Friday, 6 August 2010
Also features none other than Shawn Mccraney host of the Salt Lake city show Heart of the Matter, this is great for anyone wanting to learn how to explain things better to Mormons. (www.bornagainmormon.com)
Thursday, 29 July 2010
Watching a documentary entitled Heaven: Beyond the Grave on demand…
After about 40 minutes, the question comes up: Who gets to go to heaven?
To give the documentary credit, Jesus is given pole position on the subject, and they quote:
John 3:3 – “Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 14:6 – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Then three talking heads follow.
Randy Alcorn: Is it exclusive to say that one can only be saved through Jesus? And I would say, absolutely it is. It is Jesus who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” So I think we have to look at Jesus and say, Was that unloving and narrow of him to do? Well, certainly it isn’t unloving, because the very Jesus who said that, we’re told actually went to the Cross to die for the sins of the whole world.
Father Michael Manning: I believe that Jesus’ love is much more expansive than that, much broader. And that his desire, seen through his life, death, resurrection, reaching out to us… is reaching out to perhaps the one billion Chinese who are never going to hear the name Jesus in their whole existence. And does that mean, because they haven’t accepted Jesus, they’re going to hell? No, not at all.
Rev Mary June Nestler: John 3 and John 14 place on the lips of Jesus some difficult things to hear. I think we must read those passages in the context of the community to which the author of John was writing. A community in the late 1stCentury that was struggling with its own identity, struggling probably with its emergence from Judaism.
The documentary concludes the ‘who gets to heaven’ section with this resigned remark: “Consensus about who goes to heaven and what heaven might be like is impossible to achieve.”
Well, I for one thank God that consensus is entirely irrelevant when it comes to these questions. I couldn’t care less, frankly, with the pontifications of religious men and women with titles.
Let’s be like the dog in the HMV picture. He’s listening to His Master’s Voice. The difference is, the dog’s master was dead, and he only had a gramophone recording of his voice. We have a living Master, who conquered death and isuniquely entitled to speak with authority on what heaven is like and who gets to go there.
Of the three talking heads, only Randy Alcorn is concerned to actually listen to what Jesus says and accept it. He takes the trouble to anticipate the objections. We have to see that the same Jesus who said he was the only Way to the Father, is the Jesus who asked His Father to forgive His murderers. Anything that detracts from Christ’s uniqueness as the sole Way of salvation is an insult to the enormity of His loving sacrifice on the Cross.
And this is precisely what was see with the Catholic Father and the Episcopal Reverend. You can almost see the cogs whirring in their minds. “Hmmm… how to explain away, how to explain away…how to make Jesus mean something other than what he means… how to not listen to my Master’s voice at all….? Oh it is hard calling oneself a Christian and totally ignoring Christ, but the robes are cool…”
Michael Manning thinks Jesus is wrong about being the only Way, because he doesn’t understand that Jesus really is Lord and it is not for us to contradict him. And he doesn’t understand that the entire human race, Chinese and otherwise, is under the just condemnation of God for our sin, and all of us deserving of hell. He tramples the Cross underfoot to say that it makes no difference whether Christ is trusted in or not, just because it offends his liberal sensibilities. On what authority does he dare to presume that those one billion Chinese, as he puts it, are safe without Christ? Even the Roman Catholic Church has committed itself to mission in China; but what does the Reverend Father think is the point, if people will make it without Jesus anyway? One more thing: there are at least 40 million Christians in China, and counting, and praise God that a greater percentage every day are indeed hearing the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ and His unique salvation. No thanks to Michael Manning. He’s not fit to carry Hudson Taylor’s suitcase…
Mary June Nestler’s ear-plugging manoeuvre is even more shameless. The first line gives it away: “John 3 and John 14 place on the lips of Jesus some difficult things to hear…” Why doesn’t she just finish it off with: “… so I won’t hear them…. Na-nah-nah-nahh-laaaaa-laaa-laaa.” I think we can all learn to read passages in the Bible we don’t like ‘in context’ if that means ignoring them and still feeling quite comfortable and pious at the same time.
