Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

Admonish One Another

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There are many times where the Bible tells us to do certain things to one another. The reason for that is: We are the Body of Jesus Christ. We are members connected to one another, like a hand is connected to wrist, or a foot is connected to an ankle. Because we’re connected, there are certain things we have to do for one another and to one another.

For example, the umbrella command is to “love one another.” Right? Then we look at things like “accept one another,” “encourage one another,” and “forgive one another.” This lesson may be the most difficult one to apply. How do you really love those members of the body who are not living as they should? What do we do for those kinds of folks?

A lot of times we do what the little girl said when she misquoted the great commission by just one word. She said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gossip.” That’s close, but that’s still very far away. I’ve searched the Bible on these one another passages, and I can’t find a single command in the New Testament where it says, “Talk about one another.”

“I myself am also persuaded of you my brethren that you also are full of goodness, filled with knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” (Romans 15:14-KJV) Now admonish is not a word we use everyday. One of the most common synonyms for admonishing one another is instructing one another. That’s the way it’s rendered in the NIV.

The New International Dictionary of New Testament theology defines admonish; “It seeks to correct the mind, to put right what is wrong in order to improve the spiritual attitude.” In other words, admonishment implies a re-direction of thinking. It is an instruction, but it’s in the context of righting a wrong.

1. Counsel, to warn, or to correct. Certainly, there is a place in the body for instruction and teaching. There is also a place in the Body of Christ for correction. That is not the same as negative teaching. There is a place in the body for positive instruction and there is a place in the body for positive correction. Admonishment is not about being negative at all. It’s not about condemnation. It’s not about judgmentalism; rather, it is a positive warning and guidance that is based on God’s truth.

2. Admonishment from love and concern and not haughtiness. Paul wrote about a brother who had been admonished, corrected and warned “Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn” (there’s the same word as admonish) “but warn him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:15) Admonishment isn’t what you do to label somebody, it’s not what you do to criticize somebody and it’s not what you do to be ugly to somebody. It’s to help brothers and sisters. It stems out of love and concern.

The classic example of an admonisher is a parent. Now moms and dads, I know you can relate to this. What does Ephesians 6:4 say? We’ve quoted it all of our lives, “Bring up your children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.” Do you know what the word admonition is? It is the noun form of the verb, admonish. “Bring up your children in the admonition of the Lord.”

Parents, a major part of your job is to teach your children. Can you, over the course of their entire childhood, only teach without correction? No, it just doesn’t work that way. You don’t want to nag or correct out of anger. You want to always be motivated by love. But a parent abdicates responsibility if he or she never corrects, never warns or never admonishes. I think parents, more than anybody else, know that wouldn’t work. Yet, we parents also know that admonishing and re-directing of our children stems out of our great love for them. That’s the way it is to be among Christians.

The apostle Paul practiced what he preached, didn’t he? If you’ve read your New Testament at all, you know that Paul was not afraid to confront anybody, anywhere and at any time about sin in their lives. In Galatians 2:11, he confronted the apostle Peter. I had to confront him because he did the wrong thing. Acts 20:31, Paul admonished elders in the church. But I love the way that verse concludes when he says to those elders, “Remember that for three years I never stopped warning” there’s the word, “warning each of you night and day with tears.” Do you see the compassion and the love? Paul knew that at times admonishment was the right thing to do, but there’s a right way to do it.

A. Who is responsible for being an admonisher? Whose ministry is it? First, it is the responsibility of leaders of the body. “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord (look at this) and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

In those two verses Paul recognizes the great difficulty of shepherding a church. He knows that those men who are going to serve as elders are going to at times need to redirect the thinking of some of the members who are in error. He charges us to support those men whose task it is to do so. Leaders cannot lead a church if they turn their head to sin because it will destroy their credibility. But it’s also true that leaders can’t lead if they are not supported by and respected by the body when they do admonish. Likewise, members will not be able to support leaders if they are not informed about what the leaders are attempting to correct or accomplish. If a church has leaders who care enough to confront carefully and lovingly, they should be held in the highest esteem by the members of that body.

B. Whose responsibility is it to admonish? Yes, the leaders, but also the members of the body; “And we urge you, brothers,” now Paul is addressing it to the entire church at Thessalonica, “we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14) Again, that word, warn, is the Greek word for admonish. So Paul points to a reciprocal, brotherly ministry of Christians administering mutual and caring oversight. He said, “I want you to feel like you’ve got the responsibility to admonish one another.” Why? Because we are members of one another. If you’re going to obey the “one another” passages, you must understand what it means to be “members of one another.” We’re not members of an organization. We’re members of an organism. We’re members of a body, and we’re connected to one another.

Most Christians are very afraid of mutual accountability. Very seldom do you see any admonishment going on between members. I think it’s because of the fallacy of the most prevalent concept of what church is all about. That concept is: You assemble as a church, sit down, listen, and leave. I’m in charge of my life. You’re in charge of yours. I don’t mess with you, and you don’t mess with me. That’s not what membership in the Body of Christ means. Is that the way your hand relates to your arm? I don’t have anything to do with you. You don’t bother me. We just do our own thing. We are responsible for one another. The church is Christian people, an organism, not an organization.

C. What does it take to be an admonisher? If it’s going to be a ministry that we do-how do we do it?

a) Be full of goodness. “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness.” (Romans 15:14 NIV) See that’s what allows them the ability to admonish. He says, you’ve got Christian character and you’ve got a level of maturity. Thus, you have the credibility when it comes time to admonish.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t respond very well when somebody storms in and attempts to set me straight. How about you? But, I listen and respond when someone in humility comes with their eyes filled with tears to talk to me about a misunderstanding, or maybe just an area where I’m wrong.

In his first letter to Corinth, Paul had some hard things to say to that church: “I am not writing this to shame you, brothers, but to warn you, as my dear children.” (1 Corinthians 4:14) If you want people to listen to you when you admonish, you’d better walk with integrity and interact with humility. Judgers tend to be full of themselves while admonishers tend to be full of goodness. There’s a big, big difference.

b) Be filled with knowledge. Again, in Romans 15:14, after he says be full of goodness, he says, “Be complete or be filled with knowledge.” Now Paul is not speaking there about random knowledge, just having a lot of facts; he’s talking about Christian knowledge. He’s talking about knowing Scripture, but he means actually growing in Scripture. Paul compliments the Christians in Rome because they’re not just going through Scripture, Scripture is going through them. When that happens, you have the ability to adequately and effectively admonish somebody.

