Phil Johnson (apologist for his pastor, John MacArthur, and creator of spurgeon.org), wrote two pieces on Mormonism entitled "Peddling Mormonism as mainstream Christianity" and "Clueless losers?" on his blog site.
Excerpts from "Peddling Mormonism as mainstream Christianity" are as follows:
<<Back in May, a few weeks before I joined the Christian blogosphere, there was quite a lot of controversy when an erstwhile
evangelical publisher (Eerdmans) released a book by Mormon scholar Dr. Robert Millet (professor of religion at Brigham Young
University). The book, (A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-day Saints) was Millet's attempt to argue that Mormonism is both
biblically and creedally within the bounds of historic Christian orthodoxy.
I realize the controversy over that issue is yesterday's news as far as the blogosphere is concerned. Both Eric Svendsen and James White (among others) did a superb job responding to some of the post-evangelical quislings who thought it was wonderfully even-handed and genteel for Eerdmans to be broad-minded enough to publish an apologia for Mormonism.
[see my response to James White's treatment of Mormonism at www.outsidethecamp.org/jameswhite.htm -mdc]
John MacArthur has repeatedly attempted to make his position absolutely clear: He does not regard Mormonism as legitimate
Christianity--not even close. But you might get the opposite impression from some of Millet's publicity, and especially from his
Internet groupies' postings.
John MacArthur's meeting with Dr. Millet took place in August 1997. That meeting was nothing more than a discussion of Mormon-evangelical differences in a cordial environment. It was not, as some have suggested a "dialogue" about Mormon-evangelical
rapprochement. MacArthur was congenial but clear. In the meeting itself he repeatedly stressed his conviction that there is a great
gulf between Mormonism and true Christianity. He told Millet in plain, unvarnished words that Mormonism worships a different god,
follows a different christ, and proclaims a different gospel from authentic New Testament Christianity.
MacArthur's position on this has never wavered. He believes and teaches that Mormonism is not true Christianity in any historic or biblical sense, but is a classic cult. Indeed, Mormonism is similar in many ways to the Gnostic heresies that plagued the church for centuries. Mormonism and genuine biblical, evangelical Christianity are in effect antithetical, sharing no common spiritual ground whatsoever.
Mormonism is pseudo-Christianity.
In the eight years since his meeting with Dr. Millet, MacArthur has often summarized his concerns about Mormonism by pointing out four significant, unbridgeable chasms between Mormonism and authentic biblical Christianity. Here, in writing, is MacArthur's own list of four foundational truths where Mormons and evangelicals take perfectly incompatible positions. (This list is routinely sent to people who ask about MacArthur's stance on Mormonism).
The issue of authority. Christians believe the Bible is God's authoritative, inerrant, unchanging and complete self-revelation (Jude 3). Scripture is the touchstone to which all other truth-claims must be brought (Isaiah 8:20). The sole and sufficient authority by which all controversies in spiritual matters are to be determined is none other than God's Spirit speaking through Scripture.
By contrast, Mormons consider The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants as additional authoritative revelation, thereby undermining the true authority of Scripture and violating the principle of Revelation 22:18.
The doctrine of God. Christians believe there is one God who eternally exists in three co-equal Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Mormons reject the doctrine of the Trinity, believing that there are many worlds controlled by different gods.
The supremacy of Christ. Christians believe Jesus Christ is pre-existent God who became a man in His incarnation while maintaining His full deity. Mormons claim Jesus was a "spirit child" of Mary and Elohim (and the brother of Lucifer) who has now been elevated to the level of deity.
The means of justification. Christians believe justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Mormons believe a person's works in this life will determine his or her status in the life to come, and that "salvation" is actually a progression toward godhood.
Why is Dr. Millet nonetheless courting evangelical acceptance?
I have no way of knowing whether Dr. Millet's meticulous attempt to reconcile Mormon doctrine with certain evangelical ideas and terminology reflects an authentic interest in better understanding the biblical principle of grace--or a carefully-crafted PR campaign to gain mainstream acceptance for Mormonism. I wish I could believe it is the former. It has all the earmarks of the latter.
After all, a few other cults and "-isms" have already successfully mainstreamed themselves by simply appealing to the ever-broadening evangelical consensus. Most of the books that ever treated Seventh-Day Adventism as a cult are now deemed out of date
and unsophisticated. Roman Catholicism has sought and received the evangelical imprimatur from dozens of key evangelical leaders
in recent years. Even the Worldwide Church of God--a cult that was virtually a monument to one man's ability to assimilate almost
any heresy into one elaborate labyrinth of spiritual mischief--sought and received widespread evangelical acceptance by tweaking
their beliefs and adopting evangelical terminology, but without ever formally renouncing their founder's religion as false. After a
decade-long public-relations campaign, the WWCOG has still not settled into a truly evangelical doctrinal position, but they have
nevertheless found warm acceptance from the evangelical mainstream.
