Turns out, the Bible says that Protestants should unite with Mormons

Our friend charismatic protestant friend Cal has taken a position– beleaguered  by most non-Mormons here–that Mormons are Christians.  Although no longer a believer, I thought I would try to clearly lay out the argument for Cal’s position aimed at Protestants.

For purposes of the discussion I am assuming the truth of the Five Solae, the Nicene Creed, and the and the Bible.

I propose that these three premises are true:

1. Jesus prayed for and sought as a goal before God the unity of those that believe in him through the testimony of his disciples, i.e. the New Testament. (John 17: 20-23:

 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

2. The New Testament does not make orthodox theology a qualification for inclusion in unity. Jesus was not limiting fellowship or unity to the orthodox.  He is talking about orthodoxy or unity of creed or belief–Jesus established no creed, distilled his message and rarely made it explicit. He warns against false teachers, but Jesus put the focus on distinguishing false teachers based on their fruits– i.e. you will known them by their behavior and effects on the church not (necessarily) their theological errors. 

3.  Mormons believe that the text of the New Testament is the truth.  

Given these premises, my conclusion is that Protestants should embrace Mormons as part of the group that they are challenged by Jesus to be unified with, and seek to come to complete unity.

Notice that I am assuming what Protestant’s believe is orthodoxy to be correct but the strength of the argument holds on a practical and ethical level.  But there is no orthodoxy regarding how unity can and should be achieved. That is an open question.  I suggest that even if the path to reaching unity is unclear– efforts toward unity will lead–ultimately–to a greater prevalence of salvation and faith in Jesus more effectively than efforts toward disunity–which are, generally, the order of the day.  

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157 thoughts on “Turns out, the Bible says that Protestants should unite with Mormons

  1. Jesus’ followers, and we can’t be sure exactly who they are (“the wheat and tares grow together”) are united in Him, and BY Him…in spite of their differing doctrine whatever else may divide them in this earthly existence.

  2. I think you may want to read all of John 17, if not the entire book. You may want to deal with the connection between John 17 and 1 John 5, especially with regard to idolatry.

  3. Yeah, this is called “prooftexting.” And I’m not sure what you are hoping to accomplish by starting a whole new post to merely re-state something you have adequately said in the last one. It’s sort of irritating because you’re pretty much making the rest of us re-argue points we have already argued.

  4. Not bad, Jared!
    I would not have said, however, that Jesus rarely made his message explicit, and I do recognize the value of creeds in certain contexts.

  5. Kullervo, I just wanted to make the argument clearer.

    But still have not heard a counter argument. I take it you believe that Mormons are not included within the scope of Jesus’ prayer. What is the answer to the ethical question: How should Mormons be treated by Protestants and why?

    I don’t accept that I am prooftexting. I don’t think I am taking this out of context. Jesus’ call to unity was radical, the Sermon on the Mount is radical, what is he talking about?

    I look at history and see that disunity among those who profess Christian religion caused some of the most enormous catastrophes of history. Christians can’t get it together. I propose that drawing arbitrary theological lines is part of the problem.

    If Cal is wrong, what group of Christians is doing it right in your view?

  6. Jared C

    1. Since you are unable to articulate what “unity” between Mormons and Protestants would even look like, it’s hard to even know what you are advocating for.

    2. Mormonism’s disunity from Protestantism is not merely a function of differing theology. How can a broader religion be in perfect unity with an organization claiming unique, sole and exclusive authority to function as God’s church? Are you suggesting that, in pursuit of this unity, that Mormons should or could give up their claims about the nature, location and possession of priesthood authority? Because those are theological claims that you ostensibly think should not stand in the way of “unity” (whatever you think that means), but those claims themselves preclude unity.

  7. Right now I am arguing that the Bible demands the goal of unity with the Mormon believers– even if the Mormon Church doesn’t give up anything. If Protestants are the “true” Christians, as I have assumed, it seems the charge is to them regardless of what Mormons do.

    I am also not proposing any definition of unity other than what Jesus is proposing. If I am getting it wrong, what did Jesus mean? I am admittedly a complete outsider, but you, being a Christian with close ties to Mormons may be able to provide a clearer understanding of the call to unity.

    Mormon theological claims may preclude the LDS church from accepting Protestant Theology, but that is not relevant to whether Protestants should attempt to have Mormons join them in their worship and devotion to Jesus.

    My experience is that fear, not faith, is the primary motivation for disunity.

  8. Gundek,

    I’ve read John several times, I don’t see the problem with my interpretation. I don’t see how this passage squares with standing against Mormons rather than seeking fellowship. What is your interpretation?

  9. Jared, I agree that disunity has been a source of evil in the church. I also think false teaching has been a source of evil in the church.

    Can you clarify

    but Jesus put the focus on distinguishing false teachers based on their fruits– i.e. you will known them by their behavior and effects on the church not (necessarily) their theological errors.

    Where do you get the idea that he was making no reference to theological errors? Is that just your assumption that he is only speaking of outward practices? Do you think idolatry is merely a theological error or do you think it rises to the level of “bad fruits”?

  10. Again, the Eastern Orthodox Church invites all of schismatic western Christianity to set aside its ecclesiatical and doctrinal deviations and return to the original church of the New Testament (which, incidentally, is not a demand greater than what it asks of a non-Christian converts). How is that not a good enough call to unity? Why should unity not involve giving anything up?

  11. Where do you get the idea that he was making no reference to theological errors? Is that just your assumption that he is only speaking of outward practices? Do you think idolatry is merely a theological error or do you think it rises to the level of “bad fruits”?

    I am not assuming that theology can’t lead to bad fruits. I do assume that most believers in the New Testament make critical theological errors as well as moral errors–even those that assent to the Nicene Creed, or belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I also concede that some of these errors and the ways people teach them can lead to “bad fruits.” But, equally, there are plenty of false teachers that happily thrive among Protestants merely because they assent to orthodox teachings. They have may have all kinds of other theological errors that are as idolatrous as Mormon errors. (As Gundek pointed out in his comments in the last most, idolatry is a charge that can be laid at those that err in even the finer points of systematic theology.) Thus, I think the near wholesale exclusion of Mormons based on certain chosen theological positions is arbitrary and ultimately unsupportable by the Bible. As Protestants pointed out to the Orthodox and Catholic, the bible does not support arbitrary assertion of authority other than the Holy Spirit.

    Protestants should concede that their are plenty of saved Christians among the Mormon Church, merely because most Mormons put a lot of faith in what Jesus says in the Gospels. But what Protestants generally do to Mormons is what they don’t do to fellow Protestants who may have equally erroneous religious and moral beliefs– i.e. doubt and even argue against their faith in Jesus, belief in God, or access to the Spirit of God.

    So now you have Christian contending against Christian merely because of certain points of doctrine–even when most Mormons clearly qualify as believers in the Gospels. Whatever unity Jesus is talking about, I submit that its not this.

    @kullervo,

    I don’t know if this argument succeeds if I assume that Orthodox theology is correct. I’ll have to think about that.

    As to the what unity means in practice, I propose that the unity among believers in the New Testament should be at least as strong as the strongest national unity found in the corrupt world.

  12. Jared

    I would argue that the principal fruit of Mormonism is idolatry, a violation of the entire first table of the law.

    I understand this is a long response and I wouldn’t expect you to answer each question but you don’t seem to have understood my principal objection to Cal’s position and your new interest in unity.

    First you can claim to be presupposing certain doctrines but in order to be a Protestant you have to actually be protesting. To accept, for instance, the formal principal of the Reformation, the Bible Alone, you must reject the alternative.

    Cal’s position as I understand it involves a revelation to him from God that Mormonism is Christian in a salvific sense. For a Protestant, who accepts the 5 Solae, direct unmediated revelation would be a cause for some concern. Cal’s basic biblical argument as it has played out over the years is that the only way to prove that Mormonism is not Christian is by providing a passage (chapter and verse, please) that says specifically “Joseph Smith was not a prophet” or “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not Christian”.

    If John 17 is your go to text for unity über alles we can always examine your assumptions based on John.

    First, what is the source of unity in John 17? Conversely, what would be the source of disunity? It seems that if we identify the source of the unity Jesus prays for as coming from God, as theoldman pointed out, we have to ask ourselves if idolatry falls into scope of this passage.

    Second, do Mormons believe through the words of Jesus’s apostles or do they believe through the words of apostles of their own making? Even limiting our discussion to John 17:20-23 we find that Jesus is praying for unity for those who believe in him through the message of his disciples. Don’t we need to determine if Mormon beliefs can be sourced from Jesus’ Disciples? If the source of Mormon beliefs are false prophets instead of the Lord’s disciples it seems that this passage may argue against your thesis. Once again if we are assuming the 5 Solae we have this idolatry issue that we cannot lay at the feet of Jesus’s Disciples.

    Third, what is the nature of unity in John 17 and does this unity bear any semblance with what you and Cal are proposing? Protestants have diverging views but generally argue that unity is not limited to corporate unity and is principally spiritual, Roman Catholics argue this unity is found in the authority of the magisterium and the celebration of the mass, while the East locates unity in the celebration of the divine liturgy. This of course is an overgeneralization but for each tradition unity is not simply ecclesiastical/outward but has a spiritual/inward dimension found in worship and the sacraments. Unity in all of these theologies is both a gift from God as well as a command, so for a Roman Catholic there is both a corporate and spiritual participation in the mass that is vital, just as the Divine Liturgy is for the Orthodox and the sermon and sacraments for Protestants.

    Now if we examine the mass, Divine Liturgy, and sermon/sacraments there are certain similarities, triune God, two natures of Christ, full divinity of the Spirit etc. Yes there are differences and misunderstandings iconography, sacraments, even music but, the fundamental who and what of worship and the ultimate source of unity is the same. If we examine the LDS temple all similarities break down.

    Fourth, what is the relationship between unity and truth? Conversely, what is the association with falsehood and unity? You stated that you do not believe Mormonism is true but, the Book of John talks a great deal about truth in direct connection to both its source and effect in salvation. In John 17 Jesus prays a lot about truth. I think you need to deal with John 17:8 and 17, 18 because there are clear associations being made with unity and truth.

    John closes his first epistle “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” What is the purpose of unity with him who is false?

  13. As to the what unity means in practice, I propose that the unity among believers in the New Testament should be at least as strong as the strongest national unity found in the corrupt world.

    No no no no no. You are still not answering my question. You say there should be unity between Mormons and Protestants but you still won’t say what that means. You describe a level of affinity or an intensity of feeling about unity, but that’s not the same thing.

    When you say there should be unity between Mormons and Protestants, are you saying:

    1. That they should dissolve their vaious organizational boundaries and become one organized church in full communion under one priesthood authority (whatever you think that means) that allows for unlimited theological differences? Because that would require each side to give up huge amounts of their theology. In other words, you wouldn’t really have unity despite differing theology; you would have unity because everyone abandoned a lot of their theology in favor of theology you like better.

    2. That they can maintain their various ecclesiastical and organizational setups but should recognize each other as fellow Christians, acknowledge each other as saved, and acknowledge that salvation in Christ Jesus can be equally found in any Mormon or Protestant denomination? Because to do that, Mormons would have to abandon a lot of their theology; possibly the bulk of it (no more exclusive claim to priesthood authority, no more requirement for saving ordinances, no more great apostasy, no more restoration, no more one true church, no more authorized prophet for the whole world, no more proselytizing to Protestants). So you wouldn’t really have unity despite differing theology; you would have unity because Mormons abandoned a lot of their theology in favor of theology you like better.

    3. That they can maintain their various ecclesiastical and organizational setups and disagree about whether you can find salvation in each others’ camps but nevertheless acknowledge that each is nevertheless Christian? Because that would basically be meaningless unity, just a label. And maybe the brotherly love that Christians are supposed to show everyone anyway.

    What you are consistently failing to realize or acknowledge is that ecclesiology is a part of theology, and no meaningful unity between Mormons and Protestants is possible without major changes to ecclesiology. So the very thing you are arguing for–unity despite different theology–is either (1) not unity in any meaningful sense or (2) only for certain kinds of theology.

    Which means you are either advocating for a sham unity or you are still advocating for theological disunity but just wishing the theological litmus test was a different theological litmus test than the one you don’t like.

  14. Jared C — Although I obviously would argue that Mormons are Christian based simply on the dictionary definition of the word if nothing else, I think your argument is a prime example of begging the question.

    Your argument in a nutshell is that in verse 20 when Jesus is referring to “those who believe” in him that includes Mormons. I certainly agree that’s true, but it’s likely that those who would argue otherwise would say that we worship a “different Jesus” or a view of Jesus that is so distorted that for all practical purposes we don’t believe in him. The fact that we believe in Jesus as a Protestant would understand the term isn’t something you can take for granted.

  15. When St. Paul tells the people in the Galatian churches that if they intend to be law keepers for righteousness, in addition to the work of Christ on the cross, that they will be “severed from Christ”…he was in essence saying that the Jesus they we’re worshipping would never countenance the adding on of anything else, other than His forgiveness of sins for the ungodly.

    To be a Christian, is to be declared righteous and holy…for Jesus’ sake. Not even our own sakes.

  16. I am not begging the question, I am positing that Mormons believe in the New Testament as a premise. The premises are open to question.

    The argument doesn’t work if Mormons are not part of the group of believers Jesus is praying for. But I haven’t heard a good argument against the truth of this premise.

    My view is that the the “different Jesus” argument holds no water reasonably or Biblically. If there is a good argument against this premise, I would be happy to hear it.

  17. There are Hindus who simultaneously worship Jesus and Kali. If they teach other Christians to do the same should I be unified with them?

  18. The argument is not a different Jesus, the argument is a different everything.

    Put most simply, in Jesus Christ the supernatural entered the natural, the creator of all things is revealed taking on creation without changing the divine, in Christ the supernatural continues to rule and uphold creation, while now in Christ the supernatural gives vigor and sustenance to his body the church.

    In Mormonism there is no distinction between the creator and the creature, in fact the divine has a created material body by nature. Following Platonism, Mormonism insists pre-existing matter and “intelligence”. The entire Mormon theology of pre-existence complicates the uniqueness of the person of Christ who is the spiritual brother of humanity. Further complicating the uniqueness of God, Mormonism has elevated the earthly family to divine proportions making is quite acceptable to speak of a heavenly mother.

    Now I understand that some Mormons believe these distinctions have only been held up to keep them on the outside, either politically or ecclesiastically. I think that ides takes an incredible ignorance of history and theology from the one true church with a great apostasy theology that anathematized everybody.

  19. [I know this Mormons-are-Christians debate is tired, I apologize. But I do think the context of the debate poses a fascinating moral question for Christians: how to bring institutional spiritual interaction closer to personal spiritual interaction.]

    Tim,
    There are Hindus who simultaneously worship Jesus and Kali. If they teach other Christians to do the same should I be unified with them?

    On a personal level, the answer to your question seems to be “of course.” Jesus went to publicans and sinners, if we have His spirit, we should not be afraid of going to anybody and seeking communion. If your neighbor was such a Hindu, you should (according to Christian ethics) seek some degree of unity with him, to love and sacrifice for him when he is in need.

    The problem blooms when we identify with a particular institution that we think has it right. We seek righteousness and truth, so we separate ourselves from those in error. It makes sense to rally around the truth, above all else, and be wary of those that refuse. It’s a safe bet for us–an we insist on that from our children. But to me, the strength of Christian message does not come from how correct or well-supported it is intellectually, but in how its carried to those who need it.

    @Kullervo, regarding what unity I am proposing:

    Jesus was– wisely perhaps– not very straightforward in his ethical teaching. He spoke in parables, not systematically. His teachings made righteousness in action or theology elusive, you had to look beneath in order to connect to the kingdom and be part of the feast. So I don’t think the answer to this question is straightforward either. The simplest answer is Christians should seek unity in love.

    I think Jesus’ made that point that it is difficult to determine who is with Him and who is against Him. He enlightened people by defying the “truth”. i.e. that you have to participate in the world in the conventionally-acceptable true way in order to be part of the kingdom. The truth had to work into the way you naturally treat people in order to take. He asked some people to sacrifice the force of their well-reasoned theological opinions to accept odious people as brothers and engage in socially forbidden practices with them. His ethics shake up the order of things, yet He asks for unity. What that means has only a spiritual answer–but I think it’s a question that has to be asked sincerely–with faith and without fear and defensiveness– in order to hear it.

  20. Gundek,

    I agree that Mormon theology is different, they get history wrong, they get some interpretation of some scriptures very wrong. And this leads to radically different answers when you ask the questions of systematic theology, metaphysics, and ontology. However, I submit that Mormons, like other believers in Jesus, are facing the uncertainty of life with faith in help from Jesus as their only chance at salvation, i.e. they believe the Message of the New Testament.

    I think the biggest problem I have with your analysis is that you are separating people based on complex philosophical arguments. The quirky thing about philosophical positions is that they are very difficult to make stable. Study philosophy and you realize that truth, reason, and even existence are not stable. Solid philosophical conclusions are elusive. They are always vulnerable. Once you carefully lay the wooden blocks of reality in the careful pattern your philosophy demands, brilliant people come along all the time and shake up the whole thing.

    This is why making historical theology the measure of truth and communion is very treacherous to me. Thinking philosophically, I know that there are very complex and beautiful arguments that are equally intellectually appealing to others. And there is no end to the change an variation that you can expect from these ways of thinking.

    I also distrust your approach because making religion too closely aligned with theology has failed Christianity over history. The way people have prosecuted the Christian cause over the last several centuries shows that things have gotten out of hand. Ostensibly christian people were up to their necks in the worst atrocities of history. Why?

    I submit that certain ways of thinking about the Truth, and sacrifice of spiritual unity because of it, kills a certain vibrant element of Jesus message in the Gospels.

    Fourth, what is the relationship between unity and truth? Conversely, what is the association with falsehood and unity?

    “We make an idol out of truth itself; for truth apart from charity is not God, but His image and idol, which we must neither love nor worship; and still less must we love or worship its opposite, namely, falsehood.” – Blaise Pascal.

