Monday, April 9, 2007

Who is an "Authentic Christian"?

Could Mitt Romney be more "Christian" than Evangelicals? Protestants and Catholics subscribe to the Nicene creed, which was initiated by the Emperor Constantine in the Fourth Century to rid Scriptures of the Apocrypha, which made reference to the oral traditions of Jewish and early Christian temple worship.

First Century Christian churches, in fact, continued the Jewish temple worship traditions:
1) Baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family
2) Lay clergy
3) Anointing with holy oil after baptism
4) Then clothing in white clothing

If you wish to verify this, please contact the Israeli Museum. And read Exodus Ch 29 for Aaron and his sons” ordinances. Jewish Temple practices were continued by Christians prior to Constantine”s corruption (see St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386 A.D., Lecture XXI). Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their practices sacred, and not allowing non-Christians to witness them

A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ being separate beings, united in purpose. To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and to whom was he speaking on the Mount of Transfiguration?

The Nicene Creed”s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity, which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: "There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one."
Scribes later added "the Father, the Word and the Spirit," and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) have concern for their ancestors” spiritual welfare, so they practice proxy baptism. (1 Corinthians 15:29 & Malachi 4:5-6).

Only members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continue these practices of First Century Christians. But Mormons don”t term Catholics and Protestants “non-Christian”. The dictionary definition of a Christian is “of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”:. All of the above denominations are followers of Christ, and consider him the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.

It”s important to understand the difference between Reformation and Restoration when we consider who might be the more authentic Christian. If Mitt Romney is a member of a denomination which embraces early Christian theology, he is likely more “Christian” than his detractors.

* * *
Furthermore, the National Study of Youth and Religion done by UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005 found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):
LDS Evangelical
Attend Religious Services weekly 71% 55%
Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life –
extremely important 52 28
Believes in life after death 76 62
Believes in psychics or fortune-tellers 0 5
Has taught religious education classes 42 28
Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline 68 22
Sabbath Observance 67 40
Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith 72 56
Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily 50 19
Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen
(very supportive) 65 26
Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping Teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality 84 35

8 comments:

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Bot,
Since you posted the same article on my blog, I thought I would offer to transfer my response to your blog here as well.

I assume you are a member of the LDS church. Please do not see my answers as argumentative. I have only a passion for the truth, and will be praying that God saves you in truth as well. For the record, I am a Bible-believing born-again Christian whose creed is the Bible. I know that the only way to heaven and a relationship with Jesus Christ is by recognizing my complete inability to do anything good on my own or to save myself; by seeing that Jesus literally came to earth remaining fully God and becoming fully human to live a perfect life and suffer innocently to pay the price for my wickedness. Then He rose again, and trust in Him ALONE makes me "saved," "born again," an heir of God, "redeemed," part of His Church, spiritually alive, temple of the Holy Spirit...

Galatians emphasizes that works of the flesh are not the means of the Christian life any more than they were the means of salvation. The Law given in the Old Testament taught us our need for a Savior. Once saved by faith in Him, we are to continue walking in faith, not by our efforts to please Him. Christianity is a relationship with God, not a list of rites.

That there is one God and that He is triune in the persons of Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit is clearly taught in Scripture. Each are referred to as God though there is most definitely only one God. They are eternally loving each other, God existing as a being beyond our understanding, and our earthly relationships being only pictures of who He is. One does not need 1 John's doubted verses to know that the Bible teaches three-in-one as the nature of our God.

Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and in other places to His Father. John 10 says, "I and My Father are one." The Jews always recognized what Jesus meant when He said these things. He was accused of blasphemy for claiming to be their one and only God. (Philippians says Jesus did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.) However, being the three persons with different roles in Their creation, Jesus as the earthly sacrifice was empowered and led by the Holy Spirit, and looked to His Father for the words to speak to His followers and succor of His mission.

On the definition of biblical Christianity, I later clarified: Christian (protestant, evangelical, Bible-believers) as what I mean by the word. The definition supplied by Bot seems to be the first part of this American Heritage entry: "The religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, sent by God. They believe that Jesus, by dying and rising from the dead, made up for the sin of Adam and thus redeemed the world, allowing all who believe in him to enter heaven. Christians rely on the Bible as the inspired word of God." Dictionaries don't change the truth. They help, but let's be sure you know what I meant.