“All Scripture is God-breathed…” (2 Timothy 3:16) is memory work for most of us, it talks about what Scripture is all about. What does the rest of the verse say? “…and is useful for teaching,” yes, also for “rebuking, correcting…” See the ability to admonish is found in those who walk with Christ, who are filled with goodness, and the knowledge of Scripture. Admonishment, just like encouragement, forgiveness, acceptance, and just like every one of these “one another” passages in this series are just natural outflows of Jesus into the lives of others. Our Lord did every one of these things at the right time, to the right people and with the right attitude.

Now not everybody in the church can be an admonisher. There are some folks in every church who don’t walk with enough credibility to admonish somebody else. I’m not talking about perfection, but I am talking about walking the walk. Then there are other people in the church who are too ignorant of Scripture to be able to adequately admonish somebody else. But every church must have some, hopefully many, members who are mature enough to be admonishers.

D. How do we do it? How should we admonish one another?

1. Admonish violations of Scripture, and let’s let that be the parameter. Some of you may think this violates the command to “accept one another” because of other passages in Romans. Paul said “therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another” (Romans 14:13); “accept one another, just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:7) and “Oh yes, but I do want you to also admonish one another. I want you to correct one another.” (Romans 15:14) You may be scratching your head and asking, “Well, what gives? I don’t understand.”

All we’re seeing here again is the need for balance and discernment in the body. If you haven’t figured it out, let me make it clear for you. Paul in Romans 14 and 15 argues that there is considerable room in the body for opinion. In fact, there is considerable room for personal conviction. But there is no room in the body for deliberate sin. Paul made it clear that in matters of opinion and personal conviction, there should be acceptance. But admonishment brings a brother or a sister face to face with the teaching of Scripture. We must humbly and lovingly point out these violations. I like what one old preacher said, “If you can’t bring God’s Word into the matter, then the matter is not worth bringing up.” That’s the parameter for admonishment.

2. Be sure to examine your own life. A man stepped on one of those old timey scales and put in his nickel. It gave him a little card along with his weight. He nudged his wife and said, “Honey, look it says “You’re handsome, witty, and intelligent.” She said, “Give me that card.” She looked at it and said, “Yes, and it’s got your weight wrong, too.” Do you know what you need to do before you admonish somebody else? You really do need to weigh your life. Jesus taught that principle in the Sermon on the Mount “Why do you try to get the speck out of your brother’s eye before you look at that giant beam sticking out of your own eye.” (Matthew 7:3) You cannot be an admonisher until you first examine your own walk with God and be sensitive to it.

Let me give you a little caveat. You’re not qualified to be an admonisher until you, yourself, can receive admonishment. If you think there are not areas in your life that occasionally don’t need correction, you had better think twice. You better mark that well.

3. Confront the individual, personally. Now this is hard. Confront the individual personally. Public admonition is not to be used to avoid personal confrontation. Neither does sending a letter or e-mail. The Bible teaches that public admonition is the last step in correcting a person.

Jesus says that if you’ve got something against a brother, he’s wronged you, here’s how you deal with it a) you go to them to see if you can’t just work it out, b) if he won’t listen, take two or three witnesses, and try to use group mediation, c) ‘”If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church;” (look now) and d) ‘”if he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him like a pagan.'”(Matthew 18:15-17)

I found in those rare instances where I’ve ever seen church discipline exerted, that we’ve skipped step three. When it’s ever done, you go to them one on one, you take two or three, then you go tell the Elders and the Elders might get up and say, “Don’t have anything to do with them.” It says, “Tell it to the church, and if he won’t listen to them,” see the picture I get from that is, the church (the members, Christians) says, “We’ve got a brother in trouble. He is deliberately spitting in the face of God. How about every one of you getting in touch with him this week and next week?” You talk about positive peer pressure, you talk about those people saying, “Brothers, we love you, we want you to come back.” I’ve never in all my years been asked to do that, but that’s what I read in Matthew 18. If he won’t listen to them, then treat him like a pagan. Folks, sometimes in a body, amputation is necessary, but it is always the last resort.

4. Direct him or her to Jesus. “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28) Do you know that the goal of admonition is admonishment? It’s not to make somebody tow the line to my expectations. Admonishment is simply encouraging one another to be like Jesus, helping steer us when we begin to get off course, steering us back to that goal of being Christ-like.

5. Encourage the one who responds. Maybe they respond from you just going one on one or, maybe it’s after two or three times. I don’t know, but encourage the one. In Corinth a brother was just living in open rebellion. He was in some kind of incestuous union. Paul said, “Don’t tolerate that church, that’s just dead wrong.” (1 Corinthians 5) So, they exercised the spiritual discipline we talked about a moment ago. He responded by repenting. But some of the brothers and sisters were holding it against him, even after he repented. As a result Paul said, “Now about that brother, you ought to forgive and comfort him so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” (2 Corinthians 2:7) Make sure you understand that nobody’s role is to be only an admonisher.

Among the spiritual gifts in Romans 12, it doesn’t ever say the gift of admonishment. It’s nobody’s job just to go around and correct everybody they see. When somebody responds positively to loving correction, then encourage them and embrace them.

The command to admonish one another is the hardest one of all. It’s difficult, risky, and costly, but the dividends are eternal. If we don’t care enough to admonish, then we don’t care enough. Paul said, “And I myself also am persuaded of you my brethren that you are also full of goodness, filled with knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”

October 2, 2013 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

13 STRANGE RULES OF ISLAM

13 STRANGE RULES OF ISLAM

Many Westernized people outside the Arab world are drawn to what they perceive as the simplicity, peace, and reasonableness of Islam. However, before you accept Islam at face value or consider converting, it is important to understand that conversion to Islam demands that you follow the Qur’an (scripture), the hadith (oral teachings of Muhammad), and the sunna (actions of Muhammad). Many of these teachings make no sense to Westerners. In fact, if you asked the average Muslim why Muhammad set some of these rules, they would not know either. After all, Muslims are taught never to question the infallible word of Allah and his Prophet (Qur’an 5:101).

