The following article is an analysis by Kevin Lewis, Professor of Theology and Law at Biola University concerning the dilemna facing orthdox Christians related to Mitt Romney and Mormonism. The goal of this article is to spur Christians to think about and have conversations about this very real issue. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The Crux of Romney’s Evangelical Problem: Part I
By Kevin Lewis
With the primaries just around the corner, some pro-Romney advocates have begun to put the full-court press on those conservative Evangelicals still opposed to voting for Romney. They have asserted that Evangelicals who fail to see the wisdom of voting for Romney are, among other things, committed to self-defeat, bigotry, religious litmus tests, or an unrealistic standard of “perfection” for a candidate. And, they conclude, this sort of foolishness can only lead to a Republican defeat in 2012 and an unthinkable Obama second term.
So what’s wrong with Romney? We are told he is ethical, a competent executive, a good family man, and is exceedingly telegenic. So with the stakes so high in this election, how could any Evangelical fail to see the wisdom of voting for Romney, the Mormon?
The answer is simple. First, Evangelicals who understand the true nature of Mormonism do not want a president whose religion is hostile to theirs. And, second, there may be eternal consequences for placing a Mormon — any Mormon — in the office of the President of the United States.
Evangelicals do not want a President who is theologically anti-Christian. It may come as a shock to some who are new to the debate, but Mormonism is actually an anti-Christian religion.
The Mormon religion has been hostile to orthodox Christianity since its inception in 1820. The founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, claimed that “all the churches” were wrong, “all their creeds were an abomination,” and “all the professors” (of the orthodox Christian faith — Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant) were corrupt. This “First Vision” is the foundation for the Mormon claim to be the only true restored church. Mormon leaders have never renounced this teaching of Joseph Smith. In fact, they have consistently taught this view throughout their history and up to the present day. Accordingly, the Mormon Church has always actively proselytized orthodox Christians due to their belief that orthodox Christians are in a false church. Their preferred nomenclature is “Church of the Devil” (I Nephi 14:10, Book of Mormon). Thus the Mormon Church has been Anti-Catholic, Anti-Eastern Orthodox, and Anti-Protestant from its beginning.
The undivided declaration from all traditional Christian orthodoxy familiar with the teachings of the Mormon Church is clear: Mormonism is a false form of Christianity—a theological “cult” (read: “group of heretics”). The Mormon Church teaches polytheism, specifically, that the god of this planet is nothing more than one of many true gods that exist. The Mormon god is a limited, evolved, exalted man with a body of flesh and bones. Ultimately, salvation (or Exaltation) in Mormonism is deification or, in other words, becoming a god. All Mormon males who have the restored Melchizedek Priesthood are eligible to work their way to godhood.
The differences between biblical, monotheistic Christianity and Mormonism are not trivial. Whoever believes the official Mormon gospel and worships the god of Mormonism is not saved. The Mormon system of “ethical polytheism” presents a different Jesus and another Gospel (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:3-5). As such, traditional Evangelicals believe Mormons are not true Christians and they need to convert to orthodox Christianity if they are to be saved.
So why are Evangelicals opposed to Romney, the Mormon? It is because Romney appears to be a faithful Mormon, who believes all the official doctrines of the Mormon Church — until we hear otherwise — and, as such, is theologically opposed to any true form of Christianity, Evangelical or otherwise.
The result of this theological tension is that many Christians are extremely uncomfortable placing a person in the White House whose religion is openly hostile to their own — even if he shares many of their ethical standards. These same Evangelicals would also never accept a Muslim in the White House — even if the Muslim shared their conservative values — because Islam is also theologically hostile to Christianity.
This is not a new objection. Many Protestants did not want to live in Catholic ruled countries and the Pilgrims (Protestants) did not want to live in a “Christian” England — even though both groups had common ethical systems. Christians generally prefer, and should prefer, a leader who is theologically friendly to their cause.
John Jay, Founding Father, one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, and the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court agrees with this notion. He declared that “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Conservative Christians who love the Bible and the wisdom of the Founding Fathers would do well to return to these sources of wisdom if we want to remain a great nation.