  21. Quoting Pascal can be a tricky thing.

    “If God had permitted only one religion, it has been too easily known; but when we look at it closely, we clearly discern the truth amidst this confusion.”

    You make a number of interesting points but you have simply made the choice to ignore the clear New Testament instruction about following false prophets. Any way you package it, Joseph Smith chose to deny the most basics of the Christian faith and anathematized those who hold them. Not to make too fine a point of it but there is a difference between a philosophical error and rewriting history.

    It would be a misunderstanding of my position to think that every believer needs to immerse themselves in Theology and Church history the way I have done. To be honest I have not always been a Christian and in order to understand what people were talking about I started reading. Before I knew it the devotional literature wasn’t answering my questions. Anselm said, “Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this, too, I believe, that, unless I first believe, I shall not understand.”

    I also think that you have mistaken my position to be one directed at individual people instead of being directed at the teachings of the one true church © The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I do not make claims that any particular Mormons is lost or saved. In fact what I have said is, that if God can forgive David murder and adultery, something the one true church © denies, God can forgive bad theology. Understanding God’s forgiveness of David is not a warrant for murder, adultery, or bad theology.

    Besides, my argument isn’t all that complex or philosophical. Frankly, the theological subjects I have presented have the broadest agreements (hint unity) across Protestantism, the Roman Catholic Church, and the East and are covered in a basic Christmas sermon.

    Nowhere in my theology is the assumption that intellectual assent to the truth is the cure for all that ails the world. In fact Presbyterians have a pretty developed view on the effects of the fall, or as Pascal would say, “The Christian religion, then, teaches men these two truths; that there is a God whom men can know, and that there is a corruption in their nature which renders them unworthy of Him.” I would argue that behind Pascal’s claim there are theological proposition that if abandoned would rob it of any truth.

    Now, at its most basic our disagreement is really Pascal’s first proposition, “there is a God whom men can know”. I believe men can know God, as revealed in the Bible. You are entitled to distrust my theology. I do make a bold claim that the God of all creation “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” to remove our corruption. Or as Pascal would say “who unites Himself to their inmost soul, who fills it with humility and joy, with confidence and love, who renders them incapable of any other end than Himself.”

  22. I believe men can know God, as revealed in the Bible.

    When I believed, I thought that too. But I didn’t see the words of the Bible as the way to know God through analysis and study., only as a pointer to Him.

  23. I also distrust your approach because making religion too closely aligned with theology has failed Christianity over history.

    Jared C, you keep using the word “theology” in a way which makes me think you do not know what it means.

  24. I never said analysis and study is the only way to know about God but, it seems a more sure way than interpreting varying levels of spirit induced indigestion.

    Anti-intellectualism in religion has always fascinated me. Is there any aspect of our lives where it is considered better to be ignorant and unlearned? Don’t misunderstand knowledge can become an idol, but is it really more pious to be deliberately uninformed?

    I mean if you wanted to discuss unity in the church shouldn’t you study what people have said about it? What are the schools of thought, basic outlines and biblical supports, historical precedence? If you wanted to understand unity in the modern church shouldn’t you look at the successes and failures of the ecumenical movement or looked at the sources for division in denominations? Maybe you could look further back, Donatism, the Great Schism? Or are 4 verses the extent you are willing to give to the cause of unity?

    It seems you enjoy playing Protestant with the freedom of conscience it gives, you just aren’t willing to put in the work required to back up a quirky blog title.

  25. So, the thing is, Jared C, although you apear to be unable to articulate it, you are advocating a very specific and idosyncratic theory of Christian unity based on your reading of the scriptures. Again, that’s theology. You are doing theology. You are making a theological claim.

  26. Yes, I agree that I am making a theological claim: according to the general bent of Protestant theology, Jesus ethical commands should lead them to unite with Mormons.

    This:

    also distrust your approach because making religion too closely aligned with theology has failed Christianity over history.

    should have read “. . . theological puritanism has failed Christianity over history. “

  27. I’m not sure the fact that sinful men have misused “orthodoxy” is a reason for abandoning orthodoxy. Historically I think the claim that orthodoxy caused 2,000 years of violent persecution is a tad reductionist.

  28. And here’s the thing: you’re talking about abandoning orthodoxy in favor of unity, but you’re really just advocating for the orthodoxy line to be drawn in a different place. Your argument does not match what you are arguing for.

  29. I am not necessarily advocating changing the line of what Protestants believe is orthodox, I am asking them to change their behavior toward the unorthodox. Ultimately orthodoxy for Protestants seems a thin veneer that covers un-Christians and excludes Christians. The orthodox line is not found in the bible, so I don’t think it should have as much ethical weight as it now seems to have. Ultimately my argument is that the way the un-Orthodox are treated is too divisive and fed by fear rather than faith.

    Most simply put, my argument is that heterodoxy does not entail separation from the body of believers and Jesus asks for unity among believers. I think Jesus is talking about a spiritual unity, not a philosophical unity. (which is impossible without abandoning many of the methods that brought about orthodox theology.)

  30. No. You are arguing for a particular interpretation of Christian unity, i.e., a theology of Christian unity. So even though you say “I am not necessarily advocating changing the line of what Protestants believe is orthodox,” you are in fact arguing that your particular theology of Christian unity should be normative for Christians. In other words, you are arguing that your theological position should be orthodox.

    Furthermore, your theology of Christian unity is idiosyncratic and apparently inarticulable, and it does not in any way engage with with (because it’s not clear you even know anything about) anything Christians have said about Christian unity since 33 AD. And as best as I can tell, despite your vague historical pronouncements about how “orthodoxy for Protestants seems a thin veneer that covers un-Christians and excludes Christians,” this is all just because you have a bee in your bonnet about some Protestants not wanting to acknowledge that Mormons are Christians and how that hurts Mormons’ feelings. Which is truly absurd given that the foundation of Mormonism involves an explicit rejection of the validity of all of the rest of Christianity and an explicit claim to be God’s one and only true Restored Church in an otherwise fully apostate world, with over 18 decades of attendant aggressive proselytization. (Hint: disunity with Mormons is not just because Mormons think wrong things about the Trinity).

    Again, not that you have been able to articulate what the unity you are arguing for even actually means.

  31. Kullervo,

    Arguing that a particular proposition is the most reasonable is not the same as arguing for that it should be orthodox. “Orthodox” may entail “correct” but “correct” does not entail “orthodox.”

    What Christians have said in the past about unity is irrelevant. I am pointing to a specific instance of disunity and pointing out that it is not in line with the spirit of what Jesus taught. Whatever Christians have said about unity, I think new things need to be said because of the unreasonable nature of the disunity.

    My argument simply points out that “complete unity” of believers in the Spirit prayed for by Jesus is not what we have today. I don’t have to define “unity” because my argument simply assumes what Jesus meant by unity (whatever that was) and point out that the current position toward Mormons is inconsistent with that goal.

    Its perfectly reasonable to point out a problem, without having a solution. The question is “Is this a problem?” not “What do we do about it?”

    If you think the current Protestant stance toward Mormons is consistent with Jesus’ goal, then I welcome you to tell me how and why it makes better sense. If not, we can agree and move on to discuss the solution.

  32. Jared said

    On a personal level, the answer to your question seems to be “of course.” Jesus went to publicans and sinners, if we have His spirit, we should not be afraid of going to anybody and seeking communion. If your neighbor was such a Hindu, you should (according to Christian ethics) seek some degree of unity with him, to love and sacrifice for him when he is in need.

    You kind of changed the parameters of the discussion here. Of course on a personal level I should seek to establish some degree of unity with my neighbor. But this discussion is about the corporate church level. Should I allow this Kali-worshiping Christian to teach within my local congregation? Should I tell other Christians “yes, that man is a Christian. His words can be trusted to help you grow in faith?” Is this man someone Jesus thinks I should abandon orthodoxy for in order to establish unity? Or is he a false teacher that Jesus says I should beware of?

  33. I don’t have to define “unity” because my argument simply assumes what Jesus meant by unity (whatever that was) and point out that the current position toward Mormons is inconsistent with that goal.

    Yes you do have to define “unity,” because without telling us what you think Jesus meant by unity, you are not even making a prima facie case that “the current position toward Mormons is inconsistent with that goal.” You have to have to tell us what you think Jesus meant by unity in order to make a case that an unacceptable disunity between Mormons and Protestants even exists. But even then, you’re not even halfway there:

    (1) You have to ascertain whether your idea of Christian unity (i.e., what Jesus meant about unity)is the same as the Protestant idea of Christian unity. To do so, you need to be able to articulate what your idea of Christian unity is, and you need to know what the Protestant idea of Christian unity is. (Hint: this is where 1,980 years of Christian thought about what Jesus meant by “unity” is relevant.)

    (2) If they are not the same, then you have to establish that your idea of Christian unity is the correct one.

    (3) Once you have articulated your theory of Christian unity and either demonstrated that you and Protestants are in agreement about it or that yours is correct and theirs is incorrect, then you can make a prima facie case that Christian disunity between Mormons and Protestants exists. But you are still not done, because:

    (4) Then you have to demonstrate that the existing Christian disunity, in light of all the other relevant factors, is unacceptable. Certainly Christian disunity, if it exists, is a sinful and lamentable condition, and all sin is unacceptable to God. But we live in a fallen world where sinlessness is not even necessarily possible, and it’s not self-evident that Christian unity should be sought at the expense of Christian everything else. This gets back to what we have all been saying upthread here and in the comments to the other post: the fact that Jesus preached unity doesn’t necessarily mean that Jesus taught unity at the expense of everything else. Even if you could demonstrate that sinful disunity exists (which you can’t, because you can’t say what Christian unity means), you have to show that the alternative would not be a greater sin.

    I am pointing to a specific instance of disunity and pointing out that it is not in line with the spirit of what Jesus taught. Whatever Christians have said about unity, I think new things need to be said because of the unreasonable nature of the disunity.

    So you are actually just alledging that there is a specific instance of disunity and alledging that it is not in line with the spirit of what Jesus taught. But you aren’t able to make a prima facie case because you can’t say what Jesus actually meant anyway (or at best you have a vague notion of it but can’t nail it down). And you certainly haven’t shown that there is an unreasonable disunity, because you can’t do that until you get to my step 4 above, and you’re not even able to make step 1.

  34. “Of course on a personal level I should seek to establish some degree of unity with my neighbor. But this discussion is about the corporate church level.”

    I suggest that the current stance at the “corporate church level” toward the Mormons as people and believers in the New Testament should be more in line with how Christians believe they should treat their non-Christian neighbors. Recognizing error is different than fighting against the organizations that teach and enforce it. (See e.g. Jesus vs. Roman Empire.) Looking at the text, I don’t think individual corporate churches are relevant to Jesus’ ethical goal. The Protestant practice of creating denominations may be part of the problem.

    Should I allow this Kali-worshiping Christian to teach within my local congregation? I suppose it depends on what he teaches. I think it would be interesting for a congregation to see how the man’s faith is working in his life and understand the differences between his and theirs.

    Should I tell other Christians “yes, that man is a Christian. His words can be trusted to help you grow in faith?”

    I don’t think being a Christian entails being a trustworthy teacher of Christianity. If the man seems to be a Christian in spirit, faith, and action, despite his errant beliefs, then it seems appropriate to call him one.

    Is this man someone Jesus thinks I should abandon orthodoxy for in order to establish unity? Or is he a false teacher that Jesus says I should beware of?

    My argument assumes Jesus approves of orthodox belief, the Christian’s job seems to be to spread orthodoxy. Even if the man is a false teacher you should beware of, this does not entail that a corporate church must fight against heterodoxy at the expense of closer unity with the errant believers.

  35. @kullervo–

    (1) I assume Jesus idea of “complete unity” as the goal. Whatever Protestants have said about this –by their own theology– is subject to this text by Sola Scriptura. I don’t need to provide any further explanation.

    (2) According to the New Testament, which I assume to be true, Jesus’ idea is the correct one.

    (3) Prima Facie Case- The current state of affiars is that there are many many Mormons who believe in words of the New Testament, and have faith in it for their salvation. There are almost no efforts to unify with these believers–seeking “complete unity” with Mormons is not even a goal and only a practice in isolated incidents. Protestants–except for isolated examples– don’t even agree on this as a goal. Do you think this is acceptable? What has been or can be reasonably said by Protestants over the centuries to justify this?

    Protestants tolerate– and even embrace as kindred– plenty who they believe teach and believe false things. That is the nature of Protestantism. Excluding Mormons for their particular variety of false teaching. I submit that this exclusion from fellowship is an arbitrary line that is not in the Bible.

    The unacceptable disunity is that –due to their theological prejudices, true believers in the New Testament are excluded from spiritual fellowship with Protestants– even though other false teachings are tolerated. Protestants have chosen a theology that is infested with theological disunity– but choose to draw arbitrary lines about who they fight against and who they cooperate with. Protestants don’t move toward Mormons to unify with them, they often run, fear, misinform, propagandize, attack, and hide. Do you think this is acceptable?

    (4) Even if you could demonstrate that sinful disunity exists (which you can’t, because you can’t say what Christian unity means), you have to show that the alternative would not be a greater sin.

    Actually, all I have to do is show that the policy of disunity should be abandoned for something better. Your point depends on the assumption that Protestants have completely optimized their stance in line with the prayer for unity and all other competing sins. I can’t see how this is a tenable position, and you have provided no support for it.

  36. Of course it is. We are back to your failure to make out even a prima facie case for your argument. You are only making a conclusory statement that the current state of relations between Mormons and Protestants is contra Jesus’s teachings on unity, insisting that it is the fault of Protestants, and then asking what we’re going to do about it.

    But the thing is, to the extent you even have any premises, I do not grant any of them. I don’t know how many ways I can tell you that. And nobody is obligated to come up with a counterargument because you have failed to make an argument. You have not yet demonstrated that unacceptable disunity exists, only made conclusory statements to that effect (and truly audacious ones given pretty much everything about Mormonism).

    I am not engaging with the substance of your argument because the form of your argument is so completely and totally piss poor that it is not possible to actually identify what the substance is. And I am honestly baffled about it, given that you are an NYU Law grad with a philosophy background.

  37. Well Kullervo, if the argument isn’t worth engaging with that’s fine with me. If you think its nonsense and doesn’t point out anything, that’s fine too. You can simply say that the premises are false without argument. But if you want me to respond intelligently you need to tell me which premises you disagree with and why– otherwise, I can’t respond to your denials. You could also argue that even if the premises were true the argument is invalid.

    But, as of yet, I don’t think you have made any case regarding the strength or weakness of argument at all, or its premises. What you seem to have said is that I can’t make the argument because I haven’t defined my terms or referenced Protestant thought. I still haven’t heard a good argument that you have to define all terms specifically in order to have a discussion about them (does language ever work that way?) nor do I see where what Protestants have said about unity is relevant to whether the reasoning is sound.

    Re: Prima Facia Case. — Perhaps I don’t know what you are talking about. The argument doesn’t really require a prima fascia case, does it? In fact, It doesn’t have to be true that Protestants are getting it wrong in order for the argument to be valid and sound. The argument only shows that Protestants should have the goal of unity with Mormons. If you disagree with the conclusion, please feel free to address the reasoning itself– which you have yet to do.

    If you are baffled, I feel for you– and I wouldn’t recommend studying philosophy or going to NYU law school–that clearly is not going to help your plight. Maybe it would help this conversation if you can show how I am wrong even when you construe my terms most charitably?

  38. @Gundek,

    Anselm said, “Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this, too, I believe, that, unless I first believe, I shall not understand.”

    I agree with Anselm here, but nonbelievers could think the contrary must also be true with equal authority, i.e. that you cannot understand their philosophy unless you can come from the perspective of a non-believer.

    In the end I think Anselm was brilliant, but he is also a poster child for what is wrong with traditional theology.

    You make a number of interesting points but you have simply made the choice to ignore the clear New Testament instruction about following false prophets.

    Please notice that I am not advocating that anyone follow false prophets.

  39. What is wrong with traditional theology? As I see it at least we can read and asses Anselm where your proposals are self contradictory and undefined. Specifically how can the entire Churches (Rome, East and Protestant) rejection of Mormonism be called arbitrary when the same standards were used with the Socinians or Unitarians?

    Mormons act like the doctrines of the Trinity were devised just after the King Follett discourse as part of some evangelical anti-mormons conspiracy.

  40. The argument only shows that Protestants should have the goal of unity with Mormons.

    As stated elsewhere: I have a goal to be united with Mormons. I welcome them in the body of Christ. Their desire to embrace and promote heterodox and idolatrous beliefs thwarts my efforts for unity. If they would stop holding to their false beliefs over unity this issue would be resolved.

    I honestly do not understand why they value a few theological tenets over unity.

  41. Also, as I have pointed out, disunity between Mormons and Protestants is not merely because Mormons get the Trinity, Creation, the Fall, the Incarnation and the Atonement wrong. Mormon ecclesiology actually means that no unity other than the most superficial “unity” is possible.

    Which is why I keep asking what you think this unity would look like: http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/turns-out-protestants-should-unite-with-mormons-as-believers/#comment-31344

  42. Well, I think what the unity would look like is an open question– which I don’t have an answer to. Its their religion not mine. And– as I said– Jesus’ ethical teachings are not clear. Jesus seems to indicate that it is a spiritual unity rather than a theological one. Right now the divides seem political not spiritual.

    Perhaps if they prayed the prayer Jesus was praying with Mormons in mind they may be able move towards an answer.

  43. If I went on a missionary trip to Africa with a Mormon who did not want to make any compromises with me, I would stress those teachings on which we agree. (In my estimation, 70% of LDS teachings align with evangelical teachings. Eric once said he thinks it’s 90%. [I’ll try to get him to go with me.])
    When it comes to a teaching on which I disagree with the Mormon and deem it too important to neglect, I will explain to the Africans what I believe and let the Mormon explain what he believes. Then we both will ask them to ask God which missionary is correct. (We both believe in James 1:5.)
    That’s what a unity will look like to begin with.
    Then, because of the close working relationship I have with the Mormon, and because we are both pressured to focus on practical theology by the desperate condition of the Africans and by our concern for their spiritual welfare, the Mormon’s adherence to impractical or false theology will fade, and we will move theologically closer to one another in time.

