Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Mormon questions

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Biblical Answers to Mormons“, posted with vodpod

 

 

mormon-claims1

Mormon Claims Answered
(1997 version) by Marvin W. Cowan

Utah Lighthouse Ministry would like to thank Marvin Cowan for graciously allowing us to post his book Mormon Claims Answered on our website. A paper copy of this book may be purchased through us for just $4.00. This book is also available in Spanish and Russian.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE BOOK  http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/mclaimscontents.htm

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXPLANATION OF ABBREVIATED BOOK TITLES

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1 – ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF MORMONISM

The Story As Told by Mormons
Evidence Against the Joseph Smith Story

The 1820 Revival and Joseph’s First Vision
A Biblical Response
First Vision Versions
Moroni or Nephi
Inconsistency about Church Membership
The 1826 Trial
Joseph Smith’s Death

 

CHAPTER 2 – GOD

The Trinity

God the Father
Mother God
Jesus Christ
The Holy Ghost
Polytheism

 

CHAPTER 3 – THE BIBLE

Incomplete and Incorrect Translation
Mormonism’s Inspired Bible
A Complete, Trustworthy Bible

 

CHAPTER 4 – THE BOOK OF MORMON

A Second Witness
Proof Texts from the Bible
The Importance of the Book of Mormon
Internal Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Changes in the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Clarifies Doctrine
External Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Translation Time
Origin of the Book of Mormon
The Witnesses of the Book of Mormon
Scientific Evidence for the Book of Mormon
The Ultimate LDS Test for the Book of Mormon

 

CHAPTER 5 – MORE LDS SCRIPTURE AND REVELATION

The Pearl of Great Price

Moses
Abraham
Joseph Smith – Matthew
Joseph Smith – History
The Articles of Faith
The Doctrine and Covenants

Changes Between Editions
Additions to the Doctrine & Covenants
Prophecies in the Doctrine & Covenants
Other Prophecies by Smith
Prophecies by Other LDS Prophets

 

CHAPTER 6 – PRIESTHOOD

Definition and Function
Origin of LDS Priesthood
Biblical Priesthood

 

CHAPTER 7 – THE CHURCH

Universal Apostasy
Restoration
Claims of The One True Church
LDS Church Offices

Apostles
Original LDS 12 Apostles
Prophets
Other Church Offices

 

CHAPTER 8 – SALVATION

Sin
Two Kinds of Salvation

General Salvation
Personal Salvation
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
Repentance
Baptism
Laying on of Hands
Church Membership
Keep the Commandments

  1. The Ten Commandments
  2. The Word of Wisdom
  3. Tithing
  4. Gaining Knowledge
  5. Be Fruitful and Multiply
  6. Be Virtuous
  7. Doing Good Works
  8. Accept Joseph Smith and Successors

 

CHAPTER 9 – TEMPLE AND TEMPLE ORDINANCES

Temples

Genealogical Work
Temple Endowments

Marriage and Sealing
Polygamy
Baptism for the Dead

 

CHAPTER 10 – THE ETERNAL STATE OF MANKIND

Eternal Progression
Three Heavens or Degrees of Glory
Immortality and Eternal Life
No Hell
The Unpardonable Sins
Blood Atonement

 

OTHER LDS INFORMATION AVAILABLE

===============================================================

Chapter 3

THE BIBLE

 

“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.”

8th Article of Faith by Joseph Smith

    LDS Apostle James Talmage wrote, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the Holy Bible as the foremost of her standard works, first among the books which have been proclaimed as her written guides in faith and doctrine” (A. of F., p. 236).

    And LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie said: “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known informally by the nickname Mormons) believe the Bible. Indeed, so literally and completely do their beliefs and practices conform to the teachings of the Bible that it is not uncommon to hear informed persons say: ‘If all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons.’ Bible doctrine is Mormon doctrine, and Mormon doctrine is Bible doctrine. They are one and the same” (What The Mormons Think of Christ, p. 2).

    Such statements have led many to assume that the LDS view of the Bible is similar to what Protestants believe, but such is not the case. Mormonism actually attacks the Bible on two counts: (1) it is mistranslated, and (2) it is incomplete.

 

INCOMPLETE AND INCORRECT TRANSLATION

    The mistranslation of the Bible is suggested in the eighth Article of Faith. Talmage explains, “There will be, there can be, no absolutely reliable translation of these or other scriptures unless it be effected through the gift of translation, as one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost… Let the Bible then be read reverently and with prayerful care, the reader ever seeking the light of the Spirit that he may discern between truth and the errors of men” (A. of F., p. 237).

    Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth Prophet of Mormonism also said: “There is not one principle pertaining to the salvation of men that is so clearly stated in the Bible, as it has come down to us, that men do not stumble over – not one thing. There is not one principle they can be united on that has been so clearly stated that they do not find their interpretations of it conflicting” (D. of S., Vol. I, p. 278).

    Joseph Smith also declared, “Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (T. of P.J.S., p. 327). And LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson said, “Many insertions were made, some of them ‘slanted’ for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, p. 4).

    LDS Apostle Orson Pratt also wrote:

If it be admitted that the apostles and evangelists did write the books of the New Testament, that does not prove of itself that they were divinely inspired at the time they wrote…. Add all this imperfection to the uncertainty of the translation, and who, IN HIS RIGHT MIND could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original? (Divine Authority of the Book of Mormon, pp. 45, 47; read all of this pamphlet for a detailed attack upon the Bible).

