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Jun 1, 2012

The Mormon Moment: How Christians Should Relate to Mormons in this Growing Discussion

On this week's episode of The Exchange, Dr. Tal Davis and I engaged in a discussion about Mormonism. With the emergence of Governor Mitt Romney as the presumptive Republican nominee for President, a cultural discussion about Mormonism has emerged. Dr. Davis and I sought to bring an evangelical perspective to the table through our conversation.

Because of the growing conversation, I have both read and written about Mormonsim more in the past six months than I have in the past sixteen years. The following blog posts are just a small example:

So, we discussed it on The Exchange.

Reporting on our program, the Christian Post ran an article entitled "'Mormon Moment' Forcing Christians to Learn About Mormonism." Here are a few excepts:

America has reached what many are calling the "Mormon Moment." That reality is forcing Christian leaders to get a better grasp of a religion that few understand.

Hoping to help pastors and church leaders, Stetzer led a live webcast on Tuesday to address how Mormon doctrines are vastly different from that of historic Christianity and why labeling the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a "cult" is unhelpful.

"When compared side by side - what they (Mormons) believe about God and Christ - we have very drastic differences," said Dr. Tal Davis of Market Faith Ministries, who joined the live webcast.

Both Davis and Stetzer pointed out that the LDS Church has recently been trying to downplay differences between itself and Christian churches. The LDS Church is also no longer trumpeting its belief that it is the "one true church" while the rest are apostate...

Though Mormons may use similar terms as evangelicals and Protestants when it comes to God, Jesus Christ and salvation, the LDS understanding of each of those terms differs greatly from historic Christian teaching, Davis noted...

With such differences on basic points of theology, most Christians do not consider Mormons Christian.

A LifeWay Research study shows that 75 percent of Protestant pastors do not consider Mormons to be Christians.

"It's not a denomination but it's a different religion," Stetzer stated.

Still, throwing around the "cult" word is not helpful, Stetzer noted.

A cult is often understood as a religious group with strange beliefs outside of the cultural mainstream, the researcher explained. "What you call Mormons today is what the world is going to call evangelical Christianity tomorrow," he commented, noting that evangelicals are increasingly being viewed as a group with strange beliefs.

Tal and I talk about the cult issue in this short clip:

Instead, we talk about Mormonism as another religion-- not Christianity, but a different faith that uses similar terms in different ways:

Finally, we discuss the recent move to seem more like a Christian denomination and to downplay the historic differences (that all other churches were apostate):

In the show, we also mention a pair of resources Dr. Davis has contributed to: Mormonism Unmasked and The Mormon Puzzle.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

You can also watch the full show here:

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Posted:June 1, 2012 at 12:00 am

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