Saturday, February 20, 2010

Letters To A Mormon

For the past 18 months or so I have had an ongoing email conversation with a local Mormon. This all started when I was advertising the 2008 Real Truth Matters Conference on a local classified webpage. I started to get email responses from Steven, stating that the truth could only be found in the LDS religion, the fullness of the gospel I believe is what he calls it.

So I have never wavered from what True Biblical Christianity is. His email replies are short darts that show the tenacity of this false religion. He has recently told me that he once was a member of my former church. This is the one that was not preaching the gospel message, but like many churches today, was preaching a very man centered message with the typical "say this prayer", "make your decision now", "make sure that you know that you know that you know...". So, I can see why he would be dejected about this church in the first place. It seems like our paths kind of started at the same place, he even knew some of my family and mentioned them by name. But that is where the similarities ended.

For whatever reason (he has not told me yet) he was enticed by the Mormon cult. I have asked him before, without response, how he first started the road into Mormonism. Honestly, I am interested to see how someone get's drawn into this religion. I, however, was already in God's process of renewal. He was opening my eyes to my (then) church, the falsity of the American gospel, how I had been deceived for so many years into thinking I was o.k. because at 8 years old I had said the prayer. So, God took me in the total opposite direction. Praise God for that. He could have just as easily had me go the path to the LDS and Steven the path I am on.

But the emails have recently taken a turn. I have been sending the single verse to him in replies -
Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Along with that I have been telling him that the LDS "gospel" is not the same as what the Apostles and Jesus Himself preached. He shocked me with "What is your gospel". Now that floored me. Never have I had someone ask me point blank for the Gospel of Christ. Sure, I have had the questions about different topics within Christianity, but never a point blank "Where does your hope lie".

Before I could reply to him, he sent me the Mormon version of the "gospel". Eye opening to say the least. I will include it in this post for reference, just to see how the LDS have mangled who God is. Below is what I sent him as "my gospel". Pray that it did not land on deaf ears. Pray that God uses this to open this man's ears to what True Biblical Christianity is, so that his eyes may be opened like God graciously opened mine and saved my soul from a false gospel.

The email:
This is probably going to be quite lengthy, but I hope that you do not skip around and pick what to read. I am going to put a lot of time into writing this, just for you. The following is the gospel according to the bible, the apostles, the historic church and Christ Himself. I will probably add some personal experience in, but it will not take away from the bible but will confirm it.

First let me say that the LDS use a lot of the same terms that Christianity uses, that I use. But please, make no mistake thinking the terms are the same. They simply use the same word, but the meanings are totally different. I want what I write to stand on it’s own merits with the bible as its foundation, I do not want to say, “the LDS say this, but here is what the bible says”. That is not my reasoning here, I am not a Christian Apologists, I am simply a Christian that wants to share the Good News of Christ with someone. That being said, I do have to make some distinctions up front about my use of words.

Here is a list of words and/or phrases that the LDS may use followed by the biblical meaning/ definition. Please, when I use these words or phrases I am using them in this context and not the LDS context.
ADAM - the first created man by whom all of humanity descends. He was not Michael the archangel.
ATONE – To make amends for, to cover, to reconcile.
ATONEMENT - The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. He died for our sins (1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2).
BAPTISM - An ordinance of the Christian church that is not necessary for salvation (Rom. 5:1).
BIBLE - the Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God (2 Tim. 3:16).
CHURCH - The body of believers in the true and living God through Jesus. It is comprised of those who are redeemed and is not limited to an earthly structure.
DAMNATION - The state of condemnation, judged by God in eternal hell (Matt. 25:46).
ELOHIM - The Hebrew word for "God." The name of God is "YHWH," which means "I AM," (Exodus 3:14).
ETERNAL LIFE - Forgiveness of sins and life eternal with God (John 17:3; Rom. 6:23).
FALL OF MANKIND - The open rebellion of Adam and Eve against God resulting in their condemnation and the fall of mankind.
GOD - The one and only God in all the universe, (Isaiah 44:6,8).
GODHEAD - God Himself, not an office. Three persons in one God. A Trinity: The Father; the Son; and the Holy Spirit.
GOSPEL - The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of the sins of all who would trust in Him (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
HEAVEN - The dwelling place of God (1 Kings 8:30). Christians go to heaven.
HELL - the eternal dwelling place of those who rejected the atoning work of Christ.
HOLY GHOST - Third person of the Trinity. Same as Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4).
HOLY SPIRIT - An equivalent term to Holy Ghost, third person in the Trinity.
JEHOVAH -The name of God is "YHWH," which means "I AM," (Exodus 3:14).
JESUS - Jesus is God, second person of the Trinity (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9).
MARRIAGE - the holy covenant between a man and a woman that is broken at death.
SALVATION - Forgiveness of sins with the result of a present new life and in the future eternal life with God (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 6:23; 10:9-10).
SATAN - A fallen angel who rebelled against God.
SCRIPTURE - Only the Bible is scripture.
TEMPLE - The Old Testament building where God dwelt, sacrifices were offered, and holy priestly rites were administered. There is no longer a need for temples.
TRINITY - The one and only God in all existence who is comprised of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. See Trinity.

