Blog Archive


Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Are Mormons Christians?

Every so often I have the opportunity to go onto a college campus and answer questions from the students. Recently, a student who identified himself as a Mormon wished to ask about my position on whether Mormons are Christians. He said that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has Jesus' name in the title, so they are certainly Christians, too. He then asked "why do evangelicals insist that we are not also Christians?"

I answered by asking a question of my own. "Why do property lines exist?" I asked him. "Why do we make sure that we mark the beginning and ending boundaries of our lands? The answer (as I'm sure most people know) is so there is no confusion or encroachment by others. Property lines define the beginning and the end of my land. As a landowner, it is important to know where that land starts and stops. I shouldn't assume land that isn't mine as much as another shouldn't assume to own land that I paid for.  I also have to care for my land; it should be both nurtured and protected.

This idea of defining boundaries is also important when discussing religious beliefs. For example, not every religion could be considered theistic. Zen Buddhism is a faith that really doesn't believe in a God as such-- it is an atheistic faith. Other religions hold to differing beliefs about the nature of God, and still more about who Jesus is.

One of the ways Christianity has set up its defining lines is by the historic creeds of the church. The early church fathers knew that this would happen as they were warned by Paul who said that others may come and spread a gospel contrary to the true one[1]. The apostle John also warned the Christians that there existed many pseudo-Christs (e.g. anti-Christs) even during his time.[2] So it shouldn't be a surprise that the church when confronted with a heretical belief would work to make sure Christianity was properly defined. The Nicene Creed was created to be such a boundary point. It is a measuring line to tell what beliefs are necessary for one to be considered a Christian.

The Nicene Creed affirms that God is a single being made up of three persons, it affirms that Jesus was fully God and fully man, it upholds the virgin birth of Christ, and the atoning work of the crucifixion. But the Latter-Day Saints officially reject the Nicene Creed. Each of these doctrines, which are considered essential to the makeup of Christianity, is specifically contradicted in Mormon theology. God is not a single being, but three beings. Joseph Smith considered Jesus a normal man who was just exalted in the same way that every Mormon can be exalted. In Doctrine and Covenants he writes, "The difference between Jesus and other offspring of Elohim is one of degree not of kind."[3] He also taught that Jesus was conceived naturally, from God the Father having physical relations with Mary.

So, in no essential category can a Mormon who holds to the doctrines of the Mormon church also claim to be a Christian without completely destroying the very definition of Christianity itself. This should not be surprise, given that Joseph Smith in his first vision has God labeled these very creeds as "abominations."[4] Therefore, Mormonism by its own admission stands counter to the very beliefs that define what a Christian is.

This is a question that I think has confused many Mormons. They certainly see themselves as a Christian denomination and are quite confused at the hard lines being drawn by those who follow the historic Christian faith.  Hopefully, my response to this student will bring a bit more clarity to others as well.


[1] Galatians 1:6-9
[2] 1 John 2:18
[3] Doctrine and Covenants 93:21
[4] The History of Joseph Smith 1:19. See


  1. But how did the Nicene Creed come about? Was it a revelation from on high, or was it merely a council of men who voted on what Christianity should be according to their viewpoint? Establishing the nature of God by means of a council, while well-intentioned, does not necessarily make it true.

    So how do we define what a Christian is? I submit that a Christian is someone who acknowledges the divinity of Christ and lives according to His teachings. No need for drawing up property lines between denominations.

  2. The Nicean Creed came about by taking all of the biblical text seriously and seeking to make a cohesive statement that doesn't deny any of the doctrine taught there. It's a summary of the core theology of the New Testament, not merely an opinion or two.

    There are lots of faiths that claim some type of divinity for Jesus. There are Hindus who believe that he was an avatar, a manifestation of Vishnu come that come into this world. Should we then classify Hindus as Christians?

    The problem with Mormon theology is that they change the very nature of God. They make God into an exalted man, who had to be born, who sinned, who married, and who finally achieved divine status. Mormonism teaches that men today can also achieve this divine status. Christianity teaches the exact opposite, that God always was God and there will never be another of His kind. Because this difference is so stark, it is not possible to call Mormons Christians.


Come Reason brandmark Convincing Christianity
An invaluable addition to the realm of Christian apologetics

Mary Jo Sharp:

"Lenny Esposito's work at Come Reason Ministries is an invaluable addition to the realm of Christian apologetics. He is as knowledgeable as he is gracious. I highly recommend booking Lenny as a speaker for your next conference or workshop!"
Check out more X