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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pastor Robert Jeffress and the Mormon Cult

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Pastor Jeffress, a senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, recently made some waves by publicly referring to the LDS church as a cult. First of all, Jeffress points out that he distinguishes between a "sociological" cult and a "theological" one, and that the LDS church is a theological cult, not a sociological one. He roughly defines a theological cult as a religion which embraces "unbiblical" principles.

Going into more detail, he says, "Mormonism was invented 1800 years after Jesus Christ and the founding of Christianity, and it has its own founder, Joseph Smith, its own set of doctrines and its own book, the Book of Mormon. And that, by definition, is a theological cult..."

But couldn't this be said of almost any religion? Pastor Jeffress admits that he also labels widely recognized religions, such as Islam and Hinduism, as cults, too, under this definition, but what about his own church?

Protestant churches, by which I mean churches which are not classified as Catholic or Orthodox, were invented 1526 years after Jesus Christ and the founding of Christianity, and they have their own founder, Martin Luther, have their own set of beliefs, first set forth in the 95 theses, and have their own book, The Luther Bible, which he translated and admittedly altered. Is that, by definition, a theological cult?

In addition, a similar argument can be made for Eastern Orthodox Churches. Orthodox Churches were invented 1054 years after Jesus Christ and the founding of Christianity, and they have their own founder, Micheal Cerularius, its own set of beliefs, especially regarding the Trinity, clergy, and the afterlife, and its own book, the Constantinople Patriarchate edition of 1904. Is this, by definition, a theological cult?

It seems like Pastor Jeffress considers all churches but the Roman Catholic Church to be cults, which is strange, since he is not Roman Catholic.

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