I Love Gellies

Mormonism, Evangelicism and Chaos Theory

Another method of Evangelicals

Jack’s post and Chris’s thoughts inspired me to share the experience of a friend with a pastor.

They had previously watched some of the pastoral teachings from one Eric Hansen of the iWorship center @ Springfield, IL. On an sermon that aired July 5, 2009, he referred to people who come door to door, with other books as “cults.” This person subsequently sent the following letter to Mr. Hansen.

That is not Christian Mr. Hansen.
I will no longer watch your Sermons, and hope you learn in the future to be more Christian.
There is no “biblical definition” of cult, and so you can’t say you’re just saying what the bible preaches. cult, like “trinity” is not a biblical word.
Some other people you could learn from.
“By themselves, words like “cult” or “brainwashed” really amount to nothing more than stinky poo-poo head in today’s religious discourse.There are better ways to explain human beings than words that are so emotionally charged that they obscure more than they illuminate.” Seth R.
“If we’re actually looking for polite civil discourse on these subjects, then no, those terms generally aren’t useful.” Bridget Jack Meyers
Quotes found here.
“Overuse of the term “cult” in the public square sometimes substitutes for actual arguments with thoughtful dissenting groups. As a traditional Christian I have serious theological disagreements with my friends in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), but it is wrong to label them a cult.* Any quick search will show LDS are willing to defend their views using arguments accessible to non-LDS. These arguments have changed under pressure from counter-arguments from non-LDS scholars and improved. I am not persuaded, to say the least, by these arguments, but LDS willingness to produce careful and responsive scholarship is a nearly infallible sign that they are no cult.”
John Mark Reynolds

May God teach you to be more charitable,

Eric responded to my friend with the following.

I see that the LDS have been knocking @ your door.
If you ever want to talk – I would be more than happy to chat and talk about why the Bible is all you need.
Example: John 2:19. What was Jesus talking about?
Blessings,
Eric A. Hansen
http://www.iWorshipCenter.org

My friend responded to Eric.

Your email ignores most of my email. I don’t care if you want to tell people “the Bible is all one needs.” But I think you MAY be smart enough to find a way of doing that without calling others cults. That’s all. Are you?
There is no biblical precedent for calling anyone a “cult.” It is, however, a large part of the short-bus evangelism that occurs.
” Is Mormonism a cult? No. Only stupid people think this” -Bridget Jack Meyers, a very committed Evangelical Christian.
As I wrote in my previous email.
I used to enjoy listening to your insights.
I cannot listen to insights from someone who uses non-Biblical language to condemn.
I have no interest in debating theological principles, I do hope you learn that your method turns people off.
FWIW, I don’t see how John 2:19 supports calling anyone else a “cult.” John 2:19 references Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection 3days later. It has nothing to do with the matter I emailed you about. The text says, “but He spake of the temple of His body.”

Eric responded:

The LDS has so desperately needed to support their heresy that they have their own “translation.” However, they forgot to change John 2:19 which exposes one of their many heresies. “He spake of the temple of his BODY.” (Jh. 2:21).
See, the LDS errantly believes that Jesus only had a spiritual rez., not a physical one.
So we could continue to chat about LDS theology if you like. But if they have to change the Bible and indeed create a new one to fit their heresy – Not sure what else to categorize them as other than a cult.

My friend responded:

Mr Hansen,
You are either confusing the LDS with the Jehovah’s witnesses or some other problem.
The LDS church uses the same KJV that many others use.
They don’t have their “own translation” that they use as their canonical text.
The Jehovah’s witnesses on the other hand us the New World Translation, and I am not fond of their use or their translation. I have not studied them well-enough to know if cult is an appropriate term or not.
Are you mistakenly conflating the LDS/Mormons with the Jehovah’s witnesses?
“See, the LDS errantly believes that Jesus only had a spiritual rez., not a physical one.”
The LDS also believe that Jesus had a physical body, they also believe He was resurrected to it, and He still has it today.
Changing the Bible isn’t usually what defines one as a cult. If so, the translators of the NIV are in big hot water for adding the word “now” to 1 Cor 15:42, simply because it fits their theology better.
I think you need to learn the difference between Mormons/LDS and Jehovah’s witnesses.
I also think you should be hesitate to “teach others” something which you obviously don’t know.

Eric decided the best thing to do was throw out the anti-Mormon garbage:

Sorry. U R Correct I swapped the two around. my bad. hey check this out: http://www.mormoncult.org
Eric

My friend decided to cut of the conversation.

