Although, as clearly observed, Mr. Ritchie could not, nor did not stay on topic–a common tactic to avoid the particular subject matter and that which is presented. Throughout the debate Mr. Ritchie he wondered everywhere except on the topic of the debate. He presented no meaningful responses to John 1:1, 18; 6:38; 17:5; Philippians 2:6-7; Hebrew 1:6, 10 and passages, which specifically present the person of the Son as the agent of creation–the Creator Himself (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 2:10 et al), which I presented–Mr. Ritchie only offered only denials.

Observably, I went step by step from evidence to conclusion clearly establishing my position by the exegesis of important biblical texts. Obviously unprepared, Mr. Ritchie merely went into default mode: presenting nothing more than Oneness-unitarian presups—and unrelated OT passages without actually responding to the exegesis that I had presented. .

Mr. Ritchie lost this debate, not because he was deficient in his speaking ability, but rather, he lost this debate, because he did not provide any meaningful response in either affirmation or refutation to the exegesis of significant texts that I provided.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, please pray for Steven Ritchie, that God would delver him from the darkness of Oneness theology and open his eyes to the truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel.

More confusing heresy from Oneness apologist Steven Ritchie who advocates a form of Nestorianism– WATCH HERE

 

The first century church was built on two things: love and doctrine. Without love, we actively disobey the Lord (cf. Mark 12:29-30; 1 John 3:15ff.). By loving others “the whole law is fulfilled” (Gal. 5:14; cf. Rom. 13:8-10) and our “actual” justification before God (through faith alone) is demonstrated before man—, which was James’ entire argument in chapter 2.

But if a church or the spiritual life of Christian is all love, then theological confusion arises and thus, the significance and definition of the gospel becomes mottled and impractical.

Parable of the Good Samaritan

Sociologically, Samaritans were lowly and unpopular people, which intensifies the point of Jesus’ parallel. Starting in Luke 10:25-27, we read:

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Note the lawyer’s question regarding eternal life and Jesus’ response: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (see Mark 12:29-30 for the full commandment).

Verses 28-29: “And He said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live’ 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” In response, Jesus presents the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Verse 30a: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” Although this journey from “Jerusalem to Jericho” was about 17 miles, it was recognized as a very dangerous road that ran through areas of lone desert; where many robbers could hide. Jerome later termed this road as “the bloody way.” Lightfoot says that this was the “most public road in all Judea.”

Verse 30: “…and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.” The term striped (lit., “having stripped”) is from ekduō (ek, “out” + duō, “garment”). —thus, “to strip out/off ones clothes/garments.” The same term is applied to Christ in Matthew 27:28: “They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.”

Verse 31: “And by chance, a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.” The most frequent travelers on this road were priests and Levites. There is no reason stated as to why the priest refused to help him, but it is not significant to the point of the parable.

The phrase, “he passed by on the other side” is from antiparēlthen (lit. “he passed by on the opposite side”). The text implies that the priest actually went “on the other side,”—out of his way, totally avoiding the scene altogether.

Verse 32: “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.” Here the Levite “saw him,” then passed by.” The two aorist participles, “having come” and “having seen” imply that the Levite took a “fast peek” then left in a hurry— note again as with the priest, the same term antiparēlthen is used: “he passed by the opposite side.” A. T. Robertson observes that this indicates “a vivid and powerful picture of the vice of Jewish ceremonial cleanliness at the cost of moral principle and duty. The Levite in Luke 10:32 behaved precisely as the priest had done and for the same reason.”

Verse 33: “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion. . . .” The least likely person (in contrast to the grander priest and Levite), the Samaritan felt compassion. When the Samaritan “saw him, he felt, that is, he was “moved to compassion.” The two verbs (both in the aorist) “having seen” and“moved to compassion” denote a simultaneous action. In contrast to the two actions of the priest and Levite: “having seen,” “he passed by the opposite side.”

The action of the Samaritan (“felt, moved to compassion”) appears in the aorist indicative—from splagchnizomai. This verb literally denotes the inward parts of a body. Thayer defines the verb here as: “to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence, to be moved with compassion.” In fact, this term is frequently used of Christ in response to individual(s) suffering (see Matt 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 18:27; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2; 9:22). As also in Luke 7:13: “When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion [lit., “was moved to deep compassion”] for her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’”

The Samaritan Difference

The Samaritan felt compassion for this man—expressed love for him (again keeping with the context of the text—love for God and neighbors).

“Showing” loving-compassionate actions towards others demonstrates one’s actual justification (salvation) greater than that of praising God, singing hymns on Sunday morning, endless praying, etc. Loving others (by actions, overtly) proves one’s faith as true (as the Apostle James argues). Calvin says, “Though the worship of God is greatly preferable, and is more valuable than all the duties of a holy life, yet its outward exercises ought not to be estimated so highly as to swallow up brotherly kindness.”

Note the next verse (34): where we find that Samaritan shows six acts of love/compassion:

  1. Bandaged up his wounds. 
  2. Pouring oil and wine on them.
  3. Put him on his own beast (animal).
  4. Brought him to an Inn.
  5. Took care of him.
  6. He made sure the innkeepers took care of him.

Jesus then asked in verse 36: “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” Keep in mind as to the question to Jesus from the lawyer, that is, the religious expert, in verse 29: “But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” Here, Jesus turns the question around to the religious expert to a question of what it means to become a neighbor and truly (and openly) loving. Jesus is showing the religious expert of the law that it is irrelevant as to who the neighbor is, but rather, who he is (the religious expert) and his actions are what matters. 

Verse 37: “And he said, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him.’ Then Jesus said to him, Go and do the same.’”

In a broad context, the priest and Levite representing the OT law would not or could not deliver a man from his pain and suffering. In a wider sense, the OT law could never redeem man or provide to God a ransom for him—that was never the intention of the law; it was powerless to do so—it only condemned (cf. Heb. 7-10).

In John 8:48, the Jews called Jesus a “Samaritan.” However, unrecognizable to the Jews, the similarities of Christ and the parable are remarkable:

  • As the traveler went “down from Jerusalem to Jericho,” Christ made a journey coming down from heaven to earth, became flesh “being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7).
  • He came as powerful Savior to do what the priests and the Levites (OT law) would not nor could not do.
  • Through His vicarious life and death Christ (unlike the priest and the Levite) provided redemption, rest, healing, and everlasting “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1).Christ, out of compassion for His people, came to save perfectly all that the Father gave to Him and loses no one, but raises “it up at the last day” (John 6:39).
  • As the Samaritan “brought the wounded man to an Inn and took care of him,” Christ brings His sheep, yet wounded from the effects of sin, to an eternal dwelling place that He prepared for them.

In this sense, Jesus Christ was the ultimate “Samaritan.” His motivation for His atonement (vicarious redemptive work) was His love and compassion for lost dying (dead) sinners—He lived and died on their behalf. Christ is our only means of peace. In whom “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (cf. Eph. 1:7).

Christ, the ultimate Samaritan who saved us!

 

Are Mormons Christians? That is a very important question. If the Mormons are Christians, then we should view the Mormons as brothers and sisters in the Lord. However, if in fact the Mormon Church is not a Christian church then we should, in the name of Jesus Christ, pray for them to be set free from the darkness of being separated from the true God and eternal life. And witness to them, for they are lost without the real Jesus Christ. But, are the Mormons Christians?

Many people have asked that question. Of course, the Mormons will boldly confess to be Christian. They will point to all the “good works” that the LDS Church does, and all in the name of Jesus Christ. Not to mention the “feed the hunger” programs that the LDS Church is involved in. Hence, it is fair to say that over all the Mormon Church possesses all the appearance of a bona-fide Christian church.

So, let us deal with the recurrently asked question: are Mormons Christian? Well, the answer will depend on how one defines the term “Christian.” If being “Christian” is only defined by Christian language: “One God,” “Jesus is Lord,” “Trinity,” “Saved by grace,” etc., then, the Mormons are definitely Christians, for they certainly integrate these terms in to their vocabulary and communicate them in their church services.

If in fact Christian language is the ultimate standard in which to decide what is and what is not Christian, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Oneness groups, Unitarians, Unity School of Christianity, The Way International, The International Church of Christ, Christadelphians are all Christian!

However, it is the biblical definition that decides what is Christian. So, how does Scripture define what a Christian is?

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they [Christians] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer” (Acts 2:41, 42; emphasis added).

Hence the biblical definition of a “Christian” is: the one following the doctrines or teachings of the apostles (Ibid.). The Apostle Paul was very concerned about false teachings that did not square with the teachings of the apostles:

“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can refute1 those who oppose it. . . . You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Tit. 1:9; 2:1; emphasis added).

Do Mormons teach doctrines that are “opposed” to God’s Word? The answer is, unequivocally, yes. Mormons reject the teachings of the apostles as well as the prophets of the Old Testament. The Lord God was concern that mere men may know, believe, and understand that God is one (e.g., Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8). Ontological monotheism (i.e., One God by nature) is the fundamental difference that disallows Mormons from a true relationship with God, and hence, true salvation. I cannot emphasize enough: The Mormons are lost, perishing with Bibles in their hands. That is why Christians must reach out to the Mormons. If we love them, we will tell them.

So, let us recall some main points of LDS theology, which are antithetical to the “apostles teachings,” that is, biblical theology:

LDS Teachings of God the Father

God the Father (and Jesus) was once a mere man that lived on an earth similar to this one. As a man, He had to go through the same ordeals and experiences that men go through on earth. Mormons tell us that God had to earn his salvation by obedience to law and thus becoming the God of this world. In LDS theology then: God has not always existed as God.

This point cannot be dismissed as a minor difference. That God had to become God cuts through the heart of biblical theology. The God of biblical revelation has eternally been God. He did not have to become God at some point in time. The LDS god is not the God of the Bible. There is a fundamental different. Christians and Mormons do not worship the same God.

Joseph Smith declared:

For 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, 345; emphasis added).

Biblical Response:

1) Psalm 90:2: “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

2) Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding” (Is. 40:28)

3) Malachi 3:6: “For I am the LORD, I change not. . . . ”

LDS Teaching that God the Father is an exalted man with Body Parts

Mormons assert that God the Father is not spirit. “God the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as mans” (Doctrine of Covenants, 130:22; emphasis added). God the Father had/has sexual relations with His wife (or wives) in Heaven to produce spirit babies in order to populate the earth.2

Biblical Response:

1) John 4:24: God is Spirit. In Luke 24:39, Jesus defines a spirit: “For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (emphasis added)

2) Jeremiah 23:24: God is omnipresent (exists everywhere): “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (emphasis added; cf. 2 Ch. 6;18).

3) 1 Timothy 1:17: God is an invisible spirit: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be the honor and glory for ever and ever.” Colossians 1:15: “Who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible [Gk. aoratou] God. . . . ” (emphasis added; cf. John 1:18).

4) The LORD God refutes this LDS false teaching: “for I am God, and not man. . . . ” (Hos. 11:9; emphasis added)

LDS Teaching of Many Gods (i.e., polytheism)

The Mormons teach that all Mormon males (potentially) can become Gods just as all the Gods have done before them. Founder Joseph Smith declares to his followers:

I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370).

