Sunday, February 26, 2006


A commenter came up with a new “thought”: “But interestingly, I did learn that Mormonism came about in 1800 so it's only a mere 200 some years old. And interestingly Smith was originally a Methodist. I find the entire thing amusing in that Mormonism is really the stepchild of Protestantism.”

I would tend to agree. The closer Arminian move to Rome, the more heretical they become. Each step away from the Reformers is a step closer to Rome. Each step closer to Rome brings more and more errors.

Let’s take a look at the sotierological acronym: TULIP, comparing and contrasting all three systems: Roman, Reformed and Arminian. (the “Roman” view is quoted from James Akin)

NOTE: In all but the “T”, Arminius (Father of Arminianism – Methodists, many Baptists, Pentecostals) stands with Rome.

The “T” (total depravity)

Roman: The accepted Catholic teaching is that, because of the fall of Adam, man cannot do anything out of supernatural love unless God gives him special grace to do so.

Reformed: Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel.

Arminian: Man's freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature.

“U” (unconditional election)

Roman: “If anyone shall say that the grace of justification is attained by those only who are predestined unto life, but that all others, who are called, are called indeed, but do not receive grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil, let him be anathema."

Reformed: The doctrine of unconditional election means God does not base his choice (election) of certain individuals on anything other than his own good will…The ones God chooses will desire to come to him, will accept his offer of salvation, and will do so precisely because he has chosen them.

Arminian: It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. Thus the sinner's choice of Christ, not God's choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

“L” (limited atonement)

Roman: Christ intended to make salvation possible for all men, but he did not intend to make salvation actual for all men--otherwise we would have to say that Christ went to the cross intending that all men would end up in heaven.

Reformed: Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them.

Arminian: Christ's redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone.

“I” (irresistible grace)

Roman: Vatican II stated, "[S]ince Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate calling of man is in fact one and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery."

Reformed: By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

Arminian: He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit's call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man's contribution)

“P” (perseverance of the saints)

Rome: A Catholic must affirm that there are people who experience initial salvation and who do not go on to final salvation, but he is free to hold to a form of perseverance of the saints.

Reformed: All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved.

Arminian: Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, etc. All Arminians have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ -- that once a sinner is regenerated, he can never be lost

The Allegory of the Cave

In the “Allegory of the Cave”, we see an example of people seeing “through the glass dimly.”  Plato describes a group of people in a cave since their childhood, chained so that they cannot move their heads.  I could not picture this until I saw the illustration, but imagine a fire behind the people, casting shadows on the wall in front of them.  There is also a walkway and animals, people and things are carried along between the fire and the wall in front of the prisoners.

All these people know of the world are the shadows on the wall in front of them.  In fact, they may not even know that there is a world outside of those shadows.  All they can see – all they can know – are the flickering shadows on the wall in front of them.

Imagine that one of these prisoners is set free.  He stands up and turns around, seeing the fire for the first time.  This is the first time he sees the direct flame and he is blinded.  At first, before his eyes grow accustomed to the light, the objects that cast the shadows seem unreal – less real than the shadows.  He rebels – this is not what he is used to!

This is the way I felt when I started looking at “reformed theology”.  All of my life I’d been an Arminian, my life, my faith, and my walk were all in my own hands.  I knew what I had to do.  Then, over the course of a year I started studying the passages of both “sides” – I started learning what the Greek meant.

For the first time, I belonged to a God that I knew was in control.  It was an adjustment; my human-centered ego just didn’t like that man is not in control.

To take the Allegory of the Cave a step further, what if this man – in the darkness of the cave since childhood – is taken out into the sunlight.  BLINDNESS!  Even the fire that he first saw is be nothing compared to this blazing ball of fire in the sky – the light that warms the earth.

This is where I am today.  It seems that after a couple of years being comfortable in “reformed theology”, a new curve has been thrown at me. Cessationism.  My entire life has been spent “understanding” - just as the people in the cave understand the shadows – that God “talks”.

Here is the question:  Was the problem the people had because of their wrong understanding of the shadows, or was the heart of the problem their unwillingness to embrace the new knowledge?  I am not ready to embrace “full cessationism”, but I am ready to look at the “real thing” and decide, according to Scripture, what is real and what is not.

The next step in the “Allegory of the Cave” is to bring other people out of the cave.  They don’t like (in fact, they detest) being dragged out of their comfort zone.

I went into the library at the church I attend and asked if they had anything on both sides of the cessationist issue.  There is a certain look that oozes arrogance and I got it.  “We don’t believe in that.  We are a “Spirit-filled” church.

I guess you can’t be Spirit filled unless you have a miraculous gift.

I’ve tried dragging the people at my church out of their cave.  Not to change their minds, but at least to take a look at the issue  - to look at the real basis for their beliefs, not just to go on believing because that’s what they’ve always believed.

It doesn’t work.'s_allegory_of_the_cave

Friday, February 17, 2006

As man is, god once was...

Once upon a time there was a man that lived on a planet called “Kolob”, not so very far away. It came to pass that this man lived a good life and became a god; he came to another little planet called “earth” with his wife that he had married on his home planet.. In their exalted states, this god and his wife gave birth to “spirit children”; the first-born was Jesus – later would come Lucifer, along with many other "spirit children".

