Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

A Comparison of Mormonism and Christianity

Evidence that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church or LDS) has a Christian Foundation

Compiled by Cal Fullerton

How can the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Salt Lake City, Utah, live up to its claim to be a Christian organization when they teach so many eccentric and extra-biblical doctrines?

It is because the LDS does adhere to the essential message of the New Testament — not only the teachings that we all must adhere to for salvation in Christ (for example, “God exists”), but more significantly, teachings that effectuate, or bring about, salvation.

It is also because all their false teachings concern nonessential issues. Non-essentials are principles that may be important for spiritual growth but on which someone may be in error without losing their status as a forgiven, born-again, blood-bought, heaven-bound child of God.

The vital question is, “Does the Mormon Church encourage people to make Jesus Christ their personal Lord and Savior?” The answer is unequivocally yes.

Please take the crash course of fast facts below that show the Bible’s essential doctrines in juxtaposition to corresponding LDS doctrines. Key words are in dark red.

Bible
“‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’” (Acts 16:31).
Mormon Church
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel. It is necessary to our salvation” (Gospel Principles [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997], 117).“Salvation cometh to none . . . except it be through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Mosiah 3:12, Book of Mormon, quoted in Gospel Principles, 117).
Bible
“Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:5).
Mormon Church
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: . . . second, Repentance (Joseph Smith, The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1:4).
Bible
“‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness’” (2 Timothy 2:19).
Mormon Church
“We must forsake our sins.” (Gospel Principles, 124).
Bible
“And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).
Mormon Church
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: . . . fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith, 1:4).
Bible
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14 KJV).
Mormon Church
“It is the Spirit that is the most effective teacher in any given situation. . . . We should . . . carefully listen for and record the unspoken impressions given by the Holy Ghost” (Daniel K. Judd, “Nourished by the Good Word of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 94-95). “The adversary labors to dull our sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit. . . . When we invite the Holy Ghost to fill our minds. . . . we feel strengthened, filled with peace and joy. We possess spiritual energy and enthusiasm.” (Elder Keith K. Hilbig, “Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 37- 38).
Bible
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.” (1 John 4:15).
Mormon Church
“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ” (Articles of Faith, 1:1).
Bible
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).
Mormon Church
Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ)” (Elder David B. Haight, “The Sacrament–and the Sacrifice,” Ensign, Apr. 2007, 16).
Bible
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (1 John 4:2).
Mormon Church
“‘The Word was made flesh’. . . . the Word is Jesus Christ” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981], 10). “‘[Jesus] shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay’” (Mosiah 3:5, Book of Mormon, quoted in Gospel Principles, 63).
Bible
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).
Mormon Church
“And behold, he shall be born of Mary . . . she being a virgin . . . who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God” (Alma 7:10, Book of Mormon). “Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary” (Gospel Principles, 63).
Bible
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Mormon Church
“I know that he lives. . . . He is our Lord and our God” (President Joseph Fielding Smith, quoted in “He Lives! The Witness of Latter-day Prophets,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 10).
Bible
“God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25).
Mormon Church
“The Savior atoned for our sins by suffering in Gethsemane and by giving his life on the cross. . . . We accept Christ’s atonement by placing our faith in him” (Gospel Principles, 73, 75). “He [Jesus] took our sins upon himself” (Gospel Principles, 19).

Many of the Bible verses above tell us that you will be saved if you believe or do what the verses say. Therefore, the corresponding and agreeing LDS quotations give us evidence that the LDS is Christian.

If certain other Mormon teachings seem to contradict what has been spelled out here, our next move should be to interview LDS representatives–such as missionaries–and ask them, “Which is it? You can’t believe both.”

I can tell you that their other teachings do not contradict what they say in the above quotations–but don’t trust me! The Bible says, “Don’t put your trust in mere humans” (Isaiah 2:22, NLT). I suggest you do your own investigation and trust the Lord Jesus to guide you with His Holy Spirit.

Insurance Round

The following comparisons of Mormon beliefs to Bible verses constitute an insurance round–confirmations of the evidence already presented. For years, I personally confirmed and reviewed the Christian core of the LDS over and over again. I had to do this because my well-meaning fellow evangelicals as well as the devil himself tried to cause me to doubt what God had revealed to me.

Bible
“For by grace are ye saved
through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God”
(Ephesians 2:8 KJV).
Mormon Church
“The Apostle Paul taught that we
can’t save ourselves; we need
the Lord’s grace: [and then they
go on to quote the very Bible
verse I’ve quoted] ‘For by grace
are ye saved through faith; and
that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest
any man should boast’” (no author,
“We Believe,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 56).

 

Bible
All have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Mormon Church
“Except for Jesus Christ . . .
everyone who has lived upon the
earth has sinned” (Gospel
Principles, 122).

 

Bible
“For what I received I passed on
to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures, that
he was buried, that he was raised
on the third day according to the
Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Mormon Church
“The fundamental principles of
our religion are the testimony of
the Apostles and Prophets [of
the LDS], concerning Jesus
Christ, that He died, was buried,
and rose again the third day, and
ascended into heaven; and all
other things which pertain to our
religion are only appendages to
it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Smith
, quoted in Spencer J. Condie, “The
Fall and Infinite Atonement,” Ensign,
Jan. 1996, 22).

 

 

To fully understand LDS people, we should know that they often redefine common Bible terms. This is why even direct quotations from official LDS publications can be deceptive and often are deceptive when anti-Mormon non-Mormons generate the quotations. I’ve done my best to avoid any such deception in the comparisons above (my knowledge of “Mormonese” enables me to do this).

 

 

Sources

Joseph Smith, The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, translated by Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981) is used alongside the Bible as scripture.

All Scripture quotations above, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Ensign is an official magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gospel Principles (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997) is used in Sunday school classes.

James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981). James Talmage was one of the twelve apostles of the Church.

ORIGINAL POSTING SITE: http://evangelicalsandmormonsforjesus.com/fast-facts.htm

A Quadruple Combination of the (scriptures) of...

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Baptist Version of The Book of Mormon

The Baptist Version of The Book of Mormon

Protestant Doctrines within the Book of Mormon

by Lynn Ridenhour, Southern Baptist Minister

I’m a licensed Southern Baptist minister and I embrace the Book of Mormon.

That is, I believe the truths recorded in it. No, I’m not a convert to the Mormon faith, nor am I a member of any particular “spin-off” restoration group such as the RLDS (Reorganized Latter-day Saints), Hedrikites, or Strangites. I’m still a Baptist minister. To be exact, I’m “charismatic Baptist.” That is, I still embrace the “born again” experience. I still believe you’re saved by grace. By the shed blood of Christ. Salvation is by faith alone in His finished work on Calvary. I still believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. I believe and embrace those cardinal doctrines of Protestantism.

And you know what?…

I still believe the Book of Mormon too!

I know. I can hear you now. “…A charismatic Baptist minister who believes the Book of Mormon?! Impossible. That’s like a Protestant Pope…” No, it’s not. It’s not a contradiction.

The two go hand in hand, really–Protestant doctrine and the Book of Mormon. They’re not at odds. The Book of Mormon is filled with Protestant cardinal doctrines, believe it or not. In fact, I discovered, the Book of Mormon is more “Baptist” than the Baptist hymnal in places. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s so. I read the Book from cover to cover and found as a Baptist minister, there is absolutely nothing in it that contradicts the Bible.

