July 18, 2011

Do Mormons and Evangelical Christians Share the Same Biblical Theology?

A few months ago, I was asked by the women who lead the Women's Growth Group class at our church, to give a brief overview of a few of the world religions and how they compare to Christianity.

Last week, I taught about Islam, which was very interesting to read about and to listen to various sermons throughout the week regarding Islam.

A particularly great sermon that I listened to was by John MacArthur titled, "The Grim Reality of the Last Days," which MacArthur references the Koran and the Sunnah, another Islamic book that Muslims ascribe to and he says concerning the Mahdi,
The Mahdi will be a messianic figure. He will be a descendant of Mohammed. He will be an unparalleled, unequaled leader. He will come out of a crisis of turmoil. He will take control of the world. He will establish a new world order. He will destroy all who resist him. He will invade many nations. He will make a seven-year peace treaty with the Jews. He will conquer Israel and massacre the Jews. He will establish Islamic world headquarters at Jerusalem. He will rule for seven years, establish Islam as the only religion. He will come on a white horse with supernatural power. He will be loved by all people on earth.

If that sounds familiar, that is a precise description of the biblical Antichrist...absolutely step-by-step-by-step-by-step. The Bible’s Antichrist is their Mahdi. We know that the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6 is the Antichrist. They use that verse to describe their Mahdi.

Why am I giving you all this? Because the description of the Mahdi is exactly the description of the biblical Antichrist, the beast of Revelation 13, and you go into any kind of a study of that and you will find that all the details match up perfectly. The Bible’s Antichrist is Islam’s Savior and world conqueror who establishes a universal Islamic kingdom.
I would highly recommend listening to this sermon too.  This past Sunday, our topic was about Mormonism.

I think this outline of my notes will provide some benefit to those that read this post concerning Mormonism whenever they see a pair of guys wearing the traditional white shirt, black tie, black slacks and name badge on the left breast of their shirt, coming to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ, they may be able to more informed regarding what Mormons actually believe.

Hopefully, after reading through this and maybe even picking up a book from your local library about Mormonism, you'll realize that Mormons do not believe in the same Jesus Christ that is found in the Bible.

After reading the article at Christianpost.com, Romney 'Obviously Not a Christian,' Fox News Host Says, I hope this brief bit of information about Mormonism could be helpful. 

Please go to www.carm.org/mormonism where you will learn a lot more about Mormonism, so here we go.

Who is Joseph Smith?
Founder: Joseph Smith
Born: December 23, 1805, fourth of 10 children, upstate New York

Joseph Smith’s FIRST Vision:
  • Occurred between the ages of 14-16
  • In the woods near the family home where he went to pray
September 21, 1823 – An angel named Moroni appeard to him one night while praying and Moroni told Smith of a collection of golden plates containing an abridged religious history engraved many centuries earlier by Moroni and his father Mormon.

The next day, he was instructed by Moroni where to go and find these golden plates that were buried under a round stone, on a hill in Manchester.
  • 2 transparent stones were in the stone box that were like eyeglasses, to help translate the golden plates
  • Wasn’t able to take possession of them until 5 years later (Smith was 21 by then). Moroni didn’t feel he was ready yet for them
  • When the golden plates were translated, they were translated as a result of a “feeling-state” rather than a literal translation from its foreign language into English. ==>>Basically, he guessed.
Sadly, Joseph Smith was assassinated in 1844 by an angry mob in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Why is Mormonism So Appealing?
Because, “God has spoken again and Joseph Smith is his prophet…” Sound a little bit like Islam?

Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon, “the most correct book, of any book, on earth” Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194

10th LDS president, Joseph Fielding Smith said Mormonism stands or falls on the story of Joseph Smith. Doctrines of Salvation, vol 1, p. 188

About the Book of Mormon
  • The KJV Bible - Mormons accept the KJV, "as far as it has been correctly translated"
  • The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ 
    • But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)
  • The Doctrine and Covenants
  • The Pearl of Great Price
“We believe the bible as far as it has been correctly translated.” Joseph Smith, 1842

The First Presidency letter of the LDS stated that the most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not to compare it with another passage from the Bible, but to compare it with the Book of Mormon.

