17 January 2008

Preaching the Good News? Part Two

by Dan Phillips

Tuesday I posted a snippet of a card left at my doorstep on Saturday, and invited guesses as to its church of origin. Right off the bat, Gareth guessed "Mormons," echoed by Kim, Pastor Brian Culver (twice!), dkyle, Jesucristo rescato a Ernesto, dac, and some bookstore owner.

Other guesses were very creative, including seeker-sensitive, Willow Creekers, purpose driven, "Therapeutic Moralistic Deists," "the local chapter of the Brotherhood of Stammering Christian Worm-Farmers," JW's, Conservative Baptists, and Pentecostals.

It was a fun thread. And now... the rest of the story.

I was in my office last Saturday morning, talking with my wife, when one of the boys came out to us. Breathlessly he told me someone had rung the doorbell. So I lumbered in, opened the door, and found the card wedged into the crack. A couple of young men were walking away towards the sidewalk. I took in their overall clean-cut effect, their white shirts, their ties, and cried —

"Mormons!"

They smiled, a bit surprised, and nodded affirmatively. I came out so that we could talk on my doorstep.

I've not exhaustively studied Mormonism, and have only talked with a few of them about spiritual matters. (This contrasts with many, many JW encounters.) For years, our next-door neighbors were Mormons. The father was an elder. Very fine people, wonderful neighbors. As long as they lived next to us, we got no visits from Mormons. We figured they acted as our shield to doorstep Mormovangelism.

They've since moved, evidently taking with them the Shield.

C. S. Lewis once said that you didn't really understand a heresy until you'd studied it well enough to find it somewhat tempting, or at least to understand the appeal. By that criterion, I don't know Mormonism. The people have been some of the nicest I've known, but the religious tenets have never seemed other than flat-out absurd to me.

So back to these young men. The first gent said they were going door to door telling people "about the wonderful news of the restoration of the Gospel."

"Oh?" I responded. "When was it lost?"

He was absolutely stumped. I mean speechless. The taller gent tried to interject, but I asked (nicely), "Well, is it okay if he answers, since he's the one who said it?" (I figured, perhaps wrongly, that it works like with JW's: one is the trainer, the person who speaks is the trainee.)

He said sure.

I was actually dismayed for the young fellow (—who had been LDS for ten years, I later learned), so I rephrased my question a few times. He said he wasn't great at English, though he seemed to me to speak jut fine. So when I saw I wasn't going to get an answer, I adopted another approach.

"So, what is the gospel?" I asked.

Again, stunned silence. So I rephrased it. "It's what we're telling people," he said. I told him I got that — but what was it they were telling people? What was it about? What made it good news? What news did it tell? I literally asked the question at least six different ways.

This occasioned yet more puzzling, which wasn't really my intent; so I tried another angle. "Is it in the book of Mormon?" I asked. "Is there somewhere in there where it is spelled out?" Neither could point to a passage. I tried again. "Do you have a favorite part of the book of Mormon, part that really says what you believe?" I pretty well felt the answer coming before the taller fellow gave it:

"Oh, I love all of it." (That's the second time I've heard a Mormon respond that way, making it two for two.)

So I said, "Is that a Bible you have there?" Yes. "Do you know where it says what the Gospel is?" No. "May I show you?" Sure.

So I showed them 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and tried to open it up a bit. Of course, they agreed with it. So I asked if they agreed that believing in Jesus, only, brings salvation. (All this time I'm praying for God's guidance and grace, not really sure which specific path to choose.)

"Well," the taller man told me, "yes, but we have to show that we mean it by what we do. We can't just say we believe, and then do nothing about it." He had been a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) all his life, and they just told him if he went to church once a week, that was all there was to it.

I agreed; no one wants to be a hypocrite. So I asked them to read Romans 4:4-5, and asked what it said, and what it meant. We talked about how Paul was saying grace and works were opposites, that if works had anything to do with our salvation, then it wasn't by grace. And if it was by grace, works could have nothing to do with it.

They said they believed that. Hm.

They said, however, that we needed to do works to show God that we had real faith. "Does He not know whether we have faith or not?" I asked. Well, yes, sure....

So I asked the EE question: "If, God forbid, you were to die, and find yourself before the holy Judge; and if He were to ask you why He should let you into His Heaven what would you say?"

The taller gent's answer was pure works: "I would say that I tried to be good, I treated people with love and respect, I kept your laws...." A whole lot of "I." Sola ego, if I could butcher me some Latin.

So I said it sounded like he was trusting himself, not Jesus. How good you have to be to go to Heaven? Then we talked about the holy Law of God, and how Jesus met the Law's demands in His person on the cross, how He was clothed with our sin, so that we who trust in Him alone might be clothed with His perfect righteousness, and be accepted on that basis. (If you've just dropped by, and that all is news to you, please check this out.)

Smiling assent, no arguments. Then, very nicely, "We were supposed to meet back up five minutes ago." So we parted, me urging them to read Romans all the way through, and that they'd find everything they need to know about Jesus in it, and the other 65 books.

Nice guys, truly. The taller fellow had been a Marine, both were married with kids.

No clue about the Gospel. Pray for them.

Here was their card:


Next time, let's chat some more about how hard it was to identify what kind of church produced that card.

But first, think about their parting-word to me:

"Thanks for talking with us. Most people won't."

Dan Phillips's signature

154 comments:

dac said...

I think you did a great job with the Mormon boys. My daughter has been witnessing to a mormon at school, and my basic advice has always been take it back to Jesus and what the bible says about him. Don't get distracted by anything else or any other book

I will be forwarding her the link to this post

(edited this post to fix some really bad spelling)

DJP said...

(Okay, now, leave it up this time, so I don't have to delete my response!)

That's wonderful advice. Unqualified Amen to that. The individual conversations will suggest different ways to start, but that is the desired end.

dac messed (in a great way!) with the prediction I was going to make, that the first 15-20 comments would be variations of "I was right!!" and "I was going to say that!"

(c;

dac said...

sorry bout that - the only way to edit is by deletion

Everyday Mommy said...

Dan:

This is post made me weep for those young men. But, I know that our sovereign Lord led them to your doorstep so that you could share the "real" Good News with them. Truth restored? I'll say!

jules
Rahab's Thread

VcdeChagn said...

I've had three sets of Mormons on my doorstep (and two sets of JW's...who were far more persistent than the Mormons..we ended up with ones who had been in the church for 30 years and the husband was a Greek Scholar...fun times).

With the Mormons, during one stretch we met on a weekly basis long enough that we went through a couple of different sets.

I'll have to say your ignorance of Mormonism worked far better for you than my study did for me.

But it, and this blog post, helped me sharpen my sword.

If you are interested in Mormonism and the archeology of ancient America, I highly suggest checking out "The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon." I have it on DVD but you can watch the streaming version
http://www.lhvm.org/vid_bible_med.htm

If I mutilated the linkn somehow, it can be found at Living Hope Ministries..a google search will get you there.

How can you embed a URL in text anyways....

DJP said...

Amen, EMommy.

You remind me: as they parted and I pointed them to Romans, I said they'd find that the real Gospel was never lost, it was always right there.

Al said...

God's word is perfect, converting the soul.

Is the fact that most people don't talk them a good thing or a bad thing? Given how far many churches have drifted from the Gospel, emulating the Mormons in their passion for an ill defined moral goodness vice justifying faith, I am glad that you will be the talk of the next meeting.

So, you were right and that is exactly what I would have said... If I were you and felt comfortable holding a sword, a la Viggo Mortensen.

al sends

Pastor Mike said...

Dan,
Thanks for engaging with these guys. I think so many times we love "the Shield" (=our neighbors are Mormons and no one ever comes; an excuse we can't talk about religion at work; I really need to build a bridge first; etc. etc.)more than we really love THE SHIELD and SWORD, HIGH TOWER, et al.
I love the fact that you used a menagerie of techniques! An EE question here, an exposition of Romans there, a little listening sprinkled throughout.
The only thing that would have been better is if they had said, "We get off missionary work at 5:00 could we come back and talk about these things with you some more" or if your kids had come out on the porch and listened/talked with these guys.
I just read a great book on conversational apologetics -- much needed in our electronic communication day.
Mike

DJP said...

Yes, Mike, amen, and thanks for the convicting thoughts.

I'll confess that my encounters with JWs have left me very discouraged. As a young Christian I read a lot, and listened to Walter Martin/CRI a lot. I had the impression that no one ever showed JWs love, or took the time to show them the Scriptures, engage Biblically with what they were saying, point them to the true Jesus and the true Gospel.

If someone would just do that, why, they'd flee the Watchtower and run into Jesus' arms.

So I set out, by God's grace, to do just that. I engaged every pair that came to the door. By God's grace, I was just as patient and kind and friendly and loving as I could be. I listened, and I responded. It literally (a word I only use literally) got to where I could help them find the texts they were wanting to go to ("You're thinking of 1 Corinthians 11, aren't you?"). I had them over, with their elders. I even once brought a pair in so my older homeschooled kids (when they were around 10-13) could witness to them themselves, and put into practice what I'd been trying to teach them.

All that, and NO visible progress, EVER. It never happened as I felt I'd been led to expect.

Again and again, they were brought into absolute conversational corners. John 5, John 20 — they had no response for Jesus' demand of worship as God, or His acceptance of such worship.

But it didn't matter. They clung to the Watchtower.

So after decades of this, I've grown very discouraged. I always leapt at the opportunities. Now I confess I don't, and I had to nudge myself to make myself talk to these young cultlings.

Which just highlights my own lazy lack of faith, and failure to embrace my proper role: sower of the Word. Growth and harvest are God's concerns; sowing is mine.

I share that in case it might give anyone else the jab I needed myself.

Bill said...

Dan,

Jab taken..thank you.

Bill

Daniel Chaney said...

I am surprised that they were so ignorant of the gospel that they were sharing that they couldn't even point to a verse. I am glad that my eternal state is not based on my ability to perform good works.

centuri0n said...

um, I did say that.

But having said that, I think their parting words are at least as disturbing as out inability, really, to know which church puked out that caption you put in Tuesday's post.

DJP said...

