The EFM Feature
Thomas Jefferson, from Flickr user Robert Goodwin, used under a Creative Commons license

I recently received the following e-mail:

Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and numerous other heretical beliefs. How can someone who actually believes such heresy receive support from Bible believing Christians?

Now, before our LDS readers flood my Inbox:  By posting this, I’m not saying this rendition of your doctrine is accurate.  Honestly, I don’t really care, because the details are not the point.  The point is this:  I wouldn’t not vote for somebody simply because he holds a heretical belief.  In fact, in at least one case, someone with heretical beliefs was one of the greatest leaders in American history.

That person was Thomas Jefferson.  He is the best proof that the idea that’s popular today in many quarters of American evangelicalism that the Founding Fathers were all folks who would be very comfortable in our churches today is complete hogwash.  President Jefferson actually put together his own Bible, one that excludes much of what evangelicals hold most dear.  Yet it’s indisputable that despite his faults (which went well beyond theological issues) God used him powerfully to bless not only America, but the church.  America and the world are much better places due to the existence of the Declaration of Independence, not to mention the existence of religious liberty, which I would argue is key to America’s history of sending the Gospel out to other nations.

Don’t get me wrong:  Wrong theology is a huge issue.  It can keep you out of heaven.  And there are definitely cases in which it should keep you out of the White House–for instance, if your theology teaches that we should sacrifice infants.  In that case, your theology is producing values that are inappropriate for a president.  But in Gov. Romney’s case, his Mormonism pushes him in the right direction, toward the very values evangelicals espouse.  And the God I serve is more than powerful enough to use a man whose theology may be off, just as he did with Thomas Jefferson–and just as he did with Cyrus in Old Testament times.  So I’d answer our e-mailer’s question with a question:  How can a Bible-believing Christian believe it’s up to us to deliver presidents God can use?

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Comments and Discussion

Evangelicals for Mitt provides comments as a way to engage in a public and respectiful discussion about articles and issues. Any comment may be removed by the editors for violating common decency or tempting flames.

17 Responses to I Heart Heretics

  1. AMATAGA TIAFALA says:

    Charles, Thank you for sharing that email from a concerned “Christian” on the doctrines the Mormons have on the relationship of Jesus and Satan. This is not the first time I have come across comments on this Mormon doctrine. While we are having a great time to work together to support a Candidate that closely represent some or most of our views, values, faith and so forth; isn’t this the best time too to be more open and be more understanding to listen and learn on both sides of an issue with regard to what seem to distance us in our life of worship and service to our so called “Heavenly Father” and His Son “Jesus Christ”?
    I, as a Mormon, am willing to listen and learn on what the other Churches doctrine on how did Satan come into existence?

  2. Liz says:

    So Satan was an only child, I guess. No wonder he’s so negative. Nonetheless I appreciate the deep thought on this.

  3. Jim Tills says:

    Charles, an excellent response to someone or perhaps several someones who would knowingly or ignorantly undermine the best candidate we have and perhaps the only candidate that can turn around the tidal wave of socialistic legislation and regulatory policies destroying our Constitution and Nation.

    God is in charge and will use who He will and however He will in accordance with His own timetable. Who are we to tell Him who He must use and when? God, the loving Heavenly Father of all mankind , uses the weak and simple who seek to do His will to bring about His purposes.—and preseving (1) our precious freedoms, (2) the Constitution that safeguards those freedoms, and (3) our Nation, are His purposes ( as long as we are righteous enough to deserve His protection).

    Some of His children often have beliefs that differ from our own but in that regard, who are we to think we “know” our beliefs are absolutely the correct ones? Interpretations of the Bible have created 1,000s of different Christian Churches. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. (Eph 4:5), yet how many faiths, how many different types of baptism or no baptism at all, etc. If there ever was a case for tolerance in the area of Religion, at this critical time in our Nation’s history, this is it. Jesus came down from Heaven as the Father’s son (John 6:38) and Satan along with his angels were cast our of Heaven when there was War in Heaven (Rev. 12:7-9). Is it so far-fetched to think that perhaps they were brothers under the same Heavenly Father? How could such a belief if held by Romney affect his handling of economic issues, of handling the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, issues with China and Russia, etc.