For example, the book uplifts the blood of Christ (Mosiah 1:118), declares that salvation is only by God’s grace (2 Nephi 7:42), defends the grand theme of salvation (Mosiah 1:108), and proclaims that salvation comes only through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ (Mosiah 3:8,9). Other themes such as repentance, atonement by Christ’s blood, redemption, and forgiveness run like a scarlet thread through the book as well (Alma 3:86, Helaman 2:71, Alma 13:13, Mosiah 2:3,4). Thus, our “tongue ‘n’ cheek” title, The Baptist Version of the Book of Mormon. I’m telling you, the grand themes of Protestantism are found recorded through and through. From cover to cover.

A Word About My Background…

Reared in a small conservative Baptist church back in the hills of the Ozarks, I was taught with strong convictions that Mormons were no different from Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, or Armstrong followers. They all sooner or later knocked on your door. We were instructed by our parents to “…let none of them in the house. And don’t buy their materials…” All were cults. Certainly the Mormons were not within mainstream Christianity.

I was taught that the Book of Mormon was a lie. We have the Bible and no man was to add to the scriptures lest his soul be damned. And I was taught that the rapture could occur any minute. Establishing a literal kingdom on this earth was pure nonsense. And I believe my convictions were typical. Most protestant/pentecostal Christians today share similar sentiments.

So what are we faced with concerning the Book of Mormon? Is it…

Adding to the Bible or Duped by the Canon

“…You don’t really believe in that book, do you?” Or “…you surely don’t believe the Book of Mormon is equal with the Bible, do you?…”

These are questions my friends now ask me, wondering if I haven’t erred from the truth.

What’s my response?…

I have chosen to follow the style of the Master. When asked a probing question, He often responded with one. The Pharisees once asked Him about John the Baptist, and…

“…Jesus responded, ‘I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you…’” –Matt.21:24

When my friends ask, “…do you believe in the Book of Mormon?” I respond, “I will answer that, but first I would like for you to answer my question, ‘Why do you believe in the canon of scripture? Would you give me your reasons?’”

Most can’t. They’ve never thought it through.

That’s really the issue, you know—not whether or not I believe in the Book of Mormon, but whether or not we as Christians are to embrace the concept of canonization. For that’s the perception here—that by embracing the Book of Mormon I’ve violated scripture’s canon. My friends are convinced I’ve added to the Word of God. I’m convinced we’ve been duped by the canon.

To get to the point—not many evangelical Christians realize (I didn’t), the concept of canonization became popular with the Church around the time of Constantine, a period when the Church became infiltrated with nationalism and worldly teachings. Closing the canon to 66 books was the outcome of man’s wisdom and man’s heresy. Canonization has its origin in worldly tradition, is not found in the Bible, and was not practiced by the early Church. And I’m aware—that’s a shocker.

A bit of trivia–God would not end His book with the numbers ’66.’ That’s one “six” short of 666—the number of the Anti-Christ. God’s number has always been “seven,” not “six.”

I have discovered, there are two extra-biblical teachings propagated by Protestantism that must be dealt with before most of us will take the Book of Mormon seriously: 1) the doctrine of canonization, and 2) the teaching of the rapture. Both are cardinal doctrines of Protestantism and both are extra-biblical teachings. That is, neither is supported by the Word of God.

The other Protestant myth…

The Rapture

“…Joseph Smith can’t be taken too seriously because he believed in a literal city of Zion.” I must say, that doesn’t sound so strange these days. Many evangelical Christians no longer embrace the rapture.

What about the rapture? Where did the doctrine come from? Did the early saints believe in it?

For eighteen hundred years the saints did not believe in the rapture, pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, or mid-tribulation. The teaching is new. In the light of church history, it’s new. Again, perhaps that’s a shock to some of us.

I find it very interesting—both the rapture theory and the restoration of the gospel came forth in the same year: 1830! When the Lord moves in the earth, the Devil usually attempts his imitation of the real.

For instance, which does the Bible teach: removal or restoration?

Joseph Smith, Jr. was called to restore primitive Christianity to the Church in 1830 and Margaret MacDonald, a fourteen year-old Scottish girl, went into a trance that same year. She described a vision where she saw the saints leaving the earth at the return of the Lord. Her “revelation” occurred while living in Port Glasgow, Scotland. The vision was recorded in two books written by R.N. Norton, M.D., and printed in London, England in 1861. Two Brethren ministers, Edward Irving and John Darby, popularized her vision. The Plymouth Brethren accepted the vision as valid and the rapture doctrine “took off” during prophetic meetings at Powerscourt House in Ireland.

Irving’s views influenced C.I. Scofield, whose Bible notes popularized the new theory among fundamentalist/evangelical Christians in the West. The rest is history. However, as I said, many fundamentalist/evangelical Christians today have second thoughts about the doctrine, having re-evaluated their position. They no longer believe Christians will be “raptured out” of the tribulation.

There they are—two Protestant myths that must be dealt with before one is likely to take the Book of Mormon seriously: the doctrines of canonization and the rapture.

Let’s suppose…

…that God still speaks today—that the canon is still open—and that there’s not going to be a removal of the saints but a restoration of His creation (which includes His people), then perhaps the message of the Book of Mormon is not so “far fetched” after all.

Speaking of the message of the Book of Mormon, what exactly is its message? What is its central theme? Restoration of the covenants in these latter days. That surprised me, blessed me, and witnessed to me.

No, the book is not meant to be used as a tool to proselyte you into some weird sect or cult. No, it’s not meant to be used to “make a Mormon” out of you. The Book of Mormon is the most nonsectarian book I’ve ever read! It’s meant for Catholics, for Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Charismatics, Seventh Day Adventists, for Baptists, Pentecostals…you name it. It speaks to all.

I’ll say it again. The central message of the Book of Mormon is—restoration of the covenants in these latter days! And that message is meant for all God’s children.

“…For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have been taken away…” –I Nephi 3:168,169

Its Central Theme

Let’s explore the central theme of the Book of Mormon—restoration of the covenants. Somehow our generation has overlooked the obvious: the Bible is a covenant document!

And what’s a covenant?

It’s the missing revelation among God’s children, among the church at large. That’s what it is. And how sad. Like Mephibisheth, the majority of today’s Christians do not know they have a covenant with the King. And as believers we don’t miss the covenant because we don’t know we have one. We have no idea—we were destined to sit at the table with the King.

Like in King Josiah’s time (II Kings 23), “covenant” has been forgotten among us. I would say—since the early 1800s we’ve lost the revelation. We’re a generation without a covenant, without a mandate, without dominion. Yes, today’s Church, by and large, has taken away “…many covenants of the Lord…”, has taken away from the gospel “…many parts…”

Let me give a brief prophetic history of the church age. John speaks of different ages in his book of Revelation. Seven churches represent seven approximate time periods. For example, Ephesus represents that period approximately 29 AD to 100 AD. Smyrna represents 100 AD to 300 AD. Pergamus, 300 to 350 AD. Thyatira, 350 to 500 AD. Sardis, 500 to 1500 AD, the dark ages. Philadelphia, 1500 to 1830 AD, the Reformation. And the Church at Laodicea, 1830 to present—the age of the lost and forgotten covenants of the Lord.

