Aside from the Book of Mormon not containing the so-called “precious truths” that were allegedly lost, of LDS essential doctrines (e.g., LDS polytheism [i.e., the idea that many true Gods exists, technically, henotheism], Exaltation, Eternal Progression, the idea of Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, sealing, eternal marriage et al.), the LDS doctrine has always rejected the biblical revelation of Christ.        

In spite of who authored it, the Book of Mormon contains significant contradictions both historical and theological (and logical). Of the abounding material objectively demonstrating this (from its inception in 1830), we have documented a vast amount of erroneous teaching contained in the LDS so-called scriptures (i.e., the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price).

Also, my friends at Institute for Religious Research have provided a simple short article, Seven Contradictions Between The Book of Mormon and the Bible. Although, as pointed out above, many of the fundamental heresies of the LDS Church such as polytheism and Exaltation, which are post-Book of Mormon, this article addresses seven significant false LDS doctrines, which are in fact currently contained in the Book of Mormon.

In fact, it is easily proven that Smith’s early teachings as contained in the Book of Mormon (and early sections of D&C) controvert present- day LDS theology on many accounts. See Early Teachings of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, which Contradict Present- day LDS Theology – See Early Teachings of Joseph Smith.

Although there are many more contradictions and factual errors in the Book of Mormon (and in the other LDS scripture) than seven, they sufficiently and objectively demonstrate that the Book of Mormon is untrustworthy patently contradicting God’s revelation contained in the biblical content. See our expanded article on the Book of Mormon here Book of Mormon

Note, Aside from the seven contradictions briefly listed below by IRR (and many others can be shown), one additional Book of Mormon false teaching is its repeated affirmation of Modalism, that is,  Oneness theology – see Modalism and the Book of Mormon 

IRR article:

There are many serious objections to the claim of Joseph Smith and the LDS church that the Book of Mormon is divinely inspired Latter-day scripture supplemental to the Bible.* However, none are more significant than the numerous contradictions between Book of Mormon teaching and the Bible. This list is illustrative only, not exhaustive.

(1) The Book of Mormon teaches that little children are not capable of sin because they do not have a sinful nature (Moroni 8:8). In contrast, the Bible in Psalm 51:5 clearly teaches that we have a sinful nature from birth: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (NIV). (This does not mean that those who die in infancy are lost.**)

(2) The Book of Mormon teaches that the disobedience of Adam and Eve in eating the forbidden fruit was necessary so that they could have children and bring joy to mankind (2 Nephi 2:23-25). In contrast, the Bible specifically declares that Adam’s transgression was a sinful act of rebellion that unleashed the power of sin and death in God’s perfect world (Romans 5:12; 8:20-21). There is no Biblical support for the view that Adam and Eve could only fulfill the command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) by disobeying God’s command regarding the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17). The Book of Mormon teaching that these divine commands are contradictory, and that God expected Adam and Eve to figure out that in reality He wanted them to break the latter command (“of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it”) in order to keep the former (“be fruitful and multiply”), has no basis in logic or the Biblical text, and attributes equivocation to God.

 

(3) The Book of Mormon teaches that black skin is a sign of God’s curse, so that white-skinned people are considered morally and spiritually superior to black-skinned people (2 Nephi 5:21). In contrast, the Bible teaches that God “made of one blood all nations of men” (Acts 17:26, KJV), that in Christ distinctions of ethnicity, gender and social class are erased (Galatians 3:28), and that God condemns favoritism (James 2:1). [NOTE: See our article, Mormonism and Black Skin, for an documented and expanded look at the LDS views both delineated in the LDS scriptures and by way of sermon or statements by LDS General Authorities (LDS Presidents, Apostles, etc.) regarding people with dark skin, which the LDS has seen, for almost 200 years, as “cursed”].      

(4) The Book of Mormon teaches that, “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23; see also Moroni 10:32). In contrast, the Bible teaches that apart from Christ we are dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1,5) and unable to do anything to merit forgiveness and eternal life. Salvation is wholly of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:6; Titus 3:5-6), not by grace plus works. Good works are a result, not the basis, of a right relationship with God (Ephesians 2:10).

(5) According to the Book of Mormon, about 600 years before Christ, a Nephite prophet predicted that “many plain and precious parts” (1 Nephi 13:26-28) would be removed from the Bible. In contrast, from the Bible it is clear that during His earthly ministry, Jesus himself constantly quoted from the Old Testament Scriptures, and showed full confidence in their completeness and accurate transmission as they had survived down to His time. Jesus declared that “heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31; see also Matthew 5:18), and promised His disciples who were to pen the New Testament that the Holy Ghost “shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26); Jesus further promised the apostles that they would “bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). These promises clearly imply that the fruit of the apostles — the New Testament Scriptures and the Christian church — would endure.

(6) According to a Book of Mormon prophecy (Helaman 14:27), at the time of Christ’s crucifixion “darkness should cover the face of the whole earth for the space of three days.” In contrast, the New Testament gospel accounts declare repeatedly that there was darkness for only three hours while Jesus was on the cross (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:24).

(7) The Book of Mormon teaches that there were many high priests serving at the same time (Mosiah 11:11; Alma 13:9-10; 46:6,38; Helaman 3:25) among the Book of Mormon people who are described as Jewish immigrants from ancient Israel who “kept the law of Moses” (e.g., 2 Nephi 25:10; Jacob 4:5; Jarom 1:5). In contrast, it is clear from the Bible that only one individual at a time occupied the office of high priest under the Old Testament dispensation (see, for example Leviticus 21:10; Matthew 26:3; Hebrews 8:6-7). (The mention in Luke 3:2 of “Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests” is not a real exception — in Christ’s time Israel was under the domination of the Romans, who intervened to change the high priest at will. See John 18:13, which describes Annas as “father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.”)

CONCLUSION: The contradictions between the Book of Mormon and the Bible constitute a most serious obstacle to accepting the Book of Mormon as Latter-day scripture supplemental to the Bible. The Bible came first, not the Book of Mormon. And whereas the Bible is organically linked to the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ by extensive surviving manuscript evidence going back as far as A.D. 125-30, the Book of Mormon is wholly lacking in any such evidences of ancient origin. Is it not reasonable, therefore, to make the Bible the standard for judging the Book of Mormon, and not the other way around? If we accept the Bible as our “measuring stick” for spiritual truth, the Book of Mormon must be rejected.

Unfortunately, a vast number of “professing” naïve Christians, that may be seriously seeking a biblical education, will willingly be proselytized to the false doctrines of T. D. Jakes—esp. his distorted Oneness anti-Trinitarian teachings of God, his prosperity nonsense, women pastors, and many more bad doctrines.   

–          

As for all the uninformed and biblically dim who still insist that Jakes is Trinitarian, note the current Faith Statement posted on the school’s website, which defines God as “existing in three manifestations” (same as the Potter’s House), which is patently Oneness-unitarian. See – https://jakesdivinity.org/about-jds/faith-statement/

 

Using “manifestations” to describe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is neither a biblical nor a historical definition of God (it never has been for the “Christian” church)—words do matter.  “Manifestation” is not a semantic (nor ontological) parallel to “person.” A manifestation is a mere appearance of a thing, and not the thing itself. Manifestation does not have an ontological reference.

 

Again, and as pointed out by many, If Jakes now embraces the basic biblical definition of the Trinity, then, these questions must be answered,

 

1) Why does he still hold to a Oneness description of God (“existing in three manifestations”) found on the faith statement of both his church (Potter’s House) and his new school?   

 

2) Why is Jakes presently (for many years) the Vice Prelate of the decidedly Oneness organization, Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies? 

https://www.highergroundaaa.com/national-officials?fbclid=IwAR2Zktzsp3fsG6HOQSAoC_W76SNTfXEFbBcIVqLs3hdkjS5hgbPJrd10n0Q And, 

 

3) What of all Jakes’ previous affirmations of Oneness doctrine? He has never recanted those.

Such as in an interview with Jakes on the LA radio show, KKLA, Living by the Word, hosted by Jim Coleman (August 23 and 30, 1998). Coleman had asked Jakes “How important it is for Christians to believe in the Trinity.” Jakes responded, “I think it’s very, very significant that we first of all study the Trinity apart from salvation. . . . The term ‘Trinity,’ is not a biblical term, to begin with. . . . When God got ready to make a man that looked like him, he didn’t make three. He made one man. However, that one man had three parts. He was body, soul, and spirit. “We have one God, but he is father in creation, son in redemption, and Holy Spirit in regeneration.”

 

This last statement is a standard and historical Oneness phrase (found in many Oneness doctrinal statements), “Father in creation, Son in redemption, Holy Spirit in regeneration,” which is historically congruent with Sabellius’s (early third cent.) “successive” Modalism.          

