Tag Archives: God

#2 Post of 2013 – If God Cannot Change, Then Why Should We Pray?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

The Bible teaches, and theology argues, that God cannot change. This is called divine immutability. But if God cannot change, then why do we pray to him? After all, when we pray, aren’t we trying to change God’s mind?

Norm Geisler answers this question in his Systematic Theology, Volume Two: God, Creation. Listen to what he says:

God is omniscient . . . , and an all-knowing Being cannot change His mind. If He does, He is not really all-knowing. Therefore, God cannot change His mind in answer to prayer.

When we pray (or have prayed), God not only knew what we were going to pray, but He ordained our prayer as a means of accomplishing His purpose. Prayer is not a means by which we change God; it is a means by which God changes us.

Prayer is not a means of our overcoming God’s reluctance; it is a way for God to take hold of our willingness. Prayer is not a means of getting our will done in heaven, but a means of God getting His will done on earth.

If you think about it for a minute, we don’t want to change God’s mind anyway. After all, who knows what is best? Us or God? Geisler reminds us of why we should rejoice in the fact that God is immutable:

Since God is unchangeable, we can trust His Word: “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Num. 23:19).

Also, we can trust God’s promises completely: “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end” (Ps. 102:25–27).

Further, we can be sure of our salvation, because “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). What is more, God’s immutability provides an anchor for our souls: “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged” (Heb. 6:17–18).

Finally, we have a stable foundation for service. Paul wrote, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

God is unchanging and we can all give praise for that. I don’t know about you, but I would have a hard time worshiping a God whose mind I could change.

Were the Doctrines of the Trinity and the Dual Nature of Christ invented in the 4th and 5th Centuries?

Post Author: Darrell

(This post originally appeared on Darrell’s Thoughts and Reflections and is being reposted here for the benefit of TQA readers.)

One of the charges I often hear leveled against Christianity today is that both the Doctrines of the Trinity and the Dual Nature of Christ were “invented” by the Church in the fourth and fifth centuries, during the Ecumenical Councils.  Proponents of these charges claim that the Church prior to the Ecumenical Councils believed neither in the Trinity, nor in the Dual Nature of Christ.  I freely admit that the language by which the Church codified these doctrines was fortified in the Ecumenical Councils.  However, I believe those who charge that the Church invented the doctrines themselves in the Councils and that the Church prior to the Councils did not hold to them are gravely mistaken.

One of the earliest Church Fathers to articulate a basic understanding of the Trinity and the Dual Nature of Christ is Saint Ignatius.  Saint Ignatius was the third Bishop of Antioch, serving from 70 AD to 107 AD.  He was a disciple of the Apostle John, and Church Tradition teaches that he was the child Christ held in His arms when He said, in Matthew 18:3, “. . . unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Shortly after the turn of the second century, Saint Ignatius wrote several Epistles while in captivity on the road traveling to his martyrdom.  Seven of these epistles have survived to our day.  In the seventh chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians, he says:

But our Physician is the only true God, the Father and Begetter of the only-begotten Son.  We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For “the Word was made flesh.”  Being incorporeal, He was in a body; being impassible, He was in a passible body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.

There are several aspects of this passage which demonstrate that Saint Ignatius held beliefs consistent with the Doctrines of the Trinity and the Dual Nature of Christ.  First, he refers to two separate Persons, God the Father and Jesus Christ, yet he calls both of them God.  This is completely consistent with Nicene Theology, which teaches that both the Father and the Son are God by nature/essence.  The Nicene Creed calls Christ “true God of true God”, saying He is “of one essence with the Father” as God.  Had Ignatius been an Arian or had he held to a non-Trinitarian Doctrine that teaches Christ to be something less than or other than God, He would not have referred to Him as God.

Second, Ignatius refers to Jesus Christ as begotten “before time began”.  This is almost word for word identical to the Nicene Creed, which says, “I believe in. . . one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. . .”  Some today claim that the Early Church believed Christ’s being ”begotten” of the Father was in relation to His birth from Mary (specifically, this is an LDS claim).  However, Ignatius’ comment here demonstrates that the Early Church’s understanding of Christ’s nature as “only-begotten” was a relationship with the Father that was “before time began” and has nothing to do with His earthly incarnation.  It is interesting to note that the Greek word translated as “only-begotten” both here and in the New Testament is ”monogenes”.  Monogenes literally means “one of a kind,” and to the Church Fathers it connoted Christ being of the same nature as the Father. . . something that was entirely unique to Him.