Plenty of "disturbing" to go around in all that, isn't there?

Johnny Dialectic said...

Everyone should read the Book of Mormon. This is their big challenge. If you read it with an open heart, the Holy Spirit will witness to you that it is the truth, etc. That is their "testimony," their big fall back position. Note that it is subjective, thus impervious to every argument you bring against any aspect of Mormonism.

Well, I took the challenge. And I was given a testimony, too: that this book is a lie from hell. [I'm not kidding, that's exactly the content of the testimony.]

I've had a few sets of Mormons come to my door over the years. We chat for awhile, then I tell them I've read the Book of Mormon. That alone stuns them. How many Christians have? Then I say, I got this witness from the Holy Spirit that it is a lie from hell.

Once, with two female Mormons, the "trainee's" lower jaw almost disconnected from her face. Variations on this occur with the others. Of course, traveling in twos so they can protect each other, the convesation quickly ends.

But that is the seed that needs to be planted.

Mike Riccardi said...

Dan,

How does having Mormons or JW's over your house square with 2 John 10-11? Do you think that not doing this could be not so much a lack of faith, but a desire to obey this passage?

I wonder, because my first inclination as a younger Christian was similar to yours: sit 'em down and give it to 'em straight and they'll get it. But after having read that passage, I find myself thinking about what I'll do if I'm confronted with that situation again.

Whaddaya think?

Hadassah said...

When I was younger, someone suggested that we should never engage the Mormons who came to our doorsteps, because they were sure to know their scripture and doctrines backward and forward, and we would never be able to compete with that. (And might even be misled ourselves)

Now, I see what sad advice that was. But for many years I have avoided answering the door. That last part really convicted me. I'll do better next time.

centuri0n said...

DJP --

I think your pain over years of JW evangelism is misplaced, or maybe mistaken.

The first real issue is that we are -obedient- to declare the Gospel. We may do that in sundry ways and divers manners, but we have to do that first and foremost. Making sure we get to 1 Cor 15:1-4 (as a prime example, but not the only one) so that the Gospel is -declared- is simply critical.

But that said, after obedience we have to be somewhat, um, Forever Relying On God about what we did. You know: the young "elders" don't come to our bookstore much anymore because frankly they get a lot more than they can answer -- it's bad for their mormonism to talk to me, and their bosses don't like that. But the ones who have come, who did come, or who still accidentally come -- just because I didn't get to baptize them in the mop sink doesn't mean God's word has come back void. It means that the seed is planted, and now we must pray for fertile soil.

And -that- said, the JW's don't come back when you really get down with them. When we lived in Wisconsin, I had a young guy come to the door with Watchtower comic books to talk to me about the 10 commandments and why I wasn't living up to them. We talked for an hour on my porch, and he left convicted that he should come back to answer my questions -- but he never did. I ran into him in the grocery store one day, greeted him warmly and asked him why he never came back. He told me his supervisor said I was a scorched conscience and that I could never be convinced of the truth.

I asked him if he believed that, and he didn't really say.

Listen: every time we cause the enemy to demonstrate that he is what he is -- a liar, a murderer, a raging lion seeking to devour whoever he will -- the Gospel wins. It will not come back void.

You know this all, I am sure. I just had to say it out loud.

centuri0n said...

FOr those of you, btw, who are afraid of getting confused by Mormon sales tactics, read this by James White. It's the on-line version of his (inexplicably) out of print book Letters to a Mormon Elder.

At "free", it's completely invaluable. Now what you have is no excuse to answer the door. In fact, find the boys on bikes and take 'em to lunch so you can chat with them.

centuri0n said...

Since I'm linking resources, you should also read the FARMS review of this book. Of particular interest is the clear implication of this article that James White is peddling a false religion.

Think about that when you hear that the Gospel has been "restored".

DJP said...

Hadassah, I wouldn't at all assume that my guys were representative. I'm sure many do know their stuff cold. I was surprised.

But I do think the advice is pretty golden that, to speak analogously, what matters is studying real money closely, not studying counterfeit money. In no way am I decrying folks who specialize in counter-culting (far from it); I'm just saying what they also say as a rule: what matters most is that we know truth, and know it well.

Every Christian should be able to show Jesus and the Gospel from the Bible.

Libbie said...

I'd also encourage you about the JWs. I was never baptized with them, but I was involved with them for a good many years. I have built up a good relationship with a JW lady who calls on me now, and it's sometimes discouraging, but it's not me that does the work, is it? For ages during my involvement with them, I didn't think properly. Then, eventually, by the grace of God, I did, and I was grateful for sound people to speak to.

And come on people, these guys knock on your door and want to talk about Jesus! Could there be a better witnessing opportunity?

Johnny Dialectic said...

Good links, Cent. White gets right to the main issue (which is made all the more compelling if you've read THEIR book)

"In your testimony, you mentioned that you had prayed about the Book of Mormon, and knew that it was true. Elder Hahn, may I point out to you that I too have a testimony, and my testimony is in direct conflict with yours I believe that the Spirit has testified to me that there is but one God, and this is out of harmony with your own beliefs. How, then, are we to decide who is right You honestly say that you have experienced feelings that you interpret to be the testimony of the Holy Ghost. I say the same thing. Yet, what we feel has been "revealed" by the Holy Ghost is in contradiction."

centuri0n said...

Libbie:

Exactly. Jesus said, "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."

That's what we should hear when we hear the doorbell.

Pastor Mike said...

Dan-
I reread my own post and find that it may have sounded like I get it perfectly -- NOT TRUE. I miss opportunities every day I am sure. But to engage people in discussion, to have them come to a decision point is the sowing and plowing and watering and reaping (if its time) that you talked about. God does give the increase.
Jesus had his "boys" alongside him when he engaged a rich young ruler. This man went away "loster" than before and the disciples evaluated "Who then can be saved?" Jesus had a great response; "The things that are impossible with men are not so much with God" (loose paraphrase)
Keep sharing your faith in a calm, pointed but compasionate way Dan.
I do not want to hi-jack this thread, but doesn't anyone find this post especially challenging to find out what Mormons believe in light of a Mormon political figure running for president? We better bone up on our Mormon apologetic. Think of the opportunities that are going to come available as we sit in the coffee shops and someone turns to us, the only "religious person" that they know, and asks "So Mormons are Christians right?" or "How to Mormons differ from what you believe" or "What's up with Mormons?" 1 Peter 3:15 seems to leap off of the page eh?
Mike

Pastor Mike said...

Cent,

>>That's what we should hear when we hear the doorbell.<<

I wonder if you could get a custom job done that would do this. That would be cool. And convicting.
:)
Mike

Sparrowhawk said...

This represents a significantly new marketing strategy. Never would they ever use "Christ" without "Jesus Christ" in all references. On your question a few days ago, I would have said "a new Muslim evangelism" tactic instead of LDS, for that very reason.

On average, all these young men who knock on our doors have a grand total of 2-4 weeks training at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo. This is not sufficient time to develop an LDS apologetic. Yet, this is also why these young boys are particularly good candidates for evangelism. They are tired, isolated, driven, respectful, and somewhat approachable, mostly. They are also conservative and dutiful, knowing their dads did the same thing right of H.S. Their mission is as much duty in order to marry an LDS girl and obtain Temple endowments in their 20s.

Doug said...

Great post, Dan - thanks for sharing your account of the encounter.

Doug

DJP said...

Riccardi — well first, to be legalistic about it, I didn't invite them in. I talked with them on the doorstep. But I probably should have invited them in.

I certainly don't take those verses to mean we can't talk with false teachers about Christ. I think John is talking about supporting them in their promulgation of false doctrine, like lending them your pulpit, or the like. Which I didn't.

Sled Dog said...

I live in a great sea of Mormons here in Utah. 70% of my neighbors are LDS.

The LDS church floods the airwaves with cute little ads promoting healthy marriages and families. I know they do this all over, but in Utah it's extremely magnified...like they are making sure they preach to their own choir.

But there is nothing communicated in their ads about any sort of theology. It's simply "hanging with us will help your family life. Just don't ask a lot of questions about what we believe. Oh, and give us a chunk of your money. Or else the elder will come a calling."

That's the great part about being here is that believers can talk about theology, and for the most part, the lay mormons really don't have much of a clue. I find spiritual conversations way more easy here than when I lived in California.

S.J. Walker said...

Dan "The Tent Spike Hammer" Phillips,

Wow. I live in the Mormon back yard--Grand Junction CO. Its the largest city on the West slope and only mile from Ut**--the red headed step child of Colorado, but I digress.

The last statement was telling of the deplorable lack of witnessing done to Mormons. Mormons are ubiquitous here, and most people(myself included) do not take the opportinity you did to preach to these lost souls.

I am so ashamed. Here we have lost people coming to OUR doorsteps, and can't even witness to them. Why are we surprised then when no one of us wants to go anywhere either, no one will risk anything.

It's deplorable, and I am a captain of it. God forgive me.

Chris Hobeck said...

Dan, this was a wonderful read. Thank you.

I too wholeheartedly recommend those videos by Living Hope Ministries: "The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon" and "DNA vs. the Book of Mormon." By mere "coincidence," I watched them last night on YouTube, as well as a couple other ones they've made. Excellent stuff.

There's also an excellent "cartoon banned by the Mormon Church" on YouTube. It's very 70s-tastic but it shows true Mormon theology to be so wacky it makes Scientology look realistic.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy0d1HbItOo

Way of the Master (Ray Comfort's ministry) will be releasing a TV episode this year dealing with Mormonism.

DJP said...

btw, I think we finally achieved the JWs' "scorched conscience" list. They haven't come for years. But we spoke to quite a few until then.

Mike Riccardi said...

Dan, that seems to me to be a good way to understand that passage. Thanks for responding.

maritus imperfectus said...

Great reminder that we must share the Gospel.

djp said: 'Every Christian should be able to show Jesus and the Gospel from the Bible.'

My first thought when reading how the Mormon gents couldn’t articulate their gospel was the sad reality that many professing Christianity cannot articulate the Gospel.

