It is easy to witness to a Mormon when he comes knocking at your door. You can show him the folly of his religion and extend the invitation to the true gospel in just a few simple steps. Here's how:
1. Ask the Mormon, "Where is your god?"
The Mormons believe that their god, whom they call Heavenly Father, has a body. He is not a Spirit and not omnipresent. Therefore the Mormon god is limited to a single locale.
Your Mormon friend will likely answer the question in one of two ways. I have found that they typically admit that they don't know. If this is his answer, you have already backed him into a corner: If you don't know where your god is, then he is a rather unreliable god.
The Mormon may say that his god is in heaven. This is basically a way of avoiding the question. He will not likely give you the right answer (Mormons believe that their god lives on the planet Kolob. They know that this is ridiculous and will probably not want to "go there.")
Whatever his answer may be to this first question, the point is that his god is not here.
2. Now ask the Mormon, "Did your god promise to never to leave us nor forsake us?"
The Mormon will respond with and enthusiastic "yes." When he does, point out his inconsistency: The Mormon's god promised he would never to leave us nor forsake us, but he is not here.
Your Mormon friend will try to dodge this dilemma by referring to the Holy Spirit. Don't let this scare you or throw you off track. Simply point out that we are not talking about the Holy Spirit. In Mormon belief the Holy Spirit is a different god; distinct from the one we are supposed to worship. Remind him that we are talking about Heavenly Father, the god they say we are to worship.
Reinforce the folly of their religion: Heavenly Father supposedly made a promise to never leave us nor forsake us, but he is not here. Either Heavenly Father is a liar, or he is a false god that doesn't truly exist. Either way, Heavenly Father is not worthy of our devotion.
3. After pressing the inconsistency of their religion, be sure to explain how the Christian God fulfills is superior.
Our God exists in all places. He fills the universe and is even outside of it because He is the creator of time and space. Most of all, He is right here with us at all times, fulfilling His promise never to leave us nor forsake us.
4. Call your Mormon friend to repent of his idolatry and turn to the only true and living God.
If you would like, you can use these same steps to talk about Jesus. Colossians 1:17 says, "In him (i.e. Jesus) all things hold together." This is a reference to Jesus' divinity, which also has the attribute of omnipresence. All things throughout the universe retain their natural form because Jesus himself holds them together. If Christ would remove his presence, everything would completely fall apart like marbles without a container. Because Jesus is both God and man, he can fulfill his promise: Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
The Mormon religion, just like any other false religion, contradicts itself and shows itself to be false. It impales itself and reduces to absolute absurdity.
But this gaping hole in their religion is also a perfect door for the presentation of the gospel. Where their god falls on his face, ours shows Himself to be true.
I'm currently brushing up on my history of art because I want to do a seminar wherein I discuss the development of Western culture and its worldviews. I plan on entitling it "The Heart of Art: How worldviews shape art and culture." I've done this for my classes in the past, and want to now present it to the wider community.
Today I came across a great article at artyfactory.com entitled, Artists, Movements, and Styles in Western Art. There was one line in it that caught my attention though. The author says of the Gothic era, "These were very formal artistic traditions with rigorous religious conventions that limited the personal creativity of the artist." (Italics added for emphasis).
The author obviously has a slant; and one that is certainly against Christianity. Unfortunately, What he doesn't seem to understand is that every artist is limited by his rigorous religious conventions! Everyone has a worldview, and no one can break free of those religious principles. All of his art will be an expression of his most basic personal convictions (be they christian, secular, postmodern, etc).
What the author fails to understand is that the artists of the Renaissance are just as creatively limited as the Gothics. Their humanism forms for them an artistic template that restricts their creativity.
As it is said, "Culture is a product of cult." That is to say, a society will reflect what it worships. Or, a society's laws, art, education, etc will be the expression of its fundamental beliefs.
Let's look at some examples. To the right we have a picture of a Gothic style church. The spires that stretch heavenward like long needles are characteristic of this period, as are the tall pointed windows. The design of the building is to point you up to the sky. All the lines are drawing your head towards the very place where God is said to dwell.
