On January 8, 2013, I was contacted through my blog by Eric Shuster. He is releasing a new book soon so he asked if I would like to help promote it via a blog tour. The book’s title alone – Where are the Christians? The Unrealized Potential of a Divided Religion – grabbed my interest.
But this inquiring mind wanted to know more about it since I had never heard of the author nor the upcoming book. A quick check on Amazon and Shuster’s website answered the blog tour question for me – no!
The author is a former Roman Catholic turned Mormon. His first book was Catholic roots, Mormon Harvest. His second was The Biblical Roots of Mormonism. The titles alone should give a Christian pause. These books clearly promote Mormonism. The first book is a testimony of Shuster’s conversion to Mormonism that also compares Mormon and Catholic doctrine. The purpose of the second book is explained by the title.
After my brief investigation, I declined Shuster’s offer. I explained that I did not mean to give a personal offense, but I would have to warn people about his book as my duty is to the gospel first.
Shuster politely replied expressing he understood that I did not consider Mormonism to be Christian; yet, he still considers me a brother in Christ. He claimed that his book has nothing to do with Mormonism. Rather, he wants to address ‘Post Christian America’ to encourage Christians to cross denominational lines to influence the direction of this country. He also thought that my reply to him proved his point that Christianity is divided. That we should come together in our common values to make a difference in our communities.
Anyone see the problem with Shuster’s claims? The book might not have anything to do with explicitly promoting Mormonism, but he is implying that Mormonism is just another Christian denomination. He claims to desire uniting through shared values brushing off the fact that our theologies differ to the point that I don’t consider him a brother in Christ, but his book is titled Where are the Christians? The Unrealized Potential of a Divided Religion.
As I see it, Shuster is the one implicitly promoting a ‘Post Christian America’ where Christianity is defined as a religion which includes Mormonism. Joseph Smith, Jr. even separated himself from the American Christianity of his day. In fact, Smith is recorded as making the following statement about Christian sects of his day in the book History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet.
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight;
Not much research is needed to find that many of those same creeds Smith wrote were an “abomination” in the early 1820′s are still used today. And some of today’s creeds are simply derivatives of earlier creeds teaching the same doctrines.
While Shuster may have good intentions with his book Where are the Christians? The Unrealized Potential of a Divided Religion; good intentions should not overshadow the good news of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, a website has been set-up to go along with the book – FINDYOURCHRISTIANITY.com. In the “about” section of this website more sites under the guise of Christianity can be found. Those websites are operated by “The Foundation for Christian Studies” which is “dedicated to the study, teaching, and practice of Christianity with an emphasis on the doctrines and principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism).”
Everything about the author and his books certainly give a feel for a push through the backdoor for the acceptance of Mormonism as a valid expression of Christianity.
Finally, if you are a Christian blogger and have been approached by Mr. Shuster to promote his new book, take note of the above warnings. Let me offer a few of the many apologetic resources on Mormonism.
- Mormon Coffee blog: updated frequently addressing new issues in Mormonism with original Mormon sources.
- Mormonism page from Matt Slick and the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.
- Mormonism Research Ministry that began in 1979.
- The Mormon Mirage: A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today by former Mormon Latayne C. Scott.
- Is the Mormon My Brother? by James R. White.
For the Kingdom…