Is Your Faith Like That of a Mormon?

Awhile back I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a couple of Mormon missionaries. They explained to me the way that Joseph Smith received the Book of Mormon. Here was a bit of my response.

“So…let me get this straight. Joseph Smith saw these golden plates. And he was permitted to read them. But nobody else was with him…”

They corrected me and informed me that one other fella was with him and saw some of it, but later denied the whole thing. (If I’m getting some of my Mormon history incorrect please forgive me, I’m only going by what these two chaps told me).

“Okay then, so one other guy saw it but then later denied it. But nobody (and I really was emphatic on the nobody) else saw these golden plates? And this doesn’t bother you? Why didn’t he show other people these golden plates?”

“No, he tried to show other people,” they informed me. “But when he went to show them the plates had disappeared and an angel told him later that they weren’t ready to see it. So yes, Joseph Smith was the only one that saw the golden plates. And no, that doesn’t bother me. We have faith. It is by faith that we believe and receive these things.”

Now pause with me for a moment and ask yourself a question. “Is my faith different than that of these Mormon missionaries?”

Sadly, a number of Christians have an understanding of faith that is similar to these Mormon missionaries. Their faith is a blind faith. It is a faith that values the unverifiable claims of Joseph Smith as somehow a more pure test of faith than a reasoned faith.

Misunderstanding John 20:24-29

In part I believe this comes from a misunderstanding of John 20:24-29 in the account of the aptly named Doubting Thomas. Here Thomas refuses to believe that Jesus is really resurrected until he can see with his own eyes and touch the wounds of Jesus with his own finger. The Lord Jesus in his grace shows up and admonishes Thomas to touch his side. As he does this he admonishes Thomas, “Do not disbelieved, but believe”. Thomas responds in faith—a faith that responds to sight.

Jesus notes his faith as sight response and then says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”.

It is at this point that many make a leap that is not in the text. They read this as if what Jesus is saying is that there is the faith of sight and there is a blind faith—and those with blind faith are better than those that see with their eyes. Not seeing=blind faith. But is that really what Jesus is saying?

We have imposed this idea of blind faith onto the text. What Jesus is contrasting is the faith of Thomas and the other disciples—that see Jesus with their eyes and were able to touch him with their hands—with that of those that will believe after the Ascension. Once Christ returns to the Father then the faith of sight is no longer an option until His return.

Yet this does not mean that our faith is a blind faith. Notice the way that Paul reasons with the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15 about the resurrection. He points to the written Word of God in 15:3-4; the written—verifiable, see with your eyeballs and see with your brain–Word of God. he then backs it up with eyewitness testimony in 15:5-6; go ask those 500 other dudes that are still living and they’ll tell you the same thing, type of testimony.

There isn’t in 1 Corinthians 15 any sort of, “Well, you see we saw an empty tomb and the risen Lord, but whenever I went to go tell somebody else…well the darndest thing happened, he was back in the tomb and he had disappeared. But you know I still believe what I saw—after all that is faith—believing in something that cannot be verified”.

There is none of that. And there is none of that because the Bible doesn’t exalt blind faith. There is the faith of sight that was given to the apostles and will some day be given to us. And there is reasonable faith—an I’ve tested this thing and found it legit type of faith. But there is no such thing as an “I just feel this in my heart and know that it’s true” type of faith in the Bible.

Comments

  1. Adam Blosser says

    Good thoughts, Mike. The resurrection really is the linchpin of the Christian faith. Was Jesus raised from the grave? The answer to that question makes all the difference in the world.

    • Christiane says

      @ your comment: true this, ADAM

      ‘The Convert’
      By G. K. Chesterton

      “After one moment when I bowed my head
      And the whole world turned over and came upright,
      And I came out where the old road shone white.
      I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
      Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves un-shed,
      Being not unlovable but strange and light;
      Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
      But softly, as men smile about the dead

      The sages have a hundred maps to give
      That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
      They rattle reason out through many a sieve
      That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
      And all these things are less than dust to me
      Because my name is Lazarus and I live. “

  2. says

    Whoa, those missionaries were about the most misinformed missionaries I’ve ever heard of. Surely they had copies of the Book of Mormon with them. Each edition has a copy of the statements of the eleven other people who saw the plates. Joseph Smith handed the plates over to eight men who carefully inspected each plate that had been translated and “hefted” the entire set. Three others testified that an angel of God stood before them and showed them the plates. None of these 11 people ever denied their claims of having seen and handled the plates. That is four more eyewitnesses than the 7 who left their eyewitness accounts of the resurrection (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, Jude.) While the Bible points out that many more were eyewitnesses, those seven are the only ones whose accounts have survived.

  3. Tarheel says

    Good post, Mike.

    Yes, there were many verifiable eye eyewitnesses to the events and milestones of the past that are a foundation of our faith.

    One such witness, the Apostle Peter said we have a prophetic word thats more fully confirmed than even that. 2 Peter 1:16-21

    We also though know that on that coming day our “unseen” faith too will be verified by our sight.

    Although most of time we don’t sing verses 4 and 5 … I think this song by Horatio Spafford speaks well of the faith we hold.

    It Is Well With My Soul

    When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

    Refrain:
    It is well, (it is well),
    With my soul, (with my soul)
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

    Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

    My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

    For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

    But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

    And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul

  4. Jess says

    I do believe in blind faith, there are many things in the ministry that couldn’t be accomplished unless I believed in blind faith. I also believe in what is factual, that which can be proved. I also believe in the Holy Spirit leading and guiding each believer. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

  5. says

    Great article, Mike!

    I use to have an argument with a fellow who believed that saving faith was blind faith. He was a professing Christian but could offer no good reason for his faith.

    It depends on how one defines faith. If faith is mere assent, then it can be claimed that anyone merely gives assent to what they can’t know for sure when the foundations for knowing are never investigated or sorely obfuscated by the employment of clever fallacies.

    However, biblical faith is given to us as akin to trust. It’s one thing to know, we say, but our faith is that we trust what we know. The level of trust we are willing to demonstrate is evidential testimony to the veracity of the knowledge we claim to hold true.

    But we have more than mere evidence, for while the evidence is exceptional, as long as it can merely be evaluated by likelihood, the believer has a more certain knowledge: that of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It may be rightly observed that this is subjective. The evidence is that many people claiming the Holy Spirit disagree and many details. Nevertheless, there is a difference between saving faith and theological conviction and the argument based on that evidence is a practice in category error.

    But the Holy Spirit works twofold. That is, he first gives us a desire for God. Second, he reveals our own disposition as rebels in the words of the very scriptures he inspired. And so saving faith is not blind in the least, but rather necessarily founded in the revelation of God to his people: an insight the unregenerate cannot possess.

    For all the rest, our knowledge is based in part on our spiritual development after the fact, but also our understanding may be confounded in some areas as a testimony as to what it truly important to know in saving faith.

  6. Jess says

    Heb. Chapter 11:1-3. Faith is the substance. Faith is the assurance upon which all hope is based. Through Faith objective reality is not necessary. Through Faith we can have the confidence in the fulfilling of God’s promises. No one saw the act of creation, yet by faith we know the worlds were framed by the word of God.

    Noah prepared an ark based on a warning of things not yet seen. I do believe that would be blind faith.

