Bob McCarty has written a brief post on EFM. In it, he agrees with our argument that “When we elect a president, we are not electing a pastor or leader of our church.” However, he sides with R. Philip Roberts‘ claim that having a Mormon president would “legitimize” Mormon evangelism.
Of course, David responded to this argument when Dr. Roberts made it:
So the fastest-growing religious movement in the world (by some measures) is now REALLY going to take off because a missionary in Brazil can say, “and our President’s Mormon too!” Where is the evidence for that? Do Mormons missionaries typically ride the coattails of the secular success of their fellow congregants? “Don’t slam the door in my face, ma’am, the Senate Majority Leader, and the founders of JetBlue and Marriott are Mormons! Are you a 49ers fan? Well, Steve Young’s Mormon!”
Roberts’ comment is particularly maddening coming from a seminary president. Is that really how religious faith works? Did Christianity flourish more in the catacombs or in Constantine’s court? Are various truth claims buttressed or refuted by the prominence of their supporters? If that’s true, why have the Southern Baptists grown even as “establishment” mainline denominations (where the political elite was born and raised) shrunk? Quick, aside from John Ashcroft name one prominent Assemblies of God leader. Yet the Assemblies of God is enjoying explosive growth nationally and worldwide. Come on, Dr. Roberts, you can do better than that.
Al Mohler has raised the same issue, and we responded to that, too:
He professed enormous concern about the obligation that all evangelicals have to make sure that the Gospel is not confused. And he worried that voting for a Mormon could validate Mormonism such that people might think that Mormon doctrine is orthodox Christianity–which, both we and Dr. Mohler believe, it is not. He recommended that evangelicals talk about this amongst themselves and pray about it.
Well, the evangelicals on this site have done that. We pray regularly for our Lord’s will to be done in this endeavor, and, well, yeah, we do talk about the issues pretty regularly, too. And in light of all of that, let me offer one reason why I believe the answer to Dr. Mohler’s second question is “yes.” It actually stems from something that was suggested on the show: If Gov. Romney wins (or even comes close), Mormonism will come under more scrutiny than ever before.
Well, I think that suggestion makes sense. We get e-mails all the time from Mormons who claim their faith is misunderstood–in fact, I think one is even putting together a documentary meant to clear things up for us. Such things will probably escalate–as will efforts by others to get at what Mormonism really is. And you know what? If that does happen, I am supremely confident that the truth will come out. And the truth is that, well, the Gospel is the Gospel. The Book of Mormon is not. Why would we not think that if the two are contrasted, the truth will be seen as the truth? If it is really the truth (which it is) and if it is really better (which it is), why should we not believe that it will stand on its own and trump all comers?
Relatedly, we’ve also noted that evangelicals’ refusal to vote for Governor Romney on the basis of his Mormonism, if done, will come back to bite us later, fly in the face of American as well as Old Testament history, and contravene the ideas of Martin Luther.