Glenn Beck’s Divine Destiny

Last week I wrote of a topic that has potential to be as dangerous as any heresy currently sweeping through the Church.  This heresy is the Political gospel which sounds “Christian” or “churchy”, but it is quite literally far from the truth.  The central figure in this heresy has been conservative media voice Glenn Beck, an outspoken Mormon, whose topics have trended from fear-mongering to conspiracy to U.S. history to the current attempt of uniting people of all faiths, as seen in the video below.

On August 27, 2010 Beck has rented out the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC for an event that he says will “heal your soul”.   This “Divine Destiny” meeting as it’s been named will include uplifting music, nationally-known religious figures from ALL FAITHS  who will unite to “deliver messages reminiscent to those given during the struggles of America’s earliest days” as his website states.  It goes on to say, “The event will leave you with a renewed determination to look past the partisan differences and petty problems that fill our airwaves and instead focus our shared values, principles and strong beliefs that faith can play and essential role in reuniting our country.” 

Ok, so here’s the problem once again, for the sake of looking “past the partisan differences and petty problems” this unity of faith meeting has been organized.  This sounds like a great idea right?  I mean what’s wrong with laying aside our political differences and even our religious differences to do as Beck states, get on our knees and pray to God.  The problem, and this is significant, is that IT’S NOT THE SAME GOD.  Excuse me for the all caps, but why can’t people recognize that if a person is not praying to the One True God, the Father of Jesus Christ, the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then it is a different God.  There is only one alternative to God and that’s the devil, period.  There is one absolute truth and one absolute good, everything else is evil.  I hate to sound like a broken record or that I’m constantly picking on Glenn Beck, but the truth is I’m trying to warn you of this danger.  On his website the promotion for this event had over 1000 Facebook comments, mostly praising the event as a blessing from God, so I know that people are not fully grasping the fact that a unity of all faiths, spearheaded by a Mormon is not from the God I know.  It’s not from the God of the Bible.  It is simply contrary to the nature of God to commune with false religions and to give His approval to idolatry.  There is a reason why the first commandment states, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” 

Why then do we continually see alliances within the “Church” with those who are not believers?  I know I’ve used the following verse a lot recently, but I continually go back to it because it’s so true, and so important these days, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  What accord has Christ with Belial?  Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 The command is clear, do not unite yourself with unbelievers for any purpose, political or otherwise.  Come out from among them Christians!

Here is a quote from Beck during his appearance recently on a radio show, you can listen to it in its entirety here LINK: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/glenn-beck-mission-god

Beck: I think this is an opportunity to gather God’s people together and wake people up. And I just have this feeling that this is the beginning of something gigantic in this country, that it is spiritual awakening.

What’s going to happen there will raise the hair on your arms. What’s going to happen there you will never, ever forget and I promise you, then next day when you read about it – if the press covers it – you will say “oh my gosh, I wish I would have been there.” This will go into the history book.

This is Divine Providence. This is the Lord’s hand at work. This is a miracle.

In reference to Saturday’s 8/28/2010 event “Restoring Honor” Beck states:

“You can feel the presence of the Lord. I mean, the Spirit is so strong. When you two hundred, three hundred, five hundred thousand people on the Mall in that space right there between Washington and Lincoln with the Reflecting Poll – a spiritual space in our nation – the Spirit of the Lord is going to be unleashed like I think you’ve never felt it before.”

As I stated last time the purpose of this “churchy” Christian language is to lure in Christians, much like a wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing appears like a sheep to the flock, but then reveals himself and it’s too late.  This is the heart behind Jude 4, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”  Any presence that will be felt there this weekend is not of God, it is not the Holy Spirit, it is demonic.  Don’t be deceived brethren.  Even if mighty, wondrous works and miracles are performed this weekend, know that it is not from GOD.  Satan is quite capable of performing miracles in a strong delusional effort to deceive people.