  44. Jared,

    I’m not sure why you think Jesus’s ethical commands are not clear but unity is. You have also said that unity is spiritual but you are pointing corporate unity.

  45. Jared, why do you think Mormons are so resistant to being unified with Protestants, Catholics and the Orthodox?

    Mormons believe they are special. They want to be above the world, better than it. They reject “philosophies of men mingled with scripture,” which is very strange attitude which makes consistent theology almost impossible or irrelevant. Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox are probably too mired in history to be respected on some level. But Mormons are completely disconnected from the history of other Churches. Actual church history is hard to swallow for Mormons. They are like reactionary punk rockers of the Christian world. They rebelled so hard against the Christian establishment in the beginning, they wanted to overthrow it, or at least completely separate. Mormonism is like a ska band at a country music festival.

    But nowadays they would probably be happy to be accepted back in, if they could just keep thinking they are special. They want to think they are special and above other people– but also think they are just like everybody else. They seem to desperately want to be accepted as good old-fashioned Christian believers– which Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox simply won’t allow.

  46. They seem to desperately want to be accepted as good old-fashioned Christian believers– which Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox simply won’t allow.

    Sure we will. They just have to give up their own orthodoxy. Why do you suppose Mormons cling so tenaciously to their own theological orthodoxy (which only interferes with the unity Jesus taught them to pursue)?

  47. What Cal proposes may be impracticable, but I like the thought.

    If Protestants are serious about bringing their brand of salvation to Mormons, they would do well to worship and teach together. In Mormon lingo, they should “feel the Spirit” together. When Mormons feel the same Spirit that they trust, they will trust the message of grace more.

    Individual Mormons are often insulated from the Protestant message because of the resistance, opposition, fear and open hostility they get from the devout.

  48. Why do you suppose Mormons cling so tenaciously to their own theological orthodoxy (which only interferes with the unity Jesus taught them to pursue)?

    From my limited experience, I think its because they feel the love of God when they practice their religion. Because of the structure of the Mormon claims, they rule out belief in the history of traditional Christianity. The exclusiveness of the religion is built into its spirituality. So Mormons are put in a position where they have to deny what appears to be very authentic spirituality and devotion to a very good way of life in order to accept that traditional Christians (who have a historical track record of being no better than any average person) could have some things righter than they do.

  49. Perhaps, maybe I think Jesus is pointing out the fundamental problem with ecclesiastical separations. As with many things in Jesus’ ethics, he makes the impossible an imperative and its hard to know what to make of it.

  50. If Protestants are serious about bringing their brand of salvation to Mormons, they would do well to worship and teach together. In Mormon lingo, they should “feel the Spirit” together. When Mormons feel the same Spirit that they trust, they will trust the message of grace more.

    Individual Mormons are often insulated from the Protestant message because of the resistance, opposition, fear and open hostility they get from the devout.

    This I agree with and, if anything, is the “mission” of this blog. If we have to abandon important theological distinctives to do this I think think the price is too high.

  51. Right, but I am not asking anyone to abandon their theology. I think the first step toward unity would be a change in rhetoric. (Very similar to the change of rhetoric that some aknowledge is needed in the Christian v. Homosexuality discussion.) The constant drone of Protestants, driven by theological arguments that I think are mostly meaningless, that Mormons aren’t Christians and don’t actually believe in Jesus may prevent Mormons from fully accepting the message of Paul. The contention created is bad for both groups and makes Protestants look un-Christian to Mormons.

    I think most Evangelicals don’t realize that most of the practical elements of Protestant theology can be incorporated into a Mormon life without skipping a beat. Mormons can have faith in Jesus to save them by grace alone without really changing their lifestyle or worship dramatically. Mormons can become like Methodists who practice Freemasonry for cultural reasons. I see a lot of advantages to this from an Evangelical Perspective. A Mormon lifestyle is generally compatible with Protestantism. Protestants may do well to adopt many of its elements.

  52. @Gundek

    That seems to be a good reason not to focus on one aspect of the church, unity, over another aspect, say holiness.

    Likewise, I think it also seems to be good reason not to focus on one aspect of the church, theology over other aspects like holiness or unity. Do you see my point?

  53. Here is an example of the Evangelical attitude that I think creates unneeded disunity. Here directed against Freemasonry:

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/august/7.18.html

    “Family Life Church’s effort echoes a long fight in Kenya’s Presbyterian Church of East Africa over eradicating Masonic symbols in colonial-era churches and government buildings. “These symbols and artifacts must be removed and destroyed,” PCEA head David Githii explained to The Nation as at least 30 stained-glass windows and other items were removed from Nairobi’s St. Andrews Church. “They are anti-Christ.” Githii sent demolition squads to other PCEA churches around the country. Tensions with preservationists and Presbyterian Freemasons got so heated that police had to be called to keep the peace.”

  54. So I wonder why you presuppose the purpose of theology is disunity? Doesn’t the 2 billion Christians affirm the Nicene Creed say something about unity?

  55. Jared, you said in your post that you are no longer a believer. Did you mean you’re no longer a Mormon, or no longer a believer in Jesus? If it’s the latter, please let me warn you that you’re hanging out in a dangerous spiritual location. What if you die in an auto accident tomorrow? Or a terrorist attack?

  56. Doesn’t the 2 billion Christians affirm the Nicene Creed say something about unity

    I don’t think we can call what happened between Christian peoples in the last century unity. I think history shows that the the theological unity enjoyed by Christendom is very shallow indeed.

  57. The Bible says Jesus prayed for his followers to be as one. Problem is, the Jesus the LDS follow is NOT the Jesus of the Bible. Therefore, (our) Jesus was not referring to the LDS or any other group with a false Christ!

  58. Sorry to be late to the game here. And I apologize for not frequenting this board more often. I often apologize for not reading the entire discussion thread in detail but 70+ posts is a bit much at 5AM in the morning (when this started being written)

    This article caught my eye since these arguments from Cal are hardly new to me. Years ago he showed up on the (now defunct) Concerned Christians (CC) discussion board offering the exact same thesis along with some additional information that seems to be missing but, I think relevant.

    I don’t know if he mentioned it but Cal is a Charismatic Christian – as am I. And no, this isn’t the beginning of an ad-hominem argument as much as offering, I think, an enlightening “back story” and relevant to this discussion.

    On the CC board the key, now apparently missing, tenet of his argument wasn’t scripture but that a Charismatic Prophetess (whose name eludes me) had a vision/dream/whatever where God had revealed to her that Mormons were Christians too and we needed to accept them into the fold. Apparently this same prophetess had developed a series of teachings on this theme and had received additional revelations from God regarding Mormonism.

    It was only when I replied then, as I do now, that as a fellow Charismatic Christian my plumbline for ANY so-called revelation is the Bible not feelings, reputation, personalities, or relationships that we finally got some actual proof texts – in fact, the very same ones that he seems to have used here.

    Both Bob Betts (the General Manager of CC at the time who is NOT Charismatic BTW) and I made the same points that you all have here: This is nothing more than fallacious, eisigetical proof texting; Jesus DID make a big deal about orthodoxy in the gospels – as did the Apostles in the rest of the New Testament; etc., etc. I’m seeing pretty the same arguments here so I won’t bore you all by rehashing them.

    I, the token Pentecostal on CC, also suggested that this, “God said this through a respected and beloved prophet – you’ve gotta believe it!” model is: a) what got the Mormons in trouble to begin with, and; b) this epistemological model is FAR more Mormon than Christian.

    I would be curious to know if the Charismatic Prophetess aspect of Cal’s arguments – again, this was a KEY, no make that THE key tenet, back in the day (even more so than the Bible) and not a footnote – has been disclosed, and if not, why not.

    Thanks.

  59. Fred Wanson! I didn’t know your name back when we conversed years ago, but it’s nice to hear from you again. I trust you are thriving in the shalom of God.

    As my friends here at ldstalk will testify, I have consistently cited the Word of God as a basis for my beliefs, not the prophetess you have mentioned.

  60. But nowadays they would probably be happy to be accepted back in, if they could just keep thinking they are special. They want to think they are special and above other people– but also think they are just like everybody else. They seem to desperately want to be accepted as good old-fashioned Christian believers– which Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox simply won’t allow.

    This is preposterous. Mormons want orthodox Christians to recognize Mormons as fellow Christians, but as near as I can tell, it is purely a public relations issue (I mean this individually as well as corporately, and not in a cynical way at all), and not anything even remotely resembling an actual ecumenical overture. They don’t want back in, they just want to be thought of as another kind of Christian.

    The thing that keeps Mormons from wanting to unite with orthodox Christianity is not Mormon beliefs about the nature of God and the plan of salvation, or the Momron desire to keep “feeling special,” but Mormon beliefs about the existence, nature, necessity, location and availability of priesthood authority. Mormons believe they are the exclusive bearers of the priesthood, which is necessary to administer God’s one true church and perform necessary saving ordinances. Full stop.

    Your narrative about how Mormons are desperately trying to reunite with orthodox Christianity but is being shut out because orthodox Christians don’t like Mormon theology is patently absurd. It in no way reflects reality, and you have no evidence to support it.

  61. So I wonder why you presuppose the purpose of theology is disunity? Doesn’t the 2 billion Christians affirm the Nicene Creed say something about unity?

    Not to mention the massively overwhelming majority of Christians throughout history.

  62. The article states, “For purposes of the discussion I am assuming the truth of the Five Solae, the Nicene Creed, and the and the Bible.”

    But by presuming those are true, they REFUTE Mormonism 100 percent:

    “Solus Christus” means CHRIST ALONE! That is NOT Mormonism.

    “[There is] no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God” – Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, v. 1, p. 190

    “Sola Fide” — That is countered by the WORKS demanded by Mormonism.

    Article of Faith 4: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    “Sola gratia” — Yeah, after ALL YOU CAN DO! What kind of a God dispenses that kind of grace.

    We already know Mormons have no purpose for SOLA SCRIPTURA, and the whole idea for their raison d’être is to be Gods. Section 132:20, “Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.”

  63. Cal, I’m interested to know if the impetus for your perspective on Mormonism was inspired by your reading of the Bible or if it originated with a prophetess.

  64. Thank you for responding Cal. I’m not speaking fiction – what I’ve recounted happened. And, when pressed by Bob and myself, you also claimed back then that your stance regarding Mormonism was entirely Biblical while simultaneously continuing to reference the prophetess and her allegedly inspired revelation as the touchstone for your views. I hope to get Bob Betts later to bear witness that I’m accurately reporting the historical facts.

    Further, your hermeneutic for your stance then as now is symptomatic of one who has come to the conclusion first and then eisegeted and selectively proof texted to support it. Your website is rife with such flawed hermeneutics. For example, on your website you state:

    “5. Mormons are generally recognized and known for their positive moral behavior. Jesus said, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18).”

    However, this selective, out of context use of the passage fails to apply the false prophet test that Christ gave us in it’s entirety:

    “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
    (Matthew 7:15-20, NASB)

    Without going into too many specifics I hardly consider the fruit of Joseph Smith’s life to be “good.” Were I to go into those specifics I would start with 33-illegal wifes, about 1/3 still married to other men, and 1/3 still teenagers many years his junior, to start. I would then go into how he publicly lied to his followers and the public about these practices (a common behavior in Mormon culture now known as “lying for the Lord”), I would then end with talking about his excommunication of 38 people over his tenure as “living prophet” (an average of about 3-people per year) most because they posed a threat to his status and power. And that would only be the beginning of the list of bad fruit from this so-called “prophet” – there’s a whole lot more.

    Then there’s Brigham Young, and John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff, and, and, and . . .

    Further, I could also generate a very long list of the bad fruit that Mormonism produces today as compiled by former, disaffected, and active members of the LdS Church. So your website’s stated assertion is either highly selective or just plain ignorant of the current realities in the Mormon Church.

    Finally, the other assertions on the http://evangelicalsandmormonsforjesus.com/ website can also be just as easily deconstructed and refuted. We did so then, we can do so now – nothing has changed.

  65. Hey, fredswanson, just so we’re clear, I don’t think anyone here other than Jared C is even remotely in danger of being convinced in any way by anything Cal says.

  66. @Dave, well said. Not only did the Apostles have strong warnings and word about preaching another Jesus and another gospel, so did Moses regarding preaching another God:

    ‘“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.’
    (Deuteronomy 13:1-4, NASB)

    And Joseph Smith acknowledged that he was teaching his followers another God in the King Follett address when he said:

    “I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is…God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret…I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see”
    (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.345; also see http://www.lds.org/ensign/1971/04/the-king-follett-sermon?lang=eng )

    And the specifics of how and why the god of Mormonism is a completely different god than the one taught in the Bible are well known – I won’t rehash them, I’ll simply point those interested to this neutral resource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Mormonism

    I mean, come on, even Gordon B. Hinckley and other modern Mormon leaders have explicitly and publicly stated that the Mormon Jesus isn’t the one that mainstream Christians worship:

    “In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints ‘do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness [sic] of Times'”
    (June 20, 1998, The LDS Church News)

    “It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
    — Bernard P. Brockbank, LDS Seventy (Ensign, May 1977, p.26)

    The Bible tells us plainly and directly what’s happening when a false prophet behaves this way, “the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”. It also tells us how we are to behave when we’re tested this way, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. It then goes on to give further instructions in verses 5-11 of the Deuteronomy 13 passage that I’ll skip because, well, they’re rather direct and extreme.

    And I say this knowing that Mr. Fullerton argues that King Follett is being de-emphasized in LdS Theology (“being pushed to the peripheral” as I recall him saying here or perhaps on the old CC board). However, current LdS Church reality disapproves that assertion as well.

    The King Follett discourse is still available on the official LdS Church website (I’ve provided one link to it, there are others), is still referred to official LdS Church publications (including teaching curriculum), is still referenced in General Conference, and is still cited regularly by LdS Theologians. Simply put, the doctrine in King Follett is still to be found at the core of contemporary LdS Theology.

    Finally, if further, evidence of contemporary Mormonism teaching another God is required we need only consider the LdS Temple Endowment ceremony. However, this post is already too long and I will defer that discussion out of respect to our Latter-day Saint friends here.

  67. @Kullervo, thanks for clarifying. I thought that Bob Betts and I had convinced Mr. Fullerton of the error of his way “back in the day”. So y’all can imagine my shock at seeing him back again recycling all the same error all over again.

    I apologize if I’m being overly didactic but I am of the opinion that Mr. Fullerton is dangerous and teetering on the brink

  68. (stupid touchscreen – it submitted my post prematurely)
    That is to say in closing:

    …teetering on the brink of qualifying for the third step in the Matthew 18 formula:

    “If he refuses to listen to them [two or more correcting witnesses], tell it to the church.”
    (Matthew 18:17, NASB)

  69. Tim said, “Cal, I’m interested to know if the impetus for your perspective on Mormonism was inspired by your reading of the Bible or if it originated with a prophetess.”

    I heard the prophecy (not a dream or vision) by the prophetess long after the Word of God—printed & living—revealed to me God’s perspective on the LDS.

    Incidentally, the prophetess fell short of saying the LDS is Christian and should be accepted into the Christian fold. Rather, she rebuked the church of Christ for pointing fingers at Mormons. At one point she yelled, “THROW DOWN YOUR STONES!” I liked it so much that I asked permission to use her prophecy in something I was writing. She denied permission, which is why, for the sake of integrity, I’m not mentioning her name now. (She is well known and highly respected among charismatics.)

  70. Fred, based on what I know, I believe Joseph Smith backslid. I don’t know of any evidence that he practiced polygamy and adultery his whole life.

    I don’t see how Matthew 7:15-20 modifies the meaning of Matt. 7:18 by itself.

    The bad fruit that you’ve found among today’s Mormons poses no threat to a general recognition of their spirituality. First, not all Mormons are Christians. Secondly, no Christian is perfect; our journey to holiness is ongoing. But if you compare the average Mormon to the average unbeliever, you see a difference—at least I do. The difference is more noticable [non-word?] when you look at Mormons who are the most devoted to their faith. Naturally, the fruit of Mormonism will show up in the most pronounced manner among them.

    Take Eric, for example. I’ve followed him for a few years now as he has contributed to Tim’s site. He doesn’t argue, he doesn’t try to weasel his way around questions that are posed to him, he doesn’t badger those who falsely condemn him, he stays calm when insulted and doesn’t seek revenge.

    Pray about it, my friend.

  71. I don’t know of any evidence that he practiced polygamy and adultery his whole life.

    Nobody practices polygamy and/or adultery their whole life.

  72. “Cal, are you aware that Joseph Smith said that some of his revelations came from the devil?”

    It doesn’t matter.

  73. I don’t know of any evidence that he practiced polygamy and adultery his whole life.

    I’d be fine with a prophet who practiced polygamy and adultery. . . but then repented of it because of the testimony against his actions in scripture.

    With Joseph Smith we have a man who practiced polygamy and adultery and then stated it was the will of God based on new scriptures. Cal thinks this is the kind of man Jesus is okay with his followers claiming speaks for him.

  74. Cal //Incidentally, the prophetess fell short of saying the LDS is Christian and should be accepted into the Christian fold. Rather, she rebuked the church of Christ for pointing fingers at Mormons. At one point she yelled, “THROW DOWN YOUR STONES!” I liked it so much that I asked permission to use her prophecy in something I was writing. She denied permission, which is why, for the sake of integrity, I’m not mentioning her name now. (She is well known and highly respected among charismatics.)//

    A prophetess gets a revelation from God, a rebuke for the church of God, and she did not want you to repeat it? Please explain the logic. A revelation for the church of God, is not to be repeated to the members of the church of God? Shouldn’t it be sent world-wide, wherever believers might have contact with Mormons, so that they get the message from God that they shouldn’t throw stones? What kind of prophetess of God does not want God’s message to get around to the whole church of God, as allegedly God intended?

    Yes, Fred’s recollections of the discussions several years ago are accurate.

