Sunday, October 07, 2007

"We are too Christians!"

This is the first weekend in October. In Utah, this means that we will have some kind of storm (snow or rain) and the Mormons will hold their Fall semi-annual conference. (The Spring version is the first weekend of April.) Some claim a causal connection between the two event. My grandmother would always say, "When the saints meet, the heavens weep." If this is true, then they need to meet more frequently to get us out of the current drought. (And, hence, father will have enough water in the Great Salt Lake for his boat.)
We can also count on some Fundamentalist Protestants tracting and protesting outside Temple Square. I don't like this myself. I think it is rude. But, then again, I didn't appreciate the two Mormon missionaries that I ran out of St. Peter's Square a few years ago after I caught them tracting. ("He guys. I am from Utah and I know what you are doing. I will give you a couple minutes to leave and then I will go and fetch security.") There was also a similar incident about 20 years ago when some of the boys were passing out anti-Catholic tracts in front of our Cathedral.
Quite frequently the speakers at conference feel the need to defend their status as Christians or attack the doctrine of the Trinity. I wasn't surprised that this happened this year what with the discussion of the Mormons Christianity or lack thereof related to Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy. Here is the Salt Lake Tribune account:
Not only is Mormonism a Christian faith, it is the truest form of Christianity, said speaker after speaker on the first day of the 177th Semiannual LDS General Conference.
LDS authorities were responding to the allegation that Mormonism isn't part of Christianity. Made by different mainline Protestant and Catholic churches and repeated constantly during coverage of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, the claim is based on Mormonism's beliefs about God, its rejection of ancient ideas about the Trinity still widely accepted, and the LDS Church's extra-biblical scriptures.
"It is not our purpose to demean any person's belief nor the doctrine of any religion," said Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland in the afternoon session. "But if one says we are not Christians because we do not hold a fourth- or fifth-century view of the Godhead, then what of those first [Christians], many of whom were eye-witnesses of the living Christ, who did not hold such a view either?"
Oh my, where to start and how not to be unduly snarky. If the Mormons want to claim to be Christian, fine let them. But do not object when others dispute that claim. Either the Mormons are correct in their Polytheism, doctrine of eternal progression, etc... or Orthodox Christianity is with its doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation, etc.... However, both cannot be. To hold this would be to make the very term Christian meaningless. Not too many years ago, Mormons proudly proclaimed their non-Christian nature. However, it recent years there has been a concerted effort to proclaim their own Christianity. Folks, saying that you are a Christian doesn't make it so.
Also, Elder Holland makes a common error it supposing that simply because a doctrine wasn't solemnly taught until the Fourth Century, it wasn't believed until then. Doctrines are only defined when they are disputed. He needs to show us that the first believers did not hold Trinitarian compatible views.
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