In a previous post titled What Christians Can Learn from Muslims, the topics of honoring the name of God, His Word and the disciplines of prayer and fasting were compared with common evangelical practices. Today consider what we can learn looking at the life of Mormons. Once again, it should be made clear that they have a different God and a different Gospel, but nonetheless still follow similar practices as Christians. Just as with Muslims, their works based salvation drives most of the difference, but this is still problematic because our grateful response to God’s grace should drive us to greater love and obedience than is seen in other religions. Ponder these four points:
- Unity in the church. The LDS church is unified, at least in appearance, across the world. Its schisms are limited, so the teaching is more consistent country-to-country. This is not to say that Mormon doctrine hasn’t changed, because it has and does, but that splits don’t result. This is because salvation is found through the LDS church and its ‘authority’, rather than salvation individually and separate from the church in Christianity
- Giving to God. Mormons give more than the average Christian. This is driven a requirement to contribute 10% to participate in temple ceremonies and because they are held accountable for the contribution by their leaders. For Christians, the exact 10% number isn’t the issue as much as the idea that all things are God’s and we should cheerfully contribute to support “making disciples of all nations” to a greater degree than we do today
- Family is central and training children in the doctrines of the church is focused upon in the home. The eternality of the family is a core belief in Mormonism, which isn’t Biblical, drives much of this effort. Nevertheless, Mormon take seriously their responsiblity to pass their beliefs down to the next generation while many Christians seem to outsource this role to the church. The historic Christian practice of catechism in the home has passed away. Kids have no training on a Christian worldview and appear to frequently abandon the faith
- Seriousness of missions and missions training. If you flip through this ‘article’ about Mormon missions training, you’ll begin to see how seriously the LDS church takes preparing missionaries. Their missions book provides more detail about how much they structure their outreach effort. Nearly all young adults commit two years of their life to the mission field. In the Christian church, missions rarely goes beyond a spring break trip to the inner city.
Mormon motivation for each of these points is different from what the Bible teaches. They are working their way into heaven and obedience is driven by this factor. Christians have heaven and, while we remain on earth, are motivated by their love for God and thankfulness for Jesus’ sacrifice. Yet, we should pause and consider why we don’t give more, evangelize more, pass our beliefs on generationally and show more unity. Does our freedom in Christ give make us too comfortable such that we don’t run the race to win?