  75. @Cal
    YOU WROTE:
    “I don’t know of any evidence that he practiced polygamy and adultery his whole life.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    Joseph Smith died on June 27, 1844. He took his last polygamous wife, Fanny Young on November, 1843. He took his first polygamous wife, Fanny Alger, in 1833. Plus there were allegations of sexual improprieties prior to his marriage to his only legal wife, Emma (see http://mormonthink.com/grant6.htm ). So while you may be unaware of it, yes, Joseph Smith, Jr. practiced either fornication or adultery (in the form of illegal contrived polygamy) during his entire tenure as “prophet” of the LdS Church.

    Further, he have no record that Joseph Smith, Jr. even repented and/or turned from the practice and his behavior points to the exact opposite – his polygamous activities were increasing not decreasing prior to his death.

    For supporting evidence on all this, please see: http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/

    But Cal, that “bad fruit” is just the tip of the iceberg – there’s more, a LOT more.

    YOU WROTE:
    “The bad fruit that you’ve found among today’s Mormons poses no threat to a general recognition of their spirituality.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    But the fact remains there IS bad fruit Cal, you’re just ignoring it because it’s inconvenient to your agenda and predetermined conclusions.

    And this is the #1 problem that I see with your stance: Confirmation Bias. You only seem to count the “hits” that fit your predetermined conclusion and ignore the “misses” that don’t.

    And if you want a more complete list of “bad fruit” of the LdS Church and it’s members I will refer you to these:

    http://mormonreformation.blogspot.com/

    http://beggarsbread.org/2012/10/31/whats-wrong-with-the-mormon-church-2012-edition

    http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/10/31/whats-wrong-with-the-mormon-church

    YOU WROTE:
    “she rebuked the church of Christ for pointing fingers at Mormons. At one point she yelled, “THROW DOWN YOUR STONES!” I liked it so much that I asked permission to use her prophecy in something I was writing. She denied permission, which is why, for the sake of integrity, I’m not mentioning her name now. (She is well known and highly respected among charismatics.)”

    MY RESPONSE:
    I, a fellow Charismatic who believes in modern prophetic utterances and the other gifts of the Spirit say to you now as I did back on the Concerned Christians board: I don’t care WHO that prophetess was, I could care less what her reputation is among Charismatics or anyone else for matter, she gave a false prophecy – period.

    When plumblined against the Bible it was a false prophecy. Period.

    And most distressingly she validated a false prophet and a heretical non-Christian group in the name of (and allegedly in the voice of) God. She is, therefore, a false prophet and a deceiver. Period.

    The fact that you continue to hold to her words and protect her doesn’t enhance your credibility, or arguments Cal – in fact, it does the exact opposite.

  76. @Cal,
    YOU WROTE:
    “Pray about it, my friend”

    MY RESPONSE:
    OK, I saved this one for it’s own post because it deserves special, detailed attention. With this statement you have demonstrated WHY some Charismatics/Pentecostals and nearly all Latter-day Saints fall into error.

    Cal, I don’t HAVE to pray about whether Mormonism is Christian anymore than I have to pray about whether I should lie, cheat, steal, or commit adultery. No where in the Bible are we told to told to pray about Biblical absolutes.

    Rather, for a true Christian the Bible is his/her absolute authority – not feelings, not experiences, not relationships, and not . . . whatever. And in this case Joseph Smith failed to pass every Biblical test for a true prophet and he passed every test for a false one:

    1) Deceiving God’s covenant people into following another God.
    Deu 13:1-11

    2) Giving future predictions that failed to come to pass.
    Deu 18:18-22

    3) A life that produces bad fruit.
    Mat 7:15-20

    4) Denying that Jesus Christ was God eternal incarnated in human flesh.
    1 John 4:1-3

    In addition we can add:
    5) Use of Occult practices like scrying and Shamanism.

    6) Incorporating Freemasonry into the LDS Temple ceremonies.
    (Freemasonry is rooted in Kabbalah which is occultic)

    As I’m sure you know occult practices are soundly condemned throughout both the Old and New Testament so I won’t bore you and the other readers with a list of proof texts on this. In regard to Joseph Smith’s involvement with these practices here’s a good write up by former Mormon, Janis Hutchinson that ends with this closing statement: “No individual, knowing the truth about the Mormon Church’s occult background, could possibly follow Joseph Smith as a prophet or embrace his teachings.”

    http://www.janishutchinson.com/joeoccult.html

    So no Cal, there’s no need to pray about whether Mormonism is Christian anymore than I need to pray to determine if Branch Davidianism, Christian Spiritualism, Freemasonary, or Scientology are. Sure there are good, moral, admirable people in each of these religions but that doesn’t make them Christian any more than it makes their founders true prophets of the God of the Bible.

    And, I must say it, suggesting that I – or any other Christian for that matter – disregard Biblical absolutes and pray about whether the false religion started and based on the teachings of the false prophet Joseph Smith simply demonstrates how flawed, errant, and unBiblical your theology has become.

  77. I should have changed my posting information. Above, I posted under an old address, whatjosephsmithsaid60. But, I’m the one, as Fred stated, who administered the discussion forum at Concerned Christians a few years ago, where Fred and I (and others) first encountered the guest poster, Cal Fullerton, as Fred referenced.

    Sorry for the obscure identity usage, now corrected.

    Cal, the Apostle Paul’s call for the unity of the faith within Eph. 4:11-16, packs a lot of expectation on the members of the body of Christ, including recognition of the Apostles and Prophets. Would you have us acknowledge the LDS apostles and prophets as legitimate leaders and teachers in the body of Christ, to whom we should submit.

    And, don’t forget that it was Smith who claimed that Christ told him to not join any of OUR churches, they being all wrong, with all our creeds being an abomination, and all our professors corrupt. That story is told through the LDS missionaries, around the world, everyday. Literally the LDS church is continually throwing us under the religious bus. And, you want us to consider them our brothers and sisters in Christ, and embrace them as fellow believers.

    I mean, there are so many problems with your advocacy of our unity with the Mormons, it’s difficult to decide which one is the most egregious.

  78. “Cal, are you aware that Joseph Smith said that some of his revelations came from the devil?”

    No. When did he say that?
    In any case, with Gundek, I don’t see how it matters much.

  79. “With Joseph Smith we have a man who practiced polygamy and adultery and then stated it was the will of God based on new scriptures. Cal thinks this is the kind of man Jesus is okay with his followers claiming speaks for him.”

    Your first sentence isn’t news to me. I can’t understand your second sentence.

  80. Hello, WhatJosephSmithsaid60.
    You asked, “What kind of prophetess of God does not want God’s message to get around to the whole church of God, as allegedly God intended?”

    My assumption is that she didn’t want the prophecy used in the context in which I was planning to use it. She actually gave me permission initially, but backed off once she read the context in which I planned. . . . you get it.

  81. I can see that I have two long messages from Fred and a message from Bob Betts.
    I don’t have any more time right now, but I’ll plan on getting to your comments Saturday.
    It’s good to “see” you again, Bob. I figured you were through with me forever! What happened to Concerned Christians?

    God bless!

  82. @Cal,
    YOU WROTE:
    My assumption is that she didn’t want the prophecy used in the context in which I was planning to use it. She actually gave me permission initially, but backed off once she read the context in which I planned. . . . you get it.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Well, I’m a Charismatic and I’ve heard a TON of prophetic utterances in my day – many which have been printed and distributed around the Charismatic world – and I don’t get it. In fact, I can think of some prophecies that Charisma magazine even published because they were so relevant to the time in which they were given. Here’s a pretty famous one from the 1977 Kansas City Charismatic Conference for example:

    THE ACTUAL & THE IDEAL
    There are two things, the actual and the ideal.

    To be mature is to see the ideal and live with the actual.

    To fail is to accept the actual and reject the ideal,
    and to accept only that which is ideal,
    and refuse the actual is to be immature.

    Do not criticize the actual because you have seen the ideal.
    Do not reject the ideal because you see the actual.

    Maturity is to live with the actual but hold on to the ideal.
    — Derek Prince
    1977

    So, if this was a true prophetic word with a practical application with this much importance and relevance that had been deemed a true prophetic word by the other prophets who were judging at this event (in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:29) then Bob’s right, it needed to be proclaimed publicly, loudly, and repeatedly so the entire Body of Christ could hear the word of the Lord and benefit from it. This prophetic word needed to rushed right over to the offices of Christianity Today – or at least Charisma magazine – post haste!

    So based on what you’ve told us this alleged prophetess’s behavior seems to make NO sense unless, perhaps, she knew that she had given a false prophecy and wanted to quietly and quickly bury it before she got publicly denounced and rebuked for it. To me this is most apparent in that she didn’t want her name associated with it after it was given.

    If this is a true prophetic word then producing both the prophecy and the name of the prophetess should be no problem at all! This is, again, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:29.

  83. @kullervo:
    Your narrative about how Mormons are desperately trying to reunite with orthodox Christianity but is being shut out because orthodox Christians don’t like Mormon theology is patently absurd. It in no way reflects reality, and you have no evidence to support it.

    Most of the Mormons I know would be happy to be called Christian by traditional Christians. They would also be happy to return the favor to traditional Christians and accept them as believers in the true God and Jesus. The main reason is that they see clearly that they would have greater opportunity to spread their Gospel, and they are confident that their Gospel is stronger than the apostate Gospel taught by traditional Christians. Few traditional Christians I know have this same sort of confidence. I think the social separation is driven by fear more than anything else. I agree that there is little chance of actual ecumenical union– the Mormon Church is as unlikely to accept orthodox theology (whatever that may be) as the Catholic Church is to accepting the Solae. But, again, careful theology only really matters to a very small population of believers.

  84. So that’s what this boils down to? Just PR, oversensitive feelings and rank hypocrisy. This has nothing to do with Christian unity in any meaningful sense.

  85. I still don’t understand what you are saying. Hypocrisy is the inseparable companion of any religious organization. Pointing the finger at Mormons rather than all of Christianity seems really strange to me. It also seems strange to exclude them from fellowship because they are hypocrites.

    The “unity” that the slim veneer of theology creates requires acceptance of people despite very deep differences in culture that cannot be easily overcome. Most Christians have some sort of thing like “exclusive priesthood authority” or “national identity” or “my material comfort” or “my career” keeps them from entering the kingdom Jesus spoke of. To disdain Mormons for theirs keeps people blind to their own.

    My observation is that the specific theology of the intellect–cobbled from early Christian thinkers and Greek philosophy–that keeps the wildly disjointed world of Christianity together has no more in import to Jesus’ vision than Mormonism’s tight grasp on priesthood and authority.

  86. I think any reasoning that Mormons find themselves on the outs based on the fear that the Mormon gospel is stronger is belied by the observation that there is so little actual theological engagement with Mormonism. With the exception of the eccuminist, engagement with Mormonism has more or less been relegated to the counter cult or popular apologist ministries. This certainly would not be the case if Salt Lake theology was perceived as a threat.

    Protestant theology continues to engage with Rome and vice versa because that is where the threat lies. Conservatives (theologically) engage fundamentalist and liberals for the same reason. You can see Protestants and Roman Catholics engaging the East more frequently because of a rising popularity. None of this is true for the LDS, outside the Mormon west or people with personal reasons (generally family or history) Mormonism is generally ignored, until the guys on bicycles show up.

    Besides, this isn’t new in Christianity. Every schismatic group since Montanism has been handled the same way.

  87. Besides, this isn’t new in Christianity. Every schismatic group since Montanism has been handled the same way.

    Well, again, Christianity’s track record is not much to brag about.

  88. Cal //It’s good to “see” you again, Bob.//

    Is it? Not sure why, but thank you.

    “I figured you were through with me forever!//

    Again, not sure why.

    //What happened to Concerned Christians?//

    What do you mean?

    //My assumption is that she didn’t want the prophecy used in the context in which I was planning to use it. She actually gave me permission initially, but backed off once she read the context in which I planned. . . . you get it.//

    So, your explanation begs the question: what was your planned context that would cause a true prophetess of God to withdraw a revelation-from-God to all members of the universal body of Christ from being repeated by you?

  89. Jared C. when you make statements like that I get the impression that you’re just trying to be provocative for the sake of being provocative. OK, I’ll bite . . .

    All human institutions have some degree of “crazy stuff” – and I’m not just talking about religious institutions. If you doubt me just think about the crazy stuff that goes on in the typical workplace, or political party, or social club, or on social networking, or, or, or.

    So growing up Mormon, Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Scientologist, Nazarene (I threw that one in because that’s the one I grew up in),or whatever is ultimately irrelevant to whether there’s going to be “crazy stuff” out there.

    So I could just as easily say, “I am really at a loss to understand all the crazy stuff that goes on out there. Makes me glad I grew up Nazarene” but in the end it’s a irrelevant non-sequitur.

  90. sorry fred, I agree with you 100%. the point I am making is that I’m glad I did not grow up a Charismatic. That sort of spirituality would have messed with my head, Mormonism was strong enough.

  91. Fred said, “Cal, I don’t HAVE to pray about whether Mormonism is Christian. . . .”

    My response: I feel like a mechanic in a repair shop, discovering the source of a problem with his customer’s car. Derek Prince once told a story of a trip he took before which someone suggested he pray before starting off. Derek had said, “We don’t need to pray”! They almost became Derek’s famous last words as his trip was plagued by a chain of mishaps.
    There is no harm in praying. The devil works full time looking for Christians who don’t think they need God’s grace at every turn in life.

    I have read your posts to me. . . . I think we need to back up 5 steps.
    Let’s suppose you’re on the board of elders at a church in a town with 10 churches, and rumor has it that the newest church in town is a cult, although it claims to be Christian. And let’s say your pastor wants to know whether the rumors are true so he can either warn his congregation or encourage his congregation to connect with the members of the new church for sake of unity in the body of Christ.
    And let’s say he hasn’t the time to investigate himself, so he appoints you, whom he trusts, to find out for him which side of the fence that new church is on.
    How would you go about finding out? What Bible verses would you rely on? (Remember, your pastor is depending on you. It’s important you get it right. :-)

    Have a good evening, Fred. It may be a few days before I get back to you.

  92. @Cal,
    YOU WROTE:
    My response: I feel like a mechanic in a repair shop, discovering the source of a problem with his customer’s car. Derek Prince once told a story of a trip he took before which someone suggested he pray before starting off. Derek had said, “We don’t need to pray”! They almost became Derek’s famous last words as his trip was plagued by a chain of mishaps.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Cal, this is a fallacious non-sequitur. There’s a VAST difference between praying for God’s divine guidance and traveling mercies over a trip and using the absolutes of the Bible as a plumbline to judge truth from error. They are two entirely different things.

    Have you ever noticed that the Bible nevers asks, demands, or instructs us to pray about whether it’s true or not? Why is that? Answer: It’s because the Bible is true regardless of what one thinks about it. Even if you don’t believe the Bible that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.

    Again, I challenge you to consider the words of the Apostles that I’ve already cited. They NEVER, not once, said, “Tell you what, just pray about it and the Holy Spirit will tell you if these people are true Christians or not.” Rather, in EVER single case they directed the Christians they were addressing to “plumbline” the CONTENT of what the people were teaching and CONTENT of their behavior against the absolutes of scripture (which at the time was the Old Testament) and the Apostle’s teachings (which later formed the New Testament).

    Since, you obviously respect Derek Prince I would ask you consider what he once wrote:
    “The greatest single danger in this end time is not sickness, nor poverty, nor persecution. It is deception. If anybody says, “It could never happen to me,” it has already happened to that person, because that person is saying something could never happen that Jesus said would happen. That is a sufficient indication that such a person is deceived.

    Next, I want to say something important about signs and wonders. They do not determine truth. It is very essential to understand that. Signs and wonders do not determine truth! Truth is already determined and established, and it is the Word of God. In John 17:17, Jesus is praying to the Father, and He says, “Your word is truth.” And in Psalm 119:89, the psalmist said, Forever, 0 Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Nothing that happens on earth can ever change the smallest little sign or letter of the Word of God. It is forever settled in heaven.”

    http://www.wordconnect.org/page_background_article_dprince.php

    Again, there is NOTHING to be prayed about here: The Bible has given us the tests for a False Prophet and Joseph Smith clearly was one – as has ever single LdS Prophet since Joseph Smith up to and including Thomas S. Monson.

    And the Bible is quite clear what we are to with False Prophets (again see the verses I’ve already provided) and you Cal Fullerton are in blatant disobedience to what the Bible says in this regard.

  93. @Cal,
    YOU WROTE:
    “Let’s suppose you’re on the board of elders at a church in a town with 10 churches, and rumor has it that the newest church in town is a cult, although it claims to be Christian. And let’s say your pastor wants to know whether the rumors are true so he can either warn his congregation or encourage his congregation to connect with the members of the new church for sake of unity in the body of Christ.
    And let’s say he hasn’t the time to investigate himself, so he appoints you, whom he trusts, to find out for him which side of the fence that new church is on.
    How would you go about finding out? What Bible verses would you rely on? ”

    MY RESPONSE:
    With all due respect Cal, are you blind? I’ve already told you what Bible verses I would start with.

    In addition, I rely on the full canon of scripture and compare what their leaders are teaching relative to established Biblical Orthodoxy in general and the essentials of the faith in particular. If you’re in doubt as to what those essentials are, I would point you to Theologian Matt Slick’s excellent summary here: http://carm.org/essential-doctrines-of-christianity in which you will find yet more Bible verses that would be considered.