Considering that conversion to Islam is final, with death being the penalty for abandoning Islam (Bukhari, Vol. 4, Number 260), perhaps the dog-lovers, modern women, and reasonable minded among us should consider these strange, but mandatory, rules:

Islam makes it a sin to pluck your eyebrows.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 7, Number 815

Muslims are not allowed to have pictures in their homes.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 7, Number 844

If a Muslim wife refuses to wear the veil, others will regard her as her husband’s slave, not a wife.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 7, Number 22

Unmarried people who have sex are to be whipped 100 lashes and sent into exile for one year.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 3, Number 817

Although Islam teaches getting into heaven is a matter of having your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, there are certain things that guarantee heaven: memorizing the 99 names of Allah, having 2 of your children die before you in jihad, and killing someone who does not believe in Islam.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 3, Number 894. Bukhari, Vol. 2, Number 341. Bukhari, Vol. 1, Number 35

Allah encourages lying to non-believers to keep the peace or to overpower them.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 3, Number 857

Allah forbids women from wearing wigs or hair extensions.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 7, Number 133

Muslims are not allowed to wear the color yellow.
Q Muslim, Book 24, Number 5173

Yawning is from Satan and to be avoided at all costs.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 8, Number 242

Muhammad taught that all dogs should be killed.
Q Bukhari, Vol. 4, Number 540

Muhammad urged women to breast-feed grown young men so that the men would be considered family and therefore able to be around the unveiled women and would be unable to marry the women.
Q Muslim, Book 8, Number 3426

It is sinful to lie on your back with your feet crossed one on top of the other.
Q Muslim, Book 24, Number 5238….

Blinded By Islam

April 12, 2013 Posted by | Islamorealism, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Experience Christ’s Peace

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How to Experience Christ’s Peace

John 14:27-31

“My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). Jesus spoke these amazing words just hours before His crucifixion. His peace isn’t dependent upon external circumstances, but rather, it transcends them. Although He gives His peace to every believer as a gift, our experience of it is related to our faith in the following truths:

  • God is in control of everything. Without this assurance, the world is a scary place.
  • He loves me and will see me through every circumstance, no matter how difficult or painful it may be.
  • To have Christ’s peace, I must surrender my life to Him. When I hold onto my ways and plans, I’ll experience turmoil.
  • I have a limited perspective and understanding of my circumstances and God’s purposes for allowing them. His goals for me are greater than my immediate comfort.
  • The Lord promises to work all things out for my good. He is continually working to transform my character into Christ’s image.
  • I must live in sync with God, walking in the Spirit and promptly confessing and repenting of sin.
  • Scripture is my foundation for peace. It increases my trust in the Lord’s goodness, assures me that He keeps His promises, and reminds me of His sovereignty over every situation.

Sadly, many Christians live their whole lives without consistently experiencing this incomprehensible peace. Perhaps faith and submission are the most challenging issues. But only as we surrender control of our lives to Christ and trust in His plans for us will we discover tranquil rest for our souls.

December 31, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The True History Palestine

The True History Palestine

In the 2nd century c.e., the last attempt of the Jews to achieve independence from the Roman Empire ended with the well-known event of Masada, that is historically documented and universally recognized as the fact that determined the Jewish Diaspora in a definitive way. The Land where these things happened was until then the province known as Judæa , and there is no mention of any place called “Palestine” before that time. The Roman emperor Hadrian was utterly upset with the Jewish Nation and wanted to erase the name of Israel and Judah from the face of the Earth, so that there would be no memory of the country that belonged to that rebel people. He decided to replace the denomination of that Roman province and resorted to ancient history in order to find a name that might appear appropriate, and found that an extinct people that was unknown in Roman times, called “Philistines”, was once dwelling in that area and were enemies of the Israelites. Therefore, according to Latin spelling, he invented the new name: “Palæstina”, a name that would be also hateful for the Jews as it reminded them their old foes. He did so with the explicit purpose of effacing any trace of Jewish history. Ancient Romans, as well as modern Palestinians, have fulfilled the Hebrew Scriptures Prophecy that declares: “They lay crafty plans against Your People… they say: ‘come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more’.” – Tehilim 83:3-4 (Psalm 83:3-4). They failed, as Israel is still alive. Any honest person would recognize that there is no mention of the name Palestina in history before the Romans renamed the province of Judea, that such name does not occur in any ancient document, is not written in the Bible, neither in the Hebrew Scriptures nor in the Christian Testament, not even in Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, Ptolemaic, Seleucian or other Greek sources, and that not any “Palestinian” people has ever been mentioned, not even by the Romans that invented the term. If “Palestinians” allegedly are the historic inhabitants of the Holy Land, why did they not fight for independence from Roman occupation as Jews did? How is it possible that not a single Palestinian leader heading for a revolt against the Roman invaders is mentioned in any historic record? Why there is not any Palestinian rebel group mentioned, as for example the Jewish Zealots? Why every historic document mentions the Jews as the native inhabitants, and the Greeks, Romans and others as foreigners dwelling in Judea, but not any Palestinian people, neither as native nor as foreigner? What is more, there is no reference to any Palestinian people in the qur’an (koran), although muslims claim that their prophet was once in Jerusalem (an event that is not mentioned in the koran either). It appears evident that he did not meet any Palestinian in his whole life, nor his successors did either. Caliph Salahuddin al-Ayyub (Saladin), knew the Jews and kindly invited them to settle in Jerusalem, that he recognized as their Homeland, but he did not know any Palestinian… To claim that Palestinians are the original people of Eretz Yisrael is not only against secular history but also against Islamic history!
The name “Falastin” that Arabs today use for “Palestine” is not an Arabic name, but adopted and adapted from the Latin Palæstina . How can an Arab people have a western name instead of one in their own language? Because the use of the term “Palestinian” for an Arab group is only a modern political creation without any historic or ethnic grounds, and did not indicate any people before 1967. An Arab writer and journalist declared:

“There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Iraqis, etc. Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. But that’s too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today… No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough”.

– Joseph Farah, “Myths of the Middle East” –

Let us hear what other Arabs have said:

“There is no such country as Palestine. ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it”.

– Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 –

“There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not”.

– Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 –

“It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria”.

– Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 –

Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:

“The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years”.

The preceding declarations by Arab politicians have been done before 1967, as they had not the slightest knowledge of the existence of any Palestinian people. How and when did they change their mind and decided that such people existed? When the State of Israel was reborn in 1948 c.e., the “Palestinians” did not exist yet, the Arabs had still not discovered that “ancient” people. They were too busy with the purpose of annihilating the new Sovereign State and did not intend to create any Palestinian entity, but only to distribute the land among the already existing Arab states. They were defeated. They attempted again to destroy Israel in 1967, and were humiliated in only six days, in which they lost the lands that they had usurped in 1948. In those 19 years of Arab occupation of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, neither Jordan nor Egypt suggested to create a “Palestinian” state, since the still non-existing Palestinians would have never claimed their alleged right to have their own state… Paradoxically, during the British Mandate, it was not any Arab group but the Jews that were known as “Palestinians”!

