Tag Archives: mormonism

Saved by ____?

A friend’s Facebook status about refuting the false doctrine of purgatory reminded me of this post.  Key line from below: If anyone teaches a method of salvation based on Jesus Plus (i.e., his sacrifice plus your good deeds, or purgatory or whatever else) or Jesus Minus (i.e., “Jesus is one way, but other religions are just as good”) then you have a heresy on your hands.

Let’s just keep it all Jesus, all the time, OK people?

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book-of-mormon.jpgOne of the errors of Mormonism is in 2 Nephi 25:23, which reads, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” [emphasis added]

That sounds humble enough.  It makes it appear that we are saved by grace and the sacrifice of Jesus.  It sounds like the Bible, but there is a big difference.  Look more carefully and see what really saves you:

  1. You do all you can, and you are saved by grace.
  2. You don’t do all you can, so you are not saved.

So what is the difference between the two?  It is ultimately about what you do, not about what Jesus did.  In that case, it isn’t grace that saves you, it is your works.

The key word is “after,” and the phrasing is clear.  And after all, Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon is the “most perfect book in the world,” so that wording must be accurate, right?  And every Mormon I have talked to acknowledges that the works are required for salvation.

If anyone teaches a method of salvation based on Jesus Plus (i.e., his sacrifice plus your good deeds, or purgatory or whatever else) or Jesus Minus (i.e., “Jesus is one way, but other religions are just as good”) then you have a heresy on your hands.

And while this isn’t the reason that being saved by grace through faith is true, consider which is better news:

  1. Having to rely on your efforts with no assurance of salvation (Mormonism and other works-based religions)
  2. Knowing that Jesus did it all for you and you just need to repent and believe in him (Christianity alone)

This is the truly good news.  Take it from someone who has not “done all he can!”

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Yes, I’m familiar with James 2:20 (You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?).  Of course real faith will produce real deeds.  But as the Ephesians passage makes clear, it goes like this:

  • Real faith in the real Jesus = real salvation followed by real works
  • Faith in the wrong Jesus + lots of good deeds done out of pride = still spiritually dead
  • False faith + works = still spiritually dead

Courtesy of Ms. Green, here is a list of requirements to be saved in the LDS view:

Step #1:Have faith in Christ
Step #2:Be repentant
Step #3: Be baptized by the LDS Church
Step #4: Receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands from a member of the Melchizedek priesthood
Step #5: Males are ordained into the Melchizedek Priesthood
Step #6: Receive temple endowments
Step #7: Participate in celestial marriage
Step #8: Observe the word of wisdom
Step #9: Sustain the prophet
Step #10: Tithe
Step #11: Attend sacrament meetings
Step #12: Obey the church

Oddly enough, while the LDS church and Christianity preach a different Jesus and a different Gospel, on paper orthodox Christians have more in common with Mormons than with theologically liberal Christians – a high view of scripture, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Jesus is the only way, and more.

But they teach a false, works-based gospel.  I know that many will not escape from there, but I pray that few new people join.

Also see But they are so nice! and Are Mormons really Christians?  Are Christians really Christians?

 

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Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Mormons aren’t Christians. But I’ll vote for Mitt Romney.

Romney was not on my list of desirable Republican candidates, but I’ll still vote for him.  Why?  Because the lesser of two evils is less evil.  And the current President puts forth truly evil and destructive policies.

It is interesting to see how the media and the fake Christians were quick to defend attacks on Romney’s faith when they were trying to help him win the Republican nomination but are subtly and not-so-subtly attacking his faith now.  Hypocrites.

Mormons aren’t Christians, but I have a lot more in common with them politically than I do with Leftist (read: fake) denominations like Obama’s apostate UCC.  Mormons are pro-life and pro-family.  Romney will spend far less than Obama.

And remember, we haven’t seen the worst of Obama.  If he wins again he’ll be even more unrestrained than when he pushed through the un-Constitutional Obamacare, arbitrarily decided not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, took over General Motors to give $$ to the unions, and so much more.

Most importantly, the next President will get to appoint a couple of justices to the Supreme Court, which will swing the court to the good or the very bad for decades.

P.S. I’m so disappointed when people who should know better insist that Mormons are Christians.  See Mormonism isn’t Christianity, even if the president of Fuller Theological Seminary says otherwise for an example.

Also see Are Mormons really Christians? Are Christians really Christians?

Mormons: Still nice neighbors. Still not Christians.

Since Mormonism is back in the news I thought I’d share the post below.  The “still not Christians” part of the title is sure to offend, but words mean things.  Short version: The Mormon Jesus is not the same as the Christian Jesus, so we don’t have the same religion.

