Biblical Answers to the Claims of Mormonism

 

Note: For greater clarification this article uses the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) and/or the New American Standard Bible (NASB); the NASB because of its word-for-word translation, and the CJB because it restores the Jewishness of the Bible, including the Apostolic writings (New Testament), which is Jewish in thought and context. Christians cannot disassociate themselves from the Jewish roots of Christianity if they want a relationship with God based on His revealed truth (more about this in a different article).

Mormons exclusively use the King James Version of the Bible. We have refrained from using only the KJV on this web site to make it easier for Christians who are more familiar and comfortable with modern versions. It may also be helpful for LDS people who visit this site to read scripture free of Mormon interpretation, and in proper context. One of the benefits of some of the modern translations is that they retain the original meaning while using language appropriate to our 21st-Century understanding. 

Comparing the Mormon Articles of Faith to Biblical Teachings

1. The Godhead

Was God once a nebulous “Intelligence” who became a spirit being through birth to a heavenly mother and father of his own? Did he “keep his first estate” (advancing as a spirit being) and thereby qualify for mortality, getting to be born to mortal parents on an earth like this in a galaxy far, far away? Did he earn his salvation/”exaltation” on that planet by “living the gospel,” adhering to all the rules and regulations in such a way that he became worthy enough to advance to godhood? Did our “Heavenly Father” receive a resurrection with a Celestial-level body of flesh and bone so he could begin creating his own worlds with his many wives? Are there other gods out in the universe doing the same thing as he is and can humans become gods eventually if they become Mormons and valiantly “live the Mormon gospel?”

Biblical Understanding

The Trinity:

There are many excellent books and websites that go into greater detail on why the Trinity—or the Three-in-oneness of God—is a Biblically sound doctrine. Here we will touch on just a few points.

There is what is called a “plural of majesty,” such as when Queen Victoria, referring to herself, would say, “We are not amused.” This denotes the greatness of God in His majesty, holiness, and dignity. We also see in the Hebrew that the word used for God in Genesis 1:26-27 is “Elohim” (plurality), but in the latter part of the same sentence singular descriptions are used. This is no grammatical error. The phrases “our image” and “our likeness” in Genesis 1:26 are concluded with “His own image” and “in the image of God.” It does not read, “in their own image” or “in the image of Gods.” It would have been so easy for God to say, referring to Himself, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, “We are three separate gods, but are one in purpose,” as Mormonism teaches, if it were true. However, the Bible repeatedly refers to “God” as being one. Christians understand that as one in essence, not “one in purpose.”

LDS might say that the concept of the Trinity is incomprehensible. Why is that a problem? Isn’t it incomprehensible in Mormonism that their god had a father who had a father who had a father and there was never a first father? The fact that we cannot comprehend God does not negate His existence or His Triune nature. God exists outside of time and space. Science has shown that there are more dimensions than the three (four, if you include time) we can see and understand. Why is it so hard to believe that God is more than the three-dimensional humans He created? We watch shows like Star Trek and other sci-fi programs where people jet through “worm holes” to the other side of the universe; where characters find an alternate dimension where their counter-parts have been living in other realities; and we think, “Yeah, why couldn’t that be possible? Maybe it is.” So why is it hard to believe that God is a unique being Who exists in many more dimensions than we can comprehend at this time?

I can’t comprehend how invisible waves go through the air and transmit a picture through my television screen, but that doesn’t keep me from enjoying TV. I don’t understand how all around me there are radio waves and television signals all on different frequencies yet I can’t see them or hear them unless I tune in to a certain dial or channel on my radio or TV, but I don’t refuse to believe these are real.

God tells us He is three persons, yet one God. There are three persons in the Godhead, but one God. I just take Him at His word. knowing that one day I will understand.

The Father:

Isaiah 40:28, The LORD is the everlasting God.

Isaiah 43:10, Before me there was no god formed, nor will there be one after me.

Isaiah 44:6, I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

Isaiah 44:8, Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.

Isaiah 45:5, I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.

Isaiah 45:18, I am the LORD and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:21, And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.