"Could Mitt Romney be more 'Christian' than Evangelicals?" No. That would be changing the historic understanding of the word. When Joseph Smith started the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he was leaving a religion with which he was dissatisfied and initiating something new.

"First Century Christian churches, in fact, continued the Jewish temple worship traditions:
1) Baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family
2) Lay clergy
3) Anointing with holy oil after baptism
4) Then clothing in white clothing"
First Century Christian churches practiced a new type of baptism from Judaism, one that was a statement of faith and a symbol of Jesus' sacrifice for them, not of ceremonial cleansing or conversion. They baptized children in the same way as adults, I assume, when the young people professed publicly their faith in Jesus Christ alone as their hope of eternal life.

I am not sure what you mean by lay clergy. In the New Testament I read of qualified Christian older men leading the congregation, teaching, and admonishing them, but Paul also instructs churches to supply the needs of those who minister in the Word.

Where is the biblical basis at all for following baptism with "holy" oil? What is holy oil, and what is the point?

Revelation says the saints will be clothed in white in heaven. I never see that Christians are instructed to wear white.

In all of the above, we seem to have an entirely different perspective. I see the contrasts between biblical Christianity and Mormonism as matters of doctrine, and you see them as matters of ritual. I am not a ritual Christian.

Paul warns in Philippians 3, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." He also makes the point, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power... Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead... Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross... Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind... Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh." in Colossians 2.

I don't see how the instructions to the Levitical Aaronic priesthood are relevant today when we are a kingdom of priests, receiving direct intercession to God through Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest. Certainly Christians are not successors to Aaron or his sons. Nor are we in need of a temple, for ours is now the true Temple, in heaven, along with the heavenly city. (See Hebrews)

In the New Testament we are instructed to let our lights shine before men. Jesus said He did nothing in secret. Paul describes a hypothetical non-believer observing a Christian worship service in 1 Corinthians 14. If the early church was hiding their practices, for whatever feigned reason, they were behaving unbiblically. Christians are to be unashamed of the gospel of Christ, and eager for the world to join them in faith.

"Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) have concern for their ancestors” spiritual welfare, so they practice proxy baptism. (1 Corinthians 15:29 & Malachi 4:5-6)." Malachi 4:5-6 is not talking about ancestors, but living family members. And as baptism is only a symbol of faith, a public confession of being saved by Jesus' death and resurrection for them, it can have no affect on a deceased person's spiritual standing. It is appointed for men to die once, and after this the judgment. No in between waiting time to see how much generations to come will prove their concern by getting dunked. 1 Corinthians, being written at the beginning of the Church, especially in Corinth, probably describes a practice of making the faith of recently deceased Christians public who had not known the doctrine of baptism or had not been available to proclaim their redemption before their deaths.

"But Mormons don't term Catholics and Protestants 'non-Christian'." Many religions take a tolerant view of salvation, teaching there are many ways to eternal life. Jesus Himself said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Him. Acts 4:12 says there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Paul warned the Galatians: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." What other religions teach about my religion is their business, I guess. But I refuse to let people be deceived into thinking it's all the same thing.

Mormonism teaches that we can add something to Christ's work on the cross. The Bible teaches the opposite. Mormonism teaches the same lie that the serpent gave Eve in Genesis: you can be like God. But you can't. You can accept His grace or remain His enemy. It can be eternal life on His merits or the just reward (death forever) for your work on your own merits. I will not let anyone reading this die without hearing at least this once the truth of how to be reconciled to God and inherit eternal life.

The origins of Mormonism concern me. A disenchanted young man has visions of an angel giving him a different gospel than that which he had been taught. Satan and his demons appear as angels of light, ever great deceivers. Job vividly reports their use of dreams and visions to promote their lies. As Joseph Smith was not walking with God or following the already revealed written Scripture when these visions came, aside from the theology of not adding to the completed revelation of the Bible, I doubt his discernment as credible reason for adding a whole new book to the "Christian" faith.

The LDS Church has changed their official doctrines over the years, making revisions to their books and practices without justification (such would be the once in history New Covenant established by Jesus' sacrifice for sins once for all). I'm a consistency person. If something is true, it is always true. If the "god" was not able to get the revelation right the first time, I do not want to worship that god or follow the temporary instructions. Again, I direct you to Josh McDowell and Don Stewart's excellent documentation of these inconsistencies.

