The spin only moves faster as the article continues:
Besides, Mormon beliefs are not as un-evangelical as most evangelicals think. Unlike Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons hold firmly to the deity of Christ. For Latter-Day Saints, Jesus is not only the Son of God but also God the Son. Evangelical pollster George Barna found in 2001 that while only 33 percent of American Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists agreed that Jesus was “without sin,” Mormons were among the “most likely” to say that Jesus was sinless.
This is again simply dishonest at its best. There is no excuse for this. Millet knows what he is doing; whether McDermott does I have no idea; and the editors of Post-Christianity Today show about as much insight and discernment as Eerdmans, so one can never assume any serious study of LDS theology there. What can possibly be more un-evangelical than the idea of polytheism and that God became a god by obedience to law? As I said, Muhammad is more “evangelical” than Joseph Smith, and that shows the absurdity of this abuse of language.
It is dishonest to say “Unlike Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons hold firmly to the deity of Christ.” Why? Because Jehovah’s Witnesses are unitarian henotheists, while Mormons are polytheists, so the comparison is invalid. And it is clearly Millet’s intention here (or Millet/McDermott or however the authorship was handled) to communicate that Mormons believe in the “deity of Christ” in an evangelical sense. They do not! Christians believe in the deity of Christ, but as monotheists, that makes the deity of Christ utterly unique! The one true God, creator of all things, entered into His own creation. This is the Incarnation. But Mormonism has no Creator to begin with; “incarnations” may have taken place billions of times in the past in the endless universes that existed prior to ours; the “deity” of Christ is simply not unique (nor could it be, given their view of god, men, and angels, all being of the same species). Folks, believing Jesus is a god like billions of others is not “better” than simply denying His deity as Jehovah’s Witnesses do! This is pure gamesmanship, and the idea that this is appearing in the flagship publication of post-evangelicalism is only further documentation of the utter lack of discernment to be found therein any longer.
“For Latter-Day Saints, Jesus is not only the Son of God but also God the Son.” The first born spirit child of an exalted man from another planet, himself the offspring of an even more remote exalted man, etc., who is then brought into mortality through the natural union of Elohim, in a physical body of flesh and bone, with his spiritual daughter, Mary, hence “the only begotten of the Father in the flesh” is “God the Son”? Another gross abuse of language, for, what “Son of God” and “God the Son” means to a Christian Trinitarian is light years removed from what it means to a Mormon! Millet knows this, so to include this kind of language in this context is deceptive, plain and simple.
Finally, the very citation of a Barna poll while intentionally hiding the plain statements of LDS leaders promoting polytheism and the idea that God was once a man who lived on another planet and that men today (sinners, aren’t they?) can become gods (which would men there are gods who were once sinners, yes?) is just more of the sleight-of-hand that Millet is promoting with the willing aid of men like Mouw, McDermott, and, seemingly, the large proportion of post-evangelical media outlets like Post-Christianity Today and Eerdmans.
But this insulting display of “lets hope no one out there has actually paid any attention to what LDS leaders have been saying since the days of Joseph Smith” is not finished. Oh no. There is more to come. Obviously assuming a level of knowledge of the great doctrines of justification by faith and the atoning work of Christ just above the level of one’s shoelaces, and a complete ignorance of the contents of the Book of Mormon, our writers opine,
Most evangelicals would also be surprised to learn that the Book of Mormon contains passages that teach salvation by the merits and grace of Christ ( “There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” 2 Nephi 2:8) and others that require personal trust in Christ for salvation, such as 1 Nephi 10:4-6: “All mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.”
