Watch one of the most shocking documentaries ever produced. Are you pro life? Pro choice? Watch, and be ready for an intense challenge.
In Mormonism, this equation of, “grace plus”, is echoed throughout all of its scriptures, teachings, church publications, and prophets.
Is what we have in our Bible's now, what the original authors really said? Does the difference in the Bible Versions mean we cannot trust the Bible at all? Do textual variatians give validity to the mormon claim that the Bible is corrupt, and needed the restoration of Joseph Smith, so much so that we have a whole new book? Listen in as Dan Wallace provides an intense and astounding look at the reliability of the New Testament, looks at textual variations, and through evidence, and reason, builds an amazingly strong case for the validity of the Bible.
Listen to this audio series as Pastor John MacAurthur presents a 5 part teaching series for the reliability of the Bible
Listen in as Dr. Phil Fernandes presents a 3 part audio teaching on Mormon history and heresy. Learn how to answer Mormon missionaries from one of the leading apologists in cults.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
When looking at the major religions of the world, the common theme of salvation is typically grace, plus _______. In most every case, you can insert the word, “works”. Be it religious people who will impose rituals, or customs, strict dietary guidelines, or the enforcement of a law that was never able to be kept, all of these religions have one thing in common, and that is they deny the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
In Mormonism, this equation of, “grace plus”, is echoed throughout all of its scriptures, teachings, church publications, and prophets. In 2nd Nephi 25:23 we read, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do”.
In Alma 22:14, it states, “And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself, but the sufferings of death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth.”
Then again in Moroni 10:32, it states that, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfected in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfected in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”
Now if you are a Mormon, or have spent time studying the Mormon doctrine, then these verses are probably nothing new to you. However, some of the following statements from LDS authorities may not be quote as well known.
The 12th president of Mormonism, Spencer W. Kimball writes in his book, “The Miracle of Forgiveness”, “And however powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation to no man who does not comply with the works of the gospel.” (p. 207)
In fact, Kimball had much more to say on the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. He writes, “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p 206. See also the Book of Mormon student manual Religion 121 and 122, 1989, p. 36.)
The Mormon apostle, Boyd K. Packer writes, “Even that grace God promised in the scriptures comes only “after all we can do”. (The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness, Ensign, November 1995 Conference Edition, p.19)
In fact, church manuals further expound on this teaching. In the church manual, “True to the Faith, 2004”, we see written that, “The phrase “after all we can do” teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fullness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with him” (p. 77)
One Mormon author in fact puts it this way, “The meaning of the grace of God given through the atonement of Christ is that man by his freedom can now merit salvation”. (Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion, p. 83)
Perhaps, one of the most honest statements made on this doctrine comes through the combined work of Joseph Fielding McConkie, (son of former Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie), and
Robert L. Millet. They write, “Indeed, it is only after a person has so performed a lifetime of works and faithfulness – only after he has come to deny himself of all ungodliness and every worldly lust – that the grace of God, that spiritual increment of power, is efficacious”. (Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon 1:295)
The teachings on this subject of grace + works, goes on and on throughout all of Mormon doctrine. Through the writing of this concept in the Book of Mormon, the Mormon apostles, the publications, and the prophets of the church beating this concept into it’s members heads, it is ironic to me that they still can call this the “gospel” message, when “gospel” means, “good news”.
Before I begin to show why this teaching is not at all biblical, I first need to clarify something. Mormon’s claim, as I have myself heard from their leaders, and its members, that Christianity teaches that by just believing in Jesus, by just giving lip service, and saying a prayer, somehow you are now saved, and you can go and live any way you want to.
They will say that Christianity means you can use God as almost a, “Get out of hell free” card. That we just get saved, and then we do nothing for anyone. In fact, we can sin all we want, since God’s grace will cover us.
To anyone who truly understands the teachings of Christ, the doctrine of salvation, and what the Bible says about grace, they know this is not true. Some of you reading this however may not know what position the Christian takes on these issues. As a Christian, I can tell you that no where in the Bible is it taught that we just say a little prayer, and then go live like “hell”. We are told quite the contrary.