Add to this the feeling of transcendence that is imposed upon you by the structure. The building is obviously enormous. You can even tell that the interior will will be just as grand. All this is to make you feel small and help you get a sense of how inferior you are in comparison to the awesome majesty of God.
Why didn't they just build a little theater-type church, like the ones that we have today? It is because the architecture reflects the prevailing notion of God in this period. God is transcendent. He is wholly "other" and deserving of the highest degree of reverence. It would be impossible (and maybe even considered blasphemous) for them to create a church in the contemporary style.
This also helps to understand why Gothic art portrays people as long and ghostly looking figures that are always standing on their toes. Someone might initially wonder if these these artists were capable of making "real" men? Did they not have the skill set to make real feet touching the ground?
The fact is that they very well could have. Their skills were excellent. However, they had a reason for portraying people in this manner. The artists were usually depicting saints and holy figures such as the angels, apostles, Mary, or Jesus. And as they did they sought to portray them as "other worldly."
Notice Mary in this painting to the left. She has a halo representing her "angelic nature." Is Mary an angel? No, but she is a holy person. Notice how she is sitting on a throne. Did Mary own a throne? Certainly not. But at the time of the painting the church had a highly exalted view of Mary.
One may ask why all the people typically look sullen. To our modern eye it looks like all the angels are on the verge of depression. But this is again to give them an other-worldly look. They gaze off into the distance because they are distant creatures being that they abide in heaven.
All of this is symptomatic of their worldview. How they understood truth came through their paintbrushes.
Now let's run forward a couple hundred years to the time of the Renaissance and look at their cult & culture.
Quite a bit of Renaissance painting is still quite religious in nature. That's because the Christian worldview was still the dominant worldview. The church was still the most significant patron of the arts too. So if you wanted to make a living as an artist, you are obviously going to go where the demand is and paint for the church.
But in the picture above, you see a distinct difference of style from the earlier Gothic period. Looking at the landscape we can tell that there is a new perspective on depth. The mountian ranges looks like a real muontian range and the setting looks like it might be a literal town in Galilee.
Moreover, the people look like real people. Their feet are flat on the ground. They have definite muscle tone. They still have halos because that is the best way to show their unique stature as apostles. But they are definitely real men.
This "realness" has evolved out of a change in worldview. The Renaissance was a "rebirth" of classical Greek and Roman ideals. Ancient Greece and Rome focused on man as the supreme ideal. The Greek philosopher Protagoras summed up the spirit of the age by saying, "Man is the measure of all things." It should be no wonder then that man should become more defined as a natural person during the Renaissance as this was a time of "rebirthing" man.
It is important to understand that this was not simply a shift of style. It was a shift of worldview. Man was coming into his own and a shift was moving away from the focus on God and things "other-worldly."
Glancing back to the picture above, one can already see that Jesus is losing some of this divinity, being that he is now a "real man." In the past, he was represented as a divine being. To be sure, Jesus was a real man because he was incarnate and had a human nature. But the shift in worldview shows a shift in the depiction of Christ.
Michelangelo gives us a perfect illustration of the paradigm shift. To the left are statues he created. They are of men seeking to tear themselves out of the rock. It is Michelangelo's way of saying, "Man makes himself."
This shows how the world in which Michelangelo lived had been converted from a Biblical (Gothic) worldview. Instead of having your mind pushed upward towards heaven and being reminded that you are completely insignificant, your mind is pushed towards yourself and your own ability. The god now being worshipped is yourself.
There is no doubt that Michelangelo was a genius artist. Nevertheless, he is just as much limited in his creative ability as the Gothic painters. His worldview is just as much a rigorous convention that puts restraints on his ability to do art.
I just had some JW's come to my door. I have to say I enjoy the Mormons much more. The JW ladies lied to me, insulted me, and were not in the least bit interested in a back and forth interaction. They accused me of being "divisive" and unChrist like because I 1) called them out on their deception and 2) took them to Scriptures in their own Bibles that proved what they said was wrong.
