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Are Mormons Christians?
The very fact that this question is asked shows something is amiss in Christendom. Jesus is the Savior of all mankind and invites all to follow Him. Followers of Christ should be banding together under His name to spread the gospel and goodwill to every nation and people. The question, 'Are Mormons Christian?' arises from petty squabbles over differing points of doctrine among Christian sects. The fact remains that Mormons claims that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Lord and Savior of all mankind, and Mormons strive to live the gospel as written in the New Testament.
The claim that Mormons are not Christian is mostly founded on particular definitions created according to the claimant's beliefs. One of the arguments denying Mormons are Christian claims that Mormons believe in a "different" Jesus. The trappings of history must be admitted by all. All that there is to know about Jesus was not recorded. The "proper" Jesus is known almost wholly from the writings in the Bible. The New Testament gives account of the ministry of Jesus and contains writings of the Apostles. What the Christian world knows about Jesus, it knows from the New Testament. Mormons believe all that is written in the Bible as the gospel and accept Jesus as the Savior. The exclusion comes from the belief in the nature of God and of Jesus Christ.
Most of those asking 'Are Mormons Christian?' believe according to the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity. This council redefined God according to Greek influences that the immaterial is more perfect than the corporeal, and thus God must be immaterial. It should also be noted that this decision came after it is claimed that revelation had ceased among men, so cannot be divinely sanctioned. Mormons do not believe this is the nature of God. What is written in Genesis 1:27 is not figurative. God possesses a body, not a mortal body of flesh and blood like man, but a perfect, immortal body. Moses spoke to God face to face because God has a face (Exodus 33:11). Likewise, Jesus is the literal Son of God, they are not of one substance but are Father and Son. Now resurrected, Jesus too possesses a perfect, immortal body like His Father. If this is what is meant by a "different" Jesus, then the difference must be admitted, but it is still Christian; and known by revelation, not subject to men's philosophical ponderings.
Another aspect of the question 'Are Mormons Christian?' deals with scripture. Those claiming the monopoly on belief in Christ believe that the Bible contains all that God wants to be known. Mormons believe in the Bible because it is the words of prophets, who are ever speaking on behalf of God. After Christ and the Apostles, it is generally thought among Christianity that revelation ceased. Either God had nothing more to say, or there were no more prophets and Apostles to receive it. Mormons believe the latter. For a long time there was no one on the earth with the proper priesthood authority that had been given to the Apostles by Jesus. As a result, Christianity was left to interpretation by those in power and sectarian divisions were the result.
Prophetic and Apostolic authority was restored to Joseph Smith in the 1820s. Under this same authority through which other prophets had written, Joseph Smith brought forth additional scriptures, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Those that ask 'Are Mormons Christian?' believe the Bible is complete and cannot be added to. There are several answers to this: The Bible is a compilation and was not written as a single book by its authors; when the scriptures cited (Deuteronomy 4:2, Revelation 22:18-19) were written, the Bible as it is now was not complete, so it was added to; the meaning of the passages is to not add to the gospel; etc. All Mormon scripture supports the belief in Jesus Christ and is in line with the gospel as found in the New Testament. There are several particulars that are not found in the Bible, which requires a belief in living prophets to accept them, but even these do not change the essential gospel message.
The debate asking 'Are Mormons Christian?' centers on the belief in continuing revelation. Mormons believe revelation ceased with the death of the Apostles and then was restored through Joseph Smith. The rest of Christianity believes that revelation ceased for good. Without revelation the doctrines were chosen by which much of Christianity defines itself today (and attempts to define others). Mormons believe these changes obscured many of the truths that were restored, not invented, by Joseph Smith, such as the nature of God and Jesus Christ, the organization of His church, and the ordinances necessary for salvation. Despite these differing doctrinal points, Christians follow Christ, and Mormons willingly share this distinction with any who claim it, whether the same consideration is returned or not.
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