Mormonism, Christianity, Theology, and Politics

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I grew up without the faintest interest in politics. None. My parents would probably consider themselves more independents than anything else and I certainly had no loyalties which way throughout my life. Frankly, I just didn’t care at all. I kinda felt like the issues would just work themselves out and the politicians would deal with them. Furthermore, I had this feeling that Christians in general didn’t really think too much about issues and mainly voted based on which candidate was pro-life.

Then one day I reached a turning point. My girlfriend (now my wonderful wife) broke down the issues themselves and asked me point blank (she has an uncanny knack for this) where I stood on each one. It was an eye-opening event. I suddenly realized that I did have conservative views (though for reasons I’ll discuss at another time, I did not at all want to admit it). I feel that to some extent I was being slightly irresponsible by not investigating political issues and discussion. How could I expect to make an informed decision if I had no info? Furthermore – I learned that the only information I was subtly being fed during my “non-stance” days was decidedly secular and one sided (ie. Hollywood, PBS, School, etc.). I realized that because I refused to make a decision – my decision was ever so slightly being made for me by the sources from which I received information. Learning this was actually quite shocking.

A 180 was made. I resolved that as a responsible Christian, I could not afford the the luxury of a “non-stance” – especially in a country where the media has taken up a blatantly hostile position on the ideals and values that I feel to be of great importance.

Now – I am not abdicating this personal conviction on anyone else. I think that this is a decision that each person must make on their own. However, I would hope that through whatthecrap? I can occasionally shed light on serious issues that should be given scrutiny. I also consider my own story as a bit of a disclaimer on life: If you resolve to take no position, it is likely that your position will be chosen for you (often without your knowledge).

So – with all that in mind: Here is a perfect opportunity to get started and get informed. The following is a great discussion from Stand to Reason primarily about the question: “How Should Christians Think about Voting for a Mormon?.” It IS NOT a dictate as to what stance Christians should take (see disclaimer below). There are many other great thoughts and questions brought up during the discussion. I have broken the clip down into three sections (eliminating commercial breaks) and highlighted some of the concepts covered in each clip. I strongly encourage you to listen to the discussion and make up your own mind about the issues. Enjoy!

The Players

Gregory Koukl: Founder and President, Stand to Reason
Hugh Hewitt: Professor of Law at Chapman University Law School, the Executive Editor of Townhall.com
Dr. Craig Hazen: Director of M.A. Program in Christian Apologetics, Biola University
Dr. John Mark Reynolds: Founder of Torrey Honors Institute, and Associate Professor of Philosophy, Biola University

Disclaimer by Koukl: “Nothing that I have to say today, should be construed as an endorsement of any candidate, because as far as I’m concerned, this is not about who you vote for – not our discussion here today… I care about what followers of Jesus Christ think in the voting process and the way they make their decision. I want to talk about what kind of considerations are legitimate regardless of who the candidate happens to be. In this particular case, How should Christians consider the question of voting for a Mormon in public office.”

Part 1:


Questions raised in the first segment:

  • How are we obligated to respect our fellow citizens and their beliefs?
  • As a Christian, will supporting a Mormon for the Whitehouse change Evangelicals?
  • Should a candidate be required to defend “hundred year old” history if they had nothing to do with it?
  • Does a religious view I consider strange have any public policy issues?

Top 3 Christian Concerns (Covered during discussion):

  1. Will the Whitehouse will be controlled by Salt Lake City?
  2. Will it super-charge Mormon missionary work?
  3. Is it (Mormonism) just too weird?

Presidents make decisions about how to defend the country, not decisions affecting theology or apologetics.

Part 2:

  • Is a question about a candidates belief in evolution helpful?
  • Is there a reason journalists are writing anti-Mormon pieces?
  • Is “Faith” (the place where Religion resides) something you can’t really know, or test, or be particularly certain of?
  • Can the Mormon values be in agreement with Christians while they differ on theological grounds?
  • The issue of Bigotry, Defined.

Bigotry means: An overwhelming distrust, or even hatred for a particular group.
Doesn’t mean: Curiosity, Questioning, Disagreement.

Examples

Not Bigotry: The Armenians get a little crazy when it comes to the Turkish genocide.

Bigotry: The Armenians should never be trusted on anything because they’ve never been trustworthy.

Bigotry: I won’t vote for ______ because he’s a ______.

Part 3:

  • The issue of Mormonism as a “Cult”
  • Cult implies coercion
  • People use the word as a pejorative

Questions:

  • How should Christians think about this issue?
  • What are the strategic considerations for making a vote for President of the United States?