If anyone should have thrown insults it should have been me. I pointed out various times how they lied to me and tried to use deceptive language about Christ in order to trick me. For instance, they first said that Jesus was god (making it sound like he is equal to the Father). Then they said that Jesus was just a god. Then they said that Jesus was not god (making it sound like he had no divinity at all). Then they said that Jesus was merely the Son of God.
Well, which is it ladies? I'll tell you which it is: It is all a lie and you are intentionally trying to deceive. People who have truth need no use of cunning schemes and double talk.
The truth is powerful enough and speaks for itself.
Today I met with some Mormons who wanted to talk to me since I "was interested in this kind of stuff." T'was a fun time to listen and tear down every lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ.
They gave me their pitch, and it went like this:
1. The church fell into apostasy after the apostles and men corrupted the Scriptures to gain power.
2. Joseph Smith looked to James 1:5, and prayed for wisdom. Whereby god gave him the revelation of Mormonism.
Do you see the error? Mormonism makes a fatal slip: If the Bible is corrupted, how can Joe gain wisdom from James 1:5? That passage might have been corrupted! He put his trust in a word that is essentially wrong!
The whole of Mormonism is built on James 1:5. But, according to Mormonism, James 1:5 cannot be trusted because the Bible is full of errors, has not been translated right, and is often not interpreted correctly.
That's like saying, "There is a giant hole under that rug." Then you run over to stand on the rug.
I asked these guys to consider the alternative, which is my Christian faith. I serve a God who will not let His Word be corrupted. He is powerful enough not just to have it inspired, but He is able to keep that truth free from defilement all through history. This word is holy and a reflection of His character. To allow it to be defiled would be to allow man to mock God.
God's word says, "The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever." (Isaiah 40:8; 1Peter 1:24-5) Jesus himself said that heaven and earth would pass away, but "My word will not pass away." (Matt. 24:35).
T'was but a while ago that I had a discussion with an atheist friend about Exodus 21:7-11. The conversation began with his mocking God and the text as it was about a man who sells his daughter into slavery.
He posited that it was a perverted thing for a father to sell his daughter off for sex. However, his thought system is what is actually perverted,because the text doesn't imply pimping one's daughter. That is read into the text from one's own imagination!
It doesn't take much to understand the nature and import of what is communicated in these words. Here is a man who has been brought into dire straits and has no means of providing for his family. He has two choices, seek their best interest & care or let them die. Obviously, the one choice is much more preferable.
Now, to whom would you sell your daughter? Would you sell her to a slimey fellow who only wants a sex toy? Likely not.
But let's say you know of a young man who has grown up in the local synagogue with you who is able to marry her. He is a godly man with a good income and he is willing to take her to be his wife. This man offers to buy her (or, what we would today call "pay her dowry"). Now, not only have you secured your daughter's best interests, but you now have a chunk of cash whereby you can begin to provide for your own household again.
The rest of the text (Exodus 21:8-11) goes on to secure the girl's welfare and offer her protection from being anywise mistreated. She is to be treated as a daughter if she is given to his son. If he finds that the woman is not pleasing, she is to be redeemed. If she can't be redeemed, he's still obligated to provide for her and see to her sustenance.
So, you see, God's word has given guidance the proves beneficial for all parties involved: The girl got a home, the man got a wife, the poor family got some financial standing.
But let's turn around and talk about atheism...
We began this article with the mockery of an atheist. We've already shown his stupidity and perverted inclination. We can go on to show that his worldview actually supports the very thing that he found repulsive.
In atheism, what prevents someone from being sold as a slave? We buy and sell tomatoes at the market. Man, according to atheism, is not really substantially different than a tomato. Evolution says that both are accidents and random products of chance. It's just some germs became tomatoes and some germs became humans.
And, if our atheist is going to be consistent, who cares if you rape a girl? It's just molecules bumping into molecules. There is no absolute standard by which to measure morality, and therefore no one can say that rape is wrong.
Moreover, since man has no inherent dignity and there is no objective moral standard, the man who is in dire straits can just go ahead and starve his family. Better yet, the atheist can just shoot them and put them out of their misery! Then he can sell them off and have them butchered. In the end he has not just a boatload of money but also a year's supply of meat to eat packed away in his freezer!