I am grateful for the comments that remind me of my responsibility to share the Gospel and God’s work in saving those sheep who hear it, as I prepare to share the Gospel with my wife’s uncle who is near death and suffering from dementia. His only hope is that God is the one who saves, for if it were up to him, he would truly have no hope.

Cent said: 'When we lived in Wisconsin . . . '

Ahhhh, God's winter wonderland . . . can't imagine why you would ever want to leave?

SolaMeanie said...

Wow. (Eeek. I've got to stop saying that or people will think I'm a Pagitt devotee)

I've been jangling with some Mormons of late. I have often found that when you begin challenging some of their beliefs, they will insist that you're misrepresenting them, only to find out on close questioning that they really do believe what you say they believe, i.e. that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer. At that point, it gets interesting.

As for most Christians not talking to them, I am afraid that is often the result of either fear, or bad teaching. Some think that the Bible's warning about receiving false teachers into your house means that you can't witness to them either. I tend to think that the warning about not receiving them in the house is in keeping with what was the case in John's day. Teachers would go from town to town and lodge with believers. John didn't want that happening in terms of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. He didn't mean "don't talk to them or witness to them."

DJP said...

Oh, and I'll state this publicly (since, in my family, "I was going to say that" DOESN'T count). I bet that any Mormon who doesn't read this first, who ever names a favorite passage from the BoM — it's going to be one of those that was ripped off from the Bible.

Peregrina said...

Great article and uplifting and encouraging discussion afterward.

I am convicted, encouraged, and excited.

Now, if only I didn't live in a security-controlled apartment. Guess I'll have to keep my eyes open out on the streets!

DJP said...

Solameanie, Mormons have that in common with Roman Catholics. Every criticism of their totalitarian sect is a misrepresentation, even if it's a direct quotation from an authoritative document.

I'll give that to JW's: they've always been relatively up-front about what they believe. At least in my dealings.

corinthian said...

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=ac7b677e7241a531b617

Too bad they don't know the real Jesus Christ

SolaMeanie said...

vcdechagn,

I find it funny that your JW visitor claimed to be a Greek scholar. If that was really the case, he should have rebelled immediately when he saw what the JWs do with John 1:1.

Another comment on JWs. (I have both Mormons and JWs in my family) Keep in mind the control the Watchtower organization has over its people. There is lots of fear and intimidation. They can be disfellowshipped and cut off from their families if they are caught even reading non-Watchtower material. Even husbands and wives. The "loyal" JW is told to communicate with the "erring one" only enough to transact necessary business, but outside of that they are to be shunned. That might be one reason why they don't show responses if a point you make hits home.

But the seeds of the Gospel have been planted, and God's Word never goes forth without accomplishing what He desires. One good approach is to show what the Bible says about false prophecies, and then point out all the false prophecies made by the Watchtower organization about Armageddon.

Libbie said...

Yes, but JWs still have the helpful distinction of wanting to be very separate from mainstream Christianity, instead of wanting to be accepted as part of it, so no subterfuge is necessary...

donsands said...

"Nice guys, truly."

That's been my experience as well. And one young man was even inspiring when he spoke of his love for Jesus and Joseph Smith.
He even asked me to pray and ask God if Joseph Smith wasn't one of His true prophets.

Wonderful testimony. Thanks for sharing.

Short Thoughts said...

I appreciate this post Dan. Sometimes it is easy to just blow 'em off in disgust thinking there is no way to reach them. Cent's right that we should stick with the Gospel and it never returns void.

Kim said...

Most of the Mormon missionaries we get around here are young men. They send their boys out on the "mission field" at 18 years old. At least that's what the situation was when I was heavily immersed in it.

I went through what was called "the discussions" with two Mormon missionaries (one flirted outrageously with me at the time), and they began with the bible. Then, week after week, the focus shifted more and more to the Book of Mormon. They knew prescribed amounts of both in order to get the teaching done.

The ones I have confronted here in the town where I live have been pretty much the same. And I always go out on the step and talk to them, and they always say the same thing that your friends did: that they appreciated me talking to them.

As soon as I tell them my story, that I knew about Mormonism but had rejected it, they don't want to stay long.

dac said...

Frank lived in Wisconsin?

might I ask where and when?

The Doulos said...

Interestingly, I have never had Mormons come to my door, although I have seen the pairs of white-shirted young men roaming the streets. I have had several encounters with JWs, none of which have been productive in any sense of the word.

A thought came to my mind reading this - how many professing Christians sitting in our churches every Sunday are equipped to engage a couple of Mormon missionaries like this, in the manner that Dan did? When given such an open door to discuss the truth of the Gospel of Christ, how many (post)modern Christians would have the basic Biblical and doctrinal undertanding to have this kind of discussion? Sadly, I think not so many. That might explain the normal response of "don't answer the door, those guys really know their stuff!" Never mind them - do we?

JamesL said...

I hope you don't mind the quick plug but Letters To a Mormon Elder is available from Solid Ground Christian Books! Here's a link:
http://www.solid-ground-books.com/search.asp?searchtext=mormon+elder

S.J. Walker said...

The Doulos

You bring up a good point. When we look at Post-modern anti-teaching philosophy, how can someone who is not equipped, either by personal ignorance(verb, not noun)or extra-personal deception(false teaching)possibly "match up" with a Mormon or anyone of different faith for that matter?

The real problem, is that post-modernism doesn't have a problem with Mormonism. They're nice, they're loving, and all that, so in post-modern terms: what's the problem?

I am ashamed of my lack of Scriptural and comPASSIONATE answers because I truly believe what THE Word of God says.

Lack of action is quite possibly an indication of non-belief. Lack of action(in preaching terms especially)followed by lack of conviction is almost a certain indication of lack of belief.

S.J. Walker said...

how many times can I use the word "lack" in one paragraph?

SolaMeanie said...

I mentioned JW treatment of John 1:1 earlier. I also chuckle at how the Watchtower re-does Peter. Instead of the earth and all of its works burning up, they "translate" it saying the earth and all of its works "will be discovered." Pheh, pheh and double pheh.

Kaffinator said...

Dan, I know I'm late to the dogpile, but God bless you for being prepared, having the courage, and taking the time to witness to them in the way you did.

If I had something pithy or incisive to add, I would, but I just don't. It chastens me to hear how direct and clear you were able to be, and that is a result of preparedness. I will redouble my studies.

witness said...

I have witnessed to a number of Mormons. I even stop them on the street when I see them walking through the neighborhoods. Every single time I have engaged them in the discussion of works versus grace I always get the same weak agreement that Dan got.

They all have agreed with me about salvation comes by grace, but they say we NEED to show it by our works. I have learned that hem-hawing around ends quickly when I move the discussion into Who Jesus is.

The best advice I can give to anyone when they witness to a Mormon or JW(I love it when they come to my door) is to approach the encounter as a rescue mission not a Bible ambush. They are not the REAL enemy.

pfg bloghostess said...

The Jehovah Witnesses typically have in their opening they want to tell folks about the times and the Kingdom and how a person can become a believer as they mention they believe the same as you do in your KJV(if you say you are a believer...hmmmm, who mentioned versions???). Ask to see their Bible(isn't the KJV, btw) and present faith being a gift that has response rather than a decision that results in faith...John 1, 3, Romans 9...wherever God leads Genesis to Revelation on such(Foundations of Grace by Steve Lawson has been helpful to me with this specific focus). Ask how, if God says a person is blind and dead in Adam can that person then see or choose to be a Christian...in Christ. If they agree that God has to do something first...ask if that "something" isn't regeneration/spiritual birth...a work of God, according to their Bible. Their foundation is amiss so all else will be, too. Be prepared to hear that they see you are a "student of the Bible". Materials probably won't be offered. You won't be embraced as one of the 144,000. God may work out what you may never see this side of Heaven.

The same is beneficial in speaking with Mormons. Light illuminates absolute truth. Salt cleanses and heals and creates thirst though it may sting a bit, yes? God is responsible for every aspect with believer and unbeliever alike. Humbles, yes? I used to either not answer the door when seeing the van and 2x2 marbles with executive cases roll out(JW) or backpacks and bikes and young gents in dress black pants and white shirts with short and neatly combed haircuts(Mormons)...or answer and offer a not interested as I'm a Christian(and sometimes rudely have replied when they said they were Christians..."I beg to differ if you believe what you are promoting in the neighborhood". Eyes widened and jaws dropped.) God is still growing me ~ future meetings orchestrated by Him are welcomed.

So there is good in the experience as God always accomplishes what He sovereignly wills even if it has been with me alone. And those who are God's are humbled to have learned and then praise like John Newton ~

I am not what I ought to be - ah, how imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be - I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good! I am not what I hope to be - soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, "By the grace of God I am what I am.".

So grateful for this place has He made me.

Joyce

S.J. Walker said...

witness,

"They are not the REAL enemy."

Nuff said. If we aren't heartbroken. We're sick.

Mike Riccardi said...

What about Dan's original direction: thinking about their closing: "Thanks for talking; most people don't."

I've been thinking about that and I'm at a loss. Somebody get me going in the right direction.

DJP said...

Kaffinator, in all candor, I didn't feel any of those things. I just was praying to God, listening to them, trying to focus on Christ and the Gospel, and just feeling my way, all the time feeling that I was missing it.

Chris Hobeck said...

I've never had the opportunity to witness to a Mormon, but here's one argument I've heard (I think from Todd Friel).

Mormonism and traditional Chrisitanity teach very different things (grace vs. works). Logically, this means that at most one can be right. If Mormonism is true, then as a Christian I can at worst get 1000 years of hell, then eternal bliss in the telestial kingdom. However, if Christianity is true, then a Mormon will spend eternity in hell, where one trillion years isn't even a drop in the bucket.

Just something to try next time.

Ooh, and here's something I just read that Ray Comfort tries: "Imagine I have a knife in my back, and three minutes to live. Can you tell me how I could go to heaven?"
The Mormon or JW says: "Well, you have to do lots of things."
You reply: "What about the thief on the cross?"

beachbirdie said...

I don't really have anything new to add, mostly echoing what others have said. But I'm still going to say it! As others have expressed it is disquieting to know how difficult it was to discern any difference between that snippet from the Mormons and similar messages from the modern church.