    By faith, many of you voted for Mitt Romney (a Mormon) in the last election, hoping he would somehow do away with abortion. When the facts are that in 1973 (Roe Vs. Wade). Six of the Supreme Court Justices we Republican appointed. Three were Democrat appointed, and the vote was seven to two. We also had a Republican President at the time, Republican through and through. That is blind faith!!!

    I will not charge anything for the last paragraph, it’s free. Did you all thank your Republican friends for abortion. I apologize for maybe getting a little off track here. Sorry Dave, but, in my defense it was free.

  7. says

    Something is being left out of the picture, here: the witness of the Holy Spirit. Mormons do not have the Holy Spirit’s witness to the truth of their faith. We do. Mere evidences can only provide a probability of truth and not absolute certainty. Sure, the probability that the New Testament accounts, as well as the historical evidences, point to the actual fact of Jesus’ resurrection may be extremely high, but as with any such human evidences, there always remains that small possibility that it did not happen. When it comes to such an important matter as where you will spend eternity, probabilities are not enough—and thanks be to God, we are not left with mere human evidence, but are provided with the witness of the Holy Spirit who confirms the truth with utter certainty to those who are genuinely seeking the truth. The spiritual is not any less real than the physical. In fact, God’s spiritual revelation of the truth of God’s word is more reliable than any physical evidences.

    There are many things in Scripture which had no eyewitness accounts, and yet, we believe. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” For those who do not believe, no evidence would be enough (“even if one rises from the dead they will not believe”); and for those who believe, no evidence (other than the testimony of Scripture and the witness of the Holy Spirit) is needed.

  8. says

    Mike,
    Ken has it right.
    And i add that having a book [the Bible] doesn’t make your faith any less blind. It simply transfers the blindness from the heard word to the written word.
    But there are testimonies, eyewitness accounts…
    So you transfer your ‘blind’ faith to people you never met.
    Layer it all you want, it is still just as blind, and still without reasons as the world understands reasoning.

    That is why Paul in 1st Corinthians wrote this:

    And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

    And in his next letter to them, he wrote:

    And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

    Faith, then, comes from God shining His light into our heart the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.
    And this is why faith is never gained by deciding to have it, nor through reason or reasonableness. So that we who have faith may know that it “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” My faith is my evidence of the truth of the Gospel, while your faith is your evidence of the truth of the Gospel.

    To the world, it is blind. To us it is sight.

    mike

  9. says

    Mike,
    So how is our faith different than the Mormons?
    Their faith is but an assent to a set of propositions.
    If that is all one’s faith is, then a person might simply walk away from it [as one of our fellow posters has]. He no longer believes.

    Understanding faith as assent and preaching it that way allows our churches to give the right hand of fellowship to all those who choose to accept the validity of what we preach. And when it no longer works for them, they stop coming and our church rolls become bloated. Or worse, they become leaders, teachers, and pastors as unsaved ‘believers’.

    True faith begins with an encounter from God, and is reinforced by the witness of the Spirit.

    -mike

  10. says

    Joseph Smith might have had the same mindset toward evidence and faith, demanding that “proof” be the foundation of faith—and perhaps he did really encounter an angel with golden plates. But the question for Smith should not have been, “Is this experience—these plates and this angel—real?” but, “Is this angel an angel of God who is telling me the truth and not lies?” And that question can only be answered by the real word of God coupled with the witness of the Holy Spirit.

  11. says

    Mike,
    You said:
    And there is reasonable faith—an I’ve tested this thing and found it legit type of faith. But there is no such thing as an “I just feel this in my heart and know that it’s true” type of faith in the Bible. – See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/is-your-faith-like-that-of-a-mormon/#comment-245247

    Now when a person is unsaved and is coming to the Lord, is the faith he or she has a “I’ve tested this thing and found it legit type of faith”? How is such a faith tested?

  12. says

    I’m not arguing for some sort of faith that weighs the evidence or just gives mere assent to the truth. Nor am I advocating for some sort of Paschal’s Wager that would have Christianity just being the best option available.

    What I am saying is that the Bible does not lift up a blind faith. Blind faith as the dictionary defines it is “belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination”. Take creation for example. We don’t just blindly believe that God has created the world. We believe that God created the world because the heavens declare the glory of God. We believe that God created the world because as Paul says in Romans 1 the truth about God is plain to see–and its only through a suppression of the truth that we have unbelief.

    Now concerning those that come to faith in Christ. I believe as well that what happens is that the Lord in his mercy causes the light of the knowledge of the glory of God to shine into their hearts and to remove that veil. What happens when that veil is removed? They are able to “see Christ”. I’d argue that this sight isn’t quite the same as what was given to Thomas but it is the “blessed are those that don’t see but still believe”. But it’s still not a blind faith.

    Again I’m not arguing for some sort of evidentialism. I agree with you that mere assent to the truth is nothing more than demon faith. And I also appreciate Ken’s point about the witness of the Spirit. But what is interesting is that when these Mormon’s were sharing with me they were using that language to convince me to become a Mormon. When pressed they admitted to a blind faith. I don’t believe Christianity is founded upon a blind faith. It’s a “check the tomb, it’s empty” type of faith.

    • says

      Mike,
      Well…
      I just don’t get what you are saying.
      Obviously you are using some sort of metaphor when you say “check the tomb’, but I do not understand what you are driving at.

      Faith is trust that trusts. Trust comes about in different ways. It could come about through experience, like: My boss trusts that I will show up to work unless I just can’t do to sickness or an emergency because i almost always go to work and rarely call off.
      Trust could come through personal knowledge. Though your wife never was alone raising your first child before, you go to work and leave him there with her because you know her and thus trust her to do what is best for the baby.
      Trust could also come about in circumstance where one perceives a situation [rightly or wrongly] in a good way. So if your car broke down on the freeway, you might hitch a ride with some guy for reasons you may not be able to articulate.
      Blind trust is trust without reason.
      So the world sees our faith as a blind trust in God.
      They do not see the reason why we believe.

      Why do you believe?

    • says

      You portrayed the Mormon faith as a blind faith in the opening article because no one can produce the gold plates—or the angel for that matter. But even if they could produce those things, their faith would still be blind since it lacks the true witness of the Holy Spirit. They may say that they have such a spiritual witness, as we claim to have; but Judgment Day will show who really had it and who did not.

      The empty tomb proves nothing. It is mere evidence that adds to the probability of resurrection.

    • says

      This has been a very interesting discussion, Mike. Thanks for the article and for the ideas it spurred. I think that parsonsmike makes a good point, though (if I understand him) about references to the “empty tomb.” No one today can point to a specific tomb and demonstrate that it was where the Lord lay. Those of us who believe in the resurrection don’t base it upon any evidence related to an empty tomb. Even the right tomb could be empty for any number of reasons–only one being that the Lord rose from it the third day.

      I surmise that belief in the resurrection is based upon the testimony of those witnesses who saw the Lord crucified and then walked and talked with him after his resurrection. That witness is powerful and we rely on it initially because we see them as credible. Their accounts ring true.

      Having faith in the account of someone we trust isn’t blind faith. The early converts from Galatia, Rome, Pontus and other areas didn’t go look at an empty tomb. They heard and believed the witnesses that God had commissioned. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” They heard the word of God and believed on those who declared it.

