The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
12 Points

Mormonism is not a Christian religion

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,373 times Debate No: 30247
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (5)




Contention 1: the Mormon Scriptures are not the Word of God
As always, I begin by examining the foundation of Mormon doctrine: their Scriptures. Gospel Principles, the official Mormon Sunday school book, states, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts four books as scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. " The inspired words of our living prophets are also accepted as scripture."
Yet, though the Bible is in that list, it does not have any bearing on Mormon doctrine. This can be seen in a statement in The Pearl of Great Price, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." Latter-day Saints whole-heartedly agree with Christians that the Bible is inerrant " that is until it disagrees with Mormon teachings. At this point, they claim that the discrepancy is the result of faulty translation on the part of the Bible. Thus, they test the authenticity of the Bible by whether it agrees with their other Scriptures.
But how do we determine the authenticity of these? The easiest way would be to determine the historical accuracy of these books. Yet, twenty years of searching for evidence to support the Mormon Scriptures, has left archaeologists empty-handed. But, for the Mormons, this is really of little consequence, for to them, the ultimate test for their Scriptures is found elsewhere. We read in Moroni 10:4 of the Book of Mormon,

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God " if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent " he will manifest the truth of it unto you."

The Mormons claim that if with a sincere heart we seek to know the authenticity of their scriptures, it will be revealed from God through a "burning in the bosom." If this confirmation is not forthcoming, then (obviously) you must not have been sincere.
The Bible, however, teaches to the contrary, setting before us the example of the Bereans, "were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11). The way we ought to test the authenticity of a work is by testing it to the Scriptures.

Yet the Mormons have gone about this task backwards. Rather than testing their teachings to the Scriptures, they test all things to the words of their prophets, which are considered to be of even greater authority than the Scriptures. So much so, that Brigham Young, second president of the Mormon Church once said, "There is the written word of God to us. " And now, when compared with the living oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books." This is the teaching of the Mormon Church.
Yet, rather than accepting the words of a mere man above the Word of God, we are commanded in the Scriptures to "test the spirits, whether they are from God" (1 John 4:1).

Contention 2: The Mormons believe in false "gods"
With this in mind, let test the teachings of Mormonism to that of the Scriptures. We now move on to examine the Mormons" beliefs on the nature of God, for, as A.W. Tozer, the great Christian Theologian once said, "What we believe about God is the most important thing about us." What then do the Mormons believe about God?
Well, if the truth be told, the Mormons (despite all claims to the contrary) hold to a polytheistic religion. James E. Talmage, a prominent Mormon leader, wrote concerning their beliefs on God, "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are as distinct in their persons and individualities as are any three personages in mortality." Likewise, Joseph Smith, first president of the Mormon Church stated, "I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods." They do not worship the one God in three persons, but rather three Gods in one purpose.
Indeed, the Mormons take this belief even further, claiming that there are in fact innumerable Gods. Apostle Orson Pratt of the LDS church once wrote, "If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds." According to Joseph Smith, such beliefs are from Scripture, for he says, "Search the scriptures, for they testify of things that these apostates would gravely pronounce blasphemy."
Yet, God has declared, and with no uncertainty, "I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me" (Isaiah 45:5). Likewise, the Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5 writes, "we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one." Can there be any ambiguity in such claims? The verdict is clear! As Dr. Wayne Grudem writes, "Scripture is abundantly clear that there is one and only one God." And yet the LDS church claims that all scripture supports a plurality of Gods!

Contention 3: The Mormons deny their depravity
The Mormons claim also that man is inherently good. James Talmage makes this view quite clear, stating, "The individual has as full a measure of capability to violate " the commandments of God in matters both temporal and spiritual, as he has to obey all such." Gerald N. Lund, a prominent Mormon leader, also claims that man is born in a state of innocence, and then "begins to sin and loses his perfect worthiness."
This teaching runs entirely against the Scriptures. There is no vagueness in the Psalmist"s statement, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." David acknowledges his utter sinfulness before God, even from birth. And clearly he did not intend this to apply to himself alone among the human race. He claims for all men a wickedness from birth, such that every act is tainted by our sinful nature. How then can any goodness be claimed for man? Despite this, the Mormons continue to believe in man"s goodness.