The doctrine of grace is taught throughout the Bible. Probably the most well known verse, and most cited, rightly so I should add, is Ephesians 2:8-9, which states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast”.
I think the reason this verse is so often cited by Christians to their Mormon friends, is because it truly says it better than anyone else can! Imagine for a minute, that the Apostle Paul, wanted to make a statement to the Ephesians, that salvation was only by grace through faith in Jesus, and not of works, how would he have said it so as not to be confusing, or misunderstood?
I contend that this verse, so beautifully written through inspiration, says perfectly what God wanted us to know! That salvation is through the grace of Christ! And that no one can claim it is by their own works, so no one can boast in themselves! The fact that salvation comes through the unmerited grace of Christ means that the only boasting that can be done, is in the perfect love of the sinless sacrifice of God’s one and only Son! And that through that perfect love, we are saved!
Since Christ died on the cross before any of us reading this was ever born, how do you suppose we could “merit” this free gift of grace? If we could somehow do works now, 2,000 years after the death and resurrection of Christ, and if we are in fact supposed to according to Mormon teaching, to merit salvation, to earn that sacrifice, I struggle to find how on earth anyone could call this “grace”.
Continuing on, if we read verse 10 of Ephesians 2, it states, “ For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Again, thank you God for your divine guidance to the writer of this letter! Not only do we see that salvation comes by grace through faith alone in Christ, and not of works, but now we see that we who are the workmanship of God, were created for good works that God prepared for us BEFOREHAND! Notice, that the salvation by grace is a gift of God, salvation being by grace through faith is a gift of God, and any good work we do is also prepared beforehand by God! How beautiful! One would almost think that God loves us so much, He left NOTHING up to us to earn! That He is the author of salvation, and does not need the aid of man to accomplish His plans!
The next question would be, “does this theme continue in the Bible?” The answer is emphatically, YES! Let’s look to a few examples of this.
As I was reading through some scriptures as I wrote this blog post, I noticed something that never stuck out to me before in the reading of Romans 1:16. It states, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Did you catch it? “It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”. Notice, it does not say it is the power through belief and works, but belief!
Continuing on, we read in Romans 2:25, “For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law, but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.” Who has transgressed the Law? Everyone of us!
In case some don’t believe me, Romans 3:10-20 states this perfectly! It says, “ As it is written, “there is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now, we know that whatever the Law says. It speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God, because by the works of the Law, no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”
Romans 3:28 says, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
Romans continues to say to those who would claim we can merit salvation through works, in Romans 5:8, that “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Notice, our works could never replace this love!
Romans 5:15-18 says, “But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
This passage is referring to the one transgressor who brought sin, as Adam. Did you know that in those 3 verses, it says the word “gift” 5 times! Two of those times it uses the term, “free gift”.
This is absolutely unmerited on our parts!
To those who would say that all this does is give us a license to sin, that is what Romans 6:1-2 is for! It states, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
The grace of Christ is not a license to sin. In fact, this could not be any further from the truth! The grace of Christ points us inescapably to the cross of Christ! If one thinks that salvation means little, and grace is cheap, look at what the Son of God went through. Does that term not strike you? The only Son of the only God!
We look at the cross with horror, and sorrow, and yet with ultimate thanks and adoration for our Savior! That God would send His Son, who was blameless and perfect, to be literally sacrificed for all of our sins, is reason for us lifelong to “take up our cross daily” and die to sin all the more!
Could I have included countless additional scriptural support for the doctrine of salvation by grace? Absolutely! But look at all the support we have in simply one book of the Bible! We should thank God for the clarity in which He gave us this doctrine.
The title of this post is, “The blood of Jesus + Anything else = A different Gospel”. The reason this was titled as such is, we cannot add anything to the blood of Jesus. When we even think that somehow, on our own merit, in and of ourselves, we can earn this free gift, or that we must do our best and let Jesus do the rest, we are taking the blood of Jesus, and saying, “not quite good enough on its own”.
