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Essay donated by a visitor to this web site

"Is Mormonism a Christian denomination?"
by Jose Davis

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Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is a denomination within the Christian Faith:

My name is Jose and I'm currently seeking a Philosophy degree from the University of North Texas, but I’m very knowledgeable on New Testament scholarship.

My belief is that Mormonism is a form of Christian belief, thus valid enough to be called Christian.

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Just like a Lutheran is called a Christian

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Just like a Baptist is called a Christian

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And so forth and so forth.

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Does Christianity require belief in the Trinity?:

The definition of "Christianity" in the modern world is so shrewd and biased that we have lost the true meaning of being a Christian. So I will establish a new definition of Christian as my standard to support my argument.

Being defined as a "Christian" is not embedded in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The concept of the Trinity was not established until 300 years after Jesus and Paul. Nor is the concept of Trinity found in the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible is there explicit support for the "orthodox" doctrine of the trinity.

The famous "Johannine Comma", found in the KJV and other Textus Receptus supported translations, (1 John 5:7-8) would be the only scriptural support for the Holy Trinity.Unfortunately, the earliest manuscripts we have of the New Testament (The Alexandrian Text) completely exclude the “Johannine Comma”:

1 John 5:7-8: "For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and the three are one."

Strong textual evidence supports the conclusion that this passage was only added on by later scribes in the 5th and 6th centuries, when the Holy Trinity was deemed to be "orthodox." The idea of the trinity is:

"a historical development not a given from the early years of the faith" (Bart D. Ehrman "From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity")

The Basic idea of the Trinity is that there are three persons: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit- and these three are all equally God and of the same substance. But despite of these three persons, they are but one God. Obviously there are logical discrepancies in this statement.

Now, I will never argue against the wisdom of God. Nonetheless argue with God on His own substance. But like Dr. Ehrman said, the Concept of the Trinity was not founded by Jesus, or by the New Testament, But by MAN alone.

"This Doctrine of the Trinity, which has become a central doctrine of Christianity, does not appear to be a doctrine pronounced by the historical Jesus, Paul, or any other Christian writer during the first few hundred years or so of Christianity... It was not there in the beginning." (Bart D. Ehrman "From Jesus to Constantine...")

Going further into the historical facts of the Trinity, historical speculation shows that this doctrine was primarily established for political measures. In other words, to dismiss the "heretics" of the faith (From the Arians to the Gnostics). "Heresy" means "wrong belief." Yet, what puzzles me is why MAN is allowed to choose who has the "wrong belief" or the "right belief?" (Orthodoxy).

Keep in mind, the early Christians didn't have and organized New Testament until the latter half of the 3rd Century. These 2nd and 1st century Christians had to talk and debate amongst themselves so they could establish some concept of the faith. Now, last time I saw, every person is different. Ultimately leading to different opinion and thus different interpretations of Christ. But, unfortunately, the idea of "majority rules" came to establish Christian beliefs. And so the majority established what was "heresy" and what was "orthodoxy". The Trinity was nothing more than a politicized action of the Proto-Orthodox Christians to dismiss all the other Christian beliefs floating around.

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But whoever said Man is allowed to establish the validity of Christ? Like it says in Exodus 4:14 - "I AM WHO I AM."

"Mormon doctrine diverges from the orthodoxy of established Christianity, particularly in its polytheism, in affirming that God has evolved from man and that men might evolve into gods, that the Persons of the Trinity are distinct beings, and that human souls have preexisted." (Encyclopedia Britannica 2006)

The big difference, in my opinion, between Mormonism and mainstream "Orthodox" Christianity is in the acceptance of the Trinity. They don't believe in the Trinity (Like the Jehovah’s Witnesses) in the way that most Christians believe in it. Are we going to stoop down to the level of "Majority Rules" again?

I believe in an Ecumenical Church; A Unity of Christianity. But I understand that people are devout to their own faith. And I believe that is absolutely okay. But the problem with Christianity is that there has never been a universal respect among Christian denominations, allowing for more radical beliefs, like the Mormons, to be banished from even being called “Christian’. There is a lack of Consensus Gentium, which is not right.

Was it not Paul who asked the Rhetorical Question? "Is Christ Divided?"

"Mormons accept that Christ came to earth so that all might be saved and raised from the dead but maintain that a person's future is determined by his or her own actions." (Encyclopedia Britannica 2006).

And as C.S Lewis says:

"All Christians are agreed that there is, in the full and original sense, only one 'Son of God'" (C.S Lewis "Mere Christianity")

What it seems to me is that Mormons meet some aspects of the Christian faith. So they must be Christian.

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Defining Christianity:

My definition is: "A Christian is a believer and follower of Jesus of Nazareth."

Simple enough, right? It's not some complex formula or necessary doctrine. This is all that the 12 Apostles had: their belief in Christ Jesus. But that poses a problem. As I stated before, every person is different, thus forcing different opinions:

"When you find yourself wanting to turn your children, or pupils, or even your neighbors, into people exactly like yourself, remember that God probably never meant them to be that. You and they are different organs, intended to do different things. On the other hand, when you are tempted not to bother about someone else’s' troubles because they are 'no business of yours' remember that though he is different from you he is part of the same organism as you." C.S Lewis "Mere Christianity"

We are all ONE in the body of Christ. Not many, but one. To believe in Jesus of Nazareth is to be a Christian. And since Mormons believe in Jesus of Nazareth, Mormons are Christians. Simple Logic. Isn't this what many Christian denominations preach?

"Justification is by faith and obedience to the ordinances of the church, repentance, Baptism by immersion, and laying on of hands for the Spirit gifts (including prophecy, revelation, and speaking in tongues)." (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Well, that's exactly what the Mormons preach. Copy and Paste doesn’t do much to prove that was from my search of "Mormon" so just take my word for it.

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References used:

  1. C.S Lewis "Mere Christianity," HarperOne, (Reissued 2001) Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

  2. Bart D. Ehrman "From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity, The Teaching Company, (2004)

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Originally posted: 2007-SEP-08
Latest update: 2007-SEP-08
Author: Jose Davis

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