What makes one a Christian? Is it the church they attend? It is the books they read? It is the things they do or do not do? No. It is the God they follow. If that God is Jesus Christ, they are a Christian.
I could really end this entry now, but there is still much confusion on the matter. Catholics pretend to be the only “true” Christians. Protestants don’t even call themselves Protestants. They call themselves Christians and then call Catholics and Mormons, well, Catholics and Mormons, pretending that they are the only “real” Christians. Mormons use the term much like Protestants, rejecting all but members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints though there are some 50 to 70 differing Mormon churches. While Mormons do not reject the Christian label, many accept the term “Mormon” rather than accpeting the term “Christian,” even though this is the term used by followes of Christ in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.
Really, one chapter in the Bible can sum up the differences in the tree branches of the Christian religion.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?’ And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’He saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. – Matthew 16: 13-20
This is the key difference between Catholics, Protestants and Mormons, the definition of the “rock” Christ refers to. Keep in mind that this rock is not where our salvation comes from, but rather, where the doctrine the Church is founded on. To Catholics, that “rock” is Peter, as Peter is who Jesus was speaking to. To Protestants, the “rock” is the Bible, as this is the Word of God and the foundation of every Protestant religion. To Mormons, the “rock” is revelation, as it was through revelation that Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ – no man told him.
In a sense, all three of these can be correct, as all are needed. Peter was needed as there must be someone to receive the revelation, the Bible (and other scriptures) are needed, as without them, how can we read God’s Word? And revelation is needed, as without that how would the Bible be written or read? All of them makes senses and none work alone. Yet none would exist without the revelation. After all, anyone could be Peter, as proof by the fact that the Catholics still have Popes (though, to be clear, Peter was never actually a Pope). All Scriptures were written by men through revelation, thus the rock Christ was talking about must be revelation. And it is through revelation that we know that all three, Catholics, Protestents, and Mormons, are all Christians.
Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church… And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. – D&C 10: 67, 69
This doesn’t say “must become Mormon” it says those that become Christ’s. Jesus told Joseph Smith Jr. that the rock is simply faith in Christ (D&C 33: 13). Thus, it is clear by modern revelation that being Mormon doesn’t make one Christian, thus all with faith in the Savior are Christians.
How then is the Lord’s church organized? In reality there are three churches. The first has already been explained, it is the Church of God. It is everyone that is a Christian, regardless of their religion. They are all members as they all share a common faith that Jesus is the Christ. This includes Mormons, Catholics and Protestants.
The second Church would be the Church of Jesus Christ, these are the Latter-day Saints. These are those that accept not only the New Covenant – Jesus Christ – but also those that have heard the call of the angel’s trumpet as prophesied in Revelation 14: 6. That angel was/is the Angel Moroni and that “everlasting gospel” is the Book of Mormon (D&C 27: 5). To be clear, this does not mean members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It includes every church that accepts the Book of Mormon. The scriptures do not say that the new covenant is the church, but rather the Book of Mormon (D&C 84: 57).
The third church is the Church of the First Born. This is the church that those who’s calling and election has been made sure (D&C 76: 51-55).
From this we see that the Devil tries to keep us apart as Christians. Rather than seeing the churches as levels of growth as we grow closer to our one true Savior, Jesus Christ, the Devil pits us against each other in an attempt to lead us to Hell.
Image: Philipp Veit – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei.