WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.
I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.
Now for the man on the street this is probably the answer I would suspect but for a professing Christian pastor to say such a thing is greatly troubling. Mr. Osteen as a Christian pastor with a voice in the public arena needs to be more careful with his words and if he does not know about Mormon beliefs he needs to not answer the question rather than simply make statements as he did. Does he not know how Mormons define who God and Jesus are? To make statements as he did may be damaging to those that hear him speak and then see no problem belonging to a Mormon church since he said they were OK. As teachers of God’s word one cannot take the responsibility lightly as is seen in James 3:1.
Why is it so hard to say that based on Mormon Doctrine they are not Christians? Not too many years ago Mormons would have not been so evasive and were not afraid to air the differences as they wanted people to join their “true church.” In our local Sunday paper (Orange County Register) was an interview with a Mormon where the interviewer did not ask the correct questions. The interviewer simply asked the basics and since Mormon’s use many of the same words as biblical Christianity the Mormon was made out to be no different than any other professing believer. Never did the author ask the Mormon to define his words such as who is God and who is Jesus and how do you define the trinity. In essence the Mormon Church got a free advertisement in the morning paper with web links and everything.
I am not sure if there is a concentrated effort to deceive by the Mormons or simply ignorance on the part of many Mormons, including their elders (an unbiblical term as they use it). I recently talked with a couple of nice Mormon guys a few month’s ago and in talking to them they were very elusive in there terms and it took close to two hours to get them to see that we did not use our words the same way and that we did not believe the same things. I again do not know if this is purposeful, probably was, or simply ignorance. The problem is that unless terms are defined conversation cannot start. It is not enough to simply say “Do you believe in Jesus as your savior” but one needs to define who Jesus is and the Jesus of Christianity is not the Jesus of Mormon doctrine.
If we are to share the Gospel with Mormons we need to make sure we know they need the Gospel, and they do. So in sharing the Gospel make sure you define your words carefully so that the message given is the one that we are to give.