Wednesday, March 22, 2006

MORMONISM: "Little more than an ...

Russell D. Moore, Mormonism... Americanized version of a Canaanite fertility cult."

That quote caught my attention, so I followed a post by John Devito (no relationship to Danny, I'm told) to The A-Team Blog to an excellent column written for The Henry Institute (part of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) by Russell D. Moore.

Evangelicals often wonder why Mormons believe such an incredible system: golden tablets translated with "magic glasses," an advanced society of ancient American Indian Israelites who left behind no archaeological evidence at all, a "revelation" of polygamy that was reversed when Utah needed to do so for statehood, a "revelation" barring black Mormons from the priesthood that was reversed after the triumph of the civil rights movement, an eternity of godhood producing spirit babies, and special protective underwear. [...]

What we must understand is that Latter-day Saints (LDS) believe these things for the same reason that people everywhere believe the things they do: they want to believe them. [...]

This should come as no surprise to evangelicals who have read the Apostle Paul's revelation of the roots of human idolatry in the first chapter of Romans. Fallen humans have affections and inclinations that they then prop up with beliefs, convincing themselves that their systems are true.
Evangelical "how-to" sermons are not going to reach our LDS neighbors. Neither are anti-theological churches that major on Christian experience and piety disconnected from doctrinal content. Instead, we must present the gospel the way the apostles did in the aftermath of Pentecost: as a "mystery" that now explains everything in terms of God's purposes in Jesus Christ. [...]

The apostle understood that for the Ephesians, and for the Mormons, and indeed for all of us outside of Christ, the allure of falsehood is because falsehood is parasitic on the truth. We need not just ask whether Mormons believe things that are untrue and dangerous; they do. We must ask also why they believe these things, and counter them with the revealed truth.
Many believers, members of evangelical bodies, want to believe Mormons are really Christian. How often do we hear, "They have such great families" or "But they're so nice." The underlying implication is that they must be Christian because they act right, sound right, and look right! Moore says it like it is ...
[No matter what] some evangelical leaders may say, we must not back away from the sad reality that Mormonism is not even remotely Christian.
Mormonism, quite plainly, is a lie from beginning to end. But the biggest lie is that they are "Christian." Their Jesus is another Jesus, their Gospel is another gospel, their truth is another truth, their way is another way, their scriptures are uninspired and uninspiring ... all lies. But there is one Mormon doctrine that has an edge of truth to it, their life is indeed eternal, and offers more than a burning in the heart!


Alluding to the heavenly musical reviews at our Mega Barns, he rightly says,
Latter-day Saints do not need an unbiblical and unsatisfying vision of Christian hope that is not much more than an eternal choir practice. Instead, our LDS neighbors (and all of us) need to hear of the biblical glory of a restored universe in which human beings will rule with Christ over all things, a universe in which nature itself is freed from the curse and in which human friendship, love, and community continue and grow forever.
Next, Moore wonders aloud why we offer pablum to the lost of Mormonism ...
Latter-day Saints do not need to hear of a creation stance that piecemeal stands in the gaps left by Darwinism. Instead, Mormons (and all of us) need to hear of a beautiful and resonant biblical narrative of creation that explains the meaning of the universe and our place in it. LDS families don't ... need to hear that we are [also] pro-family.
The deeper truths in Scripture are what we all need to hear and proclaim ...
[...] we must remember that we will not convince Mormons with rational arguments alone. This means we can't rely on piecemeal attempts to point out discrepancies in the Book of Mormon, or archeological proofs against the Nephite civilization, or philosophical holes in Mormon cosmology. All of these things are important, but we must remember that, deep within their hearts, Mormons know that Joseph Smith is a fraud. They, like we before conversion, are "suppressing the truth" (Rom 1:18).
Moore's heart for the deceived in the midst of the Mormon milieu is easily seen ...
The Spirit can conquer this kind of deception, and he does so through the word of truth. [...]
We must remember this when we welcome our LDS neighbors over for dinner, or when we lovingly spend an evening with diligent Mormon missionaries. When divine revelation is presented in all of its Christocentric glory, there is a longing within us for this story. That's because it is true. And more than that, it is the truth, and the way, and the life. That is good news for Latter-day Saints, and for forgiven Canaanites like us.
The bottomless well of God's eternal truth is a feast in the presence of our enemies because He has invited His enemies to sit on the other side of the banquet table.

The problem, Moore suggests, is that we aren't sharing the delicious, spiritually nutritious food with our guests, we're keeping it all on our side of the table and all to ourselves. Needless to say this is not God's plan for the Good News.

Full story >>>

HT: A Team

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