Isaiah 45:22, For I am God and there is no other.

Isaiah 46:5, To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?

Isaiah 46:9, I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me.

God the Father is Spirit

1 Timothy 1:17, Now to the King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.

Colossians 1:15, He is in the image of the invisible God…

Luke 24:39, Look at my hands and feet…Touch me and see; a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.

John 1:18, No one has ever seen God, but God One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

LDS sometime refer to Exodus 33:20, “for no man can see Me and live,” yet Moses saw him. In Christian theology that is known as a “Theophany;” which Nelson’s Bible Dictionary defines as;

any direct visual manifestation of the presence of God….But even in a theophany a person does not actually see God Himself. This is an impossibility according to Exodus 33:20; 1 Timothy 6:16; and 1 John 4:12. …The most frequent visible manifestation of God’s presence in the Old Testament is the ‘Angel of the Lord.’ Other theophanies are the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:1-6), the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21-22), the cloud of fire of Sinai (Ex. 24:16-18), and the cloud of the glory of the Lord (Ex. 40:34-38)…Theophanies are never given for their own sake, to satisfy a curiosity about God, but to convey some revelation or truth about Him.” (Nelson’s New Illustrtated Bible Dictionary, 1995, Thomas Nelson Publishers, p. 1242-1243)

Jesus Christ is the Eternal God

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

John 8:24, This is why I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not trust that I AM [who I say I am], you will die in your sins. (CJB)

John 8:58, Yeshua said to them, “Yes indeed! Before Avraham came into being, I AM!” (CJB)

Philippians 2:6-8, [A]lthough He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The Bible tells us that Jesus created ALL things, including the angels; so how could Lucifer be Jesus’ “spirit brother” when Jesus created all the angels, including Lucifer? “By Him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him” Colossians 1:16. Throughout the Bible, when it speaks of “principalities, powers, and dominions,” the writers are referring to ranks of angels.

In the rabbinical (Jewish) thought of the first century, these words were used to describe different orders of angels (see Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 2:10,15; Titus 3:1). Apparently there was a heresy flourishing in Colossae…that involved the worship of angels. In the process of worshiping angels, Christ had been degraded. So, to correct this grave error, Paul emphasizes in Colossians 1:16 that Christ is the one who created all things—including the angels—and hence, He alone is supreme and worthy of worship….Lucifer and Christ are of two entirely different classes—the createdand the Creator.” (Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons, by Ron Rhodes, 1995, pp. 275-276)

2. The Fall of Man

God tell us in His word that Adam’s fall was sin. It was rebellion against God, in that He commanded them to not eat the forbidden fruit. The Mormon Church uses semantics to “prove” it was not sin, by saying that Adam’s eating of the fruit was a “transgression,” not sin. Both Hebrew and Greek use the words sin and transgression interchangeably. The Hebrew lexicon (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) defines “transgression” in its two uses in the Hebrew as “unfaithfulness,” “rebellion, revolt, sin, transgression against human or divine authority.” Even in the Greek context of Adam’s transgression (Romans 5; 1 Timothy 2:14), the usage of the word is not in the context of Adam’s transgression being a good thing;

1 John 3:4 Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah – indeed, sin is violation of Torah.

If Adam and Eve were not yet “mortal” and could not reproduce, as LDS theology dictates was necessary for their progression, then why would God pronounce things “very good?”

Genesis 1:27-31: So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. God blessed them: God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.” Then God said, “Here! Throughout the whole earth I am giving you as food every seed-bearing plant and every tree with seed-bearing fruit. And to every wild animal, bird in the air and creature crawling on the earth, in which there is a living soul, I am giving as food every kind of green plant.” And that is how it was. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good. So there was evening, and there was morning, a sixth day.

Adam and Eve warned not to disobey

Genesis 2:17, The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

The moment Adam ate of the fruit, he died a spiritual death, being separated from God’s presence. He also became subject to physical death; the ongoing decay and winding down of life that actually begins at birth. The first several years of of lives are marked by growth and development, nevertheless, death is programmed into our genes.

