WHY THEY ARE NOT CHRISTIANS – Answering the Question: “Why do you say that Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christians. Don’t they believe in Jesus?”
The Mormon religion (officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS) and the Jehovah’s Witness organization (also known as the Watchtower) both share a common foundational doctrine: They claim that Christianity became corrupt at the death of the New Testament apostles. They assert that through their religion alone, God has restored the lost and corrupted elements of the Christian faith so that only those who practice their religion possess the purest form of Christianity.
When challenged by non-members that they are not “Christians” because they deny many of the doctrinal tenets of the original Christian faith, often Jehovah’s Witness and Mormon adherents take offense. Reasoning that they “believe in Jesus Christ,” they question why anyone would consider them “unchristian.” In response to these assertions we ask:
1. If the confession that one “believes in Jesus Christ” is sufficient to qualify one as a “Christian”, how do we reconcile this with Jesus’ statement in Matthew chapter seven?
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” —Matthew 7:21-23 *
It is apparent that the people in Jesus’ example thought they were Christians. Even though they may have performed many works in Jesus’ name as proof of their religious devotion, Jesus rejected them with the statement, “I never knew you.” Given Jesus’ preceding warnings about “false prophets” who would masquerade as followers of Jesus Christ (verse 15), is it any wonder Jesus commanded us to test the “fruit” of religious teachers before embracing them into the fold (verse 20)? This brings us to our second question:
2. Suppose we evangelical Christians were to claim that we are “Mormons” because we “believe in Jesus Christ,” but we deny the Book of Mormon and teach that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. How would a LDS person feel about us claiming to be “Mormon” when we reject the basic tenets that underlie the LDS religion?
In the same way that a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness would not be pleased with someone who claims to follow their religion but who rejects the fundamental tenets of their faith, so it is with true Christians. The following chart analyzes many of the Christian doctrines that the Jehovah’s Witness and Mormon religions either deny or distort:
DOCTRINE BIBLE MORMON JEHOVAH’S WITNESS GOD *1 Eternal God (Isa 43:10-11; 44:6,8) in 3 Persons: Father – Phil 2:11, Son – John 1:1, Holy Spirit – Acts 5:3-4* Spirit Essence who fills Heaven and Earth is not a Man – Jn 4:24; 1 Kings 8:27; Hos 11:9 * 3 Separate Gods – Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, by Joseph Fielding Smith, 1976, p. 370* God has not always been God. He is not a spirit but is an “exalted Man” –Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-346; D&C 130:22; Millennial Messiah, by McConkie, p. 77 * Jesus is a lesser “god” under Jehovah the only true God. – Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 212* Holy Spirit is not a person but is God’s “active force” – Should You Believe in the Trinity, p. 20 JESUS CHRIST * The Eternal God the Son – Jn 1:1-3,18; Phil 2:5-9; John 20:28; Heb 1:8; Heb 7:3; Isa 9:6; Jn 8:58; Col 2:9; 2 Pet 1:1, Tit 2:13; Jn 5:18; 19:7* Creator God of “all things” including the angels and Lucifer – Jn 1:3; Col 1:15-17; Jn 8:23; Heb 1:5,13; 2:5,8; 4:16-17* Worshipped as God – Heb 1:6; Jn 5:23; 14:14; Rev 5:11-14* Resurrected as a man in His glorified physical body – John 2:18-22; Acts 17:31* His blood is sufficient to cover “all” sin including murder – Heb 7:25; 1 Jn 1:7,9; 1 Tim 1:13-15; c.f. Acts 8:1 * Jesus earned His godhood and salvation – Mormon Doctrine, McConkie, p. 129; Mortal Messiah, vol. 4, p. 434* Contended with Lucifer His “spirit brother” for the appointment as Savior – Gospel Principles, pp. 17-18* Certain sins for which Jesus’ blood cannot atone – including murder – Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 134-135 * A created angel who is “divine” as a “mighty god” next (but not equal to) Jehovah God – Reasoning from the Scriptures, pp. 212, 218* Jesus is not worthy of prayer or worship – Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 2, p. 667; The Watchtower, Dec. 15, 1994, pp. 24-25* Resurrected as Michael the archangel in a non-human spirit body – You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, pp. 21, 144-145; The Kingdom Is At Hand, 1944, p. 258 GOSPEL * Gospel = Death, Burial, Resurrection of Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 15:1-4* Free gift of Eternal Life by faith in Jesus Christ alone (apart from works of personal worthiness) – Rom 4:4-6; 6:23; 10:9; 11:6; Eph 2:8-10; Isa 64:6; Phil 3:9* Eternal Destiny in either Heaven or Hell – No Second Chance – Heb 9:27; Matt 25:46; Rev 20:12-15* Only a “few” will be “saved” – Matt 7:13-14* Spiritual authority for adoption out of Satan’s family into God’s family is given to “everyone” who believes (trusts) in Jesus Christ – 1 John 5:1; John 1:12 * Gospel = Faith in Jesus Christ + Works of obedience to LDS Gospel “laws” – The Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W Kimball, p. 6* All people (regardless of religion or lack of it) will be “saved” except for the few who leave Mormonism – Joseph Smith—Seeker After Truth, John A Widtsoe, p. 178; Mormon Doctrine, p. 778, 351* Highest level of Salvation (i.e., Eternal Life) is only for those who do their part in working for their salvation – 2 Nephi 25:23, Book of Mormon; The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 206; Mormon Doctrine, p. 669 * Gospel = Faith in Jehovah God, Jesus Christ and the Watchtower Organization – The Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1983, p. 