Are Mormons Christian?

There’s been a lot of conversation in the blogosphere about whether or not Mormons should be called Christian. From what I understand, Mormonism is currently the fastest growing American belief system, even more fruitful perhaps than independent megachurchianism. Some people say that Mormons should be called Christians because they call themselves Christians. That was the argument of my American Christianity professor Grant Wacker. Others say that their unorthodox views about the Trinity, the afterlife, and the distinction between humanity and divinity put them outside the bounds of Christianity proper. I didn’t have time to do a whole lot of research beyond the level of summarizing wikipedia, but I figured that my theological training might be helpful to picking through the terminology and comparing it with the rest of Christianity. I’m not going to give a conclusive answer on whether I think Mormons are “in” or “out.” But I thought I would analyze several aspects of their beliefs, trying to be as fair and objective as possible (and if you’re a Mormon reading this, please correct me if I’ve gotten something wrong!).

I. The Great Apostasy

Most Protestant Christian groups justify their schismatic existence on the basis that authentic Christianity was corrupted at some point in the history of the Roman church. For the mainstream Protestant reformers, the corruption occurred in medieval times as Catholic theology got just plain weird. For the more radical reformers such as the Anabaptists, the corruption began when the Roman Empire and the Church united under Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. Mormons take an even more radical stance. They believe that the original teachings of Jesus were corrupted by Platonism and other Greek philosophy shortly after Jesus and his first apostles died, and that the New Testament has been corrupted in its translation. They call this the Great Apostasy and consider the divine revelation to Joseph Smith in the early 1800’s to be the unique restoration of the original church Jesus set out to establish. They generally accept the Christian scripture with the caveat that there are some errors which had to be corrected in Joseph Smith’s revised translations of the Bible and subsequent Mormon writings.

II. Scriptural authority & continuous revelation

In addition to the Christian Bible, the Mormons consider the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Latter Day Saints to be divinely inspired. The Doctrine and Covenants is an open scriptural canon, meaning that Mormon prophets can continue to add to it as they receive divine revelations. In this sense, the Mormons are more like Catholics, whose popes continue to add to their doctrinal tradition, than they are like Protestants, who have a closed Biblical canon with unique authority. Mormons place a lot of importance in the principle of “continuous revelation” — that God continues to speak to His people in the present.

III. The Trinity

One of the strongest points of contention between Mormonism and the rest of Christianity is the understanding of the Trinity. Mainstream Christianity (Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox) accepts the theological formulation of the Council of Nicaea that God is Three Persons in One Substance. Mormonism rejects Nicaea as a Hellenistic corruption of Christianity. Instead it divides up Father, Son, and Holy Spirit according to the different names given to God in the Hebrew Bible. The Father is Elohim, the Son is Jehovah, and the Holy Spirit seems to have a somewhat lesser role. Both the Father and the Son have concrete physical bodies while the Holy Spirit has only a spiritual presence. There is also a Heavenly Mother who is the wife of Elohim and not the same as the Virgin Mary. Jehovah is understood to be the literal child of Elohim and the Heavenly Mother (instead of being understood as equally eternal to God the Father, per Nicaea). Jehovah is the pre-mortal form of Jesus, who is then born to the Virgin Mary.

IV. Humanity & Divinity — Exaltation

Mormonism also differs from the rest of Christianity is in its understanding of the relationship between humanity and divinity. They believe that God the Father is not just a spirit but a physical being “of flesh and bones” (Doctrine & Covenants 130:22). Furthermore, God the Father was originally a mortal being who went through a process of becoming exalted and then created the means for inhabitants of this planet (along with many other planets) to join Him in exaltation. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is central to this process as it is in the rest of Christianity, but this sacrifice does not seem to be something that creates a body of Christ in which believers are incorporated as in a more sacramental understanding of Christianity, but rather something which empowers believers to become like God as individuals. Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president of the Latter Day Saints Church, wrote a sentence which sums up the Mormon belief about exaltation: What man is now, God once was. As God now is, man may be. The closest that any other Christian denomination comes to this belief is the Eastern Orthodox concept of theosis in which the goal of Christian spirituality is to “partake of the heavenly nature” (2 Peter 1:4). St. Athanasius did write the formula “God became man so that man might become God,” but for him, this didn’t mean that each person becomes a god; it means that each person can participate in God’s divinity. So the concept of exaltation is probably the point of greatest difference.