    In addition to this charge of an unreliable translation, Mormon leaders say that important doctrine as well as whole books have been deleted or added by corrupt men. Joseph Smith declared, “Upon my return from Amhurst Conference, I resumed the translation of the Scriptures. From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible or lost before it was compiled” (T. of P.J.S., pp. 9-11).

    The B. of M. also says, “Many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible… Thou fool, that shall say a Bible, we have got a Bible and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?” (II Nephi 29:3,6).

    Notice that only “fools” trust in the Bible alone! Verse 10 of the same passage goes on to say, “Wherefore, because ye have a Bible ye need not suppose it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.” The B. of M. declared that more revelation was needed and thus made way for its own existence!

    The B. of M. also predicts a great and abominable church has “taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away” (I Nephi 13:26).

    The bottom of that page of the B. of M. dates this perversion of the gospel around 600 B.C., which was long before the “gospel of the Lamb” was even given in the New Testament! LDS claim the B. of M. has restored these “plain and precious things,” and that it is the “fulness of the gospel” (B. of M. I Nephi 13:34-35; D. & C. 20:8-9; 27:5). But they are hard-pressed to point to anything that has been “restored” by the B. of M. Our chapter on the B. of M. discusses this problem further.

    Apostle Orson Pratt also claimed, “The Bible has been robbed of its plainness; many sacred books having been lost, others rejected by the Romish Church, and what few we have left, were copied and re-copied so many times, that it is admitted that almost every verse has been corrupted and mutilated to that degree that scarcely any two of them read alike” (The Seer, p. 213).

    Pratt made another familiar LDS charge against the Bible, saying:

The gathering together of the few scattered manuscripts which compose what is now termed the Bible was the work of uninspired man which took place centuries after John finished his manuscript. Among the vast number of professedly inspired manuscripts, scattered through the world, man, poor, weak, ignorant man assumed the authority to select a few, which according to his frail judgment, he believed or conjectured were of God, but the balance not agreeing, perhaps, with his peculiar notions of divine inspiration, were rejected as spurious. The few, selected from the abundance, were finally arranged into one volume, divided into chapter and verse, and named the Bible (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p. 3).

    Pratt goes on to say that this selection or rejection of the books of the Bible was done by a vote of those uninspired men as they met in councils (Ibid., pp. 36-38). Pratt shows indignation at the very idea of the early church fathers voting to accept or reject scripture. But, Talmage wrote concerning LDS scripture, “the works adopted by the vote of the church as authoritative guides in faith and doctrine are four: the Bible, the B. of M., the D. & C., and the P. of G.P.” (A. of F., p. 7). Therefore, the LDS Church accepted their four books of scripture by a vote! LDS must explain why it was wrong for the early church to vote on scripture and yet it was right for the LDS Church. Actually, about all those early church councils did was officially vote to endorse the books of the Bible then in use by the church. The Holy Spirit had already made the selection and guided them into all truth as Jesus promised He would in John. 16:13. There is absolutely no evidence that the books of the Bible were selected or rejected the way Pratt says they were.

    Pratt also condemned the Catholic Bible, declaring, “That the Romanists have continued in their apostasy until the present day is demonstrated from the fact that they have not added one single book to their canon since they first formed it” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p. 38).

    Pratt said the same thing about the “Harlot Daughters,” i.e. Protestants (Ibid., p. 40). We will discuss what the LDS have added to their original scriptures in our chapter “More LDS Scripture and Revelation.”

    Orson Pratt also attacked the Bible saying, “The voices of several hundred jarring, contending, soul-sickening sects, were constantly sounding in your ears; each one professing to be built upon the Bible, and yet each one differing from all the rest. Under this confused state of things, you have peradventure, involuntarily exclaimed: can the Bible be the Word of God! Would God reveal a system of religion expressed in such indefinite terms that a thousand different religions should grow out of it?” (Divine Authenticity of the B. of M., p. 47).

    What would Pratt say now that over 200 splinter groups have come out of Joseph Smith’s original church? (See Denominations that Base Their Beliefs on The Teachings of Joseph Smith by Kate Carter). Neither LDS prophets nor their scripture have eliminated church splits!

    It is strange that Mormonism attacks the reliability of the Bible while Talmage calls it their “first” book of doctrine! But, not all LDS leaders agree on which LDS scripture is the most important. For example, Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the LDS Church wrote, “In my judgment there is no book on earth yet come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine and Covenants, with all due respect to the B. of M. and the Bible, and the P. of G.P. which we say are our standards in doctrine. The book of D. & C. to us stands in a peculiar position above them all” (D. of S., Vol. III, p. 198).

    Obviously the D. & C. and the Bible cannot both be in “first” place above other LDS scriptures! But Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, said, “I told the brethren that the B. of M. was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book” (T. of P.J.S., p. 194).

    Thus, while Dr. Talmage said the Bible is the most important book to Mormons, Joseph Fielding Smith said the D. & C. was the most important, and the founder of Mormonism declared the B. of M. was the book that would get men nearer to God. As Mormons now practice their faith, Joseph Fielding Smith is really the most accurate because LDS believe the Bible has been corrupted and therefore is not too reliable. Furthermore, the B. of M. does not teach much Mormon doctrine, as our chapter on the B. of M. shows.

    LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explains their view of “scripture:” “The Church uses the King James Version of the Bible, but acceptance of the Bible is coupled with a reservation that it is true only insofar as it is translated correctly (Eighth Article of Faith). The other three (The B.of M., D.& C., and P. of G.P.), having been revealed in modern times in English, are accepted without qualification” (M.D. p. 764). This statement clearly shows that the LDS leaders question the reliability of the Bible, but not their other three books of scripture. However, three of their four books of scripture have been changed several times. The last time was in 1981. The only book of scripture they did not change was the Bible! Since it is the Bible they claim has all the problems, their actions are a bit strange. LDS leaders made changes (including doctrinal changes) in their B.of M., D. & C., and P. of G.P. when those books were already perfect enough to be “accepted without qualification.” Why couldn’t they correct the corruptions in the Bible if they really exist? Could it be that LDS leaders know that the Bible is not as corrupt as their own three books?

    According to LDS scripture, every LDS president is “a seer, a revelator, a translator and a prophet” (D. & C. 107:91-92, M.D. pp. 591-592). Yet, even though Joseph Smith re-translated the Bible, the LDS accept only the King James Version as their official Bible!

 

MORMONISM’S INSPIRED VERSION BIBLE

    According to the D.H.C., Vol. I, pp. 324 and 368, and Times and Seasons, Vol. VI, p. 802, Joseph Smith completed a translation of the Bible. Those sources and Andrew Jensen’s LDS Church Chronology show that the New Testament was finished February 2, 1833, and the Old Testament on July 2, 1833. In a revelation given on January 10, 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon are commanded to “continue the work of translation until it is finished” (D. & C. 73:4). Obviously this was not talking about the B. of M. which was published in 1830. Nor could it be talking about the Book of Abraham Papyrus which Joseph Smith saw for the first time on July 3, 1835 (D.H.C., Vol. II, p. 235). Furthermore, Joseph Smith was commanded by God in D. & C. 124:89 to “publish the new translation of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth” (see also D. & C. 94:10 and 104:58).

    In spite of these commands in LDS scripture the LDS Church never published the Inspired Version of the Bible until 1979. According to LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, the reason it was not published is that “…This inspired revision of the ancient scriptures was never completed by the Prophet” (M.D., p. 383). If that is true, Joseph Smith was a very disobedient Prophet because he was commanded to finish it (D. & C. 73:4) and publish it (D. & C. 124:89)! As previously mentioned, Smith himself claimed he did complete it, but it had not been published at the time of his death in 1844. When he was killed, the manuscript went to his wife who never accepted Brigham Young as the successor to her husband. Her son Joseph III later became the Prophet of the Reorganized LDS Church and published the new translation for the Reorganized LDS Church for the first time in 1867. Many LDS people have used the RLDS edition, but it has never been officially endorsed by the LDS Church because they did not trust the “apostate” Reorganized LDS Church. The ninth printing of the 1944 edition entitles it the Inspired Version The Holy Scriptures. Below that title it says “A New Corrected Edition.” On p. 3 of the Preface, we read: “As concerning the manner of translation and correction, it is evident, that from the manuscripts and the testimony of those who were conversant with the facts that it was done by direct revelation from God.”

    If the inspired translation was done by direct revelation and yet needed correction by revelation, will the revealed corrections need to be corrected by further revelation? Why couldn’t God reveal it correctly the first time? And why is about 90% of it a copy of the King James Version if that translation is as bad as LDS leaders have claimed it is? Since 1979, the King James Bibles published by the LDS Church have most of the Inspired Version in the footnotes and appendix, but they call it the Joseph Smith Translation or the “JST.”

    One of the LDS charges against the Bible is that many books have been lost. Talmage lists 20 “lost books” of the Bible, which include “The Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:7); Books of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14); Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13),” and so on (A. of F., p. 501). Even if all 20 of these books are mentioned in the Bible, does that prove they were intended to be books of the Bible? If so, Epicurean and Stoic philosophy should be included also since the Apostle Paul quotes it in Acts 17:18 and 28. Just because some writing is mentioned in the Bible does not prove that everything in that document is supposed to be part of the Bible! One would expect the Inspired Version to contain the “lost books” which LDS claim make our Bible incomplete. But, not a single “lost book” has been replaced in the Inspired Version or in any other LDS book of scripture. In fact, the Inspired Version only has 65 books because Joseph Smith deleted the Song of Solomon!

    Are the “mistranslations” which LDS claim are in the Bible corrected in the Inspired Version? One good example is in Is. 65:1, “I am found of them who seek after me, I give unto them that ask of me; I am not found of them that sought me not; or that inquireth not after me.”

    Paul quoted this verse in Rom. 10:20, but in Joseph Smith’s translation it says: “But Esaias is very bold and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.” Smith’s “inspiration” speaks for itself!

    The Inspired Version prophesies the coming of Joseph (Smith) in Gen. 50:24-33. But, you do not need to look beyond Gen. 1:1 to see that this is no ordinary Bible. Other texts that did not fit Smith’s doctrine were changed so that they did fit. For example, Ex. 33:20 says, “Thou canst not see my face and live.” But, the Inspired Version says, “Thou canst not see my face at this time. John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at any time.” But, the Inspired Version says, “and no man hath seen God at any time except he hath borne record of the Son” (John 1:19). I John 4:12 says, “No man hath seen God at any time,” but the Inspired Version adds, “except them who believe.” Since Joseph Smith claimed that he saw God and Christ in 1820, he made the Bible conform to his teachings! Smith changed hundreds of verses in his Inspired Version, but not one change can be substantiated by the original manuscripts!

