The First Baptist Dallas website prominently displays a Mormon icon. If you click on it you can read “stark differences” between Evangelical Christianity and Mormonism. So why is this local church so uptight about members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? And why has their head pastor recently been courted by several major networks and radio stations?
It was interesting as I read more about Robert Jeffress the head pastor. His biography page states that “Dr. Jeffress’ bold, biblical, and practical approach to ministry has made him one of the country’s most respected evangelical leaders.”
One strong biblical connection was obvious about his comment last week concerning Mormonism being a cult. He confirmed what the Savior said would happen to those who follow Him: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22—23). I am not sure pastor Jeffress fully understands how his words fulfilled the Savior’s words last Friday night.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shouldn’t be too worried about Jeffress’ reproach. Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy (Biblically rooted office) for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently wrote about being Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus Christ. “The Savior and those who have taken upon them His name have always drawn and will always draw criticism. The truth never exists unopposed. It will always have many times more than its share of antagonists, desperately striving to disprove, debunk, discredit, and destroy. That is so because it is truth; if it were not, it would be of no consequence and the world would pay it no mind, much less waste any effort to oppose it. It would be permitted to roll along into oblivion, unnoticed and forgotten.”
Perhaps Robert Jeffress’ biography page is going to have to be edited by the end of the week. He is getting an ear full right now. Several non-Mormons, which include evangelicals, are not blind to his un-Christ like rhetoric last week. But a visit to the biography page will reveal it isn’t much about the Savior, which has made me reflect upon my own motives and intentions. Consider this warning from an ancient prophet: “[The Lord] commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (2 Nephi 26:29)
This is a warning to all of us in the realm of religion who seek to teach, write, and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The press has very little interest in the scriptures and the words of eternal life. But they do love controversy in presidential politics. And they love when it comes from those who should know better. That’s why pastors, bishops, teachers, apostles, etc… should be wary of summits, conferences, and campaigns associated with presidential politics. It took Billy Graham several years and poor decisions to learn this (read The Preacher and the Presidents).
If Robert Jeffress is really about the Kingdom of God then I think he will learn his lesson. But if it is priestcraft—the saga will continue.