 

Or in 2000, Christianity Today also posted a response by T. D. Jakes, in which his statements show clearly that he is indeed, a Modalist.

Regarding the questions of the Trinity, Jakes had stated, “While I mix with Christians from a broad range of theological perspectives, I speak only for my personal faith and convictions. I am not a theologian, and I avoid quoting even theologians who agree with me. To defend my beliefs, I go directly to the Bible. . . . I believe in one God who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe these three have distinct and separate functions. . . . I do not believe in three Gods” (Feb. 2000; Jakes, “My Views on the Godhead,” Christianity Today, online ed.).

Or, when Jakes expressed his consistent view of God in “Spirit Raiser” (in Time Magazine, Sept 17, 2001). Note his clear Oneness definition: “And God said, ‘Let us. Let us . . . .’  One God, but manifest in three different ways, Father in creation, Son in redemption, Holy Spirit in regeneration.” Again repeating the standard and historical Oneness phrase, “Father in creation, Son in redemption, Holy Spirit in regeneration,” which is congruent with Sabellius’s (early third cent.) successive Modalism.          

Since, all evidence (much more than provided here in this terse article) reveals clearly that Jakes holds to and teaches a Oneness doctrine of God, and to date, no evidence exists showing that Jakes unambiguously believes in the Trinity, – unless he,    

 

1) Removes his Oneness description of God contained in both his church’s Belief Statement and school’s Faith Statement,

 2) Openly renounces his numerous and unequivocal Oneness affirmations of God in literature and interviews,

 3) Resigns as Vice Prelate from the Oneness organization, Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies, and

 4) Positively affirms a basic biblical definition of the Trinity, we must see Jakes as a consistent heretic embracing Oneness-unitarian theology, which rejects the triune nature of the only true God of biblical revelation—thus denying Christ and His gospel.                

 

The greatest tragedy in the church, as seen in a majority of Christian conferences and revivals is the systemic abuse and absence of accurate doctrinal content. However, we are extremely thankful to God, for the minority of pastors who are bound and devoted to the Lord being biblically competent truly understanding their biblical responsibility to boldly teach Christian doctrine to their flock and refute those who oppose it.

 

To demonstrate this point: Think back in the last 10 years at church (or at any conference/revival) have you heard a specific teaching on the Trinity, the deity of Christ, or justification by faith alone?” I have asked this question at churches around the world and rarely do I ever see a single raised hand in affirmation.

 

Along with basic Christian apologetics, ethics, and stressing the importance biblical accuracy (esp. to those who preach and teach), these essentials were a priority with NT church discipline. See, John 1:1, 18; 20:28; 8:58; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; 9:5; Eph. 2:8-10; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:14, 16-17; 2:9; Titus 2:13-14; Heb. 1:3, 8-12; 2 Pet. 1:1; 1 John 5:20; Jude 1:4; Rev. 5:13-14; 22:13 etc. In sharp contrast, much of the content in today’s’ Sunday morning sermons and evangelism has become a hodgepodge of biblically disconnected anecdotal stories and textual abuse (esp. misinterpreting and misapplying passages).

Interestingly, we find the opposite with non-Christian cults. When one becomes, for example, a Oneness Pentecostal, Mormon, or Jehovah’s Witness, within a month or so, he (or she) becomes boldly equipped to communicate their distinctive theology and committing to memory particular biblical passages to “prove” their position.

 

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18)

Christians should faithfully acknowledge Scripture as Theopneustos (“God breathed out,” 2 Tim. 3:16). Thus, the commandment to “grow”[1] in the knowledge of God and to always be “ready to give a defense” and reason for the faith is vital (1 Pet. 3:15; cf. also 2 Cor. 10:3-5). Only through a continuous proper study of the Bible does one “grow” theologically, which ensures not only effectiveness in proclaiming an accurate gospel, but also the ability to biblically to discern between true and false teachings.

 

All Christians (esp. pastors) are called to be theologians (i.e., constantly studying God [biblical doctrine], 2 Pet. 3:18), apologists (i.e., defenders of the faith, 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 1:3), and evangelists (proclaimers of the gospel, Matt. 28:19; Rom. 10:15; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 4:2[2]).

 

Loving God with all Our Mind!

We are commanded to love God “with all” our mind (Mark 12:29-30). A lack of proper biblical study always results in a dislodged and erroneous doctrine. What is more, when church leaders fail in their biblical responsibility to teach doctrine, completely and accurately, the consequence is this: churches filled with biblically incompetent members, neither able to coherently defend nor affirm from a basic level the essentials of the Christian faith. Thus, they become targets and picture-perfect candidates and devotees of non-Christian false religious and false teachings.

 

The Biblical Pastor

The Apostle Paul does not encourage Christian pastors to assign themselves as mere “motivational” speakers cloaking Sunday morning sermons with entertaining stories and erroneous mottled interpretations of the Bible; so when this occurs in the Christian pulpit, it should utterly pierce our spirit (cf. Acts 17:16).

 

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

 

So necessary are the more than two dozen qualifications of a NT pastor that three major sections in the NT are devoted it—1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9; and 1 Peter 5:1-3. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul stresses specifically to pastors (and indirectly to us) the importance of doctrinal precision:

 

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God [how?] as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

 The phrase, “accurately handling” comes from the Greek verb, orthotomeō, which literally means, “to cut straight” (from temnō, “to cut” and orthos, “direct, straight”; cf. Prov. 3:6, LXX). The term carries the idea of precision. Consequently, pastors (and teachers) have a God mandated responsibility to teach and explain Scripture with precise accuracy.

 

Perils of Inaccurate Teachings

 Note Paul’s instructions to pastors in 2 Timothy 4:2-4: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

The five verbs in verse 2 (“preach,” “be ready,” “reprove,” “rebuke,” and “exhort”) are in the aorist imperative—grammatically denoting the strongest way to express an urgent commandment, a “do it now” verb! These critical actions both protect and encourage the church. In the next two verses, Paul warns what will happen when these urgent commandments are not implemented:

 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

 

“Sound doctrine” is derived from the content of the written Word. In Peter 3:16, Peter underscores the importance of biblical study. He refers to Paul’s letters and says they “contain some things that are hard to understand, which the UNTAUGHT [or ‘unstudied,’ from amatheis] and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16). Naturally, unstudied people distort Scripture.

 

A Doctrine of Tolerance

When pastors abdicate their biblical responsibility of expository teaching, the church body writhes and relishes in distorted theology—, which effects their view of the nature of God and virtually every dimension of their spiritual, psychological, and physical life. Due to a laxity of proper biblical study and/or a recurring attendance at non-teaching churches, it is not surprising that many professing Christians severely lack theological discernment in which bad theology and, in many cases, immoral worldly behavior is tolerated and accepted. Observably, many clear biblical mandates are rejected by professing Christians merely because they are incompatible with one’s lifestyle or comfortable ideology.

 

For example, why is it that T. D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter’s House church in Dallas, TX, one of most popular “Christian” voices and authors followed, read, endorsed, and praised by literally millions of professing Christians, yet he still embraces a Oneness view of God rejecting the Trinity? Why would any “Christian” pastor endorse him, and/or keep silent while naïve members uncritically follow him? [3]

Acute biblical ignorance of fundamental doctrine is not a satisfactory excuse before God—He is a God of precision.

 

In point of fact, confronting and refuting biblical error is a divine command to all Christian pastors (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-4:1-4; Titus 1:9, 13). Jesus Himself openly commends the pastors of Ephesus for it (Rev. 2:2-3). Today, too many pastors and leaders are more accepting of those who are talented in their speaker abilities than those who communicate doctrinal truth and precision. Pastors have an enormous responsibility before God to diligently lead, equip, and guard the people of God from destructive bad theology and heresies that shame the Lord. In the first century, as Paul says: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrine taught by demons….” (1 Tim. 4:1).

 

We too, as Christians, have an obligation and responsibility: Since we follow a God that calls Himself “Truth,” we must therefore provide to all men an accurate and substantive presentation of the gospel and boldly contend earnestly for that faith, “which was once for all handed down to the saints.” It is a terrible thing to hear an unread Christian offer a mushy incomplete gospel to the unsaved—and when a pastor does this to his church, it is absolutely disgraceful.

 

Evangelizing the Saved & Unsaved

Romans 10:15: “just as it is written [Isa. 52:7], ‘How beautiful [or timely] are the feet of those gospelizing good things.” The same participle (euaggelizomenoi, “gospelizing”) appears in Luke 9:6 when Jesus sent out the Twelve: “Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel [lit., ‘gospelizing’] and healing everywhere.” Note, the gospel is simply the atoning work of the Son in His perfect vicarious life, substitutionary cross work, and resurrection.