    Further, since I know that cults specialize in keeping secrets in addition to fact gathering from the group’s public services, publications, and other information I would also talk to former members to find out what secrets the group may be hiding. I know to do this since I was in a Mind Control Cult for 13-years (The Shepherding Movement if you must know) and I know not only that cults do this but how they do it with outsiders. As I stated in one of my articles:

    1) “If a Church – any church, including the one that I may be in – claims to have the truth it’s probably a good idea to find out if it’s lying to you first.”
    and
    2) “The best place to find out about a religious group – any religious group, including the one that I may be in – is from former members.”

    http://beggarsbread.org/2012/01/08/it-was-a-simple-question/

    So Cal, how many former Mormons have you talked to? I’ve been regularly dialoging with them for years and have found that comments like this are typical:

    “Does anyone else feel like you’re discovering who you really are since you left the [Mormon] church? There’s been so many tears lately, realizing how damaged I was by the [Mormon] church and how much it deeply wounded me. How much it made me feel guilty for being who I was. It was slowly tearing me apart and now I have to pick up the pieces…”

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/formermormonstories/permalink/575889135779890/

    That would be my methodology and that would be how I would approach the church that you described in your strawman argument church Cal. And in all things, at all times, my absolute standard for truth would be the Bible, not signs, not wonders, not personalities, not thrills, and chills, and goosebumps – and most certainly NOT subjective standards like warm bosomy feelings (or cold prickly feelings) that came out of praying about the group.

  94. Bod said, “Would you have us acknowledge the LDS apostles and prophets as legitimate leaders and teachers in the body of Christ, to whom we should submit.”

    Your question reminds me of a time I was attending a Sunday school class at a local Mormon ward and the leader of the class mentioned God’s requirement of submission to the authorities he has set up. He looked significantly at me. I’m quite certain he was suggesting I submit to God by joining the LDS. I did not submit. That’s my answer.

    Bob continued, “And, don’t forget that it was Smith who claimed that Christ told him to not join any of OUR churches, they being all wrong, with all our creeds being an abomination, and all our professors corrupt. That story is told through the LDS missionaries, around the world, everyday. Literally the LDS church is continually throwing us under the religious bus. And, you want us to consider them our brothers and sisters in Christ, and embrace them as fellow believers.”

    How was God able to accept Isaiah in spite of Isaiah’s unclean lips? See Isaiah 6:1-7, especially verse 7, for the answer.
    I do realize that the missionaries tell that story. They’ve told the story to me.
    I questioned them once about the strong language—”all our creeds being an abomination.” I knew that Mormons will also say that Martin Luther restored some important truths to the earth (although not the vital priesthood) and that it’s not rare for a Mormon to read a book by C. S. Lewis or other evangelical scholars. I once caught them quoting evangelicals to support their article on sexual purity in their Ensign magazine. How could they quote evangelicals if we are “all wrong” and “our creeds an abomination”?
    The fact is, Joseph’s strong language (which either did not come from God at all or was a grand distortion of what God said to him—more likely the latter) does not accurately describe their attitude toward us today. As you know, Bob, they do not condemn us as severely as we condemn them. Can’t we make it to the terrestrial kingdom?

    My short answer is yes.

    You’re not going to change my mind, and I would be very surprised if I ever change yours, so I’m not inclined to continue into a long discussion with you, Bob. The Bible says, “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone. . . .” (2 Tim. 2:24).

    However, if you can come up with biblical evidence that is the exact opposite of the evidence at http://www.evangelicalsandmormonsforjesus.com , you’ll have my undivided attention!

    From Bob’s more recent post: “What was your planned context that would cause a true prophetess of God to withdraw a revelation-from-God to all members of the universal body of Christ from being repeated by you?”

    I figured you would figure that out yourself. I don’t remember my immediate context, but my larger one, of course, was that the LDS is a Christian organization with serious problems.

    Have a blessed evening, walking in the shadow of the Almighty.
    I do appreciate, as I did before, your straightforwardness and your slowness to judge my motives. There is a certain amount of class in the way you handle your assertions and attempts to convert me to your viewpoint. Questions work well; Jesus used them a lot.

    I would also like to know how YOU would answer the question I posed to Fred.

  95. @JaredC,
    Well I’m a Charismatic and I agree with you – there are a LOT of mind numbingly weird Charismatic Christians and churches out there because they check their brain and their Bibles at the door when they come in and rely on feelings and experiences. It creates REAL problems – and remember this is a Charismatic Christian saying this!

    Thankfully, there are some thoughtful, intelligent Biblical normal ones too. I would hope that I’m one of them – at least I’ve been striving to be one for close to 40-years now and would like to think that I’ve succeeded at least on occasion. And I would like to think that our ranks are growing – though sometimes I wonder!

    BTW, I don’t know if you know this, but up until around the early part of the 20th Century the Mormon Church was Pentecostal – tongues speaking, public prophetic utterances, the whole shabang.

    Here’s a good article from John Farkas that I published on the subject:

    http://beggarsbread.org/2012/09/23/speaking-in-tongues-and-the-mormon-church/

    And, I’ve written a couple of articles on the topic that I think you might enjoy:

    http://beggarsbread.org/2012/09/09/mormons-pentecostals-gone-bad/

    http://beggarsbread.org/2012/09/11/mormons-pentecostals-gone-bad-the-sequel/

    And I don’t mean to drift the thread here – really!
    ;-)

  96. Hi, Fred.
    Your quote of Derek lends to my point. If you say you could never be deceived by relying on your own interpretation of Scripture, you’re deceived!
    Satan used Scripture. The Pharisees and the religious leaders that eventually called for Jesus death used Scripture. Scripture cannot be understood without the Holy Spirit.

    Please answer my question.

  97. @Cal,
    YOU WROTE:
    “However, if you can come up with biblical evidence that is the exact opposite of the evidence at http://www.evangelicalsandmormonsforjesus.com , you’ll have my undivided attention!”

    MY RESPONSE:
    Not to worry Cal, an article on your claims – using your website as the touchstone – is scheduled for my blog site http://BeggarsBread.org for late this year or early next year.

    As I said earlier in this thread: “I am of the opinion that Mr. Fullerton is dangerous and teetering on the brink of qualifying for the third step in the Matthew 18 formula:

    “If he refuses to listen to them [two or more correcting witnesses], tell it to the church.”
    (Matthew 18:17, NASB)

    IMO, because you still refuse to listen to reason, and Biblical correction we are not to that point regarding your Biblically errant teachings.

    YOU WROTE:
    The Bible says, “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone. . . .” (2 Tim. 2:24).

    MY RESPONSE:
    Well, that same Bible also says:
    “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly CONTEND for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
    — Jude 1:3 (KJV)

    “…we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God WITH MUCH CONTENTION.

    For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

    But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
    — I Thessalonians 2:2-4 (KJV)

    And if you feel that we’ve been unkind I would like to know how and why we were. If so, I will happily apologize for any unkindness.

  98. Bob, something I wrote to you could easily be misunderstood. I said, “Can’t we make it to the terrestrial kingdom?” then, “My short answer is yes.”
    My yes answer corresponded to, “Do you embrace Mormons as fellow believers?” not to “Can’t we make it to the terrestrial kingdom”! LOL (I know how you guys catch every little slip.)

  99. @Cal, part two of my first set of posts is being held for moderator approval. Apparently if you use too many links on this website that’s what happens. And since I insist on citing my sources (online whenever possible) you can expect this to happen with my posts from time to time.

    Trust me, you questions have been answered in some detail – as you will see shortly.

    As for this . . . .
    YOU WROTE:
    If you say you could never be deceived by relying on your own interpretation of Scripture, you’re deceived!

    MY RESPONSE:
    Cal, I have never been deceived by relying on my own interpretation of scripture on the essentials of the faith (see post now being held for moderator approval) because I’ve: a) Always remained transparent and accountable in those interpretations, and; b) I’ve never wandered from historic, mainstream Christian orthodoxy.

    Yes, I occasionally

    I’ve also strove – really hard I might add – to always use sound hermeneutics in my interpretation. In contrast, your website is fraught with eisegesis after eisegesis after eisegesis and confirmation bias beyond belief in it’s scope and extent. Your reasoning is chronically fallacious and illogical. It’s my opinion and assessment that your standard hermeneutical techniques (in particular an over reliance on subjective evaluation and revelation) are closer to Mormonism that orthodox Christianity – a point I will cover in some detail in my Beggar’s Bread article once it’s published.

    Case in point; Biblically orthodox Christians have NEVER, in the entire 183-year of Mormonism considered the Latter-day Saints Christian. The reason for this is because they are heretical on the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. They always have been, always will be.

    Yet you seem to have no problem making a public stand that they are Christian. Tell me Cal, who ARE you accountable to? Who is validating all this error that you’ve fallen into? Really, I’d like to know!

    YOU WROTE:
    Satan used Scripture. The Pharisees and the religious leaders that eventually called for Jesus death used Scripture. Scripture cannot be understood without the Holy Spirit.

    MY RESPONSE:
    To my knowledge we have a record of Satan using scripture ONCE in the Bible and he used the passage out of context. In other words, his hermeneutics were flawed not scripture. This is a fallacious non sequitur.

    Ditto for the religious leaders of Christ’s time. Apparently you’re unfamiliar with exactly who the Pharisees and Sadducees were and what their hermenuetics involved. In both cases, they had made tradition and human authority equal to scripture thus their standard hermenuetic was “The Bible AND…” rather than “Sola Scriptura” (scripture alone).

    Christ had the gall and audacity to challenge the “AND” part of their hermenuetic – He never challenged the scripture itself, rather He affirmed it time and again.

    What I see in your hermeneutic Cal is “The Bible AND personal revelation AND feelings AND signs AND wonders”. Your lack of Sola Scriptura is quite concerning.

    And as for THIS “gem”: “Scripture cannot be understood without the Holy Spirit.”

    Well mate, I have the Holy Spirit leading and guiding me so what’s your point? Does disagreement mean that the other party DOESN’T have it? I don’t believe that, and I hope that you don’t either.

    Back to Derek Prince’s point: In the end the ONLY thing that matters is what the Bible says – ignore it and you WILL fall into deception.

    And that, IMO, Cal, is why you have fallen into serious, egregious error in regard to your stance toward Mormonism.

  100. Stupid typo in my last post – a sentence/thoug fragment to be precise.

    “Yes, I occasionally”

    Should say:

    “Yes, I occasionally have missed the mark on some non-essentials of the Christian faith but NEVER on the essentials because I have always remained accountable to others and stayed well within the bounds of sound theology and the historic Christian faith. It hasn’t always been easy but I’ve worked hard at this my entire Christian life.”

  101. Well I’m a Charismatic and I agree with you – there are a LOT of mind numbingly weird Charismatic Christians and churches out there because they check their brain and their Bibles at the door when they come in and rely on feelings and experiences. It creates REAL problems – and remember this is a Charismatic Christian saying this!

    I have a lot of respect for Charismatic Christians, I have known plenty of “normal” ones. I think you may be right, the Bible seems like a stake in the ground to keep the kites flying, the brain a way to make sure they don’t go to high. Still– its tricky business, which is what Joseph Smith found, and probably why Mormons are not truly Charismatic anymore.

  102. @ Jared C.
    “1. Jesus prayed for and sought as a goal before God the unity of those that believe in him through the testimony of his disciples, i.e. the New Testament. (John 17: 20-23:”

    I agree.

    The trouble with this (part 1 of your) premise is, Jesus had the first word on “unity,” but not the last, as the Apostle Paul referred to “the unity of the faith.” Everyone knows that the “faith” in Christ of the Mormons is quite different from the faith in Christ of Christians.

    Everyone who knows Mormonism, knows that “investigators” are not encouraged to read the New Testament in order to (as you appropriately stated) “believe in Him through the testimony of His disciples.” To the contrary, investigators are specifically and deliberately directed to read the Book of Mormon, and pray to receive a testimony NOT of Christ, but of the Book of Mormon, leading to a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Mormon church as “the only true church on the face of the whole earth.” Christ is secondary, being used as the hook to get people thinking that He IS the focus. But, clearly the intent is primarily to encourage the Mormon testimony of a unity of the faith in the BoM, Joseph Smith and the Mormon church.

    I submit to you that the intent of Christ’s prayer was NOT to promote unity in a book (the OT, in His disciples case), a prophet (other than Himself), or even “the Church.” Christ’s intent was “the unity of the faith” in Christ, as the Apostle Paul appropriately put it. And, I submit to you that that is NOT the intent of LD$, Inc.

  103. @ Jared C.
    “2. The New Testament does not make orthodox theology a qualification for inclusion in unity.”

    I disagree to at least the degree that the salvation of Christ, which is at the heart of His good news (gospel), is very much a qualification for inclusion in the unity of the faith. And, LDS salvation is not biblical, contrary to Cal Fullerton’s misrepresentation of the LDS version of it being the same as what we find taught by Christ and his Apostles.

    “Jesus was not limiting fellowship or unity to the orthodox.”

    At least on the topic of salvation, the NT is ABSOLUTELY limited to the fellowship and unity of the orthodox salvation that was taught by Christ and His Apostles.

    “He is talking about orthodoxy or unity of creed or belief–Jesus established no creed, distilled his message and rarely made it explicit.”

    Rarely made it explicit? “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7).

    “18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3).

    “6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14).

    On the strength of just three claims of Jesus, alone, I think “explicit” is precisely what Jesus was, and not rarely.

    “He warns against false teachers,”

    Actually, He warns against “false prophets.” Joseph Smith has long been proven a false prophesier.

    “but Jesus put the focus on distinguishing false teachers based on their fruits–”

    Jesus put the focus on distinguishing false PROPHETS based on their fruits. Other than the plethora of false prophecies, have you studied the history of Joseph Smith. He had the most God-awful fruits you would never want to find in a man claiming to be sent by God to “restore” anything. He even admitted to not being a Christian, because he was a vengeful man (HotC 5:335). True Christians would never allow a man of such extraordinarily bad character lead their church.

    “i.e. you will known them by their behavior and effects on the church not (necessarily) their theological errors.”

    Either you know little of Joseph Smith’s nefarious history, which is a primary reason for the mass exodus by so many Mormons from Mormonism, or you have a much lower standard for what qualifies for corruption than a true Christian should.

    And, please do not misunderstand that I am asserting that perfection of character is the standard. But, Joseph Smith was not even a GOOD man, when you view his life and 14 years as an alleged prophet, as a whole.

    And, please do not try to compare Smith’s flaws with OT prophets, as if their characters were no better than his, unless you are prepared to enumerate the sins of each and every OT prophet, while we list Smith’s false prophecies, occult practices, womanizing, adulteries, lies, deceptions, frauds, vows of vengeance against his enemies, racism, etc. All of which we can show you in Smith’s own writings, or in books written by honest Mormon devotees of Joseph Smith.

    Bottom line, the fruit of Joseph Smith more that qualifies as the corrupt fruit that Jesus spoke of, whether applied to Smith’s orthodoxy or his character. He was equally guilty of both, way beyond the most reasonable standard of a prophet of God.

  104. @ Jared C.
    “3. Mormons believe that the text of the New Testament is the truth.”

    Do they? 8th Article of Faith? Which of the following is correctly translated and true, since they are saying the exact opposite?

    Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    2 Nephi 25:23 for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

    (FYI – the JST accepts the Eph. 2:8-9 translation as correct, with no changes.)

    And, what is the official LDS definition of “grace”? Answer that question, and you will know why the LDS version of salvation is utterly false.

    “Given these premises, my conclusion is that Protestants should embrace Mormons as part of the group that they are challenged by Jesus to be unified with, and seek to come to complete unity.”

    As a whole, Protestants cannot, and should not embrace Mormons as our brothers and sisters in Christ, because their views of the Godhead and salvation are unbiblical. Ironically, the Book of Mormon’s view of the Godhead is closely biblical, but it’s not what Mormons believe today, because of further “revelation” from Joseph Smith, even though Joseph Smith was a trinitarian in the early years of his “prophet”-hood (see Lectures on Faith, Lecture 5th, which was included as LDS scripture until 1921).

    “Notice that I am assuming what Protestant’s believe is orthodoxy to be correct but the strength of the argument holds on a practical and ethical level.”

    However, your argument does NOT hold on a scriptural level, as you contend.

    “But there is no orthodoxy regarding how unity can and should be achieved.”

    Biblically, there is. Unity is to be of the faith. The faith is in Christ. The Mormons do not believe in the same biblical Christ as we Protestants do, And, their view of salvation is the opposite of that taught by Christ and His Apostles.

    “That is an open question. I suggest that even if the path to reaching unity is unclear–”

    “Unclear” is an understatement. It’s not the least bit possible, without Protestants compromising the teachings of Christ and His Apostles. That should never be.

    “efforts toward unity will lead–ultimately–to a greater prevalence of salvation and faith in Jesus more effectively than efforts toward disunity–.”

    First, the Protestants with whom I associate, make no “efforts toward disunity.” That is a false accusation. The disunity is caused by the fact of the LDS false doctrines that they CLAIM are in the Bible, but in truth, are not. Salvation by faith plus works is not taught in the NT.

    Neither is it taught in the NT that God was once a man, and that we can become Gods like heavenly Father did. Nor does it say anything about Jesus being our literal brother, due to He and all the rest of us being spirit-born children of a heavenly mother. Ironically, neither does the BoM. That is significant, since the BoM intro claims that the Bible and the BoM contain the fulness of the everlasting gospel.

    Second, there is not a snowballs chance in hell that our unity with the Mormons could “more effectively lead to a greater prevalence of salvation and faith in Jesus,” since the only key to unity is for the Mormons to abandon their false doctrines of salvation and the Godhead, to embrace the true gospel. and the one true God. Until then, their faith and ours are as far apart as the east is from the west, and unity is only the elusive dream of those who would reduce the love of the truth, and sound doctrine to only non-essentials to be waved off like bothersome flies.

    “which are, generally, the order of the day”

    There cannot be a single “order of the day,” because “truth” and “sound doctrine” should not be sacrificed at the altars of “love” and “unity.” We are to love the truth, and adhere to sound doctrine, as well.

    You and Cal would have us dispense with the other high callings of the Christian faith (“truth” and “sound doctrine”), to accompany a religion that has thumbed it’s collective nose at the truth of salvation by grace, through faith, alone, in exchange for “another gospel: which is not another; but” …[they]… “pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal. 1).

    You two would have us fellowship and be united to people of a very different faith, a very different gospel, as different as the Apostle Paul condemned in his day, with the strongest possible condemnation against those who taught it… “anathama.”