V. The Afterlife

The Mormon afterlife consists in three heavens, or degrees of glory, which are inhabited by almost all humans after their death, though a small group who actively oppose and reject Christ before and after their physical death can remove themselves from the presence of God entirely and inhabit the outer darkness. So in a sense, you could say that Mormons are universalists, because only people who really don’t want to have anything to do with God don’t go to heaven and everybody gets a second chance to receive Christ after they die. The lowest level of glory is the telestial kingdom where people go who did not receive the gospel as well as “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” (D&C 76:103). The telestial kingdom is not a place of torture, but rather a place of lesser glory. People in the telestial kingdom have communion with angels and the Holy Ghost but not the Father or the Son. It’s kind of like getting lawn seats at a big outdoor concert. You can hear the music, but you can’t see the stage. The terrestrial kingdom is the next level. This is for people who kind of get the gospel but not completely. They are able to have access to the Son but not the Father. So this is like having a decent view of the stage at the concert but without backstage passes. The celestial kingdom is the highest level of glory. It’s for the people who believed in Jesus and were faithful to the covenants. This is like having backstage passes at the concert and VIP access to God the Father and Son. The celestial kingdom is further divided into three degrees of glory. The lower two levels give people an existence like that of the angels. The highest level can only be attained by Mormons who have entered into celestial marriage. In the highest level, they are understood to become gods and goddesses on equal standing (?) with God the Father.

VI. Marriage & the Nuclear Family

The Mormon church places a tremendous focus on marriage and the nuclear family. First of all, the structure of their divinity is not a mysterious Three-in-One Trinity of interrelated divine Persons, but a nuclear family consisting of Father, Mother, and Son (with the Holy Spirit having a somewhat subordinate status). One of the most important rituals in the Mormon church is called sealing. When husbands and wives are in an unsealed civil marriage, their bonds dissolve at their death. When they are sealed through celestial marriage, it ensures that they will persist in relationship for eternity. In the same way, children must be sealed officially by the church in order to be eternally connected to their parents. Based on the primacy of these relationships, I would say that the basic ecclesial unit of Mormonism is the nuclear family rather than the body of Christ. I’m not sure what a Mormon would do with Jesus’ statements that “whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35) or “whoever does not hate his mother and father cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). In the teachings of Paul (1 Corinthians 7) and Jesus (Matthew 19:11-12), celibacy is the preference and marriage is a concession, while in Mormonism, marriage is actually a requirement for admission into the highest level of heaven. This helps me to understand why Mormons are the most emphatically devoted to the defense of “traditional marriage” of all American faith traditions.

Conclusion

I am not going to say yea or nay on whether Mormons are Christians or not. They do believe Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is central to the process by which humans gain immortality. They do not believe that the apostolic succession of the church lasted more than a generation or two before a great apostasy occurred. Their heaven is a lot bigger than the heaven of evangelical Christianity, though one could argue it has some resonance with the Eastern Orthodox vision. They reject the Nicene Trinity and have instead Father, Mother, and Son (and a somewhat diminished Holy Ghost). They emphasize the nuclear family over the body of Christ. Honestly, the teachings of Mormonism with its individualism and nuclear family focus are a much better fit for what Americans consider “traditional” and “conservative” values than Christianity itself; this makes sense since Mormonism was created in America. I cannot personally embrace Mormon theology or doctrine, but if God is indeed responsible for the wild, fascinating visions of Joseph Smith and his followers, I won’t love Him any less.

41 thoughts on “Are Mormons Christian?

  1. I think the Mormon church is tending more and more towards so-called “mainline” Protestant beliefs as time goes by. Holding the present membership responsible for the beliefs that were held years ago is just silly. So “they’re not Christian because they believe in polygamy” when they don’t anymore is stupid. And basically, all the arguments against Mormons being “Christian” tend to work that way. Someone says Mormons believe that they become gods when they die. Do they really *still* believe that? or did you just read that in some out of date book against Mormonism? I don’t know, but even if some do still believe that, I think their present leadership is trying to lead them out of it towards something that will be considered more “mainline.”

    • I think you’re right. See the dialogue between me and the Mormon guy who wrote me. There’s more commonality than I originally thought.

    • I don’t think it is so much a shift in the LDS position as a more real understanding of the LDS position.

