“If that’s what a Christian is, well, by that definition, I’m a Christian.”
In this video Stand to Reason’s Brett Kunkle poses as a Mormon to an unwitting Christian congregation for the purposes of equipping them to respond to the typical LDS script. There are two issues that Kunkle focuses on in the (approximately) 44 minute interaction. Unfortunately, after he reveals his true Christian identity, he does not provide the audience with ways to respond to these issues. That’s okay! We’ll do it for you.
Issue 1: What is a Christian?
Leading off (at the 2 minute mark) “Elder” Kunkle asks the audience: What is a Christian? Various members of the church essentially respond with, “Someone who believes in Jesus.” This, unfortunately, is not very helpful; and Kunkle cleverly counters by saying, “Okay. If that’s what a Christian is, well, by that definition, I’m a Christian” (2:58). His response mirrors the relatively recent Mormon tactic to appear to be just another Christian like you. Here’s the problem: simply identifying belief in Jesus doesn’t go far enough in this day and age. Yes, technically, someone must believe in (that is, put his active trust in) Jesus. But you have to make sure you have the right Jesus.
Let’s say someone told you that he was best friends with me (Nate) and that I’m a short, pale Irish chap who was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986. Well, there’s a problem. I’m actually a tall(ish), brown Samoan born in Pago Pago in 1979. So the person who claims to be my bestie simply has the wrong Nate. Likewise, Mormons say they believe in Jesus. But here’s a question to ask them: Is my Jesus your Jesus? We Christians affirm that Jesus is the uncreated, second person of the Trinity. In other words, Jesus is God. Mormons, on the other hand, believe Jesus was created at some point in the past. He was spiritually born of a Heavenly family and his physical body was produced through sex between God and Mary.
So the Jesus of historic Christianity is simply not the Jesus of the LDS. Turns out these two are more like an electrical engineer and a toaster. Therefore, when asked, we must go further than simply saying: A Christian is someone who believes in Jesus. The person of Jesus must be properly defined before someone can claim to be just another Christian like you.
Issue 2: Is belief in the Trinity justified by Scripture?
“Elder” Kunkle characterizes the Trinity as “three beings who are one being” (9:04) and “Jesus is the Father and the Father is the Son and the Son is the Holy Spirit” (14:24) before pointing to a contradiction. Kunkle cleverly misrepresents the Christian view here (and nobody in the audience seems to catch on). The Trinity is understood by Christians as one being (or essence), three persons (or subsistences). Mormons (and others) can say what they will but this is not a contradiction. How we infer a Trinity is simple: Scripture makes a case for it.
- There is only one God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 6:4; 2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 43:10-11; etc.)
- Jesus referred to Himself as God (John 8:58; 10:30).
- Jesus claimed to do what only God could do, i.e. give eternal life (John 10:28) and forgive sins (Matthew 9:2).
- The people Jesus interacted with understood Him to be God (John 1:1; 20:28), even His enemies (John 10:33).
- Christians affirmed that Jesus was the exact representation of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3).
- The Holy Spirit is referred to as God (Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 3:17).
- The Holy Spirit is characterized as a person (Isaiah 63:10; John 16:13-14; Acts 13:2; etc.)
- The Holy Spirit is referenced together with the Father and Son suggesting equal status (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:2).
Place these Scriptural evidences together and you have the case for the Trinity.
A Clear Lens applauds Kunkle’s excellent work in equipping Christians to engage others. We hope you get a chance to watch the entire roleplay as it is important for us to gauge our own individual levels of knowledge with regard to Christianity. We also hope that this information has been helpful to you in some regard; for, as Kunkle points out, it is our responsibility to accurately handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
*Get Brett Kunkle’s bio and contact info here.
 According to Orson Pratt in Journal of Discourses, 18:290.
 According to Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, 8:115.
 For the purposes of this post, a full explanation of the Trinity will not be discussed. However, there is a helpful book on this subject entitled What is the Trinity? by R.C. Sproul.