Please take this warning seriously and share it with others who have been caught up in the “spirituality” of the political gospel that’s being promoted by Glenn Beck.  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15  

One final point on this issue, Wretched Radio and TV host Todd Friel has put together an interesting video addressing the beliefs of Beck’s Mormonism and how the things Beck says seems Christian.  In the closing seconds of the video, Friel shows a clip of Beck explaining salvation, but then states this assumes that Beck understands these terms as explained Biblically.  And this is the assertion I made in my last post on this subject.  Beck is a smart guy, he does his research and his homework and this is quite evident if you’ve seen any of his broadcasts.  He is smart enough to know not to promote or discuss anything unless he has a defendable knowledge of that subject.  Therefore, it’s not as though he is ignorant of the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.  His agenda is an intentional ecumenical alliance that will purposefully deceive Christians and draw them away from the truth.  Remember, Jesus was constantly warning against the religiosity of the Pharisees who were inside the church.  Paul in nearly all of his epistles was warning against false teachers inside the church.  This is how Satan works best, he disguises himself with an appearance of truth in order to attract as many unsuspecting people as possible before leading them on a path to Hell.  “Do not be deceived my beloved brothers.”

17 thoughts on “Glenn Beck’s Divine Destiny”

  1. I watched this video a couple of days ago and have to say I’m really disappointed. The program apparently is aptly named. Friel would do well to read the actual citations he provides before commenting on them. What he does is take stereotypical misinformation about LDS theology and knocks it down. The trouble with that is it’s a straw man attack; and only is successful with people who are misinformed about Mormonism. As a Mormon, I’m not that thrilled about Glenn Beck; but I’m even less thrilled about bogus attacks on my religion.

  2. Excellent posting. I’m disappointed that so few realize how dangerous Beck is to the Christian faith. Beck’s comment last week that his Aug. 27th event at the Kennedy Center is not a Christian event, it’s a God event angers me. You say it best above: if a person is not praying to the One True God, the Father of Jesus Christ, the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then it is a different God.

  3. Thanks for the comment Annie and I certainly agree, Beck is very dangerous to the Christian faith. I used to listen to his radio broadcast a couple years ago and then watched when his program first came to TV, so I must say I understand why he was able to gain such a large audience. But when he began to delve into the Christian faith, this sent up red flags. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, not everyone in the faith has been so quick to realize this, so it is our responsibility to warn them.

    In Christ,
    John

  4. Thanks for the comment Alma. I cannot speak for Friel, but I am not in the business of building straw men, rather on expounding truth. Instead of a straw man, let’s look directly at the man who founded Mormonism, Joseph Smith. According to the LDS.org site, Smith’s authority comes from being a “prophet of God” and his testimony states, “Those who receive the Prophet’s testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost will know the truth of the work he was called to do.” I think we can both agree that through the centuries there have been many people claiming to be prophets of God, in fact the Bible even states that such will be the case during the latter days (see Matthew 24:11, 24:24, 2 Peter 2:1) while 1 John 4:1 says to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” So there can be no debate as to the presence of both true and false prophets.

    Now we must ask, if one professes to be a prophet, what test do we have to measure whether they in fact are true or false? Again we can turn to the Word of God,

    Deuteronomy 18:20-22, “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”

    Given that, we must examine Smith’s prophecies to see if they are true or false, since that is the Biblical criteria and just one wrong prophecy disqualifies a person from being a prophet of God. Unless we were to purport that God should ever be wrong. Here are 5 of his many prophecies:

    1. Smith prophesied that people live on the moon, dress like Quakers, live to be a thousand years old and are six feet in height. Brigham Young also claimed that people live on the sun!
    2. Smith prophesied that the ten lost tribes of Israel are living in a tropical valley at the North Pole. The Apostle John is still alive and lives with them there.
    3. Smith prophesied that the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world would take place in 1891.
    4. Smith prophesied that a temple would be built on the “temple lot” in Independence, Missouri, within the generation of those living in 1832.
    5. Smith prophesied that he would return from Salem, Massachusetts, with “many people” and “much treasure.”

    These are only five of 64 false prophecies given by Smith.

    Therefore we have to conclude, based on the Biblical definition, that since Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet, but in fact gave false prophecies, he is in fact a false prophet and subsequently his religion, Mormonism, is contrary to the Word of God. I would ask that you search the Bible for yourself and see where it disagrees with the fundamental beliefs of the LDS and I pray that the LORD opens your eyes and reveals to you the dangers in the LDS that you might come to know and have a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. I would be happy to discuss further anytime.

    In Christ Alone,

    John

  5. John,

    It’s unfortunate that your list of alleged false prophecies followed the claim of “expounding truth.” I have taught LDS Church History for over 20 years and I have examined the original sources of what you have claimed above. Some of those claims are just plain false: Joseph Smith never, ever claimed that the ten tribes were in a tropical valley anywhere–much less the North Pole. Neither did he prophesy that the Lord would return in 1891 (some say 1890.)

