Monday, October 1, 2012

Reasons to not Support Mitt Romney: Number 3: Blurring the Lines between Christianity and Mormonism

by Steve C. Halbrook
(posts in this series: part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5)

3.  Supporting Mitt Romney fosters blurring the lines between Christianity and Mormonism

One major problem with Christians supporting Mitt Romney is the blurring of the lines between Christianity and Mormonism. This is an unfortunate consequence when Christians, in the name of promoting a moral social order, work with and support heretics who claim to be Christian.

George Gillespie writes in Forbidden Alliances that “a conjunction of counsels and familiar conversations (which are consequents of a covenant) draws in the end to a fellowship in religion.”[1] In the case of Christians who support Romney, this especially applies to those working side-by-side with him and/or other Mormons to help him win the presidency. But a fellowship in religion can also occur when Christians support Romney in a more impersonal manner.

It is not difficult to see how this happens. It is easy for those with opposing worldviews to minimize their differences when they share a common mission especially one as important as matters of national leadership, where the stakes and emotions are high.

Moreover, a common enemy can further minimize differences between allies, as it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” 

And then, regarding alliances between Christians and non-Christians in particular, there is the fact that heretics pass themselves off as Christians, using Christian terminology but often subtly redefining terms. 

Coupled with the theological ignorance of our times, and the “warm, fuzzy feeling” Christians develop for the heretical sect due to their mutual alliance for a shared social order, then blurring the lines between a Christian and non-Christian religion is not a far step. (Indeed, since every political outlook assumes a particular faith-based ethical system – which, by the nature of the case, is religious political alliances naturally have the trajectory of religious alliances.)

Most importantly, we must note that false gospels and false religions (such as Mormonism) are naturally infectious:
Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9)

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.” (2 Timothy 2:16, 17a)

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Romans 16:17, 18)
These kinds of infections can occur via political associations and alliances with Mormons; Romney's national influence as a candidate and as a president; and the empowerment that the national acceptance of Romney as president gives the Mormon religion.

A few decades ago, John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic to be
elected as president. Since that time, American Christians have become
more and more ecumenical with Roman Catholics. One wonders if there
is somewhat of a correlation, and if a Christian/Mormon ecumenicalism
could likewise follow a Mitt Romney presidency.

In the not too distant past we saw, as a result of evangelicals allying closely with Catholics politically, the "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" document. According to this document, Roman Catholics are Christians – despite the fact that Roman Catholicism teaches a false gospel. Next came the "Manhattan Declaration," where evangelicals not only declared Catholics to be Christians, but also adherents to Eastern Orthodoxy – also despite the fact that Eastern Orthodoxy teaches a false gospel.  

One wonders if the election of John F. Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic president, was a major catalyst for such compromise.

(Note: we are not saying that no professing Roman Catholics and members of the Eastern Orthodox church are Christians; there may be some who do not believe in the false gospel that their organizations teach. But these documents did not make such a qualification.)

And as heretical as Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are, Mormonism is much, much worse. There is hardly any fundamental Christian doctrine that Mormonism does not deny. Nevertheless, as a result of their political pragmatism, don’t be surprised to see evangelicals sometime soon draft an official "Evangelicals and Mormons Together" document.

While this might seem far-fetched to some, we are already seeing this somewhat in practice. Consider the statements of David Barton, a very influential evangelical historian, and Joel Osteen, perhaps the most influential “pastor” in America.

A couple years ago, Barton called the Mormon and popular conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck a Christian: 
I've been on the programs with him when he talked about individual salvation, we talked about atonement, we talked about redemption. ... Here's a guy who was raised as a Catholic, he found Jesus at Alcoholics Anonymous when he really screwed up his life, and he's now going to a Mormon church – but that doesn't say anything about his personal relationship with Jesus, and that's what people need to look at.[2]
(Note: we critique Beck and Barton here.)
One wonders if Barton and Beck's friendship and shared political mission influenced these statements. Like Romney, Beck's Mormonism is easy for some evangelicals to overlook due to Beck's opposition to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. (Remember: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend.") 