    Thus, the charge against the Bible made by LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson certainly fits Joseph Smith’s Bible! He said, “Many insertions were made, some of them slanted for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, p. 4).

 

A COMPLETE, TRUSTWORTHY BIBLE

    Since the LDS god is just a glorified man, it may be difficult for LDS to believe he can protect his word. But, Christians trust the Bible as the Word of God for several reasons. Archaeology has verified many locations and events mentioned in the Bible which show that it is truly an historical document. Some Biblical prophecies are known to pre-date their fulfillment, which suggests divine guidance. These things, along with the Bible’s own claim that it is the Word of God, give Christians confidence in it.

    Isaiah wrote, “The Word of our God shall stand forever (Is. 40:8). Peter said much the same: “The word of God which liveth and abideth forever” and “The word of the Lord endureth forever” (I Peter 1:23 & 25). Jesus also declared, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Jesus who made that claim also said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). If He has all power in heaven and earth, and He says His word will not pass away, we ought to be able to believe it! Rev. 19:6 also calls Him “The Lord God omnipotent” (all powerful). And if God cared enough to give mankind His Word, then He ought to also be able to preserve it. If the All Powerful Lord God can “keep” believers (I Peter 1:5), it is reasonable to believe that He can keep His Word too!

    Gal. 1:8-9 warns against teaching any other Gospel than that which Paul had already preached. But, it is impossible for Mormons to show that Paul taught such LDS doctrines as: God is a glorified man, celestial marriage, a temporary hell, or protective sacred underwear.

    There is no Bible verse that says “this is the end of all scripture.” But, Paul did write in Rom. 15:19, “I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.” Peter also wrote in II Peter 1:3 that “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Paul said in Col. 2:10, “You are complete in Him” (Christ). Therefore, what could “more scripture” possibly add? Christians already have all things that pertain to life and godliness, because the gospel has been fully preached and believers are “complete in Him.” The only thing which can be added to that completeness is distortion or perversion which Paul warned against in Gal. 1.6-9. Jesus also said, “the word that I have spoken – shall judge him (man) in the last day” (John 12:48). Therefore, no new “scripture” can add anything helpful to the gospel.

    Sometimes Christians use Rev. 22:18-19, to show that nothing should be added to the Bible. LDS respond that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation. While it does apply to the book of Revelation, it also applies to the whole Bible since it is located at the end of the last book of the Bible. But, LDS claim that Duet. 4:2 and Prov. 30:6 teaches the same thing as Rev. 22:18-19, so most of the Bible should not have been written if that same logic is used with them. However, those texts simply say that the Word of God must not be changed by adding to or deleting from it. But, in his Inspired Version of the Bible, Joseph Smith did add and delete from the book of Revelation in texts like Rev. 1:1-8. Therefore Rev. 22:18-19 does apply to the LDS!

    The New Testament writers were “eyewitnesses” of Jesus’ earthly ministry (II Peter 1:15-18, I John 1:1-5) and recorded the things they heard and saw for our benefit. Although Paul was not a disciple during Jesus’ earthly ministry, he was specially chosen by the Lord as a witness while the other apostles were still alive (Acts 22:14-15; I Cor. 11:23; Gal. 1:11-17). He also testified concerning the same thing as the other writers: what he had seen and heard of the Lord. Although much more could be written (John 20:30; 21:25), there is no need for more because we already have “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3; John 20:31). Most people haven’t read the Bible through once, so more scripture probably wouldn’t get read even if it existed. We do not need more scripture, but we do need to know the scripture we have!

http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/mclaims3.htm

Advertisements

mormon_vs_ninja

 

Dispelling Myths about Christianity

Myth #1. Christians think all you have to do is say a little prayer to go to heaven, then you can live like the devil and still be saved.

Fact: Christians do NOT believe this. There is nothing magic about “the prayer.” People who just a say a little prayer to “cover all the bases” are not demonstrating saving faith. True Christians do not believe in what is referred to as “cheap grace” or “easy-believism;” the concept that one can just say a prayer and then go on living a lifestyle of sin. It is true that Christians believe a person praying from the heart, with real intent, asking for salvation, will indeed be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone, and that good works will not add one iota to his salvation. However, they do not use their salvation as an excuse to do wrong.

There is a difference between justification and sanctification. When a person puts their trust completely in Jesus Christ, praying in faith for salvation, he is immediately justified, or put into right standing before God. He has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus and the righteousness of Jesus is credited to the person’s account. The biblical definition of salvation is being saved from the wrath of God (eternal hell) and living eternally in heaven with God.

Sanctification is a process occurring over time as the Holy Spirit works in the life of a Christian, purging him of the desires of the flesh. We are sinners by nature, so of course Christians stumble and fall in their walk with the Lord, but they do not make sinful actions a pattern of living. For example, a person claiming to have been born-again who year after year lives with his girlfriend, cheats people in business, doesn’t read the Bible or pray, and consistently lives as the world lives, would need to “examine [himself] as to whether [he] is in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). The Holy Spirit equips a Christian for godly living. As a Christian becomes more mature in his walk with the Lord, he begins to love the things God loves and hate the things God hates. His sin begins to bother him and doing what pleases God becomes delicious to him.