I worked closely in my college days with one of my professors who was a Mormon. He was advisor of a club in which I was an officer and I frequently babysat his children. He and his wife worked very hard to draw me into their faith and I did a lot of reading in the attempt to discern the truth. Not an easy task in the '70s without the worldwide web! It is only by God's sovereign grace that in that most vulnerable time of my life I did not end up LDS.

I have not engaged with Mormons since that time. You did a great job with those boys. I appreciate you who are able to think "on their feet."

pfg bloghostess said...

mike, do you think many people don't talk because of pride(it is a cult on the other side of the door and I'm not in a cult, good boy or girl that I am) or fear(still pr"I"de/focus on "I" rather than God and others...the people on the other side of the door sure are gonna talk as if they know more about the Bible...more than I do)? Been there. Done that.

There is nothing to it...just to do it(yield and God will lead, yes?).

centuri0n said...

We lived in Manitowoc for about a year.

And I stand corrected: Solid Rock did bring LTME back into print this year, and it is apparently an updated edition.

stratagem said...

DAN: You are a courageous inspiration to me, whether you know it or not. And one heck of a nice guy, too.

I would have assumed they knew the Bible inside and out; wow, would I have been wrong!

DJP said...

I would wager that there's also a lot of, "This would just be a big fat waste of time."

centuri0n said...

Riccardi;

When one lives in a bunker, one never has to open the door. When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around.

Who knew Sting was a pre-mil "Left Behind" dispensationalist? (no offense, guys)

DJP said...

Stratagem, I know it isn't always the case, but I've been surprised at how frequently it is.

I was a young, brand-new Christian, and tried to talk to this very well-educated neighbor who said he was an EX-Christian. Scared the stuffing out of me, but I started talking with him. Why was he "ex"?

Because of how unbelievable Bible miracles were, he answered.

Knowing no better, I just asked: Which ones?

He had no answer.

That's when I started to get a glimmer that the presenting reason is seldom the real reason. If there even is a real reason.

pfg bloghostess said...

Big fat waste of time? Still pr"I"de ~ God orchestrated it, didn't He? Been there and done that waste of time thought along with being without shoes and with hair in a snit doing major "woman work in the kitchen or with a bucket of water" and thinking, arrrgggh, perfect timing, NOT gonna answer that door looking like this. How unrighteously ungrateful of me considering what the Lord has done.

S.J. Walker said...

Dan(and everyone else for that matter,

I've got a question. I would surmise (perhaps not accurately) that many Mormons for instance are in the same boat as the two particular ones you spoke with, God Please save them.

But right or not in that regard, it is certain that there are at least a few who "know more than me".

What would be some good advice for someone who comes across a Mormon who is "well versed"?--pun shamelessly intended.

I t is clear that faith must give way to trusting God to "grant utterance" or something like that. That is primary.

But what could be some "nuts and bolts" for folks who not only struggle with what may or may not be right concern as to their own abilities, but also who might and probably will come across someone much more adept than these two young men?

Again, my God, I pray please save them!

Any thoughts?

philness said...

Things I like to make mention to both the Hoovies and Mormons are:

You’re a new religion that just came on the scene. (a little over a 100 years ago)

Your authority of things are something or someone either than the Word of God. For hoovies it’s the Watch Tower, and for Mormons it’s the Book of Mormon and Josheph Smith. Catholics it’s the Vatican…..

Explanation of works: Christians do good works because they are saved, others do good works in hopes to merit salvation.

Literature: I’ll be glad to read what you have to give me if you will come back and answer questions. When they come back I have a few hand written questions with scripture references. If they don’t take my literature I ask them to consider why it is that Christians have no problem taking and reading other religious material but they are forbidden to take mine. What is the fear or temptation in that? They are proselytizing me.


I mention the fact that both of them have false prophets because they all have at least once been wrong in their prophecies.

I show them diety scriptures that Jesus Christ is Lord, God, creator of the universe, the I Am. Before
Abraham was I AM.

All of this while sharing the gospel and if we are outside we shoot some hoops with the kids in the cul-de-sac. Hey, I just thought of something. Instead of playimg H.O.R.S.E we could play T.U.L.I.P. Naaaa...polly not.

S.J. Walker said...

philness,

"Hey, I just thought of something. Instead of playimg H.O.R.S.E we could play T.U.L.I.P. Naaaa...polly not."

oooo, you're devious.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Apologetics doesn't usually work with Mormons or JWs. They have all been told what we're going to say and have rehearsed answers.

In grad days I had a Mormon bishop classmate. We talked a lot. He gave me a Book of Mormon and inscribed it, to the effect of, Read this and study it and bring your logic to it, and if you're still not convinced, ask yourself one final question: Is it the Word of God? It is my testimony (he wrote) that it is.

IOW, all the logic and objective argumentation in the world wasn't going to convince him. He had his "testimony."

Being able to offer a counter testimony cuts through massive amounts of material, saves time, and gets attention. Maybe even a hearing for the truth Gospel, from the Bible, as has been noted here.

Re: JWs. Once my family and I were passing out church leaflets on a Saturday. From the other corner we saw some others coming our way, door to door. As we got closer to each other, I saw them with Awake and Watchtowers, so knew they were JWs.

We met at the sidewalk in front of the house we both converged upon. The man offered me one of his magazines. I took it with thanks, and said, "I'll trade you," and held out a church leaflet. He would not even TOUCH it. He recoiled. It was a sad example of the mind control visited upon them.

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

You might be interested in what Joseph Smith did in his "translation" to Romans 4:5.

"But to him that seeketh not to be justified by the law of works, but believeth on him who justifieth not the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

Since the purpose of life is to prove our worthiness unto godhood, it's false that Mormonism says works play a mere evidentiary role. Indeed, they play a meritorious role.

"Each of us has been sent to earth by our Heavenly Father to merit eternal life" - Robert D. Hales, "Personal Revelation: The Teachings and Examples of the Prophets", October 2007 General Conference

"Time is a most precious asset. Would you consider investing more of your time in the things of eternity in order to merit the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and to benefit more fully from His influence?" - Keith K. Hilbig, "Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man", October 2007 General Conference.

"The demands of justice for broken law can be satisfied through mercy, earned by your continual repentance and obedience to the laws of God... Through the Atonement you can live in a world where justice assures that you will retain what you earn by obedience." - Richard G. Scott, “The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 40–42. From General Conference, October 2006.

"Thus, brothers and sisters, along with the great and free gift of the universal and personal resurrection there is also the personal possibility of meriting eternal life." - Neal A. Maxwell, “Apply the Atoning Blood of Christ” Ensign, Nov 1997, 22; message from October 1997 General Conference

Kent Brandenburg said...

Your labor's not in vain in Him.

SolaMeanie said...

Johnny,

I would never say apologetics doesn't usually work. There are plenty of former Mormons and JWs who would say otherwise.

Jesucristo rescato a Ernesto said...

Thanks for the Mention Dan, i took the shot on the mormons, basically because of the evangelism style (door to door) and the intention of their sect to become another denomination in Mainstream Christianity.

JohnnyDialectic
I've had a few sets of Mormons come to my door over the years. We chat for awhile, then I tell them I've read the Book of Mormon. That alone stuns them. How many Christians have? Then I say, I got this witness from the Holy Spirit that it is a lie from hell.


Good Comment JohnnyDialectic
i will disagree on reading the book of Mormon, i certainly do not have to do it in order to realize it is a lie and a hoax by Mr Joseph Smith, because the True Gospel is what must be preached in order to light up were darkness exists with the Gospel. I think Dan's aproach was great, asking them about the gospel they preach so that you can point them to the True Gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.

Reading the Book of the mormon is certainly useful when you have mormons in your close circle of aquaintances, but not necesarily when you encounter them in your front door.

centuri0n
But the ones who have come, who did come, or who still accidentally come -- just because I didn't get to baptize them in the mop sink doesn't mean God's word has come back void. It means that the seed is planted, and now we must pray for fertile soil.


Amen centuri0n, but then again thinkin of Philip and the Ethiopian in acts 8:25-40, and laugh tons whe you refered baptizing in the mop bucket reminding what the ethiopian said in verse 36 ""Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?". God is faithfull with the word that is planted in the Hearts of Men, His sheep will hear His Voice. This is tremendously encouraging when you are evangelizing because most people won't respond to the Gospel the way we would like, thank God for that.

Maritus Imperfectus
My first thought when reading how the Mormon gents couldn’t articulate their gospel was the sad reality that many professing Christianity cannot articulate the Gospel.


I agree that's the saddest thing of all, most Cultural Christians think the gospel is "ask Jesus into your Heart", no sin, no atonement, no grace and no repentance. it's pathetic when you see the Way of the Master videos when they are interviewing confessing Christians ignorant of the Gospel. Great nickname btw.

Although Mormons and JW can have prefab answers to our common questions and even, our apologetics, they can't deal with the Law of God shining over their Sins, with the HS convicting them of Such, and their necesity of salvation, it's something above men, Convertion is truly an act of God.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Sola, in the context of this discussion, door-to-door contact, the key word was "usually" and I probably should have said "almost never."

Apologetics certainly matters to ex-Mormons and those transitioning out. It's a very big deal then.

chris said...

DJP,

Excellent post. I'm glad I remembered to tune in.

I've made studying Mormonism a priority, ever since I had a crush on a Mormon girl in high school. You handled it with grace and skill. Mormons are taught that if they get the door slammed in their faces, that counts in their benefit when it comes time at the end to tally up the points, so to speak. By engaging them, you not only spoke words of Life to them, but primed the pump for the next person who takes the time to minister Truth to them. For that, thank you.

Mormons don't come by my house anymore, since I always invite them in. You might not have too many more, but I hope these two come back for more living water.

On a side note, a friend of my mom's was visited by two JWs and she spent some time talking to them and, when they said they had to be going, she insisted she come along because it was important for her neighbours to hear what the Bible really says... they bailed to their car after just one house with her on their tail....

SolaMeanie said...

A brief moment of levity.

Sometimes when I hear that "burning in the bosom" line, I am tempted to recommend Maalox. But I restrain myself.

Okay, now we can be serious again.

pastorbrianculver said...

