Metro busboards, billboards and television commercials can be seen in the Seattle area with a brief description of an average person and the tag line “I’m a Mormon.” It’s part of a national campaign the church says is designed to show, “while our backgrounds and experiences are diverse, we share a deep commitment to Jesus Christ, to each other, and our neighbors.”
A local pastor doesn’t need to see the campaign. Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll says he has a clear understanding of what the Mormon Church is all about.
“Historically, there has been a very clear line drawn between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity, with all leaders of the church across a wide spectrum of Christianity agreeing that Mormonism is not only heretical but also a cult,” Driscoll writes on his blog. “As the wind changes and Mormonism becomes more mainstream, some evangelical leaders are breaking rank.”
Driscoll then dissects three questions: What is a cult? Is Christianity about being a “good Christian”? Do Mormons worship the Jesus of the Bible?
You can take the time to read his reasoning. I’ll skip to the bottom line.
“Simply said, by the theological definition, Mormonism is a cult,” says Driscoll. “Many Mormons are good neighbors, friends, and fellow citizens. But, we cannot go so far as to call them brothers and sisters in a common faith. To do so is to not only confuse real Christians, but to also diminish the importance of lovingly speaking with Mormons about the errors of their belief in hopes of seeing them come to know the real God of the Bible and avoiding eternal damnation for worshiping a false god.”
R. Bruce Merrell, a leader with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Western Washington says, “My first reaction is ‘they don’t understand.'” He says Christ is at the center of every member of the Church and it is the center of the faith.
Of Driscoll, Merrell says, “We turn our cheek and say ‘We love you too, brother.'”
Photo of Mark Driscoll from his Twitter feed