Hey, if it worked for them, why shouldn't the Mormons try it, too?>>
Well, hey, even if MormonISM is not legitimate Christianity, is pseudo-Christianity, and is antithetical to Christianity, this isn't saying that every Mormon is unregenerate, according to the likes of Paul Elliot, J. Gresham Machen, John Robbins, and Sean Gerety (see www.outsidethecamp.org/review101.htm). In fact, Sean recently wrote to me (12/20/05) the following:
<<Now I realize that in your delusional state of mind and self-righteous pride it's hard for you to actually read the words others write,
and your knee jerks more violently than you can ever hope to control, but perhaps God will grant you one second of mental clarity for
you to see that Elliot doesn't say "that some who hold to a totally different religion . . . are saved." Unlike you, Elliot doesn't pretend
to see into the hearts of men and with epistemic certainty can tell with laser like precision all who hold to a false gospel. That's your
special gift. I skipped all the caps and exclamations because they only make you look even nuttier than you obviously are. But it's
clear you are a liar.
You have never been able to differentiate systems from people. You're too busy fighting the wrong fight.>>
Oh, okay, Sean ... let's differentiate the system of MormonISM from Mormons. Or how about differentiating the system of HinduISM from Hindus? Or how about differentiating the system of BuddhISM from Buddhists? Or how about differentiating the system of PelagianISM from Pelagians? Or how about differentiating the system of ArianISM from Arians?
Unlike Sean and those at the Trinity Review who don't know what's in the hearts of men and cannot tell who holds to a false gospel, I and all my brothers and sisters in Christ can say without a doubt that ALL Mormons, ALL Hindus, ALL Buddhists, ALL Pelagians, and ALL Arians (and, by the way, ALL liberals and ALL neo-liberals and ALL Arminians) are unregenerate. How can I make such a statement? Because words mean things. Mormons are those who hold to MormonISM. Hindus are those who hold to HinduISM. Buddhists are those who hold to BuddhISM. Pelagians are those who hold to PelagianISM. Arians are those who hold to ArianISM. Liberals are those who hold to liberalISM. Neo-liberals are those who hold to neo-liberalISM. Arminians are those who hold to ArminianISM.
Just think if J. Gresham Machen had said, "We are not dealing here with delicate personal questions; we are not presuming to say whether such and such an individual man is a Christian or not. God only can decide such questions; no man can say with assurance whether the attitude of certain individual 'Mormons' or 'Hindus' or 'Buddhists' or 'Pelagians' or 'Arians' toward Christ is saving faith or not. But one thing is perfectly plain - whether or [not] Mormons or Hindus or Buddhists or Pelagians or Arians are Christians, it is at any rate perfectly clear that Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Pelagianism, and Arianism are not Christianity."
And you know what - if Machen and Robbins and Elliot and Gerety were consistent, they would HAVE to extrapolate to EVERY false religion, at least to every false religion that comes in the name of Christ (which Pelagianism and Arianism and Mormonism and Arminianism and Campbellism and Russellism do). Do you think they'd come out and publicly do this? Of course not. That would show that they are liberals themselves!!
<<only Kool-Aid drinkers read your rag>>
Okay, Sean, drink up!
To God alone be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter
In "Clueless losers?", Phil Johnson quotes Paul Owen:
"But please keep in mind that such champions of grace as Augustine and Luther both likewise believed in baptismal regeneration--so this does not automatically make the Mormons legalists."
Phil Johnson then responds:
"It doesn't? I'd say on that issue both Augustine and Luther were wrong, and their views on baptism smacked of a ritualistic legalism. In their arguments against Pelagianism and semi-pelagianism, however, both Luther and Augustine gave enough crystal-clear teaching about divine grace to retrieve the core of the gospel from the murkiness of their own legalistic understanding of baptism. I affirm what they wrote about grace; I deplore what they wrote about baptismal regeneration. I regard them as authentic Christians because their defense of grace made it clear that they understood the gospel sufficiently, even though they did not understand it perfectly. In both cases, grace was the central message of their ministry, and what we remember them most for."
There you go! Phil Johnson admits that Augustine and Luther believed in baptismal regeneration, but this just showed that "they did not understand the gospel perfectly." Oh, Augustine and Luther just believed in salvation by the work of baptism -- ah, that doesn't really matter, since they were able "to retrieve the core of the gospel from the murkiness of their own legalistic understanding of baptism." Their beliefs were murky enough to deny salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (and we know that Luther also believed in universal atonement, which means he automatically believed that the work of Christ alone did not make the only difference between salvation and damnation), but Philip Johnson considers this to be a non-essential error, especially since elsewhere they were so "crystal-clear" about grace. Perhaps, as Van Til or Robbins or Clark or Machen or Sproul would say, they were saved in spite of their "blessed (or happy) inconsistency" or they were "wonderfully confused."
Opposed to this dung is God's Word:
"Behold, I, Paul, say to you that if you are circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man being circumcised, that he is a debtor to do all the Law, [you], whoever are justified by Law, you were severed from Christ, you fell from grace" (Galatians 5:2-4).
To God alone be the glory,
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