Please consider that last point—we’re living in an age of “…the lost and forgotten covenants of the Lord.”

Selah—ponder that for a moment.

The Laodicean age—no real commitment to covenants and contracts. The fruit of the Reformation (sectarianism) changed the concept of biblical salvation “oh so” subtle among the majority of Protestants. And in the process, the covenants were lost. Protestantism for the past 150 years has preached salvation by decision-making, not covenant-keeping. That’s a caricature of the real thing. “…Invite Jesus into your heart,” “…Make a decision for Christ,” are buzz words of the modern Protestant movement. The problem is—you don’t make a “…decision for Christ.” You enter into a covenant with Him. You make a covenant with the King of the universe that begins in time but lasts throughout eternity. There’s a world of difference between entering into a covenant and making a decision. One is binding throughout eternity; the other, more times than not, is mere mental gymnastics.

You say, “Ridenhour, you’re just playing with words…semantics.” No, I’m not. The implications are far deeper than a mere play on words.

The Book of Mormon is a revelation of the covenants being restored among His people in these latter days. When a people sign a contract they act differently (especially if the contract is with God!). They weigh the consequences. In these latter days we will again begin to know what it means to sign a contract with the Lord of Hosts, and act accordingly. A revelation of biblical salvation will return to his people. Praise His name.

In other words, the central message of the Book of Mormon is—to repent and come unto Christ, which means to establish a covenant with Him. And that message is coming to light in these latter days. And that’s why I embrace the Book of Mormon. Our generation knows very little, if anything, about establishing a covenant with Christ. Protestantism doesn’t teach it. Unfortunately, most of us are products of “cheap grace” and “decision-making” Sunday School preaching. Hosea described a people who were “…half baked” (Hosea 7:8). Like a cake not turned. Sadly, my generation fits the bill.

Listen to the words of the ancient prophet.

“…Behold, I [the Christ] have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin; therefore whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive; for of such is the kingdom of God.” –3 Nephi 4:51

To make sure we understand…

Scriptural salvation is entering into a personal covenant with Him; thereby coming unto Christ for all our temporal and eternal needs and wants. The contract is binding throughout eternity while effectual in time.

Let’s go on…

Back to the title of our pamphlet, “The Baptist Version of the Book of Mormon.” Setting aside the title’s “tongue ‘n’ cheek” tendency, there is an element of truth I’m getting at. As I said earlier, having read the Book of Mormon through as a Baptist minister, I was astonished at how often I kept running into Protestant themes. Themes such as: the plan of salvation, salvation by faith in Christ, salvation by grace alone, repentance, the gifts of the Spirit, the filling of the Spirit, sanctification, justification by faith, forgiveness and redemption. I could go on.

I kept thinking as I was reading, “…wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were some piece of writing available that listed all these themes from the Book of Mormon.” I searched and searched for such a work and never found it. (I’ve noticed, since becoming a part of this wonderful restoration movement, there are very little, if any, writings concerning the restoration written to “non-restoration” saints.) So I decided, I would write to non-restoration believers. Make available materials on the restoration to our Protestant, Pentecostal, Catholic brethren. Hence, another booklet.

What I’m going to do for the remainder of this booklet is list various Protestant themes taken from Book of Mormon scriptures. If I seem a bit repetitious, it’s deliberate. I want you to get the full impact of the spirit of the wording. And my prayer is—may the Spirit of God bear witness to your spirit as you read.

First, Book of Mormon scriptures on the…

Born Again Experience

I was delightfully surprised to find so many “born again” scriptures in the Book of Mormon. For example…

“…For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold, I am born of the Spirit. And the Lord said unto me, Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men, and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; Yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God…” –Mosiah 11:186-188 (all scriptures quoted from RLDS 1908 version)

That verse, I must say, sounds so “Baptist.” And I believe every word of it.
“…And now I say unto you, that this is the order after which I am called; yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren; yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; Yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you, the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again; Yea, thus saith the Spirit, Repent all ye ends of the earth, for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand; yea, the Son of God cometh in his glory, in his might, majesty, power and dominion…” –Alma 3:85-87

“…Now I say unto you, that ye must repent, and be born again: for the Spirit saith, If ye are not born again, ye can not inherit the kingdom of heaven…” –Alma 5:24

“…after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God…” –Mosiah 11:190

“…Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? ..” –Alma 13:49

“…Yea, and from that time, even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost…” –Alma 17:22

“…my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God…” –Alma 17:21

“…and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceeding great joy in the fruit of my labors; for because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God…” –Alma 17:23

“…Now my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me, which maketh these things known unto me: for if I had not been born of God, I should not have known these things…” Alma 18:6

Author’s Comments:

One of my favorite hymns of the early restoration saints is: YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

A ruler once came to Jesus by night,
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain
“Ye must be born again.”

“Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again,
I verily, verily say unto thee
Ye must be born again.”

–W.T. Sleeper

One other thing. I discovered, Joseph Smith meant exactly what I meant when he used the phrase “born again.” He wasn’t saying one thing and meaning another; that is, he wasn’t playing with semantics. I found the above scriptures to be so comforting to my spirit. So believable. So “…plain and precious” to the soul.

Here’s another Protestant theme…

Plan of Salvation

“…he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations. O how merciful is our God!…” –Alma 14:38

“…For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of salvation?…” –Jarom 1:3,4

“…if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partook of the tree of life, he would have lived for ever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; Yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated…” –Alma 19:85,86

Plan of Redemption

“…Now if it had not been for the plan of redemption, which was laid from the foundation of the world, there could have been no resurrection of the dead…–Alma 9:42

“…if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life, they would have been for ever miserable, having no preparatory state; And thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated…” –Alma 9:44,45

“…And they began from that time forth to call on his name; therefore God conversed with men, and made known unto them the plan of redemption, which had been prepared from the foundation of the world…–Alma 9:49

“…God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; For on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God…” –Alma 9:52,53

What blessed scriptures. What a blessed theme—the plan of redemption!

“…But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid,) saying: If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine only begotten Son…” –Alma 9: 54

“…he expounded unto them the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world…” –Alma 12:119

“…And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures, from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state, and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name…” –Alma13:45

“…I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance, and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might be no more sorrow upon all the face of the earth…” –Alma 15:53

“…therefore, only unto him that has faith unto repentance, is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption. Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save…” –Alma 16:217,218

What a verse!

“…I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time, and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God…” –Alma 16:227,228

“…Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people, as well as unto their children?..” –Alma 19:26

“…And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside,) as soon as they were dead, their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord…” –Alma 19:92

And now we turn our attention to one of the most central and cardinal Protestant doctrines of all…

Salvation

“…And then at that day, will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation?..” –I Nephi 4:20

“…And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand, Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said, Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught. And Alma said, If thou believest in the redemption of Christ, thou canst be healed. And he said, Yea, I believe according to thy words. And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying, O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk…” –Alma 10:95-100

What a powerful passage!