What is one of the signs that we have been saved? “And hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). The Greek word for “keep” in this context is the same one that sailors used for being guided by the stars. Pastor Adrian Rogers—beloved by millions of Christians and who recently passed away—used the following analogy. He said that sailors in ancient times would chart their course at sea by the stars, so they would know where they were going. There might be occasions when the captain fell asleep at the helm and drifted off-course, but it would not be long before he was able to adjust his direction and arrive at his intended destination.

This practice of navigation was called “keeping the stars.” Likewise, keeping the commandments is similar for a Christian. He may “fall asleep at the helml” (sometimes called backsliding) or occasionally go off course, but If his eyes are upon Jesus and the desire of his heart is to please God, he will arrive safely into heaven’s harbor.

Myth #2. Either the Mormon Church is true or the Catholic Church is true. It could not be the Protestants because they broke off from the Catholic Church.

Fact: Not exactly. The church of Jesus Christ was already established long before the Roman Catholic Church came along. Whenever “church” was referred to in the New Testament, it meant “the called out ones;” it is the Greek “ekklesia.” The Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon explains what “church” has meant from New Testament times onward:

[Church] in a Christian sense. An assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting., a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake., those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body., the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth., the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven. (Strong, J. 1996. The exhaustive concordance of the Bible: electronic edition)

Galatians 3:26-29 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

To rephrase that in modern language, “There is neither Baptist nor Lutheran, Calvary Chapel nor Nazarene, Methodist nor Pentecostal, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Denominations may differ in some regards, but our salvation comes through a saving relationship with Jesus alone. That is what makes us members of His church. The Roman Catholic Church is a man-made institution. It was organized by men and many of its doctrines and practices were made by men. The protestant denominations came out of Catholicism only to get back to what the original church was; the body of believers saved through Christ’s atonement; the priesthood of believers; deriving their authority from the Word of God. (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Ephesians 2:18; Romans 12:1; Revelation 1:6)

Myth #3. All the denominations argue about which one of them is right.

Fact: There is no arguing going on. No single denomination claims to be “The True Church” or “The True Denomination” or “The Only Way” through which a person can come to Jesus Christ. A favorite expression among Christians concerning denominations is; “In essentials unity; in non-essentials diversity; in all things charity.” All the Protestant denominations agree on the nature and character of God, who Jesus is, the means of salvation (grace alone by faith alone through Jesus alone), and the inerrancy of the Bible.

When I left Mormonism and began looking for a church to attend, I was surprised at how well the various churches in the area got along. I had been taught as a Latter-day Saint the myth of fighting denominations each trying to gain more members for themselves. I visited several churches of different denominations. Over the ensuing weeks several people I had met called me and said that they hoped I would start coming to their church, but wherever I decided to go their prayers would be with me. When I found a church that was not too much of a culture shock coming out of the Mormon Church, my pastor often said over the pulpit to visitors that he hoped they would make Shadow Hills Baptist Church their home church, however, there were many other good churches in the area that taught sound biblical doctrine. My pastor met monthly with pastors and ministers from several denominations for lunch where they would discuss important issues, pray together, and be supportive of one another. This is not to say that individual fellowships do not have their share of disagreements on occasion, but the over all attitude among the denominations is one of love.

Myth #4. The Bible is missing a bunch of books and is not translated correctly.

The Old Testament we have now is the same one the Jews had in Jesus’ day. Jesus authenticated the Old Testament by quoting from every part of it. There are books mentioned by Old Testament writers, such as the Book of Jasher and the Books of the Wars of the Lord, but that does not mean they were inspired. Jesus did not quote from any of these so-called missing books. The apostle Paul quoted from Greek poets, yet their writings or complete works are not found in the New Testament. From an LDS perspective the Book of Mormon is missing “the sealed portion” and Brigham Young claimed to have seen wagon loads of metal plates and other writings beneath the Hill Cumorah. Does this mean books are missing from the BoM and therefore make it unreliable? A Mormon would say, “No, of course not.” So why set a double standard for the Bible?

The God Who had the power to call forth the universe into existence is certainly powerful enough to preserve His holy word! Hebrew children were immersed in scripture from a young age. In school, the rabbi would place a bit of honey on the child’s tongue before having him memorize scripture so the child would begin to see God’s word is sweet and precious. Scribes committed their whole lives to carefully preserving the word of God. They would painstakingly copy letter for letter and if anything were amiss they would destroy the page and start all over. Everey time they came to God’s name they would get new ink to write it with—that is how much they revered the word of God. There was no such thing as a careless scribe as LDS leaders want you to think.

The Dead Sea scrolls refute the idea that things were taken out and/or added to the Old Testament. For example, the book of Isaiah found in the Dead Sea scrolls was one thousand years older than any manuscript in existence at the time. With only a few variations in spelling, it was correctly transcribed word for word! There are over 5,000 manuscripts in existence today containing all or part of the New Testament. The earliest fragments have been dated to 100-150 A.D.. The manuscripts in other languages combined with the Greek bring the total manuscripts in existence to over a stunning 24,000 in number! The mountain of evidence for the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible is overwhelming. A good book for in-depth information on this topic is The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.

Myth #5. The Council of Nicea is where a bunch of relgious leaders were locked in a room and told they could not come out until they agreed on their ideas about God. They also voted on which books to include in the Bible.

Fact: This myth is utter nonsense. “The facts of history demonstrate, however, that the New Testament was not formed hastily, nor was it formed by the councils. It was the product of centuries of development, and its official ratification came in response to the practical needs of the churches.”

