Romney’s LDS faith makes him a ‘cult’ member, Texas pastor says

Romney’s LDS faith makes him a ‘cult’ member, Texas pastor says

WASHINGTON – Evangelicals who believe the country needs a Christian in the White House but promoted Mitt Romney’s candidacy during the Republican primaries were hypocrites, according to a Texas pastor.

Romney, a Mormon, is not a Christian, the Rev. Robert Jeffress said, but a member of a “cult.”

“I believe we should always support a Christian over a non-Christian,” Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, told a packed audience of journalists at last weekend’s Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) annual meeting. “The value of electing a Christian goes beyond public policies. . . . Christians are uniquely favored by God, [while] Mormons, Hindus and Muslims worship a false god. The eternal consequences outweigh political ones. It is worse to legitimize a faith that would lead people to a separation from God.”

Mormon Church and the ‘cult’ word
The word ‘cult‘ has precise meanings and definitions based on the context in which the term is used. Those who use the term should explain in which definition they are applying.
Theologically, the Mormon Church is a cult of Christianity.
While the LDS Church has some cultic elements, it generally is not considered to be a cult in the sociological sense.
The Mormon Church – officially, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint – considers itself not just a Christian denomination, but rather the only true expression of Christianity.
However, given that the theology and practice of Mormonism violates essential doctrines of the Christian faith — those teachings that make Christianity Christian, and not something else — Mormonism
  a) does not represent historical, Biblical Christianity,
  b) is not a Christian denomination, and
  c) is not in any way part of the Christian church.
Mormonism’s use of the term ‘Christian’ is false and misleading, in the same way that slapping the term ‘ROLEX’ onto a fake watch does not make that watch a ‘ROLEX.’ Pointing this out has nothing to do with religious hatred or intolerance, but rather with historical and theological accuracy and honesty.

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Jeffress made his remarks during a luncheon debate with Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a law firm and educational organization that focuses on religious-liberty issues. The DeMoss Group, a Christian public-relations firm in Duluth, Ga., sponsored the event.

Sekulow, who also disagrees with Mormon theology but supported Romney’s candidacy, argued he would rather have a president who promoted a conservative political agenda than one who shared his doctrinal positions.

“Jimmy Carter ran as a born-again Christian,” Sekulow reasoned, “but his presidency did nothing for the issues I care about.”

Mark DeMoss, the company’s president, opened the session by describing his decision to lead Romney’s outreach to conservative Christians. DeMoss said he had come to admire Romney, despite their theological differences, but was amazed at the vehement opposition to the Mormon’s candidacy among Evangelicals.

“It was one of the more spirited lunch discussions we’ve ever had at RNA,” said RNA president Kevin Eckstrom, who noted that the journalist organization did not organize the event. “A lot of people were uncomfortable with what Dr. Jeffress said about Mormons, but what we were hoping for was something provocative that would get people talking, and certainly this did it.”

Many reporters said they had never heard the word “cult,” which Jeffress repeatedly called the LDS Church, used so “freely and recklessly,” said Eckstrom, editor of Religion News Service in Washington, D.C. But Jeffress used the same word to describe “Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else.”

It was useful for reporters to be aware of such strident views, Eckstrom said, because they are “completely mainstream in a lot of evangelical quarters.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints insists that it is a Christian faith, though not a traditional brand of Christianity. LDS officials today declined to comment on Jeffress’ statements until they see a transcript of the remarks, spokeswoman Kim Farah said.

– Source: Romney’s LDS faith makes him a ‘cult’ member, Texas pastor says, Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, Sep. 26, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday September 27, 2008.
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