What other Arabs declared after the Six-Day War:

“There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity… yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel”.

– Zuhair Muhsin, military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council –

“You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people”.

– Syrian dictator Hafez Assad to the PLO leader Yassir Arafat –

“As I lived in Palestine, everyone I knew could trace their heritage back to the original country their great grandparents came from. Everyone knew their origin was not from the Canaanites, but ironically, this is the kind of stuff our education in the Middle East included. The fact is that today’s Palestinians are immigrants from the surrounding nations! I grew up well knowing the history and origins of today’s Palestinians as being from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Christians from Greece, muslim Sherkas from Russia, muslims from Bosnia, and the Jordanians next door. My grandfather, who was a dignitary in Bethlehem, almost lost his life by Abdul Qader Al-Husseni (the leader of the Palestinian revolution) after being accused of selling land to Jews. He used to tell us that his village Beit Sahur (The Shepherds Fields) in Bethlehem County was empty before his father settled in the area with six other families. The town has now grown to 30,000 inhabitants”.

– Walid Shoebat, an “ex-Palestinian” Arab –

How long do “Palestinians” live in “Palestine”?

According to the United Nations weird standards, any person that spent TWO YEARS (!!!) in “Palestine” before 1948, with or without proof, is a “Palestinian”, as well as all the descendants of that person. Indeed, the PLO leaders eagerly demand the “right” of all Palestinians to come back to the land that they occupied before June 1967 c.e., but utterly reject to return back to the land where they lived only 50 years before, namely, in 1917 c.e. Why? Because if they agree to do so, they have to settle back in Iraq, Syria, Arabia, Libya, Egypt… and only a handful Arabs would remain in Israel (by Israel is intended the whole Land between the Yarden River and the Mediterranean Sea, plus the Golan region). It is thoroughly documented that the first inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael after some centuries were the Jewish pioneers, and not the Arabs so-called Palestinians. Some eyewitnesses have written their memories about the Land before the Jewish immigration:

“There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction… One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee… Nazareth is forlorn… Jericho lies a mouldering ruin… Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation… untenanted by any living creature… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent, mournful expanse… a desolation… We never saw a human being on the whole route… Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country… Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes… desolate and unlovely…”.

– Mark Twain, “The Innocents Abroad”, 1867 –

Where had the Palestinians been hidden that Mark Twain did not see them? Where was that “ancient” people in the mid XIX century c.e.? Of course, modern biased Arab politicians try to discredit Mark Twain and insult and blame him of racism. Yet, it seems that there were other people that did not achieve in recognizing a single Palestinian in those times and earlier:

“In 1590 a ‘simple English visitor’ to Jerusalem wrote: ‘Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde’.”.

– Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 –

“The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil”.

– British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s –

“Palestine is a ruined and desolate land”.

– Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian –

“The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it”.

– Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s –

“Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride”.

– William Thackeray in “From Jaffa To Jerusalem”, 1844 –

“The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population”.

– James Finn, British Consul in 1857 –

“There are many proofs, such as ancient ruins, broken aqueducts, and remains of old roads, which show that it has not always been so desolate as it seems now. In the portion of the plain between Mount Carmel and Jaffa one sees but rarely a village or other sights of human life. There are some rude mills here which are turned by the stream. A ride of half an hour more brought us to the ruins of the ancient city of Cæsarea, once a city of two hundred thousand inhabitants, and the Roman capital of Palestine, but now entirely deserted. As the sun was setting we gazed upon the desolate harbor, once filled with ships, and looked over the sea in vain for a single sail. In this once crowded mart, filled with the din of traffic, there was the silence of the desert. After our dinner we gathered in our tent as usual to talk over the incidents of the day, or the history of the locality. Yet it was sad, as I laid upon my couch at night, to listen to the moaning of the waves and to think of the desolation around us”.

– B. W. Johnson, in “Young Folks in Bible Lands”: Chapter IV, 1892 –

“The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880’s, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained “The Holy Land” in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants – both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts… Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen… The plows used were of wood… The yields were very poor… The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible… Schools did not exist… The rate of infant mortality was very high… The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert… The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants”.

– The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 –

The list of travellers and pilgrims throughout the XVI to the XIX centuries c.e. that give a similar description of the Holy Land is quite longer, including Alphonse de Lamartine, Sir George Gawler, Sir George Adam Smith, Siebald Rieter, priest Michael Nuad, Martin Kabatnik, Arnold Van Harff, Johann Tucker, Felix Fabri, Edward Robinson and others. All of them found the land almost empty, except for Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Shechem, Hevron, Haifa, Safed, Irsuf, Cæsarea, Gaza, Ramleh, Acre, Sidon, Tzur, El Arish, and some towns in Galilee: Ein Zeitim, Pekiin, Biria, Kfar Alma, Kfar Hanania, Kfar Kana and Kfar Yassif. Even Napoleon I Bonaparte, having seen the need that the Holy Land would be populated, had in mind to enable a mass return of Jews from Europe to settle in the country that he recognized as theirs’ – evidently, he did not see any “Palestinian” claiming historical rights over the Holy Land, whose few inhabitants were mainly Jews.

Besides them, many Arab sources confirm the fact that the Holy Land was still Jewish by population and culture in spite of the Diaspora:
·In 985 c.e. the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained that in Jerusalem the large majority of the population were Jewish, and said that “the mosque is empty of worshippers…” .
·Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable Arab historians, in 1377 c.e. wrote:
“Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years… It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement”.
After 300 years of Arab rule in the Holy Land, Ibn Khaldun attested that Jewish culture and traditions were still dominant. By that time there was still no evidence of “Palestinian” roots or culture .
·The historian James Parker wrote: “During the first century after the Arab conquest [670-740 c.e.], the caliph and governors of Syria and the [Holy] Land ruled entirely over Christian and Jewish subjects. Apart from the Bedouin in the earliest days, the only Arabs west of the Jordan were the garrisons”.
Even though the Arabs ruled the Land from 640 c.e. to 1099 c.e., they never became the majority of the population. Most of the inhabitants were Christians (Assyrian and Armenian) and Jews.

If the historic documents, comments written by eyewitnesses and declarations by the most authoritative Arab scholars are still not enough, let us quote the most important source for muslim Arabs:

“And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd’.”.

– Qur’an 17:104 –

Any sincere muslim must recognize the Land they call “Palestine” as the Jewish Homeland, according to the book considered by muslims to be the most sacred word and Allah’s ultimate revelation.