      I suggest that Mormons’ faith isn’t any more blind, because even though they don’t have the original plates to examine, they can examine the Book of Mormon and see if it generates faith as does the Bible.

      • says

        Alma,
        The Mormon faith is blind.
        Their book is a bunch of words they have to take as true on blind faith.

        Christianity is different.
        While it is true that many who call themselves Christians do have blind faith, these will either convert to true faith or fall away.

        True believers in Jesus Christ not only have the words of our Book, the Bible, but also the internal witness of the Holy Spirit.

        The Bible tells us: Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
        and…
        Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true.

        The latter is from John 8. In context:

        6 But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. 17 Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”

        • says

          Parsonmike: I suspect we may have conflicting perspectives of what “blind” faith is. Beyond that, I agree with your comments that it is the testimony of witnesses that confirms spiritual realities. So, before I get too far, how do you define “blind faith?” I define it as faith without any evidence. However, I count the testimony of the prophets and apostles–as well as the Holy Spirit as evidence. Some is more compelling than other. But for you to claim that Mormon faith is blind, you have to assume a priori that all our evidence is not, in fact, evidence. I submit that the testimony of John, Paul and Peter counts as evidence–while concluding the same is true for the testimony of the many witnesses of the Book of Mormon.

  13. says

    Ken,
    Exactly.
    The plates, unless alien, are nothing without the testimony of Smith.
    Thus it remains a blind faith because you have to ‘blindly’ believe his testimony.
    Thus without the plates, the belief remains blind, for it accepts the testimony and the Book of Mormon as true.

    The difference between the testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Bible is ONLY the Holy Spirit.

    Thus to the unbelieving world, the Christians, the Mormons, the Muslims, and the Jews have a blind faith, for the only evidence they have is some words *supposedly* that came from God.

    Now one does not even need the actual book of the Bible to be saved, but only the words from it preached. The trust or faith they have is not in a book but in Christ. Peter did not quote from the Old T when he said in Acts 2:
    Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.

    But some mocked their preaching, thinking them to be drunk. We read in 1 Cor. 1:
    For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

    But some, by the witness of the Spirit, were cut to the heart in faith, believing Peter’s words to be true, and asked what they should now do.

    They didn’t run and find the empty tomb! They believed the words preached.

  14. says

    My point in this article is to say that the faith of these Mormon missionaries was a blind faith. They acknowledged that. They said something similar to this: “Thus it remains a blind faith because you have to ‘blindly’ believe his testimony. Thus without the plates, the belief remains blind, for it accepts the testimony and the Book of Mormon as true.”

    What I’m saying–and I could care less how the world interprets this–is that the Christian faith is not based upon the same type of blind faith. It is a reasoned faith. My point in writing this is to encourage people to have a grounded faith. God doesn’t call us to take irrational leaps of faith. In talking with these Mormon missionaries they were encouraging me to do something like this–to pray and rely on some sort of feeling. Again I’m not sure that all Mormons would have spoken the way these young men did…a better title might be Is Your Faith Like That of My Mormon Missionary Friends?

    I think that some Christians have just as shaky of a faith. It’s just an abstract faith that’s not really grounded in anything. It’s just a sort of feeling. I don’t believe the Scriptures call that faith. It is much more than mental assent. But it’s certainly not less.

    I’m attempting to say something similar to what RC Sproul says here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0046H8VJA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0046H8VJA&linkCode=as2&tag=borrligh-20

  15. Chris Vire says

    Interesting–each Book of Mormon contains the statement of 11 others who saw the plates.

    More importantly, there is a passage that invites each individual to ask for a witness of the Holy Spirit that it is true (Moroni 10:4-5) : …And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, having real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truthfulness of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost you may know the truth of all things.

    This is how I know Jesus is the son of God and Savior of the world. It is also how I know the Book of Mormon is true and that it is a powerful witness of Jesus and what He did for all the world.

          • says

            Those who are translated are taken into heaven without dying–with the understanding that they will be changed at some future time from mortal to resurrected in an instant. So, the premise is that John basically ministers to people on the earth as occasion arises–but no, he isn’t hangin’ out here with mortals. More like an angel of God with a mortal body–whose abode is in heaven but who can come and go as God wills. the Book of Mormon references translated beings saying, “…and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth. But behold, my father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto us.”

          • says

            I’d think that the apostle John could really clear some things up for us. Is there a reason why he hasn’t spoken to churches other than the Mormons? You’d think that if the church was basically in error for some 1800 years that he’d have came down and tried to clear some stuff up. After all it seems to me that John was pretty passionate about being a witness for Christ.

            Also is there a reason why the apostle John isn’t one of the apostles in the LDS movement?

          • says

            I’d think that John isn’t the only heavenly being who could clear things up should God decide to send them or appear Himself (as He ultimately will.)

            I think your questions rely on some questionable assumptions: (1) I’m not aware of John having spoken “to the Mormons.” Although there are Mormon legends about John (and other translated persons) ministering to people, the only ones I’m aware of, they have come specifically to non-Mormons. (2) Mormons don’t see the Church as having been in error as much as ceasing to exist as God’s Church (probably for closer to 1500 years than 1800 years.) I doubt that John’s passion to be a witness could overrule the agency of mortals who we believe eventually rejected him. Technically, we believe that he did come to clear things up in 1829 with the apostles Peter and James as part of the program to “clear things up.”

            I surmise that the reason John isn’t one of our current apostles, is the same reason Jesus isn’t here in person directing His Church–and the same reason Elijah left things in Elisha’s hands. God calls men to direct His work and when men die or are translated He appoints mortals to take their places.

          • Chris Johnson says

            Alma,

            You hope that John is not an Apostle, since when he “turned to see” what the Spirit was showing him about the end times, the Mormon faith was right in line with the philosophy of the beast.

            The Apostle John is definitely an enemy of the Mormon faith, and he saw what Christ ultimately does to the enemy.

            Blessings,
            Chris

          • says

            Mike–I apologize for not responding here. I hit “reply” in my email and it posted the reply at the bottom of the comments rather than here.

      • Chris Vore says

        Was the earth created in literally 6 days? Did Noah’s flood cover the whole earth? Which genealogy of Jesus is correct ? Not nearly as important a questions as:

        Is Jesus the Son of God Savior of the world? Did He die for my sins? Does faith in Him result in salvation?

  16. says

    Mike,
    Thanks for the discussion.
    I agree with you that many who claim to be Christians [and i am not saying they are not] have a faith that seems not grounded in anything or in just a feeling.
    If that is true, then many are probably not Christians. For it seems what Ken and I, and you, and RC are saying is that true faith is grounded in God, not simply a feeling [though feeling is a part of it]. If their faith is not grounded in God, is it truly faith in God? Or is it a blind faith in an abstract idea?

    We read:
    And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
    If ones faith rests anywhere but on God, it is not Christian faith.

    Now some Christians have a weak faith because they don’t pray much, and don’t read the Word much, and fail to walk in the Spirit much. These then remind me of james 1:

    Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
    But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

    And i would think that their assurance should be low as well, except being Southern Baptists, many are told that they are 100% assured of heaven. To these we must urge them to examine themselves to see if they are really of the faith that does guarantee 100% heaven.