      In reality there have only been two significant changes in the LDS teachings over the last 120 years. The first being doing away with polygamy in 1890 and blacks getting the priesthood in the mid 70’s. Otherwise the the doctrines have pretty much stayed true.

      I might give that there has been a significant amount of normalization in the past couple of decades or so via the Correlation Committee, which reviews all documents published by the Church and confirms that they conform. This process has allowed a uniformity in doctrine across the world and eliminated some of the “Mormonisms” or local eccentricities that had developed over the generations that don’t fit into the approved procedures and doctrine.

      I would say that what is happening is that there is a dialogue going on. A large number of my ancestors were run out of their homes by torch and gun because of what they believed. That early intolerance built up an insularity that made Mormons less likely to talk with outsiders, and outsiders to be more likely to distrust. That mutual distrust merely fed the feelings on the other side exacerbating the problem.

      In the last twenty years or so, there have been some significant dialogues between other faiths and the LDS leadership and intellectuals. I believe that what this has done is correct many of the misrepresentations and outright lies that have been perpetuated about our beliefs. As a member who has been on the receiving end of some of the things that we purportedly believe, I would be aghast were they true. Unfortunately in their zeal many have felt that in bearing false witness, the ends justify their means.

      It has taken time and dialogue, and as that has occurred people have learned that most of the rumors are untrue. We don’t have horns. I only have one wife, and don’t want another, thank you very much! I don’t worship Joseph Smith any more than you worship Moses, Abraham or Peter. I do believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior, and that it is only through his atonement we can return to our Father in Heaven.

      I don’t really want to post some of the more insane things I have heard about my faith on the basis I don’t want to unintentionally perpetuate stories, but some of them are REALLY creative. They would be funny if people didn’t actually believe them.

      I am glad that we are finally at a place where we can agree to disagree, but still be interested in what the truth is. In my mind that is a miraculous thing and something even my grandparents could only dream of.

      • You aren’t the Mormon blogger who got in trouble, are you? I heard about that and I thought of you. I’ve been immensely blessed by our conversation. Please continue to engage me even as I cover different topics on my blog. It’d be great to get a “Mormon angle” on some of the issues I consider, recognizing that you don’t represent anybody officially. Blessings!

        • No, no.🙂 I very much appreciate the concern though. Let me tell you, it takes a lot to get to the point they will call you in.

          Here is the thing, just to use familiar names, you have Mitt Romney on one side that is LDS, and Harry Reid on the other who is just as much LDS. Both temple going, and have callings in their local congregations. Strange as it seems there is a pretty hearty and proud discussion about doctrine, positions, and politics within the LDS faith from both sides of the fence.

          There are things that are considered out of bounds though. In this instance, writing about the temples and generalities of what goes on in them from an academic perspective, totally kosher, if a bit uncomfortable for some. Where the blogger who is in trouble went afoul was he was no just posting negative commentary about the church (some of which went well into apostasy), but was going into detail and quoting specific passages from the temple ceremony in context. That is well past a well understood verboten line. (A side note, the insistence by the press that it was his comments about Romney are bogus on the face of them.)

          You can find it all out there on the anti-Mormon sites anyway, but that doesn’t mean it is OK to go there unilaterally.

          Understand, the reason the temples are carefully controlled is not that there is voodoo or anything going on. Frankly it can be quite boring and repetitive if you don’t understand it. What it is, is sacred. As we have been told not to cast our pearls before swine (please understand that is not meant in any way to be specific or offensive, merely of the scriptures). Many of those things we hold most sacred are done in the Lord’s house. Anyone can come to our Sunday meetings, and they are always welcome! But temples are a special place. So much so that there are people who will save up their whole lives to be able to go there just once.

          So, when you have promised to not disclose those things, and then do so knowing you are crossing that line, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his membership is being called into question. I think that part of it is also his standing as editor, and his trying to leverage his membership to lend authority to his voice too. Not cool.

          Other than that, there are only one or two things I can think of that aren’t Federal Offenses that would get you excommunicated.

          What I don’t fully understand is why if he feels so antagonistic to the LDS faith, he still wants to be a member. If I don’t like the way a group is doing things I leave. But that is a whole different topic for a different time.