 

Romans 1:1, 3: “the gospel of God….3 concerning His Son.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered to you as of first importance … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

 

2 Timothy 2:8, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel.”

Paul’s definition of the gospel, which evangelists must proclaim, was exclusively focused on the work of the Son, not man—namely, His nature (as incarnate God, viz. God-man) and person, His death (justification), and His physical resurrection. This, according to Romans 1:16, is the power of God for salvation. However, note the previous verse. Paul says to these Roman “Christians” that he is “eager to preach the gospel [from euaggelizō].” It seems clear that Paul was eager to “evangelize” the Christians in order for them to grow in biblical accuracy regarding the gospel and general theology—as should be the task of all pastors.

 

Finally, brothers and sisters we are in a spiritual war both foreign and domestic, and as such – we must satisfactorily train and arm our fellow members before we can hope to engage our foes. Put on the “whole armor” of God!

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NOTES

[1] In 2 Peter 3:18, the term translated “grow” is from the Greek, auxanō. The verb is in the imperative mood (auxanete), thus, a commandment.

[2] Although 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus are directly applied to pastors, there are indirect applications relevant to all believers.

[3] To those assuming that Jakes changed his Oneness position, consider 1) Jakes is still the Vice-Prelate and National Executive Board of Senior Bishops of – Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies, which is a network of Oneness Pentecostal churches, and esp. 2) on the Potter’s House Belief Statement, Jakes still defines God as existing in “Three Manifestations,” which is Oneness not trinitarian. See >> http://thepottershouse.org/explore/belief-statement <<.

 

Oneness advocate and popular TV evangelist T. D. Jakes (of the Potter’s House church in Dallas, TX) has changed (reworded) his doctrinal statement regarding God. His old statement read:

THREE DIMENSIONS OF ONE GOD. . . . Triune in His manifestation, being both Father, Son and Holy Ghost AND that He is Sovereign and Absolute in His authority. We believe in the Father who is God Himself, Creator of the universe. (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1).

Here his denial of the biblical definition of the Trinity is crystal clear. Describing God as “THREE DIMENSIONS” and saying God is “Triune in His manifestations” is decidedly Oneness, not Trinitarian. His statement before this one (1998) read in part: “God-There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three Manifestations: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

But as of recently, he changed it again, going back to the 1998 description: “There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” As we can see, the “Belief Statement” on the Potter’s House website: http://thepottershouse.org/explore/belief-statement/) still provides a unitarian and distinctly Oneness concept of God- using the term “manifestations” (thus avoiding the use of “Persons”) to describe God is consistent with Oneness doctrine, not Trinitarianism.

For those who still defend Jakes insisting that he holds to the biblical doctrine of the Trinity and not Oneness theology, please refer to the Potter’s House website and read his own Belief Statement. Denying the Trinity denies the biblical revelation of the nature of God. See A Concise Look at Oneness Beliefs.  

 

  

 

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. . . .” (KJV).

The United Pentecostals Church International (UPCI) uses this passage (among others) to support its view that water baptism MUST be done “in the name of Jesus” only to be valid. Since the UPCI theology holds to the idea that Jesus IS the “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit.” The UPCI’s position is clear: Peter commands new converts to (a) repent be water baptized and (b) be baptized only by way of the exact formula: “in the name of Jesus.” Therefore, as the UPCI asserts, the remission or forgiveness of sins is accomplished only by water baptism “in the name of Jesus,” and repentance. However, only by disregarding the historical context and particular grammar, can the UPCI hold to such a heterodox view. Furthermore, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration controverts the theology of Luke (e.g., Acts 10:43). Even so, UPCI leader David Bernard remarks on the necessity of water baptism, as he understands Acts 2:38:

We should remember that water baptism is administered because of our past life of sin; it is for the ‘remission of sins’ (Acts 2:38). Since the name of Jesus is the only saving name (Acts 4:12), it is logical that the name be used in baptism (The Oneness of God, 139).

In proper biblical interpretation: Context governs word meanings. This is a vital point in exegesis. In other words, whatever Acts 2:38 is saying, it cannot oppose the NT as a whole in which the constant theme is justification (salvation) is through faith (as the sole instrument), apart from works—any works, such as the work of water baptism (cf. John 5:24; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; 1 Cor. 1:17, 30-31; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 5:1 et al.).   

Note, that there at least four acceptable interpretations of the passage especially regarding the preposition eis (“for [eis] the remission of your sins”). However, of the interpretations offered by competent Christian theologians, none provide for baptismal regeneration or Baptismal justification. Thus, Paul says: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:17).  

For example, noted Greek grammarian J. R. Mantey offers one such acceptable interpretation. He argued that the preposition eis (“for”) has a causal force, as with the thought of, “be baptized because of, in view of, unto, for, the remission of your sins.” In other words, the preposition eis should be translated “because of,” or “in view of” not “in order to” or “for the purpose of” forgiveness of sins. But keep in mind there is at least four different interpretations of Acts 2:38. Mantey believed that a salvation by grace would be violated if a causal eis were not evident in such passages as Acts 2:38. This way of handling the text is also concurred by one of the world’s premium and most quoted NT Greek grammarians A. T. Robertson:

IT [eis] is seen again in  Matthew 12:41 about the preaching of Jonah (εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰωνᾶ). They repented because of (or at) the preaching of Jonah. view is decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the NT taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing such remission. So I understand Peter to be urging baptism on each of them who had already turned (repented) and for it to be done in the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of the forgiveness of sins which they had already received (Word Pictures, 3:35-36).

There is also another grammatical aspect to be considered. There is a shift from second person plural to third person singular and back to second person plural. Notice below:

  1. The verb “repent” (metanoēsate) is second person plural and is in the active voice.
  2. And “be baptized” (baptisthētw) is third person singular and is in the passive voice.
  3. The Greek pronoun translated “your” (humwn) is in a second person plural.

 Therefore, the grammatical connection is: “repent” (active plural) with “your” (active plural) as in “for the remission of your [humwn] sins” and not “be baptized” (passive singular) with “for the remission of your sins.” Moreover, the same wording “for the remission of your sins” is used in reference to John’s baptism (cf. Luke 3:3; Mark 1:4) and that baptism did not save, it was a preparatory baptism and of the coming Messiah and a call to repentance, as we will deal with below. An additional view, however, is that baptism represents both the spiritual reality and the ritual which is an acceptable view that works well in the scope of the context.

Notwithstanding the different shades of interpretation, which in fact do not contradict, but only enhance—they are all in accord with good exegesis. Contrary to the UPCI position, which violates not only the theology in Acts (e.g., 10:43) but also the entire theology of the NT (e.g., John 6:47; Rom. 4:4ff.; Gal. 2:16).

Lastly, in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, foremost Greek scholar Daniel Wallace provides insightful comments regarding the four main interpretations of Acts 2:38:

“1. Causal εἰς [eis, “for”] in Acts 2:38? An interesting discussion over the force of εἰς took place several years ago, especially in relation to Acts 2:38. The text reads as follows:

Πέτρος δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς Μετανοήσατε, φησίν καὶ βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν. . . . (“And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized—each one of you—at the name of Jesus Christ because of/for/unto the forgiveness of your sins…”). On the one hand, J. R. Mantey argued that εἰς could be used causally in various passages in the NT, among them Matt 3:11 and Acts 2:38. It seems that Mantey believed that a salvation by grace would be violated if a causal εἰς was not evident in such passages as Acts 2:38. On the other hand, Ralph Marcus questioned Mantey’s nonbiblical examples of a causal εἰς so that in his second of two rejoinders he concluded (after a blow-by-blow refutation): It is quite possible that εἷς is used causally in these NT passages but the examples of causal εἰς cited from non-biblical Greek contribute absolutely nothing to making this possibility a probability. If, therefore, Professor Mantey is right in his interpretation of various NT passages on baptism and repentance and the remission of sins, he is right for reasons that are non- linguistic. Marcus ably demonstrated that the linguistic evidence for a causal εἷς fell short of proof. If a causal εἷς is not in view, what are we to make of Acts 2:38?

There are at least four other interpretations of Acts 2:38. 1) The baptism referred to here is physical only, and εἰς has the meaning of for or unto. Such a view, if this is all there is to it, suggests that salvation is based on works. The basic problem of this view is that it runs squarely in the face of the theology of Acts, namely: (a) repentance precedes baptism (cf. Acts 3:19; 26:20), and (b) salvation is entirely a gift of God, not procured via water baptism (Acts 10:43 [cf. v 47]; 13:38-39, 48; 15:11; 16:30-31; 20:21; 26:18).