Mark Twain was right: “It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
And Jesus is right. He is the only Way. He’s the only one who was innocent enough to represent the human race before a holy God. He’s the only one who loved us enough to do this. He’s the only one who can clear our guilt by his blood. He’s the only one who has overwhelmed death by his own power. He’s the only someone who knows what he’s talking about.
To all documentary-makers and reverends out there: remember the very words of God from heaven at Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration: “This is my Beloved Son. HEAR HIM!”
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
As if my list of books to read was not long enough I have a new one to add to it, the Book of Jeranek, this is the first book of scripture produced by the Prophet Matthew Gill in the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ.
This group that has started in Derbyshire in 2006 claims to be the restoration of true Mormonism.
They claim that after the death of Joseph Smith God's church ceased to be on the earth up until Matthew Gill (pictured) has come and restored the truth of the Mormon Gospel.
They accept the original 1830 book of Mormon and the Bible (as far as it is translated correctly) and the Book of Jeranek to be scripture as well as believing other books of scripture will be coming.
The Book of Jeranek comes from a revelation from the angel Moroni to Matthew Gill as a child, showing him some golden plates and telling him one day He will do a great work.
Then later in 2005 the angel Raphael came and gave him the brass plates that formed the book of Jeranek.
Interestingly Matthew Gill claims to still have these plates but they are only showed to worthy members.
The membership of this church is around a 100 and is mostly in the UK.
So why is this interesting to us?
Well this could be I believe a significant witnessing tool to the LDS (mormon) people.
They for years have been offended at not being accepted as Christian by the Christian church, they have said we teach of Christ, love Christ, His name is even in the name of our church yet you say we arent Christian why is that??
Well the question I have for them is, is the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ Mormon????
Friday, 4 June 2010
Well close, or maybe not for that matter, this is the community of Christ which used to be called the Re-organized church of latter day-saints which in January this year made an addition to its doctrine and covenants.
President Stephen M. Veazey has authored this new scripture which can be found in full here (www.cofchrist.org/wc2010/counsel/section164.pdf,) however in short "The new scripture provides the opportunity for people baptized in other Christian denominations to become members of Community of Christ without being rebaptized. The scripture also emphasizes the power of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (Communion). Community of Christ practices open Communion."
A move which at this stage would be unimaginable for the LDS church to perform as this accepts the authority of other churches to baptise. The belief in the lack of which in the mainstream Christian church is a fundamental belief for the LDS church.
As a quick history lesson the Community of Christ exists because after the death of Joseph Smith a movement within the LDS church believed Joseph Smiths successor should be a descendant of his, clearly the church as a whole disagreed and appointed Brigham Young.
This group within the church broke away taking the copyright for the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible and ownership of the Missouri temple with it and became the Reorganised church of Latter-day saints. Still at that time retaining all of the other beliefs of the LDS church.
Up until 1996 all presidents of the RLDS church were descendants of Joseph Smith, under this new leader W. Grant McMurray in the year 2000 the church changed its name to the community of Christ.
Today looking at the churches website (http://www.cofchrist.org/) its hard at first to see anything that differs it from any other Christian church, a nice bible quote emphasis on Christs love and evidence of a multi Cultural emphasis in the church.
Its mainly when you get to the beliefs you start to see the difference, but even then how different is it.
Of Christ it says this:
We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the Word made flesh, the Savior of the world, fully human and fully divine. Through Jesus’ life and ministry, death and resurrection, God reconciles the world and breaks down the walls that divide. Christ is our peace.
Which sounds ok to me.
Then of scripture it says this:
"Scripture is writing inspired by God’s Spirit and accepted by the church as the normative expression of its identity, message, and mission. We affirm the Bible as the foundational scripture for the church. In addition, Community of Christ uses the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants—not to replace the witness of the Bible or improve on it, but because they confirm its message that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God. When responsibly interpreted and faithfully applied, scripture provides divine guidance and inspired insight for our discipleship."
We have the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants (though where is the pearl of Great price?) however a clear statement that the bible is the foundational scripture for the church.
