A Texas pastor has been in the news spotlight ever since he gave a forthright answer to reporters last Friday.
Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, was requested to introduce Texas Governor Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. After Perry’s speech, a reporter asked Pastor Jeffress what he thought about Mormonism (which happens to be the religion of Mitt Romney). Jeffress answered directly, “Mormonism is a cult.”
As soon as Pastor Jeffress’ comment hit the wires, the man was attacked and maligned. Bill Bennett referred to Mr. Jeffress as a bigot. Governor Perry quickly distanced himself from the remarks and from Jeffress. And the media has blasted Jeffress all weekend.
But let me ask you, is it really “bigoted” to make an honest statement concerning your convictions? Pastor Jeffress did not say hateful remarks about Romney as a person. He didn’t even make derogatory comments about Mormons. He simply stated what has long been the position of evangelical Christians.
Jeffress wasn’t saying that Mormons are sociologically a cult, but that that theologically their doctrine greatly differs from biblical Christianity. The Mormon religion actually teaches that the Book of Mormon is equal to if not superior to the Bible:
The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel….
Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon, paragraphs 1 and 6)
Mormonism teaches that forgiveness of sins comes, not through faith in Christ, but through water baptism:
…Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling of the commandments unto the remission of sins. (Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:11)
Mormonism teaches that Christ was a man who became God, rather than the Bible teaching that He is God who became man (setting aside His prerogatives of deity, yet remaining fully God).
God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345–346)
Although Mormons claim the title “Christian,” historically, any group which tampers with or denies the doctrine of the deity of Christ has been referred to as a cult.
I watched two news interviews on Sunday regarding this comment. One was with Pastor Jeffress, who stood by and further explained his comment. The other was with Pastor Joel Osteen, who wouldn’t even answer a direct question about how Mormonism differs with Christianity. Although I am not a Southern Baptist, I’m thankful for Pastor Jeffress’ bold witness and his willingness to stand for the truth.
I praise God for anyone who will hold forth the truth of the Gospel, and I pray that God will raise up more Christians that will unashamedly “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).