In addition to calling Christ God and claiming Him to be the “only-begotten” of the Father “before time began”, Ignatius tells us that “afterwards” Christ “became man”.  Ignatius then goes on to point out some aspects that Christ’s becoming man added to His nature.  He says that although Christ was incorporeal, He was in a body; although He was impassible, He was in a passible body; although He was immortal, He was in a mortal body;  although He was life, He became subject to corruption.  These differing aspects of Christ’s nature, aspects that are polar opposites to one another, speak to Christ having two natures, one as God and one as man, and demonstrate that Saint Ignatius understood Christ in this manner.  As God, Christ was incorporeal, impassible, immortal, and life itself.   However, as man He was corporeal, passible, mortal, and subject to corruption.

Last, Ignatius explains that Christ took on our nature in order to free our souls from death and corruption, heal us, and restore us to health.  This speaks to the true reason for the Doctrines of the Trinity and Dual Nature of Christ.  Rather than being doctrines for doctrine’s sake, created as purely intellectual pieces of information to be discussed by dry theologians over coffee and tea, they are doctrines directly tied to our understanding of how Christ redeemed us.  He was the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, true God of true God.  Yet He chose to take upon Himself our nature, becoming man for our sakes, so that He could unite our nature to the Divine Nature in His Person, giving us a rebirth in Him.  Had He not been God and had He not taken on our nature, He would have been unable to redeem us.  The Church understood this from the earliest times, and as the writings of Saint Ignatius show us, it is not an understanding created in the fourth and fifth centuries.  It is Apostolic Doctrine that has been handed down to us and is a product of the Holy Spirit guiding the Church.

Is There More to Life than Technology?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

I own an iPhone 5. My family owns an iPad, two iPhone 4s, and multiple iPods. Oh, and we bought a Google Nexus 7 tablet for Christmas. We also have DirecTV with whole home DVR capability. This list could go on for a while – believe me.

I love technology, and, in fact, I work in the semiconductor industry. Semiconductor technology, in particular, has revolutionized our modern lifestyle, enabling all that is electronic in the world.

But what is the purpose of it all? Sometimes we forget that all of these gadgets are means to an end. The gadgets are not ends in themselves. The technology that produces these gadgets is also not ultimately an end in itself. The science that produces the technology that produces the gadgets is also not an end in itself.

With all of the gadgets surrounding us today, we sometimes forget what the purpose of all of it is. Our ancient ancestors, however, saw things a lot more clearly than we do today. They weren’t nearly as distracted as we are.

Thomas Aquinas, who lived in the thirteenth century, considered the answers that people of his day gave to the question: “What brings ultimate happiness to a person’s life?” Here are the answers:

  1. wealth
  2. honor
  3. fame
  4. power
  5. bodily health
  6. pleasure
  7. wisdom and virtue (goods of the soul)
  8. God

Notice the order. After studying each of these 8 answers, Aquinas listed them in order of least important to most important. Where are you spending your time?

Are you obsessed with building wealth? Aquinas would say that you are way off the mark – not even close to what brings ultimate happiness.

What about bodily health? We are clearly a culture obsessed with health. We want to postpone death as long as possible. But bodily health is not the ultimate good.

Of the earthly goods, wisdom and virtue are the highest, and the world would certainly be a profoundly better place if everyone used their technology to pursue them, but Aquinas argued that even wisdom and virtue miss the mark.

The only thing that our soul yearns for more than anything else is to know and experience the Perfect Good. According to Aquinas, the Perfect Good of man, the thing that will give him ultimate happiness, cannot be something which was created:

It is impossible for any created good to constitute man’s happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which lulls the appetite altogether; else it would not be the last end, if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object . . . of man’s appetite is the universal good. . . . Hence it is evident that naught can lull man’s will, save the universal good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone.

Consider what Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:33)

Speaking to God, St. Augustine said “Thou has made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.”

C. S. Lewis advised, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”

Put your technology in its place. You can certainly use it to gain a modicum of wealth, honor and perhaps fame. Use it to gain power over your life. Use it to keep yourself healthy and provide recreation. Use it to gain wisdom and virtue.

But ultimately, all of that is less than nothing, a positive impediment, if you aren’t pursuing God.