Brigham Young also confirmed:

there was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 22, 23).

Biblical Response:

1) Isaiah 43:10: “before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

Isaiah 44:6: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel . . . I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.”

Isaiah 44:8: “Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God ; I know of not one.”

Isaiah 45:5: “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . ” (cf. Deut. 4:35; Jer. 10:10; esp. Mark 12:29).

2) The fundamental difference that excludes Mormonism from Christianity is ontological monotheism: there exists one God by nature (Gal. 4:8) hence all other things called God are false gods or idols. False gods do not exist, only the true God does exist, in whom salvation is given.

LDS Teaching of Jesus Christ

Mormons teach that Jesus was Lucifer’s spirit brother. Jesus’ body was procreated by sexual relations between God the Father and the Virgin Mary (His own daughter; see my article: The Paternity of Jesus Christ). And, Jesus was not the eternal God but merely one God of a pantheon of Gods. Jesus also had to earn His own salvation and become a God.

Biblical Response:

1) Colossians 1:16ff, Jesus is Creator of all things including angels (which Lucifer is; cf. John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:10)

2) That God the Father had sexual relations with His own daughter is a teaching that is utterly pagan!

3) Jesus is eternal, John 1:1: “In the beginning was3 the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

In John 8:58 Jesus claims to be the “I AM” of the Old Testament which the Jews understood to mean the Eternal One.4

Philippians 2:6 as well demonstrates that Jesus was always the Eternal God, contrary to LDS teaching.5

Notes

1, At Titus 1:19 the term translated “refute” (NIV) comes from the Greek word elencho which is defined as: the exposure and confutation of false teachers of Christianity . . . to find fault with, correct (see Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 202, 03; same word is used at Eph. 5:11; 1 Tim 5:20; and 2 Tim. 4:2).

2, In Mormon theology, spirit babies are sent to earth to receive their mortal bodies by their earthly parents. However Mormons teach that Jesus Christ, is the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, that is, the Father had sexual relations with His Own spirit daughter Mary. Hence Jesus, Mormons say, was the only person that had God the Father as His mortal and literal father.

3, In John 1:1: “In the beginning was [ēn] the Word, and the Word was with [pros] God, and the Word was God,” the word “was” (ēn) is an imperfect tense, indicating, in this context, that the “Word” (who is Jesus; cf. 1:14) was always existing. Hence Jesus was always God the Eternal Word, distinct from the Father (cf. the Word was with (pros) God the Father. For study on John 1:1 and the LDS Church, see The Christological Assertions of the LDS Church, pertaining to John 1:1.

4, Significant I AM passages: Mark 6:50; John 8:24, 28; 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8. These passages read in the KJV: “I am he” or “it is I.” However in the original Greek text the “he” does not appear, hence “I am” (ego eimi) and not “I am he” and in Mark. 6:50 the original reading is “I am” not, “it is I.” The original New Testament Greek manuscripts (autographs) were written in all capital letters called “uncials.”

5, Philippians 2:6 reads: “who being in the form (morphē; NIV “nature”) of God. . . .” What is noteworthy is that the word “being” (huparchon) denotes subsisting or existing. Huparchon is a present active participial, which indicates that Jesus was always in existence or subsisting in the very nature or substance of God (cf. Heb. 1:3). Notwithstanding the preponderance of textual support that denotes the eternality of the Word as the eternal God, distinct from God the Father, which is vehemently denied by virtually every non-Christian cult.

LDS theology presents God the Father as an exalted man with body parts. This view has been the center of Mormon teaching. Church founder Joseph Smith taught:

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. . . .I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form-like yourselves in all the person, image and very form as a man. . . . (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345; emphasis added).

This teaching is clearly declared in the Mormon scripture: Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22:

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s. . . .

However, Smith changed his doctrine later in life. He stated out teaching the converse (see my article: The Early Teaching of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon Contradict Present- day LDS Theology).

The biblical teaching that God IS spirit is completely rejected in Mormondom. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie states:

False creeds teach that God is a spirit essence that fills the immensity of space and is every where and nowhere in particular present. In a vain attempt to support this doctrine, formulated by councils in the early days of the great apostasy, it is common for apologists to point to the statement in the King James Bible which says, “God is spirit.” (John 4:24). The fact is that this passage is mistranslated; instead, the correct statement, quoted in context reads:

The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. For unto such hath God promise his Spirit. And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth (Inspired Version,1 John 4:25-26)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 318; emphasis added).

Biblical Teaching

The Bible strongly disagrees with Mormon theology on this essential point. Unequivocally God reveals to us, in Scripture, as to His nature: God is an invisible spirit that is not man.

Invisible Spirit

Jesus referring to God the Father says:

No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John1:18; emphasis added)2

The Apostle Paul writing by the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, informs us:

He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible [aoratou] God, the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15; NASB; emphasis added)

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, [aorato] the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Tim. 1:17; emphasis added)

God is Spirit, not a man with flesh and bones

Jesus Christ, who is the final authority, specifically and ontologically3 defines the Father in John 4:24:

God is spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth (emphasis added; see also endnote # 1).

Then Jesus defines what a spirit is NOT:

But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit… And he [Jesus] said unto them… Behold my hands and feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have (Luke 24:37-39; emphasis added).

If, as the Mormons teach, God has a body of flesh and bone, it would necessarily follow then, He could not be omni-present (i.e., everywhere at the same time). Scripture however is quite clear as to the omni-presence of God.

But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! (2 Ch. 6:18; emphasis added).

Am a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secrete places that I shall not see him? Saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD (Jer. 23: 23, 24; emphasis added).

Interestingly the Book of Mormon teaches that God is spirit: Alma 31:15 says:

Holy, Holy God… we believe thou art holy and thou wast a spirit, and thou art a spirit, and thou will be a spirit forever (see The Early Teaching of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon Contradict Present- day LDS Theology).

Also in Alma 18:26, 28 says that, “God is a “Great Spirit.” In fact you will find not one statement in the Book of Mormon that says that God is an exalted man with body parts. As mentioned, Joseph Smith changed his theology later in life.

The god of Mormonism is not the one true God of the Bible. God plainly tell us:

For I am God, and not man: the Holy One in the midst of thee. . . . (Hos. 11:9; cf. Num. 23:19; emphasis added).

To try and prove their unbiblical position Mormons point to all the Old Testament passages that speak of God having body parts. Example: In Exodus we read that, “The LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as man speaketh unto his friend.” And how Moses saw the back of the LORD. Also, we read of the ear, hand, eye, feet, etc., of the LORD.

However, God used metaphors or anthropomorphisms to describe His activity in human terms so we could understand. Literary metaphors (or more technically; anthropomorphisms) were extremely common in the Old Testament. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did not understand the art and science of biblical interpretation. If they were to stay at all logically consistent in their literal interpretations, they would be forced to admit: God is a big bird:

He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge (Ps. 91:4)

Or, God is actual fire (Duet. 4:24); Jesus is a loaf of bread (John 6:35); Jesus is a gate with hinges (John10:9) and the list goes on.

Dealing with Exodus 33:11 we read, Moses saw the LORD “face to face” The phrase “face to face” in Hebrew is used as a metaphor to describe the personal, intimate, friend to friend encounter of Moses and the LORD. This was not a physical image being described.

The Hebrew word for “back” in this context could easily be interpreted as the after-effects of the glory of the LORD, which passed by. This would fit the contextual meaning, since the Bible clearly teaches that God is invisible and lives in an unapproachable light whom no one has ever seen, or can see him (cf. John1:18; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 4:12). Thus, the term “back” is not to be taken literally as we can plainly see.

We worship God in spirit and truth, on His terms how He revealed Himself to us.

Notes

1, With no formal education in the field of biblical language, the unlearned Joseph Smith made his own version of the Bible. It was called The Inspired Version of the Bible. The Inspired Version contains numerous alterations to what the text actually says (cf. authoritative translations/recognized Bibles). The rendering: “For unto such hath God promise his Spirit” is not found in any Greek manuscript! As with the Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible: The New World Translation, Joseph Smith changed the text to force his own theology into the text. The literal reading of John 4:24 is: “God is spirit” ( pneuma ho theos). The word “spirit” ( pneuma) is an anarthrous predicate nominative that comes before the subject (lit: “spirit the God” ), hence grammatically, “spirit” cannot be translated indefinite: “a spirit,.” but rather qualitative: “spirit,” denoting as to the quality of God- namely as to His nature: He is spirit, thus the text does not read: has a spirit but is spirit. Mormons typically confuse possession with identity due to their unacquaintedness of Greek grammar.

Another example: John 1:19 (v. 18 in most translations) of Joseph Smith’s translation states: “No man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the son; For except it is through him no man can be saved” (emphasis added). Compare this with John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” There is not one Greek manuscript in existence that would support Joseph Smith’s alterations of the Bible. The common response by most Mormon missionaries is that Joseph Smith had never finished his translation, however Smith wrote a letter, dated July 2, 1833 at Kirtland, Ohio, wherein he states, “this day finished the translating of the Scriptures. . . .” (History of the Church, 1:368; see also, 324). Smith began his translation in 1831.

2, Mormons will argue that John. 1:18 (see above) is mistranslated, because since Jesus is God (in LDS: one God of many) people did indeed see Jesus, see above reference to John. 1:18. However the context is clear in John 1:18: Jesus reveals the Father hence it is the Father that no one has seen or can see (cf. Col. 1:15; 1 John 4:12). Jesus took on another nature- the nature of man, that is, at the the Incarnation (cf. John 1:14; Phil. 2:6-8).

3 The “nature” or “being” of something.

Most Mormons today are unaware of what their church; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches in regards to the way Jesus Christ was brought into this world. It is fair to say that most garden variety Mormon missionaries that come to your door have probably not explored the official LDS doctrine of the manner in which Jesus was conceived.

Beginning with Brigham Young, the LDS Church has taught that God the Father had sexual relations with the Virgin Mary to beget Jesus! However offensive it sounds, this is, the official doctrine of the Mormon Church. I use the term “official doctrine” because every LDS General Authority that has addressed the subject has consistently taught it. The General Authorities of the LDS Church include the President/Prophet and the LDS apostles. In point of fact, this doctrine has never been denied by any General Authority of the LDS Church!

To try to avoid decidedly anti-biblical and pagan doctrine, some not all, LDS apologists and BYU professors typically claim that this is merely 19th century speculation (e.g., LDS teacher, Stephen Robinson). However, as we will clearly demonstrate, this is not the case. First of all, the majority of the statements made by the General Authorities are in the 20th century! However, other current LDS apologists embrace the doctrine 1.

It should also be pointed out: Mormon apologists and BYU professors are not General Authorities–thus they do not determine doctrine for the LDS Church. Therefore what they assert, is in itself, mere speculation and commentary, and hence not official. For that reason, this examination is confined solely to the statements of the General Authorities and official LDS Church publications, which are distributed to the LDS people.