Finally, the fact that youth in the LDS church are reportedly more moral and religiously active has nothing to do with what faith is true. Christian churches are full of people and kids who have grown up in the church but never personally accepted Jesus as their Savior, entrusting Him with their future and eternity. If they are not showing fruit, they are not truly born again. (The converse is not always true.) Thus it is no surprise that "evangelicals" do not measure up to the more legalistic students in the Mormon religion. I believe Muslim children are very observant of their religion as well. That will not get them to heaven, or gain them God's favor.

I am so grateful that God has demonstrated His love to me while I was a sinner without strength, that He offered His grace to me to adopt me as His own and take my place on the cross so that I don't have to spend eternity in hell separated from my Creator. Because of Jesus, because when I was six years old, I trusted Him to forgive my sins and be my Savior, I have purpose, hope, a constant friend, peace, assurance of life with Him after death, love for the truth. I only write, and serve Him, because He gives good gifts. I testify of His love and justice to give Him glory.

My desire would be to have a man leading this country who can honestly say the same, who will depend on God's wisdom and absolute truths to make decisions.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Bot said...

Just because the mysteries, covenants, and ritual was excised from the early Christian writings in the present canon doesn't mean they didn't exist:

Caecilius Natalis in the 3rd century wrote that Christians tended to "conceal and cloak whatever they worship" and said that they knew each other "by secret marks and insignia" and had secret rites. Early Christians defended themselves against such charges as Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) do now, explaining the high values and morality of the Temple, yet pointing out that some sacred things are not to be revealed to the world.

The early Christian Lactantius wrote:
"God orders us in quietness and silence to hide His secret and to keep it within our own conscience. . . . For a mystery ought to be most faithfully concealed and covered, especially by us, who bear the name of faith. But they accuse this silence of ours, as though it were the result of an evil conscience; whence they also invent some detestable things respecting those who are holy and blameless."

Lactantius, Divine Institutes, VII, 26, in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vols., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987.
.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) wrote in lecture XXI “On the Mysteries” about being anointed with oil: to newly-baptized Christians, comprising lectures 19-23 in the
collection. In the first lecture (19:10-11), he speaks of the converts being "clothed in the garment of salvation, even Jesus Christ." And reminds them that "these things were done in the outer chamber. But if God will, when in the succeeding lectures on the Mysteries we have entered into the Holy of Holies, we shall there know the symbolical meaning of the things which are there performed." In the second lecture (20:2-4), he reminds his listeners that "those things, which
were done by you in the inner chamber, were symbolical. As soon, then, as ye entered, ye put off
your tunic; and this was an image of putting off the old man with his deeds. Having stripped
yourselves, ye were naked . . . Then, when ye were stripped, ye were anointed with exorcised oil,
from the very hairs of your head to your feet, and were made partakers of the good olive-tree,
Jesus Christ “Which ointment is symbolically applied to thy forehead and thy other senses; and while thy body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit. . And ye were first anointed on the forehead, that ye might be delivered from the shame, which the first man who transgressed bore about with him everywhere; and that with unveiled face ye might reflect as a mirror the glory of the Lord. Then on your ears; that ye might receive the ears which are quick to hear the Divine Mysteries, of which Esaias said, The Lord gave me also an ear to hear; and the Lord Jesus in the Gospel, He that hath ears to hear let him hear. Then on the nostrils; that receiving the sacred ointment ye may say, We are to God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved. Afterwards on your breast; that having put on the breast-plate of righteousness, ye may stand against the wiles of the devil” (for more anointings see (Acts of Thomas 5)

After this, your new name with your new birth are verified.

Clement of Alexandria quotes from the Gospel of Mark (not in our current version) in Mark 10:32-46, of a man whom Jesus raised from the dead, and “after six days”, put a garment “around his naked body, and he remained with him through that night. For Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God.”

