Thursday, May 24, 2012

As A Matter Of Fact I Am A Christian?

                                       (This article was written to compare Mormonism to biblical Christianity)
I am certain that the second you saw the title of this blog your brain flashed back to your high school English class. "I'm sorry, but shouldn't a statement of declaration be followed by either a period or exclaimation point?" you asked.  Well, under normal circumstances you would be right. However, these are not your normal circumstances.

  The question of Christianity and/or its definition is passed around like a hot potato by some and bitten into like a Pitt Bull by others. The purpose of this article is to examine, however briefly, just what a Christian and Christianity is -- and to determine if Mormonism falls into that definition. Well, lets's take a quick look, shall we?                                                                                    

First, since this is an internet blog, it would only seem appropriate to start off with an "internet" definition. Wikipedia defines Christian/Christianity as follows:

Christianity (from the Ancient Greek: Χριστιανός Christianos, a term introduced in Acts 26:28 to describe those who followed the teachings of Jesus Christ) is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings. Adherents of the Christian faith are known as Christians.

Christians generally believe Jesus is the Son of God, God having become human and the saviour of humanity. Because of this, Christians commonly refer to Jesus as Christ or Messiah. Jesus' ministry, sacrificial death, and subsequent resurrection, are often referred to as the Gospel message ("good news"). In short, the Gospel is news of God the Father's eternal victory over evil, and the promise of salvation and eternal life for all people, through divine grace.

I would suggest at this time that you make at least a few mental notes, such as: According to this definition, Jesus is God and became human to die for the sins of mankind. Interesting. Moving on, let's take a look at how the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it. Merriam-Webster defines Christian/Christianity as follows:

"The religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies."

I find this definition to be quite interesting because, besides being a follower of Jesus Christ, to be a Christian one must base their beleifs on the BIBLE as HOLY SCRIPTURE.  No other!

Notice how that of these two definitions, no other books were mentioned. No other dieties. No mention of accepting a certain prophet in order to be a "saved Christian". {Tenth article of Faith, LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith stated in his book, doctrines of Salvation, that there is "No salvation without accepting Joseph Smith.  The word "salvation," used in this context, must really mean "exaltation" because former Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie stated in his book Mormon Doctrine that general salvation is given to everyone regardless of belief.  Personal salvation or exaltation to the highest form of Mormon heaven comes only by accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of god and by following the laws of the LDS church.}  Wow, I'm pretty sure salvation comes through Jesus Christ and Him alone. Moving on.

   And now, my friends, let us look at the true authority (The Bible) on what a Christian is and add it to our list. A true Christian is one who has had the blood of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death applied to him or to her—but only after  having acknowledged  and  repented of their sins (toward God the Father) and  accepted Christ as their personal Savior (Acts 3:19; 2:38; Ezek. 18:21-23).  Repentance literally means a change of mind and attitude, as well as a complete change of conduct.   In repentance, one literally turns from the way of sin (breaking God’s law) that leads to death (Prov. 14:12; 16:25; Matt. 7:13) and begins walking God’s  way—the true, Christian  way of life (John 14:4-6; Acts 16:17; 18:25-26; I John 2:3-6).

Living in God’s Grace
One becomes a Christian by simply believing, putting their trust and faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, and asking God the Father’s forgiveness, and then one comes under God’s saving grace (Rom. 3:23-26; 6:23). This grace (which is so precious!) is a free gift from God—totally undeserved by anyone. No amount of effort by anyone could ever come close to earning this gift of God’s favor. Being a “good person” will not earn you salvation—for God does not “owe” salvation to anyone!  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this especially is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Once having received the gift of God’s Holy Spirit—what should the newly converted Christian then do?  Can a true Christian continue living as before? Does being “under grace” mean that one can go back and continue practicing what he or she supposedly repented of?  Absolutely not!  The apostle Paul makes it clear that one is not to continue to live in sin—continually transgressing the laws and commandments of God.  Notice Romans 6:1-3: “What then shall we say?  Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound?  MAY IT NEVER BE! "(James 2:17 "Even so faith,if it has no works, is dead,being by itself."We who died to sin, how shall we live any longer therein?  Or are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?”

A New Life in Christ
Notice how Paul goes  on in Romans six to describe the  new  life  of  a  true Christian. 

“Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism into the death; so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection.  Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, so that we might no longer be enslaved to sin; because the one who has died to sin has been justified from sin. 

