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6.06.2007    |    Not a stumbling block
Mitt Romney defended his Mormon faith rather well at last night's gathering of the ten declared Republican candidates for president last night. He was forthright, did not evade the question, and should be respected for the apparent strength of his belief.

But here's where this Christian has to stop and specify: I respect Gov. Romney's strength of belief; I do not agree with or respect his actual belief. I find the Mormon faith to be interesting, and Mormons to be good people. But Mormonism is not Christian. It isn't even clear that it is a monotheistic faith, and there appear to be strong elements of idolatry.

A fairness doctrine kicks in here: so, too, have many Protestants described Roman Catholics ("cult", idolators), and Jews, Muslims, and nonbelievers of all stripes find our theology of the incarnation of Jesus to be strange if not outright idolatrous. But we have the advantage of having truth on our side...(can't find the HTML code for "grin", so, just imagine it to be here...)

We should all tend to that proverbial beam in our eye before we seek to remove the mote from the eyes of Latter Day Saints. In different words, what I would ask is good old American tolerance: to not insist those who believe differently from us to change or renounce their heartfelt belief to gain public office.

In other words, I would vote for Mitt Romney if he is the Republican nominee. Although my preference is Rudy Giuliani, Romney is still head and shoulders above any Democrat now in the race.

What would it take for me to make a candidate's religion a true stumbling block? If a candidate was a believer in a faith whose theology requires the rest of us to convert, or otherwise submit and accept second- or worse class citizenship.

Right now, only Islam among the major faiths comes to mind. Mormons are persistent evangelists, but aren't known for attempting to convert us all at the point of a sword.

[addendum Beliefnet has a comparison between the major elements of Christianity and Mormonism. This is sufficient for me; Mormonism is not a Christian faith to my mind.

Along these lines (departure from Christian belief), Mormons also believe that it wasn't our free will that got us kicked out of the Garden of Eden, rather, it was God's plan from the beginning. And, as a consequence, mankind is not totally depraved, but, rather, according to this summary at Beliefnet,
The Fall was a planned blessing from God, enabling people to experience human bodies, procreate, experience the joy of redemption, and to do good...
This is interesting; "a planned blessing." As for that doing good, well, based on the results to date, I'd vote for "totally depraved" as a more accurate description of our species.]

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Blogger Stefan Ewing said...

Hi, John Luke:

Sorry, this is off-topic, but praise the Lord I've found your blog! Believe it or not, I too am an ex secular Jew (who likes Chagall) turned Reformed Protestant. I thought I was the only one in the world! I'm very happy at my church, but it's nice to find another heir of Abraham in both flesh and spirit who's got his theology right! ;)

5:01 PM, June 06, 2007  
Blogger Stefan Ewing said...

P.S. Never went the Roman Catholic route, though before I was saved, I had an amateur's interest in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy for many years.

5:30 PM, June 06, 2007  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.