“…Yea, even that ye would have so much faith as even to plant the word in your hearts, that ye may try the experiment of its goodness; and we have beheld that the great question which is in your minds, is whether the word be in the Son of God, or whether there shall be no Christ. And ye also beheld that my brother has proven unto you, in many instances that the word is in Christ, unto salvation…” –Alma 16:203,204

“…these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles by the gift and power of the Lamb; And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation…” –I Nephi 3:185,186

“…And then at that day, will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation?…” –I Nephi 4:20

“…Yea, and all the earth shall see the salvation of the Lord, saith the prophet…–I Nephi 5:256

“…I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer: for thou hast beheld, that in the fullness of time, he cometh to bring salvation unto men…” –II Nephi 1:63

“…For the Spirit is the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free…” –II Nephi 1:65,66

“…Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say, O Lord, I will praise thee for ever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation…” –II Nephi 3:50

“…Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord, JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation…” –II Nephi 9:133,134

Sure sounds like Isaiah!
“…For there is nothing which is good, save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil, cometh from the devil. And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth, ye will be saved…” –Omni 1:45-47

“…For behold as in Adam, or by nature they fall, even so the blood of Christ atoneth for their sins. And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given, nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent…” –Mosiah 1:115,116

“…But men drink damnation to their own souls, except they humble themselves, and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent: For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been, from the fall of Adam, and will be, for ever and ever; But if he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint, through the atonement of Christ, the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come, when the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people…” –Mosiah 1:118-121

Sounds like some good ole Baptist preaching to me!

“…For behold, if the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time, has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state; I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long suffering towards the children of men, And also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord…And there is none other salvation, save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved…” –Mosiah2:8-9,12

“…There is no other name given, whereby salvation cometh, therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God…” –Mosiah 3:11

“…And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand, Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said, Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught. And Alma said, If thou believest in the redemption of Christ, thou canst be healed. And he said, Yea, I believe according to thy words. And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying, O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk…” –Alma 10:95-100

Again, what a powerful passage!

“…Yea, behold, I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven, save it be this Jesus Christ of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved…” –II Nephi 11:39

“…And I pray the Father in the name of Christ, that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom, at that great and last day…” –II Nephi 15:15

The Lord Jesus Christ

Like the Bible, the central theme of the Book of Mormon is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are over 160 passages in the Book of Mormon that speak of the Lord Jesus Christ. There were 22 men named in the Book of Mormon who saw Christ. Some form of Christ’s name is mentioned on an average of every 1.7 verses. The New Testament mentions a form of Christ’s name on an average of every 2.1 verses. The name of the Savior appears nearly 25 percent more frequently in the Book of Mormon than in the New Testament. When we realize that a verse usually consists of one sentence, we cannot on the average read two sentences in the Book of Mormon without seeing some form of Christ’s name.

“He is Lord” rings loud and clear from its pages like a London cathedral choir harmonizing on a Sunday morning. The sound is resonant throughout the book’s pages. The Spirit’s witness is there. That same Jesus I discovered in the Bible is also present in the pages of the Book of Mormon. Praise be to His holy name!

I mention but a few of the many passages that speak of our blessed Savior.

“…And according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” –II Nephi 11:36

“…Yea, behold, I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven, save it be this Jesus Christ of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved…” –II Nephi 11:39

“…And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also, that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God; and that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost…” –II Nephi 11:78

What a blessed verse.

“…And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers. And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God…” –II Nephi 12:82,83

“…I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell…” –II Nephi 15:7

I have always liked this verse. One of my favorites, for sure.

“…Wherefore, we search the prophets; and we have many revelations, and the spirit of prophecy, and having all these witnesses, we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus, and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea…” –Jacob 3:7

“…And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things, from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary. And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men, even through faith, on his name…” –Mosiah 1:102,103

“…We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things, who shall come down among the children of men…” –Mosiah 2:4

“…And I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come; yea, the Son, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world; yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name…” –Alma 3:83,84

“…And according to the spirit of prophecy which was in him, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who should come to redeem his people from their sins…” –Alma 4:10

“…And it came to pass that there were many who died, firmly believing that their souls were redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ; thus they went out of the world rejoicing…” –Alma 21:74

“…O remember, remember, my sons, the words which King Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world…” –Helaman 2:71

“…I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ…that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls…” –III Nephi 2:103

“…And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” –III Nephi 2:109

“…As many as were converted, did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed…” –III Nephi 3:63

“…Behold I am Jesus Christ, the son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name…” –III Nephi 4:44,45

That name which is above every name, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is found throughout the pages of this blessed book—the Book of Mormon.

On to another central Protestant doctrine…

Repentance

“…And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they can not be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, hath spoken it…” –II Nephi 6:48-50

“…For behold, I say unto you, That as many of the Gentiles as will repent, are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent, shall be cast off; For the Lord covenanteth with none, save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel…” –II Nephi 12:77,78

“…And the Father said, Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my beloved Son…” –II Nephi 13:14

“…Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you…” –Mosiah 2:16

“…Except they repent, and turn to the Lord their God, behold, I will deliver them into the hands of their enemies…” –Mosiah 7:32

“…The time is at hand that he must repent, or he can not be saved…” –Alma 3:55

“…Preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you, the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again…” –Alma 3:86

“…Thus saith the Spirit, Repent all ye ends of the earth, for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand; yea, the Son of God cometh in his glory, in his might, majesty, power and dominion…” –Alma 3:87

“…The Spirit saith unto me, yea, crieth unto me with a mighty voice, saying, Go forth and say unto this people, Repent, for except ye repent, ye can in no wise inherit the kingdom of heaven…” –Alma 3:89

“…Now I say unto you, that ye must repent, and be born again: for the Spirit saith, If ye are not born again, ye can not inherit the kingdom of heaven…” –Alma 5:24

Sounds like Nicodemus and Jesus in John chapter three, doesn’t it?

“…Melchisedec having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood, according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchisedec did establish peace in the land in his days…” –Alma 10:12,13

“…And now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words unto them, he stretched forth his hand unto them and cried with a mighty voice, saying, Now is the time to repent, for the day of salvation draweth nigh…” –Alma 10:18

“…And we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name…” –Alma 12:180

“…And also, what is this that Ammon said: If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day?…” –Alma 13:37

“…There was a time granted unto man, to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God…” –Alma 19:84

“…And it came to pass that they did repent, and inasmuch as they did repent, they did begin to prosper…” –Helaman 2:49

“…Blessed are they who will repent, and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved…” –Helaman 4:70

“…O all ye that are spared, because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, If ye will come unto me, ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me. Behold I am Jesus Christ, the son of God…” –III Nephi 4:41-45

On to another central Protestant doctrine…

Faith

“…And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father concerning the things which he saw in a vision; And also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost; which power he received by faith on the Son of God; And the Son of God was the Messiah who should come…” –I Nephi 3:23-25

“…Behold they are righteous for ever; for because of their faith in the Lamb of God, their garments are made white in his blood…” –I Nephi 3:117

“…We are made alive in Christ, because of our faith…” –II Nephi 11:46

“…Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far, save it were by the word of Christ, with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save; Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men…” –II Nephi 13:28,29

“…I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ, that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment seat…” –II Nephi 15:8

“…Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions…” –Jacob 2:49

“…Beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him, through the atonement of Christ, his only begotten Son. That ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first fruits of Christ, unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him, before he manifesteth himself in the flesh…” –Jacob 3:16,17

“…For he had said unto me, Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it. And I had faith, and I did cry unto God, that he would preserve the records; And he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth…” –Enos 1:24-26