Steven, I want to say that I am not out to prove you wrong, but to simply do as any Christian should – share Jesus and what He did for you. While I am not planning on bashing the LDS or any other religion, sometimes I get carried away when I write because I am passionate about my God and His Truths. I ask for forgiveness before I begin if I offend, but I do not ask to be forgiven for what I say. What I say is said in love for my Lord and Savior and my love for your soul. I have nothing to gain by this, except to know that I have done as a Christian should and sow the seed of His Word in Truth and in Love.

I feel that I should start at the beginning, because that is where the bible does. Any deviation from the bible and its truths is the beginning of error. That is where so many religions have gotten off course, their pursuit of non-or extra biblical teachings.

In Genesis 1:1 we are told that God created the heavens and the Earth. Then again in John 1:1 we are told that in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God. These are 2 harmonious verses. John 1:1 uses one name for Jesus (the Word, which is why it is capitalized). If you continue reading in John 1 through verse 3 you will see that all things were made through Jesus and nothing was made without Him (Colossians 1:16-17 also confirm this truth) So these harmonizing verses state that Jesus was the creator of all things, not just some things, but all things. This means through Christ’s Words were the “let there be” verses. This was before Jesus became a man to atone for our sins on the cross, but still the second person of the Trinity, but I do not want to get in over your head right now, so back on track.

Then through Genesis you can see the Spirit moving across the Earth throughout His creation, as He glorified Himself and exalted His own Name through His creation. Part of His creation was man, made in the image of God Himself, Genesis 1:26 and following. Scripture records that God said “let Us make man in Our own Image”, proving again the Triune Nature of the True God. The word used for “in our image” would actually be better translated “as Our representative”, so man was created to represent God on the Earth, That is why God gave man (Adam) dominion over all creation, let him choose the animals names, etc.

It was not long before Satan came to entice God’s creation. To clear up who Satan is, let’s look at Ezekiel 28:15 – 19. Those verses tell us that Satan/ Lucifer was a cherub, a very beautiful angel created by God, who was created perfect. His beauty caused him to hold himself higher than God and initiated a rebellion - some verse of note are Isaiah 14:12 - 14 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

Satan wanted to be God, to take away His power. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan has become the "god of this world". And Revelation 20:10 tells us that he will be eternally punished for it. Isaiah 14:15 continues to tell us the final place for Satan - Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Adam was created as an eternal man, perfect, un-aging, knowing nothing of sin. The world was created perfect, no death at all, not even the grass, leaves on the trees or a fly in the air, all was created perfect. Not even a thorn on a rosebush. This was so until Satan deceived Eve in the Garden, he tempted her that she too could have the knowledge that God had if she would just eat from the one tree that God has expressly said not to eat from, she ate then she convinced Adam to do so as well. This is what is called the fall of man or original sin. That was the beginning of all sin and brought forth death and destruction to everything since, men, animals, plants, etc. But most of all it brought forth the second death – separation from God.

God is Holy, He is indescribable. All we can do is futilely attempt to describe some of the characteristics of God – He is unchangeable, immutable, Holy, Love, righteous, eternal, sovereign, powerful, perfect, awesome, wonderful, above all, all knowing, infinite, faithful and true. But all of these words can get nowhere near the magnitude that is God. I would come close to saying that even giving God these characteristics of men’s words borders on blasphemy. God demands perfection and the sin of Adam has separated us all from Him. We are born in sin; we have the DNA of sin.

Think about it, do you have to teach a child to lie? That is just one proof that we are born sinners. A child’s self preservation is inherent of their makeup. It only gets worse as the years tick away.

Have you ever told a lie? How about stolen anything? Doesn’t matter if it was a car or a paperclip from work, value is pointless. How about adultery? Have you ever cheated on your wife? Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that if you even look at a woman with lust you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. Do you have any gods before the True God? That is the situation of the rich young ruler that went away sad, he had kept the letter of the Law (Moses Law, 10 Commandments and Levitical additions), but still coveted his money and went away sad. Which was his heart condition, he idolized his fortune instead of setting those affections on God. His money was his lord and ruler. So Jesus is quite blunt that sin is a heart condition. I like to say that the actual outward sins that people commit are just the outward manifestations of what their heart says they are. The same as the works of a righteous man are outward manifestations of their heart condition and love of God, instead of their hate for God in their sins.