Developments that forced the Church to Establish a Canon: 1) Need for a Scripture to spell out the message of the Apostles, 2) Need to decide on what should be read in the churches, 3) Need for a true canon to answer heretical ones, 4) Need to establish authoritative truth to answer error, 5) Need to decide which of the many books claiming to be canonical were false, 6) Need to decide which books to die for when possession resulted in martyrdom (Vos, H. F., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996. Exploring church history.)

Archaeological evidence now proves that the New Testament books were written by the end of the first century. These books were already circulating among the churches to be read in worship services. Within a short period of time, however, heresies began to creep into the church. Writings started to pop up that were claimed to be authored by some of the apostles (such as the book of Thomas) and other writings were introduced into variuous churches as new revelations. To protect the church (the ekklesia; Christians), a standard had to be set to keep the Scriptures pure. Writings thaat could be proven authentic of the apostles and those close to them were kept. Writings that did not have a basis in truth or had no evidence for their origin as apostolic writings were rejected.

As for the creeds, they formalized what the Bible already revealed about God. The LDS Church puts forth its Thirteen Articles of Faith as a statement of what Mormons believe. The Nicene Creed, Apostolic Creed, and other confessions do the same thing. The creeds are nothing more than statements of faith so Christians everywhere could readily share their beliefs with others.

JUST as the New Testament canon developed in response to a need in the church, so did the creeds. In the days before the canon was formulated and when there were few copies of any of the New Testament books in circulation, believers required some standard to keep them in the path of truth. Moreover, they needed a standard by which to test heretical opinions. So very early, possibly near the end of the first century or beginning of the second, a rule of faith came into existence.

Assuming different forms in different churches, it generally taught that Christ, the Son of God, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and died, was buried, rose again, and ascended into Heaven—for the remission of sins. This rule of faith, which has come to be called the Apostles’ Creed, reached its present form about 750. In the early church, candidates for baptism often were asked if they assented to the various clauses of this standard of faith. (Vos, H. F., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996. Exploring church history, electronic version)

It was creeds such as this—the Apostles’ Creed, which clearly laid out Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—that Joseph Smith said were abominations.

http://www.equippingchristians.com/DispellingMythsAboutChristianity.htm

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-

mormon-questions3

ANSWERING MORMON OBJECTIONS TO CHRISTIANITY

There are too many versions of the Bible

The number of Bible versions does not negate the efficacy of God’s word. The purpose of the various versions is to make the original text more readable and increase the reader’s understanding of scripture. This is no different than the Mormon Church publishing the children’s “Book of Mormon Reader” in addition to the standard Book of Mormon.

My grandparents’ native language was Czech. As I was growing up I wanted very much to learn the language and frequently asked them what they were saying. Sometimes they paraphrased in English what they had said and other times they told me word for word. Since some Czech words do not have an English equivalent, my grandparents would have to find the best way to explain what they were saying. ICzech grammar also varies from the English. The literal word for word translation of “I love you” from Czech to English would be “I you love.”

The same principle holds true for translating the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English. Because of differences in grammar, style, and language, etymology becomes challenging. Nevertheless, there are several ways to convey meaning without diminishing the original message. Whether I say “I am extremely hungry” or “I am famished” it means the same thing. Here are some examples:

John 3:16

King James: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

New American Standard Bible: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

New International Version: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

There are different versions suited for a variety of purposes. For personal, devotional reading, one would use a “paraphrase” translation (thought-for-thought), such as the Living Bible. For in-depth study one would use a word-for-word translation, like the Amplified Bible or the New American Standard Bible. For those who enjoy the beauty and majesty of Old English, the King James Version is a good choice. A very good article on the history of the English Bible can be found here.

Are there problems with the new translations? There are good translations and bad ones, however, this does not mean there is only One True Translation.

…we must be very careful to make intelligent and informed decisions about what translations of the Bible we choose to read. On the liberal extreme, we have people who would give us heretical new translations that attempt to change God’s Word to make it politically correct. One example of this, which has made headlines recently, is the Today’s New International Version (T.N.I.V.) which seeks to remove all gender-specific references in the Bible whenever possible! Not all new translations are good… and some are very bad.

But equally dangerous, is the other extreme… of blindly rejecting ANY English translation that was produced in the four centuries that have come after the 1611 King James. We must remember that the main purpose of the Protestant Reformation was to get the Bible out of the chains of being trapped in an ancient language that few could understand, and into the modern, spoken, conversational language of the present day. William Tyndale fought and died for the right to print the Bible in the common, spoken, modern English tongue of his day… as he boldly told one official who criticized his efforts, “If God spare my life, I will see to it that the boy who drives the plowshare knows more of the scripture than you, Sir!”

Will we now go backwards, and seek to imprison God’s Word once again exclusively in ancient translations? Clearly it is not God’s will that we over-react to SOME of the bad modern translations, by rejecting ALL new translations and “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” (John L. Jeffcoat, http://www.greatsite.com)

Keep in mind that the forty-seven scholars who translated for the King James Bible were working with fewer manuscripts than we have available today. The KJV is certainly an accurate and reliable translation of the Bible, but it is not the only one! There are several excellent English translations of the Bible. Regardless of which translation a person uses, for study and understanding it is wise to keep a concordance handy, as well as an “interlinear Bible,”

an edition in which each line of the original biblical text (OT Hebrew or NT Greek) is followed by a line containing a literal English equivalent directly underneath each Hebrew or Greek word; since the word order of the ancient languages is very different from any modern languages, the English equivalents seem very strange, chopped up, and out of order; thus a smooth English translation is usually also provided in the margins (Web definition, retrieved from Google).

