“No matter the source of the false gospel, even if it is preached by us or a heavenly messenger, ignore it. May those who add to or subtract from the gospel of Jesus be eternally cursed! Listen again because I am going to make it crystal clear: If anyone preaches to you a gospel other than what you have accepted, may he find himself cursed! Take this message for what it is, a truthful warning.” Galatians 1:8-9, The Voice (emphasis mine)
Many years ago, I heard Dr. Walter Martin, author of Kingdom of the Cults, and The Maze of Mormonism, cite this passage of scripture in application to the doctrine of the Mormon church. In both books, Dr. Martin outlines and details differences between Mormon theology and mainstream Christian theology, pointing to the statements and writings of Mormon church authorities and their interpretations of the standard works of the church to clarify what are absolutely clear differences. Dr. Martin concludes that there are few similarities between Mormonism and what we would call mainstream, Evangelical Christianity, and no similarities at all on the “essentials.” And he points out that the source of Mormon revelation is the encounter between Joseph Smith, its first prophet, and Moroni, a heavenly messenger, who pointed Smith to a place where he could dig up plates that contained “Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” the very words inscribed on the cover of the resulting alleged translation, known to us as “The Book of Mormon”.
So, with one major party’s nominee for President of the United States being a dedicated follower of this faith, the question of how that will affect his presidency is a legitimate one. Many Christians have blithely passed this off as being similar to the furor over John F. Kennedy’s Catholic faith, while many others simply accept his assertion that it won’t make a difference. First of all, that is inconsistent with the position most conservative Evangelical Christians have taken in previous elections, and with previous Presidents and candidates. The words of President Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, were used to question the nature and integrity of the President’s personal faith. President Clinton was called to task for his behavior by many conservative Christians on moral, Biblical grounds because he claimed to be a Christian and was a member of a Southern Baptist church. And the position that many conservative Evangelicals have taken with regard to interpreting the church/state clause of the Constitution would indicate that there is a reasonable expectation that a President is not going to check his faith at the White House door.
That creates a major dilemma for many Christians, especially those who don’t like the President, and don’t want to see him re-elected. They have most certainly made his faith a part of their evaluation of his actions in the White House, with his recent pronouncement of his position on gay marriage, but going back well into the last election with the criticism that he weathered every time the name Jeremiah Wright surfaced. It is extremely difficult for a Christian to make the argument that President Obama’s religious faith weights as a negative in their evaluation of him, but that Mitt Romney’s religious faith has no effect on their evaluation of him. Galatians 1:8-9 evaluates Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, as Romans 1:32 evaluates Barack Obama’s position on gay marriage. Truth is still truth.
Politically active Christians must be extremely careful to completely avoid anything that looks like an endorsement of Romney’s Mormon faith. Christian convictions, and Christian truth are not driven by strong political feelings. Most Evangelical Christians find themselves in agreement with Dr. Martin’s strongly worded assessments of Mormonism when compared with Christianity. During the Republican primary, a prominent Texas Baptist pastor clearly distinguished the major differences between Mormonism and Christianity, and clearly expressed the position that it most definitely did have an effect on the way he viewed Mitt Romney as a candidate, and how he would view him as President. But, now that Romney is the Republican nominee, the political feelings that many Christians have about President Obama have driven most of them into silence about Romney’s Mormon faith. Is Truth still Truth, or has it been changed for the sake of political expediency?
That doesn’t have anything to do with who you choose to vote for, by the way. When you’re in the booth, its just you and the ballot. You vote for whomever you want to. I like this quote, in a blog post by fellow blogger Dr. Dwight McKissic:
“W.E.B. Dubois makes it very clear that moral matters can and should affect voting matters and decisions. As a matter of fact, Dubois chose to not vote in the 1956 presidential election because of both parties being morally corrupt. However, I am advocating that people vote in the election—vote their conscious and vote their conviction, even if that means having to vote for a third party candidate or write in a candidate. Vote for President Obama if that’s your choice. Vote for Mitt Romney if that’s your choice. Vote for a third party candidate if that’s your choice. Write in a vote if you must, but by all means–vote!”
But let’s be honest. Romney’s Mormon faith, and his position in the church, having served a two year mission, as a bishop of a ward, which means he is a member of one of the church’s priesthoods and has been through a temple ritual in which he swore a blood oath of loyalty to the church’s prophet, will have an effect on his presidency if he is elected, and Christians must take that into consideration. Mormon prophets have predicted that the Mormon Church will, one day, control the US government, at a time when Jesus will return to earth at Independence, Missouri. They are the ones, according to this prophecy, to whom God has given the responsibility for Jesus being able to return to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In light of that, Romney’s statements about “shaping events in the Middle East, rather than just reacting to them,” takes on a particular meaning. Would a President Romney direct US money and military might into attempting to self-fulfill Mormon prophecy? That, and other questions, should be asked by all voters before casting their ballot.
Part of the dilemma Christian voters face have to do with social issues, mainly abortion rights and gay marriage. The perception is that, with no candidate in the election actually professing or evidencing a true Christian faith, the Republican is the better choice because of the party’s position on these issues. But the fact of the matter is that Christians have given away far too much loyalty, and way too much vote support, and have lost control of their influence on both of these issues. Six current Supreme Court justices have been appointed by Republican presidents going back to Ronald Reagan, and there is still not a pro-life majority on the court, or even a willingness by the justices to consider overturning Roe v. Wade. In the words of Chief Justice John Roberts, a W appointee, “It is the settled law of the land.” Spurgeon’s statement, “When faced with the choice of two evils, choose neither,” may be good advice in this case. It’s never wrong to vote your conscience, even if it means the guy you vote for gets beaten to the ground.
Truth is still truth. I’m glad to see that there are some Christian leaders and preachers who recognize this.