 

December 25, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Islamorealism, Israeli-Palestinian Issues, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can muslim say SALAM to non muslim?

Muslim Majority

Muslim Majority

See on Scoop.itTruth Revealed

See on khurshidimam.blogspot.in

December 24, 2012 Posted by | Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stevie Wonder Surrenders to Hate and Prejudice against Jews

Stevie, you have disappointed the world with surrendering to pressure from those who hate and whose prejudice against the Jewish people is pure evil. You have shamed yourself and all who value truth, freedom and democracy.

November 30, 2012 Posted by | Christianphobia, Islamorealism, Israeli-Palestinian Issues, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Debunking the Assumption that Palestine is a Country

See on Scoop.itTruth Revealed

Much thanks to Eli Hertz for this comprehensive, exhaustive historical deconstruction of the lie told around the world.

Palestine is a Geographical Area, Not a Nationality.

In an interview with Republican Presidential Primary front-runner and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a former Professor and Historian, he explains his position on the Arab-Israeli conflict and states that the Palestinians are “an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs.”

It is time to tell the truth that is based on facts:

Until the Jews began returning to the Land of Israel in increasing numbers from the late 19th century to the turn of the 20th, the area called Palestine was a deserted waste land that belonged to the Ottoman Empire, based in Turkey.

‘Palestinianism’ in and of itself lacks any substance of its own. Arab society on the West Bank and Gaza suffer from a deep social cleavage created by a host of rivalries based on divergent geographic, historical, sociological and familial allegiances.

What glues Palestinians together is a carefully nurtured hatred of Israel and the rejection of Jewish nationhood.

Palestinians

“All [that Palestinians] can agree on as a community is what they want to destroy, not what they want to build.”1 New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman

The Palestinians’ claim that they are an ancient and indigenous people fails to stand up to historic scrutiny. Most Palestinian Arabs were newcomers to British Mandate Palestine. Until the 1967 Six-Day War made it expedient for Arabs to create a Palestinian peoplehood, local Arabs simply considered themselves part of the ‘great Arab nation’ or ‘southern Syrians.’

There is no age-old Palestinian people. Most so-called Palestinians are relative newcomers to The Land of Israel.

Palestinian Arabs cast themselves as a native people in “Palestine” – like the Aborigines in Australia or Native Americans in America. They portray the Jews as European imperialists and colonizers. This is simply untrue.

Until the Jews began returning to the Land of Israel in increasing numbers from the late 19th century to the turn of the 20th, the area called Palestine was a God- forsaken backwash that belonged to the Ottoman Empire, based in Turkey.

The land’s fragile ecology had been laid waste in the wake of the Arabs’ 7th- century conquest. In 1799, the population was at it lowest and estimated to be no more than 250,000 to 300,000 inhabitants in all the land.2

At the turn of the 20th century, the Arab population west of the Jordan River (today, Israel and the West Bank) was about half a million inhabitants and east of the Jordan River perhaps 200,000.3

The collapse of the agricultural system with the influx of nomadic tribes after the Arab conquest that created malarial swamps and denuded the ancient terrace system eroding the soil, was coupled by a tyrannous regime, a crippling tax system and absentee landowners that further decimated the population. Much of the indigenous population had long since migrated or disappeared. Very few Jews or Arabs lived in the region before the arrival of the first Zionists in the 1880s and most of those that did lived in abject poverty.

CONTINUED:

See on raymondjclements.wordpress.com

November 25, 2012 Posted by | Islamorealism, Israeli-Palestinian Issues, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A correct understanding of Jeremiah 8:8

By Tony Pezzulo:

A correct understanding “about Jeremiah 8:8 and what it says about “the lying pen of the scribes has made the Law a lie. “As with any verse in the Bible, we must look at the context to understand the verse. The context is that false prophets were speaking peace to the Jews, while God’s true prophet Jeremiah is calling for judgment upon the Jews if they do not repent of sin. The “scribes” were not those who COPY the Torah, but they were the Jewish teachers of the time. Notice that verse 7 says that the people did not KNOW the law, because the teachers were only telling the people what they wanted to hear. The verse does not say that the people did not HAVE the law. A simple understanding of context reveals that Jeremiah is not saying that the scribes corrupted the text of the Torah. They were corrupting the meaning of the law with their teachings.The Bible is not corrupted.”

A Sefer Torah, the traditional form of the Heb...

A Sefer Torah, the traditional form of the Hebrew Bible, is a scroll of parchment.

November 25, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Christianphobia, Islamorealism, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Photos of Syrian Massacres Recycled as Gaza Atrocities

English: The rockets from Gaza Strip range

English: The rockets from Gaza Strip range (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More Jewish blood libel from Muslim media: Photos of Syrian Massacres Recycled as Gaza Atrocities

It’s Goebbels one better. Unlike the Muslim world, the Nazi propaganda war machine didn’t have a supplicant world media eager to advance their monstrous blood libels.

Yet another fake “Gaza” photo has incited a flurry of comments on Facebook against Israel during the fifth day of Israel’s Pillar of Defense operation in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. An Arab news site called Alarab Net released the photo, which shows a family who was allegedly ‘massacred’ in Gaza on its Facebook page on Sunday, November 18.

 

The caption in Arabic roughly translates into English as “martyred massacred family in Gaza shortly before…”Thanks to Tazpit News Agency’s investigative work, it was found that the photo had been originally published on a news site based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates called Moheet one month earlier on October 19. On the Moheet website, the photo was titled “Syria killed 122 Friday…Assad Used Cluster Bombs.”

 

_

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

Salvation and Works

Does the LDS church have everything 100% correct? Of course not. Does any denomination or church have everything 100% correct? Of course not.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:26

I believe.

