It is amazing to watch Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission try to downplay fellow Southern Baptist Robert Jeffress’ assertions that Mormonism is “a cult” while admitting that, according to SBC doctrine, Mormonism is, in fact, a cult [PDF.]
Land dedicated a good portion of his radio program last week to discussing the issue, trying to draw a distinction between being a cult in a “social” sense and being a cult in a “theological” sense before finally admitting that while Mormonism may not a “cult” in the former sense, it most is in the latter:
Technically speaking, theologically, a cult is a movement, a religious movement, that claims to still be within the confines of Christianity when it has moved beyond the parameters of orthodox Christian faith. And that certainly fits Mormonism. Mormonism is not just a distinctive denomination within Christianity. Mormonism, using the language of Christianity and claiming to believe in the Jesus of the New Testament and the God of the Bible, promulgate doctrines which are completely at odds with orthodox, with a small “o,” Apostles’ Creed, standard Christianity. That makes them a cult.
This is, of course, exactly the same distinction that Jeffress has been making, so it is a little hard to understand why Land thinks that he is somehow clarifying things by saying the very same thing that set off the controversy in the first place.