If you read that statement, and it sickened you, or caused you to shutter, GOOD! It should cause you to recoil in horror if you hold this belief. There is nothing beautiful about a God who’s own Son’s life was not good enough to purchase our salvation. In fact, if God would have left it up to us to earn our own salvation, I believe this would show us He is not omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
In closing, I would like to say that, grace and works do go hand in hand. The Bible never overlooks the issue of works, but shows us its place. Works come as a by-product of salvation by grace. As Christians, we are so grateful to God for His love, that we do works that God will be glorified through them. Not so that we can somehow receive glory, or boast in these works, but that through these works, men will see these and glorify God!
Works do not, and cannot save us. Works that are produced after salvation by grace has occurred serve to show that we serve a God who is mighty to save, and through His love, and through Him giving us freely the gift of His salvation, we will diligently work the works that He prepared for us beforehand, so that He might be glorified. Even the works we do should never bring glory to our own name, but to the name above all names only!
So as we live a life of service, it is out of eternal gratitude to the God who gave us His Son’s life, so that through the death of Christ, the eternal perfect Son of God, we may live eternally with Him, through accepting His free gift of salvation.
Lastly, I would ask you this question, if you are a Mormon. The Mormon doctrine, which is so much different from the Bible, makes it clear that if you forsake all of your sins, repent, live a life of good works, make God your top priority at all times, then and only then is His grace sufficient. Who of you if you are honest can claim honestly that you ever have done this, or ever will?
It didn’t happen before your mission, during your mission, or after your mission. It does not happen now as an adult who is married with kids or single. It didn’t happen after you did your temple ordinances, or community service projects. As an elderly Mormon you look back on your life, and know it never happened!
If it couldn’t happen then, it wont happen now, and wont in the future, when does His “grace” become efficacious for you?
In fact, Isaiah 64:6 says, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment…” Something you may not know is that the word used for “a filthy garment”, is actually translated to mean menstrual garments that a woman would use during her period. If even our best and righteous deeds are like a used menstrual garment to a perfect God, how can our works add to His plan of salvation?
I contend that it wont. It truly is not “good news” as the word gospel means, but it is truly an impossible gospel. We sin each and every day, multiple times usually, either in thought or deed. God knows our thought life, so even in our mind, we cannot hide from Him!
My belief, is that for such fallen and sinful creatures, God would not make His salvation virtually unattainable. I believe He would not leave it to us, but would accomplish this Himself, which the Bible clearly teaches.
If you are having doubts, or further questions, please contact me, or a Christian Pastor. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be honored to speak with you.
I know this was a long blog, but thank you for taking the time to read this important truth of scripture!
In His service,
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Many, many, many times I have watched this verse used as a proof text for varying arguments. This to me seems to be mostly because this verse as it has been quoted, makes it appear that it says justification by works. My intention is to show you from the Bible, which lds have told me they love, why this is not a verse that supports your position in the slightest. I would also like to show you why it is dangerous to quote just 1 scripture like this.
The verse in question is Revelations 20:12, which says:
Revelation 20:12 (King James Version)
" 12 - And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
So, in order to properly understand this verse, the smart thing to do is read it in its proper context. I don't think anyone, mormon or Christian would disagree with this statement. In order to understand a verse, we must read it in the proper context.
In Verses 7 - 10, we see that Satan had been kept captive for a short time, then was released during the thousand year millennial reign. So Satan is devoured by fire and is thrown in to the lake of fire in verse 10. Verse 11 is where we see the throne. Now notice what it says. It says that the "dead, small and great, stand before God". Now these people are standing before the throne of God. This is a judicial sense as all men are guilty before God. And God's role is absolute judge, and His judgments are perfect, and deserving.
Next, it tells us that, "the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
I seriously BEG of you to continue reading. I know this is a long post but what I am about to show you from scripture may open up your eyes.