Regarding the idea of works being necessary:

1 John 1:7-10
1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

John is instructing us about the obligation we have due to receiving atonement through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness does not remove from us the obligation to keep the commands of God. The law of God is not done away once we are under the blood of Jesus Christ. His death paid for our past sins. Though His death will pay for sins committed after our original forgiveness, we are urged not to break God’s laws. Sinning without serious regard and deep appreciation for Christ’s death brings us into danger of committing the unpardonable sin (Hebrews 10:26, 28-29). A disciplined and robust effort to obey God’s commands witnesses to Him the depth of our appreciation for the grace He gives through Christ.
———
Consider the words of Christ in Luke 9:23-24:

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
———
If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

–The words of Christ in Matthew 19:17.
———
The truth is that we are saved by the grace of Christ which is offered to us through a covenant, a two-way contract: if we accept Christ and do our part, following and obeying him, then Christ does everything else, forgiving us, cleansing us, healing us, and giving us power to return to the presence of the Father – not because we earned it, but because we accepted the terms upon which he offers his infinite grace and mercy. Even in the days of Moses, the Lord proclaimed that God “shows mercy to those that keep his commandments” (Deut. 5:10), a principle that has not changed. The mercy or grace offered through a two-way covenant with Christ is implied in the Third LDS Article of Faith, and in the teaching of the prophet Nephi who wrote in 2 Nephi 25:23:

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

The Church’s emphasis on personal responsibility and the need for self-disciplined obedience may seem to de-emphasize the role of Christ’s grace; however, for Latter-day Saints, obedience is but one blade of the scissors. All of LDS theology also reflects the major premise of the Book of Mormon that without grace there is no salvation: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). The source of this grace is the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ: “Mercy cometh because of the Atonement” (Alma 42:23).

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

That Ye Might Believe That Jesus Is the Christ

“That Ye Might Believe That Jesus Is the Christ” by Nancy W. Jensen

Isaiah 61:1-3; JST Luke 3:4-11; John 1:1-14; 20:31

THE MISSION OF JESUS CHRIST

Isaiah 61:1-3 is such a beautiful scripture, it begs to be read aloud over and over! These verses, understood, can change one’s understanding of the Atonement, and are a great passage to read and ponder during the sacrament. Elder Bruce C. Hafen wrote a wonderful treatise on it entitled “Beauty for Ashes” which you can read here.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our god; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty [to replace] ashes, the oil of joy [to replace] mourning, the garment of praise [to replace] the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Christ read this scripture in the synagogue to proclaim himself the Messiah, “but stopped short so that he could say, ‘Today as you heard it read, this passage of [Scripture] (up to but not including the day of vengeance) was fulfilled,’ for at his first coming he healed and brought Good News of the Kingdom and salvation; it was not his time to take vengeance or judge” (Stern). “And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:20-21)

Notice each of the things Christ has been anointed to do, each marked by the word “to.” Which of these things do you need in your life?

1. to preach good tidings unto the meek
2. to bind up the broken-hearted
3. to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound
4. to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
5. and [to proclaim] the day of vengeance of our God
6. to comfort all they that mourn
7. to give [or exchange] to [those that mourn in Zion] beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

The next part of the reading assignment is JST Luke 3:4-11, and it also contains a long list of gifts that Christ has brought, each also marked by the word “to:”

1. to take away the sins of the world
2. to bring salvation unto the heathen nations
3. to gather together those who are lost, who are of the sheepfold of Israel
4. to prepare the way, and make possible the preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles
5. to be a light unto all who sit in darkness, unto the uttermost parts of the earth
6. to bring to pass the resurrection from the dead
7. to ascend up on high, to dwell on the right hand of the Father
8. to administer justice unto all
9. to come down in judgment upon all
10. to convince all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds.

The Atonement is for the washing away of sins, clearly, and for the resurrection of the dead, obviously, but these scriptures show that it is so much more than that, and very applicable and helpful to our everyday problems and challenges.

The third scripture in the reading assignment is John 1:1-14. I always had trouble understanding why Christ was called “The Word” here. The JST makes the meaning of that term clear:

“In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God” (v. 1). In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men” (v. 4).

(When reading the JST in the LDS Bible Appendix, it is helpful to notice that the changes from the King James Version have been italicized.)

OVERVIEW OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

As we look at the Table of Contents of the New Testament we can see that the book can be easily divided up into four sections:

1. The Gospels (testimonies of Christ)
2. Acts (work of the apostles, especially Peter’s work among the Jews and Paul’s work among the Gentiles)
3. Epistles (letters from Church leaders to the saints)
4. Revelation (revelation received by John on the isle of Patmos)

Why are there four gospels, four different tellings of the life of Christ? Sure, there is the reason that all truth is established by God in the mouth of two or three witnesses, and here we have even more than that, but couldn’t they have collaborated and put together one story that would have been a comprehensive, all-inclusive, chronological biography of Christ, with four witnesses to it? Then there wouldn’t have been any contradictions, and everything would have been covered. Right?

Well, the gospels are not just biographies, but testimonies of Christ (Bible Dictionary, p. 683). Each author came from a different walk of life, and was writing to a specific audience. The study of the authorship, audience, and angle of each of the gospels is fascinating and instructive.

OVERVIEW OF THE FOUR GOSPELS

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are quite similar in phraseology and content, and for that reason they are called “The Synoptic Gospels” (Bible Dictionary, p. 683). The Gospel of John is quite different, and we will discover the reason for that later.

The Gospel of Mark

Scholars agree that Mark was probably written first, and that the other writers had access to it when writing their gospels. Mark was not one of the apostles. He was younger. He likely was alive when Christ was alive, but he would have been a child. After his conversion, he became the younger missionary companion of Paul, and later of Peter, serving mainly among the Gentiles. Therefore, he wrote his gospel from his missionary perspective: a Jew writing to Gentiles. One can see that hee assumed that the reader would be unfamiliar with Jewish customs and terms and with Palestinian geography, because he explained and described those things. One can also see that he assumed that the reader was familiar with Latin terms and customs.

“[Mark’s] object is to describe our Lord as the incarnate Son of God, living and acting among men. The gospel contains a living picture of a living Man. Energy and humility are the characteristics of his portrait. It is full of descriptive touches that help us to realize the impression made upon the bystanders” (BD, p. 728). It is “fast moving, emphasizing the doings more than the sayings of the Lord” (BD, p. 683). Note how many times Mark uses the words “immediately, “straightway,” “anon”–all translations of the same word. (Fronk) This one word is used eight times in chapter one alone, in verses 10, 12, 18, 20, 21, and 28. Reading Mark leaves one breathless. The intensity of the ministry is emphasized: No time to rest, no time to eat. Mark is full of miracles. An interesting experiment: Camille Fronk recommends reading it all in one sitting, to catch the energy in the telling.

The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew was a Jew. He was a publican, and so he was not popular by profession. He was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, and he was alive when these things were happening, although he certainly wasn’t eyewitness to all of them. “Matthew was probably a thorough Jew with a wide knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, and able to see in every detail of the Lord’s life the fulfillment of prophecy” (BD, p. 729). His book was written to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. For this reason, he highlighted the number 14 in Christ’s genealogy and he noted 14 prophecies from the Jewish scriptures that were fulfilled by Christ. (See “The Importance of the Number 14” in a previous lesson.) He knew that the number 14 was significant to his readers, who were Hebrew. He knew that they knew that 14 meant “salvation.”