Halley’s Bible Commentary explains the fall in this way;

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was ‘good for food,’ ‘pleasing to the eye,’ and ‘desirable for gaining wisdom.’ Whatever the exact nature of this tree—literal, figurative, or symbolic—the essence of Adam and Eve’s sin was this: they wanted to transfer control of their lives from God to themselves. God had, in substance, told them they could do anything they wanted to, except for that one thing. As long as they were in right relationship with God—in other words, as long as they recognized God as their creator and master—they experienced life as God had intended it to be, and they were truly the crown of God’s creation. They were completely satisfied with this life until Satan, in the form of a serpent, deceived them into thinking that if they were like God and knew what he knows, life would be even better. Once the seed of deception had been planted, they became dissatisfied. They wanted to ‘be like God.’ They wanted to be their own master and sole master of God’s creation. Is that not the essence of human sin? From the beginning, God designed humans to live forever; the one condition was obedience to God…..Is there any other way He could have made them? Could there be a moral creature without the power to choose? Freedom is God’s gift to humanity: freedom to think, freedom of conscience—even freedom to disobey God.” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, with the New International Version, Zondervan publishers, 2000, pp. 91-92)

Adam’s sin brought condemnation

Romans 5:18-21:  In other words, just as it was through one offense that all people came under condemnation, so also it is through one righteous act that all people come to be considered righteous. For just as through the disobedience of the one man, many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the other man, many will be made righteous. And the Torah came into the picture so that the offense would proliferate; but where sin proliferated, grace proliferated even more. All this happened so that just as sin ruled by means of death, so also grace might rule through causing people to be considered righteous, so that they might have eternal life, through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord.

Eve was deceived

2 Corinthians 11:3: [A]nd I fear that somehow your minds may be seduced away from simple and pure devotion to the Messiah, just as Havah [Eve] was deceived by the serpent and his craftiness. For if someone comes and tell you about some other Yeshua than the one we told you about, or if you receive a spirit different from the one you received or accept some so-called “good news” different from the Good News you already accepted, you bear with him well enough!

There are a couple of noteworthy things in this passage. First, the fact that Eve was deceived. If eating the forbidden fruit was a good thing, as Mormonism teaches, then she could not have been deceived by Satan, who is telling her to do what “God” really wanted her to do in the first place. Yet, here is Paul telling us she was deceived. Second, notice how Eve was deceived. Satan came “preaching” his own gospel to Eve. He came preaching a god different from the God who created them, by portraying God as a liar. He presented the very same lies to Eve that are taught in Mormonism today.

Satan began by placing doubt on God’s word; “Did God really say ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'” (Genesis 3:1). Satan does not want people to trust God’s word. He puts doubt into the minds of unbelievers regarding the veracity of the Bible, as in Mormonism. Mormons are taught that the Bible was not translated correctly and therefore new scriptures are needed (Mormon scriptures). It is interesting that the LDS Church has not come out with a new Bible translation given the fact they have a “prophet” and Joseph Smith’s “seer stone” in a Salt Lake City LDS Church museum. Of course, that is because the Bible has indeed been translated correctly, and there are over 5,000 manuscripts authenticating the books of the New Testament.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

What was Satan’s greatest aspiration? To become like God! In fact, he wanted to BE God! Isaiah 14:13-14 tells us, speaking of Lucifer;

You have said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Likewise, Mormon doctrine teaches the same lie; that we can be as God; in fact, that we can become gods.

Because of Adam, all die

1-corinthians 15:21-22: For since death came through a man, also the resurrection of the dead has come through a man. 22 For just as in connection with Adam all die, so in connection with the Messiah all will be made alive.

This does not just encompass physical death. Adam caused the spiritual death of mankind; i.e., eternal separation from God. That is not a good thing. It is an awful, horrific thing, for it would have meant the grave and hell forever if Jesus did not redeem us.