    Stop the petty bickering over doctrinal interpretation that does interfere with individual salvation; Instead, support the best person running who has a legitimate chance at turning back the avalance of evil that threatens to destroy every value we hold dear!

  4. Jim Tills says:

    Charles, an excellent response to someone or perhaps several someones who would knowingly or ignorantly undermine the best candidate we have and perhaps the only candidate that can turn around the tidal wave of socialistic legislation and regulatory policies destroying our Constitution and Nation.

    God is in charge and will use who He will and however He will in accordance with His own timetable. Who are we to tell Him who He must use and when? God, the loving Heavenly Father of all mankind , uses the weak and simple who seek to do His will to bring about His purposes.—and preseving (1) our precious freedoms, (2) the Constitution that safeguards those freedoms, and (3) our Nation, are His purposes ( as long as we are righteous enough to deserve His protection).

    Some of His children often have beliefs that differ from our own but in that regard, who are we to think we “know” our beliefs are absolutely the correct ones? Interpretations of the Bible have created 1,000s of different Christian Churches. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. (Eph 4:5), yet how many faiths, how many different types of baptism or no baptism at all, etc. If there ever was a case for tolerance in the area of Religion, at this critical time in our Nation’s history, this is it. Jesus came down from Heaven as the Father’s son (John 6:38) and Satan along with his angels were cast out of Heaven when there was War in Heaven (Rev. 12:7-9). Is it so far-fetched to think that perhaps they were brothers under the same Heavenly Father? How could such a belief if held by Romney affect his handling of economic issues, of handling the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, issues with China and Russia, etc.

    Stop the petty bickering over doctrinal interpretation that does not interfere with individual salvation; Instead, support the best person running who has a legitimate chance at turning back the avalance of evil that threatens to destroy every value we hold dear!

  5. Hannah Rebekah says:

    Is this all we are going to hear this time around is more of the same. More attacks on our beliefs and how misguided and wrong we are. It shows a whole lot of bigotry and that many Christians are not as tolerant as they claim they are and that this country’s freedom of religion only pertains to their “correct” religion. In my opinion…it’s a real display of classic anti-Mormon obsessive-compulsive disorder…and they preach a fear base gospel which is not of Christ. Where did it get them last time around? Romney was not good enough for them and yet now we know that this country would have been in a much better shape had Romney been made President. Is the far right going to do this to us again because of their hatred of Mormons?
    To add to the scriptures posted in the previous comment, to a Mormon the idea of Lucifer (later known as Satan) being a spirit brother of not only Christ but all of us in our pre-earth life makes more sense than the alternative…that God is the one who created evil. Ponder that for a moment and anyone will come to the realization of how hideous and wrong that alternative is. Lucifer introduced evil through free agency (free will–free choice) when he choose to rebel against God and then was cast out of heaven for it and became known as Satan here on earth. Mormons get so tired of this old attack. Belief in the pre-earth life is throughout the Dead Sea Scrolls and extra-Biblical writings as well as in the Bible.
    This idea about Lucifer rebelling is not new. In fact, Lactantius, a Latin Christian Father of the third century, taught the following: “Before creating the world, God produced a spirit like himself, replete with virtues of the Father. Later He made another, in whom the mark of divine was erased, because this one was besmirched by the poison of jealousy and turned therefore from good to evil. He was jealous of his older brother who, remaining united with the Father, insured his affection unto himself.” ( Lactantius, Divine Institutes 2.9. in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vols. (1885; reprint, Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004), 7:52–53)
    If Evangelicals can be accepting of other Christians and all their differences then surely they can do the same for LDS Christians who believe as some ancient Christians.
    In regards to Lucifer being specifically the “brother of Jesus,” we can look to the Evangelical Christian theologian, H.L. Martensen. He believed that Lucifer was “Christ’s younger brother, and became God’s adversary because he was not content to be second, but wanted to be first; because he was unwilling to bear the light of another, and wanted to be the light itself.” (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1952), 416.)
    Also, fundamentalist Christian scholar, Arno C. Gaebelein, agrees. He wrote: “The sons of God, revealed as morning stars, include Gabriel and Michael…. Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, should also be included, though he became the enemy of God by his fall.” Gaebelein again reiterated his belief; “We have stated before that, before his fall, the devil was originally an archangel, one of the Morningstars, as we learned from the Book of Job, which sang together God’s praises in the hour of creation.” (Arno Clemens Gaebelein, Gabriel and Michael (New York: Our Hope Publications, 1945), 7, 92.)
    This explanation is not given to convince others to our side but only as an explanation to show what this belief is based on and it’s not as heretical as others have portrayed it to be but is Biblical as are other Mormon beliefs.

