Thursday, January 24, 2008

How Wide Is the Mormon Divide?

One of the questions I get over and over again is "How wide is the divide between Mormonism and Christianity? Is it really substantive?"

Well, in 1997 Stephen Robinson, a professor at a Mormon university, BYU, and Craig Blomberg, a professor at a Christian seminary, attempted to answer that question in a book that was titled "How Wide the Divide?" In the end the book, released by a major Christian publishing house, concluded that the divide might not really be as wide as we had thought it was.

With respect to the central doctrine of the nature of God, for instance, the authors concurred that both evangelicals and Latter-Day Saints believe in an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, eternal and unchangeable God. Blomberg and Robinson forward this claim despite the words of Mormonism founder Joseph Smith who emphatically declared that the first principle of the gospel was to know that God has not been God for all eternity.

Now Smith put it like this: "I'm going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil so that you may see. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God. He was once a man like us, yea that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth."

Sounds like there's a wide divide between the God of Christianity and the god of Mormonism. Well today, a full decade after the release of "How Wide the Divide?" presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, like Blomberg and Robinson, has made a concerted effort to minimize the differences between Mormonism and Christianity. His references to Jesus Christ as Son of God and Savior of mankind might sound orthodox, but in reality, as a temple Mormon who has served as a bishop and a stake president, Romney knows full well that the Jesus of Mormonism is clearly not the Christ of Christianity, and as such he's obscured the face of Mormonism through the manufacture of a Mormon mirage.

Again, our goal isn't to tell you who to vote for or even to say that he wouldn't be good president. Our goal is simply to say this: We should not be fooled by those who say that the divide between orthodox Christianity and Mormonism is a bridgeable chasm. It's not. It is clearly an unbridgeable chasm.

13 comments:

Nick said...

I actually agree with Hank on this one. If "evangelical" Christians believe in a God different than the God that Latter-day Saints believe in, then we don't believe in the same God, it is as simple as that.

What I will say in contrast then is that the Jesus Christ that LDS members believe in is the Christ of the Bible - the true Savior. It makes me feel bad that people don't know who they worship. The facts are easy to see. The God that we believe in, love, and worship is the true God of us all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Hank, for your ministry and for bringing the truth about Mormonism to light. You’re showing that rather than attack those who distort the biblical Christ, we need to be emissaries of Christ and reach out with “gentleness and respect” to our Mormon brothers and sisters. When we lovingly confront them with facts and evidence, we can lead them to the truth.
In the end, we’re just the messengers. What they do with the message is up to them.

Lori said...

Nick, how can you miss the contrast? The bible does NOT teach that Jesus is the brother of Satan, who were both conceived by God with His celestial wife.

Nick said...

Do you believe that everything pertaining to God, His plan for us, etc. is contained in the Bible. That is the most unsupported claim that any Christian can make. The Bible is full of references to teachings that are obviously not provided in the Bible.

Do you understand the history of the Bible, or canonization of it? When and who claimed to have created the first canon? Why has it changed? These are all important questions that when you understand the answers, you realize that the Bible is an inspired book, but it is not the only scripture in the world.

Good luck supporting that claim, and if you'd like, I can provide great resources to teach you about the Bible. Hank can also, and I don't think he would ever say that if something is not in the Bible, then it can't be true. It is a flat out error in logic, history, evidence, and scholarly understanding.

lori said...

No I don't believe that everything pertaining to God and His plan for us is contained in the Bible. But it is the inspired word of God and it is the only scripture. The Book of Mormon is not.

"The Bible is full of references to teachings that are obviously not provided in the Bible."
Please provide examples and explain your point.

Yes, I understand the history of the Bible including the canonization. It's been quite solid for centuries. The BoM has not and it's an addition/subtraction/contradiction to God's Word which he stated not to do. Read the Bible not the BoM.

The claim that the Bible is innerrant in its' teachings and the only inspired word of God has been supported for centuries. The BoM is made up by a guy who liked to get in physical fights with other people.

..."if something is not in the Bible, then it can't be true. It is a flat out error in logic, history, evidence, and scholarly understanding." Duh!

I never said such a thing. Nice straw man though.

Staci said...

Hank - I recently found out that a close friend of mine belongs to a Reformed Latter-day Saints church. She tells me that she is "not Moreman", but that she believes in the Book of Moreman and follows the teachings of Joseph Smith. I would love to see a post about the difference between RLDS and Christianity. Most of my research has just led me to the Moreman church...and since she claims she's not Moreman...I'm not sure where to start with her!!!

