Unity: An object lesson

Last week I preached a message about biblical unity based on Ephesians 4:1-16. In that message we saw the importance of like-minded, sound doctrine in Christian unity. The world calls us to drop our beliefs so that we all just get along, really for the sake of the human race. However, the Scriptures make clear we are not created for ourselves. We are created to glorify God.

Now, our tendency as humans, and as human Christians, is to see things in such a linear fashion that we become myopic to the dangers right under our noses. This is how we lose the Gospel for the sake of moralism. What I mean by this is we make the biblical message more therapeutic, and “how to” focused than about the Gospel and following Christ as God-exalters, and idol-killers. We will take stories of Jonah, or Joseph, and even accounts with Christ, and teach them (and learn them) as if they are methods in how to deal with life’s adverse circumstances instead of God’s redemptive story. Without paying close attention we make the stories about us, rather than about God and His reconciling work through His son, Jesus Christ.

Enter Glenn Beck. Last Saturday, there was a gathering of many national religious and political figures in Washington to promote a return to the core values of our great country and call the nation to return to God. In the political / entertainment sphere, I’ve listened to Beck before. Many times I’ve found myself agreeing with his points but having issue with the vitriol and tenor of his argument. I can appreciate that such a figure would want to use his position to express his convictions, even religious. He has the right to do so, and, in that sense, is right to do so.

However, there is a great danger in what transpired last Saturday and since. Glenn Beck is a professed and practicing Mormon. He does not worship the God of the Bible. He worships the god of the Book of Mormon, which holds the same level of revelation for the Mormon (as said on the LDS website). Mormonism is not in the vein of Christianity and is labeled a “cult” by many organizations because of the denial of the sole authority of the Scriptures and the deity of Jesus Christ.

I am not saying that those we agree with politically have to have our same religious beliefs. God provides governing authorities for our good (Romans 13) and those authorities are not always Christian. My issue is the apparent unification of many since Saturday in a call for national revival, and I feel like many Christians are compromising their doctrine because they are (mostly) conservative politically, find a familiar voice in Beck, and have a general sense that the message is about right.

If Saturday’s event was about a grass roots political event and an invocation to God was made, then Christians could and should have participated as they desired according to their conscience. But that’s not what Saturday was. Saturday was a call to revival of the country to God. But do we stand alongside those who call us to return to a different God than the one of Scripture? Do we just generally think that, “Well, it’s not that big of deal. We’re in a mess and God will work it all out. We just need to stand together.”

We do need to turn to God. Christians need to repent of idolizing the things of the world, including their politics. Christians need to feel more regret over the sins of their churches than political agendas. Scripture says that judgment begins with the house of God, and the house of God is comprised ONLY of those who have purchased by the blood of our Redeemer, the God-man, Jesus Christ. The Jesus of Mormonism could not have satisfied such a redemption.

Christians should be involved in politics. Christianity should affect how Christians govern and follow. But when Christians begin to compromise the doctrines of Scripture simply because an invigorated, charismatic political figure seeks the unity of all who claim to follow God, then I believe we have allowed the same spirit of pluralism and syncretism to infect our ranks as that of the secular humanist.

We better be careful. God called His own to be distinct and not mingle with other gods. This OT message is echoed in 1 Cor. 10 as a warning to the New Testament church. Sure, this issue was idol meats, and, therefore, idols. But do we think that God will simply wink and nod because the “different” god that we associate with is oh so close to Him? This is where separation of church and state needs to be carefully examined by those who claim the name of Christ.

On another note, how indicting is it of Christianity, with our history of historic revivals and outpourings of the Spirit of God, that a Mormon is beckoning this call? We need to repent, fall our faces, and cry out to God. But make no mistake. That’s not the USA that call goes out to. It goes out to the church of the living God as revealed in the Old and New Testaments.

23 thoughts on “Unity: An object lesson

  1. I’m a 59 year-old that has been a member of the Mormon Church all my life and have studied, taught, and practiced it’s doctrines. You’ll not find a church on earth that is more “Christian” than the Mormon Church. We study the Bible right along with the Book of Mormon and worship the very same God that you do. You won’t find another Church on earth that is more involved in humanitarian work or that tries harder to be Christ centered. The Mormon Church is not a cult–please do better research before you slander. Glenn Beck is a Mormon, but many Mormons don’t agree with his demeanor or politics. Do you agree with the politics of everyone that attends your Church? Let’s stick to the doctrines of Christ and quit the mud slinging. The world is desperately in need of moral and spiritual strength, not more name calling and judging. May the Lord bless you in your righteous efforts.

