><br>

CoryAJenk97
September 18, 2008

I must admit that is a rather humbling thought. <br><br>So yes, I must concede and profess that Mormons are Christians as well. Thanks for the challenging message!

Mike
September 18, 2008

I've noticed a number of comments in this thread that have said the word "Christian" is not used in the NT. Perhaps I'm missing something, but my concordance shows the term as being in Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16 (Strongs 5546: khris-tee-an-os' From G5547; a Christian, that is, follower of Christ). <br><br>I am particularly interested in Acts 26:28 - "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." (KJV) I would think that an in-depth study of the verses preceding this verse (vv 2 - 25) would give, by Paul's speech to Agrippa, a definition of what a Christian is.

Maureen
September 18, 2008

What Jesus said about salvation might give us some clues:<br><br>Matthew tells us that Jesus encouraged us to come to him as little children. <br><br>Luke records Jesus saying his purpose for coming was to seek and save the lost, to bring Good News to the poor, to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free. <br><br>Mark records Jesus saying that anyone who believes will be saved. <br>Luke quotes Jesus tell a woman that "your faith has saved you..."<br><br>Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record Jesus' saying that salvation is impossible without God and no one can save himself.<br><br>John emphasizes Jesus saying he didn't come to judge the world but to save it and uses several analogies about Jesus being the door, the gate, and the way of salvation.<br><br>Matthew, Mark and Luke all record Jesus saying that losing our lives, the implication seems to be that this means both actually and figuratively, results in gaining salvation. One of them specifically says giving our lives "for the gospel."<br><br>So it looks like:<br><br>Salvation is so simple a child can understand it and receive it. <br>No one can save himself, only God can do that.<br>Jesus is the door.<br>Jesus' purpose is to find us, save us, heal us, free us, and help us see.<br>Believing is really important.<br>Commitment is also really important.<br><br><br><br><br>

Chris
September 19, 2008

Marc, your description of belief seems dead on. And your point about "Christian" not being part of the New Testament is useful. It bothers me when we assume we know what it is to be a believer in or follower of Jesus. I don't think we can know, not definitively. We don't know the exact words Jesus spoke, and we might be taking his words out of context. And Jesus didn't speak English. We're relying on translators to interpret and convey his words and meaning, and that doesn't always happen cleanly.<br>I like the idea of Christianity being an exploration of the life and teaching of Jesus, not a definitive set of commands or tenets. After all, Jesus is reported to have said eccentric things like "Let the dead bury the dead" and to have encouraged followers to deny their parents. I think it's unfair to say anyone knows how to be a Christian completely.<br>I think if we claim we know who is and is not a Christian, we limit and divide instead of reaching out, and Jesus was all about reaching out.

Eric Prine
September 19, 2008

ok, first I have to start off w/ mentioning, I am not a Mormon. Mormonism is definitely different than most denominations/sects of Christianity. Most denominations either branched off of the early church, or they broke off of one of the churches that broke off of the early church, with the intent to 'purify' what they believe is a more cleaned up version of what they think Jesus intended for their church, usually using the same Bible to do so. If we weren't bring up any opinions or sentimentality, someone who does not believe in Christ or a proclaimed Christian, I think they would catagorize a Mormon as a Christian. It's only because we as "Christians" we bring our beliefs and emotions into it, most of us do not consider Mormons as Christians. But is that an accurate, scientific assessment? No. Atleast I think our saying they are not Christians is more personal opinion than anything, and we're probably trying to define if they are "saved" or not, not making a purely intellectual definition. We are bring up our personal opinions and beliefs- and I do that too.<br>As far as my feelings go- I have a former co-worker who is Mormon. I keep in contact w/ her occasionally. I would not go to her church, I have my own views on Christianity, a more mainstream common view of what Christianity is. But I have to admit she is one of the most kind, considerate, compassionate, never gossipy, most encouraging people I have ever known. Sadly, her personal life puts me to shame. Often we make judgments in religion based on intellectual beliefs, but I really believe we often do not give character and righteousness the same equality.