And I saw seven men in white clothing, who were saying to me, 'Arise, put on the
vestments of the priesthood, the crown of righteousness, the oracle of understanding, the robe of
truth, the breastplate of faith, the miter for the head, and the apron for prophetic power.' Each
carried one of these and put them on me and said, 'From now on be a priest, you and all your
posterity.' The first anointed me with holy oil and gave me a staff. The second washed me with
pure water, fed me by hand with bread and holy wine, and put on me a holy and glorious
vestment. The third put on me something made of linen, like an ephod. The fourth placed . . .
around me a girdle which was like purple. The fifth gave me a branch of rich olive wood. The
sixth placed a wreath on my head. The seventh placed the priestly diadem on me and filled my
hands with incense, in order that I might serve as priest for the Lord God. (Testament of Levi
8:2-10.)4

And the Lord said to Michael, "Go, and extract Enoch from [his] earthly clothing. And
anoint him with my delightful oil, and put him into the clothes of my glory." And so Michael did,
just as the Lord had said to him. He anointed me and he clothed me. And the appearance of that
oil is greater than the greatest light, and its ointment is like sweet dew, and its fragrance like
myrrh; and it is like rays of the glittering sun. And I looked at myself, and I have become like one
of his glorious ones (James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Garden City: Doubleday, 1983, 1:138-9.

And Gabriel and Michael stand over them in that hour, and wash them, and anoint them
with oil, and heal them of the wounds of Gehenna, and clothe them in beautiful and good
garments, and take them by their hand, and bring them before the Holy One, blessed be He . . .
And when they reach the gate of the Garden of Eden, first Gabriel and Michael enter and take
counsel with the Holy One, blessed be He, answers them and says: "Let them enter and see my
Glory." (Midrash Alpha Beta diRabbi Akiba.) (The English translation used here is from Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years (Detroit: Wayne State University,
1988), 252-53.)

In a passage in his Stromata, Clement represents the mysteries as being taught "only after certain purifications and previous instructions.” (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 5.4, in ANF, 2:449)

Ancient Israelites used oil in anointings to anoint one to be a king (1 Kings 1:39). They put the oil in a bulls horn and then anointed that person to be a king in Israel. This doctrine passed over into New Testament times when, as Revelations 1:5-6 state, that after we are washed clean from our sins, we will be made “kings and priests”. Later in the same book, we are told we will be “Priests of God and his Christ” (Rev. 20:6). In context of what the Bible says, as well as ancient texts, we know that early Christians were stripped, anointed with water and oil to be Kings and Priests, and then clothed with a new white garment.

A new name–

(Revelation 2:17.)

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

(Rev. 3:12) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.

(Revelation 19:12.)

12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.


(Isaiah 65.)

And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:


According to a vision attributed to Isaiah, Jesus had to give passwords to the angels while descending through the seven heavens to be born on earth:
“And those who kept the gate of the (third) heaven demanded the password, and the LORD gave (it) to them in order that he should not be recognized . . . And again I saw when he descended into the second heaven, that there again he gave the password, for those who kept the gates demanded (it), and the LORD gave (it) . . . And again I saw when he descended into the first heaven, that there he gave the password to those who kept the gates . . . And again he descended into the firmament where the prince of this world dwells, and he gave the password to those who (were) on the left . . . And he did not give the password” (Martyrdom & Ascension of Isaiah 10:24-25, 27, 29, 31).


"thou Lord art he that revealeth hidden mysteries and maketh manifest words that are secret" (Acts of Thomas 10)

During a subsequent prayer, he began, "Jesu, the hidden mystery that hath been revealed unto us, thou art he that hast shown unto us many mysteries; thou didst call me apart from all my fellows and spakest unto me three (one, Syr.) words wherewith I am inflamed, and am not able to speak them unto others" (Acts of Thomas 47

Also, I'd appreciate a listing of scripture which supports the Trinity, other than 1 John.

Bot said...

Roger Williams, the founder of the Baptist Church in America, concluded the following, shortly before leaving the church he established:
"There is no regularly constituted church of Christ on earth, nor any person qualified to administer any church ordinances; nor can there be until new apostles are sent by the Great Head of the Church for whose coming I am seeking. (Picturesque America, p. 502.)

Martin Luther said the following: “Nor can a Christian believer be forced beyond sacred Scriptures,...unless some new and proved revelation should be added; for we are forbidden by divine law to believe except what is proved either through the divine Scriptures or through Manifest revelation.”