“…And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites. And it came to pass, that after I had prayed, and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me, I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith…” –Enos 1:17,18

“…There are many among us who have many revelations: for they are not all stiff-necked. And as many are not stiff-necked, and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith…” –Jarom 1:8,9

“…Wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God; for salvation cometh to none such, except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ…” –Mosiah 2:4-6

“…We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things, who shall come down among the children of men. And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words, the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come…” –Mosiah 2:4-6

“…Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things both in heaven and in earth; Believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; Believe that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend. And again: Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you: And now, if you believe all these things, see that ye do them. And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness, and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceeding great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long suffering towards you unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily…” –Mosiah 2:13-21

“…This day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him, and have become his sons and his daughters…” –Mosiah 3:9

“…And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God, to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? I say unto you, Can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day, Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth…” –Alma 3:27-32

“…And now as I said concerning faith: Faith, is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. And now, behold, I say unto you; and I would that ye should remember that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word…” Alma 16:143,144

“…If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith; yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. Now we will compare the word unto a seed…” –Alma 16:151,152

Truly, one of my favorite passages in the Book of Mormon.

“…Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith, for it was by faith that Christ shewed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead…” –Ether 5:7

And now, perhaps the keystone doctrine of the Protestant reformation…

Grace

“…Redemption cometh in and through the holy Messiah: for he is full of grace and truth…” –II Nephi 1:71

“…How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. Wherefore, he is the first fruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men…” –II Nephi 1:73-76

“…O the wisdom of God! his mercy and grace! –II Nephi 6:19

“…And remember after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved…” –II Nephi 7:14

The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, teaches that salvation is by grace through faith.

“…My soul delighteth in his grace, and his justice, and power, and mercy, in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death. And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people, that save Christ should come, all men must perish…” –II Nephi 8:11,12

“…I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come; yea, the Son, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world; yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name…” –Alma 3:83,84

“…I have come, having great hopes and much desire that I should find that ye had humbled yourselves before God, and that ye had continued in the supplicating of his grace, that I should find that ye were blameless before him…” –Alma 5:4

“…not many days hence, the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity and truth, full of patience, mercy, and long suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people, and to answer their prayers…” –Alma 7:40

“…Blessed are they who will repent, and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved. And may God grant, in his great fullness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace, for grace according to their works. And I would that all men might be saved…” –Helaman 4:70-72

“…The Lord spake unto me, saying, Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; and if men come unto me, I will shew unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness, that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak thing become strong unto them…” –Ether 5:27,28

…May the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you for ever…” –Moroni 9:28

“…Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in no wise deny the power of God. And again, if ye, by the grace of God, are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father, unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy without spot. And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.” –Moroni 10:29-31 The end.

I find it both uplifting and somewhat unique that the Book of Mormon ends by focusing on the themes of: coming unto Christ, God’s grace, the shed blood of Christ, the power of God, sanctified in Christ, the covenant, and the remission of our sins.

How Protestant!

There you have it—The Baptist Version of the Book of Mormon: Protestant Doctrines within the Book of Mormon.

…Born Again Experience
…Plan of Salvation
…Plan of Redemption
…Salvation
…The Lord Jesus Christ
…Repentance
…Faith
…Grace

What a book!

Perhaps the late John Henry Evans (1872-1947) said it best when he penned an overview of the Prophet’s life with typical nineteenth century eloquence:

“…Here is a man,” says Evan, “who was born in the stark hills of Vermont; who was reared in the backwoods of New York; who never looked inside a college or high school; who lived in six States, no one of which would own him during his lifetime; who spent months in the vile prisons of the period; who, even when he has his freedom, was hounded like a fugitive; who was covered once with a coat of tar and feathers, and left for dead; who, with his following, was driven by irate neighbors from New York to Ohio, from Ohio to Missouri, and from Missouri to Illinois; and who, at the unripe age of thirty-eight, was shot to death by a mob with painted faces.

Yet this man became mayor of the biggest town in Illinois and the state’s most prominent citizen, the commander of the largest body of trained soldiers in the nation outside the Federal army, the founder of cities and of a university, and aspired to become President of the United States.

He wrote a book which has baffled the literary critics for a hundred years and which is today more widely read than any other volume save the Bible…”
–Joseph Smith, An American Prophet, 1933 preface

Joseph Smith “…wrote a book which has baffled the literary critics…” So true.

One other quote. Hear Henry A. Wallace, one of our late Vice Presidents:

“…Of all the American religious books of the nineteenth century, it seems probable that the Book of Mormon was the most powerful. It reached perhaps only one percent of the United States, but affected this one percent so powerfully and lastingly, that all the people of the United States have been affected.” –New York Times, Nov.5, 1937

Summary

Let’s focus briefly on the man, Joseph Smith. What kind of man was he? The man whom God used to commence the restoration in these latter days. What did he have to say concerning truth and doctrine?

Well, first of all, Joseph was extremely tolerant of sects, of those not sharing his Christian point of view. This is a side of Joseph that’s not well known even by those inside the restoration movement, let alone by those outside it.

On one occasion, in a sermon, he said, “…If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear down on them? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better. I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by force or reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship. I am just as ready to die defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination.” –Sermon, 1843

That last statement especially was quite a statement; “…I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian…”

“…Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other…” is also quite a statement.

While mayor of Nauvoo, Joseph passed an ordinance “…that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals…and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free tolerance and equal privileges in this city…”

It was “against the law” not to show charity and tolerance toward those of other sects in the city of Nauvoo, the city Joseph built.

Again, what kind of man was he?…

One Sunday morning—among a group of prominent politicians, Attorney Butterfield, Judge Douglas, Senator Gillispie, and others—these gentlemen wanted to know about Joseph’s Christian beliefs. Butterfield asked what the main difference was between his faith and that of other Christians.

Joseph responded,

“…The most prominent difference is this: Sectarians all circumscribe by a peculiar creed, which deprives them of the privilege of believing anything not contained therein. The Latter-day Saints, on the contrary, have no creed, but stand ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time.”

I thought that was well put. In other words, truth remains dynamic. Revelation of truth continues throughout our lifetime. Creeds, on the other hand, tend to become static and inflexible with time.

One last anecdote…

The Prophet is appealing to the President of the United States on behalf of his people. Terrible atrocities have occurred back in Missouri. He had obtained a meeting with President Van Buren. While at the capital, the Prophet preached the gospel to bureacrats. One of the representatives, a certain Matthew S. Davis from New York state, tells about one of the meetings held in the capital by Joseph.

This United States representative, who met Joseph Smith face to face, I believe answers our concerns (better than I could ever address them) in a letter he sent to his wife back home. The congressman writes…

“…I went last evening to hear ‘Joe smith,’ the celebrated Mormon, expound his doctrine. I, with several others, had a desire to understand his tenants as explained by himself.

He is not an educated man; but he is a plain, sensible, strong-minded man. Everything he says, is said in a manner to leave an impression that he is sincere. There is no levity, no fanaticism, no want of dignity in his deportment. In his garb there are no peculiarities; his dress being that of a plain, unpretending citizen. He is by profession a farmer, but is evidently well read.