Good post! As a former Mormon, I think you handled them guys pretty well. They have been trained to redirect any questions you might have, and will usually answer a question that they feel you should have asked. My blog has something on mormonism today and yesterday. Lots of links for those who do not know much about mormonism. It is good to be learned on this, because they are out in the streets reaching the very people that we as Christians should be reaching!

Jerry said...

It is a sad commentary on MY denomination that Southern Baptists are the most fertile mission field for Mormons.

Of course, when the Gospel is reduced to "walk this aisle, shake the preacher's hand, and pray this prayer" what can we expect?

Non-temple Mormons don't usually know much about Mormon doctrine, and unregenerate Baptist church members don't usually know much about the Gospel. Sad, pathetically sad.

It's a big mission field out there.

Mike Riccardi said...

Here's a conversation starter on how to engage with Mormons.

St. Brianstine said...

"We figured they acted as our shield to doorstep Mormovangelism." = Funny

Also, I know Mormons are trained to lie or change the subject when they get "caught." I was at a LDS bookstore in Vegas and they had little missionary help books where they were instructed to do so.

i have talked to Mormons countless times and the best thing to do is to be straight up with them. Speak with love and grace but be very, very, very straightforward and stick to Jesus and the gospel.

They usually end us speechless and leave dumbfounded. Put a pebble in their shoe. Give them something to think about and pray for them and in my experience they usually always come back multiple times.

They are just blind.

DJP said...

Yeah, Mike, except for NOT.

Strong Tower said...

It is truly a miracle when God brings the cultist to your door. And you thought Jonah was the only one who couldn't get away from witnessing!

Two guys came to my door. They asked me if I wanted to come to an Experiencing God class and if I did I would really feel God's presence. When I said I was busy on Wednesdays, they said it was alright they were having a Marriage Enhancement Seminar on Saturday and that I should bring my wife and see what Jesus could do for my marriage. The were SBC.

Naw, just kidding....

Mike Riccardi said...

Why Dan, whatever do you mean?

:o)

Alma said...

I found your account to be troubling--as a Mormon. You noted that these two were married with children yet still "young men" and dressed as the typical Mormon missionaries are. That type of evangelism isn't generally performed by married men--and especially married men who are so woefully unprepared to defend their theology. It's almost as though they'd had signs made up saying, "Kick me, I'm an idiot."

When I was a Mormon missionary over thirty years ago, I'd generally have people find "the gospel" by having them read 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 as well. I'd then show them a couple of corollary passages teaching the same thing in the Book of Mormon. I'm surprised those poor guys were so unprepared. Maybe they were just playing like Mormon missionaries?

DJP said...

They had the "Elder" name tags. I didn't ask for a membership card or holy underwear.

The taller had, as I recall, two children. His wife is who won him to Mormonism, as I recall. Don't remember details on the second.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

You heard it here first:

good work.

I even say so on my own blog.

I grew up around Mormons. My friends and I have even staged ambushes (aka foolish Baptist teenage religious experiments) to get missionaries to come talk to us. Ah, youth...ok, I don't recommend anyone doing that. It's not very nice.

witness said...

Hey Mike I watched the video link to that Mormon engagement... Wow, I spent 26 years in the Army and I know an ambush when I see one.

That was an ambush and those two Mormon guys were hit with claymores and machineguns.

I think an approach that is built around the idea of rescueing someone would have been a better example. There was no love for the lost there, only an attack and... Bible bullying.

Just my opinion.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

whoa, how's that for timing?

Jesucristo rescato a Ernesto said...

witness
I think an approach that is built around the idea of rescueing someone would have been a better example. There was no love for the lost there, only an attack and... Bible bullying.


Amen, evangelism is not about ambushing people with the Gospel is announcing them the Gospel with the Love of Christ trusting in the Work of God in bringing those people, and opening the Door at first, and convincting them of Sin.

As a former Bible Bully, is terrible that we even get to that, because it's mainly about winning an argument (Pride, thus Sinful) and not the Glorification of God through obedience of the Great Comission (Mk.16:15).

S.J. Walker said...

alma,

What would be your take on Galatians Chapter 1?

S.J. Walker said...

BTW, alma,

Thanks for commenting. One question I ahve always had is about something you brought up. Why is it that at least typically, it ONLY the younger men we see at our doors?

Door to door evangelism is something we Christians do far too little, but we have various age groups represented in most cases that I have witnessed or been invovled.

I might just be dense and missing something about Mormon doctrine here. Can you help me out?

centuri0n said...

Alma --

I recognize you from my home blog, fella. You're the one who came out and said that most counter-Mormon apologetics make a false appeal to authority by quoting the Doctrines and Covenants, and by quoting the sermons of Joseph Smith.

Paint that picture here before you go too far so people know how to take what you're saying.

centuri0n said...

Just for the record, the last time I encountered a Mormon elder he told me that the Industrial revolution was a result of the Mormon exodus to Salt Lake City.

Swear to Moroni.

stratagem said...

Cent, c'mon, you're just jealous of Alma because he's going to get his own planet, and you're not! :)

Now on a more serious note, I think the most glaring flaw in Mormonism is the whole "as we are, God once was, as God is, we may someday be" thing. If someone can't see that this is self-worship and idolatry wrapped into one package with a neat "I will be like the Most High!" thrown in for good measure, then they are just, well.... non-elect.

pastorbrianculver said...

While its not the norm for missionaries to be married, it is also not a rare case either. I have known married mormons who did not go on mission trips when they were younger and decided to go together as married couples. They feel they are doing their duty.

It is obvious that the missionaries do not know the Bible. They know enough to be dangerous (to themselves and to others who will fall for what they have to say), but they truly do not know the Bible, becuase if they did, they would never be a Mormon. When I got into mormonism, I was caught up in the "clean cut" look, the wholesome lifestyles, and the appearance of truly worshipping Jesus. I had just enough training as a youth (listen carefully youth pastors), that I knew of the Trinity, Jesus and the cross, but I could not tell you what it all meant. I just knew that I was a Christian because I "believed" in Jesus. I wish someone would have taken the time when I was younger to really challenge me on my faith to make sure that when I moved away from home and was on my own, that I would not fall into a cult. With so many churches preaching nothing but "feel good" messages, it falls right in line with what Mormons teach. Where is the Law, where is the exceedingly sinfullness of man, where is the need for a Savior? If you want a missionary to come to your door, just go to: www.mormon.org/bookofmormon and order a BOM and some missionaries will come a knockin!!

Alma said...

S.J. Walker: My take on Galatians 1 is that Paul was warning people not to be taken in by false teachings: "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." That certainly doesn't mean that whatever doctrine anybody embraces, they're stuck with it. The important element is to remain true to the doctrine taught by the apostles. That's what the Galatians had received. If I were to preach to Nicolaitans, and they cited Galatians 1 in response, I'd say, "Make sure the gospel you have is the same as the one delivered by Paul."

As far as most missionaries being young, unmarried men, it's largely a matter of facility. Mormon young men have the ability to put their lives on hold for a couple of years to dedicate all their time to the ministry. When they marry, they have other responsibilities. My wife and I expect to be full time missionaries in the future, but won't have the stamina of 19 year old boys required to go to every nation, tongue and people.

centuri0n: You might want to re-read what I wrote. I'm happy to defend any legitimate citation from official LDS sources.

S.J. Walker said...

The problem Alma is that the Book of Mormon does preach something other than what the apostles preached. Christ and Lucifer spirit brothers? The origin of black people? c'mone.

And as I recall Galatians said

"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

That is a little different that what you quoted.

VcdeChagn said...

he should have rebelled immediately when he saw what the JWs do with John 1:1.

Yeah...me too. He said that in proper translation the article was indefinite...therefore "a" God....

We then launched into the Shema and took off from there to Zechariah, and a few other places.

Took about 16 months of meetings for us to realize we were never going to change. And he never answered why Zechariah says that Jehovah is going to be betrayed for 30 pc of silver (when one of their little handout books places that prophecy square on Jesus).

I do find the particular set of missionaries you got to be odd as well. The men are between 18 and 22 and the women usually between 20 and 24 (or thereabouts..I might be off by a year either way).

However, the fact that one was a former Marine (there are no ex-Marines) and a Missouri Synod Lutheran might mean he was a later convert...I'm not sure how the rule about going out on missions applies to them.

stratagem said...

My take on Galatians 1 is that Paul was warning people not to be taken in by false teachings: "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

You mean, like the false teaching that you can earn your salvation?

Alma said...

SJ, The Book of Mormon doesn't say anything about Jesus being spirit brother of Lucifer or the origin of black people.

DJP said...

I think he said he met his wife while in the Marines; that, or after. Got the impression she was the one who Mormonized him.

He probably didn't say "former" or "ex." The one thing I WASN'T thinking while we talked was "Boy! I'll have to do a post on this!"

So I didn't take notes, ya know?

(c;

Daryl said...

Alma said -

"SJ, The Book of Mormon doesn't say anything about...the origin of black people."

Except that it does...

2 Nephi 5:21

21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.


Pretty clear I think.

stratagem said...

The Book of Mormon doesn't say anything about Jesus being spirit brother of Lucifer or the origin of black people.

That's true, but it does declare that one can rely upon good works to secure their own salvation, which is a far more serious error.

S.J. Walker said...

Daryl,

Good homework.

Stratagem,

Very good point, emphasized here quite well.

Thanks Brothers.

pfg bloghostess said...

That movie was good for widened eyes and dropped jaws. We all wanna walk through the Bible with him and his friends gloating on film. NOT

Chris said...

Alma,

Speaking of Galatians 1, what was the prime error of the judaizers that Paul so adamantly opposed?

Daryl said...

Know what guys?

We're suckers for trolls...

S.J. Walker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJP said...

Well, I'm one of the quicker quick-draws on trolls, and I'll say: if he's a troll, he's one of the politest ones we've had.

S.J. Walker said...

I think also, "troll" or not, will we practice what we preach? When someone come to our "doorstep".

Grendel joke aside, sorry :)

That is what my intent was. If not taken that way, my apologies.

pfg bloghostess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S.J. Walker said...

