Monday, October 22, 2012

Can Mormons be Classified as "Christians?"

The word "Christ" comes from the Greek meaning "the anointed one." So, technically, to be classified as a "Christian" a person only need have belief in the fact that the anointed one exists. No one is qualified to dispute the right of the person to use this title beyond that.

Mormon doctrine includes the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is this Christ. It declares that he was born and raised as we all are. It states that he performed an atonement for our sins if we truly repent; and then died and was resurrected from the dead to make a resurrection that all share in.

Up to this point all those religions professing Christ don't differ. But as we go into what all this really means and what God wants, the different religions start to drift apart in opinion. Even various ministers within the same religions can be at total variance with each other.

I remember years ago watching a game show on television, called "Tell the Truth." Three people were presented all claiming to be Bill Jones (for example). And a panel asked them questions. In the end it was up to us to guess who we felt was the real Bill Jones. This certainly reminds me of this situation where we are invited to find out who the real Jesus Christ is. The religion to be qualified as the most Christian would be the one that is most correct about Jesus Christ.

It is plain, by the many religions we have professing Christ, that the Bible presents much confusion in interpretation. This is no wonder considering its size and the many types of people it had to deal with over the time. We have everything from the hard hearted people following Moses to the more spiritually prepared Elijah or Peter. God had to deliver a message to both these types of people in the one volume. It's like if you had two children, and told one of them they could plug in power cables and told the other they couldn't (because the second was too young to do it safely). If you had to do this in a volume where one wouldn't see the idea and the other would, it presents a real problem.

The wisest place to turn to in order to understand Jesus Christ is to look to his words to those spiritually ready to understand. Additionally his actions should be examined. So let's look at the real Jesus of the New Testament; where he was there before us to see in real life situations.

Firstly we find that he was born as other human beings are: He spent the time in the womb before coming out. Upon coming out he was wrapped in cloth (Luke 2:7) demonstrating that he couldn't walk. He had to learn just like we all do. The Bible mentions nothing of him being able to talk at that stage either. The Bible goes on to tell us that Jesus grew in spirit and became filled with wisdom (Luke 2:40). So we still have a very human Jesus.

The apostle Paul refers to Jesus Christ as "the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5) (Note also Acts 2:22), even after his death and resurrection. So we know he is a man. Yet we also know that he was specially chosen by God to be the mediator between us and God to have us saved from our sins (1 Tim 2:5).

While we know that Jesus was a man born as we are we are additionally told that he is the Great I Am of the Old Testament. So here we find that he had become Jehovah of the OT. He stated that he was their only God. And yet when referred to as being "good" Jesus himself stated that he wasn't "good" but only God was (Matt 19:17). Thus he at that stage of his existence had not become a God. This seems a contradiction, but I'll get to that.

We note that Jesus didn't have the authority to take priesthood onto himself, but had to be called of God like all men _

"So also Christ didn't glorify himself to be made an high priest; but [was called by] he that said to him, You are my Son, to day have I begotten you." Hebrews 5:5

This creates an interesting understanding to the real Christ. Jesus has come as a human like us, yet he had an immortal father. We find that all things past, present and future are before God right now (eternity) (D&C 130:7). (This is also demonstrated by his ability to know future events). So upon becoming resurrected Christ had reached the stage where he was "good" also. He then became the God of the Old Testament - the Great I Am, and is going through this earth time as a God. For those with no understanding of how eternity works this seems terribly confusing. But as we seek to understand we begin to see it.

Christ also taught the manner in which we should pray is to pray to the Father through the name of Jesus Christ (John 16:23, Matt 6:9). This correct manner of prayer brings us closer to the Father and the Christ.

We must also come to realise that the Bible doesn't teach a trinity. Jesus was God's Son. Jesus stated that he didn't want to perform the atonement but would do so because the Father asked him to. Jesus asked God why he had forsaken him at the time of his death. Jesus went out and spent the night praying to the Father. Jesus had an angel come and help him in his performance of the atonement in the garden. Jesus asked that his apostles would become one with him and the Father. That they would be 14 in one. Obviously this was demonstrating that the idea is a symbolic concept.

Jesus taught that people aren't saved by just saying his name, but we must obey the Father (Matt 7:21). He taught that works are essential to our gaining the kingdom of heaven (Matt 25:31-46). Yet we also are taught that being saved from being in hell itself doesn't require works, but true faith that will create a new person who does good works.

"For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, in case any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10

There are many ideas that the Bible shows about the true Christ. These are very important to our understanding of what is required of us. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has more of these biblically correct points and must therefore be declared the most "Christian."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog. I have a question regarding the spiritual world, should I post it here or in other part of your blog?
Jared

Doug Towers said...

Jared

I have a questions site with a link to it near the top of this site.

It is for answering doctrinal questions. You can post your question here, but if you post it on the other site you can make any personal comments within the question. They will not be published when answered (provided you tell me not to publish them).

Anonymous said...

I tried to post my question in the section you specified but I couldn't, so I'm gonna post it here.
We know that every living soul is combined by a physical body and a spirit body.
Earth's a living soul.
It has a physical body (where we spent our mortal lives). By definition earth must have a spirit part also.
This is my question: is earth's spirit body the same spiritual world our spirits go when we die?
Jared

Anonymous said...

Oops, I dind't read completely what you wrote about posting a question, I suppose you are gonna receive many times the same question from my part. Sorry!

Doug Towers said...

Jared

You are right that I did get the same question over and over. But that only shows that you are keen to get an answer.

I'll answer it as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

All "Christian" religions (excluding LDS) seem to think they are the only ones who have a patent on the definition of Christian and cult. They do not want to see the LDS view. They do not want to see what the LDS doctrine has in common with them.
When I was in 7th grade I became friends with a new kid and his mother worked with mine. The new kid's mother was hateful to me and treated me badly when no one was around, I didn't understand why at the time. My new friend told me he couldn't let his mother see him around me. When I was in 11th grade a new girl moved to town and her father was a Baptist preacher. I was the only LDS kid in the whole school. The Baptist preacher's daughter managed to turn everyone against me and the and the mother of my 7th grade friend told me I deserved whatever I got because I worshiped Satan. It made sense then why this coworker of my mother was so hateful to me. She was sickly sweet to my mother, and my mother did not believe me when I told of how this woman treated me. I asked my friend why his mother hated me and why she thought I worshiped Satan. He explained. That woman knew she could get away with picking on a kid. Real adult and real Christian of her. She was southern Baptist.

Doug Towers said...

Anonymous

I'm sorry to hear of your difficulties experienced when young. I had similar problems with atheists when 5 years old. I'd talk about Jesus Christ and it wasn't long before some kids were throwing stones at me and encouraging others to do so. I asked why? And they said that their parents had told them that they were to do so and encourage others to do so if I talked about Jesus Christ.

I was brought up a Protestant. So being in the church you can cop it from both sides.