During the whole of his address, and it occupied more than two hours, there was no opinion or belief that he expressed, that was calculated, in the least degree, to impair the morals of society, or in any manner to degrade and brutalize the human species. There was much in his precepts, if they were followed, that would soften the asperities of man towards man, and that would tend to make him a more rational being than he is generally found to be. There was no violence, no fury, no denunciation. His religion appears to be a religion of meekness, lowliness, and mild persuasion.

Towards the close of his address, he remarked that he had been represented to be a Savior. All this was false. He made no such pretensions. He was but a man, he said: a plain, untutored man, seeking what he should do to be saved.

Throughout his whole address, he displayed strongly a spirit of charity and forbearance. I have taken some pains to explain this man’s belief, as he himself explained it. I have changed my opinion of the Mormons. They are an injured and much-abused people.”

“…I have changed my opinion…” said the U.S. representative.

Concerning the Book of Mormon and the man, Joseph Smith, it is my prayer—so have you.r

About the Author:

Lynn Ridenhour grew up in the heart of Missouri near the Ozarks. A licensed Baptist minister for over 38 years, Lynn read the Book of Mormon and had a marvelous conversion experience to the restoration gospel as proclaimed by Joseph Smith.

Dr. Ridenhour has a Ph.D in literature with a specialty degree in composition theory from the University of Iowa. He has taught creative writing in both Christian and secular universities. Dr. Ridenhour has also pastored Baptist churches for years, has taught at Jerry Falwell’s university, and has been involved in the charismatic renewal since 1972.

Lynn is the founder of WinePress Publishing Co., and has a heart for evangelism. Paperback copies of Dr. Ridenhour’s booklets may be purchased for $3 per copy.

Write:
WinePress Publishing Co.
3601 S. Noland Rd., PMB 230
Independence, MO 64055

Dr. Ridenhour’s email address is: htrails@solve.net

Should you want Dr. Ridenhour to come and speak in your church, or organization, simply email him, giving him the details. Lynn travels extensively for speaking engagements, sharing his testimony and conversion.

Lynn, his lovely wife, Linda, and their teenage daughter, Lori, make their home in Independence, Missouri.

ORIGINAL POST: http://centerplace.org/library/bofm/baptistversionofbofm.htm

Depiction of the Tree of Life vision from the ...

Depiction of the Tree of Life vision from the Book of Mormon

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

She asked if God will forgive her sins

Here are 11 very powerful verses from the Bible that will show her that God will fully forgive all of her sins – no matter how bad she thinks any of them may be – if she will only believe it and accept it with a little faith.

1.  This first verse will tell her that she can now boldly approach the throne of God for His mercy and grace – and that will include being able to approach Him to get full and complete forgiveness for any of her sins!

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

2.  This next verse will show her that God does not want her carrying around any excess baggage that will weigh her down. He wants all of her burdens to be light. These feelings of guilt are like heavy chains and anchors around her soul.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)

3.  This next verse will tell her to literally cast all of her burdens onto Jesus – which would include handling all of the guilt associated with any of her past sins.

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)

4.  This next verse tells her that she now has an advocate in Jesus for any of her sins before God the Father.

“My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

5.  This next verse is a major, fundamental, power verse! This verse will tell her that if she will just confess her sins before God the Father, that He will then fully forgive her and cleanse her from all of the unrighteousness of her past sins.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

She needs to really grab a hold of the revelation that is in this verse. Tell her the Bible is truly the inspired and infallible Word of our Holy God and that she can literally bank her entire life on it!

6. This next verse will tell her that if she has truly repented from these past sins, then these sins have now been fully blotted out before God and that He no longer remembers any of these past sins!

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)

7.  This next verse will reaffirm the above verse stating that God will now blot out all her transgressions and will no longer remember any of her sins! And if God is no longer wanting to remember any of her past sins, then she needs to do likewise.

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.” (Isaiah 43:25-26)

This verse also tells her that if she will simply approach God the Father in prayer, state her case before Him, and repent of each of her sins – then God will fully acquit her, fully forgive her, and her sins will no longer be remembered in His eyes!

8.  This next one is another major power verse. This verse will tell us that there is now “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

What this verse means is that if you have truly confessed your sins before God the Father, and have truly repented of each one of these sins, then God has fully forgiven you. And if God has now fully forgiven you, then you no longer have any more condemnation before God. You are now fully forgiven and you are now free to let all of your past sins go – including all of the guilt associated with those past sins. This specific verse should be committed to memory due to the extreme importance of it.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus …” (Romans 8:1)

9.  This next verse will tell us that all of our sins will become as “white as snow.” In other words, our slates nave now been made completely clean. Our sheets are as white as snow. All of the stain from those past sins have now been completely washed away by the blood of Jesus. Here is the verse:

“Come now and let us reason together,” says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”  (Isaiah 1:18)

10.  Here is another good verse that will tell her that all of the old things of her past, which will include all of her past sins, have now fully passed away before the eyes of God because she has now become a new creation in Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

11.  Here is another very powerful verse showing her that we now have full forgiveness of all of our sins through the blood that Jesus has already shed for all of us on the cross.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Jesus Christ Crucifix

October 4, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Christians should respond to Child Sex Abusers in Our Midst

The ‘Monsters’ Among Us: Child Sex Abusers in Our Midst | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

How Christians should respond to Child Sex Abusers in Our Midst
A Christianity Today editorial | posted 4/20/2012 08:58PM
 He loved children.

The man and his wife had parented 75 foster kids in their suburban home encircled by a white picket fence. He worked in marketing for three Chicago ministries, going on to establish a support network for foster-care families.

“Long before we got married … we agreed we wanted to have large families,” the man told a Christian publisher in 2009. “We thought it would be fun to have a lot of children.”

And then, the man was arrested and held on charges of sexually assaulting two of his foster children, one 6, the other 12 at the time. This winter, he confessed to police of many nights spent drinking before coming home to commit literally unspeakable violations against these and likely other children.

We at Christianity Today recognized the mug shot. For nine years, he was our coworker in a non-editorial role.

The story came to us right before another: a Wheaton College Christian education professor arrested for hoarding and trading thousands of child porn images.

And now today comes another tragedy, with the news that Voice of the Martyrs executive director Tom White, a source, partner, and friend to several of us here, apparently committed suicide to avoid an investigation into an accusation that he had molested a young girl.

These events brought a sickening dose of reality to our hallways. While the stories don’t signal a trend, they do mean that all faith-based institutions can no longer afford to assume that predators are somewhere “out there,” over the clean Christian rain-bow. They are not just in college locker rooms and Catholic rectories either. They are on our evangelical faculty and work in our community nonprofits, and we must respond to them in a way that bears the judgment—and mercy—of the gospel of Christ.

To this end, with the counsel of experts in sexual health, we offer two principles for the Christian community in responding to child sex offenders and preventing such offenses.

First, we must prioritize protecting innocents. In recent years, we’ve witnessed a movement among churches discerning how to include ex-offenders into the community of faith. No doubt many lives have been transformed in the process. Still, when the well-being of children and the inclusion of offenders conflict, we believe a gospel-shaped community should prioritize protecting the most innocent among us, whose violation invites drowning by millstone (Luke 17:2).