Nick said...

Hi Lori,

I'm sorry, but you sounded like an angry 10 year old little girl. If you want to get nasty with your comments, then that's your business, but it does reflect bad on you and Christianity.

You are right that the Bible is an inspired book, but that is all I can agree with from your posting. Let me walk you through your misunderstandings step by step:

1. The Book of Mormon is an inspired book of scripture, and if you deny that, it is because you are trusting in the arm of flesh, and not trusting God. Have you read the Book of Mormon? I imagine that you take teachings from Hank, the Tanners, and www.carm.org, and you build your conclusions based on what they say about the book. Give me as many examples of why you think the Book of Mormon isn't inspired scripture, and I will clarify. Hank posted a few, the Tanners have many, and carm has many - most of which have extremely simple explanations.

2. You asked for examples of references within the Bible that refer to teachings that we don't have. Here's a few examples:
Ex. 24: 7 took the book of the covenant.
Num. 21: 14 book of the wars of the Lord.
Josh. 10: 13 (2 Sam. 1: 18) book of Jasher.
1 Sam. 10: 25 Samuel . . . wrote it in a book.
1 Kgs. 11: 41 book of the acts of Solomon.
1 Chr. 29: 29 book of Samuel the seer.
2 Chr. 9: 29 book of Nathan the prophet.
2 Chr. 12: 15 book of Shemaiah the prophet.
2 Chr. 13: 22 acts of Abijah . . . in the story of the prophet Iddo.
2 Chr. 20: 34 book of Jehu.
2 Chr. 33: 19 written among the sayings of the seers.
Matt. 2: 23 spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
1 Cor. 5: 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle.
Eph. 3: 3 as I wrote afore in few words.
Col. 4: 16 read the epistle from Laodicea.
Jude 1: 3 when I gave all diligence to write unto you.
Jude 1: 14 Enoch also . . . prophesied of these.

This should be a good start for you. Sorry for the formatting issues.

3. The Bible has been solid for centuries, which is why I respect it the way I do. If you want to compare the number of changes to the Book of Mormon to the Number of changes to the Bible, be my guest. That in itself was an unsupported claim, and shows that you are obviously not clear about the Book of Mormon or the Bible. You will read about the "major" challenges of the Book of Mormon from Hank or the Tanners, and I will be happy to clarify - again, it's easy. And your statement for me to read the Bible, not the Book of Mormon. First off, I will never stop reading the Book of Mormon, neither will I ever stop reading the Bible. I would love to discuss Biblical teaching with you - if we can avoid the frustrated girl attitude bring up the so-called misunderstandings of the other person.

4. Please provide references how the Bible is innerent and has been supported as such for centuries. Again, if you only look to Hank or a select few apologists, your going to struggle, because their teachings have no support. After you provide your references, I will clarify so that it will be in writing what we belive and how it is supported by the scriptures.

5. Wasn't it you that put NOT in all caps the posting before stating that the Bible doesn't teach that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers. My point was just that. Just because something is not in the Bible, does it make it not true? Now, a better way you could have answered that is stating that the Bible teaches otherwise, so until you correct your grammar, there is no reason to belittle somebody by using "Duh!" in a posting. Also, please provide your Biblical references to teach otherwise, and then again, I can clarify what we believe.

lori said...

A personal attack, eh? Calling me an angry little 10 year old girl. Now who's nasty? Perhaps this is a typical reflection of a Mormon who believes in the angel Moroni and is glad his cult took the name Mormon instead of Moron, albeit the latter truly fits. Ha, I got you steaming mad and probably crying. But you're alright because you'll be a god someday on your own planet creating many many children. How many wives will you get to have? You see I have to be sarcastic. These arguments are pointless. You can't leave your cult because it will be physically dangerous. You know this is true.

You're so brainwashed it's pointless to debate you. Hank, the Tanners, McKeever, and Carm have better arguments because they are factual. Christianity is based on history and evidence; not fantasy (garden of Eden in Missouri, contradicting revelations from God, claims that native American Indians were Jews, and on and on).

Your religion is pure fantasy and heresy as you have disobeyed Deuteronomy by adding to God's word. You are clearly the ignorant one. Christian apologists have mopped the floor with your apologists.

Your pathetic logic of, because the Bible doesn't say that Lucifer and Jesus were brothers, doesn't mean they weren't really makes my point.

I'm bored. You'll never get it. You'll stand before Christ in your own works and while you claim he is your savior, you have a different Jesus. This is obvious, no matter how much you deny it, as you disagree with your own Mormon teachings.