I deleted that other comment. I didn't think it was edifying. Sorry, I think that is the second or third of mine today I've deleted. I should think before I type more.

At least I get em before Dan or Phil has to usually, right?

and Alma,

In light of the Galatians passage and Chris's question along with mine, do you want to try and answer that one again?

pfg bloghostess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
centuri0n said...

Alma:

I'd like your short list of what those sources are.

S.J. Walker said...

bloghostess,

my point exactly. that is why i deleted it.

pfg bloghostess said...

Have a God is good evening, gents.

pfg bloghostess said...

s.j. ~ okay.

Joyce :-)

Writing and Living said...

Did I ever mention the time the JWs came to the door as my husband and his friends were finishing up their Saturday morning Bible Study? Fun times.

I think we've been listed as "scorched consciences" as well. They hit all our neighbors, but skip our house.

Brian Roden said...

I have a good friend who was the worship leader for our youth services back when we were in college. He was attending the same local state college as I to get his basic courses on scholarship before heading off to Bible college (he's now a pastor in Alabama).

Anyway, he worked at Baskin Robbins a couple of summers. The Mormon missionaries working the neighborhood would often stop in to cool off with a scoop of ice cream during the hottest part of the afternoon. He would engage them in conversation as long as possible (when either they had to go or he had too many customers to attend to). He said if he didn't succeed in changing their minds, at least he kept them away from others' doors for a while.

John Smith said...

Hi! I have read your blog for months and love it. This is my first post.

I had two really weird encounters with Mormons. Once, 2 missionary biker types showed up at our Wed. night Bible study/prayer service. They were sittin' there in the middle of the sanctuary in white shirt/black pants. My then-pastor apparently jetisoned his prepared message and proceeded to go from Genesis through Revelation and touched on just about every Scripture, verse, illustration, character, etc. highlighting salvation by grace through faith. It was good for the rest of us, I guess?(the usual whoopin' and hollerin' that goes along with an IFBx church in the South...shamefully, the fact that we all knew Mormons were there and that the preacher had decided to "take 'em to the woodshed" only added to our righteous euphoria... I don't go to that type of church anymore).

They were not even phased. After the service, when everyone had vamoosed, the two mormons stayed behind to wrangle with me and a deacon. We were sincere and really tried to help them. But that's just it. They were not looking for "truth". They were out peddling a "truth" that they(at least superficially and probably deeply) were convinced of. Couldn't that be why it is so difficult to win them? They are SET for the "restoration of the Gospel" whatever that means.

There are also huge societal factors involved as, most assuredly, their spouses, children, extended family, childhood friends, employers, in-laws, loan officers, police officers, neighborhood shopkeepers, etc. are all MORMONS. How hard does that make coming out of be???

About as hard as a muslim in Iraq trusting Christ, or a Jew in Tel Aviv (or NY CITY for that matter)????

The weird part is that by the end of the discussion, one of the guys kept moving his wrist and reflecting the light off his watch into my eye for like 5 minutes. (I AM NOT KIDDING!!) I think he was trying to hypnotize me into that "burning heart" test. I'm serious. He really did.

The second encounter was with a Moromon dental intern at the local dental clinic. I tried to be kind and show him the love of Christ, but he was a miserable intern and damaged my teeth. I had to quit going, but before I did I sensed that he was totally trapped and unhappy. (He had 7 children and was only 24.. not that that is a bad thing, God help me I need Grace for just 2!!!!)

It turns out that all his other students dropped out too and he would call me begging me to do his final treatment for his graduate project. Hey, I don't want anyone to go to Hell, but man, he butchered my teeth...I just couldn't go through with it.

....I hate the Devil...

John Smith

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Last summer, on my way home from church, I picked up two LDS missionaries who had run out of gas. Close to home, I dropped off the family, grabbed a gas can and headed back to their car.

On the way we had a pleasant conversation and I asked a few pointed questions, they were pretty green and seemed unsure how to answer. I really didn't push them too hard. Once I got back home, the wife wanted to know if I shared my faith with them. I laughed and pointed to John 3:16 verse on my shirt. Sometimes less is more.

Beth said...

The Book of Mormon may not specifically state that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers but the Mormon church sure teaches it. I don't have time to find out what the "D & C" references are in the excerpt from the article below. Maybe someone else can shed some light.

Don't let Alma get away with that one.

I did a simple google search "does mormonism teach jesus and satan are brothers"...the excerpt below is from the first article that came up.

“I Have a Question,” Ensign, Jun 1986, 24–27

Jess L. Christensen, Institute of Religion director at Utah State University, Logan, Utah. On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel “who was in authority in the presence of God,” a “son of the morning.” (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)
How could two such great spirits become so totally opposite? The answer lies in the principle of agency, which has existed from all eternity. (See D&C 93:30–31.) Of Lucifer, the scripture says that because of rebellion “he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies.” (Moses 4:4.) Note that he was not created evil, but became Satan by his own choice.
When our Father in Heaven presented his plan of salvation, Jesus sustained the plan and his part in it, giving the glory to God, to whom it properly belonged. Lucifer, on the other hand, sought power, honor, and glory only for himself. (See Isa. 14:13–14; Moses 4:1–2.) When his modification of the Father’s plan was rejected, he rebelled against God and was subsequently cast out of heaven with those who had sided with him. (See Rev. 12:7–9; D&C 29:36–37.)
That brothers would make dramatically different choices is not unusual. It has happened time and again, as the scriptures attest: Cain chose to serve Satan; Abel chose to serve God. (See Moses 5:16–18.) Esau “despised his birthright”; Jacob wanted to honor it. (Gen. 25:29–34.) Joseph’s brothers sought to kill him; he sought to preserve them. (Gen. 37:12–24; Gen. 45:3–11.)

lee n. field said...

"'So, what is the gospel?' I asked." --djp

Good job on that encounter!

If you listen to the White Horse Inn recently, on "Faith and the Gospel" (October or November sometime -- I'm pushing it relentlessly, it's good), you'll find that a _lot_ of evangelicals have a really hard time answering your question adequately.

4given said...

If you google that phrase it leads to a bunch of Mormon links. I did that before I responded but felt like a cheater. :-/

Before we moved to AR we lived in OK. Our next door neighbors when we moved in were a sweet, quiet JW couple. When they moved out, a gay couple moved in that held lots of parties.

I enjoyed reading about how you responded to them. Very good. Thank you for sharing.

It is sadly true that ALOT of professing evangelicals have a hard time answering your questions. THat is why our neighborhood study group is going through a series that pinpoints the very questions you were asking them. Why is that Dan? Why is it that so many professing evangelicals that would not be considered new Christians have no idea how to answer your questions?

coldwell said...

Thanks again, Dan. Your posts are always an inspiration to me.

David Wayne said...

This was outstanding Dan - thanks for handling this so well and giving the rest of us a model for interaction with Mormons.

donsands said...

"Why is it that so many professing evangelicals that would not be considered new Christians have no idea how to answer your questions?"

I'll take a stab at that.

Because they do not want to study the Scriptures' it's boring. And if you're not excited about studying the Bible, then you won't know what it says.

The Bible is hard work, and we are lazy. But God knows the fruit of hard work is very rewarding! And what a blessing to study God's Word.

I go to a Bible study at a friend's house, and we are studying the Psalms of Ascents, and my friend, who is a gifted teacher, even has power points for us, as we study these marvelous Psalms.

I pray that God would give His church a hunger for His Word, and that the Body of Christ would see what a great treasure the Bible is.

This has been a nice thread to read.

Andy said...

Dan,

I live in Utah and we go out doing street evangelism every week. One of the things that we do here and ironically enough when I was in Minnesota last speaking with Todd Friel he does the same thing at the end. I will outline a little of it here.

First you have to define terms with Mormons because they use all the same terms with different meanings. For example, repentance, atonement, grace, works, salvation, etc.

Second we use the law to show them where they sit with God and we will explain Grace vs. Works much like you did.

Finally we do what we call the "tiebreaker" I ask a Mormon if I die right now, according to Mormon Doctrine where will I go? Most of the time I get the response of "terestial or telestial kingdom". Which according to Joseph Smith is still the most fantastic thing you would ever see. I then explain that if they die right now according to the Bible without the Jesus Christ of the Bible forgiving their sins they will go to Hell forever. This usually lets them soak in that their is ramifications for having a false Christ.

pfg bloghostess said...

Dan, today in being led back to MacArthur's audio lending library, the message in Titus that was next to be played was perfectly timed with your post.

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Transcripts/56-10

Awesome how God works. Looking forward to 56-11.

Joyce :-)

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

andy said…” First you have to define terms with Mormons because they use all the same terms with different meanings. For example, repentance, atonement…”

Same bit w/ the EC doncha think.

At least you can see them coming (LDS) whereas emergents are so ‘inconspicuously conspicuous’
Their MO is more likened to identitity theft ploy, they try to steal faith. Maybe that not a great description, but this is-

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

@DJP
Who would you rather be stranded w/ in an elevator?

Alma said...

SJ Walker asked, "In light of the Galatians passage and Chris's question along with mine, do you want to try and answer that one again?"

Chris' question was what the prime error of the judaizers opposed by Paul? I'm not sure the purpose of asking me this question since Chris likely doesn't think me capable of exegesis--but I'd say Paul's opposition is explained in Galatians 2--"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ"--and the judaizers thought that righteousness was by the law.

My initial answer to you is still the same. In your rejoinder, you wrote, "That is a little different that what you quoted." That's primarily because I quoted verse 9 and you quoted verse 8.

centuri0n asked: "I'd like your short list of what those sources are." centuri0n, I haven't the slightest idea what you're referring to. Could you be more specific?

strategem asserted: "That's true, but it (the Book of Mormon) does declare that one can rely upon good works to secure their own salvation, which is a far more serious error." Strategem, I'm pretty familiar with the Book of Mormon, and would be interested if you could provide me with a source supporting such an allegation. Your claim seems quite at odds with what I have found to be its teachings such as, "that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith." (Moroni 6:4)

Beth said, "Don't let Alma get away with that one" referring to my comment that the Book of Mormon didn't include teachings that SJ claimed it included. Beth, I've found it's important to be precise when people criticize my faith. You'll note that I didn't deny that this is taught in Mormonism, only that it did not appear in the Book of Mormon. That was the subject of the passage SJ felt was covered by Galatians 1:8. I'll defend that concept as being entirely biblical but I'm not about to agree that doctrines appear in a book unless they actually can be found in them. I wasn't trying to "get away" with anything. Perhaps you could at least grant that I'm acting above board until someone demonstrates otherwise?

stratagem said...