So, there was a conflict started here. It was man’s sin that had to be reconciled to God. In the O.T. this was done by animal sacrifices. The best of the flocks was needed to temporarily cover the sins for the year. Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Constantly through the O.T. we are shown that animal sacrifice was used to atone for the sins of God’s people. This was a sign pointing to Jesus Christ. There are many prophesies throughout the Old Testament that point to Christ and His coming and His Work for us.

Sin separates us from God. God in His Holiness cannot look upon sin, so there had to be a reconciliation to happen. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is longsuffering and doesn’t want any to perish. This shows that He made a way of reconciliation for us. That is one thing we must know, that God does it all. It is nothing that we do, we cannot reconcile ourselves to Him, all we can do is what is natural to us…. sin. So, over the millennia peoples sins were covered by the shedding of animal’s blood, this was not true forgiveness but pointed to the true forgiveness to come. Since God loves us, He wants us to be reconciled to Him, so there needed to be a Perfect Sacrifice. This did not have to happen, God would still have been just as loving, just as good and just as Holy had He not made a Way for us. This reconciliation we did not and do not deserve, we can do nothing to deserve forgiveness and our self-worship, but God had different plans.

This is what is referenced in Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – We purchase our own way with our sins, to destruction and separation from God. But God gives us, grants us eternal life through Jesus Christ. Jesus was conceived miraculously per the Gospels, Luke 1 tells us a good account that an angel spoke to Mary and said she would be with child. She did not understand because she had not known a man verse 34. This was the 2nd of the Trinity, the Son, that became flesh, that He may live a sinless life, take upon Himself our sins and die and with the shedding of His blood atone for our sins, pay The Price, a legal contract was fulfilled an exchange – Jesus’ blood for our sins. He paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain – He washed it white as snow.

To understand this, you must understand that Jesus was God. He was not an offspring created as Lucifer or you or me as “spirit children”. If that were so, He would have the same sinful nature as we do, which would make His work on the cross void. God required a sinless sacrifice to atone for our sins, and Jesus is and was the only candidate. He voluntarily laid His “Godness” aside and became flesh, to live with the same temptations as we all have, but to not be tempted to partake, to live sinless, to never get angry without cause, to never lust after a woman, to never desire to have a lot of stuff in his house. He came so we could be reconciled to Him. WOW! That is the good news of the Gospel, Christ Himself, not just knowing about Him, not knowing what He did and not even what He did, but Him alone as the Gospel. Here is a quote from Real Truth Matters that explains it better than I can:

The gospel is not just about the death and resurrection of Christ. It is Jesus. It is Jesus, His person as the Son of God and the Son of Man. It is all about what He is and has done in the redemption of sinners.

This constitutes a major portion of the problem of modernized Christianity. It fails to recognize Christ, Himself. Even though Jesus is the subject of its gospel, He is not the gospel to most professing Christians. Their gospel is what Jesus has done for them. But the New Testament does not tell men to believe in only what He has done. It tells them to believe upon Him and in Him.

So Jesus is the Gospel, The Spotless Lamb, The Son of God, The Son of Man, slain for you, slain for me. Because of our sinfulness and rejection to be reconciled to God by Christ’s atoning work on the cross for us, we then choose eternal separation from God. This is called hell by a few different names in scripture, also the lake of fire. This is where a person will spend eternal separation and punishment for their sins. There will be no second chance, no hope of making amends there. I actually think that those that go to hell will be cursing God, blaming Him for putting them there. They will not be crying out for Him, especially the one’s that thought they knew Him, those referenced in Matthew 7 :22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? : 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. These are the heretical preachers of this day and those of past that have taken God’s Word to mean what benefits them the most. They have added to scriptures, they have taken scripture away, they make gods to suit their own needs that say homosexuality is not a sin or that “god is love, wants me rich or has to give me something because I speak it into existence”.

Now, since you have been told the gospel of Jesus, who Jesus is, what Jesus did and your plight as a sinner in need of payment for your sins, you are without excuse if you reject what you have heard. I have tried to clearly convey, biblically what sin is and how as humans we are naturally sinful. We are actually dead in our sins. As a physically dead person can’t resuscitate himself or herself, neither can we as spiritually dead people. We love our sins, we can’t stand a Holy God and by our actions we actually prove that we hate Him. We want to purchase our way to hell with our sins and with our rejection to God’s love for us.