  6. JediMormon says:

    For some years now, I’ve been telling friends and acquaintances that the time was coming when people who share the same moral values will have to begin working together, regardless of their religious beliefs, to keep this country from going totally down the tubes. One or two groups, by themselves, are not going to be able to accomplish that. As EFM has so rightly pointed out on occasion, we are electing a Commander-in-Chief, not a Mormon-in-chief or an Evangelical-in-chief or any other kind of in-chief. We don’t need a president who espouses the same religious beliefs as us. We need a president who holds the same moral and political values that we hold. I know that some good Christian folks have expressed concern that a Mormon in the White House would attract other converts to Mormonism–or that Romney himself would somehow be able to use his office to increase the membership rolls of the church. Both concerns are unfounded, and are the least of our worries right now. I’ve seen polls where some Republican voters indicated that if Romney became the GOP candidate, they would pencil someone else on the ballot come election day. To these folks I say, voting for Romney is not going to turn you into a Mormon. You’ll wake up the morning after he takes office and realize that you have the same beliefs religiously as you had the day before. You’ll find that no one-national-church has suddenly been declared by him. And over time, you’ll realize that the country is slowly being turned around and is beginning to head in just the direction you wanted it to head.

  7. Lance in TX says:

    Mitt Romney has all of the values that the Evangelical Christians say they look for. He has more business savvy than any other person running. He has turned failing companies around to making a profit and gorwing. He has work with international groups and governments with the Olymics and turned that from a money hole to a profit.

    What will keep him from winning the nomination? Religious Bigorty. He will win the North East. He will win the midwest. He will win the West. Religious Bigorty will be his downfall in the South unless something changes. This happened last time.This can happen again.

    I am LDS and I have voted for non-LDS in the past. I don’t vote based on someone’s religion. I vote on what they do, how they live, what they stand for, and how they have voted in the past (if they are in politics already). I look at their person. Do they live what they say? Are they honest?

    Isn’t this one of the ideas that founded this country? Religious Freedom. You can believe what you want, and I can believe what I want? I have never screamed and pushed at people because they are not LDS, but “Christians” have done that to me. I have not called non-LDS rude and crude names, but “Christians” have done that to me. I try to live the way that Christ would want me to live. I know that Mitt Romney would not force people to become LDS. That is against our doctrine and beliefs! You have to become LDS by your own choice! You cannot be force into it. I also believe Romney would not try to limit other people’s religious voices (unlike our current president and what many “Christians” would want).

    I hope the South does not eliminate the best person just because of the religious bigorty that we saw last time.

  8. Bev says:

    I am grateful that I know that there is no part of my Salvation that is not touched by my Savior, Jesus Christ. There is no sin too great, no heartache too profound, no test too difficult for His Divine touch. I pray for all of the world to understand His love and power.

    Yes, I am a Mormon. Yes. I am a Christian.