Looking at a facebook group for this church I came across an ongoing debate about how the Community of Christ today differs from the original RLDS church, points made include how women are now included in the priesthood and how the leadership now see truth as something that can be redefined for each generation.
All an interesting shift for what was originally a group of Mormon people, part of me wonders if there is potential for what we saw in The Worldwide church of God and we will see them saved, or will they go down the line of the quakers and become liberal and not know what they believe?
I would be interested to know if anyone reading this has had any contact with people in this church?
Sunday, 4 April 2010
It was really nice to bump into my old friend Elder J there, and also get to know a Down Syndrome gentleman named Chris who told me he is a deacon in the church.
The meeting was a repeat of the Saturday afternoon session in Salt Lake City on the big screen. There were the usual line-up of Mormon 'suits' giving speeches one after the other - mostly white, middle-aged gentlemen from the Quorum of 12 or the Seventy, though there was one endearing Japanese chap. Occasionally the speeches were punctuated with a number from the choir - one of which those around me joined in with, the other of which was just listened to.
I am on this ongoing search to distill the Mormon message, and (I'm probably going to oversimplify here) according to the talks I heard today it is this:
1. God loves us as our Heavenly Father, and Jesus loves us as His Son.
2. We can only be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Mormons put as much emphasis on Jesus' sufferings in Gethsemane as on the Cross.
3. We enter into this salvation through repentance from sin, faith in Jesus Christ, baptism into the LDS church, the receiving of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands, taking the sacraments of bread and water (as opposed to wine), and keeping the commandments and enduring to the end. A key verse for Mormon is 2 Nephi 2:25 - "We are saved by grace after all we can do."
4. The Book of Mormon is the greatest book on earth, and through reading it we can receive a 'testimony' from the Holy Ghost that it is God's Word and that Joseph Smith is God's prophet and the LDS is God's church on earth today. The feelings of confirmation that Mormons get are very, very important in their epistemology (how they know truth). They are less interested in corroboration for the Book of Mormon through, say, Old Testament prophecy or archaeology.
What is Biblical is the emphasis on Christ and His atoning death for our sins, and that, as one speaker reminded us, "there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved."
What is not so Biblical is the emphasis on human effort in the attainment of salvation. This is the common factor in all non-Biblical or extra-Biblical religions, it seems. Yes, we need Jesus. Yes, the Bible is God's Word. But we need more. For example, we need to do missionary work, we need to get married and raise kids in a moral way, we need to avoid immorality ourselves, we need to, we need to, we need to...
The definitive statement of Jesus on the Cross - "It is finished!" - declaring the absolute and total payment for our sins is something I have never heard a Mormon emphasise. From talking with many of them, including one today (who came back to the church after a long absence because she felt prompted at a Donny Osmond concert), a certain knowledge of the forgiveness of sins is absent. This particular lady, when I asked her if she knew her sins were forgiven, said, "I hope so." But then, I hear this a lot in evangelical churches too, sadly.
In short, everything comes down to a lack of full confidence in Christ's completed work on the Cross. If only Mormons, and everybody else, would see that Jesus has done it all for us, and that He has now sat down at the right hand of the Father, having achieved on our behalf our salvation. As God's Spirit applies the revelation of Christ's substitutionary death in our place to us, we are regenerated, repent, put our faith in Jesus and live the life of obedience that the Mormon church is at such great pains to stress. But without this revelation of Christ's completed work, and His indwelling Spirit, this religious zeal for righteousness is a broken cistern.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
An excellent and well-reasoned article from Rocky Hulse of Mormon Outreach. Well worth clicking through and reading:
On the front cover of Newsweek, October 17, 2005, is a stain glass window depiction of the “First Vision” of Mormonism with the title “The Making of the Mormons,” subtitled “Beyond Prophecy and Polygamy: The Future Of a Booming Faith.” On page 58 is an interview with the current Mormon Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley. The following question was asked, “Could you talk about religious intolerance and conflict around the world? It is a difficult age.” (Newsweek, Oct 17, 2005, pg 58). The following is President Hinckley’s response: “Hateful. Meanness. Bitterness. I don’t like it. We’re all sons and daughters of God, and therefore in a very literal sense, brothers and sisters. And we ought to treat each other that way.” (Newsweek, Oct 17, 2005, pg 58). After reading the rest of this article, ask yourself if the above statement is just a bit disingenuous when compared to the evidence listed below.