    I fully reject your unbiblical assertion that the Bible suggests that Protestants should be united, as one faith, to Mormons, or any other religion that may profess Christ, but ignores the basic biblical tenets taught by Christ and His Apostles about the very nature of the Godhead, as well as the means by which salvation is gained.

  105. Fred said,
    “Not to worry Cal, an article on your claims – using your website as the touchstone – is scheduled for my blog site http://BeggarsBread.org for late this year or early next year.”

    Please let me know when it’s finished. I’ll check it out. You can always contact me through my website.
    What I’d like to see—and haven’t seen yet—is a demonstration of how Mormon falsehoods are at odds with essential portions of the gospel—those indispensable requirements that God has put in his Word for entering the kingdom of God, either during this life or the next.

    You said,
    “And if you feel that we’ve been unkind I would like to know how and why we were. If so, I will happily apologize for any unkindness.”

    I didn’t mean to suggest you were unkind, just quarrelsome. For example, repeating yourself over and over again is unnecessary. Your apology is accepted.

  106. @ Cal

    Bob continued, “And, don’t forget that it was Smith who claimed that Christ told him to not join any of OUR churches, they being all wrong, with all our creeds being an abomination, and all our professors corrupt. That story is told through the LDS missionaries, around the world, everyday. Literally the LDS church is continually throwing us under the religious bus. And, you want us to consider them our brothers and sisters in Christ, and embrace them as fellow believers.”

    Cal then wrote: “How was God able to accept Isaiah in spite of Isaiah’s unclean lips? See Isaiah 6:1-7, especially verse 7, for the answer.”

    Cal, I don’t get your connection to Isaiah. The point is that the Mormon church uses the missionaries to deliver the message to people all over the globe, throwing all our churches, creeds and professors under the bus. .

    Cal wrote: “I do realize that the missionaries tell that story. They’ve told the story to me.
    I questioned them once about the strong language—”all our creeds being an abomination.” I knew that Mormons will also say that Martin Luther restored some important truths to the earth (although not the vital priesthood) and that it’s not rare for a Mormon to read a book by C. S. Lewis or other evangelical scholars. I once caught them quoting evangelicals to support their article on sexual purity in their Ensign magazine. How could they quote evangelicals if we are “all wrong” and “our creeds an abomination”?”

    That’s STILL beside the point. I don’t care whomever else they may quote. My point is, the GAs do not WANT unity with us, any more than we with them. If they wanted unity, they would instruct their young missionaries to stop telling that story.

    Cal wrote: “The fact is, Joseph’s strong language (which either did not come from God at all or was a grand distortion of what God said to him—more likely the latter)”

    Fact? How would YOU know for a fact, what happened in that grove, if anything? You know nothing of anything you just claimed. For all any of us knows, he ate some funny mushrooms, or just made the story up. How can you possibly start with “The fact is,” then just purely speculate?

    Cal continued, “does not accurately describe their attitude toward us today.”

    Then, you are subtly calling them liars and/or deceivers. Their attitudes should be reflected by their actions. Yet, the GAs keep sending their missionaries around the world to tell people what Christ allegedly told Smith about ALL our churches, ALL our creeds, and ALL our professors. That does not reflect a change in attitude by the all-important priesthood authorities of the “only true church on the face of the whole earth.”

    Sure, I’ve heard Mormons claim, “There is some truth in all churches.” But, then, that belies what Smith claimed Jesus told him. If you don’t think Jesus told him that, then Smith was lying.

    So, the Mormons are lying by contradicting what Smith said Jesus told him, or Smith lied about what Jesus told him.

    Cal wrote: “As you know, Bob, they do not condemn us as severely as we condemn them.”

    Really? Let’s closely examine your claim.

    First of all, I condemn no one. Every living Mormon could decide to follow Christ, alone, and believe the Bible, alone, and leave Mormonism, as millions already have. Any assertion that we condemn anyone is poorly worded at best.

    Now, although I have all faith in Jesus Christ, nevertheless, because I did not get baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands in the temple by a Mormon man with the priesthood authority to do so, I am not a Christian, according to Mormon doctrine.

    Because I am not Mormon, I’m not allowed in the Mormon temple. Thus, I am not eligible to enter the kingdom of God, because I have not adhered to all the commandments and ordinances according to Mormon doctrine.Therefore,…

    Although I have complete faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, as is the condition for receiving the Holy Spirit, and being granted salvation, according to Christ and His Apostles, I am still not worthy to return to heavenly Father, because I am not Mormon.

    Thus, their doctrines are at the very heart of what condemns them, because they preach a different gospel, which places salvation requirements on people that are unbiblical, even anti-biblical.

  107. @ Cal
    From Cal to Fred: “What I’d like to see—and haven’t seen yet—is a demonstration of how Mormon falsehoods are at odds with essential portions of the gospel”

    What I showed Jared C. is pretty glaring evidence…
    Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    2 Nephi 25:23 for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

    And, are you aware of official LDS definition of “grace”? It is at the heart of why the LDS version of the gospel is utterly false. I’ll post it and put your request for a demonstration to rest, right now.

    “HOWEVER, GRACE CANNOT SUFFICE WITHOUT TOTAL EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE RECIPIENT. HENCE THE EXPLANATION, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23).” http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/grace?lang=eng&letter=g

    Cal, this definition is the Mormon falsehood you seek that demonstrates how at odds the Mormon gospel is with the most essential aspect of Christ’s gospel…GRACE. Their redefinition of grace that makes it an earnable commodity of God, and is the most conclusive damning evidence against their gospel,

    Now, the only thing that could stand between you and an admission that you have been wrong, and that you should put an end to your quest to unite Mormons and Christians under the fallacious idea that our gospels are essential the same, would be stubbornness of pride. Their definition of grace condemns them.

  108. CAL wrote…
    “I would also like to know how YOU would answer the question I posed to Fred.

    Let’s suppose you’re on the board of elders at a church in a town with 10 churches, and rumor has it that the newest church in town is a cult, although it claims to be Christian. And let’s say your pastor wants to know whether the rumors are true so he can either warn his congregation or encourage his congregation to connect with the members of the new church for sake of unity in the body of Christ.
    And let’s say he hasn’t the time to investigate himself, so he appoints you, whom he trusts, to find out for him which side of the fence that new church is on.
    How would you go about finding out? What Bible verses would you rely on?”

    If you read my previous post to you, and my 3-part response to Jarod C., then you’ll glean the direction I would go in to show the board of elders why the new church is not Christian. Foreign scriptures that contradict the Bible on salvation and the Godhead, and redefinitions of terms. Also the character of the founder of the new church, his history, his teachings, his claims about himself. And, what others have said about him, whether they knew him personally, their impressions, their red flags about him, if any. I’d do a background search. I’d delve into his childhood, if possible. Of course, I’d talk to him, myself.

    By the way, I did this very thing with a traveling preacher/healer, when I was quite young. It was almost 40 years ago. I called and talked with him about his preaching, as I noted his message was dominated by the word, “power.” He spoke all about the power of God. Then he faked a healing, as I sat in the front row to watch him closely. After he allegedly healed this woman of having one leg shorter than the other, he stuck is microphone in my face and asked, “Did you see that?” I responded, “Well, I saw something.”

    A couple of days later I called him, and asked why he didn’t focus any part of his message on the love of God, and only spoke of his power? He gave a couple of dissatisfying answers, but I persisted (shocking, I know ;) ). He started threatening to hang up on me, while I pressed him why he didn’t say a word about the love of God..

    Finally, he angrily taunted me, shouting, “Love, love, love. That’s all you powerless people can talk about.” Then he hung up on me.

    My investigation into the life of Joseph Smith and early Mormon church history, was not my first Rodeo, Cal. The truth and the gospel are too precious to allow it to be hi-jacked by the likes of Joseph Smith.

  109. @Cal
    YOU WROTE:
    I didn’t mean to suggest you were unkind, just quarrelsome. For example, repeating yourself over and over again is unnecessary. Your apology is accepted.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Well once again you’re eisegeting, I didn’t apologize. I offered TO apologize if you could show us where we’ve been unkind. As far as I’m concerned, we have nothing to apologize for since we haven’t been unkind – and you’ve just validated it.

    As for being “quarrelsome”. Well honestly, Cal using this rhetorical tactic just makes you sound like the typical Mormon who in failing to produce any countering evidence to presented evidence, or logical, reasonable responses to sound reasoning tries to trump/silence their debate opponent with the infamous, “Contention is of the devil!” card instead. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: I think the reason that you have such a affinity for Mormons is that your hermenuetics, epistemology, and behavior in general has become more Mormon than Christian due to years of unBiblical theology, beliefs and practices.

    And I wouldn’t HAVE to repeat myself IF you would: a) Directly acknowledge and respond to evidence and arguments that are presented to you rather than ignoring them, and; b) Stop trying to “rabbit trail” your opponents into non-sequitur arguments and issues – it’s getting old.

    Much of the time I’m not sure that you’ve heard a word that I or Bob have said because of all the above. For example, you wanted evidence of Joseph Smith’s unrepentent evidence. It was presented to you and we got NOTHING in reply.

    You ask me what scriptures I would use to evaluate a new, questionable group in town when I had ALREADY given such scriptures. And, oh BTW, you have yet to show us where Biblical Christians have erred in applying these scriptures in regard to Joseph Smith and Mormonism for 183-years.

    And now you’re doing it again, such as when …

    YOU WROTE:
    What I’d like to see—and haven’t seen yet—is a demonstration of how Mormon falsehoods are at odds with essential portions of the gospel—those indispensable requirements that God has put in his Word for entering the kingdom of God, either during this life or the next.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Well (and yes, I WILL be intentionally repetitive/didatic here in the faint hope that you might actually listen and think this time) apparently you’ve not only ignored what Bob Betts and I said in our last exchange in 2008, but what’s been said in this thread by Bob, myself, and others, IN ADDITION to ignoring the entire 183-year body of evidence from fellow Christians.

    However, you asked, so I’ll olige:

    Returning AGAIN to the essentials of the Christian faith – you know the one that you’ve failed to acknowledge or address:

    ESSENTIAL #1: The Deity of Christ
    The Mormon Christ isn’t uncreated God, eternal he (like his heavenly father) is a procreated (the progeny of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother) exalted man. Thus Christ’s deity – which is affirmed throughout the New Testament, not the least of which being John 1:1 – is denied.

    And Cal, Mormon leaders don’t deny that they worship a different Christ – they affirm it:

    “In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints ‘do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness [sic] of Times'”
    (June 20, 1998, The LDS Church News)

    “It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
    — Bernard P. Brockbank, LDS Seventy (Ensign, May 1977, p.26)

    ESSENTIAL #2: Salvation by Grace alone
    Bob has already cited, I will repeat it:

    2 Nephi 25:23
    “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

    Again, Mormon leaders don’t deny this, they affirm it. Here’s 12th LDS President Spencer W. Kimball:

    “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation”
    (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 206)

    And here’s, 10th President Joseph Fielding Smith:
    “One of the most pernicious doctrines ever advocated by man, is the doctrine of ‘justification by faith alone,’ which has entered into, the hearts of millions since the days of the so-called ‘reformation'”
    (The Restoration of All Things, p.192)

    ESSENTIAL #3: Resurrection of Christ
    OK, they’re good on this one. Mormons get a “pass”.

    ESSENTIAL #4: The gospel
    The Biblical Gospel:
    =====================
    1 Cor. 15:1-4 defines what the gospel is: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (NIV).

    Within these verses are the essentials:
    —————————————-
    Christ is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9);
    Salvation is received by faith (John 1:12; Rom. 10:9-10),
    therefore it is by grace;
    and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4.

    The Mormon Gospel:
    =====================
    Complex subject and hard to distill into just a few words but here it is in a nutshell:

    1. You cannot be saved in your sins, (The Book of Mormon, Alma 11:37).

    2. By grace you are saved, after all you can do, (2 Nephi 25:23).

    3. You must give your best, (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.354.)

    4. You must deny yourselves of all ungodliness, (Moroni 10:32).

    5. Turn from all former sins and commit them no more, (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, pp.71-72).

    6. If you commit any past sin again, the former sins return, (D&C 82:7).

    7. Therefore, in order to remain forgiven you must never commit the sin again, (Mormon Missionary Discussion F, Uniform System for Teaching Families. 1981, p.36).

    And, again Mormon leaders affirm this, they don’t deny it. Again, from 10th President Joseph Fielding Smith:
    “But man may commit certain grievous sins — according to his light and knowledge — that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he would be saved, he must make sacrifice of his Own life to atone — so far as in his power lies — for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail”
    (Doctrines of Salvation 1:134).

    ESSENTIAL #5: Monotheism
    Mormons believe that many gods exist, though they serve and worship only one. Therefore, they are polytheists which excludes them from the camp of Christianity – period.

    AND it gets worse, Mormonism teaches that to be saved in the fullest sense of the word you too must become exalted to godhood like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were. Again, 12th LDS President Spencer W. Kimball:

    “Man can transform himself and he must. Man has in himself the seeds of godhood, which can germinate and grow and develop. As the acorn becomes the oak, the mortal man becomes a god. It is within his power to lift himself by his very bootstraps from the plane on which he finds himself to the plane on which he should be. It may be a long, hard lift with many obstacles, but it is a real possibility”
    (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.28).

    Truthfully, we could have just listed the Mormon deviation from monontheism FIRST because not only is it the most heretical of all LdS teachings it’s also the one that immediately disqualifies them for the “Christian” label regardless of whatever else follows.

    And, hopefully, I will provide one – just one – summarizing link to an excellent article by Christian Educator and Theologian Ben Witherington that I will ask to consider along with my words: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2012/08/27/why-mormons-are-not-christians-the-issue-of-christology/

    So (and yes, I will say it again – are you listening?) Cal: How is it that 183-years of Biblical Christians have been wrong about Mormonism based on the body of evidence yet you’re right based on personal revelation(s)? As the saying goes, “If you have a private interpretation that contradicts the whole of historic Christian consensus/orthodoxy the chances are pretty good that you’re in error and, quite possibly, heresy.”

    Thank you.

  110. And, another stupid typo:
    “For example, you wanted evidence of Joseph Smith’s unrepentent evidence. It was presented to you and we got NOTHING in reply.”

    SHOULD HAVE READ:
    “For example, you wanted evidence of Joseph Smith’s unrepentant adultery/polygamy. It was presented to you and we got NOTHING in reply.”

  111. To Bob & Fred,
    fred said,
    “If you’re in doubt as to what those essentials are, I would point you to Theologian Matt Slick’s excellent summary here: http://carm.org/essential-doctrines-of-christianity in which you will find yet more Bible verses that would be considered.”

    I glanced thru Matt Slick’s summary. His overly-elaborate list does indeed contain prerequisites for salvation, as well as doctrines that are not specifically identified as such in God’s Word. However, it looks like roughly half of the items on Slick’s slick list (couldn’t resist!) are coupled with the typical distortions of Mormon Church beliefs.

    If I went through them line-by-line, and then answered all your points, and then answered all Bob’s points, I’d be at the computer all night. Bob & I covered quite a bit of ground back a few years ago. I don’t think either of you have been giving any real consideration to what I say. I get the impression that as you read my comments your thoughts go like this: “I know how I can rebut that one. I know how I can rebut this one.”

    Continued discussion might be challenging and intellectually stimulating, but my heart and my reason both tell me that God would rather I spend my time doing something else. If neither of you are praying for the Lord’s guidance, Jesus himself couldn’t change your mind, so how in the world am I going to?!

    As a courtesy, I will now skim through what you two have written here, resisting the temptation to respond. (The temptation will be strong, but all things are possible with Christ :<) .

    Until we hear from each other again, may you both continue to grow into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ and into a revelation of your unique callings. If God gives you the revelation that he's given me on the LDS—which will require on your part tedious UN-learning of what is so firmly established in your minds, not to mention extreme humility—you'll be top-notch players on God's side of this issue.

    Blessings, my brothers.

  112. Fred & Bob, I’ve sinned! I’m responding to one thing!
    Your attempt to demonstrate that the LDS has neglected the essentials for salvation deserves my response.

    Fred said,
    “ESSENTIAL #1: The Deity of Christ”
    I agree that this is an essential.
    The LDS does BASICALLY teach the deity of Christ. They believe he is one with the Father in purpose and spirit. Also that Jesus is the Word of God, the love of God, the truth of God, etc., and that he is seated at the right hand of the Father with everything in subjection to him except the Father. They believe he is eternal in the sense that he is immortal, living outside the ravages of time, and untouched by sin. They believe he co-created the universe with the Father, sustains the universe now, and will judge all humankind with the Father.
    They believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. First John says that if you do that, you’re saved. No where does the Bible say you have to know that Jesus was never born of heavenly parents before God will accept you. As much as God loves us and wants us in his family, believe me, if that was essential, he would have made it abundantly clear.

    When Mormon leaders said they worship a different Christ, I’m sure they meant that they have some teachings about Christ that are different. They don’t have a FULL revelation of Christ—no one does until he returns (1 Cor. 13). I also have good reason to believe that when they disagree with the Trinity doctrine, they are not disagreeing with it, but actually they are usually disagreeing with their false idea of what our view of the Trinity is!

    I agree that salvation can only come by grace. In spite of unbiblical, legalistic rules they have, they do know we need grace. They believe that if it had not been for Christ’s atonement, we would all be forever lost. (That’s almost a word-for-word quote.)

    To earn salvation, you would have to have no help from the atonement of Christ or the Holy Spirit.
    You are taking 2 Nephi 25:23 out of context. (By the way, have you read the Book of Mormon? Have you sat through a Mormon church service and a Sunday school class? If so, how many?)

    You quoted a Mormon as saying that
    “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation”
    Read James 2. A faith that doesn’t not inspire change is dead.

    ESSENTIAL #4: The gospel
    1 Cor. 15:1-4 defines what the gospel is: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (NIV).

    LDS teaches that.

    You said:
    ESSENTIAL #5: Monotheism
    No where in the Bible does it say that you have to believe that only one God exists in order to call yourself a Christian. Hebrews 11:6 says you have to believe God exists. The Bible says Satan is the god of this world (I think it’s 2 Cor. 4:4)—there’s another god!
    In 1 Cor. 8, Paul mentions some “brothers” that through weak faith believed that idols were real.

