Billy Graham Magazine: Mormons Aren't Christians
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:26:00 PM EST
[update: as I explain in a new story, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website itself appears hard-coded to identify Mormons as members of a cult]

"We heard from Christians who were once Mormons" -- from the subtitle of an article published May 2008, in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association magazine Decision

Are Mormons Christians? According to a 2008 article in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Decision magazine, authored by the CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention's publishing wing LifeWay Resources, the answer would seem to be "no".

This new revelation of high-profile evangelical anti-Mormon animosity comes immediately in the wake of an embarrassing discovery, by a gay rights group, that the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has also branded Mormonism a "cult".  

On October 11, 2012 superstar evangelist Billy Graham emerged from semi-retirement to pray with, and in effect endorse, presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Then, on October 12, the LGBT rights group The New Civil Rights Movement broke the news that even as Graham was meeting with Romney, a page on the website of Graham's nonprofit the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association identified Mormonism as a "cult".

While the offending page pointed out by the New Civil Rights Movement story was almost immediately scrubbed from the BGEA website (a cached version of the page can still be viewed at the Internet Archive), it was not the only page on the Graham organization website that claims Mormonism, a religion which now encompasses millions of members around the world, is not Christian.

Attempts by Graham and his BGEA to walk back these anti-Mormon slurs will be complicated by the fact of widespread anti-Mormon bigotry within American Protestant evangelicalism, and because within the global evangelical Lausanne movement that Graham helped launch in 1974, the teaching that Mormonism is a cult has become accepted doctrine.

A May 1, 2008 story published in Decision magazine, by author Thom S. Ranier, with the title "The Unexpected Journey" featured a subheading which clearly identified  Mormonism as non-Christian:

"A few years ago, my wife, Nellie Jo, and I traveled across America listening to Christians who formerly held other beliefs. We heard from Christians who were once Mormons, Hindus, Jehovah's Witnesses, agnostics, witches, Buddhists, Unitarians, New Agers, Muslims, Satanists and non-Messianic Jews."

Thom S. Ranier is President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, the main publishing wing of the Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination which claims 16 million members, in 45,000 churches across the U.S.

LifeWay publishes several books explicitly attacking Mormonism and advising believers on how to evangelize Mormons, including Philip Roberts' 1998 Mormonism Unmasked. In an October 2011 Baptist press op-ed, Roberts wrote,

"Mormonism is clearly, absolutely, completely, and thoroughly a "religious cult." And while the word "cult" may be less than academic, it still carries popular meaning when used in a doctrinal sense as Dr. Jeffress has done. "

In 2011 at the high profile Voter Values Summit in Washington D.C., prominent Texan Southern Baptist Convention pastor Robert Jeffress, shortly before Mitt Romney took the stage for a speech, declared Mormonism to be a "cult". Jeffress subsequently endorsed Romney's presidential candidacy.

Besides its anti-Mormon sentiment, another notable feature of Lifeway CEO Thom S. Ranier's Decision article subheading was its implication that "Messianic Jews" can be considered Christians.

The issue of Billy Graham's relationship to Jews and Judaism is a curious one - in a February 23, 1973 telephone conversation with President Richard Nixon, Graham explained to Nixon that there were two kinds of Jews in the world:

"the Bible talks about two kinds of Jews. One is called `the synagogue of Satan.' They're the ones putting out the pornographic literature, they're the ones putting out these obscene films."

Graham's reference to a class of Jews who allegedly belong to the "synagogue of satan" is commonly found on overtly anti-Semitic websites, such as on the website of evangelical Christian Holocaust denier Texe Marrs.  

During his conversation with Nixon, Graham also informed President Nixon that he was convening a major international meeting of conservative evangelicals to launch an effort that would serve as a political and theological counterweight to the liberal World Council of Churches, that the two men agreed during the conversation was an ideological front for communism whose agenda was, as Nixon characterized to Graham, "written right out of Moscow".

The meeting Billy Graham described to Nixon happened in 1974, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and launched the Lausanne Movement, a sprawling global evangelizing initiative guided by the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization. Obligatory for participation in Lausanne was signing the Lausanne Convenant, an evangelical statement of faith that included an affirmation on the infallibility of biblical scripture.

From its start, the Lausanne movement and process featured an aggressive program for evangelizing Jews, spearheaded by the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE). In 2011, Lausanne's Ninth International Conference on Jewish Evangelism released the statement that,

"We rejoice in reports of continued numerical and spiritual growth of Jewish believers in Jesus. We recognize that in Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) is the only hope of forgiveness for sin and eternal life for all who believe.

We implore you to consider redemption as it has come in Jesus of Nazareth. He is the promised divine Messiah and the final atonement for sin. In him is the light of revelation to the nations and your glory, O Israel."

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association actively supports so-called "Messianic Jews", who identify as Jewish but nonetheless claim Jesus Christ as a savior.

Graham-associated efforts also target Mormons. Although evangelicals within the Lausanne movement have begun an aggressive, high profile program of dialogue with Mormon theologians, and Lausanne writings have in the past identified Mormons as Christian, more recent Lausanne doctrine labels Mormonism a cult.

While an official Lausanne process position paper released in 1980 stated that Mormons are "nominal Christians", in a newer Lausanne article subtitled "Spiritual Conflict in the Ministry of the Church", author Margaret Jacobs states,

"Cults and the occult are a little subtler. Many modern day cults have had their beginnings in Christianity often commenced by a founder disenchanted with the so-called Church gathering around him disenchanted Churchgoers... The founder or leader usually with a strong charismatic personality soon manipulates and controls his or her followers as in the Jonestown, Waco, Texas and more recently in Kenya. However not all end in such horror. Mormonism and Jehovah Witness being examples of cults centred around an "authority" other than the Lord Jesus... The focus of the cult starts and ends with YOU where as Christianity starts and ends with GOD."

