Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's An Evangelical To Do in 2012?

Each election year since I can remember (probably 1984 for me) I have watched the Evangelical Right in America galvanize for influencing the vote for the United States President. 

In 1980 Ronald Regan was a great choice for Evangelicals. Whether it was honest or not, Regan played right into the court with the right language and coming down on issues conservatively that were important to Evangelical Christians. 

In 1988 Bush Sr. seemed to be the obvious choice to carry on this legacy. He was comfortable and grandfatherly. He had the right mix of WWII heroics and American Christendom Traditionalism. 

In 1992 Conservatives could not pull it together for George Sr. and they went down as Clinton took the helm. For two terms we watched conservative policies that had been held strong for 12 years start to crumble. Issues like prayer in school, abstinence-only education, creation education, and traditional marriage support seemed to start to falter and be sifted out. 

Again galvanizing in 2000 with George W. Bush, the conservatives came out strong. I never believed that George W. Bush was just placating Conservative Christians, but I believe out of the many Republican presidents that had played the evangelical game, Bush Jr. actually agreed with evangelical Christianity. The issues that had previously been falling through the cracks seemed to come back in full force. Abstinence Education was encouraged from the White House. DOMA was put in place. Creator-based Education was given a defended place in many public schools. While gramatizationalism was not always Bush's strong point Evangelicals seemed to look the other way or just smile as you would at a child that doesn't know any better. 

The past four years, the ping pong has been tossed the other way. It looks like once again the issues that matter to Evangelicals are under attack. So what will be done this time around and with what integrity?

Most shocking in the past year is the Evangelical silence on the fundamental beliefs of Mitt Romney. I don't mean the talking points. He is doing quite well with Evangelicals on social matters. I am talking about what he believes about God - - supposedly the foundation of the Evangelical movement.

In case you have been hiding under a rock, let me inform you that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Now on the surface you should note that this means that Romney truly does believe in conservative social values.

The question comes as to what he believes about God and how that coincides with traditional Evangelical beliefs. Here are the 13 Articles of Faith that he does believe in as a Mormon... (my comments in read)

1.We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son,
Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
   While they do believe in the three persons of God, they DO NOT believe in the Doctrine of the Trinity of 3 Persons in 1 Godhead. 
2.We believe that men will be punished for their own
sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
   They do not believe in the Doctrine of Original Sin
3.We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all
mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
   They do not believe in salvation by faith alone, rather it is by obeying the laws of Scripture. 
4.We believe that the first principles and ordinances of
the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance;
third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of
hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    For salvation there must be a physical baptism, not just believing in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 
5.We believe that a man must be called of God, by
prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to
preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6.We believe in the same organization that existed in the
Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists,
and so forth.
7.We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy,
revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
8.We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it
is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of
   They lay within their beliefs that the Bible is only correct as far as it is translated correctly (who exactly determines this?). They also believe that the Book of Mormon is equal to the scriptures of the Old and New Testament. 
9.We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does
now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important
things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10.We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in
the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built
upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth;
and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
    How does this dogma settle with Evangelicals?
11.We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God
according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same
privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12.We believe in being subject to kings, presidents,
rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13.We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent,
virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the
admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured
many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything
virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these
things. (http://mormon.org)

These are the thirteen articles of faith, but it doesn't stop there... Here is a commentary about their belief of the formation of God. 

Milton Hunter, member of the 1st Council of the Seventy,
echoed Smith’s claims; in his book Gospel Through the Ages, pg. 114 it
 “…if we accept the great law of eternal progression, we must accept the
fact that there was a time when Deity was much less powerful than He is
how did He become glorified and exalted and attain His present status of
Godhead?....God undoubtedly took advantage of every opportunity to learn the
laws of truth and as He became acquainted with each new verity He righteously
obeyed it”. Milton continued on with his theory by adding:
 “As He gained more
knowledge through persistent effort and continuous industry, as well as through
absolute obedience, His understanding of the universal laws continued to become
more complete. 
 Thus He grew in experience and continued to grow until He attained the
status of Godhood." 
So God wasn't always God? He had to achieve Godhood? I believe this stands in direct opposition to traditional Evangelical belief.

Another interesting belief is the woman's dependence on male to be saved and enter into eternal life...

     Mormon Apostle Erastus Snow preached this:
“Do the women, when they pray, remember their husbands? Do you uphold your husband before God as your lord? What!-my husband to be my lord? I ask, Can you get into the celestial kingdom without him? Have any of you been there? You will remember that you never go into the celestial kingdom (during the temple ceremony) without the aid of your husband. If you did, it was because your husband was away, and some one had to act proxy for him. No woman will get into the celestial kingdom, except her husband receives her, if she is worthy to have a husband; and if not, somebody will receive her as a servant” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p 291)

I guess I post all of this as awareness of who Mitt Romney really is. Will evangelicals forgo their faith traditions for heretical belief just so that the social standards are maintained or pulled back? 

I was shocked to hear several Evangelicals I know simply shrug off the fact that for years they have fought Mormonism as a cult and say, "Well... they really are great people." Its true I agree with you! Mormons are great people, but it seems contradictory to the Evangelical way to just allow them to remain in their Mormon beliefs just because they are "great people." 

I fully admit that I believe we don't have any good candidates, Republican or Democrat, for POTUS in 2012 (which completely boggles my mind.) But  I am shocked at how easily the Right Wing is just accepting someone who believes such unorthodox things. 

Where is the outrage? Where is the fear? For goodness sake. We were afraid to elect Kennedy because he was a Catholic and now we are going to back a Mormon?

Now, this is not how I feel, but rather the question I pose to Evangelicals. I am waiting for a good answer. What is an Evangelical to do in 2012? 

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