Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Exposing Anti-Mormon Bigotry: Pastor Steven Andrew Calls Upon Franklin Graham To "Repent" For Saying Christians Can Vote For Mitt Romney

One of the purposes of this blog is to expose flagrant anti-Mormon bigotry regardless of its source. And on December 21st, 2011, we found us a live one in the person of Pastor Steven Andrew, who operates the USA Christian Ministries website. Pastor Andrew is offended by Franklin Graham's recent contention that Christians can in good conscience vote for a Mormon candidate, in reference to Mitt Romney. And he's calling upon Graham to "repent".

During a December 16th interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Rev. Graham said voters should look past a candidate’s personal religion when considering whom they should support for office, noting that the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon doesn’t bother him at all. Specifically, Graham said “You can have the nicest guy and he can be a Christian and just wonderful but have absolutely no clue as to how to run a country, you don’t want that … Mitt Romney is a very capable fellow, I know him. I know Newt Gingrich, another capable person; Michele Bachmann, a very capable lady; Rick Santorum, I like a lot, very gifted guy, a very sharp person and so there are some good candidates out there”. CBN video embedded below:

But Pastor Steven Andrew disagrees, and has called upon Franklin Graham to "repent". He wrote "Graham is misleading Christians to vote against Scripture for Mormon Mitt Romney. God cannot bless us for betraying Jesus and voting for a non-Christian. No one comes to God except through Jesus-this includes the USA...Franklin overlooked Scripture (Exodus 18:21, 2Samuel 23:3). God called David a man after His own heart. There are reasons why Christians say Mormonism is a cult: no cross and heresy." Pastor Andrew then calls upon Graham to repent, saying "We don't want Franklin to stop standing for righteousness. We respect Franklin and others and will respect them more when they repent". Pastor Andrew further criticizes Mormonism as being secretive, not displaying the cross, adding to the Bible, and heresy.

Of course, "secret" actually means "sacred", as we don't allow public access to our temples after they are dedicated. But if we were truly "secretive", would we allow open houses at our temples before they are dedicated? Of course not. As for the cross, we don't outlaw it, but we don't emphasize it, because we prefer to focus upon the resurrected Savior rather than the crucified Savior. While it was necessary for Jesus Christ to take upon Himself the sins of the world at Gethsemane and give His life for those sins at Calvary, it was His resurrection that broke the bands of death and made eternal life accessible to all humanity. His resurrection locked in the Atonement.

Pastor Andrew's critique actually contradicts some of the information he has published on his Christian Voters Guide. For example, he spells out God’s Four Voting Requirements Checklist, based upon 2 Samuel 23:3 and Exodus 18:21, in which he suggests that every political candidate supported by a Christian is expected to have these Biblical qualities:

1) Rules in the fear of God - Fears God, reverent of God
2) Able - Strength, efficiency, wealth and leader of the army
3) Person of truth - Reliable, stable, faithful, true doctrine
4) Hating covetousness - Hater of unjust gain (bribes and other frauds)

Note that none of these four voting requirements specifies that the candidate must be a Christian. And as far as "true doctrine" goes, this can be interpreted to mean that the candidate should show evidence of being true to whatever religion or belief system is professed. A Christian would not necessarily have to be an active church member, but at least should behave publicly in a manner consistent with attributes common to all Christian denominations.

We should not view Pastor Steven Andrew as evil because of his anti-Mormon bigotry. Rather, I prefer to characterize him as deluded. And this really shouldn't come as a surprise; after all, Matthew 24:24 (KJV) states that in the last days, Satan will deceive even the very elect. A pastor generally represents the very elect in spirit and status. Pastor Andrew can free himself of his anti-Mormon bigotry by kneeling in prayer, asking God with a sincere heart to open his mind to the truth about Mormonism, and promising in advance to accept the Lord's answer -- whatever it may be. The counsel given in James 1:5 (KJV) worked for Joseph Smith, and it can also work for Steven Andrew.

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