I think you would agree that the Lord's way is a lot more humane. Thank God for the guidance of His Law!
This past weekend I saw the newest batch of Mormon missionaries walking along the street. I immediately pulled over and was willing to risk being late to get home so that I could talk to them.
I began the conversation with my ritual question: Do you think you serve the greatest god? If I could show you a god who is greater, would you convert?
To their credit, they didn't want to take the bait. One of them tried to dodge by saying that he believed only in the god who burned truth in him. The gist of the conversation went like this:
Mormon: I only know truth if it is confirmed by the Holy Spirit.
Me: Has the Holy Spirit subjectively confirmed that 2+2=4?
Mormon: Not that I know of.
Me: So 2+2 does not equal 4?
I thank him for being epistemologically consistent. That only allowed me to show how foolish his worldview really is. Truth becomes quite slippery if it is subjectively confirmed in extra ordinary ways (i.e. burning in the bosom).*
Eventually we did get to my original question. I then posed the challenge, "Where is your god?" I always like hearing their responses on this one. Since their god has a body, they ultimately don't know where he is. They may say, "In heaven," but they really are just guessing.
Herein lies their dilemma: What comfort is a god who is not guaranteed to be near? Like Baal on Mt. Carmel, the god who isn't there doesn't answer prayer or aid you in your time of need.
In contrast to this, to use the words of Francis Schaeffer, we serve the God "who is there." He is a Spirit (John 4:4) and omnipresent. Therefore he is never able to "leave us nor forsake us."
[By the way, if they happen to give you grief about their "holy Spirit" being omni-present, just say, "I'm talking about the god you worship. You don't worship the "holy Spirit," do you? That's idolatry because the holy spirit in Mormon theology is a different god than Heavenly Father."]
*We believe that the knowledge comes only through the Holy Spirit too. However, we do not need extra-ordinary displays of the Spirit's presence to confirm it (i.e. burning in the bosom). God reveals all truth, for all truth is God's. Though the Spirit reveals it to us, it is always objective because it comes through the simple means of creation and/or His word. So, ultimately, truth is not left to the whims of our personal, inward experience.
The hit Disney movie, Frozen, has taken the US by storm and it’s hit song, “Let It Go!” can be heard on every elementary school playground around the country. Even my 2 yr old could sing some of the song before she ever saw the movie!
As I heard bits of the lyrics float past my ears, something didn’t sit right with me. But, I decided to hold judgment until I heard the song in the context of the entire movie. This weekend, my girls and I watched Frozen together and “Let It Go!” struck me as a song that espoused a lot of popular philosophies about a life contrary to the Bible’s teaching. I decided to look at 3 main themes and dissect them in light of the Bible.
First, Elsa laments the fact that she’s always had to be the “good girl.” “Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be” and “Let it go! That perfect girl is gone!”
I do believe that this is a cry of a lot of children in the church today. As Christian parents, we have done our children a great disservice if we have only emphasized outward behavior without a heart turned to Christ. Our children need to know that they can’t be the “good girl” or the “good boy” because we are all infested with sin. We need to be constantly pointing our children to Jesus as their Savior and Redeemer who alone is good and perfect. We all need to be humble enough to confess our sins to God and to one another (James 5:16, I John 1:8-10), not pretending to be without sin like the Pharisees (Mt. 23:23-28).
I feel badly for Elsa and her situation and can only pray that my girls will not feel this need to put on “perfect airs”, but instead will put on Christ.
Then, we get to the heart of the song, the rousing “let it go” chorus. The music crescendos as Elsa sings “Let it go, let it go, Turn away and slam the door. I don’t care what they’re going to say…” I’m assuming that Elsa is letting go of her gift/curse of freezing things. Are we supposed to just let go of whatever is “trapped” inside of us? Is that being true to ourselves?
The Bible encourages self-control (Gal. 5:16, 5:22-25) which seems the antithesis of letting it go. In my own observations of myself and other people, letting go of inhibitions only leads to sorrow. Elsa also says she doesn’t care what people are going to say, which is a very prevalent thought pattern today. “Be true to yourself and don’t worry about anyone else” is what we often hear.
