Can A Mormon Be A Christian?

I don’t believe that I can really answer this question – but, I can dance around for a bit.

According to the Bible, the word “Christian” is simply another name for a disciple of Jesus (Acts 11:26).  But, what is a “disciple of Jesus?”  Well, I think that we could safely define a “disciple of Jesus” as someone who is committed to following the teachings of Jesus.  This is without respect to nationality, gender, social status, and such.  Anyone can choose to become a disciple of Jesus – or reject His teachings.

Now, I believe that it is quite possible for a person to be a follower of Jesus, yet still be wrong about some things.  For example, in Acts 19, Paul encountered some disciples in upper Ephesus who had not heard of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and had only been baptized with the baptism of John – not Jesus.  Paul was quick to correct them about these crucial matters.  But what is interesting, is that these Ephesians were called “disciples” – or followers of Jesus – before Paul even corrected them!

Another example is found in Paul’s scathing letter to the Galatians.  He calls them “brethren,” yet points out that they have been “bewitched” (Gal 3:1) and were beginning to follow another gospel (Gal 1:6).  Obviously, they were wrong, yet Paul still seemed to consider them his brethren in the faith.

So, am I suggesting that the Mormons are simply wrong Christians?  Not really.  I am only saying that it is possible for a follower of Jesus to be wrong – even about important things.  God is going to have to work out the question of whether or not someone was a true disciple of Jesus.  That is not something that I will ever know.

That being said, my chief complaint against Mormonism would be against one of its central documents: The Book of Mormon.  Joseph Smith, Jr allegedly dictated this book after a visit from the angel Moroni.  Mormons read the Book of Mormon with the same level of respect as they do the New Testament, and Smith is viewed as a prophet.  But, should the book be viewed as inspired?

The books of our New Testament were written either by apostles (those who personally knew Jesus), or by someone so closely associated with an apostle that the book bears the apostles “fingerprints.”

Since the Book of Mormon was not written by an apostle, or someone close to an apostle, it does not ascend to the level of authority as the books of the New Testament.  Furthermore, there is no evidence that Smith was a true prophet.  On the contrary, it is well documented that Smith made numerous predictions which failed to come to pass.  A true prophet of God does not make false prophecies (Duet. 18:21-22).  Therefore, Smith cannot be considered a true prophet of God.

Since Smith was neither an apostle nor a prophet, I cannot regard his writings as being inspired.  Any teaching of his that deviates from the teachings of the apostles must be disregarded – even if it came from an angel! (Gal 1:8).

I believe many Mormon doctrines are false.  They teach many things about Jesus that the apostles did not believe.  As a result, anyone involved in Mormonism will have a more difficult time being a disciple of Jesus.  But whether or not they can still be considered a Christian is something that God will decide.





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