They come to my door trying to convert me because they think I have the wrong religion.  But that doesn’t offend me.  I know we’re different.  I would expect anyone who thinks they have the proper view of God, salvation and the world to want to persuade others to their way of thinking (and shame on Christians who have no such desire to do that, whether by doing it themselves or supporting others who do so).

Also see Mormonism 101 for a terrific overview of that religion.  It doesn’t say why they are wrong and Christianity is right, it just gives a thorough and accurate history and overview of Mormonism — thus highlighting why Mormonism is not just another Christian denomination.

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A Mormon on a now-defunct blog wrote the following after I pointed out how it is frustrating for them to play the “We’re Christians, too” card while simultaneously trying to save us via their worldview.  I really appreciated his candor, especially in contrast to the kind of responses I got on Part I.

I can see that we do double speak, trying to stand on both sides of the line and often feint ignorance until called out. I found my self doing it with that last post. I almost took the polyandry references out because I wanted to protect other LDS readers who I know are following this conversation. I realize that I have this knowledge and my tendency is to hide it from less informed members of my faith. Ultimately I decided to leave it in and that is in large part due to reading your criticisms in other places and not wanting to be apart of this legitimate frustration.

I fully understand that as a Mormon, I am dishonest if I try to make our doctrines sound the same as yours so that we can get along better. They are different and I know that. When bloggers say, “Billy Mormon would never talk bad about your beliefs” it is just silly. By definition, our church proclaims that yours is wrong. We send out missionaries to say other churches are wrong, come be baptized here instead. I saw these types of comments and I recognize them for what they are.

What he wrote was the opposite of what many Mormons have said on this blog and elsewhere.  I realize that not all Christians agree on every topic and not all Mormons agree on every topic, but what he addressed was obviously related to the essentials of their faith.  So if Mormons don’t agree with him then one of you isn’t a Mormon (or at least one of you isn’t well educated in your faith).

Again, kudos to him for his honesty.  That goes a long way towards having productive dialogues.  It doesn’t bother me if people disagree with me, but I don’t like to waste time with folks who insist that they agree and disagree with me at the same time on the same subject.

P.S. I think this is one of the items we were discussing at the time:

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 150: “When our father Adam came to the garden of Eden he came into it with a celestial body, and he brought eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world.

He is Michael, the archangel the ancient of days, about whom holy men have written and spoken he is our father and our god and the only god with whom we have to do.”

Those are irreconcilable differences in who God is and how the world works. Different God. Different creation narrative. Adam = God and Michael ??!! You can’t even get out of Genesis 1 without seeing the clear differences, let alone John 1 or countless other passages.

World religions & evangelism videos

I came across this post from a couple years ago and thought I’d re-run it.  This is one of my favorite topics to teach, although I prefer not having to cram it all into one hour!  It works better as a 6-8 week series where you can go more in-depth.

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pluralism.jpg

I did a one hour presentation on world religions for a church group and decided to video tape it as an experiment.  I was pleased with the content of the presentation but learned some things about lighting, sound and pace.  That will make the next one much better. I was hoping it would be shorter but it is hard to cover all world religions and some evangelism basics in one easy session.

I covered some foundational concepts that apply to all religions then addressed some key differences of Christianity versus Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Hare Krishnas, Wiccans and atheists (OK, that’s more of a world non-religion).

I shared experiences I’ve had in witnessing to people in these faiths and some things that helped navigate through conversations effectively.  You really can share the truth without starting a Jihad.

Go here to just see the PowerPoint slides.

Major thanks to Stand to Reason, where I learned much of this.

If two guys are both married to someone named Susan, does that mean they are married to the same person?

Of course not.  There are many women named Susan (and, if I trust my Johnny Cash songs, at least one man).  Pretty obvious, eh?  But that logic is ignored by Mormons claiming to be Christians and by the Christians nodding their heads at the Mormon claims.  They reflexively say that they follow Christ, so they must also be Christians.  And a bunch of Christians don’t think critically enough and they nod their heads with the Mormons.   But if the Christ they follow isn’t the same as the one we follow, then we are not worshiping the same being.

When you dig deeper you find that our definitions of Jesus are wildly and irreconcilably different.  Therefore, we aren’t the same religion and we can’t both be right.

Ironically, Mormonism was founded on a notion that the true church had left the building, so to speak, and that the Mormons were the only real church.  It is only in the last few decades that they made a clever marketing move to appear as just another denomination — albeit one that you really, really need to convert to.

I shared a brief dialogue with a Mormon who commented on my Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing blog  when I noted that Glenn Beck is not a Christian.  I didn’t say that in a mean way, just a factual one.  His reply:

Sorry, Christian means follower of Christ. Whatever you might think of the church that Glenn attends, he has gotten on bended knee, accepted Christ and reversed the damage that his sins have caused to others. Now he lives a life in Christ that he is willing to share on his radio and tv shows, evangelizing His sovereignty. I can think of nothing else that would be required to be a follower of Christ.

