If you’ve ever spoken to a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon, they will likely tell you that they are a part of the Christian religion. They identify themselves as Christians. Their literature speaks of the “Christian life.”
This can be quite misleading and is not necessarily a statement that they ought to be making because they’re not actually Christians. When they are confronted by an actual Christian, they try to talk about all the similarities between Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons and the Christian.
What Is A Christian?
A Christian is one who holds to the basic essential teachings of the Christian faith. Some of these teachings include:
– There is one God, three persons (Trinity)
– Jesus Christ is God
– Jesus physically rose from the dead
– Sins are forgiven by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone
– The human spirit continues on after death in either Heaven or Hell
In order to be considered a Christian, one must affirm these essential doctrines. There are other minor doctrines that there may be disagreement on but could still leave you in the faith; however, the above statements are closed hand issues.
What Is A Cult?
There are certain characteristics to look for to test whether some “religious group” is considered a cult or not. Some of those characteristics include:
– Some type of new teaching which questions a previous older teaching (ex. denying the above essential teachings of the Christian faith)
– This teaching is to be the “only true teaching” which the followers are indoctrinated by the leadership
– There is a strong/charismatic leader or leadership group which demands unwavering commitment to them as the final authority on any matter
– People usually devote themselves to the leader or leaders & are controlled/dictated by what the leader deems acceptable (ex. Permission to marry, forced to divorce, or inflict some sort of physical sign on themselves to show commitment)
– The leader induces fear or guilt in the followers (ex. Punishment for questioning or doubt, excommunication for leaving the group)
– Often segregated/isolated and rejects any other authority than their own (ex. Us-vs-Them mentality)
– Financial, physical, mental, and time commitment to the leadership & group
– Radical (or strange) ends are required of the members to show their commitment (ex. Group suicide, guns/violence, door-to-door, meditation, chanting, etc.)
– Usually rooted in a future prophecy (ex. Apocalypse, end times, etc.)
Where Do Jehovah’s Witnesses & Mormons Land?
One of the common themes you may have seen is the idea of leadership. In the Protestant Christian religion there is no leader other than Jesus & the Bible. Is this the same in the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses & Mormons?
In Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is the leadership. The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society literature and their translation of the Bible are seen as the only true teaching and authority. Jehovah’s Witnesses are allowed to study other religions, but they are not allowed to question Jehovah’s Witness teachings or they may be re-indoctrinated or even excommunicated. The Bible must be interpreted by The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society.
In Mormonism, the founder (Joseph Smith) & the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are seen as the ultimate authority and leadership. The Book of Mormon is the official scripture that a Mormon reads. Coincidentally enough, the Book of Mormon was given as direct revelation to Joseph Smith in 1827. Again, questioning the Mormon Church is discouraged and there are other worship practices not in line with the Christian tradition.
Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Christians?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christians. They are a religious cult which has attached themselves to the name of Christianity. In their own eyes, they are the only true Christians.
The reason they cannot be Christians is because they believe that Jesus is a created being who first existed as Michael the Archangel, Jesus was raised spiritually and not physically, people are saved by their own works (not by grace), they also believe in annihilation rather than a belief in Hell. The Jehovah’s Witnesses translation of the Bible is full of additions and manipulations of the verses in the Christian Bible. They reject all the essential teachings noted at the beginning of the blog.
Are Mormons Christians?
Mormons are not Christians. Though they call themselves Christians, they also deny the essential doctrines noted above. If I were to deny the essential doctrines of Mormonism they would not consider me a Mormon, would they?
Mormons believe that there are many gods (as opposed to one God), Jesus & Satan are brothers, The Book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible, you can become a god once you become a good Mormon, and there is no salvation outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They also believe that salvation is not by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone.
Because of these reasons and many more, Jehovah’s Witnesses & Mormons cannot be Christians. They both deny the essential doctrine teachings of the Christian faith & they have a different authority other than Jesus & The Bible.
– Tyson Bradley