Now go away and spend your time on your cultic blogs. Stay off this Christian one. You're not Christian. Ultimately, I feel sorry for you but simultaneously I kind of don't because the information is there that proves why Mormonism is bogus. You have just convinced yourself it isn't. Most likely you're afraid to leave the religion because you'll be shunned by your family.

Nick said...

I think your post says enough. Good luck to you in your missionary efforts, even though you don't even want people who you don't consider Christian on a "Christian" blog.

By the way, I am the only LDS member of my family. There definitely wouldn't be any shunning to leave. I just know the truth, and I will never deny it.

Just remember that contention is of the devil, and the opposite is true as well, since God is a God of love. He will never neglect His children, and if our hearts are in the right place, He will always guide us in the right direction.

Obviously this blog is not going anywhere with an LDS participant, but if anyone has any pure intent to learn the truth about the LDS church, I would be happy to personally discuss the gospel with you through e-mail. My e-mail address is ldsclarity@gmail.com. Mark, if you read this blog, I hope to hear from you again soon. It's refreshing to be able to learn and discuss the gospel the correct way.

Take care

Lorie said...

Different interpretations of the Bible reflect the style of speaking in that particular time. The King James Version has "thee's" and "thou's" throughout the interpretation because that was how they spoke. One can look at the "translation" of the Book of Mormon and see that Joseph Smith was trying to copy the speech of the King James Version in order to make his "transaltion" seem credible. If he was truly "translating" the book from an ancient language, wouldn't it be in is natural speech pattern? This is enough to leave me to beleive that the Book of Mormon along with Joseph Smith's books in LDS to be false. God gave us a mind and the Holy Spirit helps us to discern truth from error.
My prayer for you is that God would open your eyes to the truth of his word that is written in the Holy Bible and that the Holy Spirit will guide you to understanding.

Nick said...

I do appreciate your sincerity for my well being. I think that is what is most important.

I do think that it would be beneficial to learn about this topic from somebody within the LDS church. There are hundreds of scholars that have done primary research on this very topic, and it proves that your statement is simply a common misconception. If you'd like to read up on the topic, please feel free to visit www.fairlds.org, or farms.byu.edu.

Clean Cut said...

I know I'm very late to this conversation, but I just finished the book "How Wide the Divide?" and was searching out different reactions to it. I'm a little surprised that you conclude by implying that the book states that "the divide between orthodox Christianity and Mormonism is a bridgeable chasm". I never understood that to be the case. On the contrary, LDS Christians will always be different than Orthodox Christians. I think the book simply showed that the divide isn't as wide as many on both "sides" have traditionally thought.

Phil said...

[8:44:51 AM] Phil Schroeder: Maybe a quick look at history might help people to understand the present. We were warned there would be false doctrines, and Paul told us if any, yes ANY doctrine other than that which he proposed as of that day were to be changed, or taught, even if it were Paul himself doing so at some later date, that that person, even if it were Paul, was to be accursed.

I was given a copy of the Book of Mormon, and on its cover the words were clearly stated, "Another Testimony of Jesus Christ."

I read parts and discovered within a few pages a definite leaning to spiritual guidance through the indwelling Holy Spirit, with the unfortunate error of that condition expressed some 6 centuries or so before that was a possible human condition. "The Comforter" was not even available to humans in an indwelling form until Jesus was ascended to the Father, after his crucifixion, in the first century AD. This additional clear departure from Christian understanding made continuance of reading unnecessary. The book is a rag, unfit for anything but reproof.

Those who choose to compare it to Christian teaching in a favorable light are deluding themselves into the acceptance of a heresy, through the introduction of apostates, who are, by Paul's authority (which is considerable), accursed.

The Bible warns of counterfiets, which by nature have some truths in thier illusion, but are nonetheless counterfiets, and subject to disqualification once found out. The bank is scrupulous in finding these, and discounting their credit to the bearers of such notes without any recompense. They are worthless!

The Bible says many will say to Our Lord,"Lord Lord, look at what we have done in your name." and He will say, "Depart from me, I never knew you." That means that the narrow path, and the small gate do exclude some who think they are "ok" and that they will be in for the surprise of their spiritual lives when He closes the door before they are in, satisfied He has His bride well in hand.

If your wish is to follow the one true living God, learn His nature, learn it from His only begotten Son, and learn it from the inspired scriptures that have been written for His chosen people. (note: His choice, not man's)