Sylvia Smith: Do you think they’re Christian?
Souder’s Response:In my definition of the word Christian, no. Muslims believe that Christ was a prophet, but they believe he was an inferior prophet. (Mormons) believe in that, plus. If you’re a fundamentalist like me who takes the literal word, there isn’t a “plus.”
Nevertheless, they share a lot of things (Christians believe in).
My youngest son married a Mormon and converted to the faith. I go to church with them once in a while when I visit, and I have become familiar with the Mormon religion over the past nine years of their marriage. The church’s full name is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” or LDS for short. Note the name of Jesus in the church’s name.
One of the basic tenets of Christianity is baptism. Mormons are baptized at the age of eight. I watched my oldest grandson baptized a little over three years ago when he turned eight, and I am looking forward to my granddaughter’s baptism this coming June when she turns eight. Mormons believe that Jesus is the Saviour, and they also believe he was a prophet. Apparently, so did his followers.
In the Book of Luke, Chapter 24, Jesus’ resurrection is discussed. A number of Jesus’ followers visited the tomb where his body had been placed after his death. The followers were all surprised to see that the only items that remained were the linen garments worn by Jesus when he was placed in the sepulchre for burial.
That same day, two of Jesus’ followers went to Emmaus, a village about 7 1/2 miles from Jerusalem (60 furlongs). As they were walking and talking about the events that led to the death of Jesus, a stranger approached them and asked what had happened to make them so sad.
Luke 24:15 – “Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.”
Luke 24:16 – “But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.”
The two followers were astounded that the stranger knew nothing of the events that had recently occurred.
Luke 24:19 – And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.
Luke 24:19 is not the only reference in the Bible to Jesus as a prophet; there are many others noted reflecting his own view of himself as a prophet and his followers’ view of him as a prophet.
Souder apparently thinks he knows what a Christian is, yet he does not give a definition. The dictionary defines “Christian” as, among other definitions, “of, pertaining to, or adhering to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
My general assumption has always been that if the person or denomination accepts the basic tenet that Jesus is the Saviour, then that person or denomination is “Christian.” While there may be distinct denominational differences in how a denomination sees the Trinity, the fundamental and uniting factor is acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah or Saviour and following his teachings.
But, like so many other topics Souder addresses, he fails to understand or learn about the issue. I wonder how he can explain away the New Testament referring to Jesus as a prophet?
If Souder were the ordinary citizen instead of an attention-getting representative, his statements would probably be dismissed. But Souder has the ability to command attention, and he should make sure when he commands that attention that he has his facts straight. It might not hurt if he let go of his religious superiority and actually bothered to learn about other denominations before he pronounced judgment of who is or isn’t Christian – an act that doesn’t seem to be too Christian in and of itself.