Contention 4: The Mormons hold to a false gospel
The Mormons teach that our salvation is dependent on the works of the law, and in so teaching return to the heresy of the Judaizers of Paul"s day. Elder Theodore M. Burton of the Mormon Church writes, "Only through obedience to the laws of God can I claim my inheritance " as a son within his family. I cannot be exalted in my sins, but must work until I overcome them." The Mormons have departed from the true Gospel of the grace of God, believing foolishly that they, by their own works can merit God"s favor! Even in acknowledging God"s grace, they come short. For in 2 Nephilim 25:23 we are told, "it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." They claim that we must merit God"s favor by our rectitude!
But what can miserable, depraved man do that any deed of ours appear meritorious in the eyes of God? The Scriptures claim that even our righteous acts are like filthy rags! Thus, it is only in God"s grace that sinful man can find hope. Indeed, Paul writes in Romans 4:5, that "to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." Paul could not make it any clearer than when he states, "by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). God"s grace is a gift, not to be bought by any righteous deed. For, if we must work for grace, then how can grace be grace any longer? Yet, the Scriptures are abundantly clear: we are saved by grace alone, not, as the Mormons claim, by grace after all we can do.

Thus, I hold that the Mormon Church is not a Christian Church.


I question whether Mormonism falls under the Christian umbrella, too, but I'm going to play devil's advocate in this debate because I don't think most of Pro's arguments are all that strong. Maybe in the process of the debate, he can strengthen them or come up with better ones. Or maybe he'll convince me that they're stronger than I thought they were.

Before we can say that some entity (x) is a member of some category (y), we first have to define y. Pro didn't give us a definition of Christianity, although we might be able to infer his meaning from his arguments.

First, let's look at where this word came from. According to Acts 11:26, Jesus' followers were first called "Christians" in Antioch, presumably by outsiders. The word, "Christian," comes from the word, "christ," meaning "anointed one." It's the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, "moshiach," or "messiah." So they likely called Jesus' followers Christians because they were following a messiah, namely Jesus. So a "Christian" is somebody who hails Jesus as the Christ.

With that minimal definition in mind, Mormons are obviously Christians. They hail Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.

Perhaps we could be even more specific about the meaning of Christianity. The apostles, after all, had a message about Jesus they were spreading around that included some very basic information they called "the gospel." It was preserved in an oral tradition that Paul tells us about in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. It includes these facts:

1. Christ died for sins.
2. He was buried.
3. He rose from the dead
4. He appeared to Cephas.
5. He appeared to the 12.

It's a matter of controversy whether the rest of the appearances were part of the original oral tradition Paul conveyed, but those five things, at a minimum, defined what the Christian message was. Mormons believe all five of those things, so they are Christians.

Now, perhaps Pro is defining "Christian" differently than I am. Perhaps he means to equate a Christian with a saved person. But as far as I know, the early Church never defined "Christian" that way. In fact, it is evident in a number of books in the New Testament that there are some people within the Christian church who will not be saved (cf. Matthew 7:21-23, 2 Corinthians 11:13, Galatians 2:4, 2 Peter 2:1, etc.). Although these people are condemned as being false brothers or false apostles, and although the implication seems to be that they are not really part of God's elect, they are nevertheless part of the Christian community, and the New Testament never denies that they are actually Christians.

Any reasonable person should admit that it's possible for two people to disagree on at least some points of doctrine even if both of them are Christians. In fact, it's possible for two people to be saved even if they have doctrinal differences. People differ on whether spiritual gifts are active today, whether the return of Christ will happen before or after the tribulation, whether God predestines a particular group of people to eternal life, etc. So the mere fact that Mormons may be wrong on some doctrine is not enough to say that they are not Christians.

Now let's look at Pro's reasons for thinking Mormons are not Christians.

Mormon scriptures are not the word of God

Granted. However, there have been debates within Christianity on what writings are the word of God.[1] Catholics and protestants disagree on whether the Apocrypha is the word of God. In the first few centuries of the church, there were disagreements over whether the book of Revelation was the word of God.[2] Nobody ever said somebody wasn't a Christian just because they had disagreements over the canon. If believing in the wrong books means that you're not a Christian, then either Catholics or protestants are not Christian.