On another occasion he wrote: “I have sought nothing beyond reforming the Church in conformity with the Holy Scriptures. The spiritual powers have been not only corrupted by sin, but absolutely destroyed; so that there is now nothing in them but a depraved reason and a will that is the enemy and opponent of God. I simply say that Christianity has ceased to exist among those who should have preserved it.”

While the Lutheran, Baptist and Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) churches recognize an apostasy from true Christianity, Lutheranism and Anabaptists find the remedy in reform, whereas Mormonism (and Roger Williams, and arguably Luther) claims the necessity of inspired restoration, not only for theological purposes but also to reestablish a broken line of apostolic succession and authority.

Last Man Thinking said...

Christianity vs. Mormonism – Part 3 – The Doctrine of Justification

“Justification” refers to how sinful humans can be reconciled to God, who is altogether Holy and Just, and who cannot tolerate sin.
Links to Part 1 and Part 2 are provided below:
http://whatmatters2us.blogspot.com/2007/06/christianity-vs-mormonism-doctrinal.html
http://whatmatters2us.blogspot.com/2007/06/christianity-vs-mormonism-doctrinal_28.html


What Christians Believe

Christians believe that the Holy Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired, inerrant divine word of God. This truth is taught throughout the Bible. Just one example is provided here to illustrate this essential truth:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

The Holy Bible also teaches that God will punish sin. Beginning with the first book of the Bible, and continuing throughout, God tells us repeatedly that sin will be punished:

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or when you eat of it you will surely die.” – Genesis 2:16-17. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23.

The Holy Bible also teaches that all humans are sinners, and therefore subject to God’s punishment – eternal death and damnation:

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12.

So how can sinful humans be reconciled to God? The Apostle Paul, writing as he was moved by the Holy Spirit, explained God’s plan for salvation – the manner in which we are justified, or reconciled, to Him – in this same Letter to the Romans:

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. – Romans 3:21-28

Paul continues teaching this important doctrine by referring back to the Patriarch, Abraham, in the next chapter of Romans:

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. – Romans 4:1-5

In his Letter to the Ephesians, Paul makes it clear that not even faith is something that we contribute to our justification:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9.

So here is the essential truth of the Christian faith: we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone. We contribute nothing to our salvation. Rather, as we hear God’s Word, and receive the sacraments that he has prepared for us (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, also called Holy Communion), he changes our hearts and creates faith in us to believe that through Jesus Christ’s innocent suffering and death on the cross, all of our sins have been atoned for. That is, the wages of our sin (death) have been paid by Christ on the cross. This is the freedom of the Gospel, and nothing can take it away from those whom God has called to believe.

Having been set free from God’s wrath by Jesus Christ, we are now also free to love him and to take delight in obeying him and serving him. We are free to share this Good News (Gospel) with all nations (every man, woman, infant, and child on Earth.) Not only are we free to do so, but in fact Christ commands us to do so, and in joyful thanksgiving for the love that he has shown us, we desire to obey. However, while we live in this world, our old sinful nature continues to cling to us, and we will often fail to do what we want to do, or will do what we do not want to do – that is, continue to sin. However, God’s grace is sufficient to forgive all of those sins, as well, as we continue to repent (be sorry for our sins), and call on God in prayer to forgive us and strengthen us in our faith. We have God’s assurance of our salvation, even though we experience trials and temptations in this present life:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. – Romans 8:26-27.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height no depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39.

This, then, is what the Holy Bible teaches, and what Christians believe. God saves us – we do not in any way save ourselves.


What Mormons Believe

Mormons believe in what they refer to as the Plan of Salvation, which include the entire complex of rules and regulations established by the Mormon leaders over the past 160 years. I will cover the Mormon Plan of Salvation in more detail later, but there is a simple key to seeing through the false teachings of the founder of the Mormon religion, Joseph Smith Junior, and all of his successors. This key can be found in the Book of Mormon:

For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do… - 2 Nephi 25:23 (emphasis added)

Here then is the crux of the matter…the great sin advocated by Joseph Smith Junior is the same sin that caused Adam’s fall. It is the sin that is at the root of all of humanity’s rebellion against God. We are not content to let God be God. We want to take his place. Just as Adam and Eve in the garden listened to Satan’s lies and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, trying to become like God, so we, too, continually rebel against God and seek to make our own rules. We find it so very hard to submit to the perfect will of God, even though deep down inside we know that God always knows what is best for us. In this phrase from the mouth of Joseph Smith Junior, we see a sinful man who could not accept that God had already accomplished all that was necessary for his salvation. Instead, Smith wanted to add something more to what God had done, hence he added the words, “after all we can do”, to other words that paraphrased New Testament Scripture. All of the rest of the Mormon Plan of Salvation flows from this false doctrine. Built on this foundation of sin, the Mormon Plan of Salvation leads not to heaven, but to eternal damnation.

