Read His Words Before Ours!
2 Timothy 2:14-26
1 John 3:16-20
This has undoubtedly been the most difficult journey study I’ve written.
Likely, it’s the most difficult piece of work I’ve written in my entire life.
From the age of 5, I grew up in the backyard neighborhoods of Parowan, Utah, known as the “Mormon Mother Town.” I spent many days with my beloved grandparents, befriending the city’s pool lifeguards, performing shows for my grandparents’ neighbors, and playing with children along their street.
I often refer to Mormons as “my people”.
There’s simply no other way I can describe the connection I feel with anyone who calls Mormonism their religion. Some of my best friends in high school were Mormon, my neighbors were Mormon, my co-workers were Mormon, and I have many family members who are Mormon (not my grandparents).
Mormons are truly, my people.
Mormonism is one of the fastest growing religions in the world.
If you think you don’t know someone attending the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, chances are, you actually do without knowing.
You’ve probably seen Mormon missionaries walking the streets, perhaps you’ve taken time to talk with them.
If you’ve ever chatted with a Mormon, then you probably know they do, indeed,
call themselves Christians.
Famous evangelical pastor, John MacArthur, in referencing a conversation he’d had with a Mormon missionary, said:
“…We sat in a room and they told me they believe in salvation by grace,
and salvation through faith,
and salvation in Christ.
And they wanted to affirm the things we had in common…
when we got done with hours and hours of conversation… they said,
‘We want to affirm salvation by grace alone,
we want to affirm salvation through faith,
we want to affirm salvation through Christ.’
…And I said, ‘I want to ask you three questions…
Tell me about your God?’
And they gave me a God who didn’t have three persons.
So, I said, ‘Whatever it is we want to talk about with faith, grace, and Christ, let’s just get this straight, we have a different God.
Tell me your Christology?’
They said, ‘Jesus is created by God and He is a higher order of created being.’
And I said, ‘Then let’s make this clear, we have a different Christ.
… If I wanted to get to the highest level of Heaven what would I need to do?’
‘You would need to join the Mormon church, you would need to evident certain obediences and baptize by a certain spirit-endowed baptism.’ And I said, ‘We have a different Gospel.
Apart from those, we agree.’”
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Parowan.
The trip felt somber and holy to me; I wasn’t the same person I’d been when I’d left for college.
I left as a broken, hurting teenager, and returned as a mom and wife,
secure in my identity in Christ.
One of the most important things I learned from a conversation with some dear Christian missionary friends was this:
“If we want to effectively witness to Mormons,
we need to study the Bible inside and out,
we need to know the truth, so when we hear anything that isn’t that,
we can recognize it right away.”
Mormons use many of the same terms we do when discussing our faith.
When we study the Bible, we learn the definitions of those terms, and are able to recognize it when definitions don’t match.
With that said, I want to remind you what the Bible, our only source for truth, says about God the Father, Jesus, and the Gospel.
God the Father:
The Bible teaches God is a triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, Each person is fully God, co-equal with one another.
Each are persons of the One, Same, Unified God. Three persons, one God.
God, as a whole, is a creating God, but God was never created; He has eternally existed as God, which John discusses in John 1.
God is a good God, who never wanted death, disease, or destruction to exist, but because of our great sin, God implemented His plan of redemption.
Everything in Scripture points to Jesus, His sacrificial death on our behalf, which is even acceptable as an atonement for our sin because He is fully God, and even further… His resurrection from the dead! God perfectly mastered the details of history, over a span of thousands of years, fulfilling His plan to save us.
Jesus is fully God; Lord of lords and King of kings. (Revelation 19:16)
He was born a miraculous conception through the Holy Spirit.
Because God speaks and galaxies are formed, He spoke, and Mary was pregnant with Jesus who was 100% man and 100% God.
Jesus Christ was not just a good man who performed incredible miracles, like healing the blind and paralyzed,
He is God. He and the Father are one.
Because JESUS IS GOD, He was not created. Paul, in Colossians, shows us how Jesus is the Creator, not the created. Through Jesus, “all things were created through Him and for Him; He is before all things, and through Him, all things hold together”. (Colossians 1:15-20)
It makes no sense for a Being who holds all things together to Himself be created.
The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus died for our sins, then conquered death as He rose from the dead!
We are full of sin.
Every thought, action, word, and motive that is less than perfectly holy is sin in the sight of God. Because God is perfectly holy, it is literally impossible for sin to be in His presence. As a result, we are hopelessly separated from Him.
But Jesus bridges that great chasm between man and God
precisely because He is both fully man and fully God.
He is fully man, living our human lives, and fully God, fulfilling the entire law of God perfectly on our behalf while living a human life. (Hebrews 2:17)
The simple Gospel is this: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and ONLY Son, that whoever believes in Him, won’t perish, but will have everlasting life.”
We are invited to confess with our mouth and believe in our heart
that Jesus Christ is GOD,
that He died our death,
then ROSE, forever conquering death!
There is no work, not even baptism, we can do to “earn Heaven”.
The only work that could possibly be accepted is absolute perfection,
which is utterly impossible.
Once we ask Jesus to be Lord of our lives, then God is IN us.
He begins changing us from the inside out!
THAT is why Christians are often found serving and loving others.
Not because we are trying to earn our way to Heaven, but because we are becoming more and more like Jesus.
He is our transformation!
Friends, one thing I’ve learned is this:
the best way to represent the Lord Jesus is to remember that we are Jesus with skin on.
We might be the only Jesus that people ever meet (because He is IN us!).