Mormons believe in false gods

Mormons believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each God just as Trinitarians do. They just differ on the question of whether they are the same God. Whereas Trinitarians believe they are the same God (though distinct persons), Mormons believe they are distinct beings, which logically entails that they are distinct gods. Now, some Mormons will claim that they are monotheists on the basis of the intimate unity between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit [3], but I think that is just a semantical game and shouldn't be taken seriously. Mormons are, without a doubt, polytheists.

But I question whether somebody can be excluded from being Christian on the basis of the extra erroneous beliefs they have. Suppose, for example, that I believe all of the essentials of the gospel, but in addition to that, i also believe in unicorns. Since my belief in unicorns is not a denial of any of the essentials of the gospel, I'd still be a Christian. So, if a Mormon happens to believe in some other god that doesn't actually exist, but they nevertheless believe all the essentials of the gospel, then they're still Christians.

Let's look at 1 Corinthians 8, which Pro brought up. If you read the whole chapter, Paul is saying it's okay to eat food sacrificed to idols because we know there is only one God. But, he says, "Not all men have this knowledge" (v.7), and we should "take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak" (v.9). In other words, it's a sin to violate your own conscience (as Paul argued in Romans 14), so we shouldn't eat meat sacrificed to idols if it will lead another person to think it's okay, even though they think idols represent real gods. Paul's advice only makes sense if these others, with weak consciences, are fellow Christians, because why else would they even be concerned about eating meat sacrificed to idols? So Paul is acknowledging the existence of Christians who think there are other gods.

Mormons deny their depravity

Christians differ on the extent of their depravity. You have Calvinists on one extreme who think we are so depraved that we are completely unable to come to Christ unless the Father draws us, and you have Pelagians on the opposite extreme who believe just as the Mormons do, that we are in a state of equilibrium. Between these two extremes, there is every shade of belief. These are doctrinal differences that are, at best, secondary to the core of Christianity which I explained above.

Mormons hold to a false gospel

Mormons pour different meanings into their words than other Christians, and this leads to confusion. Mormons talk about salvation in two different senses--general and individual. By "general salvation," they mean salvation from sin and death by the atonement of Christ. To be saved is to be raised to eternal life, and they believe almost all people are saved in this sense by grace alone. If they're guilty of any heresy, it's in believing too many people will be saved. They are nearly universalists.

By "individual salvation," they mean "exaltation." Exaltation is something that happens to some of those who are saved in the general sense. It is similar to what mainstream Christians think of as "rewards," which even good Calvinists will admit are earned by good works (1 Corinthians 3:14).

Mormons, perhaps, use the word "salvation" incorrectly, but they nevertheless believe in salvation, by the usual meaning of the word, is by grace. The confusion comes in the fact that Mormons usually use the word "salvation" to refer to exaltation rather than in the general sense. But if you just look at the substance of what they believe rather than the words they use to describe it, their belief in general resurrection is equivalent to the reformed belief in salvation by grace alone.

As far as the gospel is concerned, Paul defined the gospel in 1 Corinthiains 15:3ff, and Mormons fully subscribe to what Paul said there.

[1] The Canon of the New Testament, by Bruce Metzger

[2] Ibid. p. 104


Debate Round No. 1


As we refute the claims brought up by con, we will begin with a definitions clash. My opponent has defined Christian as anyone who acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah. But do not even the demons do such? Do not demons also believe in this oral tradition that Paul writes of in 1 Corinthians 15:3, and tremble? Thus, we cannot accept such a definition. Instead, I will define "Christian" as a disciple of Christ, one who follows Him and His teaching (Acts 11:26).

In addition, Con mentioned that false brothers were still part of the Christian community. This I will not deny. But note that in the U.S. we have illegal emigrants, who may be a part of a community. But this does not make them Americans. In the same way, simply going to Church does not make you a Christian.

However, all this is of minor importance since the issue at hand is whether the Mormon Church is a Christian religion, or in other words, is the Mormon Church a part of the Church of Christ? Thus, this has everything to do with doctrine and beliefs, for we are not speaking of individuals, but of the group as a whole. Is the group a Christians group? And the only answer to this is to see whether it fits with Christian doctrine.

Now that this definitions clash is out of the way, we can proceed to the arguments that flow from my first contention. Now Con"s arguments flow from a misunderstanding. The main issue that I wished to address was not their written Scriptures, but rather their accepting the words of a man over the words of God.