Marc
September 19, 2008

Hey Chris, I'm with you up to a certain point. I agree we don't know for 100% which words were used and besides we need to get the meaning which is at least 2 layers of interpretation away from us (ours and the authors). To be 100% certain of meaning we need to know Jesus personally which is a process or an "exploration" if you will; but, it's not a detached exploration of the "life and teaching of Jesus" which sounds rather impersonal, something even an atheist can do, but rather our relationship is developed and we explore depths of and with God.<br><br>As to who is and is not a Christian, was it not Doug Fields who said something like: we should stop telling folks they are saved and tell them how to get saved. Amen!

Leedilee
September 19, 2008

I have read all of the posts on this thread and am encouraged at the discussion that I see here. I too have said, "I wish I could be more like the Mormons." I don't have the gift of evangelism. At least, that's my cop out for not going out and sharing my faith. I agree with those of you who have commented on the lifestyle of the Mormons (generally speaking). I think there's a lot we can learn from them about being Christ-like.<br><br>This is all very interesting, in that I'm in the middle of discussions with my aunt regarding some hot social issues. We have very different views of what a "Christian" is and what a "Christian" believes. I have only one recourse. God's holy, infallible Word. To each question or issue, I will turn her to the Scriptures. God's plumb line is clear, straight, and narrow. Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.<br><br>Maybe if we, who claim to be "Christian" will act more like the Mormons in our daily life, we'd have more opportunity to share the faith of the Bible with those who disagree or "interpret" it differently. Such Holy Spirit appointed conversations may just stir their (Mormons or otherwise) hearts unto true repentance and eternal salvation.

SiarlysJenkins
September 19, 2008

As far as "branching off" is concerned, Joseph Smith first put forward the whole idea in the "Burned Over District" of upstate New York, where the Second Great Awakening was going on. (Burned over refers to the flaming of the holy ghost in dozens of camp meetings, not agricultural land or forests). The Disciples of Christ, Seventh Day Adventists, and several other Christian denominations date to the same period. Of course they didn't have golden plates inscribed in an unknown Egyptian tongue to work from.

Ken
September 22, 2008

I very much appreciate your comments, Christiane. I appreciate any and all fellowship with fellow believers in Christ. <br><br>I believe that by saying that "Christianity is Christ", you are saying that Christ is at the core, and is the essence of Christianity, and I totally agree with this, but it is also true that Christians, in fellowship with God, maturing in their Christian walk, as a natural process become more Christ like. I understand that one does not have to be Christ-like to be saved, but walking in faith does result in becoming more Christ-like.<br> <br>God is love. The summary of the law... the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. A second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. Of course, these commands are completely impossible for us to abide by, and hence, the crucifixion of Christ.<br> <br>Love is defined for us in I Corinthians 13. This kind of love becomes more and more evident in a Christian, living in fellowship with God, and living according to his faith. It is the nature of Christ, so as it becomes more evident in someone's life, that person is more Christ-like. <br> <br> What I was trying to say in my post was that I have Mormon friends that exemplify this love described in I Corinthians 13 more so than most of my Protestant friends, and therefor seem more Christ-like. I guess I imply here that only a Christian can act Christ-like, which is not true. I do think, though, that Christians are the only ones who can actually become more Christ-like. <br><br>I would like to add a couple thoughts. I would like to again, remember the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus day. They were the guys who had it all right according to the Jews of the day. In fact, they did, when it came to understanding the law, and practicing the law, and when it came to the tenets of Jewish religion. We all know that works will not get you to heaven... we aren't able to obey the first and greatest commandment for 2 seconds! By the same token, as Christ pointed out to the Pharisees, dogma does not get you to heaven either. "For by grace are you saved through faith."<br><br>If we are honest with ourselves, we will recognize that none of us have it all right. To echo what I said in my earlier post, I'll word it a little more carefully by saying, I hope that the errors in my thinking allow for the salvation of Mormons. <br>

Christiane Li
September 24, 2008

I appreciate your thoughtful response, Ken, and your comment that Christians are the only ones who can actually become more Christ-like is on target. <br><br>Where I have a real problem with looking at outward works and calling people Christ-like, is simply this: Mormons act "good" outwardly, but by their doctrines call Christ a liar, His Holy Bible a corrupted document. <br>That Mormons may act towards others with outward moralities that appear Christ-like, is unquestioned - if men &amp; women are the measure of Christ-likeness. But if Christ is one's measure of Christ-likeness, then truth and love compel believers to come up with a different answer to the question "Is Mormonism Christian?"