Sin and death entered the world by Adam

Romans 5:12-17, Here is how it works: it was through one individual that sin entered the world, and through sin, death; and in this way death passed tthrough to the whole human race, inasmuch as everyone sinned. Sin was indeed present in the world before Torah [rendered “law” in Greek] was given, but sin is not counted as such when there is no Torah. Nevertheless death ruled from Adam until Moshe [Moses], even over those whose sinning was not exactly like Adam’s violation of a direct command. In this, Adam prefigured the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the offense.For is, because of one man’s offense, many died, then how much more has God’s grace , that is, the gracious gift of one man, Yeshua the Messiah, overflowed to many! No, the free gift is not like what resulted from one an’s sinning; for from one sinner came judgment that brought condemnation; but the free gift came after many offenses and brought acquittal. For if, beause of the offense of one man, death ruled through that one man; how much more will those receiving the overflowing grace, that is, the gift of being considered righteous, rule in life through the one man Yeshua the Messiah! (CJB)

Adam’s sin brought condemnation to all men. Although the Law was not in effect from Adam to Moses, death still reigned; the punishment for Adam’s sin—physical and spiritual death—was upon ALL mankind, even on those who did not sin by breaking a command of God as Adam did! Look at how awesome God is though! Judgment on ALL followed ONE sin, bringing condemnation. But the gift of salvation (being spiritually reunited with God now and through the eternities, allowing us to forever dwell in His presence) followed many trespasses and brought justification. We are justified before God, not by our works, but through Christ’s work on the cross.

3. Christ’s Atonement on the Cross Complete

Nowhere in the Bible does it tell about two different kinds of salvation, nor does it refer to the resurrection as a “general salvation.” Nowhere in the Bible, when read in context, is it implied that we are God’s spirit children by birth to heavenly parents and that we can progress to godhood. Salvation, as taught in the New Testament, always refers to a believer’s position in Christ as an adopted child, allowing him/her to live in God’s presence and with Jesus forever. There is only one heaven and one hell. Our final destination is an either/or proposition; we either live forever in eternal torment, separated from God, or we live forever in heaven with God

Christ’s atonement is for all

1 Timothy 4:9-10, It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

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

1 John 2:1-2, My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Christ’s atonement provided for our salvation, allowing us to live forever in the presence of God in heaven. It gave us an Advocate before the Father, so that when we do mess up (and we often do) we come to God to confess our wrong-doing and by His grace we are cleansed and made righteous! He, Jesus Christ, is the atonement for our sins. Our works, our sorrow, our efforts to be good do not bring forgiveness. It is Christ’s work alone that gives us Right Standing before God.

Salvation is a GIFT, no “laws and ordinances” required

Ephesians 2:8-9: For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast.

Colossians 2:13-14, You were dead because of your sins, that is, because of your “foreskin,” your old nature. But God made you alive along with the Messiah by forgiving you all your sins. He wiped away the bill of charges against us. Because of the regulations, it stood as a testimony against us; but he removed it by nailing it to the execution-stake.

(Verse 14 in the KJV; “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us.”)

Galatians 3:23-25, Now before the time for this trusting faithfulness came, we were imprisoned in subjection to the system which results from perverting the Torah into legalism, kept under guard until this yet-to-come trusting faithfulness would be revealed. 24 Accordingly, the Torah functioned as a custodian until the Messiah came, so that we might be declared righteous on the ground of trusting and being faithful. 25 But now that the time for this trusting faithfulness has come, we are no longer under a custodian.

4. The Gospel Not a Set of Principles and Ordinances

1 Corinthians 15:1-4: Now, brothers, I must remind you of the Good News which I proclaimed to you, and which you received, and on which you have taken your stand, and by which you are being saved – provided you keep holding fast to the message I proclaimed to you. For if you don’t, your trust will have been in vain. For among the first things I passed on to you was what I also received, namely this: the Messiah died for our sins, in accordance with what the Tanakh says; and he was buried; and he was raised on the third day, in accordance with what the Tanakh says (“Tanakh” refers to the Hebrew Scriptures; Old Testament).

A careful study of the New Testament reveals that “the gospel” is a message about a Person; Jesus Christ; that He lived, died, and was raised from the dead, and that through His substitutionary death on the cross in our place, we are saved by grace through faith.