2) The baptism referred to here is spiritual only. Although such a view fits well with the theology of Acts, it does not fit well with the obvious meaning of “baptism” in Acts—especially in this text (cf. 2:41).

3) The text should be repunctuated in light of the shift from second person plural to third person singular back to second person plural again. If so, it would read as follows: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized at the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. . . .” If this is the correct understanding, then εἰς is subordinate to Μετανοήσατε alone, rather than to βαπτισθήτω. The idea then would be, “Repent for/with reference to your sins, and let each one of you be baptized.…” Such a view is an acceptable way of handling εἰς, but its subtlety and awkwardness are against it.

4) Finally, it is possible that to a first-century Jewish audience (as well as to Peter), the idea of baptism might incorporate both the spiritual reality and the physical symbol. In other words, when one spoke of baptism, he usually meant both ideas—the reality and the ritual. Peter is shown to make the strong connection between these two in chapters 10 and 11. In 11:15-16 he recounts the conversion of Cornelius and friends, pointing out that at the point of their conversion they were baptized by the Holy Spirit. After he had seen this, he declared, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit…” (10:47). The point seems to be that if they have had the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit via spiritual baptism, there ought to be a public testimony/acknowledgment via water baptism as well. This may not only explain Acts 2:38 (viz., that Peter spoke of both reality and picture, though only the reality removes sins), but also why the NT speaks of only baptized believers (as far as we can tell): Water baptism is not a cause of salvation, but a picture; and as such it serves both as a public acknowledgment (by those present) and a public confession (by the convert) that one has been Spirit-baptized. In sum, although Mantey’s instincts were surely correct that in Luke’s theology baptism was not the cause of salvation, his ingenious solution of a causal εἰς lacks conviction. There are other ways for us to satisfy the tension, but adjusting the grammar to answer a backward-looking “Why?” has no more basis than the notion that εἰς ever meant mere representation.”

 

Final thoughts: the fundamental problem with the groups who embrace baptismal regeneration is that their view challenges Paul’s main thesis that “God credits righteousness apart from works” (Rom. 4:6) and justification is through faith (sole instrument) alone (not by works). Although the “work” of water baptism is a biblical commandment, it is a work that man does. It does not contribute in any way, shape, or form to the atoning work of God the Son (gospel), which is the very ground (cause) of justification. So Paul says to the Corinthian church: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . .” (1 Cor. 1:17).                              

Frequently seen on the Trinity Broadcasting Network is animated evangelist Jesse Duplantis—known by his devotees as the “Raging Cajun.” Infrequently practiced, the Bible admonishes Christians, to “test all things” (1 Thess. 5:21; cf. Acts. 17:11). Christians therefore, should not abdicate their responsibility to put Duplantis, in spite of his widespread popularity, to the biblical test. 

Visitation to Heaven

In August of 1988, Duplantis alleges that he went to heaven and postulates this claim behind the pulpits of some of the largest churches in America. Recently, Duplantis wrote a book entitled, Heaven, Close Encounters of the God Kind wherein he describes his alleged visitation to heaven. He also has a video and audio cassettes/DVD’s that provide all the details of his extraordinary claim. What is most alarming though, is that notwithstanding his “Christian” vocabulary and by his own admission, his claim to be a “Christian” teacher, is that Duplantis is teaching LDS (Mormon) doctrine in some of the largest Christian churches. 

 

Mormon Doctrine of God (an exalted man)

Founder, first President, and so-called prophet of the LDS Church tells us: “God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man. . . . ” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345).

Also in the LDS scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 we read: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s: the Son also. . . . ” The foundation of Mormon theology is that God is an exalted man. In Duplantis’ book, page 111, Duplantis tells us that he saw God’s throne. Then, on page 113, he goes on to describe how he saw God the Father: “I saw Elohim, Jehovah God, Yahweh sitting on the throne! But I saw his feet – only his feet.”  What is more, on pages 114-115, Duplantis explains:  

But I looked, again and I saw the lower part of his hand resting on the arm of the throne. He is so big – you can’t describe him in a dimension. His hand is huge!. . . . Then I saw God’s finger barely move and when it moved, an angel that was flying near Him was thrown up against a wall. Bam! It didn’t hurt the angel. . . .

Thus, Duplantis’s so-called vision is perfectly consistent with Joseph Smith’s teaching that God is a big man. Keep in mind, Duplantis is speaking of God the Father, not Jesus (cf. pp. 88-89). What is most distressing is that Duplantis is teaching this utterly blasphemous view of God to millions of people in Christians churches over airwaves and through multi media.

Thus, Duplantis’s (and LDS doctrine) is in stark contrast to the truth of God’s word. The God of biblical revelation is spirit (cf. John 4:24) and as Christ affirms in Luke 24:36-40, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Further, Jesus Himself clearly states: “No man has ever seen God [the Father] at any time. . . .” (John 1:18). The LORD Himself declares: “Do not I fill the heaven and earth?” (Jer. 23:24; cf. v. 23; see also 2 Chron. 6:18). Discordant to Duplantis’ false teaching, God tells us in Hosea 11:9: “For I am God and not a man.” 

Clearly, Duplantis’s teaching of God is a decidedly different God than that of Holy Scripture. Duplantis, as does the LDS Church, has completely disregarded the clear teaching of Scripture—namely, that God the Father is an invisible spirit, which no man has seen, “or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). 

 

Mormon Doctrine of Preexistence

Also, Duplantis is in full concert with the LDS doctrine of preexistence. According to LDS theology, prior to man’s life on earth, all people existed in heaven as “spirit children”, then, at the appointed time, these spirit children are sent to earth to receive their physical bodies, thus becoming human (cf. LDS apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 589).

In harmony with this view, Duplantis explains on page 119, that he

saw babies flying around God’s throne . . . wearing nightgowns. . . . [they were saying] “Can I be a spirit? Would you send me to the earth so I can be a spirit? I want to be a redeemed person. Can I be a spirit?. 

Duplantis’s doctrine of preexistent “babies,” again contradicts Scripture. Genesis 2:7 tells us plainly: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Duplantis however, holds to an LDS concept of preexistence, that is, preexistent babies, “wearing nightgowns” crying to God to come to earth, rather than the biblical doctrine of man (cf. also Zech. 12:1).

 

Different Spirit

Enlarging on Duplantis’s corrupt teaching of God, Duplantis then tells us on page 118 and 119, that the Holy Spirit resides only on earth and not in heaven. If Duplantis would only rely on the Bible rather than on his experience he would understand that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent and therefore cannot be confined to locality—this is a basic teaching that most children learn in Sunday school. Speaking on the omnipresence of the Spirit, David clearly declares: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there” (Ps. 139:7, 8; see also 1 Cor. 2:11).

 

Conclusion 

Without question, Jesse Duplantis is teaching contrary to Holy Scripture. If in fact, Duplantis really did have a bonafide vision, he should have consulted the Bible and put it to the test. But unfortunately, he did not and hence, he was duped by another spirit (cf. 1 John 4:1). Duplantis re-defines the God of the Bible and reduces Him to a big man. He pointedly denies the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit and concedes to the erroneous LDS view of preexistence. Jesus tells us to “watch out for false prophets” (Matt. 7:15-23). Christians are told to “refute those that oppose sound doctrine” and “rebuke them sharply” (Titus 1:9, 13; 2:1).

The foundation of LDS doctrine rests squarely on the teaching that God is an exalted man, the doctrine of preexistence, exaltation (i.e., man progressing to become a God). LDS theology is not Christian theology. Mormonism is a polytheistic non-Christian construct that has been rejected by the Christian church since its inauguration in 1830. Consequently, biblically unstudied people that embrace Duplantis’ s teaching are embracing the bedrock of LDS theology.

The pastors who bring Duplantis in are sinning and accountable to God; for they are bringing deception into their church. If Christians do not speak out against false teachings (as biblically mandated, 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 1:3; etc.), then the false teachings will be construed as truth. In the first century, the Christian motto was “contend for the faith,” but in present-day Christianity, this motto has departed – now the motto is: “contend for the people”–in spite of doctrine.     

Pastors would do well to emulate the Apostle Paul, who was neither concerned as to what people thought of him nor his words–but only what His Lord Jesus thought. Note his words to the pastors: 

For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the Church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw disciples after them. So be on guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears (Acts 20:26-31).

 

It is not surprising to me, that the vast majority of LDS (Mormons) are in a dense fog when it comes of historic LDS doctrines. Their understanding of their religion is quite uncritical and basic, which does not normally range prior to the current decade. Hence, many LDS today (esp. garden variety Mormon missionaries) are totally unaware and even deny the LDS teaching in regards to the way the physical body of Jesus Christ was brought into this world never engaging in any deep-diving research on the topic. 

