As I was reflecting on some of the reasons why our Evangelical Christian critics insist that Mormons are not Christians, I began to realize that many of the issues raised ultimately boil down to how all-powerful and all-loving we really believe Christ is. When put in that perspective, it seems downright ridiculous to dismiss us as Christians for some of these things. Consider five here…
1. Salvation for the Dead
Critics: Mormons are not Christians because they believe that even after death we have a chance for salvation, and so they perform baptism for the dead so that their ancestors can be saved.
Response: You mean that because we believe that Christ’s atonement is so powerful that He can – and that His love is so great that He will – even save those who could not accept Him in life (but then did accept Him in the life after), we are not Christians?
Critics: Mormons are not Christians because they believe that men can achive Godhood, becoming gods just like God Himself
Response: You mean that because we believe that Christ’s atonement is so powerful that He can – and that His love is so great that he will – truly make those who accept Him free and clean from sin, spotless, and perfect, even as the Father is perfect; that He can – and will – make His followers gods; that He can – and does – offer Godhood to those who fully accept Him, we are not Christians?
3. Degrees of Glory or Universal Salvation/Resurrection
Critics: Mormons are not Christians because they believe in a universal salvation and resurrection – even to those who do not accept Christ! They also believe that those who do not accept Christ will receive a degree of glory.
Response: You mean that because we believe that Christ’s atonement is so powerful that He can – and that His love is so great that he will – resurrect and save (so some degree) even those who do not accept Him, that He can – and will – offer some degree of salvation to everyone, we are not Christians?
4. Additional Scripture
Critics: Mormons are not Christians because they believe that there is more scripture (primarily the Book of Mormon) than just the Bible
Response: You mean that because we believe Christ is so powerful that He could – and His love is so great that He did – call prophets among another civilization, one here in the Americas; that He could – and did – show Himself to them so they too could know that they have been reconciled back to God; that He could – and did – provide the record of their history for us to be able to learn from their experiences; that He could – and did – call a prophet and provide more authoritative revelation (scripture) in our modern era, for our modern era; and that He can – and does – continue to call prophets and apostles to testify of Him, we are not Christians?
5. Keeping the Commandments
Critics: Mormons are not Christians because they put too much emphasis on works and keeping the commandments, and they believe it affects their salvation.
Response: You mean to say that because we love Christ so much that we strive to follow everything He has taught us; we believe it is important to keep His commandments and strive to become better, even to become like Him, we are not Christian?
The purpose of this little exercise is not to demean, belittle, or put down the faith that others have in Christ, nor is it meant to suggest that others limit the power or love of Christ. All this is meant to do is show two things: (a) how everything we believe – even things that others think seem “non-Christian” – are ultimately rooted in our faith in Jesus Christ, the love He has for all, and the power of His atonement, and (b) how ridiculous it is to suggest we are non-Christians for these Christ centered beliefs.
Obviously, I haven’t even come close to addressing every little thing our critics complain about when we try to insist we are Christians, and I readily admit that much of this is an oversimplification of both the criticism and the actual LDS belief. Still, I think this sufficiently makes my point.