Matthew picked and chose who to represent in the genealogy, as there were actually more than 14 generations between each important individual (and this was acceptable to the Jews, because the symbolic number was the most important thing, not the literal number), but in that picking and choosing, he referenced five women. Besides Mary (1:16), he listed Thamar or Tamar (1:3), Rachab or Rahab, Ruth (1:5), and Bathsheba (1:6). Every one of these women had questionable pasts, particularly in relation to their conception and child-bearing, but produced great results for the House of Israel, making themselves ancestral heroines.

1) Tamar conceived while masquerading as a prostitute! The father of her child was her own father-in-law. The reason she committed this grossly immoral deception was that, in opposition to Jewish law, Judah and his sons had cheated her out of progeny, sent her back to her father’s house, and consigned her to life as a childless widow (twice widowed, actually), a state that would undoubtedly lead to devastating poverty in her old age. (See “Opposites” in a previous lesson.)

2) Rahab was an idolatrous prostitute in Jericho. With no gospel training, no missionaries, no “members” living nearby, and in the most wicked environment in the world, she gained a testimony of Jehovah. After her conversion, and after saving the spies of Israel, she raised her son, Boaz, to be a great, kind, wise, and faithful man, the man who married Ruth! (See a previous lesson for more on Rahab.)

3) The next woman mentioned, Ruth, was Rahab’s daughter-in-law, a convert from idolatry as well, a Moabitess. She was married to a Hebrew, and then widowed, which dropped her to the bottom of Jewish society. From this low point, she sought her own marriage, contrary to custom, and was most likely not the first wife. (See OT Lesson #20.)

4) Last mentioned was Bathsheba, who conceived as a result of an extra-marital date-rape, or at least an event beyond her control, since the perpetrator happened to be the all-powerful king David. (See a previous lesson for more on this.)

5) By including these particular women, revered by the Jews but with imperfect and even abhorrent family situations, Matthew presented the perfect defense for Mary’s unusual circumstance of conception. (Bokovoy)

A little parable recorded in Matthew is especially applicable to the Jews. “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matt. 13:52). The “scribe” would be a man knowledgeable in the Jewish religion. “Things old” would be the Law of Moses, and “things new” the Gospel of Christ. Matthew included a lot of anti-Pharisee comments to show that the Law was not an end in itself, as the Pharisees seemed to think. Chapters 5-7 give the higher law. “The Kingdom of Heaven” would be important to the Jews, and many of the parables in Matthew liken something to the Kingdom of Heaven. The parables describe trees growing or bread rising, showing that the Kingdom of Heaven is a process, not an event. (Fronk)

Matthew’s is the only gospel that includes the story of the wise men. Jews would have been most impressed by wealthy, learned men who had studied the scriptures in far away lands (they might possibly have been displaced Jews) and recognized the signs of the Messiah’s coming.

Matthew included five major discourses given by Jesus Christ. He highlighted these in a way similar to the way he highlighted the 14 prophecies, using a key phrase at the end of each. The phrase is “When Jesus had finished these sayings…” Is there a reason he chose five sermons? Of course! There is a reason for every number used by a Jew in the Bible! In this case, Matthew was adding a sequel to five writings that were very near and dear to every Jew, and were in fact, a foundation of their religion: The five books of Moses, the Torah. By doing this, he was showing the Jews that Christ was the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, and that His counsel superseded or added to that Law. (Bokovoy)

1. 5:1-7:27 The Sermon on the Mount, given to the multitude. The tag is found in 7:28.
2. 10:5-42 The instruction for the ministry of the 12 apostles. The tag is 11:1.
3. 13:1-52 The Sermon from the Ship, given to great multitudes. The tag is 13:53.
4. 18:1-35 “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of God?” spoken to the apostles. The tag is 19:1.
5. 24:3-25:46 The Olivet Discourse, given to the 12 apostles. The tag is 26:1.

The Gospel of Luke

Luke’s gospel is the one with the beautiful Christmas story, told from a woman’s perspective. (Matthew tells it from a man’s.) Luke was a Gentile convert, likely converted through the labors of Paul (see BD, p. 726), writing to Gentiles and to minorities, and to those looked down upon by the Jews: women, lepers, Samaritans, sinners (prostitutes). Luke was a physician, and therefore had close contact with and compassion for all types and both genders of people, a unique position. Most male professions in that day involved dealings with other men only, but a physician dealt with all, even the “unclean.”

As a missionary, Luke ministered to the Gentiles with Paul. Like Matthew, Luke gives a genealogy of Christ, but it differs from Matthew’s. Matthew introduced Christ as “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). This is what was important to the Jews: that Christ was one of the chosen people, and was in the kingly and priestly line. It was the first thing Matthew said in his testimony. Luke, on the other hand, gives a genealogy of Christ that identifies him as “the son of Joseph” (Luke 3:23) (even though Luke testifies of the divinity of Christ) and takes Christ’s ancestry all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:38), making everyone, Jew and Gentile, a relative of Christ. (Fronk)

Luke had a special understanding of women as a result of his medical ministry among them. He wa the only one who wrote of the annunciation of Mary, and of her visit to Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother. He knew that “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). He knew of Simeon’s personal prophecy to Mary that “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Luke 2:35). How did he know of these things? Very likely he was a close personal acquaintance of Mary’s in the Church, and he heard these stories from her own mouth. Luke gives what little information we have about the childhood of Christ. He was the one who told of Mary’s terror when she realized her 12-year-old was not with the caravan. (See Luke 2:51).

Where is the parable of the Good Samaritan found? Only in Luke. What about Christ’s visit to Mary and Martha? Only in Luke. Many of the most treasured parables are found only in Luke: The woman with the lost coin, the shepherd with the lost sheep, the Prodigal Son, the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. The cleansing of the ten lepers is recorded only in Luke. Luke wrote to the underdog, to tell him (and her!) that Christ was come for them as well as for anyone.

The Gospel of John

John is the gospel that is not like the others. Like Matthew and Mark, John was a Jew converted to Christianity. Like Matthew he was one of the apostles. But unlike Matthew, he was not writing to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Christ, and unlike Mark, he was not writing to convince the Gentiles that Jesus was the Christ. He was not writing to convince anyone that Jesus was the Christ: he was writing to those who already knew. He was writing to the Christians. This makes his gospel very different. Near the conclusion of his book, we read, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). The Harper-Collins Study Bible translates the intention of that passage to be slightly different: “But these are written, that ye might continue to believe that Jesus is the Christ…” “The Gospel of John,” wrote Bruce R. McConkie, “is the account for the saints” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 336).

