Are Mormons Christians? That is a very important question. If the Mormons are Christians, then we should view the Mormons as brothers and sisters in the Lord. However, if in fact the Mormon Church is not a Christian church then we should, in the name of Jesus Christ, pray for them to be set free from the darkness of being separated from the true God and eternal life. And witness to them, for they are lost without the real Jesus Christ. But, are the Mormons Christians?
Many people have asked that question. Of course, the Mormons will boldly confess to be Christian. They will point to all the "good works" that the LDS Church does, and all in the name of Jesus Christ. Not to mention the "feed the hunger" programs that the LDS Church is involved in. Hence, it is fair to say that over all the Mormon Church possesses all the appearance of a bona-fide Christian church.
So, let us deal with the recurrently asked question: are Mormons Christian? Well, the answer will depend on how one defines the term "Christian." If being "Christian" is only defined by Christian language: "One God," "Jesus is Lord," "Trinity," "Saved by grace," etc., then, the Mormons are definitely Christians, for they certainly integrate these terms in to their vocabulary and communicate them in their church services.
If in fact Christian language is the ultimate standard in which to decide what is and what is not Christian, then, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, Oneness groups, Unitarians, Unity School of Christianity, The Way International, The International Church of Christ, Christadelphians are all Christian!
However, it is the biblical definition that decides what is Christian. So, how does Scripture define what a Christian is?
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they [Christians] continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer" (Acts 2:41, 42; emphasis added).
Hence the biblical definition of a "Christian" is: the one following the doctrines or teachings of the apostles (Ibid.). The Apostle Paul was very concerned about false teachings that did not square with the teachings of the apostles:
"He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can refute1 those who oppose it. . . . You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine" (Tit. 1:9; 2:1; emphasis added).
Do Mormons teach doctrines that are "opposed" to God's Word? The answer is, unequivocally, yes. Mormons reject the teachings of the apostles as well as the prophets of the Old Testament. The Lord God was concern that mere men may know, believe, and understand that God is one (e.g., Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8). Ontological monotheism (i.e., One God by nature) is the fundamental difference that disallows Mormons from a true relationship with God, and hence, true salvation. I cannot emphasize enough: The Mormons are lost, perishing with Bibles in their hands. That is why Christians must reach out to the Mormons. If we love them, we will tell them.
So, let us recall some main points of LDS theology, which are antithetical to the "apostles teachings," that is, biblical theology:
LDS Teachings of God the Father
God the Father (and Jesus) was once a mere man that lived on an earth similar to this one. As a man, He had to go through the same ordeals and experiences that men go through on earth. Mormons tell us that God had to earn his salvation by obedience to law and thus becoming the God of this world. In LDS theology then: God has not always existed as God.
This point cannot be dismissed as a minor difference. That God had to become God cuts through the heart of biblical theology. The God of biblical revelation has eternally been God. He did not have to become God at some point in time. The LDS god is not the God of the Bible. There is a fundamental different. Christians and Mormons do not worship the same God.
Joseph Smith declared:
For I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345; emphasis added).
1) Psalm 90:2: "From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."
2) Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding" (Is. 40:28)
3) Malachi 3:6: "For I am the LORD, I change not. . . . "
LDS Teaching that God the Father is an exalted man with Body Parts
Mormons assert that God the Father is not spirit. "God the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as mans" (Doctrine of Covenants, 130:22; emphasis added). God the Father had/has sexual relations with His wife (or wives) in Heaven to produce spirit babies in order to populate the earth.2
1) John 4:24: God is Spirit. In Luke 24:39, Jesus defines a spirit: "For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (emphasis added)
2) Jeremiah 23:24: God is omnipresent (exists everywhere): "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth?" (emphasis added; cf. 2 Ch. 6;18).
3) 1 Timothy 1:17: God is an invisible spirit: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be the honor and glory for ever and ever." Colossians 1:15: "Who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible [Gk. aoratou] God. . . . " (emphasis added; cf. John 1:18).
4) 1 Timothy 6:16: No one has ever or can see God the Father: "Who only hath immortality dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can [dunatai] see. . . . "
5) The LORD God refutes this LDS false teaching: "for I am God, and not man. . . . " (Hos. 11:9; emphasis added)
LDS Teaching of Many Gods (i.e., polytheism)
The Mormons teach that all Mormon males (potentially) can become Gods just as all the Gods have done before them. Founder Joseph Smith declares to his followers:
I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370).
Brigham Young also confirmed:
there was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 22, 23).
1) Isaiah 43:10: "before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."
Isaiah 44:6: "Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel . . . I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God."
Isaiah 44:8: "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God ; I know of not one."
Isaiah 45:5: "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . " (cf. Deut. 4:35; Jer. 10:10; esp. Mark 12:29).
2) The fundamental difference that excludes Mormonism from Christianity is ontological monotheism: there exists one God by nature (Gal. 4:8) hence all other things called God are false gods or idols. False gods do not exist, only the true God does exist, in whom salvation is given.
LDS Teaching of Jesus Christ
Mormons teach that Jesus was Lucifer's spirit brother. Jesus' body was procreated by sexual relations between God the Father and the Virgin Mary (His own daughter; see my article: The Paternity of Jesus Christ). And, Jesus was not the eternal God but merely one God of a pantheon of Gods. Jesus also had to earn His own salvation and become a God.
1) Colossians 1:16ff, Jesus is Creator of all things including angels (which Lucifer is; cf. John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:10)
2) That God the Father had sexual relations with His own daughter is a teaching that is utterly pagan!
3) Jesus is eternal, John 1:1: "In the beginning was3 the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
In John 8:58 Jesus claims to be the "I AM" of the Old Testament which the Jews understood to mean the Eternal One.4
Philippians 2:6 as well demonstrates that Jesus was always the Eternal God, contrary to LDS teaching.5
1, At Titus 1:19 the term translated "refute" (NIV) comes from the Greek word elencho which is defined as: the exposure and confutation of false teachers of Christianity . . . to find fault with, correct (see Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 202, 03; same word is used at Eph. 5:11; 1 Tim 5:20; and 2 Tim. 4:2).
2, In Mormon theology, spirit babies are sent to earth to receive their mortal bodies by their earthly parents. However Mormons teach that Jesus Christ, is the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, that is, the Father had sexual relations with His Own spirit daughter Mary. Hence Jesus, Mormons say, was the only person that had God the Father as His mortal and literal father.
3, In John 1:1: "In the beginning was [ēn] the Word, and the Word was with [pros] God, and the Word was God," the word "was" (ēn) is an imperfect tense, indicating, in this context, that the "Word" (who is Jesus; cf. 1:14) was always existing. Hence Jesus was always God the Eternal Word, distinct from the Father (cf. the Word was with (pros) God the Father. For study on John 1:1 and the LDS Church, see The Christological Assertions of the LDS Church, pertaining to John 1:1.
4, Significant I AM passages: Mark 6:50; John 8:24, 28; 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8. These passages read in the KJV: "I am he" or "it is I." However in the original Greek text the "he" does not appear, hence "I am" (ego eimi) and not "I am he" and in Mark. 6:50 the original reading is "I am" not, "it is I." The original New Testament Greek manuscripts (autographs) were written in all capital letters called "uncials."