Mormons vs. Evangelicals vs. Orthodox

April 17, 2008

“You think we’re being uncharitable about the filioque and monophysitism? How? You don’t think that Trinitarian theology and Christology are imporant? Why not just be a Mormon?”

It seems that there is some confusion over the disparity in belief and practice between Mormons, Evangelicals, and Orthodox. Of course, the Mormons aren’t too forthcoming about everything they do and believe, but from my relatively limited knowledge I think I can make a pretty good case against an Apples to Apples comparison here.

Trinity / Godhood:

  • Orthodox: Based on the ecumenical councils. God is triune, eternal, uncreated, etc.
  • Evangelical: Adds filioque. This changes monarchy of the father and tends toward modalism.
  • Mormon: God was once a man like us on another planet. Jesus and Satan were his physical children. Jesus is not of one essence with God. God is not eternal or uncreated. No trinity.

Heaven and Hell:

  • Orthodox: Unrepentant sinners go to hell, as punishment for their sins. Through theosis, Christians become like God and eventually join Him in heaven.
  • Evangelical: Basically the same, with (sometimes) an added dimension of the election of Christians.
  • Mormon: There is no hell, just levels of heaven. Bad people are on the lowest level, and the top level is for Mormons who do everything right and perform the “Temple ordinances”. People at the top level become a God just like Earth’s “God” did. In the original version, only men with three or more wives could reach this exaltation.

The Bible:

  • Orthodox: The canon and deutero-canon, as confirmed around the 5th century by the church. The standard against which doctrine is measured. The canon contains the OT and the works of the apostles, inspired by God, and the deutero-canon contains works of secondary spiritual value. “Patristics”, or interpretation by the Fathers, are important for understanding the Bible.
  • Evangelicals: Don’t know about the deutero-canon, but the canon is virtually identical. Though they don’t follow “patristics”, and have added “sola scriptura”, the attitude towards the Bible is still similar.
  • Mormons: Though they have the Old and New Testaments in their Bible, these are of secondary importance relative to their “Revelations”: the Book of Mormon, an account of the Lost Tribes of Israel in pre-Columbian America delivered on Golden Tablets in a previously unknown ancient language which Smith was mystically able to translate; the Pearl of Great Price, an additional book of doctrine and “history” which Smith claimed to have translated from an ancient set of papyrii he bought; and the Doctrines and Covenants, a list of rules prophetically revealed over time mostly to Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS church, including the aforementioned requirement of three wives for exaltation.

I could probably come up with more … but do you begin to see my point? The Mormon church has many similarities with Christianity, but as far as doctrine is concerned, the differences between the LDS church and any mainstream Christian group (evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox) will dwarf the differences between these mainstream Christian groups.

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2 Responses to “Mormons vs. Evangelicals vs. Orthodox”

  1. momesansnom Says:

    Hi, after months of not dropping by (you stopped posting for a while, so I kind of forgot to check back in), I decided to take a peek at what you were up to. Looks like you’ve been thinking through a lot of stuff. I haven’t read through it all yet. May God bless you richly along your path!

  2. Ben Says:

    Thanks MSN … I hope that I, as we all should be, am constantly striving to become closer to God. We’ll see where that takes me …

    I do tend to post in spurts, unfortunately … the best way to keep track is probably RSS (I have several blogs where I track posts and comments using Google Reader).


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