“after all we can do” destroys the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what God was warning us against in the New Testament passages quoted in the first section of this doctrinal comparison. It allows for sinful humans to boast that they are doing something that adds to the already finished work of Christ on the cross. What a horrible insult to our Risen Lord and Savior – it says that the innocent suffering and death of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, was not sufficient to save us. It says that God’s grace is not sufficient – that the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent Sovereign Ruler of the Universe needs the help of puny sinful humans to work out our salvation. Thinking such as this is what separates the Mormon cult from orthodox Christianity. Anyone can call themselves anything they wish – but that doesn’t make them what they claim to be. Mormons can claim they are Christians from now till Christ returns on Judgment Day, but that will not help them one bit at that fateful hour. For by rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they place themselves outside of God’s grace.

So, what is the Mormon Plan of Salvation? Mormon Elder Bruce R. McConkie, in his 1966 second edition of “Mormon Doctrine,” has this to say regarding the Plan of Salvation:

“God himself,” the Prophet (i.e., Joseph Smith Junior) says, “finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits.” (Teachings, p. 354) Thus the plan of salvation (of redemption, and of exaltation) comprises all of the laws, ordinances, principles, and doctrines of conformity to which the spirit offspring of God have power to progress to the high state of exaltation enjoyed by the Father.

It is clear from this alone that Mormon’s reject the Christian doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Instead, they want to rely on their own efforts to save themselves. But there is more, also from “Mormon Doctrine”:

Training for eventual salvation began for each person at the time of his spirit birth. Following a long period of pre-existent, probationary schooling, this earth was created to be a place where the hosts of spirits who kept their first estate might come, receive mortal bodies, and undergo further testing and trials.

At death the eternal spirits go to a spirit sphere to gain further experience and then finally they come up in the resurrection, stand before the judgment bar, and are awarded their places in the kingdoms of glory which are prepared. Christ is the Redeemer as a result of whose atoning sacrifice the terms and conditions of this great plan of redemption become operative for the remainder of mankind, many of whom also play lesser parts in the great scheme and plan of the Father.

The plan of salvation, for men in this life, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It comprises all of the laws, ordinances, and the performances by conformity to which mortal man is empowered to gain eternal life in the kingdom of God. Since the fall of Adam, man has been carnal, sensual, devilish by nature. By conforming to the plan of salvation, man has the power to put off the natural man, to be born again as a new creature of the Holy Ghost, and to become “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.”

The steps in this plan are: 1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; 2. Repentance; 3. Baptism by immersion under the hands of a legal administrator; 4. The laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, also under the hands of a legal administrator; and 5. Enduring in righteousness to the end of the mortal probation.

All of the above contradicts the Holy Bible. Mormons are not satisfied with the words of Jesus in the Holy Bible, but insist on adding all manner of myths and legends, rules and regulations, and man-made rituals and ceremonies to the gospel, making it no gospel at all, but a book of laws and false histories written by sinful men. The Mormon Plan of Salvation is an attempt by sinful man to storm heaven and take the place of God, blindly believing that he can accomplish for himself what only God can do. This is the oldest sin of all, wrapped up in new paper in the pages of The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Doctrine and Covenants – all designed to deceive and destroy humanity.

In the Bible, God has provided us with all of the knowledge necessary for our salvation. But, wanting to become gods themselves, Mormon founders and leaders have not been content with the Word of God contained in the Holy Bible. Woe to those who have placed heavy burdens of laws and regulations on people hungry for good news, by distorting the Gospel. They would do well to reflect on the words that Jesus said:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30.

Joseph Smith Junior and his successors have weighted down millions of people with burdens drawn from their own wicked imaginations. We pray that all Mormons will hear the true Gospel, reject the false religion that they are now following, and turn to a saving faith in the historic Jesus of the Holy Bible, the one true Christ and the only way to salvation for all humankind.