So what can you do? Get ready for this…… nothing. There is nothing that you can do to save yourself. Just as the physically dead man can’t save his own life, you can’t do anything to save your spiritual being either. If we put conditions that God must do something because of something we did, it would be a works based salvation. That is why there are so many different religions out there, they all try to do something to gain favor in God’s eye and they all fail miserably. Only True Biblical Christianity says that God initiates salvation and gives the way to salvation, through Him. There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves. All we can do is see ourselves as the sinful wretches that we are. We live and breath sin daily and must be cleansed. God is Holy and we cannot be in His presence as sinners, we need a mediator, the God Man Jesus Christ, 100% God, 100% man, neither intermingling with the other. Jesus’ “God-ness” doesn’t interact with His “man-ness” and vice versa. Can I explain that? No. And I am glad that I can’t. Just as I can’t explain the parting of the sea or how 3 boys can stand in the midst of a fiery furnace, I am glad that I can not explain my God.

All we can do is see our need for salvation, not just from hell but also from our sinful lives that cause grief to God. You must see Him as Holy and yourself as nothing and cry out to Him to save you. He promised that all that seek Him will find Him, that all that cry out to Him will be saved, so there is your promise. Then when He does save you, you will continue in holiness, striving to gain a more complete knowledge of Him. Your outlook on everything will change, you will no longer desire the sinful things you once did, you will begin to shed the layers of sin that mired you down. You have been bought with a Price, you are His property and you serve Him out of love and not out of need. The works that you perform are a sign to the world that you love God and you are His, not to try to gain favor to Him. He will give you discernment and grace to see what in your life is in need of change. He can even miraculously take things away from your life that are sin, as He did in an instant with my smoking habit of 24 years. When He saves you…. He saves you from it all. To try and add something to Christ’s work is heresy at the highest, it is disbelief that God has paid it all… for you.

So, Steven you have some things to think over. To weigh the costs. Read through Luke 14 and see what Jesus said about counting the costs. You must weigh out your life and your eternity. Do you want to live as you are now, on the road to an eternal damnation, paving that road with your sins? Or do you want to give it all to God and let Him carry you on the road to glory? It is a no brainer to me, but to most it is a foreign concept.

I am praying for you Steven. Just as I have done for the past 18 months or so. I have nothing to gain from this; I have no hidden agenda, not trying to get you to join a church, give money to a group or to make myself feel better. I am pleading for you Steven. Pleading for your soul, that you may be granted the re-birth as scripture says. That you will be given new eyes and a clear understanding of God’s Word. I don’t know you other than through the short emails we send from time to time, but I love you Steven. I do not want you to end up in hell. If I saw a child standing in a busy street with a semi truck blazing toward them, oblivious to their surrounding – you can believe I would do all I could to get that child out of that street and to safety. That is what I am doing now Steven. I am pleading with you because you stand in danger of death and destruction. So, what are you going to do about it? Continue on that path or give it all to God and allow Him to place you on His path?

In His Holy Name,
Jeff

And here is Steven's LDS/ Mormon "gospel"
All of us that ever lived, and will live upon this earth were created as
spirit beings by our HEAVENLY FATHER. We lived with HIM before we are born
into this life. When all of HIS spirit children were all still together with
HIM, the war in heaven took place. Lucifer said that he would be the savior
and redeemer and that he would bring us all back home. He would use force to
make us do right. We could not choose between good and evil. And he would
take all of the glory of HEAVENLY FATHER. JESUS, being the firstborn of
HEAVENLY FATHERS spirit children, offered to be the SAVIOR and REDEEMER. HE
said that HE would come to earth and take upon HIM all of the sins of us
all, which HE did in the garden of Gethsemane, [this act is called the
atonement], and that HE would willingly give up HIS life on the cross so
that we would all be resurrected. HE would give all of the glory to HEAVENLY
FATHER. One third of HEAVENLY FATHERS spirit children accepted lucifers plan
and with him were cast out onto this earth, and thusly will not be
resurrected or have eternal life. They are here to tempt and torment us, but
our HEAVENLY FATHER will not allow no more to be put upon us than we can
handle. The two thirds of us [you and me included] accepted JESUS to be the
SAVIOR and REDEEMER, thus we come to earth to be tried and tested, and to
receive a body,to be resurrected and also have the potential for eternal
life.

1 comment:

karli rae said...

why is it that typical christians believe we dont need temples, prophets etc. in the bible it tells us there would be an apostasy, a time without the church on the earth. and that god would restore the gosple in latter days. so after christ was killed and his apostles wer killed too there was no true gosple on the earth. people then tryed to restore the gosple on their own, which is not possible without god. later god did restore the gosple through joseph smith. he fully restored the gosple. the fulness of it. everything that was back then, is now. no where in the scriptures does god tell us there will be no need for temples or prophets. you think you are forgiven when you dont try to improve yourself. with out your repentance you cannot be forgiven. "i will forgive whom i will forgive but of you it is required to forgive all men." prophets speak directly with god just as they did in biblical times. we recieve instruction for our lives to follow his commandments. when the world gets darker our standards must go higher to be able to stay close to god... i cant believe all you typical christians. im a 16 year old girl and know this better than you.