The fact that you think the link you sent me is worth reading tells me I made a good choice to not listen to you.
Good luck in your Christian behavior.
Somehow, I’m not inclined to learn anything more about you or your brand of worship.

As a parting blow, the Christian pastor decided to show his loving nature:

Again, my apologies for the misunderstanding. However, the LDS and the JW’s both are in the same category, non-Christian cults.
I’m saddened that you seem to have fallen for their deceptions.
Sorry that you seem to be cutting things off… so, I’ll leave it like this…if ever you want to communicate more – you’ve got my email.
I’ll be praying for you.

So, my gelly friends. What words of wisdom do you have for this loving man of God?

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July 7, 2009 - Posted by | Religion

19 Comments »

  1. Somehow, I doubt the issue is the use of the word “cult”. Would “the friend” really be satisfied with more Biblical terms? What if the preacher called the LDS church false apostles, deceitful workers, false prophets, ravening wolves, or accursed? Those are certainly Biblical terms.

    My guess is that this person is not familiar with (or is ignoring) the Bible’s instructions with regard to false teachers. (ex. Romans 16:17, Titus 3:10-11) Of course, everyone wants unity, but that unity must be based on truth. The fact of the matter is, someone in the LDS church cannot be embraced as a brother in Christ until he repents of his false doctrine.

    Comment by Solomoney | July 7, 2009 | Reply

    • Solo,
      While those are certainly Biblical words, it is debatable whether they’re being used in the correct context. I’ll allow anyone their own personal interpretation of the biblical text, but at least we can all agree that this guy knows next to nothing about Mormonism.

      Comment by psychochemiker | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. Ooo, ooo, do I get to cull the doctrine of every evangelical denomination and look for things I disagree with (or things about which they disagree amongst themselves) and say that I can’t accept them as a borther in Christ until they repent of those false doctrines?

    Because that would be AWESOME.

    (removes tongue from cheek)

    Comment by Tom | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  3. Seriously, anyone who calls Mormonism a cult is seeking to play to the emotional response the word creates and I think it’s a classic case of “ends justify the means.”

    I don’t know what I would tell this guy, honestly. Probably “Go to hell” but that’s not very Christlike, so I”m gonna go repent now.

    Comment by Tom | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  4. […] Another method of Evangelicals « Psychochemiker's Blog […]

    Pingback by The Isle of Octavia » Blog Archive » Brigham Young University–Hawaii | July 10, 2009 | Reply

  5. *gritting my teeth and being nice here*

    For starters, I wouldn’t really recommend citing me as an authority on these issues; other evangelicals are not going to listen to some random evangelical woman on the Internet, especially not one who is “tainted” by a marriage to a Mormon and an undergraduate degree earned at BYU. This man was obviously not listening regardless, but still. Once I’ve actually been at TEDS for a while, then you can say something like, “Bridget Jack Meyers, MA candidate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.” But right now I’m nobody.

    It might be helpful in such situations to point out that John Mark Reynolds is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Biola University—that’s one of the evangelical colleges just in case you don’t know. You might also hunt down a quote from Rob Bowman, who was himself a disciple of the late Walter Martin. I don’t have the exact quote, but the Wikipedia entry for him states that, “Bowman recommended that evangelicals drop the use of the word cult as a term of theological criticism in view of its associations in the media with socially deviant groups” and lists as its source Robert M. Bowman, Jr., Orthodoxy and Heresy: A Biblical Guide to Doctrinal Discernment (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), 113-14.

    As to what I would tell Pastor Hansen, it’s apparent from his comments that he knows next to nothing about Mormonism and isn’t interested in expanding his knowledge, so I would recommend that he leave the talk about Mormonism to those of us who do care about Latter-day Saints. There’s no shame in focusing his ministry in other areas—no one can do everything—and by taking cheap shots at Mormons like this, he’s only hurting his brothers and sisters in Christ who are attempting serious outreaches to and ecumenical dialogues with Mormons. That’s what I would tell him.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers | July 13, 2009 | Reply

    • Agreed like 10x.

      And it’s only modesty that you don’t think we should quote you like an authority. That’s one kind of modesty you’ve got lots of /{ducks}

      Comment by psychochemiker | July 13, 2009 | Reply

    • Hey, Jack, maybe I’m dense but I’m not catching how John Mark Reynolds is relevant here. Perhaps you can enlighten my ignorance?

      Comment by Tom | July 13, 2009 | Reply

  6. The new blog title is cracking me up! I suppose I must admit that I (jokingly) suggested it. I can’t wait to see reactions. 😉

    Comment by Tom | July 13, 2009 | Reply

  7. PC ~ Immodest? Moi? Perish the thought.

    Tom ~ An article by John Mark Reynolds on not calling Mormonism a cult was quoted above.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers | July 14, 2009 | Reply

    • Boy do i feel sheepish. Haha.

