Rob Bowman with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) says Christians need to be aware that the beliefs of the Mormon Church are inconsistent with biblical Christianity. As one Mormon candidate launches his White House bid, the Southern Baptist official is urging Christians to take advantage of materials his denomination offers that teach the truth about Mormonism.
As former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney officially announced his presidential candidacy this week, a cover story in USA Today looked at the beliefs of the Mormon Church, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Rob Bowman, manager of the apologetics and interfaith evangelism department of the SBC's North American Mission Board (NAMB), thinks Christians would be wise to take an even closer look at the Mormons, lest any be deceived about the nature and tenets of that religious group. He says although the Mormon Church wages an expensive public relations campaign, using terms familiar to appeal to evangelicals, the core teachings of the church do not line up with scripture and are inconsistent with evangelical Christianity.
For this reason, Bowman says the SBC has for decades offered, through its various entities, information resources focusing on the Mormon Church. Many of these resources detail the differences between Christian and Mormon beliefs -- of which there are many, the NAMB official observes.
For example, Bowman notes, "In 15 short years, [Mormon Church founder] Joseph Smith went from being a thoroughgoing monotheist, a believer in one god, to a thoroughgoing polytheist, teaching the existence of many gods." Also, he points out, the Latter-day Saints teach that humans can achieve godhood by joining the church and taking part in specific deeds and ceremonies.
Such divergent beliefs are among the reasons, the NAMB official asserts, why Christians must know the Bible, so as not to be fooled by non-biblical Mormon teachings. As for the Mormon Church members themselves, he adds, "Our concern is that they don't really know the God of the Bible. So we're concerned for their salvation."
The concern of Bible-believing Christians is that Mormons do not know the real Jesus of scripture, Bowman explains. The SBC's desire, he says, is not only to see evangelicals learn about the differences between Mormonism and Christianity but also to see Mormons come to know Jesus and have an authentic relationship with Him.