Keep in mind what Paul said, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Religious legalists and unbelievers bristle at the Biblical doctrine of “saving faith” in Jesus and trust in redemptive His work on our behalf. Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb, was a propitiation for our sins. They say it is too simplistic to trust Messiah’s atonement alone. They insist that we must add works to our faith in order to be saved. Does a true follower of Yeshua make sin a lifestyle or use grace as a license to sin? Not at all! Good works (righteous deeds) follow our salvation because the Holy Spirit enables us to walk in God’s ways.

It is interesting to read the account of Moses and the children of Israel when the fiery flying serpents came and bit them, causing many to die. the people cried out to Moses for deliverance. Moses was told to make a serpent of brass and place it on a pole, then beckon the Israelites to look upon it. Those who looked, lived; those who refused, died. This event is an awesome foretelling of the gospel! The serpent is a symbol for sin. brass is a Levitical symbol for judgment. The serpent being raised on a pole was a visual of sin being judged.

Now, fast forward to the gospel of John (John 3:14-15) where Jesus points to this saving event in the wilderness, saying, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” In a way we cannot even comprehend, Jesus, Who had no sin, was “made sin” for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus took our sin upon Himself, taking judgment upon Himself, so that we will be saved if we just look to the cross. If we look to the cross, we will live eternally in heaven with Him. There will be those who, like many of the Israelites, will refuse to look to the One who was lifted up to be saved because it is “too simple.”

5. Christians get their authority directly from God, by virtue of their adoption

A common question asked by Mormons is, “Where do you get your authority?” As you read the Bible you will see that the “authority” to preach, prophecy, or teach came directly through the Holy Spirit or by Jesus Himself. The Old Testament shows that there were often many prophets in Israel at the same time, as opposed to the LDS teaching that there can be only one Prophet on the earth at a time who “holds all the priesthood keys to the kingdom.”

Unlike LDS theology, which teaches that only adult male priesthood holders can hold the office of a prophet, there are several Biblical accounts of female prophetesses. Deborah was a prophetess who led Israel in battle. She was also Israel’s fifth judge (see Judges 5). Women of the Bible also prophesied of many wonderful events. Consider Moses’ sister Miriam, Hannah, Anna in the Temple, Elizabeth, and Mary. 1 Corinthians 11:5 assumes a sanction for women to prophesy.

Ephesians 1:11-14, Also in union with him we were given an inheritance, we who were picked in advance according to the purpose of the One who effects everything in keeping with the decision of his will, so that we who earlier had put our hope in the Messiah would bring him praise commensurate with his glory. Furthermore, you who heard the message of the truth, the Good News offering you deliverance, and put your trust in the Messiah were sealed by him with the promised Ruach HaKodesh, who guarantees our inheritance until we come into possession of it and thus bring him praise commensurate with his glory.

1 Corinthians 6:19, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Once we become redeemed believers, the Holy Spirit indwells us (“born from above”). With the Holy Spirit living in us, we have God’s authority to act in His name. Each person in God’s family is given a gift, some severally. With the gifts comes the authority to use them as the Holy Spirit directs us. It is interesting that the majority of Mormon “priesthood holders” are from the tribe of Ephraim according to their “patriarchal blessings,” yet according to Mosaic Law one cannot be a priest unless he is from the tribe of Levi.

6. Jesus did not organize “a church” as defined by LDS

Nelson’s Bible Dictionary explains,

CHURCH — a local assembly of believers as well as the redeemed of all ages who follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In the four gospels of the New Testament, the term “Church” is found only in Matthew 16:18 and 18:17. This scarcity of usage in those books that report on the life and ministry of Jesus is perhaps best explained by the fact that the church as the body of Christ did not begin until the day of Pentecost after the Ascension of Jesus (Acts 2:1-4). That the church began on the day of Pentecost may be demonstrated in various ways: (1) Christ Himself declared the church to be yet future (Matt. 16:18); (2) it was founded upon the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, and such an accomplished fact was not possible until Pentecost (Eph. 1:15-23); (3) There could be no church until it was fully purchased with Christ’s blood (Eph. 2:13) (Nelsons New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 1995, p. 275)

You will find members of Christ’s church among every mainstream Christian denomination and within the Messianic Jewish community. Membership in Christ’s true church is based on relationship, not religion. “The Church” is the body of redeemed believers. A Mormon might ask, “If there is only ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism,’ then why are there so many denominations?”