Then there is Joel Osteen, the dangerous wolf in sheep's clothing. Osteen recently said the following in a CNN interview about Romney's presidential candidacy:
When I hear Mitt Romney say that he believes that Jesus is the Son of God–that He’s the Christ, raised from the dead, that He’s his Savior–that’s good enough for me. ... Mormonism is a little bit different, but I still see them as brothers in Christ.[3]
(Definitions make all the difference. Osteen doesn't bother to distinguish the differences between the true, biblical Jesus, and the false, Mormon Jesus. But then, one wonders if Osteen himself understands Who the true Jesus is.)

This opportunity for Osteen to blur the lines came due to Romney's national recognition as a presidential candidate. 

Now, how much more might Osteen and like-minded, influential compromisers blur the lines between Mormonism and Christianity if Romney becomes president? Presidents are in the spotlight like no other person in the U. S. – perhaps even the world itself.

Those with this kind of influence and popularity are difficult to ignore, and so a Romney presidency would give influential false shepherds many opportunities to paint Mormonism as Christian – making it all the more easy for Mormon wolves to infiltrate Christ’s flock. Remember the Apostle Paul’s warning:
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.” (Acts 20:26-31).
Does one really think the Apostle Paul would want a Romney presidency, which would promote that which he warns against?

There is then no way around it: support for Romney fosters the blurring of the lines between Christianity and Mormonism. Romney represents and popularizes a religion which purposes to infiltrate Christianity and is currently making headway.

(Let us note a very disturbing statistic: A Pew Research Center Survey last November reports that 56% of Republican voters have a favorable view of Romney, while close to that percentage, 61%, believe that Mormonism is Christian.[4] Many Republicans and Romney voters are Christians, and one wonders if there is somewhat of a correlation here between political support for Romney and the blurring of Christianity and Mormonism.)

This is no time for Christians to be callous and ignore the fact that support for Romney is support for the infiltration of Christs church by fierce wolves; the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is much more valuable than “political victory.”

If Christians then are interested in reducing snares to God’s people, they should not be working to increase the influence of Romney (which is to increase the influence of Mormonism), but to oppose it by any biblical means possible.

While we are not advocating non-civil rulers to suppress Mormonism by force, an obvious principle of the following verses is that the last thing we want to do is to create a snare for God’s people by allying with Mormons and increasing their national influence by electing them to the highest human political office in the land:
Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods … (Exodus 34:12-15b).  
There is no neutrality: we will either oppose Romney, or we will support his false religion. To not work to oppose his presidency is to allow for a snare that threatens to cause the church to whore after other gods.

(And no, we are not proposing supporting Barack Obama as a solution. More on this, Lord willing, in part four.)

For the basic beliefs of Mormonism, see Mormonism 101 by Kevin DeYoung


[1] George Gillespie, Forbidden Alliances Concerning Associations and Confederacies with Idolaters, Infidels, Heretics, or Any Other Known Enemies of Truth and Godliness (Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1995, accessed at Still Waters Revival Books).
[2] lifetodaytv, David Barton on Glenn Beck, Christianity and society (YouTube, uploaded September 20, 2010). Retrieved September 27, 2012.
[3] Georgetown/On Faith, "Joel Osteen on Mitt Romney: Mormons are 'brothers in Christ' " (The Washington Post, April 25, 2012). Retrieved September 27, 2012.
[4] The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, "Romney's Mormon Faith Likely a Factor in Primaries, Not in a General Election" (November 23, 2011). 

photo credits: 

Joel Osteen
© My American Odyssey / Flickr (CC BY -NC -SA 2.0)

Mitt Romney
© Toby Alter / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)



Anonymous said...

Do you have some alternative candidates to consider supporting within the current presidential race? Not voting on that part of the ticket is an option, write-in is an option. However, faced with a practical either/or between the two major candidates, what should Christians do in your opinion?

Steve C. Halbrook said...

I plan to address that in this series, but I also have addressed this thoroughly here

Anonymous said...

Steve, are there any current candidates who meet these standards, in your opinion?

Steve C. Halbrook said...

I am unaware of any presidential candidates that meet biblical standards.