However, the historic LDS view, as exampled below, is that God the Father had sexual relations with the virgin Mary to produce the “physical body” of Jesus. This awful, ant-Christian, and profoundly pagan doctrine was unambiguously affirmed in both the 19th and 20th century by founding and foundational LDS authorities such as Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, Joseph Fielding Smith, esp. James E. Talmage, J. Reuben Clark, Ezra Taft Benson, esp. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie whose work was considered to be a standard on Mormon doctrine, and many more could be cited. . 

In fact, as cited below, Young and others, taught that God the Father was actually took Mary to be His wife.  

To try to avoid decidedly paganish and anti-biblical 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. For most of the statements provided below were made by the LDS General Authorities from the 20th century! (note, several current LDS apologists, however, affirm the doctrine, see note 1 below).  

It should also be pointed out: LDS apologists and BYU professors are not LDS General Authorities–thus they do not have the authority to determine doctrine for the LDS Church–their assertions, therefore, are mere speculation and commentary, 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. Here below are clear and in context examples:  

 

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 in error, with the assertion that Jesus “was not begotten by the Holy Ghost”–contra Matthew 1:18. Further, 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; emphasis added).

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 LDS assert that 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?!

 

20th Century 

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.

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” Family Home Evening

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.”

To view the page containing the pictorial artwork see –Family Home Evening.  

 

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.

The LDS position that God the Father, an exalted physical man with a voracious sexual appetite for women both in heaven with His wives, and with His creatures (viz. His literal daughter Mary) is categorically pagan and thus, refuted by the Scripture in many places, such as Matthew 1:18-20 : 

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 means of 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.” 

To LDS Church is not a true church, they reject the nature of the triune God and reject the gospel of the Jesus Christ of biblical revelation – – they are strangers of God, “having no hope, and without God [ἄθεοι, ‘atheist’]” (Eph. 2:12). Only if God grants the LDS salvation, repentance and faith, will they be delivered from the  darkness of the LDS Church. 


 

 

NOTES 

1. 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?

But the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrine taught by demons. . . . (1 Tim. 4:1).

Most historically informed Christians should be familiar with the Latin sola’s (sola meaning, “alone”) that were first boldly proclaimed by the Reformers in the early sixteen century: sola gratia (“grace alone”), solo Christo (“Christ alone”), sola fide (“faith alone”), sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone” [1]), soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”).

That is not to say that these important biblical concepts were not proclaimed before the sixteenth century—for they were by many important early church Fathers. For example, Athanasius, the great defender of the full deity of Christ in early fourth century, declares that Holy Scripture “is sufficient above all things,” and “fully sufficient for the proclamation of truth.”[2]

The point here is that because of an out-and-out attack on and a vociferous denial of the sufficiency of Scripture[3] and the perfect and sufficient work of Christ made by the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformers codified (not invented) and determinedly proclaimed these sola’s. For them, sola Scriptura[4] teaches that salvation was by sola gratia,[5] through solo Christo,[6] through the instrument of sola fide,[7] and soli Deo Gloria.[8] For every one of these essential sola’s, Rome categorically rejected as they do today.

Note: the very bedrock upon which all the other sola’s rest is sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”), which groups such as Roman Catholicism and Mormonism (LDS) aggressively deny.[9] To allow Scripture to read for itself would be theologically disastrous to these groups. However, there is one sola that is loyally and tenaciously shared by both: sola Ecclesia (“Church alone”). In fact, sola Ecclesia is absolutely necessary and foundational to their entire theological/sociological system. In other words, for them, it is their Church alone that determines what is and what is not doctrine. Thus, for the Catholic: Rome is correct because she says she is correct—ex cathedra.[10]

Toto Scriptura: “All of Scripture”

Aside from the sola’s, there was also another important principle that came out of the Reformation: toto Scriptura (“all Scripture”). The Reformers, as with the early church Fathers before them, held persistently to defending and affirming Scripture alone. And with this same passion and zeal they saw that “all of Scripture” (toto Scriptura) should be clearly and vigorously taught—since “all Scripture is God breathed out” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Unfortunately, many Christian leaders and pastors today will indeed declare “Scripture alone” yet disregard the principle of “all of Scripture.” Important doctrines are often marginalized and/or flatly avoided because many behind the pulpits of large churches and leaders of Christian organizations are afraid that they might offend someone, and/or lose sponsorships and endorsements. Consequently and inevitably, when a false teaching emerges in a church or on the airwaves, it is gladly accepted and goes unchallenged. For why would anyone see a false teaching as false if they themselves are undiscerning and unstudied?

By consistently avoiding (and distorting) the whole counsel of God, Christian leaders and pastors are raising up biblically illiterate Christians ineffectual in providing an accurate presentation of the gospel. The Apostle Peter rightly says that the “untaught[11] and unstable distort” Scripture (2 Pet. 3:16).

Acts 20:17-31

When the Apostle Paul gave his farewell address to the elders of the church of Ephesus (cf. Acts 20:17ff.), he was very concerned as to what was going to soon take place (cf. v. 25). This was the last time that they would see Paul, for he was martyred roughly 4 to 6 years later under Nero around A.D. 64-66. Next, Paul testifies that he is “innocent of the blood of men.”

For, Paul tells the elders, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God (v. 26).[12] Paul understood the severity of preaching only “parts” of Scripture or “toning down” what God has said, as many do today. God takes a very dim view at those who preach an edited version of the gospel utterly dodging judgment and apologetic passages of Scripture. In verse 28, Paul then instructs the leaders of the church to carefully watch and protect the church: “Be on guard for yourself and for all the flock. . . .” And as a final point of instruction, in verses 29-30, Paul speaks of the grave consequences of not proclaiming all of Scripture (toto Scriptura):

I know after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves, men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after them. Therefore be on alert, remembering that for night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears (emphasis added).

Biblically there are two categories of “wolves”: Those outside the church: e.g., non-Christian cults, world religions, etc. and those inside the church to whom Paul is referring. Paul was so concerned about the wolves from “within the church” that he warned the Ephesians elders for three years in tears! So destructive were these false teachers that the Holy Spirit warns and prophesizes of their coming in virtually every New Testament epistle. Hence, it should be paramount that we as Christians (esp. leaders) be biblically equipped to (a) accurately affirm the gospel and (b) detect false teachings so we can warn others and “refute those who contradict” sound doctrine (Titus 1:9).

Jesus said to “watch out for false prophets.” For they always come as “Christians” and they do everything in the “name of Jesus”; even producing “miracles, signs, and wonders” (Matt. 7:15-23; see also 2 Thess. 2:9ff). It is of no great wonder then as to why Paul was so troubled. These particular “inside-job” wolves came as the genuine article deceiving many in their path. Why? Far too many Christians today determine the validity of pastors and evangelists on the way they speak, not on their theology! Hence, the most popular so-called Christian speakers today are the greatest[13] of heretics (e.g., T. D. Jakes).

And according to Paul, these false teachings will be perpetual (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1). Moreover, the Apostle Peter likewise deals with the on-going problem with false teachers within the church. Towards the end of his life, he was directed by the Holy Spirit to state:

But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies . . . bringing swift destruction upon themselves . . . and in their greed they will exploit you with false words. . . . (2 Pet. 2:1-3; emphasis added).

Again, these false teachers exist within the church. The Mormons, JW’s, Oneness believers, Christian Science, etc., are wolves outside the church: But the deception by which most Christians are duped is from the wolves within their own number. So let us be studied Christians being able to defend and affirm the whole gospel (viz. toto Scriptura) with doctrinal precision. It is a biblical command to all Christians and it glorifies God. And to Christian leaders and pastors: you have been called by God the Holy Spirit to shepherd and hence “guard” the flock against the wolves who seek to distort the gospel. If Christians do not speak out against false teachings, the false teachings will be construed and truth!

NOTES

[1] Sola Scriptura simply means that in Scripture alone all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught explicitly and implicitly in which any literate person can understand.

[2] Cf. Athanasius, De Synodis, 6.

[3] I.e., the accepted Protestant cannon, which does not include the seven (or more) “apocrypha” books added by Rome in which they call “Deuterocanonical” (“secondary canon”).

[4] Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”) opposes Rome’s view that both Scripture and tradition (viz. oral traditions not contained in Scripture) are the word of God.

[5] Sola gratia (“grace alone”) opposes Rome’s view that justification comes by the grace of God and the meritorious works of man, which includes water-baptism (which Rome calls “the laver of regeneration”), performing the sacraments, good works, and esp. acknowledging all Marian doctrines, which includes religious worship to Mary.