The LDS Doctrine and Covenant 73:4 states that God commanded Joseph Smith to finish a new translationof the Bible, known as the Inspired Version or the Joseph Smith Translation (JST).
  • Joseph Smith had no ancient manuscripts to work from
  • Joseph Smith was not fluent in any biblical language
  • Joseph Smith merely edited or revised whatever he felt was necessary according to his view at the time.
    • He added the prophecy of his own birth in the Mormon KJV in Genesis 50:33 - The very last verse of Genesis 50 is verse 26.  The insertion of Joseph Smith's prophecy of his birth is exactly that, his insertion and verses 27 -33 are nowhere to be found in any ancient Hebrew manuscripts.
  • In 1830, Joseph Smith began preparing a new translation of the Bible
  • He corrected or expanded certain passages of the KJV
  • He did not consult original language texts either, nor did he possess the linguistic competence to do so
If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book, Revelation 22:18
  • The LDS church cannot locate even one unique Book of Mormon city and has failed to provide proof of the existence of any group of people mentioned in their book
Dr. Walter Martin said in the book Handbook of Today’s Religion regarding the claims of Joseph Smith,
With one "Special Revelation" the Mormon Chruch expects its intended converts to accept the totally unsupported testimony of a fifteen-year-old boy that nobody ever preached Jesus Christ's gospel from the close of the Apostolic age until the "Restoration" through Joseph Smith Jr., beginning in 1820!  We are asked to believe that the Church Fathers for the first five centuries did not proclaim the true gospel - that Origen, Justin, Iraneaus, Jerome, Eusebius, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and then later Thomas Aquinas, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Tyndayle, Wycliffe, Knox, Wesley, Whitefield, and a vast army of faithful servants of Jesus Christ all failed where Joseph Smith Jr., was to succeed!

With one dogmatic assertion, Joseph pronounced everybody wrong, all Christian theology an abomination, and all profession Christians corrupt - all in the name of God!  How strange for this to be presented as resorted Christiantity, when Jesus Christ specifically promised that "the gates of Hell" would not prevail against the Church (Matthew 16:18)!  In Mormonism we find God contradicting this statement in a vision to Joseph Smith Jr., some 18 centuries later!  (The Maze of Mormonism, 1978, p. 31).
What Mormons Believe About the Church
  • Shortly after the time of the disciples, the Christian church apostatized and was not “restored” until Joseph Smith’s first vision in 1820
  • The only true and living church upon the face of the earth is the Mormon religion
  • Orson Pratt said, “All other churches are entirely destitute of all authority of God.”
  • Bruce McConkie said, “Mormons…have the only pure and perfect Christianity now on earth.” “All other systems of religion are false.”
  • The Mormon Sunday school text, “We cannot accept that any other church can lead its members to salvation.”
What Mormons Believe About God
  • Joseph Smith believed in the plurality of Gods, yet –
    • Isaiah 43:10 says, Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me
    • Isaiah 44:6, 8 says, I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one
  • Mormonism teaches that each god is evolving, yet – 
    • Malachi 3:6 says, For I am the LORD, I do not change
  • Mormonism teaches that God was once a man, having been created by another god, but by self-perfection, this man finally evolved into absolute godhood.
  • God is a being of body, parts and passions
    • 3 separate beings: God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit
    • In addition to a heavenly father, all humans and spirits have a heavenly mother
    • Marion G. Romney, a member of the First Presidency said, “God is a perfected saved soul enjoying eternal life.”
What Mormons Believe About Jesus Christ
  • Created being, not eternal as the Bible clearly states in John 1:1-3 and Titus 2:13
  • Created through the sexual union of God (Elohim) and Mary
  • Jesus was married to more than one woman and that he was a polygamist too
  • There are billions upon billions of spiritual children that have been born in a similar fashion the way Jesus was conceived
  • He is the brother of Satan because he too was created through sexual intercourse with the male and female earth gods
  • Jesus had to earn his salvation, “He came to earth to work out his own salvation.”
  • Because of the sexual intercourse that took place to create Jesus Christ the following are not unique to Mormons concerning Jesus Christ:
    • His divinity and,
    • His incarnation
What Mormons Believe About Salvation
  • Salvation by grace, but – a life of obedience to God’s commandments is necessary to have one’s sins forgiven and receive ‘eternal life’ – exaltation (and godhood) in the celestial kingdom
  • M/LDS president Spencer Kimball said, “Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation.” The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 208-209
  • Baptism of the dead – by proxy, you can be baptized for someone else so they can go to heaven
    • the Christian church was not practicing baptism for the dead, but the pagans (non-believers) were
      • Mormons have taken 1 Corinthians 15:29 way out of context
  • Visit www.carm.org/mormonism for more info about this
  • 2 types of Salvation
    1. General salvation – involves only resurrection from the dead and immortality (Grace)
    2. Individual salvation – determines which level of heaven you go to and whether or not one earns true ‘eternal life’ (godhood) (Works)
  • 3 levels of heaven
    1. Telestial – wicked and most humanity will reside
    2. Terrestrial – lukewarm and good non-Mormons go here
      • Those that accept Mormonism after death can go here too
    3. Celestial – the highest level granted to those that have demonstrated complete obedience
      • Absolute godhood and eternal sexual increase are here (Sound a little bit like Islam?)
Mormon teaching completely opposes the biblical doctrine of Justification by Faith ALONE
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
  • Philippians 3:9 - and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
Joseph Fielding Smith said that those who believed in the “faith alone” doctrine were damned.

