Series: Who is this Jesus?
The other day my wife Pat heard a Mormon scholar on the radio saying that they are very Jesus-centred and so are therefore, to all intense and purposes, just another branch of the evangelical church. Ignoring for a moment the various doctrines, rites, and practices of modern day Mormons which differentiate them from evangelical churches, the central issue is Jesus. Is the Jesus of Mormonism the same Jesus who the Bible reveals as God incarnate?
I cannot even attempt to offer a comparison between Mormonism and evangelical Christianity in a short blog post like this. However, my understanding of Mormon teaching is that they believe Jesus to be the first naturally procreated son of the union between a god of flesh and bone, and Mary. (http://wri.leaderu.com/mormonism/jesus-refs.html). Traditional Mormons also appear to teach that Jesus Christ is actually a god named Jehovah, a different god to The Father, who is better known as Elohim. This Jesus/Jehovah is, they claim, actually our elder brother who evolved and became the god of this world. He is also Lucifer’s brother! Now this is a very different Jesus to the Jesus of the Gospels.
I am not concerned in this posting about critiquing Mormonism and I am using their doctrine of Jesus simply to point out just how central the biblical Jesus is to our Faith. Jesus Christ could not have legitimately paid the penalty of death for humanity if He were anything less than fully God and fully man. Jesus could not be our supreme example if He were not fully man. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, is central to the Christian faith.
Because God the Son became a man, humanity was able to see Him, learn from Him, and relate to Him. The New Testament is therefore not a literary work about a religious concept, but an account of God Himself who came to earth, died for our sin, and returned to Heaven in bodily form where He reigns right now.
Jesus, the Word of God, is also the one who inspired the scriptures to be written, He is their subject matter, and He is their interpreter. In my next posting I want to explore this idea. In the meanwhile I leave you with this quote to ponder;’The most pressing question on the problem of faith is whether a man as a civilized being can believe in the divinity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, for therein rests the whole of our faith.’ Fyodor Dostoevski