Notice that there is more than 1 book which is opened. We have multiple books. The books that record every thought and deed and even every idle word that has ever been spoken (Matthew 12:36), and also the Lambs Book of Life.
Their thoughts (Luke 8:17, Romans 2:16), their words (Matthew 12:37), and actions (Matthew 16:27) will be compared to God's perfect holy standard (Matthew 5:48, 1 Peter 1:15-16), and they will be found short (Romans 3:23).
The Lambs Book of Life is where the names of those who have come into a personal and saving relationship with Jesus Christ have their names written down (Revelations 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 15:21-27).
Now, Is Revelation teaching salvation and justification by works in this text? No.
There is a cross reference that points us to John 5:28-29.
This verse says, " 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
Now is this verse teaching justification by works? No. Keep reading through until John 6:29. Again, scripture always interprets itself. Always. John 6:29 answers this question. Some might say Jesus was advocating justification by works. Thats why we must look to John 6:29. Jesus tells us what the "good" deed is. John 6:29 says, "29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
Now, this is clear. Jesus tells us that the good work that we do is believing in Him as God's Son, whom He sent.
(Eph 2:8-9) In verse 30 they asked Him for a sign so that when they see it they might believe in Him. This makes it clear that He was teaching them to believe in Him, not in their own works. Multiple other verses in the New Testament tell us that we are not justified by the law, or by the commandments. But that we are justified by faith, through grace, in Christ alone!
Back to Revelation 20:12. Notice the order of how this judgment goes. Lets look at verses 11 - 15. Verse 11-15 says,
"11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Now, see the order? The books were opened, all men stand before God who is our righteous judge. All are judged according to their works, but then we see the Lambs book of Life is looked at before the final decision is made. Verse 15 again, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire".
Do you see what happens when we let scripture speak for itself? The only way to have your name written in the Lambs book of life is to come to a saving knowledge and relationship of Christ! By faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone. Not only that, but I just showed you Biblically how it is we are saved. I showed you that those who are ultimately getting the full judgment of God are those who's names were not written in the book of life.
Do you see by understanding this verse in its proper context, where exactly it puts you? With all of my heart I beg for you to read this, and come to understand it. I pray for you. That God will reveal Himself to you that this Biblical Jesus is our Savior. He is Lord. He is God! He is mighty to save you in your sins, where you are right now. He is patient. He is not willing any should perish. The God of the Bible sent His Son to be murdered for YOU. He loves YOU! Please. Please! Accept Him tonight. Before it is to late! PLEASE!
Friday, August 6, 2010
The following was taken directly from www.lds.org, which had this to say about the Bible:
The Bible is not God’s final revelation to humanity, however, and neither is this collection of sacred writings complete. The Bible itself speaks of other authoritative books of scripture including books of Nathan the prophet and of Jehu and Enoch, the prophecy of Ahijah, the visions of Iddo the seer, and even missing epistles of Paul (see 2 Chronicles 9:29; 13:22; 20:34; 1 Corinthians 5:9; Jude 1:14). Other books of Latter-day Saint scripture—the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—clarify the gospel as taught in the Bible and corroborate the truthfulness of the Biblical witness of Jesus Christ.
Is it true that these books were in fact supposed to be in the Bible, and yet are not?
These books mentioned as, "authoritative" books, while perhaps mentioned in passing in the Bible, (which not all of them are) are not missing, and were never intended to be in the Bible. For instance, in Acts 17, during his sermon at Mars Hill, Paul quotes a secular poet. Does this somehow make this poet "authoritative" or inspired?
The next question I would have is, if the Book of Mormon truly contains as it claims, "the fullness of the gospel", then why is it that not even one of these supposed missing books is found in all of the mormon doctrine? If the gospel was restored, and these books were authoritative, and divinely inspired, as is claimed, why is it then that they were never given to Joseph Smith?
The answer? They were not included in the Bible for the same reason other books were not. They were not missing, they were not supposed to be in the Bible! Not every ancient text is scripture, nor is it supposed to be in the Bible.
