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Written by: C. W. Booth

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Sin of Balaam as Observed in Mormon Soliciting

Yesterday, at noon, my wife and I went for a walk around our neighborhood. A pair of teenage Mormon boys, missionaries, were leaving a house where no one answered the door. The more senior of the two called out to us, "May we ask you a question? Are you interested in spiritual matters?" I replied, "Yes, we are." "Have you considered the truths of the Book of Mormon?"

Smiling broadly, I answered, "Actually, I have read it." "Really? What did you think?" "Oh, I don’t want to be offensive, but I found it to be an interesting story, a novel story, about the early Americas, but it was not a true story."

Undeterred for the moment, the senior of the two pressed the point, "But it is a perfect story of Jesus, how can it not be true?" I recalled for them that the Book of Mormon’s own introduction refers to itself as another testimony of Jesus, as in one witness being the Bible and this alleging to be be another witness similar to the Bible. Since a testimony or witness is just one who proclaims something, in this case, the good news of the gospel, even the Book of Mormon was claiming it was another gospel. I reminded them that the Bible warns there is only one gospel, one good news, and that any other gospel is a false gospel.

From there I reminded them that they and us believe in different Gods. At first they denied this. I asked them if Jesus is God. They instantly replied, "No, Jesus is not God." I asked them to quote John 1:1. They declined to do so, the junior one feigning ignorance of the passage. I asked the junior one if that was a Bible in his hands. He said it was, and I asked him to read John 1:1. He did, but he literally could not bring himself to read the phrase "and the Word was God," skipping right over it.

"You see, my wife and I believe that the Bible is true, and we believe what it says, and you do not." "Oh, but we do." "No, you do not, because you just denied that Jesus is God, and so you do not believe what the Bible says." They launched into an apologetic about the Bible not being accurately translated. I asked the junior, "Oh, do you know Greek?" A negative. To the senior, "Do you know Greek?" Another negative. To both, "Did Joseph Smith know Greek?" Another negative. I replied, "Even the little Greek I have studied indicates John 1:1 is properly translated, so how can you say to me, without knowing Greek yourself, that this passage is not translated properly?"

Then I asked them if they were born again. They both said no. I reminded them there is no ability to see the kingdom of God or enter the kingdom of God without being born again. We talked a little about their desire to become gods of their own worlds in eternity, whereas we desired to serve and worship at God’s feet for eternity.

Finally, the senior one said, "Can you at least pray this: ‘God, please show me whether the Book of Mormon is a true book’?" I had to pause and think this through. What a wonderful, clever, and hideous way to cause a Christian to sin against God. It is exactly the same tempting argument used by Satan with Eve, and it is the same defiling sin of Balaam.

God has already given us His Word that denies the majority of Mormon doctrine. Jesus is God. God the Father never was a man. Satan is not the brother of Jesus. Good works do not advance one to become gods of one’s own worlds.

Satan told Eve, "Go ahead and eat from the tree of knowledge…God did not tell you the truth about life and death, and He will not mind if you test Him in this." Wrong!

Balaam continually prayed for things that God had already told Him were improper to have, to do, or to ask for. He prayed, "God, I know you said ‘No’ to this, but please…" God nearly killed Balaam on the spot the last time he did that.

God has told us the truth already in His Word. There is only one God, YHWH, and He said that He does not even know about the existence of any other true gods (Isaiah 44:6-8). If we pray and ask God to show us whether something is true that He already said was false, then we deny God’s Word, we deny the Bible’s authority to render the truth, and we deny our faith. Worse, we are challenging God to His very face that maybe He had not told us the truth before!

What a hideously clever tool of deception is that little question. I replied, "No, I do not need to pray for that, because God has already plainly revealed that the Book of Mormon is false. But thank you so much for having this conversation with us." We parted cordially, but I noticed no lack of haste at their departure. It has been my prayer that God will use their denial of Jesus, the truth of John 1:1, and other Scripture, to bring them to Himself and to salvation.




Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is there a Gospel without the Proclamation?

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)


Saving faith comes from hearing the good news of Christ, literally. Hearing the gospel of what Christ did 2000 years ago and then believing while the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, and then repenting of those sins so as to allow the Holy Spirit to regenerate us, brings salvation to anyone who will believe.

Salvation is so very odd. How often I have wondered at the fact that salvation is based on such an intangible thing as faith. You cannot hold it, buy it, or do it. You believe it.

The gospel is the story/good news that Christ did all the work of salvation for us. We did, and do, nothing. We just believe. And it is not like we have to whip up a belief in some kind of mythology, for the gospel is true. Christ lived in human history, He did not sin, He was executed as a sacrifice for our sins, and He really rose from the dead and left His tomb. He now reigns in Heaven and is waiting to come back to this planet in person, once again.

Christ is a real person, the real God. The demons know this and tremble at that fact. But knowing that Jesus is a real person does not give anyone a relationship with Him. To get to have a relationship with Jesus requires that one hear and believe the gospel message about Him.

On another Christian’s blog, a lively discussion is being conducted about whether people can be saved without ever hearing the gospel (http://mc-shann.xanga.com/701107032/item//?nextdate=last&leftcmt=11 ). My answer is: one must know and believe the content of the gospel, that our Lord, Jesus, died as a sacrifice for our sins and that He is the Savior, otherwise, one cannot be saved. Salvation is a relationship with Christ, in which He restores within you a new and living spirit to replace your old and dead spirit. That regeneration of your spirit does not occur until you have faith such that you can be born again. That requires hearing and believing the gospel message so as to enter a relationship with the One whom the gospel is about.

I stated it this way at the other blog:

Jesus' "work" of salvation was done 2000 years ago.  Now, the Holy Spirit calls, convicts, and regenerates (makes born again) all who believe the message.  That there is a real person/God behind the message does not alter the fact that one must hear the message to be saved.  Even if you had never heard of Jesus before, and if He were to appear to you in your room, you would not believe in Him as Savior and Messiah until He told you the gospel and then said to you, "repent."

"for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’ " (Romans 10:13-15)

Oh yes, salvation requires the preaching, hearing, and believing of the gospel of Jesus Christ.



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Page Originally Posted: October 29, 2009
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