Friday, 29 January 2010
Thomas S Monson, Mormon president, has announced yet another temple, bringing to 15 the number temples in Utah. There are currently 130 temples around the world. Someone wrote to Reachout recently asking about temples and here is his question and my answer:
“I am confused surely the whole purpose of the atonement of Christ was to overcome the need for animal sacrifice. He was the ultimate sacrifice. So it seems natural that by Jesus bring this higher law that superseded the Levitical laws that required animal sacrifice in temple the purposes of a temple would also change and the rituals that take place within them would develop and alter. Your suggestion that the event taking place in the modern Mormon temples does not match the operations of the ancient temples is therefore redundant as they should not be doing so but rather the Mormon temples are there to provide the ability to carry out rituals relating to this higher law of Jesus. Please respond I am genuinely in need of guidance on this issue”
Putting up a building and calling it a temple is not the same as “restoring” temples. By its very nature “restoration” implies that what you see in the “restoration” can be found in the same or similar form in the original. “Restored” means to bring something back to its original condition. Nothing that happened in the ancient temple happens in Mormonism’s “restored” temples and nothing that happens in Mormon temples happened in the original temple in Jerusalem. They don’t even look the same, inside or out (I know because I have attended the temple many times)
Furthermore, there were no “temples” in the Bible, only “a temple” and the Jerusalem temple was the focus of Jewish worship. The impression given when Mormonism claims that it has restored “temples” is misleading because one is led to infer that (a) there were originally “temples”, plural, and (b) that there are parallels between what happens in Mormon temples and what happened in the temple in the Bible.
Nothing could be further from the truth. What Mormonism has done is invent its own ceremonial system, based on freemasonry and esoteric ideas not found in the Bible, and called it “temple work”, which is alright as far as it goes, but it would be more honest to tell plainly that this is pure Mormonism and not the “restoration” of any biblical system of temple work.
If you can show me any parallels between Mormon temples and the biblical temple I would be very interested in seeing them.
The answer ultimately is in your first sentence. The biblical temple system was a sacrificial system in which animals were presented as sacrifices to “atone” for the sins of Israel. The Book of Hebrews chapter 9 explains perfectly the change from the OT to the NT.
The first ten verses describe and explain the temple system. It describes two sections, the first, outer court, representing “this present age”, or the time before Christ where the ordinary daily business of worship occurred, and the second “Most Holy Place” where the priest entered once a year to meet with God in behalf of the people. All that happened in the temple, the sacrifices etc. were a shadow of what was to come (Col.2:16-17) The shadow and not the reality (Heb.10:1) a copy of what is in heaven (Heb.8:5).
If the temple was a shadow of what was in heaven it follows that the reality is in heaven. How do we access the reality? The next verses explain it. Christ, our high priest, brought the reality through the shedding of his own blood to atone for sin:
“For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (vv 13-15)
If the temple with its sacrificial system and food regulations etc. is the shadow of what is in heaven the reality is brought through the once for all sacrifice of Christ that redeems us from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. Earlier in Hebrews we read that, because of Christ, we can “approach the throne of grace (the reality of which the Most Holy Place was a shadow) with confidence” (Heb.4:16)
You are correct then in writing that the atonement of Christ made the sacrificial system redundant but mistaken in thinking that he replaced one law with another. On the contrary, he replaced a temporary and repeated sacrifice with one unrepeatable and sufficient sacrifice and it is this that makes the old system with its laws and regulations redundant. It is not a system that developed and altered but one that was made obsolete because the blood of Christ saves us from all our sins if we put our trust in him.
Saturday, 23 January 2010
“Self-reliance is a product of our work and undergirds all other welfare practices. It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being. Regarding this principle, President Marion G Romney (1897-1988) has said: “Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation in temporal as well as in spiritual things."