“There is something about exploiting children that even our sexually permissive culture gets: that you don’t touch children—even murderers in prison get it,” observes William Struthers, a neuroscientist at Wheaton College. Our culture’s prevailing response tells us something true about child abuse: Not only is it biologically abnormal (prepubescent children aren’t capable of relating sexually), it’s devastating for those who endure it.

Faith-based institutions can no longer afford to assume that predators are somewhere ‘out there.’

Practically speaking, all this will require more proactive preventive measures than many ministries are used to. Parents can help children develop clear physical boundaries, recognize inappropriate behavior, and strengthen that feeble “no” into a shout. Faith-based institutions are wise to develop a strategy of, “If an employee reports observing danger signals from a coworker, here’s how we will respond.” A clear policy for network and computer scans is wise. Background checks for all who interact with minors are obvious. Most important, it means teaching that working with children is not a “right” or an unchecked “calling.” If a former abuser insists on ministering to children, their request should be denied. “The truly repentant person is not likely going to apply to be restored, because he doesn’t want to fail again,” notes Mark Laaser, who works with abusers at his Minnesota-based recovery ministry. “If a person is humble, the restoration question becomes moot.”

 

Christianity Today

Christianity Today

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Societal / Cultural Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

REPENTANCE

English: Manasseh's Sin and Repentance; as in ...

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~WHAT IS REPENTANCE~

Repentance (Greek: metanoia) is a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to religious law. It typically includes an admission of guilt, a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible.

In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: שוב shuv (to return) and נחם nicham (to feel sorrow). In the New Testament, the word translated as ‘repentance’ is the Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia), “after/behind one’s mind”, which is a compound word of the preposition ‘meta’ (after, with), and the verb ‘noeo’ (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by ‘after’ and ‘different’; so that the whole compound means: ‘to think differently after’. Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct, “change of mind and heart”, or, “change of consciousness”. A description of repentance in the New Testament can be found in the parable of the prodigal son found in the Gospel of Luke (15 beginning at verse 11).

The doctrine of Repentance in the Scriptures appears to be very prominent. See the description of repentance in the Hebrew Bible above for repentance in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, John the Baptist began his public ministry, as did Jesus, with a call to repentance (Matthew 3:1–2; Matthew 4:17). In the Acts 2 sermon on Pentecost, Peter commands repentance. In the Acts 3 sermon at the Beautiful gate of the Temple, Peter interchanges the phrase “turn again” at a similar place in his presentation. When Jesus sent forth messengers to proclaim his gospel, he commanded them to preach repentance (Luke 24:47; Mark 6:12). Teachings on repentance are found in the New Testament in Peter, (Acts 2:38); Paul, (Acts 20:21). God wants everyone to repent (2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 17:30). Indeed, failure on the part of man to heed God’s call to repentance means that he shall utterly perish (Luke 13:3).

The constant references to repentance in Peter’s preaching to his fellow countrymen in the early part of the book of Acts may indicate an exceptional need for repentance amongst those who had recently been party to the crucifixion of Christ, see Responsibility for the death of Jesus. Paul is emphatic that change take place amongst those whom he taught (see the Bible references to “turning to a true and living God”). This aversion to the Greek or idolatrous lifestyle may have come from the intense patriotism to Jewish ideals held by the well educated former Pharisee. Saint Isaac of Syria said, “This life has been given to you for repentance. Do not waste it on vain pursuits.”

There is a three-fold idea involved in true repentance in the Protestant conception. The Protestant reformer John Calvin said that repentance “may be justly defined to be “a true conversion of our life to God, proceeding from a serious fear of God, and consisting in the mortification of the flesh and of the old man, and in the vivification of the Spirit.” He further said that “it will be useful to amplify and explain the definition we have given; in which there are three points to be particularly considered.” “In the first place, when we call repentance “a conversion of the life to God, we require a transformation, not only in the external actions, but in the soul itself; which, after having put off the old nature, should produce the fruits of actions corresponding to its renovation. . . .In the second place, we represented repentance as proceeding from a serious fear of God. For before the mind of a sinner can be inclined to repentance, it must be excited by the knowledge of the Divine judgment.

“It remains for us, in the third place, to explain our position, that repentance consists of two parts—the mortification of the flesh and the vivification of the spirit. . . . Both these branches of repentance effects our participation of Christ. For if we truly partake of his death, our old man is crucified by its power, and the body of sin expires, so that the corruption of our former nature loses all its vigor. . . .If we are partakers of his resurrection, we are raised by it to a newness of life, which corresponds with the righteousness of God.” [Quotes from A Compend of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin edited by Hugh T. Kerr, The Westminster Press-Philadelphia 1939.]

Matthew 21:29: “He answered and said: I will not; but afterward he repented, and went”. The word here used for “repent” means to change one’s mind, thought, purpose, views regarding a matter; it is to have another mind about a thing. This change is well illustrated in the action of the Prodigal Son, and of the Publican in the well-known story of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 15 and 18). 2 Cor. 7:9–“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance; for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.” See also Luke 10:13; cf. Gen. 6:6. The Greek word for repentance in this connection means “to be a care to one afterwards,” to cause one great concern. This meaning is exemplified by the repentant person who not only has profound regret for his past but also the fulfilled hope in the potential of God’s grace to continually bear the fruit of healing and true reconciliation in himself, with others, and most especially with God. The Hebrew equivalent is strong as well, and it means to pant, to sigh, or to moan. So the publican “beat upon his breast,” indicating sorrow of heart. See also Psalms 38:18.

The issue of repentance is also discussed in connection with the will and disposition. One of the Hebrew words for repent means “to turn.” The Prodigal Son said, “I will arise… and he arose” (Luke 15:18, 20). The part of the will and disposition in repentance is shown in the Confession of sin to God: Psa. 38:18 — “For I will declare mine iniquity: I will be sorry for my sin.” The publican beat upon his breast, and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). The prodigal said, “I have sinned against heaven” (Luke 15:21). There must be confession to man also in so far as man has been wronged in and by our sin (Matthew 5:23–24); James 5:16). Isa. 55:7 Prov. 28:13 (“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”); Matthew 3:8–10 (“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:… And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”). It is not enough to turn away from sin; we must turn unto God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Acts 26:18.

According to Christians, acts of repentance do not earn God’s forgiveness from one’s sin; rather, forgiveness is given as a gift from God to those whom he saves. Acts 11:18–“Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” 2 Tim. 2:25 — “If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Acts 5:30, 31. In this view, people are called upon to repent in order that we may feel our own inability to do so, and consequently be thrown upon God and petition Him to perform this work of grace in our hearts. Many church fathers have made reference to it as the “gift of repentance” or as the “gift of tears”. God calls all to repent through the hearing of the Gospel. God grants total repentance as each individual responds to repentance through faith in the expiating sacrifice of Jesus for all sin. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Repentance is given before anything else by definition. One cannot show true change in his life before he himself has changed [repented] to bring about manifestations of that change/repentance.

Acts 2:37, 38, 41. The very Gospel which calls for repentance produces it. When the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-10) heard the preaching of the word of God by Jonah they believed the message and turned unto God. Not any message, but the Gospel is the instrument that God uses to bring about this desired end. Furthermore, this message must be preached in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5-10). Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:6, 10-11. The chastisements of God are sometimes for the purpose of bringing His wandering children back to repentance. 2 Tim. 2:24-25. God often uses the loving, Christian reproof of a brother to be the means of bringing Christians back to God.