John was in the Church from the very beginning. A follower of John the Baptist, he then became one of the first disciples of Christ. John was one of the “inner circle of three who were with the Lord at the raising of Jairus’s daughter, at the Transfiguration, and in Gethsemane” (BD, p. 715). So he was like a member of the First Presidency, one of the “three pillars of the Christian Church”. John wrote not only his gospel, but also three of the epistles, and the amazing book of Revelation. He identified himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” the one who wanted to continue to minister upon the earth until the Second Coming. His testament was the last one written, and contains unique contributions, and many more of Christ’s teachings than do the others. He had a deep understanding of the Savior and his gospel by the time he wrote his book. (Ludlow)

Only John tells how Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. Only John records the cleansing of the temple. In John, Christ explains his death to the apostles. Only in John do we read of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and his commandment to them to be an example of love for each other. In John, the apostles are warned that the world will hate them and try to kill them. In John the gift of the Comforter is explained. The Intercessory prayer for the disciples is found in John. Only in John is Peter told three times, “Feed my sheep.” More of the resurrected Christ’s visit back to his disciples is recorded in John than in the other gospels. (Fronk)

John records seven miraculous signs of the divinity of Christ, five of which are only found in his gospel. (To see this list, see Victor Ludow’s article, “John: The Once and Future Witness”.)

The Gospel of John is a college text, where the other gospels are elementary school primers. The other three gospels are like sacrament meeting, and the Gospel of John is like a temple. In fact, John is better understood in relation to the temple ceremony. It is deep and rich and symbolic, and it builds upon what the other gospels give us and raises our understanding to a higher level. It is for the increased edification of those who are already saints.

Only John records the descriptions Christ gave of himself, many of which hearken back to the term used in the Old Testament to identify Jehovah: “I AM.” (Ludlow) Seven of them are especially noted, possibly symbolic of the meaning of the number seven: godly perfection. These are marked with a tag, similar to Matthew’s tags; they all begin with some form of the phrase “Jesus said unto them.”

1. When the multitude asked Christ to show them a sign, like the manna in the wilderness, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (6:35).
2. After saving the adulterous woman from stoning, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (8:12).
3. Later in that same conversation, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am” (8:58), identical with the term used in Exodus 3:14, and after which they tried to stone him, but he spirited himself away.
4. After telling the parable of the sheepfold to the Pharisees, “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep…by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (10:7, 9).
5. To Martha, before raising Lazarus from the dead, “Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (11:25-26).
6. When Thomas asked how they would know the way, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (14:6).
7. When Judas was betraying him, (I’m removing the King James translators’ additions, which are in italics in the scriptures) “Jesus saith unto them, I am. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am, they went backward and fell to the ground” (18:5-8) and Jesus repeated the statement.

“John’s witness of the Lord is unique. His Gospel and epistles record some of the Savior’s noblest feelings and doctrines, especially His message of love” (Ludlow).

Sources:
Bible Dictionary entries for Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 114.
Camille Fronk [Olson], “The Four Gospels,” Know Your Religion Lecture, January 1998, Logan, Utah
David Bokovoy, “A Literary Analysis of the Four Gospels,” BYU Education Week Lecture, August 2002
Victor Ludlow, “John: The Once and Future Witness,” Ensign, December 1991, p. 51-52
Thomas Mumford, Horizontal Harmony of the Gospels

Original Article Here

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

Mormons Are Christian

The name of the Mormon Church should be referred to at all times as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If one does that then there is no question as to whether the Mormons believe in Jesus Christ or are Christians.

The definition of a Christian is defined as ‘one who believes or professes…to believe in Jesus Christ and the truth as taught by him…one whose life is conformed to the doctrine of Christ.’ If being Christian means accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of our Heavenly Father and the Savior of the world, then the charge that Mormons aren’t Christians is entirely bogus.

Latter-day Saints pray to Heavenly Father and close ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’; they worship Christ each Sunday and partake of the sacrament which helps them renew the covenants they made with Him at their baptism; the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ; ‘Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way.’1 Above all, Jesus Christ is the central figure for the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The first Article of Faith in the church is: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”2 This article declares the belief in the Mormon Church.

Another misconception is the Book of Mormon and the criticism associated with it. Most will say that ‘it isn’t what the Book of Mormon says that is offensive to them – it is the Book of Mormon itself.’3 The rejection of the Book of Mormon is based upon nothing! How can one make a decision without actually reading, studying or researching? To know Christ, is to read the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Article of Faith #8 in the Book of Mormon reads, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”4 As one would study, research and pray to know if those things found in the Bible are true, so one must study, research and pray to know if the teachings in the Book of Mormon are true. Judgments cannot be made on something without having information. Both books of scriptures are based upon Christ and His teachings. If both are studied, then the answers come and the world would not question whether the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Christians.

For more information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Mormons please see the following websites:

http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDS_Intro.shtml
http://www.lightplanet.com
http://www.mormonwiki.com
http://www.whymormonism.org
Mormon Temple: Information From Answers.com

1 “Encyclopedia of Mormonism”
2 “Book of Mormon”, The Articles of Faith 1:1

3 “Are Mormons Christian?”, New Era, by Robinson, May 1998, p41

4 “Book of Mormon”, The Articles of Faith 1:8

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

 

 

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Christian Group that Admits LDS are Christians too

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).

Clearly this fellow believer has done proper research into the LDS church and I appreciate that he used valid sources for what LDS actually believe rather than obscure quotes or other things random people may have said throughout the years that isn’t a main-stream belief of the LDS faith.  In fact, I feel he is doing more good for the church than many of us members because he is not a member and they can trust him.

I hope that we as LDS Christians can do the same for our fellow Christians by acknowledging the common ground that we all stand on.  There are many other issues out there that we need to be united on that we can further the cause of good in the world by working together and not fighting against each other.
http://graceforgrace.com/2010/04/02/finally-a-christian-group-that-admits-lds-are-christians-too/

I decided to check out his blog and found a great “test” to see if Mormon’s, or LDS are Christians. Below is a comparison of what Christians believe in from the Bible to be saved and also what LDS believe taken from http://evangelicalsandmormonsforjesus.com.

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

A Quadruple Combination of the (scriptures) of – contains the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, all bound together. Ricardo630 07:45, 15 April 2006 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 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

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