The “father-god” was concerned about the future salvation of humans on this new planet and he had a planned. One of his sons (Jesus) agreed with the plan. The other son (Lucifer) did not agree and rebelled, convincing a large number of (pre-human) spirit-children in heaven to side with him. As punishment, the father-god cast Lucifer out of heaven and made Lucifer’s followers into demons, who could never, ever be born as humans(1). Another large number (although not the remaining) of spirit-children sided with Jesus and would be blest to be born as Caucasians. The remaining spirit-children (who had not taken sides) would be born in the line of Cain, as non-Caucasians (black people).

These spirit children remained in heaven, to be born as humans – their race and location depend on the choices that they made in heaven in this great spiritual battle.

Some of these people moved to a place far across the ocean. A group of people from a place called Babel settled in what we now know as Central America(2). Another group, called “Jews” also came to this new place(3). A man named Nephi led these Jews. They divided into two groups, the Nephites and the Lamanites who fought each other. The Nephites were defeated in 428 A.D. The Lamanites continued and are now known as the American Indians.

The father-god’s plan of salvation included the spirit-child, Jesus. In order for the father-god’s plan to work, Jesus needed a body. So the father-god used a girl named Mary, in a process that is as natural as our own birth(4), to give birth to Jesus.

Jesus was born, got married (to three women: Mary, Martha and Mary Magdelene) and had children. At the end of his life, Jesus began to atone for the sin of man (but not personal sins) in a garden(5). After he began the work in the garden, he finished his work on a cross. After Jesus died on the cross, he arose from the dead after three days. During the time between his death and resurrection, Jesus’ spirit was in the spirit world, where the souls of the dead wait for their own resurrection, to be reunited with their bodies. There, he ministered to the “righteous spirits, training them to teach other (sinful or ignorant) spirits – extending his ministry on earth into the spirit world.

After Jesus was resurrected, he went to minister to the Nephites in America. He appeared before a congregation in their temple, and allowed them to feel the wounds in his hands and feet, staying with them for several days, teaching and healing.

For 1800 years, this father-god was quiet. Then(6) the father-god(7) appeared to a boy(8) and revealed to him that religion, as he knew it, was wrong – all of it. Teachers, churches, creeds and beliefs were all abominations. The angel told the boy that he had been chosen to translate a very special book that was written on tablets of gold. Four years9 later an angel(10) appeared and told the boy to begin the work of translation. As the boy translated, a prophet(11) appeared to him and ordained him to restore the “true church”

The story on these tablets was amazing. The story (as related by this boy) was the account of ancient people who came to the Americas, people from Babel and Jews who were fleeing persecution in Jerusalem. According to the boy (now a man), his translation of this book is more doctrinally correct than the Bible(12). He even boasted that he did more than Jesus to keep his church together(13)!

The boy (now a man) published this book(14) and started the one “true” religion – a religion that was so outside of orthodox Christianity that the church was driven from town to town. As the religion grew, so did its doctrine.

Just like the “father-god”, all humans have the potential for becoming god, with their own planets (like earth). One of the father-god’s prophets(15) said, “As god once was, man is. As God is, man may become." When this prophet said, “man…”, he meant exactly that. Women cannot be saved unless they are married to a “priest(16)” in this new religion.
Another teaching of this new religion was that the spirit-children in heaven could only be exalted (with the possibility of becoming a god themselves) if they were born into human bodies and that a man’s glory in heaven depended on the number of babies he had fathered. This meant that adherents of this religion must have as many babies as possible. In order to do this, polygamy was essential. This effectively reduced women to mere commodities. One follower of this religion said, "I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow17."

People, this is Mormonism. While the teaching may have “evolved”, this is what Mormon prophets teach and have taught.

For the Mormons that “don’t believe” all this – why are they still Mormons, if they don’t believe the foundational teaching?

And if Joseph Smith was not right, how is he a prophet of truth?

Bullet points:
  • Mormon doctrine denies the eternal nature of God (the father-god was a created man who became a god)

  • Mormon doctrine denies the Trinity )"That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man." (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35.)

  • Mormon doctrine denies the virgin birth (the father-god had sex with Mary to conceive Jesus)

  • Mormon doctrine teaches that Christ was in a plural marriage

  • Mormon doctrine teaches that Mormonism is the only true way to heaven (“If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation [the context is the full gospel including exaltation to Godhood] outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670.)

  • Mormon doctrine teaches that all men have the potential to become gods

  • And it follows that Mormon doctrine denies monotheism (as there are as many gods as there are men who have become gods)

  • Mormon doctrine states that there is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188.)

  1. In one version, there were three different choices that these spirit-children could take. They could follow Lucifer (these would become demons), they could follow Jesus (these would become Caucasians) or they could choose to make no choice (these would become non-Caucasian races).

  2. These were the Jaredites, who settled in central America but perished because of their own immorality

  3. The Book of Mormon is the account of the Nephite leader, Mormon, concerning their culture, civilization, and appearance of Jesus to the Americas.

  4. In short, the father-god had physical sex with Mary

  5. The Garden of Gethsemane

  6. September 21, 1823

  7. Or maybe an angel, or three angels, depending on what version you’re reading

  8. The boy was Joseph Smith

  9. September 22, 1827

  10. The angel Moroni

  11. The prophet that allegedly appeared to Joseph Smith as John the Baptist

  12. History of the Church, Vol. 4, page 461

  13. History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-409

  14. The Book of Mormon

  15. President Lorenzo Snow

  16. All Mormon men are ordained as members of the "priesthood," with the absolute authority to preach the gospel, bestow blessings, prophecy, perform healings and baptisms, and generally speak for God.

  17. Heber C. Kimball