    Please have the courage to post this to set the record straight.

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    • I certainly don’t agree that there was mudslinging, and my statement had little to do with politics, except speaking to those in my own faith who can often allow their political beliefs exceed their religious beliefs in fervor and passion. I would still stand by saying that traditionally, and biblically speaking, Mormonism is not a Christian religion. The fact that the Book of Mormon is also considered the “Word of God” and that Mormons denounce the full deity of Christ, puts it in another category (I believe your own religion would have to consider me a heretic because I categorically reject the Book of Mormon as the Word of God on any level). I respect your disagreement with me in this, but I will not waver, and if you would like to continue on the doctrines of Christ, let’s go there quickly.

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  2. I am not offended by your post, but I am very saddened that you have this opinion of the Mormon church and that you are sharing it with others. I am a Mormon, and have been one all of my life. I found this post because I am teaching a lesson on Ephesians and unity and came across this. Just because the Mormon church has another book of scripture, does not mean that we do not believe in Jesus Christ. I know that Christ is my Savior, I know that he suffered for me in Gethsemane, and I know that he died for me on the cross. It has been said over and over again that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our religion. We read and cherish the Bible, and I have felt the Spirit many times as I have read about the life of Jesus in the New Testament. Please do some reseach on our church before you print such false statements as this. You could not write a more false statement then to claim that Mormons are not Christians.

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    • The foundational truth (running through historic Christianity) that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, fully, not a part or portion, is essential in being associated with Christianity. As well, the Scriptures alone of the Old and New Testaments give the revelation of who God is, and His redemptive story in Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. Any addition to that revelation immediate takes a group outside the confines of historic Christianity.

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  3. WOW! Thanks for being such a “Christian” and ragging on Mormons who are also Christians. We worship the same God and Jesus Christ as you.Try to find somewhere on lds.org where they say negative about the Baptist religion. I was looking on your site for info about unity for my daughter retreat this weekend. I am sorry we are not united as Christians in Christ.

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    • With your sarcasm aside, I still just respectfully disagree. The foundational truth (running through historic Christianity) that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, fully, not a part or portion, is essential in being associated with Christianity. As well, the Scriptures alone of the Old and New Testaments give the revelation of who God is, and His redemptive story in Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. Any addition to that revelation immediate takes a group outside the confines of historic Christianity.

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  4. My Catholic father and Baptist mother taught me to focus on the good in others adding that that’s what Christ would do. I certainly wouldn’t cast the first stone at the Mormons. They’re the good guys.

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    • It’s not name-calling. It’s simply stating how church history has dealt with the term “Christianity.” If you speak of moral “good” I wouldn’t disagree that Mormons appear to be very moral and ethical, on the whole. But Christ made plain that there is no one good in action or heart apart from Him. And when I say “Him” I don’t mean following Him as an example. I mean trusting that Christ, fully God and fully man, came and lived the perfect life I could never live to satisfy God’s righteous requirements for His people, and dying an unjust death (yet one I deserved) to satisfy the holy penalty for any and all sin, blood sacrifice. If we reject Christ as fully God and fully man we’ve rejected His sufficient ability to satisfy the righteous requirements of God. I don’t see where Christ in Scripture only focused on others’ good alone…He called the Pharisees “broods and vipers” and even those He healed He commanded to “go and sin no more.” To be silent toward others (not judging) and sin is to be un-Christlike and assume the best about people when Paul tells us in Romans 3 that “none are righteous, no not one” and goes on to speak of the universality of sinfulness against a God who deserves glory. Therefore, we need righteousness and that doesn’t come from ethics or morals or good teaching, it comes from Christ alone, the Christ revealed in the Scriptures.

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  5. Your information regarding the beliefs of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints (Mormon) is erroneous. I hope and pray any readers will take the time to prayerfully examine the doctrines of the church before passing judgment on it as you have done. Let us love one another and follow our Savior by feeding His sheep as He has asked us to do. Misrepresentation and criticism will get us nowhere.
    Jo Greer
    Life time member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints

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    • I appreciate you writing. I don’t believe I’ve passed judgment as much as stated the facts. Do you profess that Jesus Christ is God (not A god) in the flesh? Do you profess that faith in Christ alone saves, apart from works (though, true believers live out their faith)? Do you profess that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are solely sufficient as God’s Word, denying that the Book of Mormon is equal in inspiration to the Bible?