One Lord means only one Savior; Jesus of the Bible. One faith does not mean “one religion” or “one denomination.” One faith means faith alone in Christ alone. One baptism does not mean that there is only one way to baptize someone through “proper priesthood authority in only one church.” Baptism is a public demonstration of a private commitment to Jesus Christ. Baptism by immersion is also symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah. It does not matter if one is baptized in a Methodist church or a Baptist church, in a font or in a river. One might just as well why does Baskin Robbins have 31 flavors? Every Christian is different in the way he worships. Every Christian is fed a little differently. Some believers prefer formality; others prefer flexibility. Some like traditional hymns while others respond better to modern praise and worship. A familiar idiom among Christian churches is “in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things charity.”

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29

To put that in a modern context, “There is neither Baptist nor Lutheran, Calvary Chapel nor Nazarene, Methodist nor Pentecostal, Jew nor Gentile, for we, as the redeemed, are all one in Christ Jesus.” Denominations may differ in some regards, but our salvation comes through saving faith by a relationship with Jesus alone. That is what makes us members of His “church,” His community.

7. Gifts are given to glorify God and edify the body of Christ (the church)

Spiritual gifts are given to the children of God (born-again believers) as the Holy Spirit sees fit. These gifts cannot be earned, for God is “no respecter of persons.” We are encouraged, however, to seek after, or earnestly desire, the best gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:4-12 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit. To another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

The gifts of the Spirit are given freely by God. Some people have one gift, others have several; but either way, the gifts are to build and edify the body (the community of the redeemed). The gift of tongues can be as on the day of Pentecost when the disciples were speaking in the languages of the various nations who were represented there. Three thousand people were saved that day! There are also those who speak with the “tongue of angels” (ecstatic utterances known only to God) usually during their own private prayer time, although sometimes publicly. This gift is one which glorifies and exalts God, as well as speaks the innermost desires of the person’s heart which cannot be expressed sufficiently through an earthly tongue.

Whether a Christian is given the gift of knowledge (knowing something about another person that only God could reveal); the gift of wisdom (such as the supernatural wisdom that King Solomon had); prophecy (the forth-telling/expounding of God’s word or less frequently, a predictive message); the gift of healing (being able to heal a sick or afflicted person under the direction of the Holy Spirit); or any of the other gifts, these are to be used to build and edify the church and be motivated by love.

8. The Bible is inerrant and complete

Has the Bible been translated correctly? Can it be supported? Are key doctrines missing?

The question often arises when discussing the biblical records, “How can a document that has been copied over and over possibly be reliable?” While it is true the documents have been copied many times, we often have misconceptions about how they were transmitted. All ancient documents were copied by hand before the advent of the printing press in the 16th century. Great care was exercised in reproducing these manuscripts. When we think of copying manuscripts we often assume that one copy was made and then another from that and another from that and so on, each replacing the copy it was reproduced from. This is not how manuscript copying worked. Copyists were usually working from one or two documents that were very old. They would make many copies of their source copy, all the while preserving their source and comparing the copies they have made.

Jewish historian, Josephus (an eyewitness), tells how the Jews copied the Old Testament;

“We have given practical proof of our reverence for our own Scriptures. For although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable; and it is an instinct with every Jew, from the day of his birth, to regard them as the decrees of God, to abide by them, and, if need be, cheerfully to die for them” (Against Apion, Book I, sec., 8, p. 158).

Josephus’ statement is no exaggeration. The Jewish copyists knew exactly how many letters were in every line of every scroll and how many times each word occurred. This enabled them to check for errors (Shelly, Prepare to Answer, p. 133). The Jews believed that adding any mistake to the Scriptures would be punishable by Hell. This is not like modern secretaries who have many letters to type and must work hard to keep their jobs, consequently feeling that mistakes are inevitable. Great care is exercised with scripture when someone holds a strong conviction about their sacredness.