    Since it’s late, I’ve been kinda sloppy in putting this together. Please be merciful about any small errors. It’s the main points that I want you to see.

    Thanks.

  113. @Cal
    YOU WROTE:
    I don’t think either of you have been giving any real consideration to what I say. I get the impression that as you read my comments your thoughts go like this: “I know how I can rebut that one. I know how I can rebut this one.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    And you would be wrong in that Cal. In every case I HAVE read given consideration to what you’ve said here as well the content of your website and simply concluded that you are in serious error – period. SERIOUS error Cal. Your words have been considered and found wanting.

    Rather, I would respond that in your words you’re probably engaging in psychological project because what you’ve accused us of doing I’ve seen you do time-after-time both now and back in the day in 2008.

    Further, as I have now stated repeatedly – and will repeat again – it’s not WE who are unaligned with 183-years of Christian consensus on Mormonism here it’s YOU. You’re obviously not listening to ANY of your Christian brethren – living or dead.

    The bottom line is this Cal: You’re simply not listening to ANYONE who presents evidence that discredits your Biblical interpretation, your revelations, your feelings, your behavior, or your claims. You’re out there alone and unaccountable and, it seems clear to me that you’ve given yourself over to deception – all the symptoms are there!

    YOU WROTE:
    If neither of you are praying for the Lord’s guidance, Jesus himself couldn’t change your mind, so how in the world am I going to?!

    MY RESPONSE:
    Well Cal, that’s quite condescending and presumptive of you isn’t it?

    I pray – actually, more like plead – for the Lord’s guidance every single day. I’m already been through a 13-year Mind Control Cult experience and I know how easy it can be to fall into deception once starts giving other things the authoritative equivalency with the Bible. I’m painfully aware of how subtly and quietly it can occur.

    Never-the-less, as I said very early in this discussion:

    ” I don’t HAVE to pray about whether Mormonism is Christian anymore than I have to pray about whether I should lie, cheat, steal, or commit adultery. No where in the Bible are we told to told to pray about Biblical absolutes.”

    And, yes, I repeating it again in the vain hope that maybe, just maybe, you’ll listen.

    Further Cal, and just to be very clear, you DO understand that by praying for guidance on things that God has spoken on you’re in disobedience don’t you? Sorry brother but you are.

    Deuteronomy 13 was quite clear on this point was it not?

    “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
    (bold underlining added for emphasis)

    In other words, if God’s already said it there’s really nothing to pray about or ponder – you just need to obey.

    Satan’s chief lie since the Garden has always been, “Hath God said?” and our answer when the serpent speaks needs to be, “He has and I will obey Him! Be gone!” It’s NOT, “Golly, I know what He said but, jeepers, I just don’t know . . . let me pray about it!” Do that and you fail the test brother.

    YOU WROTE:
    His overly-elaborate list does indeed contain prerequisites for salvation, as well as doctrines that are not specifically identified as such in God’s Word.

    MY RESPONSE:
    For our edification, please tell us which of the “overly-elaborate” essentials that Mr. Slick identified can be eliminated since I just don’t see how any can.

    YOU WROTE:
    However, it looks like roughly half of the items on Slick’s slick list (couldn’t resist!) are coupled with the typical distortions of Mormon Church beliefs.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Really? Which ones? Again, I’m not seeing any distortions and I’m pretty well versed in Mormon Studies so please enlighten me.

    Now, how I said that much of the time you seem more Mormon than Christian? Well making broad sweeping dismissive statements without providing any specifics (let alone countering evidence) is a VERY Mormon debating tactic – and, Cal, you do it a LOT! It’s quite “Mormon” brother!

    YOU WROTE:
    If I went through them line-by-line, and then answered all your points, and then answered all Bob’s points, I’d be at the computer all night. Bob & I covered quite a bit of ground back a few years ago.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Yes he did, as did I Cal – I spent as much time or more back in 2008 trying to convince you of your error as I have now. And yet apparently you gave NO consideration to anything that Bob or I said then because here you are 5-years later engaging in and advocating all the same errors again. And, you’re engaging in all the same deflection and avoidance tactics that you used back then when you were presented with evidence you (IMO) couldn’t contest.

    Nor have you gotten any better at logic, reason, or sound hermenuetics in the interim. Overall, you seem just as fallacious deaf and blind now as you were then. Simply put Cal, you’re not listening to the brethren and since you’re out of compliance with God’s word it’s easy to conclude that (despite your continuing assertions) you’re not listening to Him either. From what I can see you’re on your own and you’re unaccountable to anyone.

    Which is WHY we’re now to the next phase in the Matthew 18:15-20 formula. You were given a chance to turn from your error in 2008 and you clearly didn’t listen and now you’re doing it again in 2013. Really, I feel like we have no choice but to “tell it to the church” (Matt 18:17) and see if, maybe, just maybe you’ll listen to even a larger audience – which is what I will be doing on Beggar’s Bread just as soon as I can get to it.

    YOU WROTE:
    If God gives you the revelation that he’s given me on the LDS—which will require on your part tedious UN-learning of what is so firmly established in your minds, not to mention extreme humility—you’ll be top-notch players on God’s side of this issue.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Cal, if I received such a “revelation” I would know that the source isn’t God since it’s in direct contradiction to what God has already revealed in the Bible in regarding Joseph Smith and the LdS Church – the source is, therefore, something other than God. God has already said and no false revelation is going to sway me.

    And while you may think you’re “on God’s side of this issue” Cal, you’re clearly NOT. You’re playing for another team now when it comes to Mormonism – which is why the church, sadly, has to be warned about you and your errant teachings.

    Cal, you’re dangerous.

  114. @Cal,
    Well, at least we know what we’re dealing here: A heretic.

    YOU WROTE:
    No where in the Bible does it say that you have to believe that only one God exists in order to call yourself a Christian.

    MY RESPONSE:
    One word: Nonsense. No, make that two words: Utter nonsense!

    Monotheism, is the most basic tenet of all Judeo/Christian theology and is encapsulated in the Shema:

    “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God — the LORD alone.”
    — Deuteronomy 6:4

    Or transliterated:

    In English: “hear-you Israel Yahweh Elohim-of·us Yahweh one”

    In Hebrew: “shmo ishral ieue alei·nu ieue achd”

    Any one who can’t affirm shema isn’t affirming the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and isn’t worshiping the God of Israel – they’re worshiping another, false god. The Bible affirms from cover-to-cover that there is one, and only one, true God.

    Your statement is pure, unadulterated heresy. I could stop there and call it a day but I won’t.

    YOU WROTE:
    No where does the Bible say you have to know that Jesus was never born of heavenly parents before God will accept you.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Cal, if you teach that Christ is anything but God eternal you are teaching another Jesus – period. The Apostle John couldn’t have been clearer:

    John 1:1-5, NASB
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    And transliterated from the Greek:
    GREEK: En arche En ho logos kai ho logos En pros ton theon kai theos En ho logos.

    ENGLISH: “In beginning was THE word and THE word was toward the God and God was THE word.”

    And on this point, the Apostle Paul was also quite clear:
    “I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”
    (2 Cor 11:3&4, NASB)

    And I hope that you’re picking up Paul’s sarcasm in that last line – he’s NOT saying preaching another Jesus is a good – or even an acceptable – thing. In fact, here’s what Paul said about those who preach another Jesus:

    “such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”
    (2 Cor 11:13-15, NASB)

    Got that Cal? Men who preach another Jesus are, “false apostles, deceitful workers”. And Paul is clear which “team” they’re on: “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness”

    As I demonstrated in my quotes from Mormon leaders in a prior post they ADMIT that they teach another Jesus thus self-incriminating themselves as false apostles.

    YOU WROTE:
    They believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. First John says that if you do that, you’re saved.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Really? Where?

    Here’s what I find in I John:
    “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.”
    (I John 4:1-3, NLT)

    And I’m sure that you learned in your theology classes at ORU that proper context means one must consider not only just the passage that you’re considering but the passage within the context of the whole of scripture. So combining what the same author said in his gospel account in John 1:1 with this passage he was CLEARLY saying something like this: “God eternal took on a real human body and came to us in the form of Jesus Christ – the Holy Spirit of God testifies to us of this. And when we testify of this we are from God. Those who don’t acknowledge this have the spirit of the Antichrist and are not from God.”

    So, yes, Cal getting your Christology right and preaching the Biblical Jesus IS an essential aspect of the faith – there can be no compromise on this point. It is an essential.

    YOU WROTE:
    I also have good reason to believe that when they disagree with the Trinity doctrine, they are not disagreeing with it, but actually they are usually disagreeing with their false idea of what our view of the Trinity is!

    MY RESPONSE:
    Good reason to believe based on what exactly? Speculation? Good feelings? Wishful thinking? Those things certainly CAN NOT be supported by the body of evidence:

    Joseph Smith said of the trinity:
    “Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God [anyhow]–three in one and one in three. . .It is curious organization… All are crammed into one God according to sectarianism (Christian faith). It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God–he would be a giant or a monster.”
    (Joseph Smith, Teachings, 372)

    Church president James Talmage stated, “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are as distinct in persons and individualities as are any three personages in mortality.”
    (James Talmage, The Articles of Faith (Salt Lake: Deseret Book Company, 1984), p.37)

    And Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie called the Christian view of the Trinity “the chief and greatest heresy of Christendom” (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie , p.59)

    Golly Cal it SURE sounds like they’re disagreeing with the very concept – or even the idea – of the Trinity to me! And if you reject the Trinity you end up in with either the ancient (or in the case of the United Pentecostal church, modern) heresy of modalism or you end up with polytheism in some form or another.

    It’s clearly the latter camp that Mormons fall into – as the aforementioned Bruce McConkie stated:

    “There are three Gods–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
    (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, (Salt Lake: Bookcraft, 1991), p.317)

    He further explains that:

    “three separate personages–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a god, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only gods we worship.”
    (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, (Salt Lake: Bookcraft, 1991), p.576)

    YOU WROTE:
    In 1 Cor. 8, Paul mentions some “brothers” that through weak faith believed that idols were real.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Cal, idols ARE real – I can take you to just about any good museum and show some to you. Just as Paul said in I Corinthians 8:4-6 (NASB)

    “Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”

    And the entirety of Corinthians 8 is addressing the issue of eating food sacrificed to idols NOT excusing or allowing other Christians to errantly believe that so-called gods are true gods, and that’s just swell! Reading THAT into the text is eisegesis Cal. Rather, the whole purpose of Paul’s words was to correct those errant Christians not tolerate or affirm them in their belief in false gods – as, apparently, you would have us do with Mormons.

    And you failed to interpet Hebrews 11:6 within the greater context of the entire book AND the entire Bible. The writer of Hebrews makes quite the case that Jesus is, and always has been God throughout the book. For example in describing the Christophany of Christ in the form of Melchizedek, the author writes:

    “[He was] Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.”
    (Hebrews 7:3, NASB)

    That kinda sounds like an eternal, non-created Being to me – not an exalted, procreated man.

    YOU WROTE:
    The Bible says Satan is the god of this world (I think it’s 2 Cor. 4:4)—there’s another god!

    MY RESPONSE:
    No Cal, yet another FALSE god – an impostor who’s worshiped as a god by sinful man. You’re eisegeting again.

    YOU WROTE:
    [Speaking of I Cor 15:1-4] LDS teaches that.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Yes, and they change all the meaning of the words in that passage to mean something entirely differently than what Paul meant. Cal: Mormonism 101 – Mormonism takes Christian words and changes the meaning to something completely different. If you don’t understand THAT you have no business talking to Mormons. Please refer to the following primer:

    http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/terminologymain.htm

    Major fail there Cal!

    YOU WROTE:
    They don’t have a FULL revelation of Christ—no one does until he returns (1 Cor. 13).

    MY RESPONSE:
    Yet more eisegesis! The passage states:

    “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
    (I Cor 13:11&12)

    The passage says NOTHING about our not having a good, sufficient, or complete enough revelation of Jesus Christ to develop a solid Christology. Or not having a complete enough Christology from the Bible that you can make allowances for those who teach a heretical, unBiblical Christology. Cal, the New Testament was written so Christians WOULD be able to develop just such a Christology. Luke states this explicitly:

    “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
    (Luke 1:1-4, NASB, bold underling added)

    Your argument is a fallacious – I would even go so far as to say, “ridiculous” – non-sequitur.

    YOU WROTE:
    To earn salvation, you would have to have no help from the atonement of Christ or the Holy Spirit. You are taking 2 Nephi 25:23 out of context.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Well then, let’s look at it in context shall we?

    2 Nephi
    22 Wherefore, these things shall go from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand; and they shall go according to the will and pleasure of God; and the nations who shall possess them shall be judged of them according to the words which are written.

    23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

    24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

    25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

    26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

    27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.

    28 And now behold, my people, ye are a stiffnecked people; wherefore, I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law.

    29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

    30 And, inasmuch as it shall be expedient, ye must keep the performances and ordinances of God until the law shall be fulfilled which was given unto Moses.

    Yep, all that language about law keeping that followes – that flies in the face of all the New Testament passages on the law not saving us that are in Romans, Ephesians and Galatians. Passsages like:

    “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
    (Romans 3:27&28, NASB)

    And once again:
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
    (Ephesians 2:8&9, NASB)

    Yep, when quoted in it’s full and complete context the truth really shines forth doesn’t it? It’s even MORE contradictory and even MORE legalistic and even MORE unBiblical than just that one verse standing all alone isn’t it?

    Thanks for enlightening us! Thanks for helping us see that things are MUCH worse in that passage when it’s quoted in it’s full context!

    Cal, you’re dangerous – very dangerous.

  115. Dear Brother Swanson,

    I want you to know that I want you toknow that I prayed to thy heavenly father to fid out if Mormon is Jesus Christ and do you know wat brother Swanson? Thy heavenly Father told me THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST OF JESUS CHRIST that YES.

    So I know that you want me to know that Brother Fullerton is not God, and I do not know about prophetesses because the living prophet is the leader of the church of jhesus christ of holy ghost of the latter day saints and he has to be a boy. it is like a rule. So I am concerned about this p[rop[hetess tat Brother Fullertton went in iunto and she said NO. I do not know about that Brotyher Swanson.

    But I want you to know that in Noroni chapter God says that we can find out of Brother Fullerton is true too! I am so thankful for that. Will you pray and ask Heavenly Father about it Brother Fullerton?

    In the name of thy son Jesus Christ AMEN

  116. @Gidgiddoni
    Yes, Gidgiddoni I’m quite familiar with the “Moroni 10 Challenge”. In fact, I wrote a now out-of-print article on the subject several years ago that I’ve share an excerpt from rather than reinventing the wheel in response to your comment:

    What Does The Bible Say About The Mormon Testimony?:
    For the Christian, Deuteronomy 13:1-14 is as good a description of The Mormon Testimony as you could hope for. It says:

    QUOTE:
    If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
    (New International Version)

    Perhaps the most interesting phrase in this Bible passage is, “. . . if the sign or wonder of which he was spoken of takes place . . .” In other words, God, through the human instrument Moses, was saying, “There WILL be false prophets who CAN produce signs and wonders!” But then God goes on to explain HOW you can tell what criteria for veracity you’re to use when you’re confronted with one of these false but able to produce signs and wonders Prophets, “. . . and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) ‘and let us worship them,'” God says explicitly, “Regardless of what signs and wonders the prophet produces you are to judge him by his behavior and on the content of his words. Specifically, does this prophet push you toward Me the true God of Israel or does he push you away from Me and toward OTHER gods?” So at the end of the day, the issue with anyone who claims to be a divine Prophet isn’t miracles or how the prophet makes you feel, it’s what he says and does – it’s it’s behavior and content not feelings, signs, or wonders!

    Now I have no doubt that Mormons and Investigators really DO feel something when they apply The Moroni 10 Formula. I have NO doubt that the infamous Mormon “burning in the bosom” is real. In fact, Christian Apologist and ExMormon Timothy Oliver to this day says that the “burning in the bosom” that he felt as a Mormon was undeniably real! In fact I have felt that same sensation myself and I know for a fact that it’s real! It is a legitimate sign I do NOT deny or denigrate that fact at all. It is indeed a legitimate wonder. However when we apply the Biblical test these very real, undeniable “signs and wonders” are irrelevant because Joseph Smith:

    1) Prophesied another God
    2) Prophesied another Jesus
    3) Prophesied another Gospel
    4) Prophesied using Biblical words but changed their meaning
    5) Prophesied new revelations that are not in the Bible and, in fact, are contrary to it

    Therefore, the content of what Joseph Smith prophesied was, “‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known)”. Therefore, he and the Church that he founded are based on prophesies that are false and we have been specifically commanded by God not to follow him or the institution that holds these “other” gods. And dear reader, the Bible is clear that the consequences of following a false prophet are dire both in this world and the next.

    Conclusion
    The Mormon Testimony is a real phenomenon. However, applying psychological empiricism, the experience and sensations surrounding it are easily explainable. Further, the Biblical witness[3] is that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. Therefore a Mormon Testimony is ultimately an emotionally induced psychological experience accompanying a testimony to a false prophet and other gods who God has commanded His people not to follow. To do so is to take your fate – in this life and the next – upon yourself.

    Or perhaps ExMormon Priestholder Holder Lyndon Lamborn summed it up best when he said:
    “Bearing testimony is ‘Declarationism’. And ‘Declarationism’ is the last bastion of the unreasonable fanatic.”
    [4]

    NOTES:
    [3] and the historical record – or if you prefer “witness” – validates this

    [4] ExMormon Foundation 2008 Conference Keynote
    (some bolding and underlining added for emphasis)

  117. Further, if the source of this “burning bosom” phenomenon is from the only true God then why do the results vary. For example, please consider this post from a Muslim women on a Catholic discussion board:

    “For me, I believe that Muhammad was a prophet because of the Qur’an–because I read it, and in my own estimation after reading it, reflecting on it, and praying about it, I found in myself an unwavering belief that the Qur’an is without a doubt revealed by the Lord of the Worlds, by the Almighty God.”
    (see http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?s=c37f3f001ea2276b7b74b15a8cf740c6&p=4462691&postcount=3 )

    Sound familiar? Just substitute “Joseph Smith” where it says, “Muhammad” and “Book of Mormon” where it says “Qur’an” and you have the archetypical Mormon Testimony which simply mirrors the “stock” Muslim Testimony know as the Shahada: 

    “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Mohammed is the servant and Messenger of Allah.”
    (the “Shahada”)

    So, in the end, these subjective, feeling and experience based “witnesses” are far from compelling.