"Now if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has any dominion over Him.  For when He died, He died unto sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives unto God.  In the same way also, you should indeed reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body by obeying it in the lusts thereof. Likewise, do not yield  your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from  the dead, and your members  as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:4-13, emphasis added)."

In both the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27) and the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) Christ makes it clear that once having received a gift from God, one is not expected to sit on it or bury it—but to build on it, to increase it. Christians are to grow spiritually to become ever more like Jesus and the Father (II Pet. 1:3-11; 3:18; Eph. 4:11-13; 5:1).  With this goal in mind, the true Christian studies his or her Bible regularly (II Tim. 2:15) to learn to follow the example set by Christ when He walked the earth in the flesh (John 13:15; 14:6; I Pet. 2:21; I John 2:6).  In this way, God leads one through the power of His Holy  Spirit and creates  in each Christian His godly character (Eph. 2:10) and the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5).

Now that we have gotten a good idea of what a true Christian is and beleives, let's take a quick look at just a couple of things the Mormon religion believes and compare them to the definitions we mentioned. First, Mormonism teaches "We accept Christ's atonement by repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and obeying all of the commandments," (Gospel Principles, Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1979, p. 68.).

Whoa, stop the bus! Notice that "obeying all the commandments" is part of the atonement and is necessary for salvation, contrary to what we have learned from the Bible's definition . “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Now in defense of their beliefs, many Mormons will quote the book of James, chaper 2 verse 20 to be exact. It says; "... faith with out works is dead". Well, they are correct. However, this verse is taken completely out of context. The verse does not say that one must ADD works to faith to be saved. It merely means that if one claims to have faith and is a follower of Christ, but their works do not show that faith, then their faith is dead thus their salvation is false.

The following verses 21-24 speak of Abraham WILLING to sacrifice his son for God. It was his willingness to obey the Lord, that His,(God's) righteouness was imputed into Abraham. Keep in mind that Abraham did NOTHING but SHOW his faith in God. His "works" reflected and justified his faith.

Next we are taught by Mormonism that Jesus' sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, 1856, p. 247).  Again, contrary to what we have learned. "“Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism into the death; so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life." There is no newness of life if we are still in ANY part of our sin.

The Mormons arguement with this is based on what we just discussed.  Since we are to assist Jesus in our salvation by our good works, then we can not be completely atoned for all our sins. I have only three words to say about that, Perfect Sacrificial Lamb. Because of Adam’s sin, mankind became dead in trespasses and sins. It took a perfect, sacrifice to atone for that sin and to make it possible for believers to be reconciled to God. It took a perfect sacrifice to be the complete atonement for you and for me and for all people. But only God is perfect enough to apease a wrathful God. So who on earth was perfect enough to pay the debt owed to a perfect God? Only God him self. Immanuel. God with us. Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ had to be that sacrifice. Jesus was a man from among men, a lamb from the flock, fully God and fully human. He had the same potential to sin as Adam had had, yet he did not. Thus he could be the final and perfect scacrificial lamb, the lamb without spot or blemish.

John 1:29: "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
1 Corinthians 5:7: "...For even Christ our passover is [was] sacrificed for us."
1 Peter 1:18 and 19 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Therefore since the perfect sacrificial lamb was slain for our sins then or sins have been indeed, COMPLETELY atoned.

Now as we learned earlier, the Bible is the only book used by true Christians/Christianity, but Mormonism uses the Book of Mormon, "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" which we are warned about in Galatians 1:8, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price and the Journal of Discourses. Well, let's see what the Bible has to say about that.  2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..." By looking at this verse, it is obvious that the Bible is sufficient and complete. No other book is needed to receive the holy word of God.

Granted we have only covered but a couple of the things Mormonism teaches, (the list goes on) but compared to the definitions listed above, especially that of the Bible, it is very difficult to catagorize Moronism as being Christian/Christianity. In fact, it is enough to determine that we are comparing apples to oranges. Their belief system and doctrines contradict those of Christianity and the Bible. If the god you believe in differs from the God of the Bible, then I highly suggest you examine your religion and faith.

In John 14:6  Jesus said, " I am the way the truth and the life, no one come to the Father but by me".
Jesus is the only way to be reconciled with the Father. If your Jesus does not match the Jesus of the Bible, then there will be no reconciliation for YOU!

                                                                     God bless and may the truth of the Lord be your goal.
                                                                                                                                 Ernest Eulenfeld

            (Some information was taken from the Biblical Truth Ministries, and