More times than not, this blog site has been what we could call a counter-point site, a site which offers an alternate narrative on a particular issue from one being offered elsewhere. Sometimes the counter-point we post may represent the majority opinion. At other times, it represents more the minority view. And, there are times it may very well represent a rogue view >>>
Whatever the case, it represents my thoughts on particular issues facing the Southern Baptist Convention or a particular interpretation of a theological-biblical subject. I marvel at the richness of the free church tradition, and could feel at home in God's Kingdom no where else including a robust confessional tradition.1 Since much of my writing exudes the flavor of counter-pointism, it remains no surprise I come across to some as being contrarian in nature or disagreeable in spirit. While I think most of those who know me personally would contest such a characterization as inaccurate and premature, I fully understand how some come to the contrary conclusion they do.
The Apostle Paul writes to the Romans "Pay everyone whatever you owe them—taxes to whom taxes are due, tolls to whom tolls are due, fear to whom fear is due, honor to whom honor is due" (Rom 13:7, ISV). It's the "honor to whom honor is due" I desire to fulfill today by commending to you for consideration Dr. Ed Stetzer's latest post on Christians and Mormons.
Anyone who reads this site with regularity realizes, of course, the many pieces I've posted contending with some of Dr. Stetzer's positions. Whatever the case, Stetzer's post on Between the Times entitled "Mormonism: Richard Land, NAMB, and a Southern Baptist Plan" is a very good summation on an appropriate way for Christians to view Mormonism. Stetzer states the occasion for his piece:
"Mormonism is something we cannot escape right now. We are in a “Mormon Moment,” thanks to the candidacy of Governor Mitt Romney. Southern Baptists need to address this moment with truth and grace."
Stetzer goes on to cite Richard Land's helpful distinction as he distinguishes between two kinds of "cults":
Land is right to point out the difference. He did not deny that Mormonism is theologically a cult, but he did imply a difference between a “theological cult” and a “sociological cult.” That’s a helpful distinction that, current discussions aside, is the view taught at almost all SBC seminaries... .
The obvious question is, how divergent can your views be and still be a part of a faith group (in contrast to forming a new one)? Can you believe, for instance, that Muhammad is not the prophet and still call yourself a Muslim? The vast majority of Muslims would say you cannot. For Christians, calling yourself a Christian while not believing God has always existed as the triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is just as inconceivable. That’s what Mormonism does. It’s not a Christian denomination. It is a different religion.
Well said, Dr. Stetzer (not to exclude Dr. Land's contribution). And, much better said than my own clumsy attempt (note the able response offered by Mary England).
Pay everyone...honor to whom honor is due
1by robust confessional tradition, I mean to suggest the segment of Protestantism wed to classic credalism