Do The Creeds Matter?

Post Author:  Darrell

I recently spent some time on a Christian Facebook page that ministers to Mormons.  It is mostly made up of ex-Mormon Christians who feel very strongly about their faith and want to reach out to Mormons.  They write articles explaining the differences between Traditional Christianity and Mormonism and the problems with Mormon Theology and History in general.

A few days ago I had a cordial conversation with a Mormon gentleman regarding the Nicene Creed.  We were discussing the development of the creed, what its terms mean, and what the ante-Nicene Fathers believed in regards to the nature of God.  For those who are not familiar with Mormonism, the Nicene Creed is a particular point of contention for them as its teachings are in stark contrast to Mormonism.

While we were in the midst of the conversation an administrator on the website stepped in and deleted nearly our entire conversation.  When I asked why she did this, she proceeded to tell me that the Nicene Creed doesn’t matter and that the creeds are irrelevant to the subject of defining God, and she chastised me for being “overly intellectual.”

This has led me to do some pondering over the last few days.  What do Evangelical Christians believe when it comes to the Nicene Creed?  Does it matter?  Are any of the creeds relevant today?  Are they authoritative or are they simply their writer’s opinions?

Share your thoughts with me on this poll.  Once I’ve had a chance to digest the various opinions, I’ll likely write a blog post sharing some of my thoughts.

Do Mormons Worship the God of the Bible? Part 6

Post Author: Darrell

The formal name of the Mormon Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Many people believe that because the name of the church includes the words Jesus Christ, Mormons worship the Christ of the Bible. However, a closer analysis reveals several startling differences between the Jesus of Mormonism and the Jesus of the Bible. While many claim that these differences are simply peripheral in nature, in reality, they are central aspects in defining the nature of the being that is worshiped. As a consequence, when the Jesus Christ of Mormonism is compared to the Christ of the Bible, it becomes obvious that they are most certainly not the same being.

The Mormon Church teaches that all mankind existed as spirit sons and daughters of God in a pre-mortal world. Humans were spirit born into this world of God the Father and a Heavenly Mother. While there are varying opinions among LDS theologians as to exactly how this spirit birth took place, Mormons are united in the belief that all humans lived there as spirit brothers and sisters and that the firstborn among them was Jesus Christ. Former Mormon leader LeGrand Richards says, “Christ was not only the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, but . . . he was the Firstborn in the spirit.” In 1916, the LDS First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles said, “Among the spirit children of Elohim the firstborn was and is . . . Jesus Christ to whom all others are juniors.” Former Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie says Christ “is the Firstborn of the Father.”

As a result of this common spirit birth, in Mormonism, Jesus Christ is viewed as literally being the elder spirit brother of all mankind. However, His station as firstborn carries some significance. In The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, the LDS Church teaches that Jesus “was the birthright son, and he retained that birthright by strict obedience. Through the aeons and ages of premortality, he advanced and progressed until, as Abraham described [in the Mormon Scripture The Pearl of Great Price], he stood as one ‘like unto God’.”

Being spirit born of heavenly parents and our elder spirit brother, the Mormon Jesus is as ontologically separate from God the Father as all other humans. Mormons believe Him to be united with the Father in purpose; nevertheless, they do not believe that the Father and the Son are one being. In addition, given the fact that Jesus is portrayed as having advanced to become like unto God, He has not always existed as God. Instead, He is a separate being who earned the right to be considered a God through obedience.

In the next post, we will look at the biblical problems presented by the Jesus of Mormonism and wrap up this series of posts.  Stick around… only one more to go.

Do Mormons Worship the God of the Bible? Part 5

Post Author:  Darrell

From a biblical perspective, there are several issues with the Mormon view of God the Father as described in the previous post. First, contrary to Mormon teachings, the Bible says very clearly that God is not, nor has He ever been, a man. Num. 23:19 says, “God is not man [emphasis mine], that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.” First Sam. 15:29 says, “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man [emphasis mine], that he should have regret.”

In addition, the Bible repeatedly says that there are no Gods other than God the Father. As a result, the Mormon teachings that God the Father has a father who was God prior to Him and that man can progress to become a God himself contradict the Bible. Isa. 43:10 says, “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” Isa. 44:6 says, “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.’” The Lord continues this point in verse 8 of the same chapter where He further declares, “Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

Second, the Mormon understanding of the word God as an honorific title is completely incompatible with biblical teachings. As the previously cited verses demonstrate, scripture is very emphatic that there are no other Gods besides God the Father, and, as a consequence, He has always been God. As a result, it is impossible for Him to have earned the title God, because God is something that He has always been; it is something He simply is.