Now we come to the argument that flows from my second contention. The problem with believing there to be numerous gods is that Christians and Mormons do not worship the same God. Christians worship the one triune God, while Mormons worship many gods, each in one person. This is idolatry. In addition, each of these "gods" are finite, created beings, not the infinite, uncreated God of the Scriptures. They worship false gods, and thus, they cannot be followers of Christ, for they do not even acknowledge Him as He is!

By worshiping false gods, they fail as Christians by their own standards. For Donald Q. Cannon, associate dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University states, "To acquire faith unto salvation one needs a correct idea of God"s character, perfections, and attributes." It is not simply that they have added some superfluous beliefs. They do not worship God, they worship some false god. They do not acknowledge Christ, but rather, some other "Christ".

For the most part, we will ignore the arguments brought up against my third contention since this would result in a Calvinist/Arminianist debate, which is not the purpose of this debate. However, I would like to point out that without an acknowledgement of one"s utter sinfulness, how can one acknowledge his need for a savior? As Arthur W. Pink once said, "Just as the sinner's despair of any hope from himself is the first prerequisite of a sound conversion, so the loss of all confidence in himself is the first essential in the believer's growth in grace."

Let us now move down the flow to my final contention. There are two major points I would like to bring up against my opponents arguments.

First, the evidence that I presented clearly spoke of the salvation that Christians hold to. For example, Theodore Burton writes that he must work to overcome his sin. But in this, the victory is won, not by our works, but through the blood of Christ. Our sin was nailed to the tree. He bore them in His body. In addition, according to 2 Nephilim 25:23, salvation by grace comes after salvation by our works. According to this, we do as much as we can to earn our salvation and hope for God to make up the rest.

Second, as to the general and special salvations that the Mormons believe in, the general salvation is, even according to Joseph Smith, no salvation at all. According to John 17:3, a verse quoted both by Mormons and Christians, "this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." In the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms, there is no such knowledge of God, and therefore no eternal life. Thus, this argument that the general salvation of Mormon doctrine is the same as the Christian"s salvation by grace alone falls.

The Mormon Church simply cannot fall into the category of a Christian religion. Its teachings are not of Christ, and it does not even follow the true Christ or the true God. They have turned aside to a false gospel. Of just such a Church does Paul write when he says, "if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8-9). Clearly, the Mormon Church is not a Christian religion.



I know people don't like arguments over definitions, but I think that's what this debate boils down to.

One who hails Jesus as the Messiah

Words are defined by their use, so my strategy was to look at how "Christian" was used in the New Testament. The first use was when outsider referred to people who hailed Jesus as the Messiah. Pro misrepresents me here. He took me to say a Christian is anyone (human or not) who acknowledges that Jesus is the Messiah. But that is not it. By "people," I mean humans. It was humans in Antioch who were called Christians, not demons. Demons are not counter-examples to my definition. Also, I said a Christian is somebody who hails Jesus as the messiah, not just somebody who acknowledges that he is the messiah. To hail is to cheer, salute, enthusiastically acclaim, etc.[1] That's something different than mere acknowledgement, so again, the demons do not serve as counter-examples.

One who subscribes to the gospel about Jesus

I argued for a further definition of "Christian," by saying a Christian is somebody who subscribed to the core proclaimation the apostles were making about Jesus, preserved in an oral tradition recorded by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. Pro didn't dispute that. By that definition, Mormons are definitely Chrisitans.

A disciple of of Christ; one who follows his teachings

This is my opponent's definition of a Christian, but this definition is too narrow. Think of all the differences Christians have amongst themselves about what Jesus taught. Did Jesus teach Calvinism in John 6, as James White and many others think?[2] Or did he teach transubstantiation in John 6, as many Catholics think? Did Jesus teach pacifism in Matthew 5, or not? If being a Christian means that you follow all of Christ's teachings, then the only true Christians are the ones who fully and accurately understand everything Jesus said in the gospels. But I submit that there are few (if any) of us who do. We all have subtle differences among ourselves in the interpretation of this or that parable or saying. By Pro's definition, very few of us are Christians if any at all.

Perhaps my opponent could amend his definition to say "one who follows some of Christ's teachings." But in that case, Mormons are Christians. He'd have to admit they follow some of Jesus' teachings. Probably even most.