      Comment by Tom | July 14, 2009 | Reply

  8. As for the new blog title, it got a giggle out of me, though I’m not really used to hearing us called “Gellies.” We call ourselves Christians when you hyper-sensitive cultists aren’t within earshot. 😛

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers | July 14, 2009 | Reply

    • Yeah, Jack, and we call ourselves the “only true and living church” when you hyper-sensitive apostates aren’t within earshot. {jab jab}

      Just kidding, We’ll say it to your face.

      FTR, I don’t view Jack as an apostate, or most other Christians as personally apostate. Her comment was tongue in cheek, so was mine. Now that we’ve all laughed about it… we don’t need to write about it anymore. Right?

      Comment by psychochemiker | July 14, 2009 | Reply

  9. Another “gotcha”: http://www.mormoncult.org is a web site by Mormon apologist Jeff Lindsay. It’s pretty much tongue-in-cheek, but it uses the dictionary definition of “cult” which means any system of belief/worship, any church, any religion. Therefore, Christianity is itself a cult by that definition.

    Comment by Bookslinger | July 14, 2009 | Reply

  10. Oh, that’s hilarious, Bookslinger. I wonder if Jeff has seen this. I just shot him a note.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers | July 14, 2009 | Reply

  11. PC ~ Now that we’ve all laughed about it… we don’t need to write about it anymore. Right?

    Oh, you’re not getting off that easily. I challenge you to a DUAL! Stand forth and do battle!

    But seriously, one of the first things I learned when I arrived in Provo was that it was a bad idea to identify myself as “Christian” when fellow BYU students asked me what I was. The reaction was always:

    (1) A slightly offended, “Well, I’m Christian too!” (They assumed that just because I called myself Christian, I was implying Mormons aren’t.)
    (2) “So… what type of Christian?” Translation: “That answer was not very helpful. Need more input.”

    So I got used to just identifying myself as an evangelical. Not that a ton of Mormons know what that is either, but it’s better than starting off on the wrong foot with the “Christian” thing. Though it was a little weird for me at first because I’d always identified myself as “Christian” at church and whatnot.

    I think the equivalent in LDS thought is when a Mormon tells an evangelical that they need to get baptized, or they didn’t get baptized they went swimming, or jokes about “when” they’re getting baptized. Most of us already have been baptized; we haven’t been baptized in the LDS church. Big difference.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers | July 14, 2009 | Reply

    • I wasn’t trying to just end the conversation, I just didn’t want anyone to take my comment (or yours for that matter) seriously. I didn’t want it to escalate from others,
      “Oh yeah, well you’re pastors are priestcrafters”
      “Oh yeah, well you’re all a cult.”

      Comment by psychochemiker | July 15, 2009 | Reply

  12. Several antis have made the “mistake” of using mormoncult.org to prove their point – but it’s the kind of mistake that deserves our respect and praise, if anything, for it may be one of the best things they do for their followers.

    As to the authorship of MormonCult.org, I can honestly say that if it wasn’t me, then it must have been someone else.

    Comment by Jeff L. | July 15, 2009 | Reply

  13. There’s been actions, or practices, in MANY churches that could be considered “cult like”, or at least hard to justify.

    Martin Luther made a quote about hundreds of homicides & adulteries could not separate us from the grace of God. Yet, the Lutheran Church in Sweden punished members of some parishes for serious misdeeds, even fining them, and banning from Communion & Fellowship. How did that fit with what Luther said?

    One Methodist Congregation I knew of used water in their Sacrament, something some hold against the LDS for doing. Then, there’s the Easter Orthodox splinter group, the Milokians, who use milk in their Sacrament. Official Episcopal/Anglican Church Doctrine holds the Monarch of England to be the earthly head of the their Church: Defend that one from the Bible!

    I’m not picking on any one church, FYI.

    I could go on & on about “unusual” things practiced in virtually every, if not all, churches out there. My point is that finger pointing, like calling a group a “cult”, can be remiss or hypocritical. Then, the disorder among the different churches about topics like Abortion, Homosexuality, mode of Baptism, Faith vs. Grace, etc.

    Finally, Jesus Christ was denounced as a deceiver, or just an ordinary person. Those who lead to his Crucifixion did not say “let’s kill the Son of God”, but it was that he was leading the Jews astray, i.e., like a “cult” leader, and needed to die to keep the people from going astray.

    Comment by Mike H. | August 14, 2009 | Reply


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