  17. dr. james willingham says

    The faith of Christ, saving faith, that is, is a faith made for the market place, for give and take, for debate, the kind that involves evidence. Such a faith is based in history, based on eyewitnesses, based upon the supernatural breaking into history, and it is supremely intellectual, reflecting the source which is omniscient. Once, Christian thinkers were the leaders of western civilization, but then someone decided to shove it out of the way, having ambitions for control and evil designs. A bit of mental sleight of hand, a little intellectual razzle dazzle, and we were hoodooed into a century of thinking that our faith had nothing to do with the nitty gritty of reality. Now that we are on the verge of losing all, we are beginning to wake up. God speed the day, because once we began to really grasp the mental constructs of the Christian Faith and how intellectually challenging and satisfying they can be, we will be equipped to win back the place of leadership which we once held.

    • Chris Johnson says

      Dr. j,

      Most will glaze right over what you have said. But, what you have said is the difference between a follower of the Mormon faith, and the follower of Christ…. a faith built on substance, evidence with God guiding the planting and growth of that faith from the Garden through the Apostle John and into those preachers of that same faith today. Wow, what a evidential history,…. not based on gold plates, totem poles, mythological figures, vampires, or the like. God has a realized faith, delivered to the Saints in all ages and points to Christ only!

      If faith is contingent upon men and gold plates….it certainly is not the faith that God has established; bathing in an enormous amount of evidence.

      Blessings,
      Chris

  18. Brian says

    Mike,
    Forgive me if I’m a little skeptical of your recollection. On the first pages of the Book of Mormon, itself discusses eleven people who saw and handled the plates. As Mormon missionaries study from the Book of Mormon every day, it seems a little ridiculous that they wouldn’t know this. It’s like someone teaching about Abraham Lincoln but not knowing he was ever president.

    • says

      You have every right to be a bit skeptical about my recollection. I am too. It might not have been that eleven people saw and handled the plates…could it have been reading them?

      My conversation with them was so long ago now. I can’t remember specifically what it was but the point remains the same. When pressed they acknowledge that they had to receive it upon a sort of subjective/blind faith.

  19. Jess says

    I think when God calls a sinner it doesn’t make any difference how much they know or how intellectual they are, they don’t even have to be great thinkers. I believe God’s call cannot be resisted, and we just don’t know who he will call next. God saves whom he chooses, end of story, because we cannot save ourselves.

    No matter how hard we try, we will never know all the answers, nor the right questions to ask. In the Greek and Hebrew texts we will never know the frame of mind the writers were in at the time the scriptures were written, and what exactly the scriptures really meant to the people, we can only guess, I do think we have interpreted most of the scripture correctly, or at least half of it. I think we have to be careful in saying there is no blind faith, and putting a modern dictionary meaning to it. God does the calling.

  20. says

    Jess,
    I agree with your first paragraph.
    And certainly there is a thing called blind faith.

    let me ask you, why do you believe in Jesus?

  21. Jess says

    Mike,

    I would love to answer that question. I heard the word, although I didn’t understand it much, evidentially I understood it enough for the Holy Spirit to convict me. God brought the word to life in me. When God called me I then knew Jesus died just for me. Mike, a lot of people may disagree with me, but I had no choice but to come to Christ. I could not resist.

    If something happened that I could never pick up a Bible again, sickness or death, I was on my way to heaven. Studying God’s word reassures me that Jesus is who he said he was. The Holy Spirit bearing me witness.

  22. says

    Jess,
    So your faith wasn’t blind.
    “God brought the Word to life in me.”

    The world may call our faith blind, but they do so because they cannot see our evidence: the call of God in our lives, and His making Himself known to us.

    We have a reason to believe.
    We experienced God enough to trust Him and submit to Him.

    -mike

  23. Jess says

    Mike,

    I really never thought of saving faith in that light, thanks for pointing it out. I agree with your points.

  24. volfan007 says

    At a funeral, I heard a Mormon Pastor, or Elder, or whatever they call them, say that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers. And, God the Father asked who would go down to the Earth for Him…..and, Lucifer said, “Here am I, Lord, send me.” And, Jesus said, “Here am I, Lord, send me.” And, the Father picked Jesus over Lucifer, which made Lucifer mad….and that’s why Lucifer became the Devil.

    So, to believe that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, is to say that Jesus is not really God. Or, to say that they’re brothers, is to say there are many gods.

    Alma and the other Mormons in here, are there many gods? And, who is God the Father? Is He Adam?

    David

    • says

      Do we really want to get this? How about God the Father having a physical human body of His own, having adulterous sex with Mary (betrothed to Joseph), and thereby begetting Jesus—oh, and let’s not forget that God was once a man living a human life just like you and me, not starting out divine but achieving such a level on his own that he earned his divinity and was given his own planet full of people to worship him (and you can too if you try hard enough).

    • says

      I hate to say I agree with Ken–if only in premise–this is pretty far afield from the discussion of faith vs. blind faith. The rest of Ken’s comments are pretty incendiary. To me, they’re akin to an atheist calling God a murderer for having destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

      Clearly, Mormons have a very different paradigm than standard Christian orthodoxy. Mormons believe that all spirits are the children of God the Father. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that all of God’s children are gods. I know it does for standard orthodoxy as it does for current Judaism; but anciently that was not the case. (see Margaret Barker’s book, “The Great Angel, A Study of Israel’s Second God.”)

      It is Mormon theology that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were all Gods before the creation of the earth; but we weren’t and Satan never will be.

      Who is God the Father? He is the father of all the spirits–angels, men, and demons. Adam was a prophet, the first man and a symbol for Christ but he is not the Father. (If this is a setup for Brigham Young’s comments–that’s even further afield than the current topic.)

      • says

        Incendiary? Can any Mormon accurately deny that these things are a part of their religion? Yes, you would disagree that God the Father’s sexual intercourse with Mary was adulterous, but only because you see Mary having two husbands—isn’t that correct?

        How many “Gods” like our God are there—just one or many? Mormons must affirm the latter, and that there will be many more like Him.

        Going “far afield” brings the terrible destination of that path into focus, but Mormons prefer we not get into that until we are well down that path already.

        • says

          No, it’s not at all correct. Our scriptures stipulate that Mary was a virgin–even after the birth of Christ. (1 Ne. 11:20) I’ve taught LDS theology for many years and this is the first time I recall anyone claiming we see “Mary having two husbands.” That’s not a part of our religion.

          I don’t know how many Gods there are–but I freely admit I believe in lords many and Gods many; but to us there is one God and one Lord.

          I’m not the least bit reluctant to defend my faith through any path it takes; but I am cognizant that I am a guest here–probably uninvited–and I do not want to wear out any perceivable welcome. My first message here was meant to point out that there was more to Joseph Smith’s claims than that the plates disappeared before anyone else saw them–and to comment that Mormon faith isn’t as blind as Mr. Leake had proposed.

          • volfan007 says

            Alma,

            Was the Mormon Elder that I heard preach ignorant, or lying? He clearly said that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers?

            David

          • says

            Brigham Young, Desert News, October 10, 1866; cited in Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), p. 180:

            The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary, the wife of Joseph, had another husband—that is, God the Father.

            Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer (Washington, D.C.: n.p., 1853-54), pp. 158-159:

            …the fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father.

            Mormons surprisingly maintain that Mary remained a virgin only because they redefine virginity in such a way that losing virginity requires having sex with a mortal but God the Father was immortal so the virginity remained.

          • says

            volfan007 asked: “Was the Mormon Elder that I heard preach ignorant, or lying? He clearly said that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers?”

            I thought I had agreed that all spirits are the children of God the Father making them siblings: you, me, Satan, Adam, Christ, all the angels, etc. While I don’t necessarily agree with his application of the passage of God asking “Whom shall I send?” I don’t think he was lying or ignorant.

          • says

            Ken, “The Seer” gets a lot of play in attempts to paint it as official LDS doctrine. In fact, it is the only publication ever officially denounced as false by the first presidency and quorum of 12 apostles–which included its author Orson Pratt. (see Official Proclamation of Oct. 21, 1865)

            I have a suggestion, you have claimed a couple of times what the Mormon answers are to your objections. Why not try to get a Mormon answer from a current Mormon, or at least one from the last 100 years? Mormons have always been allowed to speculate–even Mormon leaders; but we do have a canon that officially defines our religion. If something doesn’t square with the canon, any Mormon is on solid ground by rejecting it. When the Book of Mormon says that Mary was a virgin after the birth of the Savior, and an extra-canonical source says otherwise, we accept the canon.

            Unless I be refuted by Scriptural testimonies, or by clear arguments—for I believe neither the Pope nor the councils alone [nor the philosophy of Protestants], since it is clear that they have often erred and contradicted one another—I am convinced by the passages of Scripture, which I have cited…

          • volfan007 says

            Alma,

            All spirits are the children of God? Satan? Us? Angels? Christ?

            Listen, Alma, there’s so many verses of Scripture that refute what you just said that it would take a long time to just quote all of them.

            Jesus is the Son of God, and He is equal with the Father. We are not God, and we will never be God. We are not Satan’s brother, and Jesus was certainly not the brother of Satan. Satan was an angel…a fallen angel. Jesus is Diety. He is God. Do you see the difference?

            Listen, all of us, human beings, are sinners, who need a work of grace to get us to Heaven. We cannot get there by good works, and we cannot make it by joining a cult. We cannot get anyone into Heaven by being baptized for them. NO ONE will make it to Heaven by their own works. Ephesians 2:8-10

            Also, what’s the green underwear thing all about? I know yall are not supposed to talk about it….but, can you tell me what the green underwear thing is for?

            David

          • says

            David–yes, I believe (as do Mormons) that all spirits are children of God. “For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28), “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6), “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17), “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

            If there are a lot of scriptures that refute what I’ve cited above, why don’t you give me the best three?

            David, seem to be laboring under some pretty big misconceptions about my faith. I’m not aware of any teaching in the LDS faith that good works will save us. I’ve always been taught and taught others that it is Jesus Christ who saves us and salvation comes in no other way.

            David: “Also, what’s the green underwear thing all about? I know yall are not supposed to talk about it….but, can you tell me what the green underwear thing is for?”

            Alma: You lost me there, David. I have absolutely no idea about green underwear.

          • says

            Romans 8:16-17 is awkward as support for humanity as literal spirit children, since the previous verse indicates it is about adoptive sonship:

            > “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!””

            The same could be said for Romans 8:29 — the general context of Romans 8 is adoption, and the sonship in view is not universal but descriptive of those who are “conformed to the image of [God's] Son.”

            In Acts 17 Paul is quoting pagan poetry which, in its original context, is about Zeus. Paul’s use is limited: He argues that God is greater than statues, because humans are greater than statues, and God is the creator of humans. Paul preaches in this very same sermon that God “does not live in temples made by man.” (17:24) Hence, it is difficult to argue that Paul thought we were literal offspring of an exalted man who can be spatially contained in a temple. Better to take Paul in context here than force him to quickly self-contradict.

            Neither does Job 1:6 seem to support the idea that humans are pre-mortal sons of God. Job 38:2-7 makes the point that we weren’t in the beginning with God. See Rob Bowman’s “Jesus, Lucifer, and the Sons of God.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Alma:
            Allow me to link an article with a chart of definitions–
            http://carm.org/mormon-definitions
            I realize that the article is from a Christian apologetics organization that actively seeks to refute Mormonism and other religious views that it considers to be heretical. Let me point to it for the sake of argument and asking a few questions. These questions are pretty straightforward and require nothing more than a “yes” or “no” response while providing opportunity for further clarification as needed.

            First, does the author accurately represent the basic Mormon definitions of the terms given? If not, which ones are inaccurate and why?

            Second, from your perspective does the author accurately represent the biblical definitions of these same terms? If not, which ones are inaccurate and why?

            Third, if the definitions given are accurate, which definitions accurately represent your own beliefs, the ones on the Mormon side of the chart or the ones on the Bible side of the chart? Recognize that you cannot have it both ways. This is, in fact, an either/or proposition, not a both/and proposition.

            Fourth, given the disparity between the definitions provided in the chart, would you then say that Mormonism’s definitions supersede those of the Bible? Does Mormonism now more accurately define and interpret the Bible for us than was the case with Christian theology prior to Joseph Smith? Has Christian theology since the time of Joseph Smith been wrong in pointing to Mormonism as an aberrant, heretical theological system, or does Mormonism provide the fully truthful, accurate, and singularly superior interpretation of the Bible?

          • says

            First: No. It is a self-serving, initially annoying but ultimately entertaining list full of mistakes. Not only does he get much of it wrong, he sets up false dichotomies against his manufactured assumptions about what the Bible teaches. Some of the mistakes are so elementary that I feel a little sorry for him. Perhaps one example will help show you how bad this list is: Under the heading “Bishop” Slick claims that the LDS meaning is, “an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood of the LDS church.” He then notes that in the Bible it is “[a]n office held by a male member of the Church. At the bottom of the chart he provides a link to the LDS Church’s website–presumably so readers can see he got it right. Well, if you go to the site and look up the term it notes that a Bishop is “an ordained office in the Aaronic Priesthood.” Good grief does anybody think this guy is credible? Add to that the fact that the so-called biblical view doesn’t conflict with the LDS view–it is an office held by a male member of the Church–is just plain pathetic. The same could be said about many of his other entries. Mormon apologists would have nothing to do if our critics just told the truth.

            Second: Absolutely not. He begins from the assumption that his Protestant view is simply the biblical view. It that isn’t naive, it’s incredibly arrogant. How about one example? His claim that the Bible teaches that “the Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God” is actually funny when you think about it. The Bible never references itself as a completed unit. He’s simply begging the question and assuming that Paul’s reference to the “all scripture” somehow is equivalent to the 66 book Protestant Bible 400 years before it was compiled. That isn’t what the Bible teaches, it’s merely what Matt Slick and his Protestant cohorts believe.

            Third: I don’t think there are enough accurate definitions on either side to warrant the time to discuss them. Did I point out that I think it’s awful on pretty much all accounts?

            Fourth: No, I would come from the perspective that Mormonism’s definitions are consistent with those of the Bible. Yes, I believe Mormonism uses biblical terms more consistently and accurately than with many instances of Christian theology before the time of Joseph Smith–however, recognizing that some (pre-Joseph Smith theologians) did an excellent job on many subjects.