Pro says the issue is whether the Mormon Church is a Christian church, and not whether individuals are Christians. But I don't think that distinction changes any of our arguments. Baptists (in all their flavours), Methodists, Prebyterians, Assemblies of God, Churches of God, etc., all have differences in doctrine, yet they are all Christian churches. Pro said the only way to see whether they are Christian is "to see whether it fits with Christian doctrine." By Pro's definition of what it means to be Christian, most of these denominations are not Christian. At most, only one of them can be. I doubt that's what he really believes.

Mormon Scriptures are not the word of God

Pro claims that I misunderstood his first contention. He said it wasn't about their written scriptures, but about whether they took the word of man over the word of God. Howver, what he actually said in his opening was, "As always, I begin by examining the foundation of Mormon doctrine: their Scriptures." Apparently, by "the word of man," he was refferring to Mormon scriptures, so I don't really get his "correction." It seems to me that my point remains. If Catholics think the Aprocrypha is the word of God, but it's really the word of man, then by Pro's reasoning, Catholics aren't really Christian.

But why think this excludes somebody from being Christian anyway? Even if we admit that there are cases when Mormons (or anybody else) takes the word of a man over the word of God, Pro needs to give us an argument for why that excludes them from being a Christian. After all, Christians aren't perfect. Many Christians are theologically ignorant, and they often follow unBiblical traditions out of their own ignorance. Must we be expert theologians before we can be Christians? Surely not!

Mormons believe in false gods

Pro thinks Mormons worship a false god because they do not understand him in a trinitarian sense. But by that standard, all the Jews who lived before Christianity also worshipped a false god because they did not understand him in a trinitarian sense. That is absurd.

One can identify God (or anybody) ostenibly. The true God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.; the one who raised Jesus from the dead; the true God is the one who gave the Law to Moses; etc. Mormons worship this God; therefore, they worship the true God. They just happen to have different beliefs about that God.

I doubt most Christians in the early church had a full understanding of the Trinity either. They understood that the Father was God, and that the Son was also God in some sense, but I doubt most of them had any idea of there being one being who was simultaneously three distinct persons. They didn't have these details worked out that early on. So by Pro's reasoning, most of the early Christians weren't Christians at all. The average Christian today can't define the Trinity either.

Pro quoted Donald Cannon as saying that to gain salvation, one must have a correct understanding of God. But as the Associate Dean of Religious Education at BYU, Cannon is not an official spokesperson of the LDS Church. He is stating his own opinion, and many Mormons would probably disagree with him. None of the Mormons I know would say I'm not a Christian just because they think my view of God is wrong.

Mormons deny their depravity

Pro says you can't acknowledge your need for a savior without apreciating the depth of your sin. Well, Mormons acknowledge both their sin and their need for a savior, so no problem there.

Mormons hold to a false gospel

In response to my rebuttal, Pro continues to ignore the subtle differences in the way Mormons speak of salvation. Again, I say, it is the substance of what they believe one must look at, and not so much the words they use to explain it. Mormons believe that when Jesus died on the cross, he secured our resurrections to eternal life. It has nothing to do with any effort on our part. Resurrection is a free gift given to all of us because of the atonement of Christ.

Now, granted, Mormons have a different opinion than most of us of what "eternal life" entails. But then again, most of us mainstream Christians also differ amongst ourselves in what "eternal life" consists of. If you ask most Christians in churches, they think you go to heaven when you die, and that's it. They don't even have a robust understanding of physical resurrection. And nobody really knows what it's going to be like in the after life or even after the resurrection. We know we'll worship God, and we'll be happy, but that's about it.

When Mormons speak of works as contributing to their salvation, they are not talking about salvation from the death that results from sin. Rather, they are talking about the rewards of exaltation they receive after the resurrection. They believe even their works in this mortal life contribute to the rewards they will receive in heaven. But so do most Protestants, as I said already said, citing 1 Corinthians 3:14.

Pro claims there is no knowledge of God in the Terrestrial and Telestial kingdoms. I don't know where he gets that. If he'll provide a source, maybe I can respond.


It still doesn't seem to me that Pro has made any good arguments to support his contention that the LDS Church is not a Christian church or that Mormons are not Christians. Every attempt he makes to exclude Mormons ends up excluding many people he probably would have no problem calling Christians. Nobody's doctrine is perfect. Arminians and Calvinists differ in their view of God's character.


[2] See chapter 7 in The Potter's Freedom, by James White.