Third, contrary to Mormon teachings, the Bible says that God and man are separate and distinct in nature and, as a result, are not the same species. Since God has always existed as God, He is uncreated and self-existent in nature. In contrast, humans are contingent in being, i.e., they are dependent upon God for their very existence. God is the only being in existence that is not contingent upon anything else for his existence. In Exod. 3:14, God gives us a small glimpse into this fact about His nature: “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you”.'” Speaking of this verse, Bible Commentator James E. Smith says, “The statement ‘I am who I am’ can be rendered a number of different ways in English. The statement basically emphasizes the timelessness of God. He is the self-existing one, the Eternal, the one without beginning or end.” In addition, The Apologetics Study Bible says, “Exod. 3:14 actually teaches a distinction between God and humans. God alone is the eternal, self-existing one. Humans are created beings.” Consequently, the Mormon idea that God and man, the uncreated and the created, the self-existent and the contingent, are the same species is completely illogical and foreign to the Bible.

In the next post, I will look at the LDS teachings on the nature of Christ as compared to the Bible.

Do Mormons Worship the God of the Bible? Part 4

Post Author: Darrell

Historically there have been a variety of Mormon views regarding the nature of God the Father. The purpose of this post is not to address every single strain of LDS thought that exists in this area, nor do I contend that all Mormons hold the beliefs to which I will speak. Instead, I will address some of the traditional, longstanding LDS beliefs regarding the nature of the Father. These beliefs are spoken to in canonized LDS scripture, transcend Mormon thought, and affect LDS beliefs in other areas.

As discussed in the previous posts, Joseph Smith claimed that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in the spring of 1820, and, as a result, the members of the LDS Church believe God the Father and Jesus Christ to be separate and distinct beings embodied in flesh and bone. However, Mormon teachings did not stop developing at this point. On April 6, 1844, Smith delivered one of his last public speeches, known today as The King Follett Discourse. During this discourse, he shared one of Mormonism’s most controversial doctrines, namely, that God Himself is an exalted man: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret.”

The current version of the LDS Temple Endowment Ceremony furthers this doctrine by teaching that God the Father gained his knowledge through a process similar to the one through which Adam, Eve, and the rest of mankind progress. In a re-creation of a scene in the Garden of Eden, the ceremony shows Satan, speaking to Eve, saying, “I want you to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, that your eyes may be opened, for that is the way Father gained his knowledge[emphasis mine].” Former Brigham Young University Professor of Philosophy, David Paulsen, spoke to this doctrine in his 1975 Doctoral Thesis titled Comparative Coherency of Mormon (Finitistic) and Classical (Absolutistic) Theism: “At some distant point in an infinite past, He earned the right to be ‘God’ through a process which men, as his children, are now repeating.”

The Mormon doctrine that God was once a man has led many LDS to the position that God is merely a title a being holds. Again, Paulsen addressed this fact in his Thesis, saying, “The being who is God has not always been God – i.e., he has not always qualified for the honorific title ‘God’ – a distinction he earned through a process of growth and development toward Godliness.” Naturally, the fact that God the Father has not always been God leads to some logical questions. Who was God before God the Father? From where did God the Father come? Smith provided an answer to these questions by teaching that God the Father had a father, much the same as all human beings: “Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son?”

Mormonism furthers this by teaching that God and man are the same species. Past Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said, “Man and God are of the same race.” In How Wide the Divide, Mormon Scholar David Robinson states that Mormons “believe that God and humans are the same species of being and that all men and women were his spiritual offspring in a premortal existence.” In addition, The LDS Church teaches that man, through a process known as Eternal Progression, can progress to become a God. Smith said, “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, − namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one, − from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation.”

This teaching is also referenced in The Doctrine and Covenants where it says, “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.”

In the next post, I will cite several areas where these LDS beliefs violate the teachings of the Bible.  Hang around!

