Christianity vs. Mormonism: Jesus Christ
Many Mormons will claim that they are Christians. In fact, this has been a common theme especially in recent times. Allow me to quote from mormonbeliefs.org when they write:
Mormons are Christians. Mormonism is centered on Jesus Christ and His role as creator and redeemer.
Well, I guess the debate is over…right? Wrong! The debate is just beginning. Before we dive into Mormonism we need to testify to the truth of Jesus Christ found in the Scriptures.
Jesus is eternal:
The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. -John 1:2-3, NET
And now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory I had with you before the world was created. -John 17:5
Jesus is the Son of God:
So he [Jesus] told them, “My Father is working until now, and I too am working.” For this reason the Jewish leaders were trying even harder to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own Father,thus making himself equal with God. -John 5:17-18
“We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God!” -John 6:69
“The Father and I are one.” -John 10:30
Jesus is/was sinless:
For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps. He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth. -1 Peter 2:21-22
Jesus forgives sins:
“Why does this man speak this way? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” -Mark 2:7
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. -1 Peter 2:24
Jesus is God:
Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!” -John 20:28
With that we move to the Mormon view of Jesus. We will compare and contrast the Jesus found in the pages of Scripture with the jesus found in Mormonism. So, how do Mormons view Jesus?
Jesus is eternal…but so is man:
Christ is an eternal being.-mormonbeliefs.org
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.-Doctrine and Covenants 93:29
Man was begotten and born of heavenly parents, reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal physical body. -Joseph F. Smith, The Origin of Man, Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, pp. 78-80.
The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ. -Doctrines and Covenants 93:21
This is a great example of Mormonism’s many theological errors. In Mormon theology Jesus is “eternal”, in the sense that, he existed before the world came into existence. This is known as the pre-existence. The problem is that if Jesus is the “first-born” in the pre-existence and we, as humans, follow after him then Jesus is not unique. Jesus is not different from you or I. What the Scriptures attest to is that Jesus was with God from the beginning (John 1:1-3) and man was not. In the Scriptures humanity was created after the world was made. Genesis 1:27 says:
God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.
For the Mormons to believe that Jesus and man are both eternal means that either Jesus was created at a point in time or the Bible is dead wrong on this subject. Jesus is no higher than man in the Mormon view. He may be “exalted” but he is not a different race or being. The Mormon view strips Jesus of his uniqueness and deity.
Jesus is the Son of God…”literally”:
Now, my little friends, I will repeat again in words as simple as I can, and you talk to your parents about it, that God, the Eternal Father, is literally the father of Jesus Christ. -Joseph F. Smith, Box Elder Stake Conference Dec. 20, 1914 as quoted in Brigham City Box Elder News, 28 Jan. 1915, p. 2.
He was willing to make payment because of his great love for mankind, and he was able to make payment because he lived a sinless life and because he was actually, literally, biologically the Son of God in the flesh. –Messages for Exaltation: Eternal Insights from the Book of Mormon
Christ was chosen to save mankind by working out an infinite and eternal atonement—to come to this earth as the literal Only Begotten Son of God, and to put the whole plan of redemption, salvation, and exaltation in operation. -Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, ed. 2, p. 129.
According to Mormon teaching Jesus is “actually, literally, [and] biologically” God’s son. What does this mean? In Mormon theology God the Father literally impregnated Mary. Not only is this gross but it wreaks havoc when it comes to understanding Jesus’ role as the Son of God. If Jesus is literally the son of God then that means his existence was not eternal. He may have existed in the “pre-existence” but so did you and I. This compromises Jesus’ identity as the Son of God because Biblically that title separated him from us. Mormonism strips that away from Jesus.
Jesus is God…and you can be a god too:
“This doctrine that there is a Mother in Heaven was affirmed in plainness by the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) when, in speaking of pre-existence and the origin of man, they said that ‘man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father,’ that man is the ‘offspring of celestial parentage,’ and that ‘all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.’– Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 516.
“Yes. Do you realize the implications of this doctrine as far as you are concerned?”
“I think so. If God became God by obedience to all of the gospel law with the crowning point being the celestial law of marriage, then that’s the only way I can become a god.” –Achieving a Celestial Marriage: Student Manual, Copyright 1992 by Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints p. 4.
Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly. We believe that the glory of God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the Resurrection. Knowledge, learning, is an eternal thing. And for that reason, we stress education. We’re trying to do all we can to make of our people the ablest, best, brightest people that we can. -Gordon Hinckley, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Apr. 1997.
So, there you have it. Jesus is the literal son of God the Father. And just like us Jesus needs to progress to become a god. This is completely against what the Scriptures teach about Jesus. Jesus is divine and eternal. When it comes to Mormonism it could not be further away from Christianity. Christianity is based on the truth of Jesus Christ. Mormonism disgraces that truth by placing Jesus on the same level as human beings. Jesus came in the form of a man but he was God incarnate. He was God from eternity past and will be God forever more. Amen.