Debate Round No. 2


In this last Pro rebuttal, we will be quickly going over the arguments that have been brought up over the course of the round before closing with several voting issues, or reasons why you should vote Pro.

We"ll begin with the definitions-clash that has been brought up. I believe that this is possibly the most important issue in this round, so we will spend a significant portion of this rebuttal on this clash.

The first definition clash that has been brought up is over the word "Christian." What is a Christian? My opponent defined a Christian as one who acclaims Christ as the Messiah. As we will see later, this definition still rejects Mormons as Christians. However, when we look at the literal translation of "Christian" from the Greek, we see that it actually means "Christ Follower," hence my definition of Christian. Thus, a Christian is one who not only acclaims Christ as Messiah, but also follows Him.

As to Con"s further definition that he provided, I did respond to this, saying that even demons believe in this oral tradition: that Christ died, that He was buried, that He rose again on the third day, and that He appeared to His disciples alive. There are men too who have accepted the truth of these statements and yet lived a life of total rebellion to Christ. Thus, this cannot be used as a positive criterion for a Christian.

The final point that we will make in this definitions clash is over the definition of Christian doctrine. Pro seems to think that this means any and every belief that a Christian holds concerning the faith. But this is not what these words mean. I use the word doctrine in the same way that Paul does in 1 Timothy 4:16, when he says, "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." The Christian doctrine that is spoken of here is those doctrines that are beyond dispute and clearly proclaimed in the Scriptures. Paul makes it clear that one"s doctrine is crucial to a Christian Church.

As for those differences in doctrine that occur between denominations of the Protestants, these are minor doctrines that receive little focus in the Scriptures. From this lack of focus, we can deduce that these doctrines are of lesser importance. Those doctrines that are crucial, we can discern easily from the Scriptures. In my constructive, I took four of these and demonstrated that the Mormon Church has abandoned the truth on each of these doctrines and therefore cannot be a Church that follows Christ.

The Mormon Scriptures
The first of these doctrines was on the authority on which all doctrine is based. As we saw in my constructive, the Mormons base their teachings on the authority of their living prophets. Even their written Scriptures are tested to the spoken Scriptures of their leaders. Thus, if their president were to claim that the only way to be saved was to drink milk at each meal, this would suddenly be the truth. We see that their authority is faulty and therefore their doctrines are changeable.

Beliefs about God
We also saw that the Mormons worship a false God. They worship many "gods" not the triune God of Scripture. In addition, when they speak of "gods," we saw that they are speaking of a finite, created being, not the infinite God of the Scriptures. Now, my opponent has claimed that claiming that the Mormons are worshiping a false God for this reason is unreasonable because the Jews and early Christians did not believe in the Trinity. Now, first, I would disagree that the early Church did not believe in the Trinity. Also, I would remind Con of Paul"s words at the Areopagus, where he says, " Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent." Here, Paul is speaking of the Athenians" belief in many gods. Thus, we see that God overlooked ignorance in the past, but now no longer does so, for He has revealed Himself as the triune God. The Mormons have not this excuse of ignorance. Con also claimed that some Christians today do not understand the doctrine of the Trinity. I don"t fully understand either. But I still believe it.

In addition, we must point out that the Jews and early Christians never held that God was finite or created as the Mormons do. Now why does this have such importance on whether the Mormons are a Christian Church? It is because they worship a false Christ. They are given the means to know Him, and yet they reject this and invent for themselves a false Christ and follow him. They are not followers of Christ, neither do they acclaim Christ, and are therefore not Christians.

As for the quote I brought up from Donald Cannon, that was from the LDS website* and therefore does represent their official stance.

A False Gospel
In this point I will also respond to the arguments concerning the sinfulness of man, for I will reiterate that the Mormons consider themselves good enough to earn God"s favor.

Here, we are faced with another definitions clash. My opponent is claiming that salvation in the Mormon vocabulary has two meanings, and when they claim that salvation is by works, they are speaking of the rewards after our resurrection. However, this is not the case. This can be seen in a passage from the official LDS website, which states, "Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God's presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1"4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our "obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel" (Articles of Faith 1:3)."**

The distinction here is between immortality and eternal life. The Bible teaches that all men are immortal beings. It is eternal life that is the result of the Atonement of Christ. Mormons, on the other hand, teach that immortality is the result of the Atonement while eternal life is the result of the our works as well as the Atonement. This is what I attempted to show in my last rebuttal, though there seemed to be some confusion on this point. I hope that this has now been removed.