Do Mormons Worship the God of the Bible? Part 3

Post Author: Darrell

As discussed in the last post, the Mormon Church teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bone. Unfortunately for Mormons, there are biblical problems with this teaching. John 4:24 says, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” This verse has long been held as a declaration regarding God’s nature as spirit. The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say regarding this verse: “God is Spirit is a better translation than the KJV‘s ‘God is a Spirit.’. . . . This is a declaration of His invisible nature. He is not confined to one location.” In addition, Col. 1:15 teaches that Christ “is the image of the invisible [emphasis mine] God,” and 1 Tim. 1:17 says, “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible [emphasis mine], the only God.”

The understanding that God is invisible and spirit lines up perfectly in a metaphysical sense with the biblical declaration that God is omnipresent. For, if God were embodied in flesh and bone, He would be metaphysically incapable of being in more than one place at a time. However, scripture testifies repeatedly of the fact that God is everywhere present. Ps. 139:7-8 makes it very clear that no matter where we go, God is always there: “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” In addition, 1 Kings 8:27 testifies that there is nothing that can contain God, for He is everywhere: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” Furthermore, in Jer. 23:23-24, God Himself testifies of His omnipresent nature, making it one of the clearest passages of scripture to testify of God being everywhere: “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.”

These passages leave Mormons in a quandary, for the nature of their God is wholly incompatible with the above descriptions. In contrast, the Mormon God is not simply spirit, rather he is a spirit that is contained in and embodied in flesh. As a result, the Mormon God is limited, e.g., He is limited by his body to a here rather than a there. In addition, the very nature of having a body means that He is contained by that body and cannot fill heaven and earth. Instead, He can fill only His flesh and bone.

It appears that James E.  Talmage recognized these problems and simply chose to admit that the God of Mormonism cannot be everywhere. He said, “It has been said, therefore, that God is everywhere present; but this does not mean that the actual person of any one member of the Godhead can be physically present in more than one place at a time. . . . His person cannot be in more than one place at any one time. Unfortunately for Talmage and all other Mormons, the writers of the books of the Bible, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have clearly testified to the contrary. As a result, the nature of the Mormon God does not simply contradict a late developed teaching of an apostate Christianity; rather it contradicts the Bible itself.

Do Mormons Worship the God of the Bible? Part 2

Post Author: Darrell

The nature of the Mormon Godhead bears some similarity to the Arian heresy of the early Christian church. Arius taught that God the Father and Jesus Christ are two separate beings distinct in nature, with Christ being a subordinate God. In similar respects, Mormonism teaches that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are literally three separate beings with three distinct natures. James E. Talmage explained the nature of the Mormon Godhead in A Study of the Articles of Faith when he said, “Three personages composing the great presiding council of the universe have revealed themselves to man: (1) God the Eternal Father; (2) His Son, Jesus Christ; and (3) the Holy Ghost.  That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man.”

The belief that the three persons of the Godhead have separate and distinct natures originated with Joseph Smith’s First Vision claim. According to his writings in The Pearl of Great Price, Smith was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ in the spring of 1820 in answer to a prayer regarding which church to join. Smith said:

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.  One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!

Mormons believe that these two beings were God the Father and Jesus Christ. As a result, they believe that Christ and the Father are separate beings and that the traditional Christian teaching on the nature of God, i.e., one God in nature who eternally exists in three persons, is a false, late development of Christianity that is foreign to the Bible.

Further derived from the First Vision is the belief that God the Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone just as man. In 2007, former Prophet of the LDS Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, said, “And so in 1820, in that incomparable vision, the Father and the Son appeared to the boy Joseph. They spoke to him with words that were audible, and he spoke to Them. . . .  They were beings tabernacled in flesh. And out of that experience has come our unique and true understanding of the nature of Deity.” This belief is detailed out in the Mormon scripture titled The Doctrine and Covenants, where it says, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also.” Talmage said, “Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body, infinitely pure and perfect and attended by transcendent glory, nevertheless a body of flesh and bones.”

The belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate beings creates numerous problems for the LDS claim to be following the God of the Bible, for it is in utter conflict with the Bible on numerous counts. Deut. 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This verse is known as the Shema and is the basic confession of the Jewish faith. With this statement, Israel acknowledged the unity of God and placed their belief in stark contrast with that of their polytheistic Near East neighbors. There is little doubt that the Jewish belief in the unity and oneness of God, which the Shema clearly communicates, is utterly incompatible with the tri-theistic nature of the Mormon Godhead.

