Friday, October 30, 2009

Abandoning the Gospel to win political fights

I read an article about the effort by some in the evangelical movement to "dialogue" with mormons. The article in Christianity Today presented a very disturbing and sobering statistics in response to the question "Are Mormons Christian?" :

Evangelical Protestants

No 45%
Don't know 15%
Yes 40%

Mainline Protestants

No 23%
Don't know 15%
Yes 62%

Black Protestants

No 30%
Don't know 27%
Yes 43%

I found the 43% yes from black Protestants troubling given mormonism teaching that their black skin is a curse and that until the late seventies when political pressure became too great, blacks were unable to become full members of the mormon church (in that they were unable to hold "the priesthood" and not permitted to do temple work). What these stats tells us is two fold. First, many Christians are completely unequipped and undiscerning to the point that they don't realize that a religion that teaches that God the Father is an "exalted man" that has a body of flesh and bones and that Jesus Christ is a created being and the brother of Satan cannot by nature be a "Christian" religion. Second, it shows us that in the effort to win the culture war, we are allowing ourselves to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For example, check this very honest quote:

One undoubted factor in the search for better relations is that evangelicals and Mormons today unite on various moral issues and feel on the defensive, especially in shared opposition to same-sex marriage. Whatever differences they may have about the nature of God, "when you've been in the trenches together, it often generates new respect," said evangelical attorney David French, who leads the Alliance Defense Fund's (ADF) campus religious freedom project. "The LDS commitment to core values is one that betters our country, without question."

Better to lose the culture war than to put the cross of Christ to shame and deny the Gospel.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thoughts on hearing from a "General Authority"

As I mentioned, I spent last night listening to Paul Pieper, a mormon "General Authority", a member of the "Seventy". For the mormons present, this was a thrill. For me it was heartbreaking. These people were so earnest, so excited, listening so raptly to a man proclaiming a false gospel and a false god. I took a lot of notes to talk to the missionaries about when they come tomorrow night, most especially on the various ways that Paul Pieper portrayed a gospel of works salvation and human righteousness. Some of the things Pieper said were (speaking of mormons): "You don't know how much power you have in your goodness" and "All mankind can be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel" So they use words like grace when what they mean is a grace that fills in the gap between our own righteousness and God's perfection. Lots of talk last night about making sure that we are "qualified" by our own works to be baptized which equates to being born again. Not a hint of the Biblical doctrine of being born again through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is relegated to a baptismal gift, given after baptism to be a helper so we know which works we need to perform and which sins we need to repent of so we can clean ourselves.

When I left and went to my car, I wept for a moment. I was overcome by the lostness exhibited and the blasphemy celebrated. I was heartbroken but I was also thankful. I saw starkly how lost I was and how great my Savior is that in spite of my own arrogant self-righteousness He saw fit to save me. The true God, the God of the Bible is a God who saves in spite of works, who saves in spite of our own righteousness. That is the God I worship and that is the God I proclaim. I pray for those who were in attendance last night, for all mormons, for the missionaries, for the false prophets who lead them. If God can save Paul, if God can save me then He certainly can save Paul Pieper and Thomas Monson. It is my prayer that this happens. All praise and honor and glory to Jesus Christ, for He alone is worthy!

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Rev 5:9-14)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This might get interesting

The missionaries were supposed to come over tonight but they stopped over last night to tell us they couldn't make it because there is a "Fireside" Tuesday in the area. One of the "General Authorities", Paul Pieper, is speaking. They invited me to come and you can bet that I will be there. I am really hoping there is a chance to ask questions.

Let me be clear. I have a heart for the missionaries, these young men are lost and deluded. They are preaching a false gospel but many of them have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It breaks my heart to see them so eager and so zealous for such a pernicious lie.

Adult mormons are somewhat different. Many of them have little excuse outside of their own sinful, unregenerate nature for rejecting Christ. They may have family or social reasons for staying in the church. As a former mormon, I know that those ties are strong and it takes a mighty work of God to break them.

Mormon leaders are a different story. These men are mature and have been mormons for a long time. They are not only lost, they are deceivers, false prophets and wolves. These men have certainly heard the Gospel at some point and have rejected it for the false gospel of mormonism. They know the lie and they still propagate for their own motivation. This man coming to speak tonight is one of the top 100 mormons in the world. I pray that he will be saved by Christ but until that happens I plan to boldly declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to him and rest in the comfort of knowing that God is sovereign in all things. We are meeting at seven this evening, please pray.

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. (Acts 20:29-31)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dissension in the ranks!

Had the boys over tonight. The one missionary has been the same one who comes every week but they were on splits tonight and he brought the zone leader with him. I think the zone leader was getting mad at him, especially when I got the other missionary to say that the index and topical guide in the book of mormon were "inspired". We spent a lot of time on justification tonight and even wandered into predestination and election. I gave the zone leader a bunch of Scriptures to look up. I was sure to schedule next Tuesday night with the primary missionary because I was a little concerned that the zone leader would forbid them from coming back to talk to us. Good talk, got to share the Gospel with these young men and pray for them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Report from the missionaries

Had another good visit with the missionaries. They brought help along in the form of a couple from church. The guy was a teacher of the Gospel Principles class (and gave me his copy!)

I felt kind of bad for one of the missionaries, the newer guy. He was the senior missionary and was leading the lesson and by the end he was in a lather because I was riding him like Seabiscuit. I was trying to let him get through his lesson, the first one "The Plan of Salvation" but I kept having to interrupt him to ask questions or call him on something he said. It was the firts official lesson we went through, normally we were just going over particular issues like the "priesthood". I was afraid I came on too strong but they are coming again next week, with a different companion on splits with them so we will get a chance to talk with another of these lost young men. I would ask for your prayers for them and for all of these earnest but lost young men around the world.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

News from the latest missionary visit

We had a very good meeting last night with the missionaries. We spent most of our time talking about the priesthood. I think I managed to demonstrate that a human "priesthood authority" was completely absent from the New Testament and I also tried to plant the seeds of the idea that not only is that "priesthood authority" absent, it actually flies in the face of the entire idea of the New Covenant and Christ as our High Priest

We also asked lots of questions about how they live and how odd and isolating it seems. The one missionary especially was clearly not happy about the living arrangements that are designed to keep missionaries isolated. When you have no one to develop personal relationships too, you tend to rely on your companion and when you have doubts you talk to the other guy who has invested two years of his life in a mission.

I am going to the "priesthood session" tonight. I am hoping it provides me the chance to ask lots of questions again. One of the missionaries is moving on to a new area and the newer guy is staying, so he will be back with his new companion on Tuesday to go through their "Plan of Salvation" lesson. I am going to try to keep my mouth shut while they go through it and leave them with lots of follow-up questions. Please pray for these two young men and for all of the young men who are trapped in mormonism, working so hard to please God but instead proclaiming a false gospel. These zealous, sincere, nice young men are as lost as a Hindu in India or a Muslim in Saudi Arabia and they need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ just like any other lost person. Pray that God will raise up bold and faithful people to witness to them.