The Mormons have turned aside to a false gospel, and are, as Paul claims, "accursed" (Galatians 1:8-9).

Voting Issues
Now we will examine 3 voting issues, or the 3 main reasons for you to vote Pro.

Voting Issue 1: A False Christ
We have seen over the course of this debate round that the Mormons hold to a false Christ, and therefore, by both Pro"s and Con"s definitions of Christian, the Mormon Church cannot be a Christian Church.

Voting Issue 2: A False Gospel
Over the course of this debate, the fact that the true gospel must be held in order for a Church to be considered of Christ has not been denied by Con. Yet, we have also seen that the Mormon Church does not hold to a true gospel. Therefore, the Mormon Church cannot be a Christian religion

Voting Issue 3: The Importance of Doctrine
I have striven throughout this debate to demonstrate the importance of doctrine in this debate. While this has constantly been denied by Con, I have quoted numerous Scriptures and authorities, demonstrating the significance of doctrine. It is as the Apostle John wrote in 2 John 1:9, "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son."

We can see very clearly, that the Mormon Church does not have God, for they do not abide in the doctrine of Christ.

* The Restoration of Major Mormon Doctrines
** Eternal Life

Thank you very much philochristos for debating. It has been a pleasure debating with you.


In the final round, Pro admits that being a Christian does not mean that your doctrine is perfect. He says that some doctrines are more important than others. Presumably, you have to believe the important ones to be a Christian, but it's okay to be wrong about the unimportant ones. The important ones are the ones that are "beyond dispute" and "clearly proclaimed in the scriptures."

The "beyond dispute" critera cannot be applied without begging the question. If Mormons are Christians, and they dispute some doctrine Pro agrees with, then that doctrine is not "beyond dispute." The only way Pro can say that the doctrine Mormons disagree with is "beyond dispute" is if he first assumes that Mormons are not Christians. So he's got to assume what he's trying to prove before he can apply this criteria.

The "clearly proclaimed in the scriptures" criteria is subjective, and therefore unhelpful. Arminians think their theology is clearly taught in the scriptures, and Calvinists think their theology is clearly taught in the scriptures. If Calvinists are right, then Arminians wouldn't be Christians by Pro's standards. And if Arminians are right, then Calvinists wouldn't be Christians by Pro's standards.

Since Pro has admitted that one can be a Christian without having all of their theology right, and since he hasn't given us any reliable way of figuring out where to draw the line, he has undermined his whole case.

Pro insists that it's not enough to hail Jesus as the messiah, but you must also follow him. However, following him obviously can't mean that you believe everything Jesus taught since Pro has admitted that one can be wrong about doctrine and still be a Christian. Mormons are like other Christians in the fact that they do follow Jesus on most issues, but they are also wrong about some.

Pro thinks that the gospel tradition Paul recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff cannot be used as a criteria for being a Christian since even the demons believe it. Yet, he thinks the issue of salvation by grace alone can be used as a critera for being a Christian. But don't the demons believe in salvation by grace alone, too? I suspect demons do know correct theology better than most of us do.

I have not argued that believing the gospel tradition recited by Paul is a sufficient criteria for being a Christian. I agree that one must be a follower of Christ and hail him as the messiah. What I have argued, rather, is that it is a minimum necessary criteria for being a Christian. That is, you cannot be a Christian if you deny it. I am acknowledging that there is a minimum set of doctrines one must believe to be a Christian, and that is included in Paul's gospel. That gospel was the central message of what Christianity was all about--that Christ died for sins, and that he was raised from the dead. Mormons are followers of Jesus who hail him as the Christ and fully subscribe to the gospel as Paul defined it in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff. That make them Christians.

Pro distputes that Mormons are Christians because of the authority they attribute to their living prophet. But he doesn't explain why this should exclude them from being Christians. Catholics also attribute a great deal of authority to the councils and the teaching magisterium of the church, including the authority to determine what is scripture and what isn't. But that's no reason to think Catholics are not Christians.