The Dead Sea Scrolls contained a complete copy of Isaiah, dated one thousand years older than the earliest manuscript of the day (1947) and was found to be almost word for word the same; the few variations in the text did not change the meaning of any passage. The New Testament is even more astounding because we have over 5,000 Greek manuscripts to work with!

A few existing fragments date back to within 25-50 years of the original writing. New Testament textual scholars have generally concluded that 1) 99.99 percent of the original writings have been reclaimed, and 2) of the remaining one hundredth of one percent, there are no variants substantially affecting any Christian doctrine. With this wealth of biblical manuscripts in the original languages and with the disciplined activity of textual critics to establish with almost perfect accuracy the content of the autographs, any errors which have been introduced and/or perpetuated by the thousands of translations over the centuries can be identified and corrected by comparing the translation or copy with the reassembled original. By this providential means, God has made good His promise to preserve the Scriptures. We can rest assured that there are translations available today which are indeed worthy of the title, The Word of God. (John MacArthur, The John MacArthur Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Inc. 2006, p. xxi)

Let me ask this; if, as Joseph Smith stated, “Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1976 Deseret Book, p. 327) then why doesn’t the First Presidency—with the wealth of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts available today—make an accurate translation of the Bible for the use of the Latter-day Saints, or indeed, for the world? The Joseph Smith Translation (copyright held by the Reorganized LDS Church; now known as Community of Christ) is not really a translation at all by definition. Smith did not have any manuscripts at his disposal; rather, he read from the King James Bible, dictating changes to his scribe. So, with all the ancient manuscripts available, thanks to archaeological discoveries, why does the LDS Church not “fix” the alleged errors and come out with its corrected edition of the Bible? Could it be because we already have an accurate and reliable Bible?

Allow me to pose another question; why is it that the LDS Church casts doubt on the reliability of the Bible despite all the historical, archaeological, and textual evidence supporting its accuracy, yet wholeheartedly accept the authenticity of The Book of Mormon with NO manuscript, archaeological, or historical evidence at all?

There are too many denominations

Yes, there are many denominations of Christianity, but that is no different from the many denominations of Mormonism. There have been many splinter groups off Mormonism since its inception; in fact, the LDS Church split into several branches after Joseph Smith’s death. It is doubtful that Mormons would consider this proof that Mormonism is not true, so why the double standard? Why would many Christian denominations be one “proof” that Christianity is not true?

The mainstream Christian denominations differ more in style and ritual than in doctrine. Furthermore, each denomination is not claiming to be the “only true denomination,” as individual LDS denominations assert. I have personally visited dozens of Christian churches from California to Washington, D.C. and never witnessed any “fighting” or contention over denominational issues. The statements of faith for each of the major denominations all agree on the essentials; Who God is, Who Jesus is, the Trinity, and salvation. In Las Vegas, NV and other cities across the country, pastors of various denominations meet on a monthly basis to pray for one another, encourage each other, and discuss issues facing the church corporately. The “church” (the “body of Christ”) consists of those who have received Jesus of the Bible as personal Lord and Savior, regardless of the denomination they attend for worship services.

There are too many arguments over doctrine

There are no more arguments over doctrinal issues in Christianity than there are in the Mormon Church among its members! Is caffeine soda against the Word of Wisdom or is it all right to drink Dr. Pepper? What constitutes Sabbath-breaking; going on a family picnic on Sunday or watching a football game? Or should there be absolutely no TV or outdoor activities? Can a person be temple-worthy if they watch R-rated movies? What if it’s only rated R for violence and not nudity? Is it a sin to turn down a calling? Some say yes, others say no. I’ve heard arguments among LDS over personal revelation versus revelation given to Church leaders; which should be given greater weight? Should a person do what the Bishop or Stake president tells you or what the spirit tells you? I know someone who was excommunicated over his view on that issue! Which doctrines should be followed and/or believed; those given by deceased LDS prophets or those given by living leaders that contradicts past doctrines and teachings? The strongest arguments are between the mainline LDS Church and the Fundamentalist LDS Church; for example, which one is practicing authentic Mormonism? Those who live as conventional Mormons or those who practice Mormonism “Joseph Smith / Brigham Young style?”

Whenever people with strongly held beliefs get together there are going to be disagreements, regardless of what denomination they belong to. Among mainline Protestant denominations the disagreements do not affect soteriology (salvation). The point isn’t if there is a right or wrong answer for each of the above questions among LDS; the point is that arguments do exist among Mormons, so why is there a double standard? Why are doctrinal arguments among Christians considered “proof” that Christianity has been corrupted, but doctrinal arguments among Mormons is not “proof” that Mormonism has become corrupted?

There is no priesthood authority among Christians

There is no need for centralized or controlled priesthood authority. In Old Testament times, priests acted as intercessors between Israel and God. They offered sacrifices on behalf of themselves and the people. Only the Levites could hold the priesthood and officiate for Israel. In addition, there was only one High Priest at a time that was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies inside the temple to make offerings. The blood sacrifice made on the altar was a type and shadow of Jesus Christ, who was the True Lamb sacrificed as a propitiation for our sins. Once His blood was shed, there was no longer a need for priests because Jesus Himself became our High Priest!