Something to think about!
In His service ...
"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"
Does the Bible teach the practice of baptism for the dead?
This is a question that both sides of the argument need to know. If you are an evangelical Christian, or a Latter Day Saint. And my guess is both sides are familiar with this verse. Perhaps as a Mormon, you have used this verse as a proof text to support your argument. After all, this verse does appear in Mormon literature, and even inside of the temple itself. This verse has been used by many members of the LDS church to support their doctrinal practice of baptism for the dead.
If you are an evangelical Christian who has witnessed to a Mormon, or studied Mormonism, you have no doubt either had this verse quoted to you, or have read it from a Mormon scholar, to support their position. The question is not, “Does the Bible mention baptism for the dead?” The question is, “Is baptism for the dead a biblical practice, and doctrine?” For the answer, we must consult the Bible and see if it gives us the answer to this question.
First, we need to ask, “since the Bible mentions baptism for the dead, does this mean it is a biblical practice?” The answer, no. If that was true, and anything mentioned in the Bible was a biblical practice, than we have a myriad of problems. We would begin to get strange doctrines. We might start to think that having concubines is biblical, that sorcery is biblical, that divination is biblical, or that homosexuality is biblical. These are all behaviors mentioned in the Bible, but being mentioned in the Bible does not make it become a doctrine itself.
Lets look at this scripture more in depth. First of all, who is speaking?
We see clearly that the person speaking is Paul. Who is he speaking to? The author of the first epistle to the Corinthians is speaking to the Corinthians themselves. Now, please notice that the verse quoted is in the midst of an argument. The verse begins with, “else what shall they do”. This shows us that we do not in this verse alone have all of the answers. We should ask ourselves, what shall who do? Who is baptizing for the dead? Why are the dead being baptized?
Lets see if we can find the answers.
We know the speaker is Paul, we know the audience is the Corinthians. What we don’t know is why this is being brought up. We need to look at the entire chapter to see if we can somehow find an answer, and sure enough, we do.
1st Corinthians 15:12-19 tells us: "Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied."
Several things to notice in this scripture. First, we see that the Corinthians, although they are practicing baptism for the dead, do not believe in a resurrection of the dead, or an afterlife. Paul is questioning them as this makes no sense. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ Himself could not have been resurrected and would still be in the tomb, and Paul’s faith is in vain. He even goes further to say that if that is the case, then they are false witnesses since they were testifying that God Himself raised Christ from the dead, and if the Corinthians were right that there is no resurrection, then how could God have raised Christ?
Also please notice, the topic is truly speaking about the resurrection of the dead, NOT about baptism for the dead. When we get to verse 29, Paul uses an interesting word, he says, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead”. He uses the word, “they”. He does not use the word, “we”. He excludes himself from this practice. And once you put the scripture in its context, we see Paul is not at all condoning the practice of baptism for the dead, but is distancing himself from this practice, and is also bringing the Corinthians who are part of this practice back to the truth, which is the doctrine of the resurrection.
He goes on to explain, “30-Why are we also in danger every hour? 31-I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32-If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.”
Now, in conclusion I beg of you to please stay with me on this. No where, and I mean NO WHERE, do we see in this the doctrine of baptism for the dead, we do not see this as doctrine, as a biblically based practice, and especially not as some sort of a second chance at eternal life. This is the 1 place in the entirety of scripture with any reference to baptism for the dead, and now that we have studied this verse, we can clearly see it is not a biblical practice.
In fact, Hebrews 9:27 says, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment”. There is no second chance. Today is the day to make your choice of whom you will serve. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.
The last thing I would like to say is, every single person will experience eternity. Some will experience eternal life, others eternal death. If you are wrong, imagine the length of time you will have to dwell on it. You could spend 165 billion years in hell, and yet be no closer to the punishment being over than when it first began.
Nothing is more important than your eternal salvation, so I beg you with all of my heart, to be honest and spend time studying these issues.