Pro continues to insist that one must believe in the Trinity to be a Christian. But earlier he said, "Those doctrines that are crucial, we can discern easily from the Scriptures." Most people do not discern the Trinity easily from scripture. By Pro's own criteria, he should not exclude Mormons from being Christian just because they don't subscribe to the doctrine of the Trinity. The Bible dosn't teach the Trinity explicitly. The Trinity is deduced from various passage of scripture when considered together and thought through.

Pro thinks Mormons believe in a "finite created being" rather than the "infinite God of scripture." He seems to be applying the indiscernibility of identicals to claim that Mormons don't worship the same God. But this argument is flawed because it's possible for two people to believe different things about God and still be talking about the same God. Calvinists and Arminians have different beliefs about God's sovereignty, but that doesn't mean they believe in two different gods.

Besides that, Mormons don't beileve God was created in the sense of having been made to come into existence. In their view, nobody comes into existence. We are all eternal. Before we were human, we existed as spirits, and before we were spirits, we existed as intelligences (D&C 93). So God wasn't created in their view.

I argued that Mormons worshipped the same God as every other Christian based on an ostensible definition of God. They worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the same one who gave the law to Moses; the same one who raised Jesus from the dead. Pro ignored that argument.

Pro claims Mormons believe in a different Christ. Now, there were many people claiming to be Christ in the first and second century, but there's only one that Mormons take to be the true Christ, and that's Jesus of Nazareth--the same one who was born in Bethlehem to Joseph and Mary, who was baptized by John the Baptist, who walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, was raised from the dead, and appeared to Cephas, and the rest of the apostles. That is the person they take to be the Christ, and it's the same person every other Christian takes to be the Christ. It's not as if they think Simon bar Kosiba is the Chirst!

Pro claims that Mormons subscribe to a false gospel, but as I showed, Paul defined the gospel clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff, and Mormons subscribe to it perfectly. What Pro means is that they don't believe in salvation by grace alone, but that their works contribute to their salvation. By this critera, Pro would have to exclude anybody who thinks baptism is necessary for salvation. Catholics would not be Christians by this critera.

Pro is still caught up with the vocabulary of Mormons, and he's not dealing with the substance of what they believe. Yes, it's true they make a distinction between the words, "immortality" and "eternal life." But again, you have to look at the substance of what they believe. Mormons believe that because of the atonement of Christ, everybody will go to heaven. Now, granted, they break heaven up into three distinct kingdoms, but they are all heavenly kingdoms. So yes, they do believe in a resurrection to eternal life (though they call it "immorality") for all people, because of the atonement of Christ, and it is by grace alone since it doesn't depend on any work that we do. It should also be noted that the Bible uses the word "immorality" synonymously with a resurrection to eternal life (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:35-57).

Mormons simply use the word "eternal life" differently than other Christians. As Pro's quote showed, it is synonymous with "exaltation," which again is synonymous with what most of us think of as rewards, and which most Christians, including protestants, agree are earned by works, as I showed.

Pro's argument is fallacious because he's pouring his meaning into Mormon vocabulary, and arriving at the wrong conclusions about what they believe.

But even if he's right, why think it excludes them from being Christian? Calvinists and Arminians disagree on what God's grace accomplishes. Arminians think it's up to us to muster the faith we need to get saved. Calvinsits believe God's grace is sufficient to give us faith. Arminians are synergists, and Calvinists are monergists. Yet they are both Christians.

Thank you for coming to tonight's debate, and thank you for reading and considering our arguments.

Thank you, Jacob, for the debate, and having such a passion for the gospel. It was clear to me in this debate that the integrity of the gospel is important to you.

Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 5 years ago
Why does it seem that absolutely no one really understands why the Bereans were 'more noble'? I've yet to see a heretic get that right.
Posted by Locke33 5 years ago
Umm Catholics are not Christians
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Billdekel 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro never defined Christianity. Philo took out his arguments and pro hardly gave any good rebuttal
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I retain my doubt whether or not Mormons can truly be considered Christians, and agree with many of Pro's arguments, but Philocristos is a formidable opponent and I must say his arguments win out in this debate. Also, I find the Christian Charity evinced on both sides of the debate quite edifying. Thank you both.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro probably had the burden of proof, and Con negated his arguments successfully by pointing out that Pro had very little ground to stand on with regards to his definitions of what entails a Christian.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: countering locke33's rubbish RDF
Vote Placed by Locke33 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: He had more convincing arguments and con border line helped him.