My brother recently vacationed in Utah and visited some of the Mormon sites, including the Mormon Tabernacle. He was quite convinced that they are Christian. I explained to him that they are not and introduced him to your website. Question he asked was about the Mormon Tabernacle choir. They sing Christian music, including songs we hear in our church, and of course their famous Christmas concerts. Is this part of their deception? Do they believe they are Christian? One more item. Do preachers such as Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer,etc. truly believe what they are preaching is Biblical? Do they not fear they will be judged on what they are doing?Mark:
My first and strongest suggestion is that you get a copy of my recently-published book on Mormonism. Mormonism: What does the evidence and testimony reveal? It is available at www.ipibooks.com
In this book you will find many reasons that I believe Mormonism is not a Christian religion, although they certainly do claim to be following Jesus. They teach that we all can be gods one day and that we can be a god like Jesus is a god (small g). They have other really bizarre teachings about the afterlife, celestial marriages and a number of temple practices that are beyond bizarre! This is NOT a Christian religion.
Do they believe they are Christian? Obviously they do. In fact, they teach that they are the ONLY Christians. They teach that Christianity was completely lost from perhaps as early as the second or third century and that it was re-established by Joseph Smith when he formed the Latter-Day Saints in 1830. Of course, believing something does not make it true, but they do believe they are Christian.
About the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, this is a truly wonderful musical group. They sing inspirational songs. I would guess that the majority of the members of this singing group are sincere in their faith, but, unfortunately, their faith is in Joseph Smith, which is clearly a misplaced faith. We should not be swayed by sentiment and by good singing into throwing away the most basic Christian truths. These truths exclude Mormons from the Christian faith. Is their music deceptive? I would say no because they are not lying, at least not directly. The claim to represent their particular brand of religion and I assume (using the Golden Rule) that they are sincere in their faith, so to accuse them of deception seems unfair. They may be deceived, but I do not believe that they are willfully attempting to deceive us, although I suppose this could be debatable.
It is not my place to judge particular individuals such as Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer and the like. What I will say is that these folks teach the prosperity gospel and a faith-only (ie without true repentance) salvation and therefore, I will reject their false teaching, but I will leave God to judge them as individuals, as I do not know them personally. The prosperity gospel is the teaching that the natural result of faith in Jesus is we will have financial success and good health and a blessed life in a sense that the world considers blessed. This is not taught in the Bible. Christians are not promised financial success or good health. We are promised salvation and a relationship with God, but not necessarily a life free of suffering. Also, being mainstream evangelical, these teachers promote the idea of praying Jesus into our heart, which is never found in scripture. They teach a faith-only salvation which does not require that the individual commit their entire life to Jesus, but is a mere “acceptance” of the salvation of Jesus. This cheap grace is not taught in the New Testament. We should reject these false teachings and teach the true Christian gospel.
Do Osteen, Dollar and Meyer sincerely believe what they teach? I honestly do not know, but, again, using the Golden Rule, I will assume unless I know differently, that they are sincere. If they are sincere, then I assume that they do not fear they will be judged for what the teach, although all of us who teach ought to judge ourselves more strictly (James3:1). All of us ought to “watch our life and doctrine closely” (1 Timothy 4:16), especially if we teach many. I believe that we ought to apply this to ourselves first, to those we know closely second, and we ought to leave the judging of those we do not know to God himself.