Back to the title and the opening sentence: Just because people claim to follow Christ doesn’t mean they are following the same Christ.

Side note: Even authentic Christians don’t “reverse the damage” our sins have caused to others.  We can ask forgiveness and try to make restoration where possible, but much damage can’t be undone.  We are just forgiven.

My response to the commenter:

I encourage you to read this piece where a Mormon — who admittedly doesn’t speak for the whole religion — conceded that we indeed worship different Christs and that he thinks mine is the wrong one. I submit that his views are more in line with historic Mormonism than yours.

Here is part of what that Mormon commenter conceded:

I can see that we do double speak, trying to stand on both sides of the line and often feint ignorance until called out. I found my self doing it with that last post. I almost took the polyandry references out because I wanted to protect other LDS readers who I know are following this conversation. I realize that I have this knowledge and my tendency is to hide it from less informed members of my faith. Ultimately I decided to leave it in and that is in large part due to reading your criticisms in other places and not wanting to be apart of this legitimate frustration.

I fully understand that as a Mormon, I am dishonest if I try to make our doctrines sound the same as yours so that we can get along better. They are different and I know that. When bloggers say, “Billy Mormon would never talk bad about your beliefs” it is just silly. By definition, our church proclaims that yours is wrong. We send out missionaries to say other churches are wrong, come be baptized here instead. I saw these types of comments and I recognize them for what they are.

It is ironic that the theological Liberals who obsess over Glenn Beck (such as false teachers Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis and Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie) ignore the fact that he is Mormon, or they assume that Mormons are Christians.  Just one more reason to avoid wolves in sheep’s clothing like that.

Are Mormons nice neighbors and co-workers?  Absolutely!  They can out-nice the best Christians almost any day of the week.

But do they worship the same God as Christians?  No.  That is a simple fact, not an insult, but too many people are either ill-informed or too politically correct to state the obvious.

People who claim that Mormons are Christians don’t know enough about Mormonism or Christianity — or they are deliberately misleading you.

Also see

Three great posts on the Mormon religion

Are Mormons really Christians? Are Christians really Christians?

A whole bunch of articles on Mormonism

Roundup

Edgar asked me on my Facebook what the last five songs I purchased on iTunes.  What were yours?

  1. Cleveland Rocks by Ian Hunter — Trans Siberian Orchestra played it in Cleveland as an encore.  Nice touch.
  2. Fool for the City by Foghat — heard it on the radio in Cleveland
  3. Beautiful Scandalous Night by Robbie Seay — the praise band at church played it
  4. You Never Let Go by Matt Redmond — learned it on guitar for the Honduras trip and really liked it
  5. Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath — great theme about trying to see things as Jesus does

New Year’s hope for post-abortive women and men — The author emphasizes that we should focus on the transforming power of the Gospel and not just the pain of our mistakes, and he has some good suggestions in the section about “Preaching the Gospel to Yourself: Replacing False Beliefs with Truthful Ones.” 

Somewhat related topic: Cool billboard in San Francisco seen by 100,000 people per day

Is Mormonism Christian?  No, despite the shift in the last 25 years from claiming not to be Christian to saying they are just another denomination.  Excellent video by James White explaining why.

The church and the military — Many folks misunderstand church history and default to pure pacifism, which is not Biblical. 

Palestinians boast of using civilians as human shields — it is amazing to me that the liberals still side with Hamas & Co.  In their own words:

Death has become an industry . . . We want death just as much as you desire life.

And here’s a must-read by Charles Krauthammer about Hamas and Israel. 

New addition to the blogroll that I think orthodox Christians will like — check out Religion and Morality

Ten thoughts Darwinists need to ponder before breakfast — great list.  A couple examples:

6. Darwin admitted that based upon the data published in his Origin of Species, one could come to “directly opposite” conclusions. For example, natural selection can prevent major evolutionary change from occurring on a gradual step-by-step basis by eliminating useless transitional stages thus explaining the lack of transitional sequences leading to all of the major body plans (phyla) in the fossil record.

“I am well aware that there is scarcely a single point discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts on both sides of each question, and this cannot possibly be done here.”

Charles Darwin
The Origin of Species
1859

10. The ultimate origin of Nature itself cannot be natural. Either Nature or a Natural Law Giver has always existed. Nature has not always existed. What do you conclude?

When scientists tell you that the origin of everything natural must be explained purely in terms of natural processes, we need to remind them that no natural processes existed before Nature came into existence. We hold this truth to be self-evident, don’t we?

Creation preceded evolution.