[6] Solo Christo (“Christ alone”) opposes Rome’s view that the sole work of Christ is not sufficient. For Rome teaches that one must merit his or her justification in addition to the work of Christ. Further, doctrines such as Purgatory deny that Christ totally and perfectly propitiated (appeased) the Father (viz. His sacrifice averted God’s wrath *literally* taking away sin). However, that salvation is through Christ alone does not mean that the Father and the Holy Spirit did not participate in the salvation of the believer. For salvation from start to finish rests on the work of the triune God: God the Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner (cf. Titus 3:5) after which the *gift* of faith is granted by God and then exercised by the sinner as a result of being regenerated (cf. John 1:12-13; Phil. 1:29) after which the Father justifies the sinner (cf. Rom. 8:33) and, through that faith alone, imputing to him or her the righteousness of His Son (cf. Rom. 4:4-8). Christ alone simply means that the sole work and righteousness of Jesus Christ passive (allowing Himself to be crucified) and active (His perfect obedience to the Father) is the very ground of salvation. Thus, salvation is through His righteousness alone.

[7] Sola Fide (“faith alone”) opposes Rome’s view of faith + works. The Council or Trent (1546-63) states categorically:

If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to the obtaining [of] the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema (Canon 9).

However, in sharp biblical contrast, the very ground of justification is the work of Christ (as seen above) while faith being the very instrument that God uses to justify the sinner. Note: biblically, faith is never said to be the cause or ground of justification, but rather the sole instrument: “having been justified by faith (ek pisteōs, lit., “from faith”) we [now] have peace with God” (Rom. 5:1). If faith (i.e., the faith-act) was the cause of justification, it would become a meritorious work opposing Paul’s “apart from works” theology. Further, saving faith is said to be a “gift” granted by God. “By His doing,” Paul says, “you are in Christ Jesus” (see Acts 13:48; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2:25).

[8] In view of Rome’s official doctrine of salvation, the glory belongs to both man and God, hence rejecting soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”). According to Rome, man must, by way of his required works, cooperate with God to be justified. Thus, man and God working together (synergism) as a team in justification, whereas Paul states that it is God alone that justifies (cf. Rom. 8:33). So, in Roman Catholicism, the glory of salvation is shared by both man and God.

[9] Rome states that “Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence” (Catechism of the Church, para. 82).

[10] Ex Cathedra (“from the throne”) meaning that any official theological affirmation made by the Pope is infallible, for he cannot error. This teaching was promulgated as doctrine by Pope Pius IX at the first Vatican Council (1870), as he arrogantly stated: “I am tradition.”

[11] The term “untaught” is from the Greek term amatheis, which carries the literal meaning of “unstudied” or “untaught” as the NASB translates. Thus, it is not the biblically studied that distorts Scripture, but rather the unstudied.

[12] Here, Paul seems to be drawing from Ezekiel 33:6ff.

[13] I use the term “greatest” in the sense of most influential.

Read Acts 20:17-28:

Did they listen? Yes: see Revelation 2:1-3

*If we do not SPEAK OUT Against FALSE teachings, the FALSE TEACHINGS will be construed as TRUTH

1 Timothy 4:1:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrine taught by demons….

10 Marks of a Non-Christian Cult And False Teacher

NON-CHRISTIAN “CULT”: A group of people gathered around someone’s (typically one man) interpretation of the Bible and they always claim that they are Christian (as with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Christadelphians, etc.) and yet deny one or more essential doctrines of Christian (i.e., denying either the Trinity, deity of Christ, justification though faith alone, and/or the *physical* resurrection of Christ Jesus).

Christianity Defined: John 17:3; 8:24; 1 John 2:22-23; Gal. 1:6-8

Thus, Christianity is defined by the Person, Nature, and Finished Work of Christ

Essential theology vs. Peripheral theology

Essential theology: Gospel. See Paul’s definition of Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: the Person of Christ (God-man), His real death (i.e., His cross-work including His substitutionary atonement—God’s work in justification), and His *physical* resurrection—that is Paul definition of the Gospel.

· Deity of Christ (John 1:1; 20:28; Phil. 2:6; Col. 2:9 (Creator); Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:3, 8-10)

· Incarnation (2 Tim. 2:8; Rom. 1:2-3; cannot deny it: 1 John 4:1ff.)

· Death (what did His sacrifice achieve? Atonement, Justification )—Rom. 5:8-10)

· Physical RESURRECTION (see John 2:19ff.).

· Finished Work (real Death, Atonement—Justification Mark 10:45; John 6:37-40, 44; 19:28, 30;; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1, 8-11; 8:1, 29-32; Gal. 1:6-8).

Cannot deny these essential doctrines

==================================================================

Membership of CULTS OVER 80% OUT OF Christian churches

10 Marks: Not necessarily in chronological order

MARK 1: One person’s interpretation of the Bible, in which a “new revelation” contradicting Scripture is always postulated.

LDS: Joseph Smith,: Many Gods, a polygamous God with body parts,

  • The notion that that folks with “dark skin” were cursed
  • Reinstating the Levitical Priesthood
  • And many other so-called “NEW REVELATIONS.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Claim to be a prophet:

AS PROPHETS FROM God THEY TELL US AS TO WHAT God really said:

Who will be Jehovah’s prophet? Who will be the modern day Jeremiah? The plain facts show God has been pleased to use Jehovah’s Witnesses (WT, 15 Jan. 1959, 40-41).

God has on earth a people, all whom are prophets, or witnesses for God. . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses (Awake, 8 June 1986, 9).

Thus, JWs made these by so-called “DIRECT REVELATION” from Jehovah Himself:

  • The Trinity is a False Pagan doctrine
  • Jesus was NOT God
  • Jesus did not physically resurrect from the dead
  • Justification by faith and works, and only for the 144.000 in heaven

Many WORD OF FAITH preachers assert a NEW REVELATION

Such as Jesse Duplantis’ so-called trip to heave wherein he states in his book: “Close Encounters of the God Kind” that

  • Jesus had light brown hair, 89.
  • Johan was being affected by sin in heaven, 107.
  • God the Father can be seen, 113.
  • God is a big Man with big hand and feet, 114-115 (see the Mormon scriptures, Doctrine and Convents section 130:22, where Smith states the same: ““The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.”
  • Angel thrown against a wall, 115.
  • Preexistence of souls, 119.
  • The Holy Spirit is not omnipresent (everywhere), 118-119.
  • Adam seeing God the Father in contrast to John 1:18; 2 Tim. 6:67), 13.
  • Popcorn filed the car, 25

MARK 2. Visitation from God or an ANGEL(S) ALWAYS Providing a NEW revelation:

Joseph Smith:

His so-called First vision in 1820. However there are more than six so-called versions of the *first vision.* But the LDS’ accepted one is from 1838:

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt. . . . (Pearl of Great Price, Smith 2:19).

What was the NEW REVELATION THAT THE ANGEL BROUGHT: The ENTIRE CHURCH had FALLEN into a state of TOTAL apostasy AND God chose Joseph Smith Jr. to restore it.

JWs: NWT: angels directed the translators

Islam: It was the angel Gabriel that brought the Koran to Mohammad:

Literally HUNDREDS OF BOOKS ON ANGELS

Galatians 1:6ff (Judaizers) READ: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15

MARK 3. They Deny ONE OR MORE ESSENTIAL DOCTRINES of historic biblical Christianity—

Jesus Christ was eternal God in the flesh; TRINITY; Justification through FAITH ALONE; etc.

FOR EXAMPLE:

(a) The doctrine of the Trinity IS misrepresented, normally as either THREE GODS or MODALISM—esp. by the JWs); at times EVEN BY CHRISTIANS

The JWs:

Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advance than that to of the Trinity. It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil (Reconciliation, 101).

LDS: Define the Godhead as THREE separate gods in purpose: (Meeting in the Grove, east of the Temple, June 16, 1844):

I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years (1829?).

I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, 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. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural: and who can contradict it! (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370).

Oneness theology: FLAT OUT DENY THE TRINITY: asserting that the Trinity teaches 3 gods: Thus positing a UNIPERSONAL God

ALL NON-CHRISTIAN CULTS Redefined the Person of Jesus Christ and the term “SON OF GOD”:

  • LDS>> PHYSICAL SON
  • JW >>> MICHAEL THE ARCH- ANGEL “LESS THEN”
  • ONENESS: >>>> A Unipersonal DEITY

ALSO THEY misrepresent the biblical doctrine of Justification:

Roman Catholicism: Council of Trent’s Degree on Justification, Canon X1:

If anyone says that people are justified; either by the sole imputation of the righteousness (justitia) of Christ or by the sole remission of sins… or even the grace by which we are justified is only the favour of God, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA

LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie; Mormon Doctrine

Indeed, one of the greatest religious contentions among the sects of Christendom is whether men are justified by faith alone, without works, as some erroneously suppose.… (408).

one of the untrue doctrines found in modern Christendom is the concept that man can gain salvation (meaning in the kingdom of God) by grace alone without obedience (Mormon Doctrine, 671).

