SOUDER HAS HIS OWN DEFINITION OF CHRISTIAN – BUT WHAT IS IT?

Sylvia Smith has written a column in which she questions Mark Souder about his year in retrospect. In discussing Mitt Romney and Mormonism, she posed the following to Souder:

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).

 

 

Photo Credit: GovTrack.us
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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.

 

Photo credit: Wikipedia
A statue of Jesus in the visitor’s center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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8 Responses to SOUDER HAS HIS OWN DEFINITION OF CHRISTIAN – BUT WHAT IS IT?

  1. timvictor says:

    Mormonism does distinguish itself from Christianity similar to how Jehovah’s Witnessess do. Both may fall under a loose banner of Christian but when you get into the specifics they differ.

    Orthodox and Evangelical Christians, two further subsets under the broader banner, share a collection of teachings. That collection includes an understanding of the Person and Work of Jesus but is not limited to this. The Mormon teaching on Jesus is not the same as what an Evangelical or Orthodox Christian would agree to.

    Though a number would agree that Jesus is a prophet and teacher, Mormons disagree with and Evangelicals and Orthodox teachings on Jesus. In that sense the loose reference to “prophet” and “savior” mean different things when you actually get talking into the specifics both in terms of theology and in terms of experience.

  2. Timvictor:

    Could you give some specifics on the disagreements as to the teachings of Jesus? When I have attended Mormon services I see no differences. I have also read some of the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price.

    Are you referring to the issue of Jesus’ visitation to the New World?

    I also see differences in teachings from denomination to denomination, which leads to many sects declaring they are the “one true church.”

  3. Ross Frame says:

    Charlott,

    I,m a Mormon and have studied many other religions also, the basic differences that I see between Mormons and other Christians is that Mormons believe 1)God and Jesus are separate beings but one in unity of thought, belief and action.
    2)They have bodies of Flesh and spirit
    3)Jesus did speak to more nations than just one (middle east)
    He visited the people of the Americas shortly after His resurection /Book of Mormon is the record of that
    4)We believe you are saved by faith coupled with works

  4. robinhoodimschwartzwald says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    thanks for the great post, I appreciate it. I am LDS and I think people who say I am not a christian are just being silly!

  5. Charlotte,

    I like the post! Your argument is well defended, but I think you brought the point home when you stated, “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.”

    I get concerned when Congressmen begin deciding who is or is not of a certain faith, let alone using their own faith to defend disregarding others.

  6. Donald says:

    Here’s a good link to better understand Mormanism, Ross Frame is this correct or not, I am curious and honestly would like to know more.

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Distinctive_Beliefs_of_Mormon.asp

  7. Steve says:

    If you would be so kind to understand that any doctrine that strays away from the bible is simply put,”false doctrine”. Jesus warned man of this happening in Matt.7:13-20. The new testament church began in the upper room on the day of Pentecost as recorded in the book of Acts, chap.2. Any deviation from what awas preached by the apostle Peter is not true bible doctrine.
    Jesus Christ the same yesterday,and today, and forever.Heb.13:8
    God does not change, or has not changed the salvation message, nor will He change it to suit man’s doctrines.(Colossians2:8)
    Be careful of what you believe, read God’s inspired word, and pray for answers!! (Matt.5:6) God bless.

  8. clint jenkins says:

    Donald why not post the official lds websit to see what mormons believe.

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