As an evangelical, watching the controversy over Robert Jeffress and his comments has put me in a delicate position. I cannot compromise my beliefs and pretend that I see no significant difference between orthodox Christianity and Mormonism, yet I also believe that evangelicals have been systematically misled about Mormons, I do not believe Mormonism counts as a “cult,” and I believe every Christian and every evangelical can vote for a Mormon in good conscience. I fear that Pastor Jeffress not only did Rick Perry no service through his comments, but that he also did evangelicalism no service. Not to mention Mormonism, or Mitt Romney, who is made out to be a cult member — and we all know how wacky and dangerous cult members are, right? I mean, Mitt Romney and David Koresh are essentially cut from the same cloth, aren’t they? Ugh. Sometimes statements are so ridiculous that it’s hard to say them even with sarcasm.
I did my best to sort through these things in a blog post called “The Cult of Rick Perry.” It begins thus:
Disheartening. Profoundly disheartening.
That’s the word I would use to describe the kerfuffle over Robert Jeffress and his comments on Mitt Romney and Mormonism, as well as the strange, confused, often-angry conversation that has followed. I’ve been too buried in diapers and onesies to participate, but now that I sit down to write, I feel only discouragement — as a conservative and as an evangelical Christian.
Let’s be clear. However often we forget it, this is the first question we need to answer: How do we communicate the grace and the truth of the gospel in this situation? How, in this environment and these circumstances, do we be a people defined by Jesus Christ and his kingdom?