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So the Mormons came to Visit…

June 20, 2008

I just want to make sure before I write all this that anyone who reads this knows that this is in no way meant to be a bragging session or a slam on the Mormons who came to visit me. It’s not my desire to boast of how I won an argument. Instead, I hope that this is edifying for those who want to see how I personally dialogued with a couple of mormon missionaries last night. I also wanted to stress the importance of us trying not to win an argument, but also win these people to Christ. So here it goes…

One of the things Norman Geisler encouraged us to do was to read texts like the Book of Mormon and the Koran in order to be able to better dialogue with people of those faiths. I figured that if I could find a free Bible online then I could find these other two texts for free as well. I ordered both for free last week from various websites, and I figured that there would be Mormon missionaries who would personally deliver the Book of Mormon. I was right, and yesterday I received a call from them and we set up an appointment for them to come last night and visit. What follows are some observations from what took place.

First, let me say that the two guys who came by were really nice, respectful, and personable. Both were former athletes and big sports fans, and were very down to earth. I certainly think these were two guys I could be friends with. I think that we as evangelicals sadly salivate at the chance to nail a Mormon in a debate. We must defend doctrine boldly, but we must also remember that this is an opportunity to show the love of Christ and to hopefully bring two more people to the place where they make a decision to truly accept Jesus Christ. I think that we can defend doctrine but still not be nasty about it in situations like this. I pray I did that last night – my first comment to them was actually telling them that I didn’t agree with them whatsoever, but I did love them with the love of Jesus and looked forward to having a friendly debate).

So here’s some random thoughts –

1. It’s important for we Christians to know what we believe in respect to Mormonism. We can’t rely on a few Mormon stereotypes as our defense – those will be shot down quickly. Instead, we must be better equipped than that. I was thankful that I had done a good bit of research before they came last night. There were a number of verses that they quoted out of context that I was glad that I had read up on before they came.

2. There were three places in particular where I posed questions that I did not get any real answer to:

A. The first was when I asked them if the Bible is inerrant and without any error and they said, “yes, absolutely.” I then turned to Mark when Jesus comments that there is no marriage in heaven and asked them how they can have a doctrine of eternal marriage if Jesus clearly teaches in the Bible that they claim is without error that there is no marriage in heaven. (Note: I had researched what their response would probably be – that Jesus was saying that no one will get married in heaven. If anyone reads that passage in its context Jesus is responding to a question about a woman who was married here on earth, so clearly that is not what he is saying. Also, the verse that was used to defend this was when Jesus says, “whatever your bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” This is again a clear example of the need to understand verses in context.)

B. The second was the issue that they believe that God is still giving revelation today to their prophets. I asked them if their prophets ever made a mistake and they said no, but there was a prophecy made by Joseph Smith that a huge temple would be built in Missouri within his generation. They said that this prophecy was not fulfilled because of “circumstances,” by which they mean that the Mormon church was persecuted at the time of the prophecy making it impossible to build the temple. I asked them how it can be that Joseph Smith could be a true prophet if

a. the criteria for a biblical prophet is that his prophecies always come true,

b. that true prophecy is the word of God (who does not lie),

c. that God is all-knowing and sovereign and therefore no “circumstances” catch Him off guard that makes Him have to modify His prophecy.

d. Therefore, if they believe that God is in sovereign, all-knowing, and doesn’t lie, then there cannot be true prophecy that God has to change just because His church was persecuted.

C. Sadly, I asked them when they decided to repent of their sin and recognize the need for a savior and reconciler towards God. Both testimonies were almost identical – they consisted of reading the book of Mormon and asking God if it was true and said that the “Holy Ghost” had confirmed it for them.

3. I think a lot of these guys really just need to lovingly be shown the contradictions in their doctrine. As I was pointing stuff out to them it seemed (at least to me) that they were somewhat surprised by many of these contradictions and had not considered them before.

4. Why are these guys so much more evangelical than we are? They have a faith that is built mostly on a book that is not historically reliable whatsoever. We Christians have a book that is the most historically reliable document in all of ancient history. We should be embarrassed that the Mormons are more eager to talk about a distorted Jesus than we are to talk about the Biblical Jesus.

There was much more that happened over the course of our 90 minute discussion, but these were just a few points that I was thinking over today.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Matthew C. Thomas permalink
    June 24, 2008 6:09 am

    do not forget to tell me more about this when we talk

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