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      • Why is it so hard to believe in a Heavenly Father who loves all His children? In the New Testament John declared “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16). Why would Heavenly Father not speak to the people on other continents and share the gospel with them? That’s what the Book of Mormon is. The words of God to, and history of, the people that lived on the American continents; just as the Bible is the word of God to, and history of, the people on the other side of the world. Jesus Christ is the Son of God just as the New Testament teaches. James 2:26 “…faith without works is dead…” We have to do all we can do along with our faith to become like Christ. If you want to know the truth about the restoration of Christ’s church in the latter-days go to the source, not someone trying to explain away the thruthfullness that Christ came to earth to teach. An apostasy happened, just as prophecied in the Bible and the Gospel was restored, just as was prophecied in the Bible. It’s all there, all you have to do is read the scriptures for yourself and not believe it just because a pastor told you. Do a little research on the Nicene Creed and you’ll realize it is less religious and more political and just men deciding what they should believe so they could stop the fighting between religious sects. God is a God of revelation, He doesn’t change, and there are men on the earth today that receive that revelation just as in the days of the Old Testament. That is amazing and something that should bring joy to all who want to come unto Him. He will manifest the truth to anyone willing to ask and humble enough to receive.

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      • “Do you profess that Jesus Christ is God (not A god) in the flesh? Do you profess that faith in Christ alone saves, apart from works (though, true believers live out their faith)? Do you profess that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are solely sufficient as God’s Word, denying that the Book of Mormon is equal in inspiration to the Bible?”

        Christian in my opinion is believing in Christ. It’s trying to act as the Savior would want us to. All the things you mentioned above don’t negate my belief in Jesus Christ. Why should a different view on grace be a defining point on being Christian? I still believe that I can only be saved through Jesus Christ after all I can do. Who sets these rules about what doctrines qualify us as Christians? I have faith in and love Jesus Christ. I am a Christian.

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  6. This definitely has turned into an object lesson for unity! …Which is why I came to this site. Congratulations….I have seen first hand how to destroy unity and might consider sharing your so heart felt methods! NOT!

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  7. Hello there. I stumbled upon your page here as I am teaching a lesson on Ephesians Chapter 4 tomorrow at church. I read through your post as well as the comments that have been made and I thought I would clarify a little more about the “Mormon” church. The correct name, is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as well as the Book of Mormon. We study the King James version of the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. By far my favorite books are in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) as I love learning about the life of Christ. I’m not sure how much you know about the Book of Mormon, but it is a record of the people who lived on the American Continent during the same time the Bible was being written. People here in America knew of Christ. In fact there is record of our Savior visiting the Americas as a Resurrected being shortly after being crucified and resurrected in Jerusalem and in between the time he appeared to the Apostles in Jerusalem he also appeared in the Americas and taught the people here. In essence the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ in addition to the Bible. Just like if you and another one of your Pastors testified of Christ and made a record of it, yet living in separate locations, one would not be better than the other just because of where it was written. It’s the same thing with the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Both are special witnesses of the Savior, written by Prophets, just from separate locations. In fact both books testify of the other. In Ezekiel 37:15-22 it makes mention that both the Bible and Book of Mormon would be companion scriptures, testifying of Christ. I would encourage you to read at least 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. This is the part when Christ visits the Americas after his resurrection. Once you read it then ask God whether it’s true or not. I have taken that challenge. I have read both the Bible and Book of Mormon and prayed about both individually and I know and have a testimony that both come from God and both were meant for us today. I can tell you are a great person and my guess is if you could get your hands on additional scripture you would be ecstatic. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father provided both scriptures for us. I wish you the best of luck in everything you do.

