When you get involved in apologetics there comes a time when you really don't need to looking for an issue to discuss with someone, they come to you. Even though Ephesians 2 Ministry has made it abundantly clear that we are not here to debate apologist they seem to want to ignore that and persist anyway. For example over the last few days I have been getting emails from an apologist wanting to pick a fight with our ministry.
Before I get into the bulk of the emails I need to bring you up to speed as to the reason he claims to have emailed us to begin with. It all started a few days ago when our ministry decided to get rid our our discussion board in order to keep up with our other obligations. The one Mormon who was apparently trying to dialog on our board emails us and this is where it all begins. I will substitute the names in the email for privacy reasons.The first email he sent me was a long effort to try and continue his dialog on the discussion board. I will save you all the headache. Here is his second email.
Just thought you'd like to know that I posted the comments for which you kicked me off your Facebook discussion page on my Facebook (lucky for me I copied and pasted them to a word document before you booted me). You can hide your lies on your discussion page through your censorship, but I've got comments from a whole lot of people who recognize your cowardice, your dishonesty, and your disregard for truth.
As you can see right out of the gate he is trying to pick a fight. Somehow he thinks our discussion board should exist specifically for him. And I find it funny that he would claim that we being cowardice or dishonest because you would have to comment first in order for that to be the case. So in an effort to try and be civil with him I responded to him with this.
You were not banned from our discussion board, we got rid of it. Several members of our ministry decided it was overkill with the Facebook page, blog, and such. However as stated several times in the past our ministry isn't for debating with apologist. If you are happy being LDS that is great for you. There is nothing I can say that will change your mind if that is the case. However we are here for two big reasons. For those who feel the burden placed on them by the organization they are a part of and realize they can't do it on their own. ,as well as born again Christians who have a heart to share the Gospel with the LDS and JW's. If you wish to talk with me that is one thing but I will not have our page turn into a complaining ground for apologist. As far as the other guy is concerned he could care less about dialogging. He is only in it to argue and I won't have it as I have stated. Hope this helps clarify.
Now as you can see I clearly spell out for him the details of why the board is gone and that he is not banned from our page (yet). I even explain to him why the other person he was referring to is no longer on our page. A reason for which I have stated several times in the past and appears I will have to several times more in the future. However it doesn't end there. He continues...
You can try to justify it all you want, but there is no getting around the fact that your website caricatures our views of salvation in disgusting ways. I will certainly agree that a discussion board is not in your best interest, because your "ministry" is too easily exposed for what it is if LDS folks are allowed to share their side of the story.
Actually I don't have caricature their view of salvation. I let it speak for itself. And can anyone please explain what there would be to expose with a ministry that is out to help those who are leaving Mormonism or the Watchtower Society? It is not our research that is out there to look at. So I respond to him with this.
What is there to justify sir? I beg to differ on your opinion about our ministry however that is besides to point. And why would you care if we are out to try and help those who choose to leave Mormonism? Would you not want them to have a relationship with God? Again our ministry is not for those who are happy being LDS, it is for those who are tired of the burden and would rather rely on Jesus.
So as you can see I yet again try and explain to him what the purpose of our ministry is. I clearly state that I am not out to change his mind. Yet do you think he would leave it at that....oh no. He continues...
All of your arguments seem to be based upon misrepresenting others. For example, where did I state that I don't want you to help people have a relationship with God? I don't have a problem with you reaching out to people who've left Mormonism--I do have a problem with your misrepresenting the actual doctrines of my faith. You've just given a great example with your false claims that LDS folks don't rely upon Jesus.
Misrepresenting others or doctrines of his faith? First of all can we really be sure of what is official doctrine on some issues. If we challenge them on what has been said or what is in their scripture it suddenly becomes an opinion. Yet is there a way to reach out to someone who wants to leave Mormonism without showing them where Mormonism goes wrong? I again try and reason with him.
If you are wanting to pick a topic and go through it I would love to. However be mindful between the members of there ministry we have over 150 years of combined membership. We know what is "official doctrine", what is taught, and what most of it's members believe to be true. You are entitled to your opinion and you will be in our prayers.
Now again I try and show him that even though we are not here to debate we do in fact know what we are talking about. And again I let him know that he is entitled to his opinion and am not out to try and change his mind. This is where his intensity starts to pick up.
