Robert Jeffress is the senior pastor of the “legendary” First Baptist Church of Dallas, TX. He is also a man who, just recently, was thrown into the midst of a media firestorm. The reason for this? He made certain derogatory comments about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The comments started when he introduced Governor Rick Perry. As a somewhat veiled dig, he extolled the virtues of Governor Perry that were absent in one of the primary contenders for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney. According to Jeffress, conservative Christians are looking for a candidate with “a genuine commitment to Biblical values.” He then asked, “Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person (i.e. Romney), or do we want a candidate who is a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ (i.e. Perry)?” He affirmed that Perry is a “genuine follower of Jesus Christ.”
Of course, his insinuation here is also that Romney is not a genuine follower of Jesus Christ.
Jeffress, perhaps by the applause, was emboldened once he left the stage. Answering a question posed about Mormonism and Romney, he offered much more directly, “That is not some right-wing fringe view, that Mormonism is a cult. The Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest Protestant denomination in the world, has labeled Mormonism as a cult. So that is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult. I believe Romney… is not a born-again follower of Christ.” He added, “I believe that every true, born-again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.”
But that wasn’t all:
- If it were to become an Obama/Romney race, he would “hold my nose and vote for Mitt Romney.”
- In response to the question, “Do you agree that Mormonism is a cult?” Jeffress answered quickly, “Absolutely.” Asked, “Is (Romney) a Christian?”, he answered, “No.”
- Reaffirming that this view is acceptable, he said, “Again, this is not some extreme view; this is the view of historical Christianity.”
Since then, Jeffress has cowardly backtracked from the force with which he offered these comments above (he was handled somewhat aggressively by Anderson Cooper). But the fact remains that he said what he said. Unfortunately, his is in fact “not some extreme view.” Many of my personal friends share, at least in part, the same view that Jeffress expressed.
The purpose of this post is to answer many of the questions that have become popular as a result of Jeffress’ comments. “Why you?” you may ask. My response is this: I can tell you what anti-Mormons are too bigoted to tell you, and what Latter-day Saints are too defensive to tell you. At the very least, I can be an additional voice for reason and rationality.
Read for yourself in the posts below. Hopefully, this will be a good springboard from which to form your own opinions about how much Mormons are “Christian” or a “cult”.
- Part 2 – How Mormons are Christian
- Part 3 – How Mormons are not Christian
- Part 4 – How the LDS Church is a cult
- Part 5 – How the LDS Church is not a cult
Jeffress didn’t raise any new questions. He simply brought them to the surface. They’ve been asked an answered for almost as long as the Church has been around. He’ll fade into obscurity just like all the other nay-sayers, and that’s because there is no real substance in what he says.
Visit mormon.org. Investigate for yourself. Contrary to what many Evangelicals like Jeffress teach, Latter-day Saints invite honest and sincere questioning and deliberation.
I can tell you what you’ll find. Jesus is the Christ, and Savior of the world. Joseph Smith is his prophet. And the Church of Jesus Christ is the Lord’s kingdom, once again established on the earth.