      • I might have agreed with that if I hadn’t done a bit of research on a book called Mormon Doctrine. A guy named Bruce R. McConkie became part of the “Council of the Seventy” in 46, wrote this book and published it in 58. It was subsequently said to be full of errors by one of the ‘apostles’ of the Mormon church in the “quorum of 12 apostles”. A revised version was published in 66 as a result. In 72 McConkie became part of the “quorum of 12 apostles” himself. Another revision was issued in 78. The book recently went out of print in 2010. Supposedly the reason for it going out of print is that the sales were low, but if you poke around various Mormon forums on the Internet you’ll find a lot of doubt expressed that this is actually the case. “As a member who has been on the receiving end of some of the things that we purportedly believe, I would be aghast were they true.” Most of those things come from the book I just told you about. Many Mormons are all like “No, the church never believed that. McConkie was just a nut.” But if that’s the case, how did he end up on the “quorum of 12 apostles” AFTER he wrote the book? If it weren’t for this information, I might buy that the Mormon church never taught these things. But in light of this information, I think my original statement that the Mormon church is trying to become more “mainstream” is correct.

        • I actually own “Mormon Doctrine”. It has been a point of controversy within the church as well as without.

          A couple of points:

          1. The original controversy is that he defined the “Great and Abominable Church” specifically as the Catholic Church. This was not “doctrine” but his opinion. It caused enough issues that it was specifically changed in the second and subsequent editions.

          2. “Mormon Doctrine” is, generally, a good representation of LDS beliefs, but there is a lot of stuff that would be deemed controversial, unsettled, or just plain wrong in it. It was not published by the LDS Church, though they did encourage multiple changes over the years to try and correct errors.

          I want to point you to two outside sources that I really think will shed some light on the issue for you.

          The first one is directly from LDS.org. This is a talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quarum of the Twelve Apostles (second only to the First Presidency).It was directed to members of the LDS faith, but answers many questions as to what is considered actual LDS doctrine.

          http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-doctrine-of-christ?lang=eng

          The second is an article that I came across years ago that I think gives some real insight into the humanity and process of the leadership in the LDS Church. It is an article on evolution, so very off topic, but I think it will show how someone can have differing opinions with other leaders, and still be advanced. Like I said in a previous post, there are some pretty vigorous debates over some topics, others are pretty much set in stone.

          http://www.mormonfortress.com/evolution.pdf

          I must emphasize that this isn’t published by the LDS Church, but it does seem to be well researched and has some great insights.

          Now if you want to talk about some really wacky stuff, look into the Journal of Discourses. These are talks given over a period of time after settling in Salt Lake. It was a time when many of the ideas, prophecies and doctrines given by Joseph Smith were being assimilated and debated. Some of the things presented are taken by detractors of the LDS Church and used as billy clubs, even though the idea may have been cast out, sometimes before it was spoken.

          http://en.fairmormon.org/Journal_of_Discourses

          In short, individuals and even leaders have taught all kinds of things within the LDS Faith. That doesn’t mean that those ideas are generally accepted as official Doctrine. That is one of the things that the Correlation Committee I wrote of earlier has tried to help deal with. Right or wrong, they have tried to make sure that the things that come out of headquarters are representative of official accepted ideas and doctrine. They don’t wander into gray or uncharted territory in general when it comes to these things. Some of us wish they would stretch out a bit to help with some of the more fringy stuff.

          In summary, we don’t hold Church leaders as perfect. Christ was the only one to attain that. They are human with all the foibles of humanity. They are called and chosen though, and we should sustain and consider their words strongly. But when it comes to actual doctrine, there is a set pattern, and that is the only way things are actually codified as doctrine. It happens, but not often.

      • BTW, wonko6x9, you have to understand that in my estimation going more “mainstream” is not necessarily better. That’s why I put “mainstream” in quotes too. I think I’d prefer the Mormon church teaching “crazy” doctrines to it becoming another faith-onlyism Paulinist denomination. We’ve got enough of those already.

    • I also want to add, I am also impressed with the comments. I don’t have to agree with your point to appreciate the general tenor of them. Too often a decent article on the LDS faith is completely taken over by the ranting and ravings of intolerance and bigotry. You have a dialogue, a desire to understand going on here, and that is in some ways more impressive than the article.

