You're probably aware of the great attention members of the media have given the word "cult" recently. The fact that Pastor Robert Jeffress, of the prestigious First Baptist Church of Dallas (TX), introduced Governor Rick Perry at the Family Research Council's "Values Voter Summit
" a few days ago doesn't make big news. However, when reporters surrounded Pastor Jeffress upon leaving the stage, the pastor correctly, kindly, and unwaveringly enumerated two important points. First, Reverend Jeffress declared that Christians should prefer Christians when considering who to cast a vote for. This is exactly what the first U.S. Secretary of State and first Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, wrote in 1816. As much as this rubs the leftist media the wrong way, what Jeffress stated next became the news story that completely overshadowed the rest of the Summit. Jeffress identified the beliefs of candidates Mitt Romney (and John Huntsman), who are both running for the GOP nomination, as cultic. In identifying Mormonism as a cult, Jeffress correctly articulated that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not now and never has been considered historically, doctrinally, or practically Christian. By the media's reaction, one would have thought that Jeffress use of the "C" word was akin to advocating Satan worship, a return to slavery, or giving kudos to Hitler!
Following Reverend Jeffress' comments about Mormonism, CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed the pastor on Friday, October 7. Frankly, it was ugly and my hat is off to Brother Jeffress for the gracious demeanor that he displayed in handling the snarky likes of Cooper. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chvz6ptT-ik
Saturday and Sunday passed and by Monday the media still hadn't had their fill of examining the dreaded, politically incorrect "C" word, and as Melanie and I drove south on I-35 leaving Minneapolis that day, I tuned in to find that the debate over whether Mormonism is a cult or not and whether or not the "C" word should be ever even be used had taken center stage on the world's #1 radio talk show, the Rush Limbaugh show.
One caller, who identified himself as a Mormon, told Rush's guest host, Mark Davis, that the definition of Christianity is to believe that Jesus is divine
. While this is of course exactly what Christians have rightly believed since the resurrection of the Lord, here's what Mormons aren't
bothering to tell us. Mormonism teaches that everyone
who joins the LDS Church, goes through the Mormon Temple rituals, and submits to Mormon authority can and will become "gods" or godlike themselves. Mormonism even states that Mormon men will become rulers of their own planets and will be married to celestial goddess wives to procreate and populate it ! For Mormons to tell us they believe Jesus is divine is certainly no stretch, but Christians who know better should press them to admit that the core of Mormonism is pantheistic and each man is taught that he's a god in the making.
As I listened to the Limbaugh show that day I wanted desperately to shout to every listener "The Mormon caller isn't telling you everything!" In fact, godhood for mankind isn't something Mormons just happen to overlook during conversations with others. Virtually all Mormons know what The Law of Eternal Progression is and they know
how outrageous it sounds to the world.Mormonism Quest for Godhood...
In something known by Mormons as the Lorenzo Snow "cuplet," Mormonism breaks away from Christianity like a raging bull on the streets of Pamplona! Snow, fifth President of the Mormon Church, was merely repeating what Mormon founder, Joseph Smith taught in his famous "King Follett Discourse" and what was later reiterated authoritatively by Brigham Young. It states, "As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become."
That is Mormonism boiled down to a statement - The Law of Eternal Progression
. Besides the addition of three books that Mormons claim are perfect (leaving the Bible as a flawed distant fourth) and the fact that the Mormon "Jesus" is identified as "the spirit brother of Lucifer," the belief in eternal godhood for all who traverse the rituals and intense works of Mormonism will forever demand that biblical Christians reject Mormonism and identify it clearly just as Pastor Jeffress did, as a CULT.
The media's treatment of Robert Jeffress was for the most part unconscionable. But who among us believes that many of the atheist left in the media have a conscience to consider anyway? What the media's disdain for Jeffress signaled is that everyone of any stature in Christianity had better take a deep breath, parse their words carefully, and do their best Joel Osteen impersonation the next time they allow the evil "C" word to cross their minds - or leave their lips - when referring to anyone high-profile such as Mitt Romney. But God help us if the Romney/Cult debate impedes anyone from correctly identifying the beliefs and practices of Mormonism as cultic. It should be quite the opposite instead. If we don't call false teaching out, who's going to? And if the authentic Church is silent, then untold numbers of unsuspecting and duped people will perceive that Mormons are indeed Christians and that we're no different from them.