Should we as Christians care what people think of us? My study of Scripture and an article by John Piper leads me to say “Yes” and “No”. If people are saying things against us because of our walk for Christ and stands we take for His Kingdom, then no, we don’t care what the world says (Gal. 1:10, I Thess. 2:4, I Tim 3:2). However, the Bible does put some importance on what others perceive about us (Prov. 22:1, Rom 15:1-2, I Peter 2:12). As John Piper stated, the most important question we can ask of ourselves is, “Is Christ honored in our lives?” (Phil. 1:19-20). So, Elsa lets it go, but she is still miserable, trapped in her ice castle. Doesn’t sound so exhilarating does it?
Finally, Elsa claims “it’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through, No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free!” I would hope this would make any Christian squirm. This statement is what feminists, homosexual activists, atheists, and many other groups want us (and our children) to believe. Their theory is that rules constrain you and keep you from happiness. Is this what God tell us in His Word?
No, in John 8:31-36, Jesus talks about by abiding in His Word, we will know the truth and that is what sets us free. He goes on to talk about being a slave to sin and that Christ comes to set us free from this bondage. Romans 6:16-23 also talks about being slaves to sin until Christ changes us and we become slaves to righteousness. Our all-knowing, all-powerful sovereign God has given us rules to live by, not to makes our lives miserable but to give us a full life.
I’m sure all of us can personally attest to the misery we feel when we live how we want, whether it’s letting our anger take control or eating too much or worrying about the future. We can also tell sobering stories of friends and family who threw off all inhibitions and are now realizing that their choices weren’t as freeing as they first thought. I believe this is shown in the movie – Elsa ends up needing Anna and the others and she experiences great joy when they are reunited. I don’t think “Let It Go” would make a good finale song in the movie, because Elsa found the emptiness of her life following the philosophy she promoted.
So now what? Am I banning all things Frozen from my house? No! I plan on using these observations as lessons to go over with my girls. I want to hear their opinions and see if they can discern what the Bible says. I want to hear if they feel trapped trying to be the “good pastors kids.” Then, I'll encourage them that the things they need to be letting go of are things like our selfishness, greed, envy, unkind words, etc.
And as they try to do this, they need to continue to flee to Christ, the only One who will never let them go.
[This is a special guest post by Elizabeth, my beloved wife. It is her first post in the blogosphere, and, I hope, not her last.]
This afternoon I have opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects: My kiddos! My friend Mark Hamilton is allowing me to speak to his medical ethics class at Ashland University. The topic will be that of adoption and my experiences as an adoptive father.
This class comes as a fitting end to their section on abortion. Mark is to be commended for his work with the students on this issue. He has done an excellent job setting forth a Biblical understanding of conception and the nature of human life. He has also shown the 180 Movie and another documentary detailing the nature of horror of abortion.
An outline of my lecture is provided here: Issues & Experiences in Adoption
Tattoos and body piercing has become something of a rage in our contemporary society. A simple walk through the mall will reveal how popular it has become.
The phenomena begs the question as to whether or not it is okay for a Christian to get a tattoo or piercing. In the following links I provide some information that I have gathered on the issue to help those interested consider well the ethical implications of getting a tat or piercing.
1. Classroom Lecture: The Ethics of Body Modification
2. Student guide: Body Mod. Ethics
3. Notes and Research on Tattoos & Piercings
4. A Brief History of Tattoos & Body Art -- [please note that this found online. I beg your pardon for not having remembered to insert the author's name & other reference material]
I recently gave a series of lectures on apologetics, particularly in regards to Islam. I have debated whether or not I should post them because much of the material has been borrowed (and is lacking a great deal of the necessary citations). I have decided though, to make the material available as it has been in some demand.
Please note though that much of what is here is simply a conglomeration of other people's thoughts.
Lecture 1: The Dilemma of Islam
Lecture 2: Allah: Uncovered and Exposed
Lecture 3: More Examples of How Isalm Impales Itself
Lecture 4: The Sure Way of Salvation
Here is the corresponding study guide.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.