Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Christianity Question - Part I

     Since we are now hot and heavy into the race for the GOP nomination it seems that once again the old (getting really old) question about whether or not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are real or false Christians is being scrutinized in the media.

    One reverend Jeffress decided to lay it out and tell his 10,000 member congregation and news media and those interested in the candidates competing for the Republican nomination that, among other things, Mormonism is a "theological cult",  and that Americans should want a true Christian for president (i.e. Rick Perry) as opposed to a false Christian (i.e. Mitt Romney). 
       I ran across an e-mail my DH wrote to a Mr. Bill Hemmer, anchor at Fox & Friends, to make the case that the LDS church is indeed and should be considered Christian.  DH cited some of the criteria Jeffress used to make his claims about the invalidity of LDS Christianity:  I loved it and so I am sharing his reasoning here.  It makes sense to me!
     "Mormonism was invented 1800 years after Jesus Christ and the founding of Christianity..."   If you look at the three largest groups that represent Christianity throughout the world - Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and find the following:
Originally the Roman Catholic Church was part of the Orthodox Church.  A division occurred in 1054 A.D. wherein the church was divided into east (Greek) and west branches (Latin), which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church (east) and the Roman Catholic Church (west).  This event is known as the "Great Schism".  It happened because of political, ecclesiastical and theological differences and disputes.
     Therefore, even within the origins of Christianity and the largest Christian denomination in the world, differences in doctrine split the church into entities that remain to this day.  The third group mentioned, Protestantism, is a movement based on rebellion against the Roman Catholic church.
     If the three primary groups of Christianity throughout the world cannot see eye-to-eye on Christian doctrines and the interpretations thereof, and Christian practices/ordinances are not consistent between the three to this day, and if divisions within the ranks and the establishment of the major Christian denominations occurred 1054 years and 1500 yeas after the death of Jesus Christ, is it so far-fetched for another Christian religion to evolve in 1830 A.D. (Mormonism)?
     " Mormonism has a human leader vs. a divine leader, Joseph Smith..."   Yes, Joseph Smith was the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), yet his designation as a leader of the faith is no different than the Pope being the leader of the Catholic church.  In both cases, a man leads the church in this capacity; to communicate the will of God to the people.  In the case of the Catholic church, the pope is deemed to act in conjunction with Deity to provide instruction, counsel, interpretation, etc. to their members and to the world.  So it is with the Latter-day Saint, they have prophets who speak the Word of God to their members, originating with Joseph Smith. 
     Should Joseph Smith be considered any less a legitimate founder of a religion than Martin Luther and John Calvin, founders of Protestantism?  Can he not be afforded the same degree of acknowledgment in that God may have chosen to speak to him, and through him, regarding His will and His doctrine? 
     There were others who founded Christian religions centuries after Christ's death; King Henry VIII - Anglican Church of England (1534); John Knox - Presbyterian Church (1580) John Smith - The Baptist Church (1606); John Wesley - The Methodist Church (1774).   All of these Christian denominations were founded by a human leader.  The Baptist Church, Mr. Jeffress' denomination, was not founded until 1606 A.D., 1500+ years after Christ.  The "leader" of the Mormon faith is indicated in the official name of the religion, that is, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."  It is also interesting to note that of all the faiths mentioned, not one of them contain the name of the Savior and Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, in their name.  If Jesus Christ is the head of any church or religion, should not the church/religion be called in his name?
     Those are just two of the criticisms Mr. Jeffress had.  Both of these criticisms I believe to be invalid.  I love the Savior, Jesus Christ.  I believe that through Him is the only way to make it back to live in the presence of Heavenly Father. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It provides the teachings, ordinances and keys I need to make it back to Heaven someday.  What can be more Christian than that?  I will have more in an upcoming post!


Cookie said...

that was so interesting! You can write about it so well!
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Jamie said...

I'm continually surprised that this is still an issue....