The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants teaches “works salvation.”

LDS leader Herber C. Kimball taught, “I have the power to save myself, and if I don not save myself, who will save me? All have that privilege, and naught can save us but obedience to the commandments of God.”

Throughout the Bible there is only one way of salvation that is taught and that is through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul never taught salvation was earned by good works and personal righteousness, as Mormons claim. (They refer to Romans 4:3, For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”) When Abraham went to the mountain to sacrifice his son Isaac.
  • A question to ask any Mormon that confronts you is, if salvation is by good orks and individual merit, what then does the atonement of Christ accomplish?
What Mormons Believe About the Atonement
  • Mormons do not believe in the biblical atonement, but an atonement of its own creation
    • The atonement according to Mormon thinking, gives people the opportunity to earn their salvation through personal merit
    • Just as a college degree does not secure a salary but only makes earning one possible, so Christ’s death does not secure salvation but only makes it possible to earn it by good works.
    • In Mormonism, the actual saving value of the atonement is virtually nothing
  • Mormon leaders have taught that the idea that Christ’s death is sufficient for salvation is “the great error” and most destructive delusion of Christianity
Mormonism is not Christianity 
  • Mormon faith and Christian faith are not the same.
  • Mormonism rejects and opposes the Bible’s clear teaching about: God, Jesus Christ, salvation, the death of Christ and more.
  • Mormonism denies the teaching of the Bible itself and on man, faith, the Fall, death and the afterlife, the Holy Spirit and several other important and critical doctrines.
  • Anyone that claims that Mormons and Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ are flat out wrong.
Joel Osteen said he believes Mitt Romney to be a Christian in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday

Clearly, Joel is wrong, according to the Scriptures.

So, would people like presidential candidates Mitt Romney (former Gov., R-MA) and Jon Huntsman (Gov., R-UT), Glenn Beck, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Harry Reid (D-NV) be considered Christians, if these are the things they doctrinally believe?  I don't believe they are, if they do not believe in the sufficiency, inerrancy and the authority of Scripture.

How to Witness to a Mormon
  • Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry - http://www.carm.org/
  • The Facts on The Mormon Church - John Ankerberg, John Weldon & Dillon Burroughs
  • Handbook of Today's Relioins - Josh McDowell, Don Stewart
  • Christianity, Cults & Religions - Rose Publishing
  • The Mormon Experience, A History of the Latter-day Saints - Leonard J. Arrington & Davis Bitton
Please feel free to share this with others too.


scott thompson said...

Thanks for posting this, Kurt. I have a friend that left the Mormon church after being in it for 37 years. Someone told him to check out The View of The Hebrews by Ethan Smith. It was written before the Book of Mormon and has Many parralels with it. Your post has great information. God Bless !

Kurt Michaelson said...

Thanks Scott. I used the book by John Ankerberg (cited as an additional resource) and the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry are very helpful too. Hopefully, the information that I've shared will be helpful for other Mormons to come to a true understanding of the Christ of the Bible and not a modified version of Him.

Thanks for stopping by to read the post.