“At 9:20 the telephone rang in the hall, Dean Acheson was calling form his country home in Maryland.

“Mr. President,” he said, “I have very serious news. The North Koreans have invaded South Korea.” (a biography of Truman) …It is with evenings like that one in mind that Americans ought to cast their primary and general election vote.” – Hewitt

Will the President truly and impartially administer justice to the punishment of wickedness and vice?

-If you wish to listen to the show from start to finish (with commercials) you will find it in my box.net files to the right —> or you can download the podcast from STR.org.

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4 Responses to “Mormonism, Christianity, Theology, and Politics”

  1. Steve Says:

    Good stuff mang.
    When you actually take the time to inform yourself on the issues and what’s going on in this world, it’s shocking how anti-Christian our nation has become. If we choose to idly stand by and “let the politicians figure it out”, we’re going to start losing more and more rights to practice our religion freely. The Ten Commandments are being removed from courthouses, gay marriage is status quo, abortions are a dime-a-dozen, saying “God bless you” or “Jesus loves you” is considered bigotry…it isn’t getting better people. It’s time we educate ourselves to be the men and women that God is calling us to be, to defend our faith and values that we claim as Christians. Jesus wasn’t a door mat, and neither should we.

  2. Bot Says:

    The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is often misunderstood . . Some accuse the Church of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion . . This article helps to clarify such misconceptions

    · Baptism: .

    Early Christian churches, practiced baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family. The local congregation had a lay ministry. An early Christian Church has been re-constructed at the Israel Museum, and the above can be verified. http://www.imj.org.il/eng/exhibitions/2000/christianity/ancientchurch/structure/index.html
    The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continues baptism and a lay ministry as taught by Jesus’ Apostles. . Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their practices sacred, and not allowing non-Christians to witness them

    · The Trinity: .

    A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration?

    The Nicene Creed”s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. . The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. . The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: “There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one.”

    Scribes later added “the Father, the Word and the Spirit,” and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. . . .He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. .
    The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.

    · The Cross: .

    The Cross became popular as a Christian symbol in the Fifth Century A.D. . Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) believe the proper Christian symbol is Christ’s resurrection , not his crucifixion on the Cross. Many Mormon chapels feature paintings of the resurrected Christ or His Second Coming.

    · Christ’s Atonement: .

    But Mormons don”t term Catholics and Protestants “non-Christian”. . They believe Christ’s atonement in Gethsemane and on the Cross applies to all mankind. . The dictionary definition of a Christian is “of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”: . All of the above denominations are followers of Christ, and consider him divine, and the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.

    It”s important to understand the difference between Reformation and Restoration when we consider who might be authentic Christians. If members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) embrace early Christian theology , they are likely more “Christian” than their detractors.

    * * *

    · Christ-Like Lives: . . .The 2005 National Study of Youth and Religion published by UNC-Chapel Hill found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . LDS Evangelical
    Attend Religious Services weekly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71% . . . . 55%
    Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life –
    extremely important .. 52. . . . . . . 28
    Believes in life after death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 . . . . . . 62
    Believes in psychics or fortune-tellers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 . . . . . . 5
    Has taught religious education classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 . . . . . . 28
    Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 . . . . . . 22
    Sabbath Observance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 . . . . . . 40
    Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 . . . . . . 56
    Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 . . . . . . 19
    Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen
    (very supportive) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 . . . . . . 26
    Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping
    Teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality . . . . . 84 . . . . . . 35

  3. whatthecrap? Says:

    I think one very fundamental difference between Mormon theology and traditional Christian theology is that (and I may be mistaken in this but…), as far as I understand – Mormonism is not monotheistic. Traditional Christianity is very monotheistic and holds that there is ONLY one God. The concept of the Trinity states God is one – but has three parts.
    consider: http://www.contenderministries.org/biblestudy/trinity.php
    (in that article – please disregard the usage of the word cult in regards to Mormonism and JW. Like mentioned above – cult implies coercion and many other things that I believe are untrue of Mormonism and JW. I think the word has become a label and is unhelpful towards this discussion)
    And… http://www.contenderministries.org/mormonism/comparison.php
    There are distinct theological differences BUT as far as value systems, they are very similar.

  4. Governor Romney’s “Faith in America” Address « What The Crap? - whatthecrap.us Says:

    […] discussion on Mormonism. Posted in Conservatism, Controversial Crap, Serious Time, […]


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