JWs Watchtower Mag:

To get one’s name written in the Book of Life will depend upon one’s works (4-1-1947, 204).

AND AS WITH the LDS, groups such as the Church of Christ, Roman Catholic Church and the UPCI teach BAPTISM = SALVATION. Thus, they all teach that BAPTISMAL REGENERATION (i.e., works + faith = salvation).

Further, *Many deny the physical resurrection (JWs, Christian Science)

For JOHN, The physical resurrection was a TEST OF ORTHODOXY (1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7).

*Many Deny the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (John 1:14): Oneness, JWs (that God became flesh).

ALL cults and world religions reject

MARK 4. They, after denying one or more essential doctrine, always CLAIM that they are “Christian.”

LDS, JWs, Oneness, Christian Science, Christadelphians, etc

MARK 5: Exclusivism—the only true church

(EXPLAIN THIS MARK)

LDS, Brigham Young:

“No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith.

From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, 289).

LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie:

“There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Mormon Doctrine, 670).

Roman Catholicism: Extra Ecclesia, nullus salus

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215

There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.”

Pope Boniface VIII, In 1302, in his Papal Bull (Unam Sanctam) stated:

“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.”

MARK 6: Faulty Hermeneutics

Every Christian should have a solid understanding that their interpretation is correct before applying it:

2 Peter 3:16

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul exhorts Timothy to

Be diligent to present yourself approve to God as a workmen who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth.

“accurately handling”: orqotomew which means “cutting straight

In Greek literature, the term was used to describe the task of a guide, whose goal was to cut a straight path

ALL cults ignore of RULES OF BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION:

SUCH AS

Grammatico-syntactical considerations. We must study the grammar and syntactical structure (i.e., word arrangement; structure of passages) meaning of words (lexical detail) the in its original significance:

EXAMPLE: The NWT of John 1:1 reads:

In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

)En a)rx$= h=(n o( lo/goj, kai\ o( lo/goj h=(n pro\j to\n qeo/n, kai\ qeo\j h=(n o( lo/goj.

By ignoring the grammar in the original, they render (qeo\j (theos, God) as indefinite. However, only by not considering the grammar, syntax and, of course, context can an Indefinitized theos interpretation work.

1. qeo\j cannot be indefinite (one God if many) for that would go against John’s own monotheistic theology.

2. theos is, grammatically, an anarthrous predicate nominative (pre-Verbal). An anarthrous nominative PREDICATE tells us something about the subject, logoj. Thus, semantically theos is QUALITATIVE—not indefinite.

  • It speaks of the QUALITY of the subject, not identity.
  • NOT “WHO,” BUT “WHAT”
  • A PREDICATE NOMINATIVE describes the class or category to which the SUBJECT belongs. Hence as to the Logos’s QUALITY as God
  • QUALITATIVE AS IN John 1:14; 4:24

3. Syntactically, theos (God) is in the *EMPHATIC POSITION* (FIRST IN THE CLAUSE) (making an indefinite rendering even more improbable).

WORD of FAITH: (esp. Copeland, Myers) USE Luke 23:43 To support the doctrine that Jesus had to go to hell to atone:

Luke 23:43 “And He said to him, Truly, truly I say unto you, Today you will be with Me in paradise”

Also, non-Christian cults ignore

>> Historico-cultural considerations. The understanding of the historical setting in which particular books were written.

ALL Epistles were written to un-deceive Christians.

1st and 2nd John and Col. Galatians and Romans refuted the teachings of the Judaizers; etc.

JWs DENY that Jesus was the Agent of CREATION because of Col. 1:15: (“firstborn, beginning of creation)—but Paul here is refuting the Gnostic doctrines.

1:15 He is the image [ei)kw\n] of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

1:16-17 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.[1]

1:20: and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 1:22: yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. . . .

2:9 In Him ALL the FULLNESS [plh/rwma] of deity [qeo/thtoj] dwells [katoikei=] in human flesh [swmatikw=j].[2]

They IGNORE Contextual considerations. Recognizing the context. Context always determines the meaning of the passage as well as the meaning of the words (e.g., firstborn; Justified; Kurios; theos; etc.).

THEY IGNORE THE Basic Principals of Hermeneutics

#1, The Bible as Literature. The Bible is to be studied literally. We must know the type of style that is being utilized in certain passages: E.g., Hyperbole (an overstatement for emphasis, Luke 14:26), Puns, Proverbs, Parables,

· Allegories, Phenomenological language (describing God’s activity in an observational fashion, Ps. 19:4),

· Anthropomorphisms (ascribing human characteristics to God to understand his activities), and Zoomorphisms (ascribing animal characteristics, Ps. 91:4). ADV: LDS above

#2. Analogy of Faith. The difficult passages must be interpreted by the clear passages. No contradictions

#3. The Priority of the Didactic (teaching). All historical narratives are to be interpreted by the didactic portions of Scripture. [Example the book of ACTS].

#4. The Priority of the Explicit. The implicit should be interpreted by the explicit (John 3:5).

And FINALLY, #5. Lexical Detail. The original meaning of words in its original significance must be observed (i.e., Heb, Aram. and Gk.).

FOR EXAMPLE, JWs: “Firstborn” (prwto/tokoj) = FIRST ONE CREATED

In Genesis 41:51 Manasseh is called “firstborn” and Ephraim is called “second.” But in Jeremiah 31:9 Ephraim is called “firstborn.”

Exodus 4:22: Israel is called “firstborn.”

Psalm 89:27: David is called “firstborn.”

If Paul wanted to convey that Jesus was “first-created” he certainly could have used the word prwto/-ktistoj meaning “first-created” to do so (cf. 2 Cor. 5:18: kainh\ kti/sij, “new creation

Or the term “Begotten”

  • JWs: created
  • Oneness[3] the origin of the Son.
  • LDS sexual relations

In simple terms, the compound word monogenhj is derived from monos meaning “alone,” or “one,” and genos meaning “class” or “kind.”

Hence, ho monogenēs huios simply means the “one and only Son” (cf. NIV), “unique Son,” or “one of a kind Son” (e.g., Heb. 11:17). Therefore, monogenēs is a relational term (as utilized by the early church), which does not carry the idea of begot,” “to give birth,” etc. The lexical support is overwhelming.

Other mistranslated words: qeo/thtoj (Col. 2:9 “divine quality” NWT);

MARK 7:= The Bible is NOT the sole authority, but secondary to the religious organization.

Every non-Christian cult has a reason as to why sola Scriptura does not work.

  • JW: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
  • LDS: Quad.
  • In their 8th Article of Faith: “We believe that the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God (Pearl of Great Price).
  • There were many plain and precious things lost or taken from the Bible.[4]
  • Roman Catholicism: Not Scripture alone, but rather Scripture and Tradition are the Word of God

Ex cathedra (Vatican I, 1870 pope Pius IX)

Too frequently, the “Spirit” supersedes the Bible.

WE are told to TEST ALL THINGS

Do not GO BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN (1 Cor. 4:6)

Acts 17:11 vs. 2 Thess. 2:1-2*

MARK 8: Doctrinal and/or Textual Changes.

JWs: False Prophecies;

NWT John 1:1; 8:58; Col. 2:9

LDS: False Prophecies (polygamy[JD 11:269]; Blacks). Early teachings VS. Modern teachings;

JST at John 1:19 (1:18)

MARK 9: Causing feelings of guilt when leaving.

Brigham Young claimed that these who leave the Mormon Church would turn “wrinkled” and “black.” The following curse was pronounced by Brigham Young:

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

MARK 10: TOTAL APOSTASY

Both the LDS and JWs assert that the entire church subsequent to the death of the apostles fell into total apostasy.

Both groups misuse 1 Tim. 4:1 (“some will fall away”) and

2 Thess 2:3: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (future?).

>>At what doctrinal point did the early church (some of which were disciples of the original apostles) err? What is the evidence?

1. No passage in the Bible teaches that a TOTAL APOSTASY will happen.

2. Jesus said that I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it

3. Eph. 3:21: to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

LDS scholars disagree as to the time of this so-called apostasy.

The notion that there was in fact a TOTAL apostasy is fundamentally indispensable for the RELIGION OF THE LDS.

IF no TOTAL APOSTASY, —then, no need for a restoration—- and hence no need for a restorer—Joseph Smith.

The churches in Rev. 2-3 the 7 churches. Rev, was written c. A.D. 80-90.