Most Christians I meet appear to believe in Modalism--but I'm smart enough to know that Trinitarianism is not Modalism, and I don't go around saying that Trinitarians are Modalists. But that is exactly the kind of thing that you're doing. As for a topic, we were doing just fine when you so conveniently made the discussion section disappear. I assume you still have my comments. Still quite interested in knowing: Am I damned to hell in your eyes? How about the majority of the world's Christians who are Synergists? All damned to hell?
Now as you can see here he assumes to know what it is I believe and fill in gaps. He is even trying to get me to try and play God. Even though I feel his words and actions speak for themselves I know better than to touch this with a 10 foot pole. So this is how I respond.
You can believe as you wish sir. I don't know how many times I have to say that. And I don't have any comments from the board. We didn't keep up with it and therefor decided it was best to get rid of it. I have no clue what a majority of the comments said nor do I care now that it is gone. And it is not my place or anyone else's to claim if someone is going to hell or not. I can only go by his standard of which Mormonism as a whole does not hold to.
I'm willing to bet that anyone reading this would agree that at no time can we claim to be the judge of ones heart. However we can take a look at what an organization teaches as a whole and see if it is Biblical. I yet again had to tell him that he was free to believe as he wishes and do you think it did any good? He continues...
You're avoiding the question--probably because you're not yet willing to admit that when you condemn the Synergistic views of the LDS church, you condemn most of today's Christians to hell, and the vast majority of history's Christians. Again, I don't mind if you want to do this, it doesn't concern me in the least, I just think you should admit it to yourself if you do.
Here were my comments:
Frankly, I don't understand why the other guy is being censored. Any ground rules I should be aware of so as to not have my comments disappear?
As for your question, we've already been over this, and you can read a good overview in Part 1 of the salvation section of my website--forgive me for linking there, but I have limited time to keep hashing out the same issues over and over. Part 1 is not terribly long. If you want sincere understanding of our views, I think it will be helpful.
At this point he started going into a whole list of Mormon propaganda which I will spare everyone the headache of reading. However he claims I am avoiding his questions. I think I couldn't spell it out any better if I typed in braille. The problem is he is wanting to pick a fight and is getting frustrated because I refuse to do so. Usual LDS apologist tactic of which they will use against you should you fall into the trap. I again try and explain to him our stance.
As I stated before the other guy was banned because he only wanted to pick a fight. I conversed with him on other sites as well. And I did not avoid your question. That is how we as a ministry feel about it. Disagree as you may. And again I will say we understand your "Views" as you put it. However we will continue our effort to help those who are wanting it.
Even though I know this would not end the conversation I have to make sure he understood yet again the stance of our ministry. If you ask me I think that these two people could very will be one in the same. However that isn't important. This only fueled his anger even more.
And so it becomes perfectly clear why the discussion section disappeared. You wont answer my questions--because you actually cannot do so without damning nearly all of history's Christians to hell, as well as most of todays Christians, and this puts you in a bit of an uncomfortable pickle. I suppose I will see a new section on your website soon that is dedicated to Catholic and Orthodox Christians? Perhaps one even for Protestants with Arminian views?
Maybe I should ask in a less threatening way. You said: "I can only go by his standard of which Mormonism as a whole does not hold to." My next question would be this: Does Catholic Christianity (or other Synergists) "hold to" "his standard" as you see it?
So here we go. Because we focus on just 2 groups he has to try and say we need to include everyone. So he wants me to list a groups standard as if it might justify Mormonism un-biblical doctrine. I have to caution everyone when they try and take this approach. For it will only go down an endless road for which the issue with Mormonism will be lost in the background. I quickly bring him back to the issue at hand.
Condemn...not hardly. I know where I stand before God. I can't speak for anyone else. If you choose to do so that is on your head. And as far as to why we only go over the 2 we do. My wife was LDS for 20 years and I had a good friend of mine leave the Watchtower society. I do not nor does anyone else on our team have the experience to speak about any other.
As far as your question. Why don't you tell me what you feel your "Standard" is and I can fill in the gaps that you choose to leave out.
This is where he had an open door to debate if any. I made sure it was going to be about Mormonism. Do you think he took it? For if we are going to discuss anything it will be Mormonism, not a religion for which neither one of us are a part of. He responds...