  118. Brother Swanson I also want you to know that I checked in the Book of Mormon to see what it said about prophetess and it says 3 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me: aCall his name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz. in 2 Nephi. I do not know if Brother Fullerton (I do not think we should be using nick a’names like “Cal” do you? I think that HEavenly Father is sad when we do not respect his children by saying brother their last name) (or Elder if they are a missionary of ra bishop or something else like that) And I do not know if Brother Fullerton went unto the prphetess like it said in the 2 Nephi but I tink if he did and she conceived and bare him a son then that would be adutlerty! I dso not know if you knew this Brother Swanson byt the Book of Mormon says that adultery is the SIN NEXT TO MURDER, and I know that yiuy oif you Murder you can only go to the celestial kingdom if you pay the price for your sin by the shedding of your own blood. This is why in Utah where so many people know abotu the restyored gospel of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of the Holy Ghost, if someone does murder and they go to jail, they ask if they can have a firing squad so that they can still go to the cCelestial Kingdom. I think that shows you that the Church is true. IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST A<EN.

  119. @Bob Betts

    Regarding your argument that my second premise is untrue:
    “2. The New Testament does not make orthodox theology a qualification for inclusion in unity.”

    I think a lot of your argument focuses on how bad Joseph Smith was. For the sake of argument, if I grant that Joseph Smith was a bad guy and a false prophet, by run-of-the-mill Protestant theology, believing a false prophet or teacher does not disqualify a person from salvation. If this were not the case, the entire Catholic Church would not be included in Christianity. Should Christians not seek unity between Catholic and Protestant Christians?

    Extrapolated from what you wrote, our argument goes something like this:

    1. We can only have unity with the saved
    2. Mormon teachings are heretical, therefore Mormons are not saved.
    3. Mormons should not be included in unity.

    The problem is, you can’t know who is saved, most Christians believe heretical teachings,

    If 2 was true, only those who were perfect theologically would be included in unity.

    As to #1: do you believe ANY Mormons have a saving faith in Jesus?

  120. @Gidgiddoni, that’s interesting but I don’t see how it relates to the topic at hand. And since I don’t accept the BoM as authoritative using it a tool of persuasion is, well, kinda silly. When you’re addressing Evangelicals I would encourage you to exclusively use the Bible since it is our ultimate, absolute authority.

    However, and candidly, I had trouble following your reasoning and understanding what point you were trying to make in your last post. However, I did notice that you failed to address any of the countering evidence that I presented from the Bible and/or the empirical experience that discredits “The Moroni 10 Challenge” or Mormon Testimony Bearing as valid, let alone compelling, tests for determining truth. If you would do so I would appreciate it.

    And, BTW, on a small, nearly insignificant, matter there’s really no issue with using people’s first names in the American culture that I’m part of when addressing them – so I shall continue to do so. In fact if you would like to start using my first name it’s Fred – as in “Fred W. Anson”.

    However, if you would like to use my last name (as in “Mr. Anson”) instead that’s perfectly fine – it’s your choice entirely. I will address you anyway you like but, since you’re Mormon, I will stop short of calling you “Brother”. Since we worship different Gods we aren’t members of the same spiritual family.

    Thanks.

  121. Brother Jared C, I am not offended that you say that Joseph Smith is a bad guy and a fale prophet even those I nkow those things are not true because it is not okay to get offended because I know that the living modern day prophet Gordon B. Hinkley said that being offended makes you leave the church of jesus cheist of latter day saints (M”Mormon”) (“Mormons) and become apostate. JHared C I mean Brother Jared C Brother C? I am worried about you because I remember when you said you do gay and that is one of the most serious sins so I am I think that you are saying that Joseph Smith was a bad ghuy and a fale prophet because you are doing a very bad sin and that makes people say that Joseph Smith eas a false prophet. IS THAT TRUE BROTHER JARED C. Brother C I know that if you commit a serious sin it is very difficult to repent of that because it says so in the Book of Mormon (next to murder) and i do not want you to have to not go to the celestial kingdom of the holy GHOST. But I know that if you never commit this serious sin again for the rtest of your life NEVER EVER JAREd BROTHER C you can be forgiven and even if you cannot be in the highest part of the Celestial Kingdeom I know that you can go to the lower part where you can be a ministering angel. Brother C I want you to know that I have prayed to the Heavenly Father of thy Holy Ghost to find out if you can be my ministering angel and would you like to know what he said to me in the still small voice? The still, small voice said “YES HE CAN.” so please never do that sin again so that you can have a place in the celestial kingdom. I don;t know if you get to pick if you are a ministering angel whose angel you are but I wil let byou be mine Brother C if I make it. IF I MAKE IT IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF THE HOLY GHOST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS I JKNOW THAT IT IS TRUE THE CHURCH IS TRUE !

  122. @JaredC,
    Yes, I’m not Bob but I wanted to put my 2p on this question . . .

    YOU WROTE:
    As to #1: do you believe ANY Mormons have a saving faith in Jesus?

    MY RESPONSE:
    My stance on this is pretty much the same as Theologian Ben Witherton’s when he wrote:

    “It is of course true that there are Christians who are a part of the Mormon religion. I would call them confused Christians who know neither church history very well (including the history of the origins of Mormonism in America and the actual origin of the Book of Mormon), nor do they know what the NT actually teaches when it comes to things like Christology and salvation and the nature of the Scriptures.

    It is typical of groups like the Mormons (any of the branches) or the Jehovah’s Witness that they are actually split offs from some orthodox Christian group, in both cases from Protestantism. Not surprisingly then, they have more in common with Protestants in some respects than they do with Catholics or the Orthodox, except in regard to the matter of an all male priesthood and therefore the nature of worship.

    What I would say is that they are deceived about what the Bible really teaches about the nature of God, of Christ, of salvation, and of true humanity, not to mention the nature of the Scriptures which are indeed the sufficient rule of faith and practice for all true Christians and do not require supplements or corrections from Joseph Smith’s works.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2012/08/27/why-mormons-are-not-christians-the-issue-of-christology/

    In other words, there ARE Mormons who have found a saving faith in Jesus Christ DESPITE LdS Church doctrine and teaching. However, they’re typically on their way OUT and don’t stay in the long run – hence the New Order Mormon and “Born Again Mormon” movements that have arisen in recent years. Here’s how I explained this phenomenon in my review of Shawn McCraney’s book, “I Was a Born Again Mormon”:

    “These [Born Again Mormon] ideas and concepts really aren’t new at all. The Tanners remained in the LDS Church for at least 1-year after becoming Christians as did Ed Decker, James R. Spencer, Timothy Oliver and many other ExMormons who now minister to Mormons. Shawn simply attempted to build a formal, Theological framework around what is, in reality, very common. You could in fact say that all the above famous names were in fact “Born Again Mormons” during the time they remained in the LDS Church after having their Born Again experience.”

    http://beggarsbread.org/2013/09/15/book-review-i-was-a-born-again-mormon/

    Typically, I’ve found that this “Born Again Mormons” eventually – almost intuitively – apply 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 on their own:

    “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

    And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

    And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
    (King James Version)

    So do “Born Again Mormons” exist in the LdS Church? Yes.
    Do they tend to stay in the long run? No.
    Does this mean that we should accept the LdS Church in total as “Christian”? Absolutely not!

    Again, just my 2p, personal opinion, for what it’s worth.

  123. Fred, you speak as if I were the only Christian in the world who believes the LDS is foundationally Christian. Are you aware that Joel Osteen believes Mormons are Christians? Also, a survey of pastors was done some time back. Six percent of them said they strongly agree that the LDS is Christian; fifteen percent (if I remember correctly—possibly it was less) SOMEWHAT agree that the LDS is Christian; and some were neutral. Most of them could have been liberal pastors, I don’t know. In any case, I’m in the minority, but not the only one.

    I possess “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” compiled by Joseph F. Smith, so I looked up one of your quotes from it. I must commend you for your accuracy in this case (altho you habitually falsely accuse me and falsely assume I believe things I don’t). However, if I were going to be a slick arguer like you, I would point out that you left out part of the quote of Joseph. Are you trying to deceive us? Deceivers are dangerous, you know. Mr. Fred Wanson, or Swanson, or whatever it is, don’t you know what the Bible says about deceivers? You better watch out! Satan is going to get you! The church is going to get you! You skipped over Joseph’s quote of John 17 where Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.”
    In confessing that verse, Joseph was acknowledging that the Father and the Son are one! Yet you have led us to believe that the LDS teaches they are totally separate. Deceiver! No wonder you removed that part of Joseph’s dissertation! It doesn’t help you make your point now, does it, Mr. Wanson? What else have you been leaving out?

    But I won’t do that—I won’t interrogate you and you do me. I won’t turn and twist Mr. Swanson’s words, and try to make him look dangerous. No, I won’t do it. :-) (Just having a little fun.)

    “Teachings” wasn’t published by the LDS but by Deseret. Also, “Mormon Doctrine” by Bruce McConkie is no longer printed by the LDS, if my info is correct. . . . I mention that just because I prefer to stick with books published by the LDS. I do know that probably everything you quoted from non-LDS books was an accurate reflection of LDS beliefs.

    Regarding praying, Phil. 4:6 popped to mind.

    When I said 1 John says that if you confess that Jesus is the Son of God, you’re saved, I was paraphrasing 1 John 4:15: “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.”

    As you know, 1 John is an excellent book for guidance in sizing up groups who claim to be Christian.

    Have a warm and safe evening. Keep praying for guidance. Just make sure you don’t ask God for his view of the LDS. He might smite you! (LOL. I’m mocking you as you mock me—just having a little fun!)

    Seriously, can I ask a personal question? How much time do you spend in a typical day reading the Bible and praying? Do you pray in tongues? If so, how much? Do you cultivate the presence of God in your life by habitually praising Him?

  124. @Cal,
    YOU WROTE:
    When I said 1 John says that if you confess that Jesus is the Son of God, you’re saved, I was paraphrasing 1 John 4:15: “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    I have repeatedly addressed I John 4 in this thread. Once again, you have to take I John 4 in context with John’s gospel – especially John 1:1. And once again, if the Jesus that you’re confessing is ANYTHING but God eternal incarnated in human flesh then your confession is of another Jesus and another gospel and, therefore, anathema (to use the strong Biblical word for “accursed”).

    If the Jesus you confess is the PROCREATED Son of God (as Latter-day Saints teach) then he is no longer God eternal – period.

    Cal, IMO you really need to stop proof texting and develop a fully formed theology based on the entirety of the Bible instead. Do that and you just might move out of the “heresy” category and into “Biblically orthodox”.

    YOU WROTE:
    “Teachings” wasn’t published by the LDS but by Deseret. Also, “Mormon Doctrine” by Bruce McConkie is no longer printed by the LDS, if my info is correct. . . . I mention that just because I prefer to stick with books published by the LDS.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Deseret Publishing is owned by Deseret Book which is owned by the LdS Church. Mormon Doctrine was originally published by Bookcraft which was acquired by Deseret Book in 1999. At the time that Bruce R. McConkie (who, oh BTW, was the son-in-law of Joseph Fielding Smith) wrote and published the first edition he was a General Authority. When he published the second edition he was an LdS Apostle. Further, even to this day you will find Mormon Doctrine cited in official LdS Church publications and in General Conference even though Deseret Book stopped publishing it in 2010 despite the fact that it was still a widely respected, highly influential, top selling LdS title.

    Cal, for someone who claims to be Mormon literate, ignorant statements like this tend to erode credibility.

    YOU WROTE:
    You skipped over Joseph’s quote of John 17 where Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.” In confessing that verse, Joseph was acknowledging that the Father and the Son are one!

    MY RESPONSE:
    What utter nonsense! Joseph Smith was quoting a Bible verse nothing more. Joseph Smith quoted a lot of Bible verses – is that supposed to impress us? In fact, about 1/3 of the Book of Mormon is plagiarized from the 1679 King James Version of the Bible. Again, so what?

    All cults quote the Bible and all cults change the underlying meaning of standard Christian terms to something outside of established Christian orthodoxy. It may sound the same to outsiders (after all they’re the same words!) but it’s not. Joseph Smith and Mormonism is no different. Again, I will refer to this excellent piece from Sandra Tanner:

    http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/terminologymain.htm

    Cal, you are yet again eisegeting.

    And I find your criticism regarding my citation of Joseph Smith puzzling since you didn’t provide the full citation that you claim discredits my claims (which you also failed to reference) and thereby show my error. Are we supposed to just take your word for it?

    Cal, you commended me for my accuracy in scholarship and I thank you for it. However, I think that you would insist on the same level of accuracy in your own work you would drop your errant, heretical ways.

    YOU WROTE:
    Are you aware that Joel Osteen believes Mormons are Christians? Also, a survey of pastors was done some time back. Six percent of them said they strongly agree that the LDS is Christian; fifteen percent (if I remember correctly—possibly it was less) SOMEWHAT agree that the LDS is Christian; and some were neutral. Most of them could have been liberal pastors, I don’t know.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Here’s a tip Cal: If you’re going to try to sway Biblical Christians don’t cite from Joel Osteen. In fact, the #1 comment I’ve gotten from others that I’ve asked to “reality check” my stance on you has been regarding your use of Joel Osteen as a source – it’s an immediate red flag. All heretics tend to coalesce into factional cliches and the fact that you’ve done so with the theologically compromised and error prone Mr. Osteen is hardly surprising.

    As for your poll results, you failed to cite your source – are we just supposed to take your word for it all? Are we supposed to be impressed by vague, unsubstantiated hint and innuendo? I’ll pass.

    YOU WROTE:
    Seriously, can I ask a personal question? How much time do you spend in a typical day reading the Bible and praying? Do you pray in tongues? If so, how much? Do you cultivate the presence of God in your life by habitually praising Him?

    MY RESPONSE:
    Yet more nonsensical Charismatic error Cal. This is yet ANOTHER way that Charismatics fall into error and heresy – I’ve seen it more times than I can count!

    Not only is this is all an irrelevant non-sequitur, it’s a not too subtle ad-hominem argument. And I would remind you that ad-hominem arguments are ALWAYS fallacious.

    Christ and the Apostles never judged orthodoxy based on personal piety. In fact, not only was the personal piety of the Pharisees NEVER an issue, Christ actually COMMENDED them for theirs: “For I say unto you that unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:20, NASB)

    So tell me Cal, did that personal piety save them from error? Do you EVER, once, have Christ telling someone in error that they need to spend more time reading the Bible and praying? Or the Apostles asking the errant if they speak in tongues, and if so, how often and how long? Do you find them challenging those teaching doctrinal error to worship more so as to more cultivate the presence of God in their life so they can overcome the error of their ways?

    The answer is no – when it comes to error and heresy personal piety is rarely an issue, deviation from Biblical absolutes are.

    Further, and again, I will point you to the passages that I’ve given for determining if someone is a False Prophet, or a False Apostle. I would also point you to the passages in the epistles in which the Apostles address the error of others. Not ONCE are these issues! Rather the focus is always on two things: 1) The content of their teaching, and; 2) The fruit of their lives (that is, personal integrity and character).

    The fact that you ask these questions is just another example of how far into subjective, unBiblical error you now are and, frankly, how “Mormon” you’ve become. Mormons LOVE ad-hominem arguments and whenever possible make every discussion personal. And, oh BTW, the Mormon answer to EVERYTHING is, guess what, “You’ve gotta do more! You’re gotta pray more, serve more, be more pious! More! More! More!”

    Sound familiar Cal? Yep, it’s the Pharisees all over again.

    So Cal, it seems to me that you’ve “gone native” – the culture that you’re trying to evangelize has ended up evangelizing you instead.

    And going forward, please stay away from ad-hominems like this – they don’t help your case and only make you look foolish.

    Thanks.

  125. CORRECTION:
    It was bugging me so I vetted a comment that I made from memory in my last post and discovered an error. Specifically, I stated:

    “When he [Bruce R. McConkie] published the second edition [of the book “Mormon Doctrine”] he was an LdS Apostle.”

    This is incorrect.

    McConkie was still only a Seventy in 1966 when the second edition was published. He didn’t become an LdS Apostle until 1972.

    I was ACTUALLY thinking of the THIRD edition which was published in 1978 after Official Declaration 1. McConkie was indeed an LdS Apostle when the third edition was published. The third edition was required because McConkie had to rewrite the sections regarding the ban on black men holding priesthood which he had dogmatically affirmed in the First and Second Editions of the book. This policy – which McConkie asserted in the first two editions was divinely inspired – was overturned by Official Declaration 1.

    My apologies for this error.

    I’ve also double checked my other statements regarding the book and they are in fact accurate.

    If anyone would like to confirm this, I would ask them to consider the Wikipedia articles on McConkie . . .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_R._McConkie

    . . . and on the book “Mormon Doctrine as reasonable sources.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Doctrine_(book)

    Thank you.

  126. P.S.and BTW, during the vetting process I also found this article on LdS Church owned Deseret Book’s 2010 decision to cease publication of the book – it’s, IMO, an excellent summary and analysis of the book, it’s history, and how the LdS Church now tries to distance itself from what is clearly one of the most important and influential books in LdS Church History.

    http://mormonmatters.org/2010/05/20/the-death-of-mcconkies-mormon-doctrine/

    Thank you.

  127. Thanks, I listened to the event, a very interesting discussion. The conversation regarding unity, and the contrast between Sanders, Leithart and Trueman positions enlightened my view of Christianity in general.

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