There are a multitude of other scriptures that can be cited to demonstrate that the Mormon idea of three separate Gods existing in the Godhead is completely foreign to the nature of God as taught in the Bible; however, space will only permit me to mention a few. Isa. 44:8 says, “Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” Deut. 4:35 says, “To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.” As if stating this once was not strong enough, in Mark 12, a Scribe cited Deut. 4:35 when commenting on one of Christ’s answers to the Pharisees where Jesus referenced Deut. 6:4. Jesus’ citation of the Shema as part of the greatest commandment underscores its importance and is further declaration of God’s unity. In addition, the Scribe’s acknowledgement that Christ’s answer was good, and his use of Deut. 4:35 to support this fact further emphasizes the biblical declaration of the unity of God, a fact that is completely devastating to the Mormon belief in a tri-theistic Godhead.

In the next post, we will look at the problems created by the LDS decleration that God the Father has a body of flesh and bone.  Stay tuned.

Do Mormons Worship the God of the Bible? Part 1

Post Author: Darrell

In its short 180 year life, the Mormon Church has had a curious relationship with traditional Christianity. A quick look through Mormon history will demonstrate that the LDS Church has a long history of degrading Christian teachings. As a result, it is somewhat odd to find modern day LDS leaders referring to their church as a Christian denomination, for their desire to be denominated among groups they believe to be in utter error seems illogical.

Mormonism is founded upon the belief that it is not simply a Christian denomination, but is, rather, the restoration of true Christianity.  This belief is based upon the claim by the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and called him as a prophet. Smith relates that in the course of their visit, Christ and the Father had some rather terse words regarding traditional Christianity:

I was answered that I must join none of [the Christian churches], for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof” [emphasis mine].

The belief that God holds the Christian creeds to be an abomination and all the Christian professors to be corrupt has led to some rather interesting statements by Mormon leaders. On July 26, 1857, second Prophet and President of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young, said that the Christian world is “like the captain and crew of a vessel on the ocean without a compass, and tossed to and fro whithersoever the wind listed to blow them. When the light came to [him], [he] saw that all the so−called Christian world was groveling in darkness.” On September 13, later the same year, Young said, “Ask them where heaven is? − where they are going to when they die? − where Paradise is? − and there is not a priest in the world that can answer your questions. Ask them what kind of a being our Heavenly Father is, and they cannot tell you so much as Balaam’s ass told him. They are more ignorant than children.” On September 16, 1860, he said, “The Christian world, so called, are heathens as to their knowledge of the salvation of God.”

Third Prophet of the LDS Church, John Taylor, also had some rather crude remarks regarding traditional Christianity. On January 17, 1858, he called Christianity “a perfect pack of nonsense.” On November 1, later the same year, he said, “Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.” In addition, he shared what is perhaps his most stinging comment on May 6, 1870, when he said, “What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing; yet these very men assume the right and power to tell others what they shall and what they shall not believe in. Why, so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest [sic] fools; they know neither God nor the things of God.”

While the LDS Church appears to have toned down its rhetoric in recent years, the basic belief that it is the one and only true church on earth and that traditional Christianity was and is apostate remains unchanged. LDS Apostle James E. Talmage said in his 1965 book A Study of the Articles of Faith, that after the ministry of Jesus Christ “the Church was literally driven from the earth,” and that it remained in this state until the “restoration was effected by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith.” In a 1972 Ensign article, LDS Apostle LeGrand Richards said, “At the time that Joseph Smith had his marvelous vision, there wasn’t a church in the world worshiping the God who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and the fountains of waters, and created man in his own image.”

As these comments demonstrate, the LDS Church continues to hold the longstanding belief that traditional Christianity is in utter error and that the Mormon Church is the only true church on the earth today. In addition, the comments demonstrate that even the leaders of the LDS Church realize the utter gulf that exists between the teachings of traditional Christianity and the teachings of the LDS Church. Because of these stark differences, traditional Christian teachings and LDS teachings cannot both be true, for if Mormons are correct about the nature of God, then Christians are in complete error. However, if Christians are correct about the nature of God, Mormons are in complete error. Consequently, the question left for discussion is exactly which teachings are correct. Are the teachings of the LDS Church correct? Are they in alignment with the Bible? I will explore these questions in the next few posts by highlighting three specific areas where the God of Mormonism differs from the God of the Bible.  Stick around.