  9. Mark Evans says:

    Exactly! Also, the last two presidents of MY denomination (Southern Baptists) were not exactly Charles Sturgeon clones. Mr. Carter may have been a sincere Christian & faithful husband, but had the leadership qualities of an emu. And the LAST alleged Southern Baptist in the Oral…er… I mean OVAL office! Let us just say I was deeply ashamed as an American when the pope visited in ’99 and we trotted out Bill Clinton to meet him.
    Do I have serious doubts about the salvation of our Mormon friends? Yes. Do I think our disagreements disqualify them from holding office or me for voting for them? No way! In general there is no more upstanding, moral and principal-driven group than the LDS folks…and Mitt is obviously sincere in his beliefs and committed to his faith.
    Like this site has said from Day One: We’re not electing a pastor-in chief, we’re electing a commander-in-Chief…and I would march behind Mitt Romney any day.

    • Lance in TX says:

      Maybe the Southern Baptists that are against Romney because of his religion (and mine) should be reminded how the last two Southern Baptist Presidents behaved.

      Maybe someone should mention this to Robert Jeffress.

  10. Ray says:

    Well done, Sir Charles! Those who write you with such drivel along with those of Jeffress ilk remind me of those who think they are representing Christ and have his approval by planting a cross in the yard and setting it on fire. All they are missing are the hooded robes. We wonder why some moderate Reagan Democrats absolutely refuse to vote for someone who has any religious connection whatsoever. Keep printing the truth.

  11. Amber Eliason says:

    I am LDS and stumbled across this site. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to see Evangelicals acknowledging that our morals and beliefs are more similar than they are different. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way back to the Father. I believe in being a good neighbor, a good friend. I believe in being honest, chaste, and kind. I believe that God knows me personally and that he is aware of my struggles, my shortcomings, and also my triumphs.

    The comments I am seeing here are what I picture of good solid Christians. Unfortunately, too often, I am met with hatred, ignorance, and bigotry from Evangelicals, when in my mind, we should be standing together in these difficult times of turmoil. Thank you for reminding me that there are, indeed, good Evangelicals who are willing to accept religious differences with tolerance and a spirit of togetherness instead of making it seem as though my faith is a part of the problem.

  12. James says:

    I know I’m a little late to the game, but I just wanted to give my 2 cents.
    First, thank you to all the contributors to EFM. I support Mitt, and I’m Mormon, but I don’t support him because of his religion. It’s rare to find people that can engage in appropriate, respectful discussions about politics and religion.I’m glad to know I can be LDS and not be completely shunned from the historical Christianity crowd.
    Second, I realize that the “heretical” Mormon doctrine cited at the beginning of the article was only used as an example, but I’d like to briefly expound upon it. Isaiah 14:16 describes Satan’s fall from heaven. He mentions that people will look at him and say, “Is this the man…” This scripture is not the entire basis for Mormon doctrine about Satan, but I’m just pointing out one of a few biblical evidences that Satan’s origins are not different from mankind or from Jesus, who was both God and man. Are there any Evangelical explanations for Satan’s origins (not asked as a challenge, just a genuine question)? Where can I find some succinct explanations of Evangelical theology?
    Third, I would like to write a book someday that really dissects the question, “Are [insert scrutinized religion] Christians?” I think many of us, myself included, often misunderstand this question, the reason it is asked, and those who answer it. There are many subsets of questions within the question, like, “Can a person be Christian if they reject the doctrine of the Trinity?” and “Does a person’s brand of Christianity affect their salvation?” I think Evangelicals ask the question to determine who needs to be preached to. Unfortunately, the most common form of Evangelical preaching I’ve received is, “You’re going to hell,” and, “Joseph Smith is a liar.” I don’t say this offensively, just as a matter of fact. I guess I’m just saying that if Evangelicals hope to win Mormons to their faith, the manner of preaching could use drastic improvement.

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