This is reflected in recent, official Lausanne teaching. "Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 52", published (link to PDF of paper) in 2004 by the Lausanne Committee For World Evangelization, states,

"Emerging mission works of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults are leading to even more spiritual confusion among youth."

This anti-Mormon bias is quietly but pervasively reflected in some of the biggest evangelical missions organizations in the world. While the mammoth organization Youth With a Mission runs a "Discipleship Training School" to train missionaries "who have a heart to reach people of the Mormon faith", the massive Campus Crusade For Christ, recently renamed "Cru", makes explicit attacks on Mormon theology.

In a Cru website writing titled "From Mormonism to Christianity", author Bill DeWandeler states,

"Like many little girls, Lisa Brockman earnestly believed that someday she would grow up to be a mommy...

But Lisa also believed that someday she would be a god.

Lisa grew up in Salt Lake City--a place known for its religious significance. The Mormon Church, founded by Joseph Smith, is officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the LDS church. A fifth-generation Mormon, Lisa's exposure to people with different beliefs was extremely limited. Mormonism is not just a cult, it's a culture. "Especially in Utah, it is expected that your social life be restricted to your church and family," she says.

That culture instilled in Lisa the highest goal: a temple marriage. "Every Mormon boy and girl wants a temple marriage," says Lisa, "because that is the only way you can get into the Celestial Kingdom. There you enter into an eternal family and become a god or goddess." "

The two founders, of Youth With a Mission and Campus Crusade For Christ, Loren Cunningham and Bill Bright respectively, are also associated with the rise of a dominionist strain of evangelical Christianity, that calls upon believers to take control of the "Seven Mountains", seven key areas of society including business, education, media, and government.

Over the four decades of its existence, the Lausanne process that Billy Graham helped launch enabled dominionist Christianity to move from the margins to the mainstream of evangelicalism.

In the vanguard was a form of charismatic Christianity that church-growth guru C. Peter Wagner, who was a leader in the Lausanne process from the beginning, declared in 2001 to be the advent of a second Protestant reformation, that Wagner dubbed the "New Apostolic Reformation".

Within Wagner's theological radically NAR movement, its "apostles" claim direct apostolic authority from Jesus, and from God, and its prophets claim to receive prophetic messages from God that have the force of written scripture. That NAR doctrine, which Wagner publicly stated in 2006, seems to suggest that Wagner's NAR is what Billy Graham might have defined as a "cult".

An undated article on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website quotes Graham's own definition of cults, a definition that could be seen as encompassing both Mormonism (which features includes in the Biblical canon new books of scripture discovered by Joseph Smith) but also Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation:

"Some cults are openly and clearly influenced by non-Christian religions (such as some that originate in the Far East). Others, however, claim to be Christian and may actually incorporate some of the teachings of Christianity, while they deny certain truths in the Bible...

"Although cults differ, they share several characteristics. For example, cults often do not accept the Bible alone as God's Word, and may even say that other books (usually written by the group's founder) are also God's Word and of more value."

Regardless, in 2012 the evangelical magazine Christianity Today (founded in 1956 by conservative evangelical theologian Carl F. Henry, at the encouragement of his friend Billy Graham) featured in its May 2012 cover story one of the apostles of the New Apostolic Reformation, Heidi Baker, who claims to be able to raise the dead and perform other sorts of miracles attributed to Jesus and his apostles.  

Baker's claims of miracles manifested through her ministry range from the healing of lepers and the raising of the dead to the miraculous appearance of mass quantities of precooked chicken dinners.

Another feature of Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation is its maximalist Christian supremacy, which targets all competing religious and philosophical belief systems on Earth, including Mormonism. As I documented in a September 14, 2011 story,

"Top NAR leaders, including C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Ed Silvoso and, Chuck Pierce, have repeatedly emphasized in their writings the need for believers to destroy or neutralize, by burning, smashing, or flushing down toilets, objects deemed to be unholy, including profane books and "idolatrous" religious texts (such as Books of Mormon), religious relics (such as statues of Catholic saints, the Buddha, or Hindu gods), and native art (such as African masks, Hopi Indian Kachina dolls, and totem poles.)

According to New Apostolic Reformation doctrine, objects to be destroyed include those associated with Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Hinduism, eastern religions, Christian Science, native religions, and Baha'i."

 




Display:
I think that the overpowering Islamophobia, especially that which is focussed on majority Muslim countries overseas which have some theocratic features (I'm not talking here about Saudi Arabia, or Taliban-era Afghanistan here) like anti-blasphemy laws within a legal system. These less-than-ideal civil situations might be compared to the threat in our American and Canadian societies of Churches and para-church organizations who wish to move the Seven Mountains Mandate on our communities, making our countries into the kind of countries that dynamited the timeless Buddhas in Afghanistan. We must be more alert and aware of the most powerful politicians who express connections to evangelical right wing movements who pose the real threats to religious liberty and minority heritage in the United States and Canada, not those who don't have the power and are the ones who are being oppressed and demonized. There may be the occasional Mormon or Jew or Muslim who has the chance to use her position to benefit others of her religion, or the movement as a whole, but as a rule, this will be watched for like a hawk. The moves of a modern Borgia (remembering subtlety is the rule in these high-tech days) are harder to pick out.

by arachne646 on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:00:49 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (4 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (6 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (5 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (5 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (2 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (7 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (3 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.