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If this is all Mr. Phillips has, I *cry* for him

March 30, 2009

So, making its way around some of the smaller sites of the Bloggernacle (complete with a parody) has been an article where some pastor “tackles” Mormonism.

Now, seriously, I recognize that there are definitely some spots that people could have some disagreements on. But I mean, this article…geez, I cry for journalistic integrity.

Anyway, I like the first part of it:

Today, many people generally view Mormons as a people with strong family values and clean living, according to one pastor at McLean Bible Church. Some also believe they are just one of many Christian denominations.

But that view is the result of a multibillion dollar campaign over the last couple of decades by Mormons who have attempted to present themselves in such a way, according to Todd Phillips, teaching pastor at Frontline, the young adult ministry of McLean in Virginia.

Many Americans, including Christians, see Mormons as “just another branch of Christianity who talk about Jesus all the time and likely do a better job at adhering to family values than most Christian do in churches in America,” Phillips told hundreds attending service and watching over the Internet on Sunday.

The thing I’m not getting is Phillips response. Instead of looking at how Mormons are currently seen (e.g., as a group that “likely do[es] a better job at adhering to family values than most Christians…”) and then deciding that he has to change the way his church acts (protip: start adhering to your so-called family value better)…he jumps on this idea that what *really* matters is if Mormons are “historical Christians.”

That’s great, guys. Instead of focusing on values that could potentially matter (then again, I don’t think Christians or Mormons have a good handle on constructive family values either…), we’re focusing on a definition. Geez…do people ever wonder why people are becoming disillusioned with this organized religion thing? Is it maybe because of this disconnect?

Naw, let’s continue. So, what are the claims against Mormonism here?

Among the Mormon beliefs that are contrary to core Christian doctrines is the rejection of the validity and veracity of the Bible.

“Historic Christianity … we believe that we have only one source for ultimate eternal truth and that is the holy Bible,” Phillips stressed.

But Mormons “believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly,” according to an article of faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the official name for the Mormon church.

That statement indicates that the Bible is impossible to be correctly translated because it is corrupted by corrupt churches, Phillips noted.

The first sentence is just incorrect, but I guess with the explanation he gives you can’t beat that. The third paragraph is more on target, but the fourth paragraph gets rid of all of the good research they might have done. Basically, they don’t want to admit that Mormons do use the Biblc and do believe in the Bible (although not to the standards this guy wants), because INSTEAD, the guy wants to say:

Mormons believe that the proper translation of what God wants believers to know is found in another source – the Book of Mormon.

So, this reminds me of when people used to ask me about the “Mormon Bible.” I’d point to my New King James Version and they’d be like, “No, the other one.” They were referring to the Book of Mormon, of course, but then I’d point out that was just “another testament.” Not a “Mormon Bible.”

I guess I can understand that such a concept is mindblowing (especially for someone who sets the standard at OT+NT  “sola scriptura” or whatever, which is what you expect from these kinds of groups), but I mean…seriously guys. I knew the piece would be a cesspool when I got to the next line:

Mormonism also denies the deity of Christ…

I WISH. I WISH, because then as an atheist, wouldn’t I have no problem? Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, Mr. Evangelical.

According to Mormon doctrine, Jesus was not created by the virgin birth of Mary but by a sexual union between Mary and God.

This is why I cry for Mr. Phillips. Like I think about regular anti-Mormons, I think that when you have to resort to using fringe beliefs that aren’t even doctrinal and then you even goof these up, and that’s all you have, you’re at a pretty lame position. Is your church so anemic that this is all you can do against the Mormons? Come on, dude.

I mean, seriously, guys. I’m not a missionary and I don’t speak for the church. I recognize that there are serious, legitimate points that you could go for. Why go for sensationalist nonsense when all that does is make you look bad and allow Mormons to continue their classic persecution complex (which actually gives them strength)?

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  1. Hmm, I don’t know if I agree with you here. It sounds like you have a thing against the “pastor” for not agreeing with Mormonism. It also seems like you have something against the author of the aricle for letting the pastor speak. Why should the author of this piece focus on values when he wants to talk about historicity? I don’t get it.

  2. Well, seeing as I myself don’t agree with Mormonism, the first one is not the case.

    As for the second criticism, perhaps you have something. But this is of the magnitude that I’d have something against anyone who purposefully (or maybe it’s just ignorantly; I’m not going to assume so much about the writer of the article) lets such misinformation get out.

    Basically, if the guy wants to talk about historicity, that’s fine. But the pastor doesn’t want to talk about historicity. Instead, he wants to stuff words into Mormons mouths about what he thinks they believe based on random fringe things that he’s heard or random nondoctrinal sources that he’s read and assembled in his kit. *That* is what I disagree with…because I’ll tell you…I think there is a lot you can disagree with the Mormon church or with Mormon doctrine without pulling wild, crazy, and unrepresentative ideas around. So, when someone like the pastor and the author of the article must resort to what they resort to, I feel sad for these people…because they aren’t helping their cause, and in fact, they give Mormons a sense of satisfaction to know that their critics don’t seem to even be able to hit the right issues.

    Now, as for the question, “Why should the author of this piece focus on values when he wants to talk about historicity.” Let’s say he was successfully talking about historicity…then it would seem very strange for him to bring in issues that are irrelevant to history such as who believes in Jesus, who is perceived as upholding values better, etc.,

    Am I making any sense here?

  3. Okay, I think I get it. You would have rather the author let a Mormon speak about what he or she believes. You think that would have been more credible as far as sources go. Okay, I agree with that.

  4. it’s not that you just need to have Mormons speak about what they believe, because I can tell you that there are some Mormons who would sugarcoat this belief or that, and *that* also is not good.

    What we need is someone who speaks accuracy, who is willing to tell the good and the bad without reverting to silly and unsubstantiated rumors or pop theories.

    It seems like I’m hardpressed to find one of these guys…

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