Hebrews 7:23-28 tells us that Jesus is the only and final “high priest” we need!

23 The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,

24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.

25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;

27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever. (NASB)

Old Testament Cities of Refuge provides a perfect illustration of Jesus being the final high priest. There were six “cities of refuge” appointed by God for Israel (Numbers 35:1-34). If a person accidentally killed someone (manslaughter) the victim’s family had a legal right to avenge the blood of their slain relative. The perpetrator could take his chances, so to speak, or flee to a City of Refuge for safety. If he could convince the high priest that he was innocent of murder—that the death he caused was unintentional—he could remain in that city under protection from the “avenger of blood” until the death of the high priest.

Jesus is a “type” of a city of refuge. Because of Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden, we inherit a sin nature, which, in combination with our personal sins, qualifies us for physical and spiritual death. In a very real sense each of us is guilty of manslaughter because our sins put Jesus on the cross! God’s wrath can “legally” be poured out on us, however, we have recourse; fleeing to Jesus Christ, Who is our “city of refuge.” Since Jesus is the high priest Who never dies, we have asylum in Him forever!

Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross, made the final atonement for sin, thus ending the need for the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament. At the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, this veil was 40 cubits high (about 60 feet) and four inches thick! The significance of this event is monumental. The veil separated the Holy of Holies (where God dwelt) from the rest of the temple. Only once a year was the high priest permitted to enter to make atonement for Israel’s sins. The high priest then, acted as intercessor between God and man. When Jesus gave His life as the perfect Sacrifice, the veil between God and man was torn and individuals could now come “boldly before the throne of God.”

Peter speaks of the priesthood of believers, which, by implication, includes women and children.

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Peter 2:5-9).

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that the priesthood is a power or force through which healings, blessings, prophecies, or miracles are performed. These things are done in the power of Jesus’ name, not by a special ability or right bestowed on an individual by “one holding proper authority.” Those who belong to Christ become “priests” in the sense that they offer themselves as “living sacrifices.” Two excellent articles on the priesthood of believers can be found here (gotquestions.org) and here (hismin.com)

It’s all about money

There are literally thousands of pastors throughout the United States and tens of thousands or more throughout the world. Very few of them are “in it for the money.” Countless pastors and ministers labor 24/7 at minimal pay, if any pay at all. They are leading, teaching, visiting the sick in hospitals or nursing homes, preparing in-depth sermons based on examination of Scripture, praying over their congregations, and spending time in community service. Many ministers have side jobs in addition to pastoring in order to provide for their families. They sacrifice long, exhausting hours at the expense of their own comfort to carry on the work of God. Therefore, is it wrong that they should receive compensation for their time and effort?

1 Timothy 5:17-18: The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

1 Corinthians 9:14: In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Numbers 18:21-24: To the Levites, however, I hereby assign all tithes in Israel as their heritage in recompense for the service they perform in the meeting tent. The Israelites may no longer approach the meeting tent; else they will incur guilt deserving death. Only the Levites are to perform the service of the meeting tent, and they alone shall be held responsible; this is a perpetual ordinance for all your generations. The Levites, therefore, shall not have any heritage among the Israelites, for I have assigned to them as their heritage the tithes which the Israelites give as a contribution to the LORD. That is why I have ordered that they are not to have any heritage among the Israelites…(v. 31) Your families, as well as you, may eat them anywhere, since they are your recompense for service at the meeting tent.

LDS members are not the only ones who serve without pay! Most Sunday school teachers, nursery workers, Bible study leaders, ushers, and a host of others in Christian ministry serve by volunteering their time and talent without compensation. The Mormon Church may brag about its “unpaid ministry,” but it is only the “rank and file members” who are not paid. LDS Institute teachers and directors get salaries. The General Authorities, LDS apostles, and the LDS Church president “receive a modest living allowance” (Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2. [Macmillan, 1992], 508 and 510). Note that the Mormon prophet lives in a multi-million dollar home provided by the Church;

The $1.2 million condominium at 40 N. State that is home to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be exempt from property taxes, Salt Lake County commissioners ruled Tuesday. (Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 8, 1988) Editor’s note: The property has substantially increased in value since 1988!

The Mormon Church employs public relations people, lawyers, secretaries, body guards…and by the way, why does the Mormon prophet need a body guard? Moses, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, John the Baptist, and a host of other prophets of the Bible did not need body guards–God protected them until their time was up…but I digress.

Are there abuses by some so-called Christian ministries? Are there some “Televangelists” getting rich? Sadly, yes. We usually hear about the few that take money shamelessly or prey on the gullible. We rarely hear about the countless Christian pastors and ministers of the gospel who selflessly and tirelessly serve their congregations and their communities. They don’t make the headlines, but they exist in great numbers!

Why do LDS find it objectionable for Christian leaders to be compensated for full-time ministry, yet they don’t seem to have a problem with their own leaders receiving pay? Again, why a double standard?

In Conclusion

Mormons have been taught that there must be a single church that has central authority and power. The Bible does not teach this. Being a member of Christ’s true church is a matter of being “called out” from the world as individuals. Jesus becomes the head of the believer and all power and authority is given by Him directly. Remember, “Religion” is man’s attempt to reconcile himself to God. True salvation is God reconciling man through Jesus Christ alone.

http://www.equippingchristians.com/ObjectionstoChristianity.htm

=======================================================

CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

—————————————————————————-