Ken
September 24, 2008

Christiane...You know what? You're right, and thinking about it... that they do call Christ a liar, and consider the Bible a corrupt document actually is more than a dogma issue. It is a rejection of Christ issue, and that is the one unforgivable sin. I appreciate your responses, Christiane.

Christiane Li
September 25, 2008

Thank you for your gracious words, my brother. God bless you.

Greta Hyland
September 26, 2008

This is a really good and valid question; one that cannot be taken lightly. I became a Christian six years ago...from the Mormon faith. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Mormonism and Christianity are not the same; there is a difference, though hard to articulate and one that can be grossly offensive to Mormons. However, if you were to ask a Mormon if Christians are Mormon they would say no...why? Because we do not believe the same things; including the same things about Christ. I believe that in order to be a Christian you have to believe in the "right" Jesus. If you believe that the Jesus of the bible is God and I believe that my husband is Jesus and we both proclaim to be followers of Jesus; is it true? Some might argue that it would be true for me; but objectively, is my husband Jesus? The answer unquestionably is no. So I would not be saved, nor would I be a Christian if I believed my husband was Jesus; it just isn't true. Mormons do believe in Jesus, but a very different Jesus than the one Christians believe in and I believe that that alone denies them the title Christian. Mormons believe God the Father and God the Son are two separate beings; Christians do not. Believing in two separate beings (or three with the Spirit) is polytheism; we believe in monotheism...one God. Mormons believe that God was once a man like us; we believe he is the I AM...he was not created and never was a man...he has always been God. Based on those two things Mormons believe that they need to take steps to get into heaven: temple marriage, tithing, etc. and so they believe that they earn their place in heaven. So the question becomes, do they really know Jesus? Do they really believe in Him? The bible says that even the demons believe in him. Do are demons Christians as well? At the end of the day,is it worth arguing over? I suppose that is up to the individual to determine.

Perry
October 19, 2008

John,<br>I cannot believe that you and all of the other people here claim to be Christians yourself and judge a religion based off of some checklist or the way it was explained to you. You all spend so much time trying to discredit and prove others wrong because they believe something another way. It comes off small minded that you dare judge others because they are different. Good luck on your quest to prove that which cannot be proven because it is all based on faith.

Nobody
April 11, 2009

My view is that serious theological questions, like 'what makes a person a Christian', can and should be answered by scripture. I enjoy discussion, debate, etc. but it doesn't form a basis for my beliefs. I like the posts that attempt to deal with the question scripturally.<br><br>The idea of what the dictionary says or how someone describes themselves is quite silly to me. It is very important to differentiate between authoritative and non-authoritative accounts of truth.<br><br>On the topic of interpretation, the view that the bible is authoritative but that 'one can never be really sure of what it's saying' is tremendously dangerous. It acknowledges the divine inspiration of scripture but ensures that everything God says, for practical purposes, falls into the category of 'a potentially flawed human interpretation'. The bible becomes a 'closed revelation'. "Did God really say..." (Genesis 3:1)<br><br>I have so much more that I want to say, but I'd better leave it at that...

Oggie
May 8, 2009

The Roman Catholic Church believes in salvation by grace through faith in Christ's works PLUS good works prescribed by their church.<br><br>Can we consider it also as "Christian" as what Mormonism is asserting???

Oggie
May 8, 2009

different Jesus, different gospel, surely, different spirit!!!!!

Tdifr62
April 23, 2011

We are all children of god. Love each man as much as we can reguardless of his color race religion belief. Unconditionally love each other as god loves us and defeat evil. Come on people lets just do it! Do not judge and JUST LOVE! Is it really that hard to love?

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