19th Century Teaching

Second President, and Prophet of LDS Church, Brigham Young:

When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle [body], it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. . . . (Journal of Discourses (hereafter: JD), 1:50; emphasis added).

Young is unambiguous: Jesus was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. Notice that he says Jesus was begotten “after the same manner as the tabernacles” of Cain and Abel. And how are the tabernacles, that is, bodies, of Cain and Abel and the rest of humanity begotten? Young explains further:

The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood–was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers. . . . (JD, 8:115).

When the time came that His first-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. . . . (JD, 4:218; emphasis added).

In LDS theology, we were all spirit children procreated by sexual relations between the Father and His wives in heaven before coming to earth. After which we were then sent to earth to receive bodies. However, the Mormons assert, Jesus was not only the firstborn spirit child, (His brother Lucifer being the second) but He was also the only physical offspring on earth, of Mary and God the Father. This is why Mormons refer to Jesus as “the Only Begotten in the flesh.”

Even more absurd, other LDS General Authorities taught that God the Father was actually married to Mary!

LDS Apostle Orson Pratt:

it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called the Only-Begotten of the Father; that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father. There were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of the world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father… The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. . . .

He had a lawful right to over- shadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself, or to prescribe rules for his own conduct. It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give Mary to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 158; emphasis added).

LDS Apostle Heber Kimball:

I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it” (JD, 8:211; emphasis added).

Nothing unnatural about it?! Kimball says Jesus was begotten just as he was: in the flesh! Is this not what Brigham Young and Orson Pratt taught?! But what about present-day Mormonism? Do they now repudiate the clear teachings of former leaders? Of course, this would make Young and other LDS leaders, false teachers. If so, then the entire LDS Church fell into apostasy deviating from their own prophets and apostles. Or, is it as BYU professors assert: “only 19th century speculation?” Again, the assertions made by BYU professors are only speculation and commentary, they do not speak for or determine the official doctrine of the Church. They are not General Authorities.

20th Century

In analyzing the official LDS position on the paternity of Jesus Christ, we find that the majority of the statements made by the General Authorities and publications printed by the LDS Church on this teaching; were made in the 20th century! Hence, it is complete error to assert that this doctrine is simply 19th century speculation.

LDS Apostle and scholar, James E. Talmage:

The relationship of the Christ to the Eternal Father has been set forth in such plainness that I do not think any wayfaring man amongst us can fail to understand. We recognize in Jesus Christ the Son of the Eternal Father, both in spirit and in body. There is no other meaning to attach to that expression, as used by the Eternal Father Himself–“Mine Only Begotten Son.” Christ combined within His own person and nature the attributes of His mortal mother, and just as truly the attributes of His immortal Sire… This simplicity of doctrine has shocked many, but the truth is frequently shocking just because of its simplicity and consequent grandeur (Conference Report, April 1915, 121; emphasis added).

Please note, Talmage refers to the Father as Jesus’ “immortal Sire.” Talmage frequently uses the title “Immortal Sire” in his writings:

Born of a mortal mother He inherited the capacity to die; begotten by an immortal Sire He possessed as a heritage the power to withstand death. . . . (Jesus the Christ, ch. 3, 22; emphasis added).

A natural effect of His immortal origin, as the earth-born Son of an immortal Sire, was that He was immune to death except as He surrendered thereto (ibid., ch. 25, 418-19).

Tenth President of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith:

THE FIRSTBORN. Our Father in heaven is the Father of Jesus Christ, both in the spirit and in the flesh. . . . CHRIST NOT BEGOTTEN OF THE HOLY GHOST. I believe firmly that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh. He taught this doctrine to his disciples. He did not teach them that He was the Son of the Holy Ghost, but the Son of the Father… Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:18; emphasis added; caps. theirs).

LDS Apostle, scholar and prolific writer, Bruce R. McConkie:

These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers (Mormon Doctrine, 546-47; emphasis added).

Begotten in the same way as mortal men? In this same book McConkie declares:

God the Father is a perfected, glorified holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says (742).

In his book: The Mortal Messiah, McConkie utilizes the same term Talmage uses: “Sire.” McConkie writes:

She [Mary] shall conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and God himself shall be the sire. It is his Son of whom Gabriel is speaking. A son is begotten by a father: whether on earth or in heaven it is the same (1:319; emphasis added).

Family Home Evenings:

The Mormon Church also provides publications designed for the family. One such publication is: Family Home Evenings, copyrighted by the Corporation President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This booklet clearly represents the LDS view:

We must come down to the simple fact that God Almighty was the Father of His Son Jesus Christ. Mary, the virgin girl, who had never known mortal man, was his mother. God by her begot his Son Jesus Christ, and he was born into the world with power and intelligence like that of His Father… Now, my little friends, I will repeat again in words as simple as I can, and you talk to your parents about it, that God, the Eternal Father, is literally the father of Jesus Christ (125-126; 1972 ed. emphasis added).

Following this statement there is some pictorial artwork to help explain this doctrine to children. A figure of a man is drawn and under the man the title “Daddy” is placed and next to him a drawing of a woman with the title “Mommy” underneath. In between the figures “Daddy” and “Mommy” there is a + sign. From these two figures, pointing down, there are two arrows pointing to a drawing of a child with the title “You” underneath. Obviously, this diagram teaches children how they are conceived. Right below this diagram, there is another drawing. It’s the same diagram but the titles are changed. The title “Our Heavenly Father” is in place of the “Daddy” and the title “Mary” are in place of the “Mommy.” And guess who is in the place of the child figure titled “You?”—-you got it– “Jesus.”

Encyclopedia of Mormonism:

This four-volume set is a treasure for Mormons. It contains numerous statements and teachings from LDS scholars and General Authorities. And it is sold in most LDS bookstores.

For the Latter-day Saints, the paternity of Jesus is not obscure. He was the literal, biological son of an immortal, tangible Father and Mary, a mortal woman… Jesus is the only person born who deserves the title “the Only Begotten Son of God. . . .(under the subject title: Jesus Christ, emphasis added).

Latter-day Saints recognize Jesus as literally the Only Begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh… This title signifies that Jesus’ physical body was the offspring of a mortal mother and the eternal Father. . . . It is LDS doctrine that Jesus Christ is the child of Mary and God the Father, “not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof (ibid., emphasis added).

My primary reason for this rather lengthy list of citations is because of the simple fact: LDS doctrine is not determined by LDS apologists or BYU professors but by the General Authorities and “official” LDS Church publications. Again, this doctrine has been consistently taught by LDS General Authorities, and has never been denied by any General Authority.

So how does God the Father have physical relations with Mary? Answer: The Mormons teach: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 130:22). However, Scripture pointedly refutes the Mormon position:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost [lit. “she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit,” heurethe en gastri echousa ek pneumatos hagiou] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her public example, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 1:18-20).

Mormons have paganized the historic biblical doctrine of the Virgin Birth. To demonstrate that the LDS Church, has in fact, taught this doctrine is an extraordinarily effective way to show the Mormons that they are not in the true Church of Jesus Christ. Only God can open the eyes of the Mormon people to see the truth.

NOTES

Article by Kevin Barney of the LDS apologetic group, FARMS (Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research)

The Sexual Generation of Jesus

March 9, 2005
By Kevin Barney (of FARMS)
In the May 7th issue of The Christian Post, there is an article entitled “What Religious Beliefs are Shaping American Christians Today?” I noticed the following in that article:

“The journal features an article written by Cky Carrigan, national interfaith evangelism missionary with the North American Mission Board and visiting professor of missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. on the theology of Mormonism, one of the nation’s fastest-growing religious groups.

Carrigan’s article focuses on the Christology of Mormonism, which includes the atonement and the belief that Jesus Christ was born as the result of sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”

[As an aside, I’ve actually met and talked with Cky (pronounced like the Greek conjunction “kai”). He attended a FAIR Conference once in an admirable attempt to get his facts straight about what Mormons believe; several of us spent about two hours after dinner one night trying to help him avoid misrepresentations in his thesis.]

Anyway, what I want to focus on in this post is “the belief that Jesus Christ was born as the result of sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”

Critics of the Church of course love this scandalous nugget (some conflating it with the Adam-God Doctrine to have Adam having sexual intercourse with Mary). It is a commonplace in anti-Mormon literature and websites. And since on its face it appears blasphemous, we have a tendency to recoil from it, to be (overly?) defensive about it, and increasingly to reject it. My usual tack when asked about it is to point out that the idea is not now and never was doctrine; it was a speculation. It is not binding on anyone, and in fact my impression is that it has become very much a minority view in the Church, and that most Mormons do not accept this characterization of the physical generation of the mortal Jesus.

I will confess, however, that I actually like this idea. Maybe it is because I have a streak of old fashioned Mormonism somewhere inside me. But I find it appealing on several levels. First, there is a certain naturalism to the idea. I presume the mortal Jesus had 46 chromosomes, and that 23 came from Mary, but where did the other 23 come from? As a Mormon, I’m not big on the idea that they were created ex nihilo for this specific purpose. I like being able to say that Jesus really did have a father, not in a metaphorical sense only (the language of begetting in the creeds doesn’t mean literal begetting), but in a physical sense. He really was the Son of God.

I also find it fascinating that people see this idea as being so totally offensive. To me, that speaks not only to our radically different conception of God and man as being of the same species, our literalist notion of divine paternalism and our radical materialism, but also to our Puritan heritage. If it is so disgusting to suggest God sired a son by sexual intercourse, why, I wonder, did God ordain that to be the natural method by which we conceive our own children? Is that just some sort of a cosmic joke? Does God sit in yonder heavens and look down on his creatures and laugh at their disgusting and dirty and ridiculous actions? Isn’t it possible that, if God ordained sexual intercourse as the means by which we create children, that it is divinely appointed and not disgusting or dirty at all?

I freely concede that the old fashioned Mormon speculators didn’t think all the way through this idea, and there are theological loose ends, to be sure. But I am curious: does anyone else here kind of like this old notion, or is it Mormon materialism run amuck?

And whatever your opinions on the speculation itself, do you agree with me that it is a dying idea in Mormon thought, and that in another generation or two it will be completely dead?

“A false Church with No significant truths”

The Fundamental Difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics is this: Rome does not see salvation from start to finish as the work of the triune God alone. Thus, justification before God (salvation) is not through faith alone by God’s grace alone, but, as Rome teaches, salvation comes by faith + the meritorious works that a man must do (including unquestionable devotion to Rome and “worship” to Mary (in the form of “hyperdulia”)

Paul’s main thesis in Romans: God’s method of justification does not change. He offeres Abraham (pre-law) and David (under the law) as his chief examples: “God credits [logizetai] righteousness chōris ergōn (apart from works, Rom. 4:6).