      As for the Christian vs non-Christian argument, I read a Catholic Priest’s comment that I thought was extremely germane. He termed the Catholic Church and its offshoots as “Nicene Christianity”, and the LDS Church and its offshoots as “Latter Day Christianity”. I think that works well. To say we are not Christian denies that Christ is the center of our theology. Read the Book of Mormon. It goes on and on about Christ (some have said we focus too much on Him), and the climax is when he comes to the Americas after his resurrection. You may not agree with our interpretation of Christ, but to deny that our gospel is centered around Him would be dishonest or at best uninformed.

      That said, I also understand that there are fundamental differences in how we interpret many points of the traditional Christian creeds. The above above clarification both recognizes for us that Christ is center, while granting you that there are differences in what we believe.

      I can live with that.

    • Thanks very much for sharing. I am intrigued by the Nicene Christianity / Latter-Day Christianity distinction. I could live with that. I guess I don’t feel as strong a need as some of my friends to quibble over semantics. My hope is intimacy with God; I am not so much worried about being punished for my mistakes as I am worried about being corrupted by them and unable to experience the deepest level of communion (so in that sense, you guys get it more than the pop-evangelicals do). I believe that the intimacy I crave is accomplished through incorporation into the vulnerable community of worship called the body of Christ. Perhaps it would be akin to your concept of “sealing” but I believe the sealing has to happen every week at the Eucharist table. Based on my very cursory contact with Mormon theology, the individualism is the main thing I would quibble with you guys about. I’m also unsure about the nuclear family focus just because I think we need to first be a family to the outsiders and misfits that God’s heart yearns after. It would be cool to have more conversation with you.

      • I think we are closer to the same page as some would want to believe. I think you have actually hit on something very deep in the LDS theology in your comment”

        “My hope is intimacy with God; I am not so much worried about being punished for my mistakes as I am worried about being corrupted by them and unable to experience the deepest level of communion”

        Sin corrupts. It drives us from God. As we eliminate sin from our lives, only then can we begin to understand and incorporate God into who we are. This cleansing is only possible through the atonement of Christ. It should be a constant refining helping us become better.

        I need to ponder your comment a little longer as I don’t think there is a significant chasm in how we are looking at it, though we would probably use different terms. I don’t know that sealing is necessarily the best analogy. I think it is more a product of, rather than the source of that desire to come into, in your words, “the body of Christ”. I’ll think on that a little bit.

    • Yeah I guess it’s obvious that an American-bred religion would turn out to reflect back the ethos of America, but it’s uncanny how thoroughly American it is.

    • I think I would posit that it took the environment in America at the time for the LDS faith to be able to come forth. It is a little bit of a chicken and egg argument, but I tend to see it that way.

  2. “Mainstream Christianity (Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox) accepts the theological formulation of the Council of Nicaea that God is Three Persons in One Substance. Mormonism rejects Nicaea as a Hellenistic corruption of Christianity.”

    I always have some sympathy for those with a heretical triadology like this.

    Because often they’re reacting against the quasi-modalism and functional modalism so popular in most denominations today. If someone asks who God is, and they are told “one essence in three persons”, it profits them nothing.

    That, and “You can’t say anything about God, because God is unknowable/impassible/unchanging”. Equally useless. Who wants an un-relatable stoic abstraction for a god?

    • So how would you say Trinity in seven words or less? Just doing the best that I can to articulate an apophatic reality concisely. I have no idea how to talk about the Trinity in an accessible way, so if you’re hearing heresy, then please explain where and what the remedy is.

      Lossky convinced me by the way why the East is right about the Son and Spirit both proceeding from the Father whose hypostasis is the source of divinity rather than the collective ousia.

      I agree with your sympathy. It sounds like Joseph Smith said this is a bunch of hifalluting mumbo-jumbo. His heresy comes from trying to impose a literalist reading on a text that resists literalism. He said well you say Elohim in some verses in the OT and YHWH in other verses, so there you go: Elohim = Father, YHWH = Son. It’s theological populism in the same way that fundamentalism is.

      • Morgan,

        I was not accusing you of a heresy based on what you wrote here. Just expressing my sympathy for those who are brought to despair because of such things.

        In seven words? That is an interesting challenge. My take on “God in Seven Words” would be:

        “The Father, with His Word and Spirit.”

        • Yeah I’m sorry I was too quick to take it personally. I actually totally agree that Joseph Smith’s heresy is probably the reaction to another heresy. I like your seven words. Here’s my attempt: “From Father, Word Creates and Spirit Heals.” These are the best verbs I could come up with for Son and Spirit though I know of course their actions are perichorestic.