    Sincerely,

    McKay Ercanbrack

    Here is a link to give you more information:

    http://mormon.org/beliefs/book-of-mormon?gclid=CMGpuO68hrkCFeZxQgod4AcAYg&CID=33371010&s_kwcid=AL!3737!3!23873311455!b!!g!!%20christ%20%20america&ef_id=UP2@gQAAX8Oc2CA@:20130818073054:s

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  8. I find it very strange that many Christian religions exist (Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics, etc.) with the very name of their church representing something other than Jesus Christ. Yet, with the very name of “The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints”, people still try to declare that our faith does not worship Jesus and is not Christian.

    From skimming through the previous comments, I would just add one thought for the Pastor. It appears that you are taking your perception on certain aspects of the Bible and of Christian history and passing them off as fact. Example: “The foundational truth (running through historic Christianity) that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, fully, not a part or portion, is essential in being associated with Christianity.” Says who? Who formally decided what is associated with being Christian? (And I know your answer, and I’d agree: Christ. However, what Christ taught comes from the scriptures, which, as we’ve all seen, can be interpreted differently by different people.) Many Christian religions interpret the Godhead in different ways. To say that YOUR way is essential in being associated with Christianity is not only arrogance, but, in my opinion, divisive and unChristlike.

    I am not posting this to be argumentative, but to give food for thought. I do appreciate all religions that promote good. I accept other Christians as my brethren and sisters in Christ. I only send this post to possibly open your eyes to the fact that “Mormons” are very much a Christ-centered people. If we have slight variations on doctrine, then let us focus on the big picture–that we are professed followers of Christ. This does not mean that we are perfect, but keep in mind the fact that we are all struggling along in the earthly existence trying to live as Christ has taught, and to support and love each other does far more good than to tear down or divide.

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  9. I also have been a member of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day all of my life. For any to say that the “Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Christ “is not Christian is simply ignorant.The Book testified of Christ on nearly every page and by every prophetic writer testifies of Christ. I want to ask those who believe that God would speak only to the Jews in one small part of the world and not to others at other times if this in fact makes sense to them.?Is God so limited that he spake only to the Jewish nation? You know that he spake to Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham and others. Then why not to many in the New World as well? Are the revelatons God gave to others many many years ago sufficient for us in our day? Is God so limited that he would only speak to one small part of the world and not others. If you believe God is so limited then you are right we do not worship the same God. Mormons worship the true and living God not some limited being that only speaks to one small nation or people. Open your heart and mind and you will find that God truly is all powerful and that he has sopken to “other sheep” and will yet speak to many more.

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    • This has nothing to do with God’s limitations. It has to do with the record of the Old and New Testaments being a sufficient testimony of God without any other record added to it. As well, Jesus Christ alone is the sole provider of salvation because of His full deity and full humanity. The Scriptures and historic Christianity agree with one another that to deny Christ’s full deity OR full humanity is outside of the orthodox Christian view. Christ, who He is and what He’s done is revealed in the Holy Scriptures alone and apart from trusting in the gospel revealed in the Scriptures there is no salvation and, therefore, no real Christianity. God spoke to exactly who He wanted to speak to and made a promise to Abraham to fulfill His purposes through His eventual offspring, which, as Paul articulated in Galatians 3 & 4, is actually Christ Himself, fully God, fully man. If there is a limitation God has set it is that salvation is found in no one else than Jesus Christ. Compare the record and preservation of the Old and New Testaments up against the massive revisions and rejections the Book of Mormon has taken over the decades and see how they stack up. If there is one contradiction (and there are many) between the testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Old and New Testaments, it does not pass the test of acceptability.

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  10. You are so misinformed. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I read the Bible a lot and I worship the God of the Bible. How can you tell me I don’t? Do you know my heart?

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    • Nope. I don’t know your heart. I do know the core tenets of Mormonism and as long as you reject that Jesus Christ is FULLY God and FULLY man, equal with God (not some broken off piece of God), then the salvation you profess is in an insufficient savior. This is just historical orthodoxy, not some personal comment on your sincerity. I certainly rejected Christ prior to conversion, so there’s nothing inherent in my ability to believe as much. Simply enough, historically Christian orthodoxy would patently reject the Book of Mormonism as anything but erroneous, holding no authority on par with, or in complement, to the Bible and its 66 canonized books. So, as surely as you may defend your position, I would say if your defense is in a “lesser” Christ than is revealed in the Holy Bible, then your telling me what I CANNOT say, claiming I’m misinformed, then you will simply need to defend your position up against the Bible as accepted historically, NOT according to any revelation of the Book of Mormon.

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