But even with the great amount of care exercised in copying, errors have crept into the manuscripts. No one questions that spelling errors, misplaced letters, and word omissions have occurred. What is not true is that these errors have gradually built up over time so that our copies look nothing like the originals.

“In 1947 the accuracy of these documents was confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls were found in caves in the dessert near the Dead Sea by a shepherd boy. Before the discovery of these scrolls, the earliest Old Testament manuscripts we had were from about 980 A.D. The manuscripts discovered in the caves dated from 250 B.C. to shortly after the time of Christ. In careful comparison of the manuscripts it was confirmed that the copies we had were almost precisely the same as those which date over 1000 years earlier! Old Testament scholar Gleason Archer said that even though there is such a difference in dates of the manuscripts, “they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more that 95 per cent of the text. The 5 per cent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.” No other historical literature has been so carefully preserved and historically confirmed.

“When we come to the New Testament we see a similar phenomenon. There are over 5,000 Greek New Testament manuscripts in existence. This is by far more than any other historical documents, which usually have maybe a dozen copies from very late dates. The New Testament manuscripts are many and old and they are spread over a wide geographical area. What this enables the New Testament historian to do is collect manuscripts from Jerusalem and Egypt and Syria and other places and compare them for variations. And variations do exist, but as with the Old Testament they are relatively few and rarely important to the meaning of the text. What these manuscripts demonstrate is that different families of texts existed very early that were copied from the original or good copies of the original. This allows us to trace the manuscripts back to the source as one would follow the branches of a tree to get to the trunk. Aside from the manuscripts themselves, “virtually the entire New Testament could be reproduced from citations contained in the works of the early church fathers. There are some thirty-two thousand (32,000) citations in the writings of the Fathers prior to the Council of Nicea (325)” (Excerpt above from Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, p. 136).

9. God has revealed all that matters in regard to salvation

Why don’t Christians accept the possibility that other books, such as the Book of Mormon, are also scripture? Doesn’t God still deal with His people today? Those are good questions. Christians do, in fact, believe that God deals with humankind today and that His hand has been upon mankind since He first created the world and everything in it. Christians believe in and experience miracles. They receive personal direction and guidance from the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are actively manifest in God’s children.

The belief among Mormons is that God loves His children as much today as He did in Bible times, which leads them to conclude that continued revelation through prophets and additional scripture is necessary, especially in troubling modern times such as these. It certainly is true that God loves people! He has loved them from the very beginning of their creation! He loves us so much, in fact, “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Because of this, He made the “gospel” (the message, the good news about the Person of Jesus Christ) very simple; so simple that even a child could understand and believe.

God laid out His plan for the redemption of mankind in the Holy Bible. Old Testament prophets proclaimed the need for a Savior and foretold His coming. The Law was given to be a schoolmaster—to show us our sin and depravity. As Paul said, “Indeed, I would not have known what sin was except through the law” (Romans 7:7). The commandments and the requirements of the Mosaic Law brings us face to face with our unrighteousness. And just in case we try to justify ourselves by saying “I keep the commandments,” Jesus comes along and reveals our hearts and true nature by saying, “If any of you even looks at another person with lust you’ve committed adultery.”

The Torah reveals the character and nature of God. The entire Old Testament (Tanakh) reveals our sin nature and need for a Savior. It shows that only a Perfect blood sacrifice (nothing less than God Himself) can put us into right standing with God and allow us in His presence. The New Testament records the fulfillment of those prophecies in Christ Jesus. The whole Bible testifies of our need for redemption and gives man the solution; 1) recognize and confess our sin to God; 2) believe on Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice; and 3) accept His gift of salvation through His substitionary death on the cross (He died in our place). That’s it!

That is why we don’t need more scripture. That is why we no longer need prophets to lead us. Jesus paid it all; He is everything we need for eternal life with God, and the Bible lays out everything we need to know about the plan of salvation.

10. The Ten Tribes are not “lost”

More info coming

11. The truth of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed and the “doctrines of demons” exposed.