Compare these with the citations already given from the BoM, as well as the definition of grace cited from the official LDS Bible Dictionary, and you will see that someone is trying to sell you a used car at a new car price. Join this with even the slightest familiarity with the writings of LDS Church leaders down through the history of the church, in which they attack the gospel with ferocity, and one cannot help but experiencing some level of anger at the level of deception found here. To try to palm the BoM’s confused soteriology as “evangelical” is one thing; to ignore the fact that the BoM was written long before Smith actually developed his view of exaltation to godhood, and hence, is basically irrelevant to the full and mature theology of the later portions of the D&C is even worse. This kind of cherry-picking of the BoM is easily done. No serious scholar would give it a second thought, however, in light of the development of Smith’s theology between 1830 and 1844. This kind of facile salesmanship is reprehensible and insulting. Any serious reader who picks up the D&C, the PGP, and a copy of Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith will not fail to recognize the deceit. What does Millet expect to accomplish with this kind of rhetoric? I cannot tell, but, evidently, it seems to be working well.
Millet is old enough to have gone through the LDS endowment ceremony before 1990. There, in that holiest of place for Mormons, he would have seen the following representation of the Protestant minister:
ADAM: I am looking for messengers.
LUCIFER: Oh, you want someone to preach to you. You want religion, do you? I will have preachers here presently.
(Lucifer turns his head as a PROTESTANT minister approaches.)
LUCIFER: Good Morning sir!
PROTESTANT MINISTER: Good morning!
(The preacher turns and looks into the camera.)
PROTESTANT MINISTER: A fine congregation!
LUCIFER: Yes, they are a very good people. They are concerned about religion. Are you a preacher?
PROTESTANT MINISTER: I am.
LUCIFER: Have you been to college and received training for the ministry?
PROTESTANT MINISTER: Certainly! A man cannot preach unless has been trained for the ministry.
LUCIFER: Do you preach the orthodox religion?
PROTESTANT MINISTER: Yes, that is what I preach.
LUCIFER: If you will preach your orthodox religion to these people, and convert them, I will pay you well.
PROTESTANT MINISTER: I will do my best.
(Lucifer guides the preacher to Adam and Eve, who stand nearby.)
LUCIFER: Here is a man who desires religion. He is very much exercised, and seems to be sincere.
(As Lucifer presents the preacher to Adam and Eve he steps back and observes the ensuing conversation. The preacher is made to sound sincere, although misguided and credulous. Adam appears humble, faithful and immovable in his determination to serve God. He is not swayed by the preacher, and is astounded by the doctrines espoused by the preacher.)
PROTESTANT MINISTER: I understand that you are inquiring after religion.
ADAM: I was calling upon Father.
PROTESTANT MINISTER: I am glad to know that you were calling upon Father. Do you believe in a God who is without body, parts, or passions; who sits on the top of a topless throne; whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere; who fills the universe, and yet is so small that he can dwell in your heart; who is surrounded by myriads of beings who have been saved by grace, not for any act of theirs, but by His good pleasure. Do you believe in such a great Being?
ADAM: I do not. I cannot comprehend such a being.
PROTESTANT MINISTER: That is the beauty of it. Perhaps you do not believe in a devil, and in that great hell, the bottomless pit, where there is a lake of fire and brimstone into which the wicked are cast, and where they are continually burning, but none never consumed?
ADAM: I do not believe in any such place.
PROTESTANT MINISTER: My dear friend, I am sorry for you.
LUCIFER: I am sorry, very very sorry! What is it you want?
ADAM: I am looking for messengers from my Father.
Yes indeed, evangelicals would be surprised—if they knew enough about LDS history to see through the deception of modern-day apologists for Mormonism.
Keeping in mind that Mormonism teaches God is an exalted man, Jesus is our spirit-brother, God is a polygamist, we have a heavenly mother, we all spiritually-pre-existed, men can become gods, the Bible has been corrupted, revelation continues, and the church went into complete apostasy–there is no Creator, no Trinity, no finished atonement, no justification by grace through faith, no inerrant Scripture (McDermott agrees)–the final statement, in light of the great theological history of the Christian faith, is simply insulting: “Of course there is still doctrinal distance between Mormons and evangelicals.” You think? But notice the drumbeat: it is a doctrinal “distance,” but the same continuum. Mormons and evangelicals are on the same line, in the same tradition. This is what Mormonism has been working for, this is what they have wanted, and sadly, post-evangelicalism is so weak, so compromised, so lacking in foundation, that polytheists with new Scriptures are succeeding in their overt and obvious plan.