The following quotes are excerpted from an article written in 1989 and quoted by the Fundamental Evangelists Association. (The entire article is an interesting look into the factions within evangelism.) I was struck by the concerns expressed within a couple of the statements and simply want to explore them here as they relate to Mormonism. (The higlighted parts are my emphasis.)
“Calling the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.” This was the ecumenical theme of the Second International Congress on World Evangelization, held July 11-20, 1989 in Manila, The Philippines. Commonly referred to as the Lausanne II Conference, it was publicized as being one of the most, if not THE most, important and influential meetings ever held by evangelicals. It was indeed big – 4,336 in attendance. It had a large geographical representation (190 nations), more than the United Nations. And, it was costly – 10 1/2 million dollars.
What every believer needs to know, and what this report will document, is the fact that, in the name of “evangelicalism,” extreme pressure was exerted to break down Scriptural walls of separation between truth and error, and to build bridges of understanding and cooperation with the enemies of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.
In the name of evangelicalism, the apostate ecumenical movement (WCC, NCC, CCC, etc.) was promoted. In the name of evangelicalism, cooperation with those who preach a false gospel (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, etc.) was advocated. And, in the name of evangelicalism, the dangerous doctrines of the Pentecostal-charismatic-power evangelism movement were openly advocated for the very first time in any major evangelical gathering.
Many dangerous ideas are being “slipped into” the evangelical movement today, and this liberal idea that “social action” is a necessary part of “The Gospel” is one of them. Older evangelical leaders have either forgotten or choose to ignore what the ecumenical emphasis on “social action” really involves. Of course, most younger evangelicals are simply unaware of the past activities and present deceptions of ecumenical liberalism, but they need to be informed and warned lest they fall into the ecumenical trap.
To understand what is really happening today, it is essential to know the tactics of religious liberalism in the past. Most religious liberals in bygone years were very bold in their repudiation of the fundamentals of the Christian Faith. Since they didn’t believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures; since they denied the virgin birth and deity of Jesus Christ as well as His sinless life, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, and personal return; and, since they denied the existence of a real heaven and a real hell, they obviously could not preach the one true Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Their teachings and programs centered around the supposed betterment of mankind and working toward a “Kingdom-of- God” society on earth, produced by human efforts.
The gospel these early religious liberals preached became known as the “Social Gospel” in contrast to the historic, Biblical, personal Gospel which has always been preached by true believers. In those early days, no informed believer and no genuine liberal even claimed that their messages were two parts of the same gospel-all recognized that these two gospels were opposites and Bible-believers correctly held that the “social gospel” was a false gospel to be repudiated.
The “issues” identified in these quotes are:
1) Working with religions whose doctrines are different than one’s own (and Mormonism isn’t even mentioned, probably because they couldn’t fathom 20 years ago that even the most liberal evangelicals would have any association with us);
2) Placing emphasis and actual resources on social issues and concerns and not focusing exclusively on the word of God.
My questions concerning theses statements are simple, but a bit counter-intutitive:
A) Do conservative and liberal Mormons differ in the same way as these statements lay out for conservative and liberal evangelicals? In other words, are Mormons divided along these same lines – particularly with regard to inter-faith cooperation and “The Social Gospel”?
B) Is it ironic that conservative evangelicals are concerned about losing their unique status by “compromising” with more liberal denominations and movements, while liberal Mormons are the ones who seem to be most upset that their Church has partnered with more conservative evangelicals in efforts like Prop. 8? Are liberal Mormons like conservative evangelicals in this regard – not wanting political partnerships to move their religion further from their own position?
C) Is it ironic that these conservative evangelicals react to social efforts of other evangelicals in much the same way that liberal Mormons plead for the Mormon Church to stay out of social and political issues – and is there a conflict between liberal Mormons echoing the conservative evangelical call to abstain institutionally from involvement in the political arena while advocating for the Social Gospel focus of liberal evengelicals? Is the liberal Mormon community attempting to have its cake and eat it too, at least in regard to this issue?