            Absolutely. Christians who claim that Mormonism is aberrant and heretical don’t know what they’re talking about–except I would point out that “aberrant” has a reference point. If you’re talking about from the Bible, I disagree wholeheartedly. If you say Mormonism is aberrant from so-call Christian orthodoxy from the time of 300 AD, I agree just as heartily.

          • Brian says

            Dale, let’s test your knowledge of Mormonism. How many falsehoods can you detect on that page you linked? Alma listed some obvious ones.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Brian, let’s test your knowledge of basic logic. I asked Alma some simple questions and he went for the typical ad hominem attack. I didn’t ask him about the guy who wrote the article, I asked him for some substantive discussion. That’s something that has been lacking from both him and you in this entire discussion. You believe in all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. End of discussion.

          • Brian says

            Well said.

            I especially enjoyed you’re little nugget of truth “Mormon apologists would have nothing to do if our critics just told the truth.”

          • says

            Alma writes that “Our scriptures stipulate that Mary was a virgin–even after the birth of Christ”, but hasn’t sufficiently settled the question for Mormons traditionally. At issue is whether the term “virgin” can be redefined to a woman who has never had intercourse with a mortal, which of course begs the question of whether one has had intercourse with an immortal. Consider McConkie’s definition:

            > “Our Lord is the only mortal person ever born to a virgin, because he is the only person who ever had an immortal Father.” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p. 822)

            Admittedly, many Mormons today are increasingly rejecting (or more likely, unaware of) the traditional LDS teaching on the husband-and-wife association between Mary and Heavenly Father. But the evidence of the teaching by past leaders is sufficiently clear. And Mormon apologists who are much more credible and established than Alma, such as LDS scholar and FAIR apologist Kevin Barney, have admitted much more about the teaching.

            > “My usual tack when asked about it is to point out that the idea is not now and never was doctrine; it was a speculation. It is not binding on anyone, and in fact my impression is that it has become very much a minority view in the Church, and that most Mormons do not accept this characterization of the physical generation of the mortal Jesus.

            > I will confess, however, that I actually like this idea. Maybe it is because I have a streak of old fashioned Mormonism somewhere inside me. But I find it appealing on several levels. First, there is a certain naturalism to the idea. I presume the mortal Jesus had 46 chromosomes, and that 23 came from Mary, but where did the other 23 come from? As a Mormon, I’m not big on the idea that they were created ex nihilo for this specific purpose. I like being able to say that Jesus really did have a father, not in a metaphorical sense only (the language of begetting in the creeds doesn’t mean literal begetting), but in a physical sense. He really was the Son of God.

            > I also find it fascinating that people see this idea as being so totally offensive. To me, that speaks not only to our radically different conception of God and man as being of the same species, our literalist notion of divine paternalism and our radical materialism, but also to our Puritan heritage. If it is so disgusting to suggest God sired a son by sexual intercourse, why, I wonder, did God ordain that to be the natural method by which we conceive our own children? Is that just some sort of a cosmic joke? Does God sit in yonder heavens and look down on his creatures and laugh at their disgusting and dirty and ridiculous actions? Isn’t it possible that, if God ordained sexual intercourse as the means by which we create children, that it is divinely appointed and not disgusting or dirty at all?

            > I freely concede that the old fashioned Mormon speculators didn’t think all the way through this idea, and there are theological loose ends, to be sure. But I am curious: does anyone else here kind of like this old notion, or is it Mormon materialism run amuck?”

            [end quote]

            The key means of hedging on issues like this is the mysterious Mormon idea of “official doctrine”, and the varying LDS standards of criteria for officiality. But evangelicals understand that “officiality” isn’t the issue. False teaching is by men who claim to be representatives of God is.

      • says

        Alma,
        I want you to understand, if you do not already know, that your usage of terms is deceiving because you assign different meanings to them.
        Now I am not accusing of you of try to be deceptive, but simply pointing a truth.

        Every Christian cult, of which Mormonism is the largest, co-opts the words and phrases of orthodxo Christianity and puts a slightly different spin on them so as to have a different message, and of course, as we are a Christian discussion group here at SBC Voices [ so my usage of 'us' and 'we' does not include Mormons], we see this ‘spin’ as lies and false teachings.

        So why are you here today?

        • says

          Parsonmike– I realize that terms can be misused. If you see a term I have used deceitfully, point it out and we can discuss it. Everyone uses words to their own advantage even if they’re not a member of a cult. I prefer to be held to standard dictionary definitions. I realize that you don’t consider Mormons part of your fellowship or even Christians for that matter. That just adds another layer of obfuscation–not necessarily intended on either side.

          That’s okay because I realize that in this sense you have co-opted the word “Christian” with your spin. I presume you use the term as a synonym for “saved” while I limit it to a “professed disciple of Jesus Christ.” You don’t think I’m saved and hence not a Christian. I don’t think you’re saved either; but I believe you profess to be a disciple of Christ–ergo a Christian.

          I’m here today because I thought that Mr. Leake’s article was worth reading and commenting on; and people have engaged me in discussion. It’s likely this thread will die and you’ll never hear from me as other concerns take my interest.

          • says

            Alma,
            Jesus is true God from true God. One God with the Father and the Spirit. What you mean by calling Jesus God is not at all what we mean. And since you are not just a man in a pew but a teacher, you know this.
            Since you agree you an I are not brothers in Christ that means you preach a different Gospel than we do, than I do. And I think you know what Paul tells us in Galatians 1, but for all to read:

            6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

            Joseph Smith is accursed of God. Every prophet and teacher that has followed him is also accursed of God. And as a teacher that follows the Mormon way, you are accursed of God. Therefore any spirit you think you have or are filled with, or walk by, is not the Holy Spirit. If there is a spirit, it is the spirit of the antichrist or a demon.

            The only way a man headed towards doom can positively go is to turn around. To turn away from the destiny his trajectory is pointing him to. So Alba, turn around, reject Mormomism, repent and be saved.

            or leave.

          • volfan007 says

            parsonmike,

            You have certainly spoken the truth to Alma and the other Mormons in here. I say a loud “AMEN!” to what you just said. And, I hope that the Mormons in here will read it, and take it to heart.

            David

          • Brian says

            The spirit I’m filled with tells me to believe in, to follow, and to put my trust in- Christ. It persuadet me to and fills me when I study from the Bible (and the Book of Mormon). It persuades me not to lie, either.

          • volfan007 says

            Brian,

            It’s not the Holy Spirit, who is inside of you. It’s another spirit. Mormonism is a cult…a false religion full of false teaching. You have been deceived, and you have been led astray.

            Just spend time in the Gospel of John and the book of Romans…..ask God to show you the truth. God will lead you into truth from His Word….not from the book of Mormon.

            David

          • Brian says

            Well by golly! I have a spirit that persuades me to believe in and follow Christ, and a random internet commenter, who has been very quick to condemn, distort, and prove an ignorance of my beliefs, tells me to reject that spirit. I’m sorry, but I’ll stick with Christ.

          • Chris Roberts says

            Brian,

            Are you saying that you have the same subjective experience of the Holy Spirit that Southern Baptists claim to have, even though Southern Baptists believe yours is a false religion and such an experience is impossible for you?