Although Catholics, in their mind, do not give Mary latria (Gk. latreia) “worship” reserved to God alone, by giving her so-called dulia (Gk. douleia), that is, hyperdulia (hyper-service/enslavement), they functionally give her religious “worship,” which is reserved for God alone and prohibited by God, who commanded His people: “You shall not worship them or serve [Heb. avad] them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Exod. 20:5). In a religious context, Scripture makes no distinction between latreia and douleia – as Paul shows: “When you did not know God, you were slaves [douleuō] to those which by nature are no gods” (Gal. 4:8). Along with a functional “worship” to Mary, Rome asserts of her:

There can be no doubt . . . Mary was made mediatress of our salvation. . . . St. Bonaventure says that Mary is called “the gate of heaven because no one can enter that kingdom without passing through her . . . . Go to Mary, for she will intercede for thee with the Son. . . .” (St. Alphonsus Ligouri, The Glories of Mary, 160, 201–see below article on the Catholicism and the worship of Mary).

Rome denies that the work of Jesus Christ completely sufficient for salvation. That faith plus meritorious works must be employed for salvation (as Rome teaches) is, according to the Apostle Paul, Christological heresy (cf. Gal. 1:6-8)–it rejects the work of Christ and hence rejects the Person of the Son, Jesus Christ.

The Christ of Rome is Not a Diligent Savior; As Rome believes, He cannot keep baptized Christians In His Hand – they keep falling out – There is NO perseverance or Definite Atonement For anyone.

Rome’s doctrine of Purgatory, for example, is that when a Christian dies without un-forgiven mortal sins, but who retain either un-forgiven daily sins (viz. venial sins) or “temporal punishment” due for sins are “purged” before entering heaven, so as to be made perfect. In other words, they must suffer for these sins in a place of torment (not hell, though) to be, so to speak, “scrubbed up” (viz. purified) before they can dwell with God in heaven.

Thus, the work of Christ, according to Rome, is not completely sufficient to atone and *justify* a sinner–for one must suffer for his or her own atonement in order to become righteous (just) before God.

Though Scripture testifies in passages such as Hebrews 10:10-14

10:10: By his will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

10:11: And every priest stands day after day serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again – sacrifices that can never take away sins.

10:12: But when this priest had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand of God . . .

10:14: For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy.

Romans 5:1-2:

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory (NET; See Justification through Faith Alone).

As with Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, we must see Catholics as men and women in need of evangelism. One cannot biblically claim to be truly Christian and reject Christ as the sole means of salvation, justification through faith alone, and engage in creaturely worship.

A Biblical Perspective of Justification

Key issue: as noted below, the Greek verb dikaioō (“to justify”) does not have the lexical meaning of, “to make righteous,” as if the sinner is subjectively made righteousness (as in Catholicism). On the contrary, it denotes a declarative act of God pronouncing the guilty sinner innocent (cf. note 4 below).

The Apostle Paul’s epistle to the church at Galatia was specifically an anti-Judaizer polemic. Paul was very concerned as to the pervading heresy of the Judaizers. The Judaizers taught that “faith in Christ” was not enough. Hence, one had to add the Old Testament ordinances, especially circumcision, and the keeping of the ethical and ceremonial laws, to the finished work of Christ:

Some men came from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom [Law] of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1; cf. Gal. 2:1ff.).

This kind of teaching, in the apostles’ mind, was not a doctrinal on the rim issue. By teaching that man must co-operate with God’s grace by adding works (any works) to his faith, the Judaizers stripped Jesus’ atonement of its efficacy. So toxic was the works/salvation doctrine of the Judaizers that the apostle wasted no time (from his opening statement) in sharply anathematizing (i.e., pronouncing a divine curse) men and even angels from heaven who might promulgate it:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed [anathema]! As we have said, before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Gal. 1:6-9; emphasis added).

Paul never gets tired impressing to the Galatians: justification is through faith alone; i.e., faith apart from, without, modifications or additions of works:

knowing the a man is not justified by the works [ex ergōn, lit. “from works”] of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified (Gal. 2:16; emphasis added).

You foolish Galatians, who as bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you; did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? . . . Even Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Gal. 3:1-3, 6; emphasis added).Paul further declares that it is dia tēs pisteōs (lit. “through the faith”) alone that enables one to be adopted as a son of God.

For you are all sons of God through faith [dia tēs pisteōs] in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized [i.e., unified, see above] into Christ have clothed yourself with [eis] Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; emphasis added).

Romans 4:4-8

It becomes increasingly clear as one works through the Pauline corpus that salvation by grace alone through faith alone is clearly the theological starting point for the apostle. Scripture is clear: the righteousness of Christ is the sole ground of justification (man excluded), and the sole means is faith alone apart from works. There is no shortage of passages that that clearly define this divine truth. Since a detailed analysis of each passage is beyond the scope of this work, it is enough to highlight a few where this grand them of justification by faith is presented. For example, in Romans 4:4-8, we read

Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessings on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT” (NASB).

Consider the following:

1. In verse 4, Paul explains that wages from works are not credited as a gift or a favor; but “what is due.” The literal rendering is even clearer: “Now the working one, the reward is not reckoned [or “imputed,” logizetai] according to grace [charin, Paul’s normal word for “grace”], but according to debt [misthos].” In other words, if an employer, after giving a paycheck to the employee, says, “Thanks a lot, here is your gift,” the employee would object stating that he or she “earned” (worked for) those wages! Exactly the argument Paul makes here: wages are the result or reward from works (viz. “what is due.”). In verse 5, he contrasts “wages” that one earns by works, with being “credited” or imputed as righteousness by faith (or “belief”) alone—apart from additions or modifications. This contrast cannot be missed: works vs. faith.

2. Paul presents a contrast between the working man as seen above and the man who does not work, but has faith: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him . . . his faith is credited as righteousness.” The same participle is used for both verses 4 and 5. But Paul inserts a negation in verse 5:

v. 4: tō de ergazomenō (lit. “but the one working”).

v. 5: tō de mē ergazomenō (lit. “but the not working one”).

It is God, Paul says, “who justifies the ungodly.” The righteousness of Christ was imputed to the sinner’s account when they were justified and the sinner’s sins were imputed to Christ in His sacrificial death upon the cross over 2,000 years ago (cf. Rom. 5:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:19-21).

3. In verse 6, Paul now shows that David understood that “God credits righteousness apart from works [chōris ergōn; emphasis added].” Thus, verse 6 literally reads: “Blessed is the man to whom God imputes or credits righteousness without works [theos logizetai dikaiosunen choris ergon].” Again, Paul does not here limit works only to “works of the Law” (a Catholic assertion). Please note once again, Paul does not even here the phrase ho nomos (“the law”), but ergōn (“works”)—any works (cf. Rom. 5:1; Eph.2:8; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 3:5-7).

To avoid the plain and straightforwardness of Romans 4:4ff., some would appeal to Ephesians 2:10 (“created . . . for good works”). However, in the Ephesians passage Paul is simply teaching that salvation is chariti, (“by grace”), and dia pisteōs (“through faith”), and ouk ex ergōn (lit. “not from works”; 2:9). Hence, works are the result (not the cause) of genuine faith (as pointed out above). The Apostle James draws the same point: genuine faith does not result in a deedless life.

4. Then Paul quotes David (Psalm 32:1-2) in verses 7 and 8: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” When the sinner is justified through faith, he or she is legally declared: not guilty![1] Justification is a one-time declarative act in which God pronounces the sinner just or righteous. God does not count their trespasses against them (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19). Note the strong and specific language that Paul uses in verse 8. “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (emphasis added).

Many times the full import of particular passages is lost in translations, which is the case here. In first century Greek, there were several ways to negate (i.e., to say “no”) something. Each way had its own, to some extent, nuance. The strongest possible way, however, to deny or negate a future possibility was to use the double negative (ou mē) followed by an aorist subjunctive verb (i.e., generally, a verb of possibility). This construction was only used about eighty–five times in the New Testament. In verse 8, Paul uses this construction: “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account [ou mē logisētai; emphasis added].” The NIV reads, “whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Paul is denying that there is even a possibility (due to the aorist subjunctive verb logisētai [“take into account” or “count”]) that the Lord will count sins against the one justified. This same construction (i.e., double negative + the aorist subjunctive) is used in John 10:28:

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow me and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish [ou mē apolōntai]; and no one can snatch them out of my hand (vv. 27-28; emphasis added; cf. Deut. 32:39).[2]

There is not, Jesus says emphatically, even a possibility, of His sheep ever perishing. Jesus uses the double negative construction to emphasize that the eternal life that He gives is not dependent on man’s self-determination, for man can fail. But rather, eternal life is the promise to those who He has justified, to those whose sins will never be counted against them, to those who have been imputed with the righteousness of Christ to their account. They are declared righteous and they, by no means, will ever perish—not even a possibility!

To be sure, the Apostle Paul saw justification as an essential and fundamental to true biblical Christianity. To deny justification through faith alone (viz. without additions or modifications) was the same as denying the deity of Christ! This is clearly seen in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. As we have seen above, the main purpose of Paul’s letter was to pointedly refute the heresy of the Judaizers (cf. Acts 15:1ff.; Gal. 1:6ff.). To add to God’s work—is to add to Scripture. “Who,” Paul rhetorically asks, “will bring a charge against God’s elect? . . . who is the one who condemns? . .” (Rom. 8:33-34).[3] Therefore, how can anyone undo the work of God? It is God alone, who declares the sinner eternally righteous, and hence justified.

 

Romans 5:1

Therefore having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).

Paul constantly taught that justification comes not by works, formulas, or laws, but rather, a man is declared rightness before God through faith alone. Paul was theologically precise as to how the sinner is justified before the presence of God. Notice first that the sinner having been justified has peace with God. The participle dikaiōthentes, translated “having been justified,” is the aorist passive of dikaioō.[4] Grammatically, the aorist here tells us that the action of the participle dikaiōthentes (“having been justified”) was a past action (as rendered in most translations). Furthermore, the participle is in the passive voice. This indicates that the action of being justified was not by the sinner in any way (otherwise the verb would be in the active voice), but rather the justification was done to the sinner, in the past, which was solely a divine act of God (cf. Rom. 8:33). Thus, the ones having been justified now “have [echomen][5] peace [eirēnēn][6] with God [pros ton theon]” (emphasis added).

It is not the action or work of the sinner, which then results in justification, rather, Paul, simply affirms it is ek pisteōs (“through faith”). This is important to realize, that if Paul thought that “water baptism” or “works” were an aspect or a requirement of justification, he could have easily modified the clause to say, “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, baptism, and works, then let us have peace with God” (as in UPCI soteriology). Hence, “faith alone” is simply faith without additions or modifications. Justification is never deemed as a reward for meritorious works or performance, rather it is said to be a gift,[7] which cannot be earned. Paul was clear and consistent in all of his letters: justification is through faith alone, “apart from” works, any works. This is wonderful news. By faith alone the one God regenerated (“made alive”) has been legally declared righteous (justified) in the sight of God, whereby has present active and continuous peace, that is, final and permanent reconciliation and fellowship with God. In his solid exegesis of Romans, Wuest can say of this beautiful passage:

The word “therefore” reaches back to the contents of chapter four—therefore being justified, not by works (1-8), not by ordinances (9-12), not by obedience (13-25), but by faith, we have peace. The first three never give peace to the soul. Faith does . . . The context is didactic. It contains definite statements of fact. It is highly doctrinal in nature. It has to do with a sinner’s standing before God in point of law, not his experience. As Denney [James Denney, D. D.] says; “The justified have peace with God, . . . His wrath (1:18) no longer threatens them; they are accepted in Christ. It is not a change in their feelings which is indicated, but a change in God’s relation to them.[8]

Paul announces to the Christians at Ephesus: “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” (Eph. 2:8; emphasis added). “If it is by grace,” Paul says, “it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom. 11:6). Contrary to a faith + works = salvation soteriology, which groups such as the ICC, UPCI, LDS, JWs, Catholic Church, etc. hold to, Scripture presents that justification is through faith alone without any mention of additions or modifications such as the necessity of water baptism: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” the jailer asked, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). 