Ryguy said...

I will paraphrase "Last Man Thinking", "...blah, blah, blah..." That's right, just a bunch of gibberish. Lisa of Longbourn on the other hand, you column was very respectable and honest. Christ's religion though wasn't one of just "I accept thee!" and then you walk freely through the door of eternal life.

Christ accused the Pharisee's and Sadducee's of corrupt works but never once said that they weren't necessary. The complete contrary, he taught repentance. Those in fact were his very first words in Matthew when he began his ministry! Arn't we to follow Jesus' example? Is that what being Christian means? Being like Christ?! "John did baptize...and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Matt. 1:4. By whose baptism was Jesus baptized? If it was necessary for the Salvation of a perfect being wouldn't it be that much more essential for a carnal, imperfect creature?

The creeds are simply a concoction of truths and philosophy mixed together. Why do so many go to the creeds for an understanding of the Trinity and then claim that the Bible clearly states that God, the Son, and Holy Ghost are one being? They accuse Mormon's of being extrabiblical yet they resort to the creeds for doctrine? Talk about a major contradiction. It's not clear in the Bible, why do you think there were so many councils with the goal of ending disputes that derived from the Bible itself? The Bible mostly indicates that they weren't one, but on the other hand there are a select few that seem to contradict such a notion. Why is the Bible divided on so many issues?! Evidence of this is just by observing the thousands of churchs.

That why God has come to our rescue. He's the last word not the BIBLE (a compilation of scripture).

What a glorious blessing it is that God and his son Jesus Christ appeared to a young, uneducated farmboy. That alone speaks louder than any book or creed.

"...when you shall recieve these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." Moroni 10:4

What a simple invitation. I know through the same source, the Holy Ghost, that Jesus is the Christ. That Him and his Father called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and commanded him to reorginize his church just like it had been established it in ancient times. What a blessing it is to know I can be a coinheritor of the kindgom of God with Christ as long as I through Faith and Jesus' grace do all that I can, even though it not be very much. I testify of these things in his sacred name, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Ken Cook said...

Bot,

I see that you have more then one Blog, with the same message, and unfortunately the same theological problems.

I really enjoy how you say that a Literal reading of the NT would show God the Father and Jesus Christ as separate people. Let me say it, this might be true. Shocking I know. But there is a serious problem, it is called progressive revelation. The OT came before the NT. Neither stands alone. So when looking at either text, we must examine the other.

Let Me Give you some Verses to examine perhaps even exegete.

(Deu 32:39) "'See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

(Isa 43:10) "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

(Isa 43:11) I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.

(Isa 44:6) Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

(Isa 44:8) Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any."

(Isa 44:24) Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

(Isa 45:6) that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.

(Isa 45:5) I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me,

(Isa 45:14) Thus says the LORD: "The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will plead with you, saying: 'Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.'"

(Isa 45:18) For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): "I am the LORD, and there is no other.

(Isa 45:21) Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.

(Isa 45:22) "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

(Isa 46:9) remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

I look forward to your comments

PTG said...

Better late than never. What is a Christian? Biblically speaking, Christian is the name that unbelievers gave to the followers of Christ ("The Way") that were congregating together and creating no small stir. In that respect, the label is still used today by unbelievers, particularly hostile unbelievers, who will not discriminate in battle. Thus those protesting the Church will equally bash the local Cardinal and the local protestant or LDS leader and lump them together. And we are lumped together because we stand on the same side of many cultural issues. We would do well to keep our theological bickering less public, in my eyes.

Your list of early church practices, I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to say, or what in particular are you trying to prove with it - are you saying these are good things that LDS holds to but not other Christians?

LDS as I see it are the only ones attempting to work out the 1 Corinthians 15:29 in practice, although as I see it there is not enough to go on scripturally and so I consider it to be a practice that is no longer needed.

I applaud your ability to pass your convictions on to your youth, but what is the sampling? Was it LDS vs. some megachurch? We can all see the problem with that, I think. Conservative evangelicals would point out the same shortcomings within the church growth movement.

J-Pip said...

Biblical Trinity teaches that there is One God. Somewhat similar to the teachings of mormonism's "godhead" There are three separate beings and the three beings are all fully God. But are one God. The Difference from mormonism's theology being that all three are fully God as compared to all three together make God.

T