An LDS manual says this:
“It is not that our desires are necessarily evil in and of themselves, but it is our responsibility to bridle our own passions lest they devolve to lusts which will invariably lead to sin (The life and teachings of the apostles course manual, p.411)
And also in an article on grace the LDS bible dictionary says this:
“However grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient”. (LDS bible dictionary p.697)
The responsibility for salvation within the Mormon church lies completely on the efforts of the individual, Jesus simply gives an opportunity for this through the resurrection of everyone in the next life, however He does not in any way determine what happens after that. As we saw above it is the responsibility of the individual to bridle our passions that cause us to sin.
However in the bible we see a dramatically different story, we see a humanity helpless without Christ and where even the possibility of relying on yourself to make your salvation happen cannot be the case.
In Romans we see this:
Romans 3:11 (King James Version)
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
No one seeks God.
So God gave us over to our shameful ways
Romans 1:26 (King James Version)
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
However Jesus came to change us from the inside out as we see from the apostle Paul, who also gives us an insight into what the bible says about self reliance.
Galatians 2:20 (King James Version)
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Those that are in Christ are dead to their own ways and alive only in Him, as humanity without this is in such a position that left on their own there is nothing we can do to please God or come close to Him it is a complete work of Christ.
This has helped me realise that when witnessing to Mormons it is not just enough to show bible verses that show we are saved by faith alone, but we also need to show that unless they rely 100% on Christ alone for their salvation they have nothing at all.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Monday, 18 January 2010
Reachout Trust • View topic - How much longer?
Saturday, 9 January 2010
One of the things people ask of ministry to the cults is, “Why do you do it?” There was a time when it hardly needed explaining but now, even within some parts of the church, there are those who ask whether it is really altogether Christian to challenge other religions. Somehow it doesn’t seem altogether respectable, especially in a world where, if people want a religion at all, they shop for one. I mean, you wouldn’t rummage through other people’s purchases down at the department store, identifying fashion victims, criticising colour combinations - at least not to their faces.
There are two reasons why we do it. The first, and by far the most important, is that people pin their eternal hopes on their religious choices and God has commanded that Christians should “Go into all the world telling the good news.” People concerned about eternal things need to hear eternal truths and be warned about those things that will prove ultimately false and empty.
Jude wrote of his eagerness to write about the plain Christian message being overtaken by an urgent need to sound a warning:
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 3-4)
The second reason is that people make important life choices based on their religious convictions. From where and how they live and vocational choices to life and death choices, people are informed by their faith.
A Mormon missionary typically gives up two years of his life between the ages of 19 and 21 years, just when his contemporaries will be forging ahead in their education and career choices. A Jehovah’s Witness will make life and death choices as he and/or his family faces major surgery while their religion forbids blood transfusions. Devout people of all religions sacrifice time and resources and make incredible sacrifices for their faith.
Not until you witness in others or experience for yourself the disappointment, confusion and pain of discovering that you sacrificed for an empty philosophy (Col.2:8) can you understand the drive to ensure that faith informed choices are fully informed choices. If a religion makes converts and keeps adherents by guarding the faith from close scrutiny, if it wins people over by manipulation and deception, if it claims to be “the way” but denies the truth about Christ who is “The Way”, then people deserve to know it. Like Jude, we love nothing more than to talk about “our common salvation” but, like Jude, we are overtaken by an urgent need to contend for the faith and appeal to other Christians to do the same, for the health of the church and for the common good of everyone concerned for eternal things.
Monday, 4 January 2010
A media campaign has been launched in eastern Idaho against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The "Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons" campaign was started by the Truth in Love Ministry of Nampa. Its focus is on "witnessing to Mormons" and showing them the "truth of God's words" through "loving means."
Five billboards have been placed in heavily Mormon southeastern Idaho - one in Rexburg and two each in Idaho Falls and Pocatello - showing a woman holding her head next to the words "Feeling Worthy?" The billboard gives the campaign Web site. The billboards are expected to remain on display for at least three months.
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