How are sins forgiven? Scripture is clear:

Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes on Him receives forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43; emphasis added).

Let us pause and think; why is it that over and over the New Testament teaches that eternal salvation is explicitly tied to faith or belief alone with no mention of water baptism if, in fact, water baptism was essential to one’s salvation?[9] Paul’s own statement refutes the notion that water baptism was an indispensable means of salvation: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:17).

Water Baptism: a Deed of Righteousness

In Scripture, water baptism is defined as an “act” or deed “to fulfill [not to receive] righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Yet, Paul clearly refutes this idea:

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:5-6; emphasis added).

Again, the question to a Mormon or Roman Catholic (or any baptismal regenerationist whose church denies justification by faith alone) is this: “Can one walk in your church and be saved by faith/belief in Christ Jesus alone, without being water baptized in the name of Jesus?”[10] For these groups mention above, the answer is categorically: No. The most important issue that every man must deal with can be summed up in this question: “How is a man justified before God?” Is that not the question of the ages, from the first man to the present? How can man be reconciled to God? How can man be declared not guilty in the sight of a perfect God? I think we would do well to allow Jesus Christ, the authority on the matter, to answer:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).

Before leaving this verse, it would be wise to breathe in the grammatical significance of the words of Christ. Starting with the first clause: “He who hears [akouōn] My word, and believes [pisteuōn] Him who sent Me. . . .” The participle akouōn (“who hears”) is in the present tense, and the active voice. The participle pisteuōn (“believes”) is a present active participle. Note that both participles verbs are in the present tense, literally: “the one hearing and the one believing.”

Then the phrase: “has eternal life.” The verb echei (“has”) is the singular present active indicative of echō. The indicative mood of the verb indicates a clear presentation of certainty that the event will happen (i.e., “eternal life”). And because echei is in the present tense, it indicates that the one believing (apart from any works) possesses de facto eternal life presently and continuously. For this reason, those (the believing ones) will never come into God’s wrath and judgment (see John 10:28).

We now come to the last clause of the passage: “but has passed out of death into life.” The Greek verb metabebēken (“has passed”) is a perfect tense.[11] The perfect tense indicates a completed action that normally occurred in the past, which has continuous results into the present.[12] Hence, the reason as to why the one believing “does not come into judgment” is because he “has passed out” of perfectly, completely spiritual death. Therefore, the full force of what Jesus was literally saying can be translated:

He who presently and continuously hears My word and believes Me (who I am), I promise that he will presently and continuously possess, without end, eternal life, that is, salvation. And he will never come into condemnation. He has, in times past, been called to be declared righteous (justified) and then to be glorified, whereby passing out of death into life.[13]

Christian water baptism is never even a subject of discussion in John’s gospel. The main theme of the apostle was (a) the full deity of Jesus Christ (e.g., 1:1; 18, 8:24, 58; 20:28; etc.) and (b) eternal life/salvation (e.g., 1:12; 3:16; 6:37-40, 47; 10:27-29; etc.). Never once in John’s gospel is salvation connected to Christian water baptism. Salvation is exclusively by faith/belief alone. If water baptism were in fact an indispensable means of salvation as baptismal regenerationists teaches, you would think that John or Jesus would have taught it—at least once. That water baptism, circumcision, ordinances, rituals, ceremonial or ethical old covenant laws, or any works for that matter, adds (or is a part of) to one’s justification places one firmly under the anathema of the apostle: cursed by God. In the end, looking at all the non-Christian cults and world religions we do find doctrinal harmony on at least two points. The first, of course, is that they all reject Jesus Christ as eternal God, that is, they deny the doctrine of the Trinity in some way or other. And second, they all attack and deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Hence, they add some kind of creaturely work to their system of salvation.

Yes indeed, it is difficult for mere man to comprehend that through faith alone God freely justifies the sinner. However, we cannot rely on our faulty emotions to test truth. For, in spite of, our limited, finite, conventional wisdom and understanding, the Apostle Paul, who wrote as the Holy Spirit enabled him, declares:

Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works. . . . (Rom. 4:4-6; emphasis added; cf. John 6:47; 10:28-29; Rom. 5:1; 8:1; Eph. 2:8).

The Final Question

How is a man justified before God whereby his sins are forgiven? The baptismal regenerationists’ response is clear: repentance, water baptism (and for the UPCI: baptized in the name of Jesus” with the evidence of speaking in tongues),[14] and living by strict biblical obedience, and only to those is salvation achieved. In sharp contrast, Scripture does tell us clearly how a man is justified before God: “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes on Him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43; emphasis added).

Therefore having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1; emphasis added).

NOTES

[1] In Romans 8:28ff., Paul employs legal terms to underscore the status of the justified: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” (v. 33); “Who is the one who will condemn?” (v. 34); “who [Jesus] also intercedes for us” (v. 34). These terms (“charge,” “condemn,” and “intercedes”) were used in court proceedings in the first century. Hence, Paul’s Roman audience would have understood clearly, as to what he was communicating.

[2] Jesus also uses the same construction in John 6:37: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out [ou mē ekbalō; emphasis added].”

[3] Cf. n. 35 above.

[4] The term “righteous” and “just” are translated form the same Greek word: dikaios (adj.), dikaiosunē (noun), and the dikaioō (verb). The noun dikaiosunē simply means the “quality or state of judicial correctness with focus on redemptive action, righteousness” (Walter Bauer’s, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed., ed. and rev. by Frederick W. Danker [Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000], 247). Commenting on forensic nature of the term in the OT, Protestant apologist James R. White notes:

In the Old Testament, the term “to justify” is often used in the judicial sense, that is, in the context of the court of law [e.g., Exod. 23:7; Deut. 25:1; Prov. 17:15; Isa. 5:23]. . . . Because the doctrine of justification by faith says justification is something God does based upon the work of Christ: it is a forensic declaration, not something that involves a subjective change of the believer (James R. White, The God who Justifies [Bethany House, 2001], 77, 79).

It should also be noted that the verb dikaioō does not mean, “to make” righteous as if the sinner is subjectively made righteousness (as in Catholicism). On the contrary, it denotes a declarative act of God pronouncing the guilty sinner innocent. As Lutheran scholar Leon Morris rightly explains:

How can the death of Christ change the verdict on sinners from “Guilty” to Innocent”? Some have said in effect, “It is by changing the guilty, by transforming them so that they are no longer bad people, but good ones. No one will want to minimize the transformation that takes place in a true conversion or to obscure the fact that this is an important part of being a Christian. However, such a transformation does not fit the justification terminology. It is sometimes argued that the verb normally translated “to justify” (dikiaoō) means “to make righteous” rather than “to declare righteous.” But this agrees neither with the word’s formation nor with its usage. Verbs ending in–oō and referring to moral qualities have a declarative sense; they do not mean “to make—.” And the usage is never for the transformation of the accused; it always refers to a declaration of his innocence (Leon Morris, New Testament Theology, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986], 70).

[5] The verb echomen (“have”) is the present active indicative of echō. However, there is a textual variant concerning echomen (omicron [echomen] or omega [echōmen]?). Note that the majority rendering is the hortatory subjunctive echōmen (“let us have peace”). Even though the subjunctive is possible, I do not see it as contextually probable. Moreover, all the evidence considered suggests the present indicative as the greater witness (cf. Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition, [New York: United Bible Societies, 1994], 169-70; James R. White, The God who Justifies [Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001], 237, n. 8). Greek exegete Kenneth Wuest explains further:

The context is didactic. It contains definite statements of facts. It is highly doctrinal in nature. It has to do with the sinners standing before God in point of law, not his experience. . . . Furthermore, there is a difference between having peace with God and having the peace of God in the heart. The first has to do with justification and the second with sanctification. The first is the result of a legal standing, the second, the result of the work of the Holy Spirit. The first is static, never fluctuates, the second changes from hour to hour. The first, every Christian has, the second, every Christian may have. The first, every Christian has as a result of justification. What sense would there be in exhorting Christians to have peace when they already possess it? The entire context is one of justification. Paul does not reach the subject of sanctification until 5:12-21 where he speaks of positional sanctification and 6:1-8:27 where he deals with progressive sanctification (Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament, 76-77).

[6] The peace is the present possession of all who have been justified. The peace is the blessed result of what true justification is: abiding shalom with God Himself. No more enmity, no more hostility!

[7] Eternal life is never classified in the NT as misthon (“a reward” to the elect; cf. Rom. 4:4), but always as charisma (“a gift”).

[8] Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament, 75-76.

[9] E.g., John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; Acts 10:43; 16:30-31; Romans 4:4-11; 5:1; 10:9-13; Galatians 3:2-3; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5-7; and 1 John 5:1, 11-13.

[10] Note, other than water baptism, “in the name of Jesus,” the UPCI teaches its followers that unless they speak in tongues they do not have the Holy Spirit and hence NO salvation. Their assertion is usually derived solely from the narrative accounts in Acts. It should be noted however that there are only three explicit references of the tongues phenomena in Acts: 2:1-4; 10:44-48; and 19:6. It is a hermeneutical error to take a narrative and force it to become a teaching. This violates the hermeneutical principle of the priority of didactic as defined in this chapter above. In point of fact, we read in the Acts account of many converts who were water baptized or said to have been “filled” with the Spirit and yet no mention of tongues (e.g., 2:37-41; 4:31; 6:3-6; 11:24). In fact, there are at least forty times that the Bible mentioned people as being “filled with,” “baptized in,” “fallen upon by,” “come upon by”, “poured upon by” the Spirit, and only three verses explicitly mention tongues (cf. Beisner, “Jesus Only” Churches, 64).In Ephesians 5:18 the Apostle Paul commands to “be filled with the Spirit” (en pneumati). However, grammatically en (“with”) followed by the dative case pneumati (“Spirit”) does not indicate content, but rather means (cf. Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 162, 372-75).