Alma

Nice try, but mormonism is most certainly a legalistic, earn your own way to heaven religion. That you can find one verse in the book that suggest otherwise, shows only that the book of mormon is self-contradictory in yet one more way: A book that says everything can easily be used to proof-text any position you want to present, or its opposite, so let's just recognize that this is what you're doing.
Mormons have a different definition(s) of everything, including salvation vs. what is meant by that word in orthodox Christianity. They also have re-defined who Christ is, what he did, and how you receive the gift of salvation.
The Canon was closed in the first millennium - the book of Mormon is a spurious counterfeit, no different than the spurious gospels that were written and rejected in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. I'll keep telling people that, until it has rung in every ear...
Thanks.

Alma said...

Thanks for your reply Stratagem. I’ve been a Mormon for nearly 50 years, and your opinion that my faith is an “earn your own way to heaven” doesn’t coincide with what I’ve believed or taught for all that time. I assure you that there are many more passages demonstrating that “salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3:18). If you think there are contradictions to that in the Book of Mormon, demonstrate them.

You claim that the canon was closed in the first century. It seems that the failure of the canon to specify either its closure or its content seems to me to indicate otherwise.

pastorbrianculver said...

Alma,
Maybe I missed it, but, even if you say the same things as Christians, the fact that the Jesus of mormonism is not the Jesus of the Bible, makes mormonism not Christian. In fact, what it does is breaks the 2nd Commandment. Joseph Smith created a god to suit himself. One that elevates himself to an equal status as Jesus (in that Joseph Smith said "he" holds the keys to heaven).How do you compare your Jesus with that of the Bible? No where in the Bible does it say that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. No where in the Bible does it say that His blood is not sufficient to cleanse us of all our sins. The Bible clearly states that Jesus is Eternal. No beginning and no end. Don't try to say the mormon faith teaches that, because I know they don't. I know the spin they put on it is that he is eternal in "this" creation. That is not biblical. Jesus is God. The first chapter of God clearly states this fact. I pray that you will spend some time in the Book of John and that your eyes will be opened to the truth of God's Word.

Alma said...

Brian,

Your response is pretty typical. You throw out a lot of questionable claims and assume for me my responses. Apologetics by fiat is an uninteresting and ineffective strategy. If you think that Joseph Smith elevated himself to be equal with Jesus by claiming to hold the keys to heaven, do you think Peter was also made equal to Jesus because Peter held the keys to heaven? (see Matthew 16:19) If not, do you have one standard for Joseph Smith and another for the Bible?

I think that the Jesus Christ taught by Joseph Smith is absolutely biblical. Because you don’t see LDS perceptions clearly documented in the Bible shouldn’t be a problem—I surmise you believe in the Trinity even though it isn’t mentioned in the Bible either.

You claim to be pretty sure about knowing what it is that Mormonism teaches—yet you make several comments that suggest you think Mormons deny the deity of Christ. Of course Jesus is God—that’s the premise of the Book of Mormon stated on its title page: convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD.” (caps in the original.)

pastorbrianculver said...

Alma,
Let's compare something...
v. 19. When a city or society is incorporated, officers are appointed and empowered to act for the common good. A city without government is a chaos. Now this constituting of the government of the church, is here expressed by the delivering of the keys, and, with them, a power to bind and loose. This is not to be understood of any peculiar power that Peter was invested with, as if he were sole door-keeper of the kingdom of heaven, and had that key of David which belongs only to the Son of David; no, this invests all the apostles and their successors with a ministerial power to guide and govern the church of Christ, as it exists in particular congregations or churches, according to the rules of the gospel. Claves regni caelorum in B. Petro apostolo cuncti suscepimus sacerdotes—All we that are priests, received, in the person of the blessed apostle Peter, the keys of the kingdom of heaven; so Ambrose De Dignit. Sacerd. Only the keys were first put into Peter’s hand, because he was the first that opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, Acts 10:28. As the king, in giving a charter to a corporation, empowers the magistrates to hold courts in his name, to try matters of fact, and determine therein according to law, confirming what is so done regularly as if done in any of the superior courts; so Christ, having incorporated his church, hath appointed the office of the ministry for the keeping up of order and government, and to see that his laws be duly served; I will give thee the keys. He doth not say, "I have given them,’’ or "I do now;’’ but "I will do it,’’ meaning after his resurrection; when he ascended on high, he gave those gifts, Ephes. 4:8; then this power was actually given, not to Peter only, but to all the rest, ch. 28:19, 20; Jn. 20:21. He doth not say, The keys shall be given, but, I will give them; for ministers derive their authority from Christ, and all their power is to be used in his name, 1 Co. 5:4.

Now, what did Joseph Smith claim?
“Well, now, examine the character of the Savior, and examine the character of those who have written the Old and New Testaments; and then compare them with the character of Joseph Smith, the founder of this work… and you will find that his character stands as fair as that of any man’s mentioned in the Bible. We can find no person who presents a better character to the world when the facts are known than Joseph Smith, Jun., the prophet and his brother Hyrum Smith, who was murdered with him.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 14 p. 203)

“…no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith…. Every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance… I cannot go there without his consent.… He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven.” (vol. 7, p. 289)

pastorbrianculver said...

I don't say they deny deity of Christ, they just "think" they are worshipping the same Jesus as Christians worship. When in fact, it is not. Jesus is NOT a brother of Lucifer.

Rick said...

I am a first-time poster here having just discovered the Pyromaniacs blog. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and the subsequent comments.

I want to stress that Apologetics can, and does, work on Mormons. I know....it was through a couple of really good Christian apologetics websites that I began to SERIOUSLY examine my Mormon faith. God opened my eyes to the truth and I was saved out of the Mormon church two years ago.

The difficulty in witnessing to Mormons is that the majority are generational.....meaning their Mormon faith has been passed down in the family for some time and they are heavily indoctrinated from a very young age in what to say and how to respond to criticism of their faith.

Amazingly, very few Mormons look beyond the surface beliefs. Inquisitiveness is discouraged because church leadership knows that if one starts delving too deep into Mormon history and doctrinal statements made by earlier church leaders, glaring discrepancies and undeniable inconsistencies arise that cannot be ignored.

I also wanted to reiterate what someone else here already said. If you are going to engage a Mormon in discussion it is vitally important that you understand the way they define common terms used in Christian circles. For example, Strategem made the point that Mormonism is an "earn your own way to heaven" religion to which Alma rightly responded that Mormons believe that SALVATION is given freely through Christ's blood on the Christ. In Mormon theology, it is not SALVATION that is earned, it is EXALTATION. If you are not faithful to the Mormon church, if you have not performed the Temple rituals, if you have not followed the counsel of the living prophet you WILL NOT, according to Mormon theology, dwell in the celestial kingdom, enjoying the prescence of God and ruling over your own planets with your wife(or wives) and children by your side. See the distinction? The question is not one of salvation it is of exaltation. This is just ONE area in which Christians get tripped up in not having an understanding of how Mormon theology redefines terms in order to make them look like a mainstream Christian church.

God bless!

Rick

pastorbrianculver said...

good point Rick!

Mike said...

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints better known as "Mormons" Unlike most of you I believe it to be true. For those of you who have had a conversation with the missionaries from our church you have proably been introduced to a scripture in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon.
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/moro/10
For those of you who take the time to read verses 3-5 you will see that there is an exhortation to "...ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Chrst, if these things are not true..." For any of you who have ever read the bible you will recognize that as the way that Christ taught us to pray. So the invitation is along the same lines as spoken in The Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Prayer isn't a thoughtless phrase spoken to some unknown force, but to "Our Father which art in heaven" Many people are much too casual with prayer and end up being misled. Satan has great power to deceive as evidenced many times throughout scripture, and you have probably seen him trying to deceive you in your lives. For those of you who just thought it, that isn't what is happening now. Follow the counsel spoken in 1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

As spoken on this blog by somebody else, we believe that there has been a restoration of Christ's original church and that propehts and apostles have been called by Christ today, just as they were called by Christ in during his eathly ministry. Just as 1 John 4:1 says there are many false prophets gone out into the world. Matthew 7 says something similar. And it gives us direction on how we can know the false prophets from the true prophets. "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." The Book of Mormon is a "fruit" of Joseph Smith. It's truth proves the truthfulness of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. Read it and if you profess a belief in God, then pray about it and find out for yourself the truth. You aren't going to find it on this site, it is going to come from God. "Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you..."

Ephesians 2:19-20 says that the foundation of Christ's church is built upon the apostles and prophets and that Jesus Christ himself is the chief cornerstone. That is how Christ set up his church. A church set up in a different way than the way Christ set up his church is a red flag that there is some deception going on.

As for a belief that the scripture ended and that the last few verses of Revelations are proof of that, take a look at Deuteronomy 4:2 which also says not to add unto the word or take away from it. So if you are to interpret the last few verses of Revelations to mean that nothing else is supposed to be written than that would mean we would have a much shorter bible. We would only have 4 different books and a couple chapters to a 5th.

We don't try to deceive people, we show them what we believe and allow them the opportunity to exercise their God-given agency. Take it or leave it. We aren't trying to force anything, but at the same time it would be awful selfish of us to keep quiet. We spend our time in church teaching one another about Christ. Our motivation lies in nothing other than a belief in Christ and a desire to develop a stronger relationship with our Lord and Saviour. Whereas I have had the opportunity to attend the worship services of other denominations in a desire to understand their beliefs better, but instead I get an earful from the pulpit of talk about how wrong the Mormons are. Politicians use slander to retain power. WWJD? Spend your time in church and teach about Christ. If you don't believe the Book of Mormon is scripture, then open up the Bible and teach the congregation about Jesus Christ. Help everyone present in that room to understand their purpose in life. Let them know why they are here on earth, where they came from, and where they are going. If you don't know your purpose in life and would like to, then talk to a couple of those men in white shirts with little black name tags who are out there supporting themselves, receiving no compensation for giving up 2 years in the prime of their lives to get yelled at, cussed out, have things thrown at them, and undergo many other persecutions by people who think they are mislead young men on the highway to hell. They would love to tell you about the purpose of life. The Pharisees and the Sauducees persecuted Christ and his apostles believing they were in the service of God, and I fully believe there is a direct relation today to the persecution that is directed to the Mormons.