      • I like the old (still used in the Western Churches) doxology: “Glory to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit”. That’s one of the best “creeds” out there.

      • “So how would you say Trinity in seven words or less? Just doing the best that I can to articulate an apophatic reality concisely.”

        For one, I wouldn’t use the phrase “apophatic reality.”

  3. I thought this post sounded fairly balanced and not at all a hatchet job. But when I read “Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president of the Latter Day Saints Church, wrote a sentence which sums up the Mormon belief about exaltation: What man is now, God once was. As God now is, man may be. ” it seems familiar….like something I read about in a Garden somewhere…

    • Okay. Would you say that Lorenzo Snow has an accurate interpretation of what happened in the Garden of Eden or that the Garden of Eden story contradicts what he said? I wasn’t sure which way you were leaning.

      • I think the sentiment plays to our innate desire to be our own god. It’s the promise made by the serpent, You can be just like God! with bonus planets!

        I have some wonderful friends who are LDS. They do great works and are great people. I would never try to judge anyone’s salvation. But, they are not orthodox in light of the Old Testament as well as the New.

        • Indeed! “You can be just like God.” I had not thought of the serpent connection. Great point. I think God just wants to liberate us from works-righteousness so that we can worship without performing. Unorthodox soteriology fails BECAUSE it fails to do that.

  4. This whole “is it really Christian” attitude, I think, is a rather recent phenomena in Christian history.

    Before the 20th century, identification was done by denomination. Is that Roman Catholic? Is that Presbyterian? Etc.

    Now, with the collapse of many denominations and the explosion of “non-denominationalism”, a sort of neo-Cathari understanding exists among those in many Christian denominations, or in no denomination, today.

    “So-and-so is an [insert denomination], but they aren’t/are REALLY a Christian.”

    That sort of attitude, that there is this ethereal standard by which one can set up a hypothetical “real Christian” and judge others according to it, goes thousands of miles beyond the Invisible Church understanding of early protestants and later Roman Catholics. The new “Ethereal Church” movement focuses around the definition “Christian”, and the subjective mess by which one is included and excluded in this Cathari club.

    In other words, who cares whether or not they can be classed under “Christian”? Hell, Islam is a Christian heresy. that doesn’t help it out any.

    • A recent phenomena? Determining what, and who, was validly Christian was the point of the early Church councils. It’s where we get the creeds from, definitive statements as to who is, or is not, Christian.

      I am all for ecumenism and big tent Christianity, but if one cannot proclaim the Nicean Creed then that one is not Christian.

      • Dan,

        The Nicene Creed declares the faith not of a general “christian” blob—Many were part of self-declared ostensibly Christian groups—but rather states the belief of that Church which calls itself the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

        Since you believe that the church councils decide who is and who is not a Christian in any sense of the word, it would be safe to assume that you accept Roman Ecumene Councils 1-7, and Quinisext, Constantinople IV, etc., because you claim to be a Christian.

    • You miss my point, Nicholas. You claim that being concerned with who is or is not a Christian is a recent phenomena, when in fact it was a large part of the work of the early Church in the first few hundred years.

      Whether you accept the Councils’ conclusions or not, you can’t claim that they weren’t defining Christianity and kicking out heretics.

      • They were defining the boundaries of the Church. The Seventh Council doesn’t say “this is the Christian Faith, which established the Universe”. It says “this is the Orthodox Faith, which established the Universe.”

        Furthermore, what I am claiming is this: Using weak assent to Nicea I, and not any other councils, as the “litmus test” of whether or not someone is part of a general multi-denominational milieu called “Christian” is a recent phenomena.

        Constructing a cathari/docetic behavioral standard (or ‘holiness”) to determine who is or is not within the general multi-denominational milieu of “REAL Christian” is an even more recent phenomenon.

      • Also, I would ask whether or not *you* accept the Council’s conclusions.

        Do you refuse to kneel on Sunday? (Quinisext)
        Do you permit married presbyters in all the churches? (Gangra, Quinisext)
        Do you physically venerate icons and holy objects properly? (Nicea II)
        Do you confess that the Divine Subsistence of the Word, and not merely a persona, was incarnate in Mary’s womb, and that it is therefore right to call her the bearer of Theos? (Ephesus I, Constantinople II)
        Do you confess that there is only one God, the Father Almighty, who has a Word and Spirit? (Nicea I)

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