Hence: “be filled by means of the Spirit.” Further, Paul then characterizes the results of being filled: “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks . . . subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Grammatically, these characteristics above are participles of result. Hence, they indicate the results of being filled by means of the Spirit—wherein tongues are not mentioned. The point is that Scripture knows nothing of the idea that the sole evidence of being filled, baptized, indwelled, empowered, etc. with/by the Holy Spirit is the gift of speaking in tongues. If tongues were the sole evidence, then Paul would not have taught that the gift of tongues is not bestowed on all (cf. 1 Cor. 12:30; note here the negation mē: “all do not [] speak in tongues” (emphasis added). The negation expects a negative answer: “No.” Hence, this passage is of no comfort for those who insist that Paul there was speaking of a different tongue, not the “gift.” Paul nowhere in his letters makes this distinction. Further, Paul taught that “all” Christians were baptized (by Christ) by means of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13; note the double usage of pantes [“all”]).

[11] Specifically, metabebēken is the perfect active indicative of metabainō.

[12] The perfect tense “indicates a completed action whose effects are felt in the present. The action normally occurred in the past” (William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993], 218-19). It denotes a “present state resulting from a past action” (Harold J. Greenly, A Concise Exegetical Grammar of New Testament Greek, 5th ed. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986], 50). The import of the perfect tense can be seen in 1 John 4:2: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus has come [elēluthota] in the flesh is from God.” Thus, verb translated “has come” (elēluthota) is in the perfect tense; literally: “has come and remains in the flesh.” John’s letters (1 and 2), as with Paul’s letter to the Colossians, were a pointed refutation against the Docetic Gnostics (cf. chap. 2, n. 27) who denied that Jesus became flesh. Hence, John’s main refutation was made clear: Jesus has come and even remains (utilizing the perfect tense, elēluthota) in the flesh forever more (cf. 2 John 7).

[13] See also John 6:47; 1 John 5:12 where the present active indicative echei is utilized to indicate the certainty of one’s salvation.

[14] Ibid.

It is fair to say that most Christians, including major Christian leaders and popular TV preachers (esp. those on TBN) see the Roman Catholic Church (hereafter RCC) as merely another *Christian* denomination. Mainly due to (a) a lack of theological understanding of essential biblical doctrines such as justification, (b) a lack of understanding as to what the RCC teaches on essential doctrines, and (c) a false perception of the RCC because of the humanitarian and “good works” preformed by Catholics.[1] What is seemly clear, unfortunately, is that most Christians have never objectively investigated nor studied the distinctive theology of the RCC (let alone studied the *fundamental* doctrines of their own faith!).

I will say at the onset, though, and as others have pointed out, there are really two categories, biblically speaking, that the RCC can fall under:

1 The RCC is a true church with significant errors, or

2. The RCC is a false church with significant truths (e.g., monotheism, the virgin birth, the physical resurrection of Christ, the incarnation, etc.).

However, anyone who has done even a cursory examination of the “official teachings” (ex cathedra)[2] of the RCC will see plainly and in fact that the RCC rejects categorically essential biblical doctrines such as justification through faith alone and Christ as the sole means of salvation and mediation (to name a few). And, of course, they reject the sufficiency of Scripture alone. For the Catholic: the teachings of Rome are correct because Rome says they are. As seen, in 1870 (Vatican I) Pope Pius IX proclaimed: “I am tradition” and hence, the RCC’s doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope (ex cathedra)[3] emerged.

For the Catholic, only the RCC has the authority to interpret the Bible. As Vatican II affirms, “The task of authentically interpreting the Word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church” (Vatican II, Dei Verbum). Catholics are taught, therefore, that only the RCC can “correctly” interpret Scripture and define tradition.[4] Consequently, since the RCC is the *ultimate authority* there can be no higher authority or standard that can test the claims of the RCC since no higher authority can exist.

Mary of Nazareth

Scripture contains only a limited amount of information about Mary. However, she was, indeed, a very special woman. For God chose her among the women of the earth to bear the Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet, she saw herself as being in the same category with other believers, as she herself expressed, “my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47). She was a faithful, obedient, godly woman. Regardless of the limited biblical data, the RCC improperly exalts and even worships her, as clearly shown below. Aside from that, other Catholic Marian doctrines should be briefly mentioned (most of which developed throughout the centuries)[5] such as the Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception and Mary’s sinless life, Mary as the Mother of God, Our Queen of Heaven, Our Salvation, Co-Redemptrix, Co-Mediatrix, Our Advocate,[6] the Bodily Assumption of Mary; etc. Mary, the object of Catholic Worship. Space precludes here to treat every doctrine of the RCC, however, some of the RCC’s key theological teachings regarding Mary should be revealed.

Many Protestants accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary, in which Catholics normally respond by saying, “Not at all, worship is to God alone, which we call latria (from the Greek verb latreuō, “to worship, honor” ), but to Mary and the saints we give “veneration,” which we call dulia” (from the Greek verb douleuō, “to serve”).

So, to avoid the charge of worshiping Mary (in the same sense as worshiping God), the RCC has developed (again, throughout the years) a doctrinal scheme that distinguishes two kinds of worship: latria (Gk. latreia)[7] meaning, “honor,” which is to God alone and dulia (Gk. duleia) meaning, “servitude” (veneration), which is given to the saints; however, Mary is to receive “hyper-dulia,” which is the highest form of dulia. In this way, Catholics can avert the charge of idolatry when they pray to Mary and the saints and bow before statues while reciting the Rosary.

But is this distinction of between latria and dulia biblically valid? Does Scripture permit and even teach that Christians should give dulia to creatures and hyperdulia to Mary in a religious context? Absolutely not! Praying to Mary (and the saints) bowing before statues of her, giving her “hyperdulia” is pure idolatry, hence, creaturely worship. Note the following:

1. Three forms of the same thing–which is functional “worship: latria, which is the highest form of worship—reserved for God alone, dulia, which is given to saints, and hyperdulia (the highest form of dulia), which is given to Mary.

2. But, as John Calvin accurately observed, in Scripture the distinction between latria and dulia “is somewhat blurred.” (Institutes, I:12:2). Although, if this distinction is granted, then, as Calvin stated,

“it is greater to be enslaved [dulia] than to honor [latria]. For it would very often be hard for you to be enslaved to one whom you are not unwilling to honor. Thus it would be unequal dealing to assign to the saints what is greater [dulia] and leave to God what is lesser [latria]” (ibid.).

His point was clear: what is given to the saints and Mary (dulia, servitude) is of greater value than what is given to God (latria, honor).

3. Regarding idols and false gods, God commands in Exodus 20:5: “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” The term translated “serve” is from the Hebrew word abad. The “most frequent English translation of the term is ‘to serve.’”[8] In fact, both “to serve” and “worship” are translated from the same word, abad in many places in the OT.[9] Further, the Septuagint (LXX)[10] translates abad as both douleuō/duleia and latreuō/latreia. Thus, there no distinction made between the terms in the context of religious worship—to give dulia is to give latria.

In Galatians 4:8, Paul says, “when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.” The phrase “were slaves” (or “you served”) is from the verb douleuō.[11] Paul was clear: “to serve” (i.e., to give dulia) anyone other than God in a religious context[12] is wrong—it is idolatry.

Hence, when Catholics pray to the Mary (and the saints, which is clearly an act or religious worship), bow before statues, give Mary hyperdulia, etc., they are doing the very thing in which God prohibits. Thus, we must see Catholics as men and women in need of evangelism. Aside from rejecting Christ alone as the sole means of salvation, justification through faith alone, and Scripture alone as the sole authoritative rule of faith, Catholics engage in creaturely worship.

Although Catholics, in their mind, do not give Mary “worship” reserved to God alone. However, by giving her so-called dulia, that is, hyperdulia (hyper-service/enslavement), they functionally give her religious “worship,” which is reserved for God alone and prohibited by God, who commanded His people:

“You shall not worship them or serve [Heb. abad] them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Exod. 20:5).

“When you did not know God, you were slaves [douleuō] to those which by nature are no gods” (Gal. 4:8).

Notes

[1] There are other issues that influence many Christians to assume automatically that the RCC is a true Christian church. For example, Mel Gibson is applaud and thus assumed as *Christian* by many Christians and prolific Christian voices such as James Dobson for his recent movie, The Passion. But Gibson is a *traditionalist* Catholic. “Traditionalists” hold strictly to only Vatican I rejecting Vatican II (1962) mainly because of various changes implemented by Vatican II. However, they hold tenaciously to the same heresies as that of the modern RCC (esp. Marian worship, rejection of justification through faith alone, etc.) and affirm the pre-Vatican II RCC’s teaching that “there is no salvation outside the RCC” (extra Ecclesia, nullus salus): “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215); “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Pope Boniface VIII, papal bull, Unam Sanctam, 1302).

[2] Ex Cathedra (lit., “from the chair) was proclaimed as Catholic dogma in 1870. See Pope Boniface’s statement above.

[3] See note 2 above.

[4] *Tradition* is basically the writings of the early church Fathers. Even though there existed thousands of traditions many upon which were in disagreement among church Fathers (such as the Matt. 16:18 interpretation), Catholics must believe without question (fides implicita) how Rome defines tradition. Further, the RCC teaches that “Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence” (Catechism of the Church, para. 82).

[5] Example, the Catholic doctrine of the Assumption of Mary was not officially pronounced (ex cathedra) until 1950!

[6] Accurately explaining the official Catholic teaching regarding Mary as Our Queen, Our Life, Our Hope, Our Mediatress, Our Advocate, and Our Salvation, etc., St. Alphonsus Ligouri, who was a “canonized saint” designated as a “Doctor of the Church” writes in his renowned book, The Glories of Mary:

for as angels and men . . . are subject to the empire of God, so are they also under the dominion of Mary” (36).

There can be no doubt . . . Mary was made mediatress of our salvation. . . . St. Bonaventure says that Mary is called “the gate of heaven because no one can enter that kingdom without passing through her . . . . Go to Mary, for she will intercede for thee with the Son. . . .” (160, 201).

the clients of Mary will be saved. . . . And St. Bonaventure [says]: “He who neglects the service of the blessed Virgin will die in his sins.” Again, “He who does not invoke thee, O Lady, will never get to heaven” (210, 221-22).

Both Vatican I and II confirm these Marian teachings. For example, a major document that come from the Second Vatican Council (1962), entitled, Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, proclaims in unambiguous terms these outrageous Marian doctrines (viz. sections fifty-second—sixty-ninth) such as when Mary was “Taken up to heaven . . . by her manifold intersession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin Mary is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix” (sec. 62).

[7] Latreia (latreian) is translated as “service of worship” (NASB) in Romans 12:1.

[8] Cf. James White, The Roman Catholic Controversy, 210).

[9] The English translators determine whether to translate abad as “to serve” or “worship.” For there is no difficulty understanding the meaning in Hebrew—both “to serve” and “worship” are united under the same term—abad, “you cannot separate the two” (ibid.). In Exodus 20:5 of the LXX (see note below), the term “serve” is from latreuō—thus, both latria and dulia mean the same thing (esp. in religious contexts).

[10] The Septuagint (LXX) was the Greek translation of the OT.

[11] The noun being duleia.

[12] Of course, there are places in Scripture where men honored and served others, but it was never in a religious context. For when Cornelius bowed before Peter, Peter rightly stopped him saying, “I too am just a man” (Acts 10:25-26).