            I wonder how that could happen…

          • volfan007 says

            Chris,

            Just because you’ve turned from the truth to follow a lie, doesn’t mean that you have to try to persuade others to go down a similar path, which leads to destruction. Don’t forget what jesus said about a millstone. Also, do you really want to stand before God with the blood of these Mormons on your hands?

            David

          • says

            Chris,

            I’m genuinely shocked to hear this. I’m grieved for you. You may now not believe but I am praying that God opens your eyes.

            In mourning,
            Nick

      • says

        How does the Mormon religion continue, anyway, when DNA testing has proven beyond all doubt that Native Americans descended not from Hebrews but from Asians?

        • says

          The same way Christianity continues when other science has proven “beyond all doubt” that the world is 2 billion years old and man is a descendant of apes.”

          You do realize that only about 1/12 of the Hebrews are Jews; and that the Book of Mormon stipulates that their population came from the tribe of Joseph rather than Judah? Where do you think the 10 tribes went if not to Asia? And how was science able to get DNA from some of these 10 tribes to compare with American Indians?

    • says

      volf–I forgot to answer your question, “Are there many gods?” I believe there are–gods many and lords many. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” That’s the mind I try to have.
      :)

      • volfan007 says

        Alma,

        Only Jesus is God, and only Jesus is equal with God the Father. We are not, and we never will be. The mind that we should have…like Jesus…is to take on the form and role of a servant. I noticed that you misquoted that verse in Philippians, and only quoted the little bit that you thought was backing up your position.

        David

        • says

          Sorry, volfan, I was quoting from memory, and didn’t intend to leave out anything. Put in the clause I forgot “who, being in the form of God”–it doesn’t change the impact of my point.

          It is interesting to me how quickly these discussions devolve into assertions upon assertions–they seem like mantras without any real meaning.

          • volfan007 says

            Jesus is God, as a part of the Trinity. Thus, it wasn’t robbery for Him to be God…in other words, He didn’t have to try to steal Diety from God the Father, because Jesus is fully God, as well as being fully man….and, He left the glory of Heaven to come down to this Earth, to take on the role of a servant to mankind. And, we should have that same mindset as Him….to be a servant. THAT is what the passage is teaching.

            No where does it teach that we become God….you are twisting the Scriptures, as did your father….the Devil.

            David

  25. Chris Johnson says

    Alma,

    You seem to be a well read individual, so have discovered any distinct differences in the Hebrew writers description of faith, and that of Joseph Smith. There is a tremendous distinction of the two opposing positions concerning Christ.

    From what I’ve read so far, it appears that you understand these faiths (the Hebrew writers faith, and the Joseph Smith faith) to be compatible. Would that be a true statement?

    cj

    • says

      CJ: I believe I have noticed a difference between Joseph Smith’s concept of faith and that of the author of Hebrews (as well as Paul’s). While I think they have different perspectives, I hope to be able to understand both. In Joseph Smith’s revision of the book of Hebrews, he changes the KJV term “substance” to “assurance” which I think is consistent with Paul’s usage of ??????. I’m not sure beyond that of what you’re referencing.

        • Chris Johnson says

          Alma,

          I know the guys here are trying to be instructive and kind. And true to course, you have answered my question reliably. It appears your hermeneutic is much like “The Prophet” of your faith, where almost anything can be believed as long as everyone understands the concept of “eventually being a god”. In other words the “knowledge” ,or as Joseph would posit, the “intellect” is how one gains this magic view into the eternal. It is becoming more clear everyday that Mormonism has fashioned itself as the latest version of Gnosticism. Yet I realize that even that would make some Gnostics very angry.

          Joseph Smith was in the right country to begin birthing these imaginations, and history has revealed his predictable background with Masonry, the sciences, and other things as his foundation for creativity. The tradition of Mormonism more of a continuation of Masonry than it is Christianity. Today, the leaders of the Mormon faith simply use the biblical text to adorn and revise the continued fashioning of “The Prophets” initial dabblings in Masonry and the society he created for women, the Female Relief Society, to be associated in the practice. All these things help create the “celestial weddings”.

          To be sure, the faith that was delivered once for all to the Saints, is not the same as was delivered to “The Prophet”. It would do you well to understand the difference.

          Blessings,
          Chris

    • Brian says

      mrm is neither authoritative nor accurate on what Mormons believe. If you use it as your source, you will be misinformed. (Your link is an obvious example)

    • Chris Roberts says

      40 minutes of preaching on something I already know extensively but reject as untrue? Why would I possibly spend my time on that?

      • volfan007 says

        Chris,

        It aint gonna kill you to at least watch the first 10 minutes….then, if you’re bored, or don’t wanna watch the rest of it….just stop it, and move on with life. But, will you, at least, watch the first 10 or 12 minutes or so?

        David

        • Chris Roberts says

          Done. You’re right – that was pretty good. I loved the part where he inadvertently admitted that the universe is older than a few thousand years (starting around 8:40). Other than that, I’ll abstain from pointing out here the glaring problems with his overall argument.

  26. Bill Mac says

    With due respect to our Mormon visitors who have had the guts to come into moderately hostile territory to defend their views, I want to say this.

    This is my perception, but I’m not the only one who has noticed it. When I first became a Christian (over 30 years ago), Mormons did not pretend to be Christians. In other words, they were content and even pleased to be something “other” than what we called orthodox Christianity. But not anymore. I think we are seeing a concerted effort (by mormons) to mainstream Mormonism in such a way as to lead the unsuspecting into believing Mormonism is just another Christian denomination. Has anyone else noticed this?

    • Brian says

      While I can’t speak for others, I can say this: The two most common, universally accepted definitions of the word “Christian”, are (1) someone who believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ and (2) someone who believes/follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Mormons definitely fit those two definitions, so they are certainly Christians.

      Certainly we Mormons wouldn’t consider ourselves Trinitarian Christians or Protestant Christians, but absolutely Christians.

      • says

        No one is divine who is not immutably and eternally so. There is only one God, and there are no other God’s anywhere—not in this universe or any other. Furthermore, we know from Scripture who is the source of the claim, “You shall be like God…”

        I’ve had enough of your redefinitional double-talk.

    • says

      Bill Mac: I have heard this premise stated several times recently; but I don’t think it is valid. There are variations–some say we didn’t try to claim to be Christians until the 1950’s or 1960’s; and you’re saying 30 years ago which would put us in the mid 1980’s. I was a missionary in the 70’s and definitely affirmed that Mormons were Christians. I was in Catholic Italy where they often disqualified Protestants as Christians as well–even though the Italian word “cristiano” is a synonym for “human.”) In the 80’s Walter Martin was big on asserting that Mormons weren’t Christians and I can assure you he got lots of push back from Mormons. Are we a denomination? I think you’d be hard pressed to claim that we are not. Are we Christians? That depends on your definition of Christian. My problem with your assertion is only the word “just.”

      • Bill Mac says

        Let me put it another way. It appears to me that 30 years ago Mormons (whether they called themselves Christian or not) were happy to be distinct from orthodox Christianity. But in the present Mormons seem to be actively attempting to blur the lines between themselves and us whereas we prefer to keep those lines sharp and distinct. Since, as you have seen, we have sharp disagreements over so many areas of faith and doctrine, wouldn’t it be advantageous to both our groups to communicate to the world that we are in fact separate faiths, and let them decide?

