This Sunday we talked about how important unity is to the mission of advancing the gospel. Unity is a powerful collective witness to an unbelieving world (John 17:23) and allows to accomplish so much more together. But I also mentioned a third aspect of unity that has a tremendous impact on our mission: our unity as a community of believers is a way of standing together for truth and hence, for the mission. Standing for the truth will consequently mean standing against false teaching and against false gospels that would hinder the mission. When someone unites themselves to a believing group by profession or membership, they are identifying themselves with what that group believes and are saying they are committed to it (be it evangelical, Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, et cetera.). Who we unite with or don’t unite with either helps or hinders the mission.
The reason why this stood out to me this week is because last Sunday evening I watched a lengthy interview between Dallas Jenkins, producer of The Chosen, and a young Mormon individual. Most of you have probably heard of The Chosen. It’s a relatively new, high-quality series that I was personally enjoying and even mentioned from the pulpit on an occasion or two. But for that reason and due to its popularity, I felt it was necessary to say that because of Jenkins’ latest comments in which he, as a professed evangelical, espoused Mormonism, I cannot recommend this series anymore. Unfortunately, this is something that happens many times over in the evangelical world. The bigger something becomes, the less it holds tight to the Word of God. Those of you who know me, know I’m not big on calling people out like this but this time I felt it was necessary. My job is to shepherd that flock and that means protecting it against wolves in sheep’s clothing or those who act like there is no difference between a wolf and a sheep.
In Acts 20:29, the apostle Paul said to the Ephesian church elders,
In producing The Chosen series, Dallas works with many Mormons in Utah where much of it is filmed and the app that broadcasts the series, VidAngel, is a Mormon company. In the interview, Dallas went so far as to say that we love same Jesus and want to make the same Jesus known, called them our brothers and sisters, and also refused to deny their extra-biblical writings in the book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is “extra-biblical” meaning that it is treated as sacred scripture to them and held in highest regard. Dallas admits in the interview that he has some different evangelical beliefs than Mormons but skirts the issues at hand.
Mormons do not hold to the same fundamental truths as we do. We do not have the same the Jesus and do not want to make the same Jesus known. Our Jesus is the eternal God who took on flesh through a virgin to pay for sin. The Mormon “Jesus” is one of many “gods” who experienced a natural birth and is the spirit-brother of Satan. Our gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ but Mormons have a works-based religious system gospel whereby one will end up in hell for trying to keep it (rejecting Christ’s work for their own religious works). While we hold to the Bible as the inspired, inerrant, and sufficient Word of God, they add to it the Bible-contradicting book of Mormon and more. As you can see, they deny our fundamental truths and should not be considered Christian at all.
The apostle John warns us to beware of anyone who denies the Deity of Christ. Any such denial of Christ’s true nature and deity is a demonic doctrine (2 Corinthians 11:14-15; 1 Timothy 4:1; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 John 4:2-3).
1 John 4:2-3
I’m guessing that The Chosen series will continue to make ecumenical videos that refuse to step on the toes of any group that falls under the heading of “Christianity” but one would be wise to stay alert and recognize the limitations that such a film could produce towards spiritual health. The situation reminds me of Proverbs 25:26,
Even though Mormons are often nice people, very friendly and zealous, they have been deceived by a false religion with a shady past and need to hear the good news. The need the truth and not the right hand of fellowship. To compromise and extend the right hand of fellowship with them would be to hinder, not help the mission. Let's stick to the mission!
In Christ alone,
by grace alone,
through faith alone,
according to the Word of God alone,
for the glory of God alone,
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