 

Spanish version here

Roman Catholicism is the largest “professing” Christian denomination worldwide with over a billion members. In spite of the numbers, as pointed out many times before, the Roman Catholic Church is a false church embracing many teachings that sharply oppose “essential” biblical doctrine. Some of Rome’s anti-biblical teachings include Purgatory (which is a flat out denial of the sufficiency and infallible work of Christ alone); the worship of Mary (as well as other false Marian doctrines); and Rome’s denial of justification through “faith alone.”

It is unfortunate that many Christian leaders, who are either afraid and/or unaware of the basic teachings of Catholicism, stay utterly silent on the issue; or, even worst, they endorse the Catholic Church as a true Christian church! What happened to the divine command of Jude 3: “Contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all handed down to the saints”?

 

The “Rock” of Matthew 16:18

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

This passage is the so-called hallmark proof-text that Rome uses to teach that Peter was the “rock” (and thus, the first “Pope”) upon which Christ built His church. This notion also spawned other false Catholic doctrines such as the “infallibility” of the Pope when speaking, ex cathedra—“from the throne”)[1]: We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Pope Boniface VIII, papal bull, Unam Sanctam, A.D. 1302; emphasis added).

However, as with any text of Scripture, to arrive at a correct interpretation of the intended meaning, one must engage in a proper exegesis of that text. Hence, for any interpretation to be “biblically” accurate, it must be exegetically justified. Before examining this text in detail, we must consider two important points in Jesus’ response to Peter.

1. Peter’s confession was of divine origin, thus, not of himself: “flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (cf. Phil. 1:29)[2], and, as we will argue,

2. According to Jesus, Peter’s confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” is “the rock,” upon which Jesus will build His church. Conversely, Rome asserts that the “rock” upon which Jesus will build His church is the Apostle Peter, not his confession. This erroneous interpretation can be shown as (a) exegetically false and (b) historically problematic.

Exegetically. The phrase in question reads: kagō de soi legō hoti su ei Petros kai epi tautē tē petra oikodomēsō mou tēn ekklēsian (lit., “I also and to you say that you are Peter and upon this the rock I will build My [the] church”). Note the following: 

The context, which surrounds Jesus’ statement to Peter in verse 18, starts in verses 13-15 with Jesus’ question to His disciples regarding His identity: “But who do you say that I am?” It is Peter’s response (v. 16), that is, his confession of who Jesus is (“the Messiah, the Son of the living God”) that prompts Jesus’ statement to Peter.

“You” vs this the rock.” The singular second person personal pronoun, su (“you”) is in direct reference. Thus, Jesus here is directly addressing Peter: “I also say to you that you [su] are Peter.” Thus, Jesus said to him, not about him. Whereas the pronoun tautē (“upon this rock”) is a demonstrative pronoun, which has a third person significance,[3] that is, it is in indirect address. “Indirect,” in that Jesus is not directly addressing or speaking to the rock, but rather He is speaking to Peter: “You [su] *direct address] are Peter[4] and upon this [epi tautē, indirect address] rock I will build My church.”

Hence, the text differentiates between Peter, to whom Jesus is directly addressing and the “rock,” to which is indirectly addressed (“upon this rock”). If Jesus had meant what modern-day Catholics assert, He simply would have stated: “Upon you [su] I will build My church” or “You Peter are the rock,” but He did not. Rather, as the text literally reads: “upon this the rock [epi tautē tē petra] I will build My (the) church.” Main point: the indirect reference, “this the rock” (lit.), therefore, is other than the direct reference, Peter, who is being directly addressed in the preceding phrase—, which is also clear in the immediate context. Roman Catholics, however, cannot accept any doctrine contrary to the “infallible” position (ex cathedra) of their Ultimate Authority—Rome.

Historically. Most Roman Catholics are not aware of the historical research done by Roman Catholic Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick regarding the early church’s view of Matthew 16:18. Archbishop Kenrick prepared a paper on this subject, which was to be delivered to Vatican I (1870). However, it was never delivered, but it was published later, along with other insights.[5] He points out the 5 interpretations, which Fathers of antiquity held to: 1) Peter as the Rock, 17 Fathers, 2) all the apostles, 8 Fathers, 3) that the church was built on the faith that Peter confessed, 44 Fathers, including the most important Fathers, 4) Jesus as the Rock, 16 Fathers, and 5) all Christians were the living stones, held by very few Fathers. Kenrick rightfully concludes:    

“If we are bound to follow the majority of the Fathers in this thing, then we are bound to hold for certain that the rock should be understood as the faith professed by Peter, not Peter professing the faith.”

Thus, only 20% of the Fathers held to Rome’s now canonized “infallible” “Petrine Rock” interpretation of Matthew 16:18. That is far from being the norm of the early church. As Roman Catholic apologist, H. Burn-Murdock admits: “None of the writings of the first two centuries describe St. Peter as a bishop of Rome.”[6] In fact, no one before Callistus (A.D. 223) used Matthew 16:18 to support the primacy of the Roman bishop (i.e., “Pope” as Rome call it)—no one.

The church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea (A.D. 263-339), sees the “rock” as Christ. He links this interpretation with the parallel rock and foundation statements of 1 Corinthians 3:11 and 10:4. Sharing this view (Christ as the Rock) was Augustine. In fact, he commented more on Matthew 16:18 than any other church Father. It is true that at the beginning of his ministry, he saw Peter as the Rock. However, he changed his position throughout the balance of his ministry in which he adopted the view that the Rock was not Peter, but either Christ or Peter’s confession, which pointed to the Person of Christ:

Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter’s confession. What is Peter’s confession? ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ There’s the rock for you, there’s the foundation, there’s where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer (Sermons, XI, Sermon 229, 327). 

What has been demonstrated over and over is that Roman Catholics do not engage in critical exegesis when interpreting Scripture, nor do they objectively examine the patristic (church Fathers) record, not because Catholics lack the ability, but because they do not need to—for Rome has already provided the “infallible” interpretation for them. Thus, for the Catholic: Rome’s interpretations are correct, because Rome says they are.

However, the following points seriously challenge Rome’s position of the so-called Primacy of Peter and him being the first Pope of Rome:

1) There is no biblical evidence indicating that Peter had supremacy over all the other apostles.

2) Peter never once considered that he was Pope, Pontiff; Vicar of Christ, Holy Father, or Head of the whole Christian Church, nor did any of the other apostles make such as claim.

3) Peter outwardly denied the Lord (out of fear) and Peter was rebuked by the Apostle Paul for being prejudice against the Gentiles (cf. Gal. 2:11-12).

4) At the first church council in Jerusalem (not Rome), it was James and not Peter who was the leading speaker and decision maker, for James authoritatively declared: “It is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles. . . .” (Acts 15:19). Moreover, the letter that was sent out regarding the judgment never mentions Peter (cf. v. 23).

5) At the end of Romans, Paul sends his greetings to at least 26 people—but Peter is not even mentioned! Why? Surely, if Peter had “recognized supremacy” over Rome and all the apostles, we would expect Paul to have greeted him first!

6) Peter was a married man, unlike the Roman Popes (cf, Matt. 8:14; 1 Cor. 9:5).

These are but a few of the many valid objections to Rome’s position. Simply, there is no place in the NT where Peter acted as “Pope,” or as the “supreme leader” or “head” of the apostles and the church. Quite the opposite is true. Paul says that the Christian church has “been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). The Christian confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God is the very ROCK of faith upon which the Christian church has been built—and not upon the man Peter.

The religious belief of Rome is a “both-and” system: God’s Universal Plan- and man’s free will; faith and works; Jesus and Mary; the Cross and the perpetual sacrifices of Christ at the Mass; Biblical doctrine and the Church; Scripture and tradition. Thus, The Christ of Rome is anything, but, a Powerful Savior- The Christ of Rome Could not Save Alone- – “Shared” Cross Work      

The word of God is both Scripture and tradition; salvation is by faith and works, nature (i.e., man’s own natural ability) and God, Mary and Jesus, and submitting to the ultimate religious authority, i.e., the Roman Pontiff (i.e. the Pope). Whereas biblical Christianity teaches that Scripture alone is our final authority, and salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone, and for the glory of God alone—Soli Deo Gloria!

“By His doing [alone] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD” (1 Cor. 1:30-31).

————————————————————————————————————–

NOTES

[1] In 1870 (at Vatican I) Pope Pius IX proclaimed: “I am tradition” and hence, the Roman Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope (ex cathedra) emerged.

[2] In contrast to the teachings of Rome, salvation, faith, belief, repentance, etc. are grace-gifts granted by God alone. Hence, man does not cooperate or participate in God’s sole work of redemption, as Rome teaches. Salvation is God working alone—namely, monergistic (cf. John 1:13; 6:37-40; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 30-31; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 2:13).

[3] Although demonstrative pronouns (“this”/“that”) technically do not have “person,” they can express an indirect significance as with a third person pronoun, thus expressing a thing (“this”) other than the speaker (Jesus) or the one spoken to (Peter).

[4] Petros, “piece of rock.”

[5] Cf. An Inside View at Vatican I, ed. Leonard Woolsey Bacon (New York: American Tract Society, 1871).

[6] H. Burn-Murdock, The Development of the Papacy (1954), 130f.

See also, “The Mormons and Black Skin: The Racist Past of the LDS Church”

“But let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332). 

When Mormon missionaries come to the door of literally thousands of potential converts they will assure the unsuspecting that they represent “Jesus Christ” and are preaching His Gospel. However, that is not the case on many accounts. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) cannot escape their racist past.

For nearly 150 years, the Mormon Church had taught that ALL blacks were cursed. Hence, a black Mormon male could not hold the highly regarded LDS Priesthood1 because of his dark skin. And since he could not hold this Priesthood, he could not enter the Mormon Temple.

This doctrine in no way, shape, or form can be substantiated in Scripture. Only in the LDS scriptures does this racist doctrine exist.

To determine official LDS doctrine from unofficial speculation let us read the statements that were made by the General Authorities of the LDS Church as well as citations from the LDS “standard works.” So then, official LDS teaching cannot be evaded or denied as many Mormons (especially uninformed missionaries) often do.

 

Cursed in Pre-existence

But, before we read what LDS leaders have taught concerning the “cursed line,” we will need to go back and discover as to why dark skinned people are cursed. Then we will have a better understanding of Mormon thought on this issue. Mormons teach that when the “council of the Gods” were planning how to redeemed mankind Jesus desired to save man by giving them their free choice, however Lucifer objected and wanted to force men to serve God. LDS scholar Bruce R. McConkie tells us:

 

When the plan of salvation presented . . . and when the need for a Redeemer was explained, Satan offered to come into the world as the Son of God and be the Redeemer. “Behold here am I, send me,” he said. . . . But then, as always, he was in opposition to the full plan of the Father, and so he sought to amend and change the terms of salvation; he sought to deny men their agency and to dethrone God (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 193).