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A way of living from God

Amos 5:21-24

(21) ” I hate, I despise your feast days,
And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
(22) Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them,
Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
(23) Take away from Me the noise of your songs,
For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
(24) But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream.

Israel’s religion was going nowhere. The people were not righteous, moral, or just in their dealings with one another, so their playing at religion, though sincere, was despicable to God.

In the list of sacrifices in verse 22, the sin offering is not mentioned, suggesting that the Israelites felt they had done no sin that required forgiveness. This shows that they were not in contact with God; they had no relationship with Him. If they had, they would have been aware where they had fallen short, and they could have repented.

Amos includes three other offerings that the Israelites gave but God would not accept. Knowing what they represent gives us insight into how the people were falling short in their spiritual lives.

The burnt offering teaches total devotion to the Creator. It was completely burned up on the altar, typifying the offerer being completely devoted in service to God. This offering corresponds to the first four commandments, which show love and devotion toward God.

Similarly, the grain offering, also called the cereal offering, meal offering, or meat offering, teaches total dedication and service to man. It was offered in conjunction with the burnt offering. The grain offering typifies the last six commandments, which regulate our relationships and love toward our fellow man.

The peace offering represents one’s fellowship upward to God and outward to man. It was primarily given in thanks for God’s blessing. When this offering was made, God, the priest, the offerer, and his family and friends shared in a common meal and fellowship, as all these parties ate part of the sacrificed animal.

But from God’s reaction to their offerings, it is clear that the people of ancient Israel were not devoted to God or to their fellow man. Nor were they in true fellowship with either God or man, and therefore they could not see their sins. They did not see the holiness of God and compare themselves to it. If they had, they would have seen that they needed to make changes in their lives, but in judging themselves solely against other men—an unwise thing to do (II Corinthians 10:12)—they felt no need for repentance.

They did not understand what God really wanted of them. They may have appeased their own consciences with their church attendance, hymn singing, and sacrifices, but they went home and continued to oppress and cheat and lie. True religion is

1) A relationship with God (Matthew 22:37). Without a relationship with Him, we cannot know Him or understand His purpose for us.

2) Submission and obedience to God as our part of the relationship (James 4:7-8). In offering to make the covenant with the children of Israel (Exodus 20-24), He proposed to them. They accepted their obligation—to obey Him—but they were unfaithful in fulfilling it. As the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) and the future Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7-9), the church must not fail as ancient Israel did.

3) Real love for God’s truth (II Thessalonians 2:10). Israel neither loved nor sought God’s truth.

4) Moral integrity (I Peter 3:8-12). Living in righteousness and holiness shows love toward God and man.

5) Social responsibility (James 1:27). Israel, as a nation of this world, had a responsibility to ensure that their care of their fellow Israelites was acceptable in God’s eyes. The church, a spiritual organism, is not of this world, and as a body, has no responsibility at this time to change society—only ourselves. We must take care of our brethren within the church now, and we will have our chance to help this world in God’s Kingdom.

These five points will not “buy” us into the presence of God, but rather they are five proofs that we follow true religion. Remember Jacob’s dream. God chooses us and meets us at the foot of the ladder, making a difference in our lives. He gives us a way of life to follow, and we pledge to follow it. Thus, true religion is not a way to God but a way of living from God.

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Cleansing

“Our Savior invites us on a daily basis to cleanse our names and return to His presence. His encouragement is full of love and tenderness. Envision with me the Savior’s embrace as I read His words: “Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?”

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inviting People to Jesus

“Ah! dear friend, you little know the possibilities which are in you.”
Charles H. Spurgeon

If God asked you to be a missionary and to leave your home with little money and fly to South America when you spoke little Spanish, would you go? That is exactly what God asked untrained 19 year old Bruce Olson to do in 1959. Bruce tells an amazing story about how he landed in Venezuela and set out into the jungle to meet the Barí people. His efforts lead to him being shot with an arrow, getting very ill and being distrusted by the local people, but it later turned to him connecting with the locals and leading whole tribes to Christ. All because Bruce did what God called him to do.

This reminds me of when Andrew met Jesus for the first time and what his first response was. (John 1:35-42) Andrew is hanging out with John the Baptist the day after john had Baptized Jesus. “When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!” John 1:36. Andrew was very excited when he heard this. The promised Messiah, revealed in over 300 Old Testament scriptures such as Isaiah 7:14, had arrived. Andrew knew that this day, this man was very significant. His response here is great. “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).” John 1:41.

You might be asking, “Who is Andrew?” Here are a few facts about him.

* He is Peter’s brother
* His name means “Manley” (probably born with hair on his chest)
* He was a Fisherman, outdoorsman, and a common laborer
* He would have been on the crew of Discovery’s Deadliest Catch
* He was a quiet man
* He is only mentioned twelve times in the bible with four of the times being grouped with other people

While few know much about Andrew, his life was lived leading others to Jesus. Andrew led Peter to Jesus, but he didn’t stop there. Later in John 12 a group of Greeks want to meet Jesus and went to Philip who was unsure what to do. Philip then went to Andrew who immediately led them all to meet Jesus. For him it was a no brainer. Everyone needed to know Jesus! While people like Andrew and Bruce serve to inspire us, very few of us follow their lead.

A few years ago the Lilly Endowment did a survey of 300,000 worshippers in 2,200 churches over 8 different denominations. They found that ¾ of churchgoers came because someone invited them to church. However, 54 percent of them have not invited anyone to church in the last year. Lifeway did a poll a couple of years ago and found that 67% of Americans would me more than willing to visit a church is they were invited by a family member and 56% of Americans would go if a friend invited them, but less than half the church invites people to church and I can guarantee that even less people talk about their relationship with Christ with people outside of the church.

The problem is that most church goers see telling people about Jesus a religious exercise, a chore, a responsibility and a duty. It is not that we don’t love Jesus; it’s that we don’t realize the eternal significance. Jesus tells us that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. We forget that if the people we love don’t love Jesus, they’re not going to heaven. This is not about the church reaching out, about you reaching out. Being a witness for Christ is not an option. Being a witness is what we are before what we do.

This week I encourage you to do these five things:

1. Ask God, through prayer, to show you the world through His eyes
2. Look for the invisible people who the world has forgotten
3. Do the unexpected and show compassion to those who need Chirst
4. Choose to love those around you with abandonment
5. Share Jesus. You must use words with your actions!

If you don’t know what to tell them then say this, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are separated from God for eternity, but God so loved the world he gave His one and only begotten son, who ever believes in him and accepts him as their savior, will not die and go to hell but have ever lasting life with God in heaven.”

Now Go.

http://youbeginhere.com/2010/10/walking-people-to-jesus/

 

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Repent

“The invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement but rather a loving appeal to turn around and to “re-turn” toward God. It is the beckoning of a loving Father and His Only Begotten Son to be more than we are, to reach up to a higher way of life, to change, and to feel the happiness of keeping the commandments. Being disciples of Christ, we rejoice in the blessing of repenting and the joy of being forgiven. They become part of us, shaping the way we think and feel.”

–Neil L. Andersen, “Repent That I May Heal You’“, Ensign, Nov 2009, 40–43

REFERENCE:     Alma 24:10

November 13, 2010 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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