Do you have any idea how obvious is that you are not willing to address the issues I'm raising? I can't say that I blame you, because again, if you claim that LDS doctrine "falls short of the standard" of salvation for its views of faith and works, then you would clearly say the same about most of the world's Christians who are Synergists. You do realize that your Monergistic "standard" of salvation puts you in a quite small minority among the history of Christianity, right?
No, I don't claim to know who is going to hell, and who is not. However, there are people running rampant on your discussion page who do just that--but they are not the ones who get censored--only those who point out your deception. I'll add that you may have realized that it is absurd to categorically declare that various religious groups are hell-bound (as Evangelicals have made a habit of doing), but you essentially do the same thing by claiming that I am not a Christian if I believe LDS doctrines. Surely, in your eyes, I cannot be saved if I am not a Christian, right? So what about other Synergists--are they "Christian." What is it that makes you able to say that you're a Christian, and I'm not? Please do enlighten me.
I've already answered your question about the LDS "standard" of salvation, and answered your previous question on the discussion page where you asked if I must "do my part." I've been patiently waiting for you to let me know just where you think they "fall short of the standard." Once again, my previous comments are below, and I do hope you'll see Part 1 of my website if you really want to understand. It's really not too long, and it clears up the core of your distortions of our doctrine.
At this point he yet again fills the email with Mormon propaganda which I will spare you the headache of. As you can see he again want me to claim to speak on matters of the heart. You can tell he is getting desperate. He also claims to have answered my question however I don't see it. He would rather me go to his website where he goes in circles. For if any of you have spent anytime on FAIR, FARMS, or any other LDS site you know exactly what I mean. So at this point I have to make a decision. Because it is clear that trying to explain things in English isn't working. I make it clear to him for the last time that the conversation is pointless.
Sir,Why would you think I would waist that kind of time with you? I have gone rounds with people much more experienced than you and you know where it all ends up? We both have to agree to disagree. So let me save you the time shall we. Because your points are fruitless, just like faith + works.
And seriously man you need to get over the discussion board issue for no one was censored as you put it. You may have countless hours to spare but we don't. Your acting like a child. If we as a ministry were here for the likes of you (being an apologist) that might be a completely different story. However we are not for the upteenth time. And as I have said before I can't speak about the heart of an individual to include yourself, however Mormonism is NOT Christian. And I would take a closer look at what Jesus did to say those people who are hell bound? I would suggest you re-read his words without LDS filters in place, because it also includes those who call out "Lord, Lord".
I would also beg to differ that you answered my question about the "Standard" of Mormonism. However it may also be too long to go over, which is why you are still waiting for my answer, as I stated I would have filled in the gaps. I would have started on what it takes to get into the temple but we will never know now.
I can tell that you are extremely angry at those who stand up against your church and in some ways I don't blame you. In others I see no point. When someone attacks my faith I will defend it. I will bring out scripture and let Gods word to the work. However at some point if it is clear that the other party is only out to pick a fight then at some point you have to wash your hands of the situation. For someone such as yourself I can see already that facts mean nothing to you. I'm sure your well aware of the evidence there is against Joseph and would rather trust that a prayer is the answer for truth instead. I would also love to go through that with you however again at this point would it get either one of us anywhere. For I doubt that you will ever get to the point to see that Mormonism isn't all it's cracked up to be.
I don't say that to irritate you. For as I have stated before if it works for you then more power to you. I myself would rather trust in him instead of Joseph. Good luck my friend, for at this point all I can say is that we will both stand before him one day. I will stand before him and say that I have nothing to offer but my faith in your Son. You will stand before him and say that you are an honorable man, that you have lived your covenants, I have gone through the temple, this is me...this is me. So in ending I bid you good luck. For to continue this pointless conversation will get neither of us anywhere. Your attitude and state of mind is not the focal point of our ministry and my time is better spent with those who are honestly seeking.
God Bless and you will be in my prayers
As I'm sure you can guess he wouldn't leave it there. However if I respond to him yet again the conversation will never end. He then ask a serious of questions trying to get me to go down countless rabbit holes.
Apologetics is something that you can't take lightly. If you are going to get involved you have to be prepared that those you are trying to reach may not care for truth and are comfortable with their ignorance. In concluding I ask that you take heed and be prepared when people such as this guy start wanting to argue. LDS apologist aren't out for truth. They only want to get those who stand up against their church to quit. Then they are free to distort things without opposition. May God be with you and hopefully this can help you understand what you will run into as you venture into apologetics.