Therefore, the Gods rejected Lucifer’s plan, which resulted in a war between the good spirit children, and the spirit children that sided with Lucifer (a third of them). But there was a group of spirits that were less valiant in this war. Hence, God (the head God) was very displeased with them so He turned their skin black. Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith explains:

 

There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there [pre-existence] received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less. . . . There were no neutrals in the war in Heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61, 65-66; emphasis added).

 

LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie furthers this teaching:

 

Those who were less valiant in pre-existence and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions impose on them during mortality are known to us as the negroes. Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God, and his murder of Able being a black skin. . . . Noah’s son married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain, thus preserving the negro lineage through the flood. . . . the negro are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concern. . . . ” (Mormon Doctrine, 527-28; 1966 orig. ed., changed in the current ed.).

 

Now, we can have more of a clearer perspective as to why the LDS would teach such blatant racism that Scripture never condones. Now we will read what LDS General Authorities had taught concerning the, what they termed, “cursed lineage,” that is, dark skinned people (particularly Negroes).

 

LDS Presidents/Prophets

Joseph Smith first president, prophet, and founder of the Mormon Church

Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 270; History of the Church, 5: 218).

“Thursday, 8–Held Mayor’s court and tried two negroes for attempting to marry two white women: fined one $25, and the other $5” (ibid., 6: 210).

“and the rebellious niggers in the slave states. . . .” (Millennial Star, 22:602).

 

When Mormon Historians reprinted this in the History of the Church, they change it to read: “and the rebellious negroes in the slave states. . . ” (History of the Church, 6:158; emphasis added).

 

Brigham Young second President and Prophet:

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. . . . Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another cursed is pronounced upon the same race–that they should be the “servants of servants;” and they will be until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree (Journal of Discourses, 7:29).

Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be (ibid., 10:110).

 

Brigham Young stated that his sermons (as cited above) are Scripture: “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of man, that they may not call Scripture” (ibid., 13:95).

 

John Taylor, third President and Prophet:

after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God. . . . (ibid., 23:304; emphasis added).

That the “curse lineage” (dark skin) is Satan’s representation on earth, was taught clearly by the third President and Prophet of the Mormon Church, John Taylor. Taylor goes on to teach:

When he [Satan] destroyed the inhabitants of the antediluvian worlds, he suffered a descendant of Cain to come through the flood in order that he might be properly represented upon the earth (ibid., 23:336).

 

Wilford Woodruff, who became the fourth President and Prophet of the LDS Church:

What was that mark? It was a mark of blackness. That mark rested upon Cain, and descended upon his posterity from that time until the present. To day there are millions of the descendants of Cain, through the lineage of Ham, in the world, and that mark of darkness still rest upon them (Millennial Star, 51:339; emphasis added).

 Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth President and Prophet:

In 1963, Look magazine interviewed, at that time, the leader of the LDS Church; Joseph Fielding Smith. Concerning negroes, Smith stated:

I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. ‘Darkies’ are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church (Look magazine, October 22, 1963, 79).

 

Smith also taught that “Negroes” were inferior to other races:

Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was place upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning… we will also hope that blessings may eventually be given to our Negro brethren, for they are our brethren–children of God—notwithstanding their black covering emblematical of eternal darkness (The Way to Perfection, 101-02).

 

And, as previously quoted, Smith stated that “There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. . . . The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61, 66).

 

LDS General Authorities

 

Orson Pratt, LDS Apostle:

Among the Saints [Mormons] is the most likely place for these [pre-existent] spirits to take their tabernacles, through a just and righteous parentage [white parentage]. They are sent to that people that are the most righteous of any other people upon the earth. . . . The Lord has not kept them in store for five or six thousand years past, and kept them waiting for their bodies all this time to send them among the Hottentots, the African negroes, the idolatrous Hindoos, or any other of the fallen nations of the earth. They are not kept in reserve in order to come forth to receive such a degraded parentage [African negroes] upon the earth; no, the Lord is not such a being (Journal of Discourses, 1:63).

 

Mark E. Peterson, LDS Apostle:

President Woodruff added, ‘The Lord said, ‘I will not kill Cain, but I will put a mark upon him, and that mark will be seen upon every face of every Negro, upon the face of the earth. And it is the decree of God that [the] mark should remain upon the seed of Cain, until the seed of Able shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood until the time of that redemption. Any man having one drop of the blood of Cain in him cannot receive the Priesthood’ (Race Problems– As They Affect the Church, address given by Mark E. Peterson at BYU).

 

In the same address, Peterson goes on to say:

Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man or was it God?. . . The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the negroes we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that He placed a dark skin upon them as a curse–as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. . . . And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line. Think of the Negro, cursed as to the Priesthood. Are we prejudiced against him? Unjustly, sometimes we are accursed of having such a prejudice. . . .

This Negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa–if that negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, they may have many of the blessings of the gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . .If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would be cursed as to the Priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the Priesthood? If there is one drop of negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. . . .

There are 50 million Negroes in the United States. If they were to achieve complete absorption with the white race, think what that would do. With 50 million Negroes inter-married with us, where would the priesthood be? Who could hold it, in all America? Think what that would do to the work of the Church! . . . Now we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest kind of education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that that they have all the advantages as they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change it?” (ibid.)

  

LDS Apostle George A. Smith:

There is not a man, from the President of the United States to the Editors of their sanctorums, clear down to the low-bred letter-writers in this Territory, but would rob the coppers from a dead nigger’s eyes, if they had a good opportunity (Journal of Discourses, 5:110).

 

LDS Apostle and prolific writer Bruce R. McConkie:

 

Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty… The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them. Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned. . . . (Mormon Doctrine, 477, 527-28; 1966 orig. ed., changed in the current).

 

Cain was cursed with a dark skin; he became the father of the negroes, and those spirits who are not worthy to receive the priesthood are born through that lineage (ibid.,109; 1966 org. ed., changed in the current ed.).

Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry (ibid., 114; current ed.).

 

Is this consistent with biblical Christianity? Did Jesus or the Apostles teach prejudice on the basis of skin color? These racist teachings, which were clearly taught by the leaders of the Mormon Church, echo those of the Skinhead, K.K.K. and other destructive groups. This, is not Christianity: “Then Peter open his mouth, and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34).

 

Let us conclude by examining the LDS scriptures, which indicates plainly that dark skin was a sign of Gods curse:

 

Book of Mormon

1 Nephi 11:13 (Mary) “she was exceedingly fair and white.”

1 Nephi 12:23 (prophecy of the Lamanites) ” became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.”

1 Nephi 13:15 (Gentiles) “they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people [Nephites] before they were slain.”

2 Nephi 5:21 “a sore cursing . . . as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”

2 Nephi 30:6 (prophecy to the Lamanites if they repented) “scales of darkness shall begin to fall. . . . they shall be a white and delightsome people” (“white and delightsome” was changed to “pure and delightsome” in 1981).

Jacob 3:5 (Lamanites cursed) “whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins. . . .”

Jacob 3:8-9 “their skins will be whiter than yours… revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins. . . .”

Alma 3:6 “And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion.”

Alma 3:9 “whosoever did mingle his seed with that of the Lamanites did bring the same curse upon his seed.”

Alma 3:14 (Lamanites cursed) “set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed. . . .”

Alma 23:18 “[Lamanites] did open a correspondence with them [Nephites] and the curse of God did no more follow them.”

3 Nephi 2:14-16 “Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites and . . . became exceedingly fair. . . . ”

3 Nephi 19:25, 30 (Disciples) “they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness. . . . nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof… and behold they were white, even as Jesus.”

Mormon 5:15 (prophecy about the Lamanites) “for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us. . . .”

 

Pearl of Great Price

Moses 7:8 “a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan. . . .”

Moses 7:12 “Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were [i.e., except] the people of Canaan, to repent. . . .”

Moses 7:22 “.for the seed of Cain were black and had not place among them.”

Abraham 1:21 ” king of Egypt [Pharaoh] was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.”

Abraham 1:27 “Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood. . . .” (emphasis added to above citations).

The truth is: Mormonism does not represent Jesus Christ or His Church. The LDS teachings of the “Negro” are not consistent with, as well as, contradict Scripture.

 

In 1978, the LDS god changes his Mind

Because of this racist teaching, the LDS Church was under enormous political pressure. Hence, June 8, 1978, the twelfth LDS President, Spencer W. Kimball, after spending many hours in the “Upper Room” of the LDS Temple, claimed that God had removed the curse. All worthy black men could now receive the Priesthood.

This, was a major doctrinal change. Mormons will usually argue: “But it was said that eventually the curse would be removed.” However, this assertion cannot be found before 1978. Therefore, we will again, appeal to the official teachings of the LDS General Authorities. What the LDS General Authorities did teach was that the curse would not be removed in this life. LDS Prophet Brigham Young explains, under, so-called, divine revelation. 2

How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam [white men] have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion (Journal of Discourses, 7:290-91).

Young was clear: “they [blacks] never can hold the Priesthood . . . until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof.” The time when the descendants of Adam (white men) are redeemed is at the resurrection, not in this life. According to Mormonism that has not happen yet. Again, Young declared: “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of man, that they may not call Scripture (ibid., 13:95).

LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson agrees: “And it is the decree of God that [the] mark should remain upon the seed of Cain, until the seed of Able shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood until the time of that redemption (Race Problems– As They Affect the Church, address by Mark E. Peterson at BYU; see above). LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie comments as to the duration of the curse:

Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty… The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them…. (Mormon Doctrine, 477, 527-28; 1966 org. ed., changed in the current; see above).

 

As observed, and with most non-Christian cults, the god of Mormonism is a changing god. It changes its mind. The God of the Bible does not change: “For I am the LORD, I change not. . . .” (Mal. 3:6). “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou are the same, and thy years shall have no end” (Ps. 102:25-27).

 

Even the Book of Mormon agrees with this point: “Now, the decrees of God are unalterable. . . . (Alma 41:8).3 Mormonism teaches: “The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them. Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned. . . . ” (McConkie, see above).

In the end, Mormons reject the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: Preach the Gospel to all nations (cf. Matt. 28:19-20), thus “all nations” certainly includes Africa.

 

Notes

1, In the Mormon religion there are two priesthoods: Aaronic and the Melchizedek. The Aaronic is the lesser of the two. To have eternal life (i.e., exaltation to Godhood) the “worthy” (and married) Mormon male must be ordained to this higher Priesthood (Melchizedek). This Priesthood is excluded from all females. Thus for nearly 150 years, the Mormon Church taught that dark skinned people (particularly, Africans) could not gain true salvation, eternal life (i.e., Godhood in the highest heaven: the celestial kingdom).

2, Just as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Peter, and Paul were actual prophets and apostles, in LDS theology the titles, “Prophet” and “Apostle” are literal. Thus, Mormons say that when they are giving sermons they are in fact, speaking for God.

3, Concerning the “decrees” of God, LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson stated: “And it is the decree of God that [the] mark should remain upon the seed of Cain, until the seed of Able shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood until the time of that redemption” (Race Problems– As They Affect the Church, address by Mark E. Peterson at BYU; emphasis added; see above).