As we engage with our Mormon friends, don’t be timid in talking about the Lord.
Don’t shy away from praying with friends or inviting them to church, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Most of all, study the Bible, spend time with the Lord so you know HIM and you know TRUTH.
Invite others to “tell me about your god”, and see where the Lord takes you!
For further study into Mormonism, I highly recommend the following books:
Mormonism, Mama, and Me
Thank You for the Book of Mormon
The New Mormon Challenge
Share your thoughts from today’s Journey Study!
Can we pray for you?
Sign up to receive every Journey Study!
Join our Facebook Community!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!
Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Roads Week One! Don’t miss out on the discussion below – we’d love to hear your thoughts!
I came across this blog post quite by accident, but was intrigued because I actually am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly referred to as Mormon). I enjoy engaging in conversation with fellow Christians and am always interested to hear their views and beliefs. I naturally disagree with a few points in this post, but as a whole, I completely concur with the majority of what you shared; namely that we worship Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer and that only “by his grace are we saved after all we can do”. I… Read more »
Hi Candace! Thank you for reading and sharing! I absolutely agree, we do share many values between us, even many we would both consider to be “core non-negotiable” values. For all the beliefs we agree on at a higher level, the most foundational one is where we disagree the strongest, the deity of Jesus being fully God and fully man. When you say you worship Jesus as Savior and Redeemer like me, it simple isn’t true, though it may appear so at face value. You and I don’t worship the same Savior. Jesus can not be both God and not-God… Read more »
This is Candace, although it’s showing Anonymous as the commenter. I guess I’m confused where the idea of “Jesus not being a God” came from? I certainly don’t believe that. Even before His mortal sojourn, He was created as a spirit by God the Father and given the role of Creator of the world, the great Jehovah of the Israelites, and the only begotten of the Father, chosen from before the foundation of the world to be our Savior. We may not have perfect unison on how we define Christ as Deity, but I know your faith in Christ has… Read more »
One small word, but it makes an enormous difference. Not “a” God. “The” God. The Jesus of the Bible is not created, but eternally existing as the begotten son of God, together in wonderful unity with Father God connected by the Spirit of God. All equal, all abiding in perfect, delightful harmony as One being for eternity before anything at all had been created. A created god would never be equal with the Father. He could not share in the delights of equal community as we see the Father and Son share. And if, God the Father had ever existed… Read more »
I believe that Jesus is God’s Begotten Son. In every sense of those words. I believe that with everything in me and it feels right. As I read the Bible and my Savior prays to his Father, I feel as if He is praying to a being other than Himself. I do believe that Jesus was begat or created by God the Father. I believe in their glory and honor above all else. For me when Jesus Christ was baptized, the voice came from the heavens saying “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased,” and the… Read more »
Mormonism and Protestant Christianity are incompatible belief systems. One could logically make an argument that either one or both beliefs may be wrong. But, I fail to see how one can logically argue that both can be right. At some fundamental levels, the beliefs are contradictory and incompatible. Unless we’re willing to throw out all reasonable definitions of coherent argument: both can’t be “Christian.” So, that leaves all of us with a question: Am I honestly willing to explore if my belief system is wrong? In my experience, Mormon theology requires that believers hold fundamental views which make it nearly… Read more »
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. This scripture and belief is held highly by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are urged to search ponder and pray to gain our own testimonies. To follow the direction and peace from the Holy Ghost. We are asked to please not just follow blindly but to find out for ourselves. I am sure that out of the millions of members, some live similar to how you said, however,… Read more »
I beg your indulgence on the long post below… it probably should be a separate blog posting. I would ask: In what ways have you “found out yourself?” If you have only looked towards the LDS church, LDS material and your own interpretation of what you read in the Bible, then have you really searched out if what you believe is incorrect? While it’s easy to quote James 1:5, for me, at least, putting it into practice is significantly more difficult – because it has required that I be honest with myself that God may be responding contrary to my… Read more »
Kendra, thanks for sharing this study. We pastored churches in Utah for 24 years. We know your heartache–we’ve shared many experiences similar to that of John MacArthur. We may share many of the same values, but we do not serve the same God. Jesus is not a God–He is God, Creator, Sustainer, Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit is God. May God the Father protect you as you walk through the responses you will receive.
Georgia, I forgot we had discussed that you lived in Utah, too! Thank you for your comment and for your prayers.
Kendra, I truly LOVE you! I’m so sorry we missed your during your quick visit to Parowan, Utah. Your faith is undeniable! I am so grateful you are a part of our lives and for the friendship you share with McCall. You are a chosen daughter of God, and I am so proud of you for standing up and being one of His witnesses. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I stand with you as a Christian – daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. Together we will stand… Read more »
Thank you for your kind words, Suzette. Your family has always been special to me and I pray I get to see you all soon. Much love to you!
This is brave and loving and full of Grace and Truth. I grew up in Utah. I love so many Mormons. There is much to affirm in their lives and faith. I love them dearly, but I can’t see my way to believing we serve the same God.
Thank you for saying this. I spend so much time praying over this study and have been in prayer all morning that the Lord would Gracefully touch lives as this is read. Did you know about 80% of converted Mormons come from evangelical backgrounds (According “The New Mormon Challenge”)? So it is crucial that we know Truth so we can speak it in Grace and guard our own hearts from anything that isn’t truth. I am praying for both of our many friends who call Mormonism their religion!
you truely amaze me……
Continue praying boldness for each of us as we share the full truth of Jesus with those around us!
Thank you for reading!