Once again, I’ve had someone kindly explain to me why my faith in Christ doesn’t make me a Christian. Here is an email I received this week:
My name is ****, and I just recently came across your website, www.jefflindsay.com , and I must say I took issue with a lot of the things you had to say.
But most prominently, your claim that Mormons are Christians.
This is an untrue claim because the LDS church rejects some of the most fundamental Christian doctrines. Being a Christian is not simply whether you claim Christ as your Lord and Savior, because Jesus said “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 7:21). He says only those who do the will of His Father. Christianity is not about what you say, but what you do. That’s why James says “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20; 2:26).
We are saved not by works, but only by faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9). If your denomination rejects this principle, it is not legitimately Christian. If we interpret Scripture by Scripture, we will realize that works cannot save us. When James says “faith without works is dead,” he was saying that works are the evidence of our faith. We are saved *unto* good works, not *by* good works.
Also, the LDS church rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is a key doctrine for any legitimate Christian denomination. The Trinity, though not explicitly taught in Scripture, is implicitly taught. For instance, we get our first clear indication of the Trinity in Matthew 3:16-17. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9). This statement would not make sense if Jesus and God were merely one in mind and intention. He says “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” They are one and the same. Jesus also said, “I and the Father are one,” (John 10:30). He doesn’t say “I and the Father are one in mind and intention,” but He said “I and the Father are one.” Period. Additionally, all the Jewish leaders knew that Jesus was claiming to be God. That’s why they wanted Him put to death. There was no doubt in their minds that this Jesus was “blaspheming” by claiming to be God.
I understand that you don’t know me, and I’m pretty much coming from out of left field here, but I really felt compelled to e-mail you about this website I came across. There are definitely more essential doctrines rejected by the LDS church, but I didn’t want to bombard you right now. I would love for you to reply back to me and tell me what you think, and perhaps open a dialogue where we could discuss these matters.
I am increasingly tempted to just delete these, but shot off a quick reply anyway:
I absolutely believe that it is only through the grace of Christ that we are saved, and that we cannot possibly earn our way to heaven. But to accept the grace He offers, we seek to follow Him. Why did He say that we must “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” when asked what one does to have eternal life in Matthew 19?
But how is it that a disagreement over how one interprets scripture can be used to deny someone’s status as Christians? What is your definition of Christian? Someone who believes only exactly the way you do? What does the Bible give as the definition of “Christian”?
We fully agree with the Christ’s statement that to see Him is to see the Father. But there are several ways it can be interpreted. What is your basis for requiring that the only way one can be Christian is to accept a formal creed crafter 400 years after Christ by bickering philosophers, when that creed is not found in the Bible but is based on human interpretations of scripture combined with Greek philosophy? What of Christians who accept what Christ said when He said he was going to ascend to His father in John 20:17, or accept what Stephen saw when in Acts 7 he saw Christ at the right hand of the Father? Is it not possible that two Beings are one in some way other than the metaphysical union of the creeds? Is accepting those verses literally cause for exclusion from your particular definition of Christian? And what about Christ explaining that Christians should be one in the same way He and His Father are one (John 17)? Doesn’t that suggest a oneness other than metaphysical oneness of substance devoid of a tangible body? Why should accepting a reasonable interpretation of the oneness God other than the metaphysical postulates of 5th-century creeds result in condemnation as a non-Christian? Is there a Biblical basis for any of this?
So what is the true definition of Christian – one that would not exclude the earliest Christians of all who don’t seem to have hear of modern Protestant views?
FYI, I have a page dealing in more detail on the oneness and unity of God.