12* Faith in Jesus Christ + works are required to prove oneself worthy for the “reward” of Eternal Life – The Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1972, p. 492; Aug. 1, 1992, p. 17* Jesus’ mediatorship, heavenly life and New Covenant spiritual adoption as a child of God are only for 144,000 people – Worldwide Security Under the ‘Prince of Peace,‘ 1986, p. 10; Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life, 1995, p. 88; Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1989, p. 76 MAN * Man is a creation of God whose “spirit” was formed “within” him – not in a spirit world – 1 Cor 15:46; Jn 8:23; Zech 12:1* Immediately upon death, the conscious soul/spirit of the Christian will dwell with God – 2 Cor 5:6-8; Phil 1:21-23; Rev 6:9-10 * Physical offspring of Celestial Parents – Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother – in a spirit world – Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 97; Mormon Doctrine, p. 589* “We are gods in embryo” and “you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves…the same as all Gods have done before you.…” – Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 21; Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-346* Second chance in a “spirit prison” for those who haven’t heard the Mormon “gospel” – Gospel Principles, 1992, p. 292 * The soul of man ceases to exist after death – no hell – Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life, pp. 81-85* Second chance in the resurrection for all to prove worthy of everlasting life. – Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life, pp. 87-88
Many of the people involved in these groups are sincere and are often the nicest, moral people one will ever meet. However, they have been deceived by a counterfeit religion that on the surface looks good, but is leading many into spiritual darkness. It doesn’t matter how many articles of “sheep’s clothing” they put on as they perform good “works” in the “name of Jesus Christ;” if their doctrinal “fruit” fails the test, they will experience the spiritual destruction accorded to those who follow “false prophets.”
“If a prophet…gives you as sign…and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet….”—Deuteronomy 13:1-3
- “to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”—Isaiah 8:20, KJV
- “…the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.…and they that are led of them are destroyed.”—Isaiah 9:15-16, KJV
3. If Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are “Christians” just like we are, why do they send Missionaries to our doors to convert us to their beliefs?
Joseph Smith, Jr (founder of the Mormon religion) claimed that in 1820, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in a vision proclaiming that “all” the churches of Christianity were “wrong…that all their creeds were an abomination…that those professors were all corrupt….” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19). Likewise, Jehovah’s Witnesses have claimed that all of the churches of Christendom are part of false religious Babylon and that one must “come to Jehovah’s organization [i.e., the Watchtower] for salvation.”—The Watchtower, November 15, 1981, p. 21
Is it any wonder Christians reject Jehovah’s Witness and Mormon religions as being unchristian? If they were truly just other sects or denominations of Christianity, why would they send missionaries to the doors of Christians to proselytize them into their religious groups? Why would they be concerned about gaining converts out of Christianity, if they were honestly part of Christianity? To add emphasis to the Mormon claims concerning Christianity, 1 Nephi 14:10 in the Book of Mormon states:
“And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil.…”—1 Nephi 14:10
To the Mormons who proclaim that they are Christians just like we are, we ask the following questions:
According to the Book of Mormon which church is your church? If your church is the “church of the Lamb of God,” doesn’t this verse make our church the “church of the devil”? If then, according to Mormonism, our church is the “church of the devil,” how can you honestly claim to be Christians like we are?
In context, there is no question that the Book of Mormon is proclaiming that the churches of Christianity collectively comprise the “church of the devil.” The preceding verse (1 Nephi 14:9) speaks of a “great and abominable church…whose founder is the devil,” and 1 Nephi 13:26 identifies this “abominable church” as none other than the church that had possession of the Bible after it was delivered from the hands of the original apostles.
In contrast to the claims of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who insist that a restoration of true Christianity was needed as a result of a complete apostasy from the original faith, Jesus proclaimed: “…I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Since Jesus promised to protect His Church, how could the Christian church have apostatized to the point of needing a new religion to be developed in order to restore it to the earth? The Apostle Paul warned about those who would arise to draw disciples “after themselves” when he stated:
“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparking the flock; also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”—Acts 20:29-31, NKJV
Indeed, we would do well to heed the words of Scripture and prove all things before welcoming into the fold of “Christianity,” all churches claiming adherence to Christ.
“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.”—1 Thessalonians 5:21
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him…for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”—Galatians 1:6-8
* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible
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