I understand how uncomfortable some well-meaning Christians might be about one of our own leaders, like Robert Jeffress, being the target of lampooning and ridicule by prominent members of the press. Many in our ranks have drunk the kool-aid of "be positive, never point out false beliefs, just say 'other religions are God's business to deal with,'" etc, etc. However, as this event and the media's misunderstood exploration of it unfolded, I kept thinking, "This is really a good thing! Mormonism is being examined and at least some folks are hearing that some of us over here in Christianity do not cotton to Mormons claiming to be us."
The problem is that neither Anderson Cooper, Mark Davis - or anybody else that I am aware of who commentated on the Jeffress/Mormonism/Cult debate - seemed to understand what a "cult" actually is! And those who I believe do
understand the true nature of Mormonism, such as Glenn Beck, are playing the same line as the Mormon caller to the Limbaugh show. By the way, when Beck took the stage at the close of the Value Voters Summit he immediately waded into the discussion of Jeffress' freshly made comments.AFA News
reported, "Beck, founder of Glenn Beck TV, delivered a 39-minute speech at the conclusion of the event. In a tearful moment, he defended his Mormon faith as he referred to Pastor Jeffress' remarks. "'People have come onto this stage and been for and against, I guess, members of my faith,' Beck stated. 'I celebrate their right to say those things in America. I am a proud member of the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior -- he redeemed me.'"
Beck, a temple Mormon himself, knows
what Mormons believe. He understands the rhetoric being promoted by the LDS Church, and he's been a master at convoluting the distinctions that, in reality, forever separate orthodox Christianity from the cult founded by Joseph Smith. Just as false religion has always done, Beck and the Mormons use phrases and terms that have been standard for Christians but they've attached radically different definitions to the words they use. In this, Beck has been perhaps the most valuable tool that the LDS hierarchy have in their skillful promotion and redefinition of themselves as "Christian." (By the way, aren't you just a little bit tired of those tears?)So, What IS a Cult?
In my teaching on how liberalism commandeered the mainline denominations and seminaries in the mid-19th century, I give a polemical definition of the word "cult." It could be much more detailed and extensive but here's at least an abbreviated definition from my message "The MOST Dangerous Cult
is a group that believes doctrines other than the central or essential doctrines of Christianity as taught by the Bible.A cult
usually has a strong authoritarian leader(s).A cult
adds to or subtracts from biblical truth.A cult
always depends on good "works" for acceptance, redemption, salvation, etc.
As the news cycle swirled around the great controversy Jeffress caused by simply speaking the truth, most of the commentators gave a definition for the "C" word but it surely wasn't one based in facts, let alone the Bible. Of course, this is exactly what we could expect. The most used descriptor of a "cult" during this debate was equating a cult to something physically dangerous to the public such as People Temple leader Jim Jones, the Branch Davidian's David Koresh, or to some sort of satanism. However, to qualify as cultic one doesn't have to kill 913 people in the jungle. Biblical Christians need to make that point early and often when discussing false religions like Mormonism. If a religion is spiritually bankrupt and leads people into a godless eternity, it's certainly just as dangerous as a group that slashes the throats of innocent people. The media, even many whom we find much agreement with, have sanitized the "C" word and demanded that the imaginary lines they have constructed should never be crossed. The "keepers of truth" who feed us their skewed philosophy by what they deem as newsworthy (i.e. political correctness) will continue to vilify anyone who dares use the "C" word in describing a person, his beliefs, or a publicly respected entity such as the LDS Church. However, I can't help it and hope you'll join me in thanking Robert Jeffress, for Mormonism is a slick and dangerous cult and following it leads everyone who does so to eternal destruction.
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