Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lies Straight from the Garden

It’s a beautiful rainy day here in Northern New Mexico where I live. Since that’s a rare occurrence around here, we’re all enjoying the cooler temperatures, and of course the moisture—especially my garden!

This morning though, I was thinking about Adam and Eve and what it might have been like in the garden. We know that God created it, and that it was very good because Genesis 1 tells us that after God got done creating everything He declared it “very good.”  I have to assume there was the right amount of moisture, not too much, and not too little. Unlike the high desert, and also unlike those places that get a lot more moisture than we have, it was just the right amount and I’m sure the plants were growing like crazy with that personalized “God-care.”

Also, in the garden it seems that Adam and Eve didn’t have to work overly hard—maybe they had time to pursue their hobbies (naming all the animals is something that Adam did), or relax. One thing we know for sure is that they had the time and energy to “walk with God” regularly in the garden. We know that because the biblical text tells us that right after the fall God came down to do what He regularly did which was to walk and talk with them.

Then entered the serpent.  .. dum, dum, dummm, duhhhmmmm as my kids would say. He starts off by asking Eve a question. “Did God really say?” I sure don’t have to think very hard to think of examples of Satan asking us the same question here today. The attacks on the Bible that are quite easily found on the Internet are one example of that. The attacks on what the Bible actually teaches are another one. (Did God really say that He hates homosexuality?)

Then Eve complicates the matter by adding on to what God said the phrase “you must not even touch it.” That too is something that religions do: add onto what scripture teaches by adding on rules and regulations that supersede what God has actually said. One example of that is the rule that many religions put on religious people that says they can’t drink alcoholic beverages. What God’s Word actually says is that a person shouldn’t get drunk, and also that nothing should enslave the Christian (that would include an addiction to alcohol). These “additional” rules were actually what Jesus was fighting against most often when He interacted with the Pharisees.

The next lie Satan tells is of particular interest to those who have studied Mormonism because what Satan tells Eve next is that she won’t actually die, but instead her eyes will be opened, and she will become “like God.”  It’s not actually a lie that’s unique to Mormonism, it’s just that Mormonism so blatantly teaches it. Most other systems of belief though, that elevate man, and bring God down to the level of a man are in essence teaching that mankind is “like God.”

I’m always fascinated by these three falsehoods because I think that they form the foundation for most of the temptations Satan throws at us today, and probably throughout history. The question for us is, are one of these issues facing us personally today?

Did God really say?
Not only that, but you also must. . . 
You can become like God.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Prophets and the biblical standard

This morning in my daily Bible reading I read Deuteronomy 13 which says something to the effect of if you have a prophet come to you who shows miraculous signs and wonders, and those signs and wonders come true, but he teaches you a different God than the one you have been taught (this is Moses talking) than you should avoid him. In fact, later on in the passage it says that you should actually kill him (see verse 5).

Yeah, that’s a bit much for me. I’m so thankful we don’t have to live under the Old Testament law and kill our false prophets. The principle though, I think is an important one. If an Old Testament prophet who taught a different God was to be killed, then surely, we as New Testament Christians should at the least, avoid prophets who teach a different God.

Moses taught quite a bit about God in Deuteronomy. He used this book, in fact, as a final time to tell his people—the people he had shepherded for more than 40 years—more about who God was, and what He wanted from them. Here are a couple of the main points he makes about God:

There is, and always has been, only one God (and Lord):
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:”(Deut 6:4)
Also: “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deut 4:39)

That one God, has been God eternally:
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” (Deut 33:27, see also Genesis 21:33)

Compare that to what LDS prophets have taught from the time of Joseph Smith, that God was once a man (see King Follet Discourses), and also that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are different, and in essence three gods. (See Joseph Smith history in the Pearl of Great Price).

I’m pretty sure that there’s a rationalization for what the LDS prophets (all of them) have taught. The guys at FARMS at the least have surely come up with some explanation of why Moses didn’t really mean what he clearly said. In the end though, it seems to me that the Bible is pretty clear about who God is, and there’s no room left to argue those points.I'd be interested though to hear what a LDS person thought--seriously. If this particular point were serious enough in the Old Testament that a false prophet was killed, surely it's serious to us living in the New Testament.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Feedback on Making the Journey

I thought I'd share some feedback I got on Making the Journey from Mormonism to Biblical Christianity today. I love this feedback because it captures the heart of what I was attempting to do in writing it:

 "Read your book. It was the best book about Mormonism that I've read so far. Most of the questions I had, your book answered those questions. You did a wonderful job with writing it. You never ran down the church or the members. You just compared what the bible said to what Mormons believe. This is an excellent book for people leaving the church, questioning what Mormons believe or if Christians want to understand the LDS church better. I will be reading again and using as a reference books as I continue to read my bible."

Praise God that He used this book in this woman's life to help her in her transition!