I came to a knowledge for myself that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christ's church on the earth today as a teenager and I still retain that belief. I believe that Christ is my Lord, Saviour, and my advocate with the Father. I know the Book of Mormon is true because I have read it many a time and prayed about it many a time. The Jesus I believe in isn't some "other Jesus" it is the Jesus who fed the 5,000 and who walked on water, the same Jesus Christ who suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and died on the cross at Calvary. If any of you believe that those beliefs are in some way evil, I am sorry to hear that.

Strong Tower said...

Mike- I have prayed, and the Lord by the Spirit told me that you have believed a lie.

I do not yell or cuss or persecute Mormons by any means. My great-grandfather was a scout for Brigham Young, my family history is Mormon right back to NY. When I entertain LDS missionaries they always leave weeping or shaken after I open the Scriptures to them. Why do you think that is the case? Could it be that they finally saw the Lord in the Word rather than being blinded by it?

pastorbrianculver said...

that's exactly right strongtower! When I became a mormon I was convinced by the holy spirit that the book of mormon was true. But when I was saved, I was convinced by the Holy Spirit! The difference being, the mormon experience was to verify a "book" the second was to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. Satan is able to give people "good feelings" and mormons need to be very careful about seeking a "feeling" instead of seeking Truth by reading the Bible and only the Bible! Mormons will deny many of the things that Joseph Smith Jr taught as well as the teachings of Brigham Young because their teachings are an embarassment to the church (people used to live on the sun and the moon!) Just realize that when they quote verses about false prophets bearing bad fruit, in all honesty, they think they are bearing good fruit which means they must be the true church. What they don't realize is that they are worshipping a false god. They are not worshipping the Jesus of the Bible. They are worshipping the brother of Lucifer. Which means they are breaking the 2nd Commandment and are guilty of breaking God's Law. That is not good fruit!

Mike said...

Well all of us who have read the bible know that Christ only established one church while on the earth. That one church was spread by the apostles throughout many countries, but was still all the same doctrine. Where is that church today?

Strong Tower said...

Mike-

Right here: Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

And this is how one is saved: For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

But, for someone to understand this a miracle must happen: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Because: None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ...

so then for those who have the mind of Christ: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set (us) free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Finally, if today you have heard his voice repent and do not doubt but be believing, for God sent his only Son, who alone is the fulness of the Godhead in human form, to be the full payment for your sin, that all who are believing in Him should not die but have eternal life.

We've been here all along, Mike, come home.

Mike said...

You never answered my question.

Strong Tower said...

Yes Mike, I answered your question, you just can't hear it.

Mike said...

I understand the concept of being born again and having a change of heart and a change of life as you bring Christ into your life. How you must put off the old man.

But let me tell you something, I left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints once a few years back, and that was single-handidly one of the worst decisions I have ever made in my life. I suffered the pains of a damned soul, and had no idea. I went on that way for probably 2 or 3 years wandering in darkness. Thankfully, through the mercy of a loving God, I was invited back into the fold and able to repent of my shortcomings. At that point I began to feel more love, joy, peace, longsuffering, temperance, goodness, and faith that I hadn't had in my life in a long time. It just so happens that those are those "feelings" that the Mormons are always talking about. They claim to have felt something that led them where they are. Come to find out that is how the bible describes the fruit of the spirit, with the addition of meekness and goodness.
So as I said before, leaving this church was one of the worst decisions that I have ever made. I'm one to learn from my mistakes and try not to do them again. So I won't be making the mistake of leaving Christ's church again. You may not think that it is His church, but my salvation doesn't depend on you or any other man, it is entirely dependant on Jesus the Christ. I have been born again and cleansed through the blood of my Lord and Saviour. I have confessed in with my mouth that Jesus in Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead. I will still continue each day of my life to try to be obedient to the commandments that he has given us through the scriptures, and to follow the men he has called as prophets and apostles today. I do that because I love God. And as Jesus said himself, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." So I will continue to rely on Jesus Christ and what I have been taught by the Holy Spirit as I have read the scriptures and prayed to understand. My hope and prayer is that someday all of you will do the same.

pastorbrianculver said...

The Jesus which is the brother of Lucifer is unable to save anyone. It is only Jesus as found in the bible that can save. The worst mistake is going back to the fold of mormonism. Mormonism teaches that we are spirit babies in heaven awaiting earthly bodies, but Scriptures tells us otherwise...
that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. A man must be born again. The first birth is the natural birth the second is the spiritual birth, it is not the other way around. We do not have a spiritual being first, then a natural birth and then another spiritual birth. That would make three births and that is not biblical.

Strong Tower said...

"If ye love me, keep my commandments."

The Greek here uses a word that is not conditional. IF is better rendered, THROUGH. Or, IN SUCH CASE, or, AS. The phrase then is. (As you are)(Through)(In such case,) loving me you are keeping my commandments. The word love, and keep are in the aorist tense, meaning an ongoing thing that was begun in the past and continues without end. Or, it can mean a perfectly completed action in the past, Hebrews 12:2. In either case, it is not something that may or may not be done, but rather the natural condition of the thing that is indicated.

"I will still continue each day of my life to try to be obedient to the commandments that he has given us through the scriptures..."

Why? Jesus Christ has fulfilled all the righteousness that God requires of you. By asserting that you try, are you asserting that Christ's life lived for you is not sufficient; Galatians 3:3:

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

Have you sold everything, given to the poor? Have you keep, without exception, everyone of the commandments; James 2:10. And what about the disciples? Not even they thought that they had. They understood that even if a man has kept all the commandments it was worthless, he would still have himself. To which Jesus replied that, yes indeed it is impossible for a man to sell all that he has, that is to keep the commmandments of Christ perfectly as the law requires. But it is not impossible for God.

"to follow the men he has called as prophets and apostles today."

Are you sure they are prophets?

The Mormon belief in a plurality of gods runs against all that is contained in the Scripture. You say you believe the Bible, quote our Lord's words from it, do you believe also: "I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 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."

Now you say that you believe the Bible, do you believe what Isaiah spoke? Put aside for a moment your extra-revelations.

You say one thing and I say another. You say you know the truth, and I say you're a liar. In either case, to whom do you look for truth? Scripture says that it is not given for any private interpretation: "And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

That means that neither you nor I nor any prophet nor apostle can interpret it for us, as Paul said: "But even if we (I) or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed." Then where shall we go?

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

"Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me...even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you...When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come..."

"We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error..."

Do you have the Spirit of Truth? Because you have said, and your religion teaches you, that while you are still in the world if you ask the father will give you a sign. But, Jesus said, a wicked and perverse generation seeks for a sign and none will be given it except that he does the will of God. And no one can know the will of the Father except the Spirit is in him. Part of the will of God is that a man calls upon his name and part of the will of God is that he believe on him whom the Father has sent. It is a commandment. But a wicked and perverse generation cannot see the sign though they ask, because as it is written in Isaiah, God has blinded their eyes so that they cannot see, and stopped their ears so the cannot hear lest the see with their eyes and understand what they hear and turn and be saved. Instead God has reserved it to those who have been born again.

So, when did you come to understand. Before, or after you were born again? Because unless a man has the Spirit he is none of Christ's and to have the Spirit one must be born of God. So that, Paul writes that we have been given the mind of Christ so that we can understand, because the fleshly man cannot understand the things of God for they are foolishness to him. Indeed he cannot obey the commandments, because he neither understands nor is willing to submit to them. So, how is it that you heard and then were established? Because, unless the foundation is layed, it is as if a man built his house upon sand. It cannot stand. And no one can lay any foundation other than the one which was laid, by Christ.

So, tell me again, that I am a liar. And that I do not know the Christ who is in me. For that is what Christ would do: Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Mike

Mike said...

It is not yours to say that I am not of God. Matthew 7:1 states that. Judge not that ye be not judged. You think that because we invite people to pray and ask of God to know truth, that we are seeking after signs? We are only following the counsel to ask, and to trust in the Lord. It would seem that we are going to have to part ways my friend. I will continue to ponder on your words and hope you would do the same with mine, but the conversation seems to be drifting towards contention. Which is never something I was looking forth. I just wanted to let the people reading this blog know what we really believe. I see truths mixed with lies throughout this page. We are christians and believe in Salvation through Christ and none else. Any comment otherwise is made in ignorance. And that is the last you will hear from me. May God be with us both until we meet again.

pastorbrianculver said...

I would be interested in finding out what he considers to be lies. From what I have seen posted here, there are no lies, no deceptions. It is sad when the Word of God is construed as being lies!

Strong Tower said...

Mike-

John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Therefore, do not judge unless you are willing to be judged with the same judgement with which you judge.

You call me a liar by saying that I do not speak according to truth, I say the same of you, therefore, do not judge unless you are willing to be judged by the same measure by which you judge...

I do not mind that you call me a liar...

Let us then use the balances that the Lord has given us, The Bible, and only the Bible. It is a measure that we both agree is the Word of God. So, we can judge, but our judgement must be done rightly, not by appearances, but by the Word of God, which is the discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the hearts of men.

TBE said...

just wanted to chime in, Dan, and tell you that last night when two Mormon elders came to my front door I thought of your post and invited them in to witness to them.

It went pretty much the same way yours did--they wanted to argue that the Gospel had been 'lost,' but couldn't give any real evidence of that, couldn't make good sense of what the Scriptures were saying, and so forth. I got to pray for them, though, and that was special--I'm praying for them still.

Thanks for challenging me on this.

DJP said...

Glory to the all-wise God. May He bless the seed you sowed.