1 Peter 3:15 commands all Christians to always be ready to give a defense to give and answer for that defense, with gentleness and respect.

JOHN 17:3 JOHN 8:24

Titus 1:9

John 17:3

Glorify God

NOTES
[1] Paul utilizes different prepositions to amplify his case: All things were created “by Him” (en + dat.); “through Him” (dia + gen.); “for Him” (eis + acc.); and “in Him” (en + dat.).

[2] o(/ti e)n au)t%= katoikei= pa=n to\ plh/rwma th=j qeo/thtoj swmatikw=j

[3] Bernard unthinkingly explains that the term translated “begotten” means:

“to procreate, to father, to sire.” Thus, begotten indicates a definite point in time—the point at which conception takes place. There must be a time when the begetter [the Father] exists and the begotten [the Son] is not yet in existence, and there must be a point in time when the act of begetting occurs. . . . . So, the very words begotten and Son each contradict the word eternal as applied to the Son of God.

[4] (1 Nephi 13:20, 28; 14:23).

NOTE: As a result of this article below, Justyn Martyr, of The Bereans: Apologetics Research Ministries (www.TheBereans.net), who ironically is a member of MSI (now called “Every Nation”), wrote a short letter in response (read here). He demanded of me to produce more factual evidence to support the claims contained in the article (for he was quite unaware of the predominance of evidence that existed, which is typical among current members). Thus, after explaining that the article was not intended to provide an exhaustive presentation, but rather basic facts, I then provided Justyn with documented official MSI teachings, which demonstrate beyond doubt the false and sociologically cultic teachings of MSI. Read it Here

At face, the term “cult” can be viewed by some as quite pejorative, to be sure. In any normal English dictionary, several different meanings to the term are provided. However, from an evangelical/theological point of view, the term “cult,” that is, “non-Christian cult” is used to signify groups that consider and call themselves “Christian,” but denies or rejects an aspect of essential biblical theology. For instance, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Oneness Pentecostals all reject the biblical doctrine of the Trinity; Catholics reject justification through faith alone; etc. Hence, these groups would be classified as theological non-Christian cults due to their denial of these essential doctrines (cf. John 8:24; Gal. 1:6-9). However, there is another category of “cult” that, unfortunately, some Christian churches are regarded as. By way of doctrinal definition, this category is known as a “sociological cult.” A “sociological cult” is a group(s) that holds to essential biblical theology, but in terms of leadership and organizational construct they are sociologically abusive, promoting “elitism,” and teach a very unbiblical concept of church authority. For example, to support the false notion that water baptism is a necessity for justification, Kip McKean, founder of the sociological cult, International Church of Christ (ICC), teaches his biblically unstudied followers:

I do not know of any church, group or movement that teaches and practices what we teach as Jesus taught in Matthew 28:18-19: one must make the decision to be a disciple, then be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins to be saved and receive the Holy Spirit. When one is born again at baptism (First Principles, 34). Hence, the ICC teaches that in order for one to have salvation, it is not faith alone, but rather: first, the candidate must become a disciple, which is a process, then assuming the candidate is worthy (i.e., a “true disciple”), then he or she must be water baptized (only in the ICC), and only then are they accepted as true Christians. Further in the ICC publication, The Disciple’s Handbook, they explain that salvation is a developmental:

we believe and expect every member of the church to be fully committed to living according to that truth. . . . To our knowledge, we are the only group that teaches the biblical principle of discipleship as a necessary part of the salvation process (120; emphasis added). This is only one of countless false teachings that the ICC forcefully teach. Note the utter elitism that is slipped in the above statements that produce an atmosphere of fear, which then causes members to “submit” unconditionally. Thus, the ICC is both a theological cult (for denying justification through faith alone) and a sociological cult (for holding to an unbiblical view of authority and church discipleship). For more information on the ICC see: www.christiandefense.org/ICC_.htm#n1

Morning Star International (now called Every Nation)

Virtually identical to that of the ICC’s teaching on discipleship and authority is Morning Star International (MSI; now called “Every Nation”). Even though MSI is not theologically branded as “non-Christian cult,” MSI does, in fact, fall unequivocally in the category of “sociological cult.” This should not be at all surprising since they stemmed out of Maranatha Ministries. The leadership of MSI consists of Rice Broocks, Phil Bonasso, and Steve Murrell, all whom are self-appointed Apostles, thus referring to themselves as the “Apostolic Board.” Of course, the only church that I can think of that has a governing Board of so-called “Apostles” is The LDS (i.e., the Mormons), which they call the “Quorum of the Apostles.”

Note that when leaders of groups insist that they are “Apostles” or as with MSI, an “Apostolic Board,” it creates an illusion in which they are seen by members as God’s infallible mouthpiece determining what is “best” for their devotees. Hence, the result is that members of these kinds of organizations fearfully submit unconditionally. In fact, there are literally hundreds of Christian counter-cult ministries that speak out against the cultic practices, theological falsities and abusive teachings of MSI. Further, there are hundreds of internet posts from ex-MSI members who have written much of the spiritual abuse and crass authoritarianism that they have experienced. This perpetual teaching of “unconditional authority” keeps MSI leadership in full control of their non-questioning members. In the end, many ex-MSI members come out spiritually, and at times, mentally damaged. Physiologically, spiritual abuse is one of the most damaging abuses. A simple Google search on MSI will produce scores of websites exposing MSI. I have personally interfaced with the so-called Apostles (viz. Broocks and Bonasso) and many members of MSI. In evaluating official MSI literature, shown to me by former MSI leaders and carefully listening to MSI sermons throughout the years, I see a virtual exactness with the International Church of Christ.

Not surprising, both ICC and MSI utilize the same passages (e.g., Heb. 13:17) to teach that members should submit to “God’s delegated leaders” without question! Although, they both, with no regard for the exegesis of the text, read their own a priori assumptions into these passages. Further, both hold to an unbiblical concept of discipleship. Hence, both churches are filled with sheepish terrified members who would never dream of questioning their “covering” that, according to MSI leadership, are God’s delegate authority. To maintain a rigid control, leaders of these Discipleship or “Authoritarian” movements, claim that the authority of the leaders is “God-given” or “God-delegated.” Thus, any disobedience to the leaders is direct disobedience to God. They emphasize heavy authority and relentless submission in the relationships between the leaders and ones under them.

Space precludes me to go into every aspect of teaching on key issues of Authoritarianism such as MSI’s biblically-unbalanced doctrine on discipleship, submission, etc. that they reign over unassuming members. However, if you are a current member of MSI consider the following:

1. The New Testament does teach that church leaders are authoritative on issues of (i) directing church affairs (cf. 1 Tim. 3:5); (ii) teaching sound doctrine (cf. 2 Tim. 3:1-4); and (iii) correcting those who sin and disciplinary action if they refuse to repent (cf. Titus 3:10-11). In these cases, church authority exits. This kind of biblical authority will help, rather than obstruct, the Christian to submit to Christ.

2. Scripture indicates that the pastoral ministry is noticeably, “marked by a servants attitude,” not a weighty emphasis on authority and submission (see Matt. 20:25-28; 2 Cor. 1:24; and esp. 1 Pet. 5:1-3).

3. Christ is the one Mediator between God and man, not church leadership, for they can err (cf. 1 Tim 2:5).

4. God, not man or a church leader determines one’s destiny, (cf. Ps. 139:16; Eph. 1:11; 2:10).

5. Scripture indicates that Christians should “obey God and not man” (cf. Acts 5:29).

6. Studying God’s Word will help the Christian develop a maturity to discern what God’s will is or is not for his or her life (cf. Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 5:8-10).

7. The first and final authority—above all—is Scripture (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:21).

Writing against Authoritarian groups, apologist, E. Miller, pointed out that “Leaders who put heavy emphasis on authority and submission typically seek to make themselves indispensable to others’ spiritual growth and well-being” (CRI Journal, Spring, 1985, 15). Because of MSI’s over emphasis on submission and unconditional authority, which naturally flows from their roots, Maranatha, MSI is not a biblically based or exegetically sound organization. There are far too many churches that do not view members as “rebellious” merely for asking questions or pointing out theological error. Among the many, MSI is a typical Discipleship/Authoritarian movement that seeks to control and ultimately intimidate its trusting members.

The Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses) proclaimed: “If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people we shall not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, ‘believe all things,’ all the things that The Watchtower brings out. . . . ” (Qualified to be Ministers [WT pub.], 156).

Scripture alone is the only sole infallible authority and rule of faith for the church—our ultimate freedom is in Christ Jesus, our great God and Savior.

For documented official MSI teachings, which demonstrate beyond doubt the false and sociologically cultic teachings of MSI, Read Here