From the mail bag:
I recently read your summary statements that explain why your organization supports Mitt Romney for President. I found the following quote of interest,
Here is the bottom line: the 2008 election is for president, not pastor. We would never advocate that the Governor become our pastor or lead our churches—we disagree with him profoundly on theological issues. But we reject the notion that the president of the United States has to be in perfect harmony with our religious doctrine.
I too am an Evangelical Christian and would agree that the president of the United States doesn’t have to be in perfect harmony with our doctrine. I’m guessing most presidents have not been and you make a valid point comparing Carter and Reagan. I would also like to see a president that reflects my values on conservative issues as well. But I have larger concerns than these.
If we are honest, we are not talking about a theological discord; Mormonism presents itself as another gospel. Pick up a copy of the Book of Mormon and on the cover it reads, “Another Gospel of Jesus Christ”. I’m sure you are familiar with the warning from the apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6-9,
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
It’s not a coincidence that Paul mentions an angel in verse 8 because Mormons teach it was the angel Moroni who appeared to Joseph Smith with this other gospel.
While the Bible says we are to love Mormons, it also warns that anyone who preaches another gospel is to be accursed. LDS teaching and Mormons who, without repentance, proudly talk about their overseas mission work are under the judgment of God and therefore an enemy of Christ. If you are not convinced of this fact I would challenge you to study the full doctrines of the LDS church. It has historically been defined as a cult and bears no resemblance to Evangelical Christianity other than the name of Jesus (which they define differently). Knowing this, should we be trying to convince people to vote for a Mormon or pray for him? That being said, I don’t know you so I have no idea what ministries you are involved in. I’m not suggesting you are ignoring your Biblical calling for service to write posts for the website.
But if you profoundly disagree with the Mormon theological issues, (like the Polytheism, Satan being the brother of Jesus, and Gordon B. Hinkley being a living Prophet), why not provide a Biblical argument why someone’s values, presidential candidate or not, are more important that good doctrine? I don’t’ see that in Scripture. I see the opposite in that we are called to rebuke false doctrine according to 2 Timothy 4:2;
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
I couldn’t actually find anything on your website that talked about how one could repent of their sins, confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and have eternal life. I thought it would be under the, “What to Do” link but that just talked about joining Team Mitt and giving money. I’m guessing you would say that saving souls is not the point of the website but I would counter that as Evangelicals, this should be exactly the point of everything we do.
There are towns in Southern Utah with less than 2% of the population Evangelical. That is lower than many African nations. I can attest to this personally having been on the mission field there earlier this year. They share our values, yes, but they are lost in their attempt to earn their way to heaven. This should bother us more that Rudy being ahead in the national polls.
So to me, the bottom line is this. I think Evangelicals should be more concerned for Mitt’s soul than his results in Iowa or New Hampshire. We’ve been commanded to preach the word to a world that is perishing. That includes Mormons. The presidency of the United States doesn’t matter in the light of eternity.
I’m not against Mitt as person or politician and I’m not trying to be critical of your efforts on the website. This is just my perspective.
There’s a lot here, but I want to respond mainly to the idea that here at EFM, we think “someone’s values, presidential candidate or not, are more important [than] good doctrine.” In point of fact, we have never said that. We believe that what gets you into heaven is whether you have a saving relationship with Jesus, not your views on life and marriage, and obviously heaven trumps the White House. If we called ourselves evangelicals and thought otherwise, we’d be in sorry shape indeed. There is no biblical argument that values trump doctine in a macro sense.
But that’s why we’ve never made such a statement. Our point has been that in a presidential election, theology only matters insofar as it affects policy. That’s why we think the paramount issue in this presidential election is finding a candidate who shares our values. That’s not, of course, how we’d run our churches. But running an evangelical church is a different proposition than electing the leader of a multiethnic, multireligious state based upon Judeo-Christian principles–that’s the whole point! And there is biblical precedent for taking the view that God can work through a secular leader whose doctrine is not orthodox. See my post “What Does Ezra Have to Tell Us?”
Anyway, I just wanted to clear this point up. Sorry if we’ve been unclear on it thus far. I think the distinction as to just how important we think values are is critical.
UPDATE: I am advised via e-mail that the cover of the “Book of Mormon” actually calls it another testament, not another gospel. Fair enough. In point of fact, you should be able to tell from the name of this site that we don’t think it is either–and that Governor Romney is the best candidate for president regardless of what the “Book of Mormon” says. That, of course, is because he shares evangelicals’ values–which was the point of this post. Let’s get back to that.