Question 1) What causes you to want to reach out to the LDS with the message of Jesus?
I desire to reach out the the LDS people for two main reasons:
- Because I believe with all my heart, and with a deep sadness, that they have been deceived by a false religion.
- I desire to share with them the Biblical Gospel of salvation available in Christ alone.
Question 2) Have you ever been LDS and if so what caused you to want to leave?
No, I have never been LDS. However, I was challenged by an LDS relative to prayerfully read the BOM and consider the truthfulness of the LDS church. He said that the only thing I knew about Mormonism I had learned from "Anti-Mormon" literature. Well I consider myself an open-minded truth seeker and felt convicted by what he said. I figured that if the LDS church was really true, then I sincerely wanted to know because I love God, desire to please Him and live according to His will. So I opened my heart and mind and took up the challenge to pray and study Mormonism but agreed to compare it to the Bible only.
My "truth-seeking" experience lasted about 1 year. And in addition to praying and reading, I checked out LDS material from the library, met with missionaries and visited a local ward. By the end of this period I was more convinced than ever that the BOM and the LDS church was false and not inspired by God at all. I was deeply impacted by the history of the church, it's internal contradictions and it's anti-biblical doctrines. In addition to that, I had a few spiritual experiences that confirmed (line up with) what I was understanding intellectually. I actually experienced God speak to me about Mormonism in ways that I had not anticipated. Prior to those experiences, I wanted to believe that Mormons might still be OK based on their religious sincerity. But God corrected my thinking and confirmed to me with scripture.
Question 3) Well as a result of that I'm sure you have been labeled "Anti-Mormon". What is your take on that and what advise would you give to those first getting started in apologetics?
Yes indeed - I have been labeled as Anti-Mormon (among other things). But I'm not against Mormons - I LOVE the Mormon peole and pray for them. And I try to encourage everyone to reach out to the Mormon people and pray for them. And I try to encourage everyone to reach out to the Mormon people in love because the Bible says that if "we have not love we are nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2). But if someone labeled me "Anti-MormonISM" that would be more accurate and correct. I am just as "Anti-Mormonism" as Joseph Smith was "Anti-Christianity". And I feel a strong sense of duty to defend the Bible and the Christian faith. If someone wants to get involved with apologetics I would suggest a couple of things:
- Make SURE that you're called by God and have a true heart (or burden for it). Although rewarding, it can be draining and discouraging. It is not for the thin-skinned or faint of heart. Being called of God and filled with His Spirit is critical for effective ministry.
- Make sure the foundation of everything you do is based on speaking the TRUTH IN LOVE (so study and KNOW your Bible). Truth without love is obnoxious and ineffective. And in my opinion, mean and/or ignorant Christians do more harm than good and should stay away from apologetics. We want to WIN the skeptical and the lost, not push them further away. Yet on the flip side, love without truth is equally ineffective and a great disservice. You never know if you only have one chance to share the true gospel of Christ with someone before they die (because none of us is promised tomorrow). If God sends someone our way and we don't share the truth with them, what will our answer to God be in our day of judgement? But if we share the truth with them, now they have no excuse - and our hands are clean. And lastly... Be accountable to one or more reputable spiritual leaders who show the fruit of mature Christian service. And surround yourself with a supportive network of like-minded believers who will help you, as well as challenge you. We are more effective as a unified community then out there own our own.
Question 4) Do you feel that there is any doctrinal common ground with Mormonism? If not what would you say to those who feel there is?
I do believe that Mormons and Christians have common ground on many virtues and values - but sadly, not on doctrine. Doctrine is defined as:
Based on the definition of "doctrine" I would have to make the case that Mormons and Christians do not share doctrinal common ground at all. That doesn't mean there aren't points of agreement. For example, both Mormons and Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God, BUT...of course, we can't really stop there because Mormons believe that the Bible has been corrupted (not reliable translated, is missing plain and precious parts and is not sufficient on matters of salvation.) Christians on the other hand have a significantly different doctrinal position about the Bible as being divinely inspired, being accurately and faithfully translated and fully authoritative on all matter of salvation and faith. This dichotomy is true with virtually every major point of Mormon/Christian doctrine because our beliefs are so different.
For those who believe that Christians and Mormons have "doctrinal common ground", I would really challenge them to do some more study on what makes our faiths uniquely different. If Christians do not understand what distinguishes true Christianity from Mormonism, then I believe that they are at risk of being deceived. And deceit can be deadly; following false prophets or gospels is hazardous to one's eternal destiny.
Question 5) I know that apologists think that groups such as Ephesians 2 are in this for the money even though we spent about 8x what we have received in donations. Has your group gotten similar comments and if so how do you respond to them?
At 'Facts' we are fortunate to be able to operate at almost no cost because our ministry model is built on the powerful trend of social networking, which is free. And every Admin is an unpaid volunteer. We have never asked for or received any donations - and have no plans to. That's not to say anything negative about ministries that do receive donation - but with the advances in modern technology, we are able to help spread the gospel of Christ freely like never before. Even maintaining a website or blog can be accomplished for 'next to nothing' and we are able to take care of that on our own.
That said, we have still been accused of being "in it for the money" and obviously that's not true. Those false accusers can't point to one single time we at 'Facts' have asked for anyone's money. In fact, we have given lots of material and gifts away for free. And we're not trying to sell anything there but the truth. However, not every ministry can function that way and each is entitled to raise funds for their purposes (including the multi-billion dollar LDS empire). In my opinion, your LDS critics should question the lavish financial dealings of their own church before worrying about your little "shoestring" budget.
Question 6) I'm sure that just like us there are critics from both sides. What do you feel is the best way to keep the peace in order to continue spreading the Gospel?
There are a number of key scriptures that I believe all Christians need to keep in mind at all times:
- John 15:12-13 (NKJV) - This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
- Ephesians 4:2-4 (NKJV) - with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling
- Hebrews 12:14 (NKJV) - Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
- Matthew 7:1-3 (NKJV) - "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
- James 5:9 (NKJV) - Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
- Romans 14:4 (NKJV) - Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
J.R., I think these verses (and others like them) truly need no explanation. The real question is" Will each of us humble ourselves to truly walk out the high calling of an authentic Christian life? Not only in word, but also in deed? God is the final judge - not any one of us. We all need to work out (aka "walk out" - not work for) our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).
Well thank you Admin 1 for giving me the time. Would you like to give any closing comments?
In closing, I would again like to reiterate that everything Christians do should be done with love. We have God and truth on our side and Christians should endeavor to exhibit unity and the fruit of the Spirit of God in our lives. We don't have to resort to being mean or hurtful to the LDS people - or to anyone who is lost. We need to exhibit God's heart for the lost- which is to show them the love of Christ wrapped around the foundation of Bible truth. This love was clearly manifested in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and IS the essential message of the Gospel
- John 3:16-18 (NKJV) - For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NKJV) - Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angles, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails...
I love it that the Apostle Paul explains to the Corinthian church that all their signs, gifts, works, etc. MEAN NOTHING WITHOUT LOVE. Without the love of God there is no profit and there is really no point. We need both truth and love to win the lost to Christ. And Mormons need to understand that we don't need a "restoration", "another testament", "another church", "another priesthood" or "another way". Everything we need for eternal life is in Jesus Christ and everything we need to know about Jesus Christ is in the Bible.
Many thanks to Bible Gateway for their free Bible search engine online. God Bless!!
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