        But it is my impression that Mormons have decided that it is in fact not advantageous to be seen as distinct from traditional Christian denominations and that they have been working to be included in them.

      • says

        I’m beginning to understanding better your position—and I can agree with much of what you wrote with a couple of caveats. A current religion professor at BYU wrote about when he was attending SMU and there was an effort on the part of Christians to picket and hopefully shut down some X-rated movie theaters. At a coordination meeting for those willing to protest the smut, someone noticed that there were Mormons present. They refused to proceed until all the Mormons left. Prof. Robinson noted, (and this is a paraphrase from memory) “What was apparent to us was that the protestors hated Mormons more than they hated pornography.”

        A couple of years ago, I was in charge of an “interfaith dialogue” where people of varying faiths were invited to meet at the LDS Institute of Religion. I was the LDS faculty member assigned to host the meetings. For the first two meetings, I proposed that we sing a hymn and open with prayer, and I invited a Presbyterian to offer the prayer after we sang a hymn shared by all faiths represented (Onward Christian Soldiers.) At the close of the second meeting, one of the Christian pastors asked to meet with me privately where he explained that they could not sing or pray in our presence—even if they were the ones offering the prayers. I still don’t understand that; but I made the decision to quit hosting the meetings; and the interfaith dialogue ceased.

        Our perspective is that God hears the honest prayers of anyone who offers them—Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Muslim, JW, or Mormon. We also see benefit in working together to promote shared values. I’ve also been at interfaith meetings on our University’s campus where a Wiccan offered a prayer to “Mother Earth.” (I didn’t say “amen;”) and it was very uncomfortable for me during the prayer. I surmise the Christians mentioned above felt a similar unease as the one I felt while someone was worshipping a pagan deity.

        I think LDS people are looking for circumstances where they can work together in slowing society’s slide towards Sodom and Gomorrah—all the while recognizing that there are very, very few concepts we share.

        We are, adamant that we are distinct from all other Christians in fellowship and in most doctrine. Catholics officially reject our baptism as we do theirs and yours. I think we’d like to see lines blurred where we can unite against evil and in helping the poor and needy. Tomorrow, my congregation is working at the Rescue Mission in Salt Lake City to feed the homeless. We’ve been there before; and the pastor will preach and pray and we’ll listen politely and help them in their mission. I know that the LDS Church supports this non-LDS, Christian ministry with money, food, and labor. Clearly, LDS leaders believe the Mission is doing God’s work. Those lines should be blurred; but no one at the Mission thinks we’re on the same page in faith or doctrine.

        • volfan007 says

          You said, “Our perspective is that God hears the honest prayers of anyone who offers them—Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Muslim, JW, or Mormon.” You have to be a true Christian for God to hear your prayers. The only prayer that God wants to hear from a Muslim, or a JW, or a Mormon is “God forgive me for my sins. I believe you died for me upon the cross. And, I turn from my false religion, and surrender my heart completely to You.”

          Alma, you said, “I surmise the Christians mentioned above felt a similar unease as the one I felt while someone was worshipping a pagan deity.” Yet, you, yourself, are praying to a pagan diety.

          David

  27. says

    Dale: I don’t think you understand the term “ad hominem.” It is a logical fallacy to assert: “His argument is invalid because he is a bad person, or because he is stupid.” That is an argument directed at the person rather than at his argument. It’s entirely valid to say, “He is wrong because his argument is invalid for these reasons.” I didn’t direct my argument at his Matt Slick’s morality, or his intelligence. Those elements are illogical because an immoral or stupid person can still hold to a valid argument.

    I pointed out that his argument was valid because his information was faulty and the premises of his arguments were faulty. I did express astonishment and dismay at his elementary mistakes that clearly damaged his credibility; but his credibility is a result of his illogical presentation. It was not a reason for questioning his argument. The information he presented was mistaken. That is not an ad hominem attack.

    • Dale Pugh says

      Alma, before you proclaim someone else’s ignornce about a topic, you might want to not launch an attack on them. I have a master’s degree in philosophy, buddy. I know exactly what “ad hominem” means.

      You have shown yourself to be more interested in proclaiming your superior, “spirit”-filled wisdom and the alleged enhancements to the Bible provided by the Book of Mormon rather than face the truth at any point. You’re blinded by your own arrogant ignorance and your adherence to a faith-system that has been proven time and time again to be false. It is a faith sytstem built on the cultic veneration of men who were, quite frankly, nuts. You’re wrong.

      • says

        Dale: This has been great fun. It has been so entertaining that I’m inclined to write about this for the next few days on my blog. I noted above to someone else that it’s interesting how some people abandon discussion for a series of assertions. I’ll re-quote one of my heroes, Martin Luther–this time without any interpolations:

        Unless I be refuted by scriptural testimonies, or by “clear arguments (for I believe neither the Pope nor the councils alone, since it is clear that they have often erred and contradicted themselves) I am convinced by the passages of Scripture which I have cited, my conscience is bound in the word of God and I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against the conscience. Here I stand. I can not do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”

        • volfan007 says

          If Martin Luther were alive, today, he would call Mormonism a cult, too.

          David

          • says

            I suspect he’d try to do more than just label it. Based on his own affirmation, he’d present scriptural testimonies and clear arguments.

        • Dale Pugh says

          I’ll let you have the last word. I find it interesting that you default to Martin Luther as a “hero.” He was hardly of your ilk and would have done none other than the rest of us have done here–call you out for believing a lie. Talk about abandoning discussion for the sake of assertions……..

  28. Chris Johnson says

    Alma,

    Every conversation I have with someone that is believing the mormon faith always leads to mystery, more mystery, errors of others from history, ….an on an on. The reason it does, is because that is the way it started. The Mormon faith is a man-made faith, without historical relevance. I think the reason it gets any traction is because of the well oiled mission machine, that indoctrinates young minds into this mystery of the dead, and its claim that Christ is for it. That is very confusing to an ignorant world.

    Christians on the other hand are not so gullible. Mormonism is an easily identifiable counterfeit to what Christ has delivered throughout history.

    I’ll continue to tell your young missionaries that come to my door, along with the followup crew, the truth of Christ’s Word. That is the best news I can give them.

    No burning in the bosom, no mystery, no baptism for the dead, no celestial weddings. Christ alone is all that satisfies!

    Blessings,
    Chris

  29. Brian says

    Why is it that those quickest to criticize the LDS church the quickest to prove their ignorance of it?

    • Chris Johnson says

      Brian,

      What ignorance?….I’ve got game. I’ve actually read the silly book. You need to do better than that. It does not take a rocket scientist to see the error.

      cj

  30. says

    Chris:

    I don’t mean to pick on you any more than anyone else–but many of these messages directed to me have very little substance to them–other than to offer an opinion as though it were established fact–(often opinions that clearly don’t reflect any semblance of fact.) Rather than hoping that John is not an Apostle as you aver, I do believe that John is an Apostle. As far as your claim that the Mormon faith was “right in line with the philosophy of the beast,” do you have any support for such an assertion–or is that merely more opinion?