    The source of that assertion is in our scriptures in Doctrine and Covenants 130:15-17. Anyone who understands English can see that this is not a prediction. (“I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face.”

    Joseph Smith’s prophecy that the temple would be built in his generation actually was accomplished in 1836. A lot of people mis-read the prophecy and erroneously conclude that it refers to Missouri; but the prophecy was given in Kirtland, Ohio after Joseph Smith had designated Kirtland as the gathering place for the Church. He said, “Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.” (D&C 84:4) If he meant Missouri, he would have said “beginning at that place rather than “this place” indicating his current physical location.

    There is one citation, written nearly 50 years after Joseph Smith’s death by Oliver Huntington who claimed to recall Joseph Smith claiming that moonmen dressed like Quakers and lived to be 1000 years old. He claimed to have heard this when he was 14 years old. referring to the alleged inhabitants of the moon. Joseph Smith simply was not that stupid. Brigham Young wasn’t the only LDS leader who believed that the sun is populated. But, when understood in context it isn’t as outlandish as you might think. They taught that the earth will be resurrected and glorified and become like our sun and that it will be the abode of those who redeemed by Christ in eternity.

    I suggest you read the actual statement of Joseph Smith regarding “treasure” and “Salem” in the Doctrine and Covenants section 111 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/111) You’ll see that Joseph Smith’s attempt to find money was called “folly”– not that he would return with treasure or people.

    Honestly, if people used the same standards to judge biblical prophets that they do to judge Joseph Smith, they would have to disqualify Isaiah, Abraham, Jeremiah, Peter and many others. They have no problem with God promising to give Abraham the land of Palestine and the fact that he never got it; but immediately disqualify Joseph Smith under an entirely different standard.

    Joseph Smith will stand the test of time both in time as well as in eternity.

  6. John-

    I just discovered your blog. I am very impressed with your work. In particular, your analysis of the “political gospel” was right on the nose. I would encourage you to stay on top of this issue. The affiliation with Glenn Beck is only the latest example. For example, recall the overt strategy of the Christian Coalition in the 1990s to merge Evangelicals and Catholics into one voting bloc. In support of this political strategy, many high profile evangelical leaders signed the Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement, which brushed aside key theological differences in order to secure a political alliance. This is what happens when “Christian” is used interchangeably with “pro-family”.

  7. Alma,
    I feel as though we are perilously close to a circular argument. Despite what I perceive as personal shots, which I ask that you refrain from (am I a liar or unable to read English?), we need go no further in this discourse, except directly to the Word of God to see where it is incompatible with Mormon doctrine. Quite frankly, if you choose to believe in Mormonism and choose to follow Joseph Smith, that is your personal decision, but please do not claim Christianity also, nor claim that the Jesus Christ of the Bible is the same “Jesus” as Mormonism, because this simply isn’t the case.

    Brigham Young stated in 1873 Journal of Discourses, vol. 16. P. 46 that “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it and see if it will stand the test.” I will give it to you that this is good advice, so that quite simply is what we shall do.

    God the Father:
    I offer the first statement from Joseph Smith, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).
    This statement from Smith is contrary to Isaiah 57:15, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Additional Scripture proofs are Psalm 90:2, 102:27, 1 Timothy 1:17) Not only is God eternal, but He is immutable, or without change, nor has He ever been a man of flesh and bones, John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” which directly refutes the Mormon assertion “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s,” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22; Compare with Alma 18:26-27; 22:9-10). It simply cannot be both Biblical and Mormon, the two are diametrically opposed.

    God the Son:
    Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23) as a product of a miraculous conception of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). Therefore He was not begotten the same way as “mortal” men, as Mormonism falsely claims in the Journal of Discourses vol. 8, p. 115 and likewise in Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 547. Additionally, Jesus did not “progress” toward deity, but has always been, as read in John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” See also, Hebrews 1:10-12. Mormonism may claim “a Jesus”, but it is clearly not the Jesus of the Bible.

    God the Holy Spirit:
    Christianity teaches that the Holy Spirit is part of the Holy Trinity (Matthew 28:19) along with the Son and Father and is not merely a “being endowed with the attributes and powers of deity” as claimed in the Articles of Faith by James Talmage, p. 144. Instead, He is in fact God, as all 3 are separate and distinct, yet one God. (see Matthew 3:11, John 14:26)

    Regarding Abraham, Isaac, Jeremiah, and Peter, that tells me nothing in context of our discussion. Are you supposing that they were false prophets? You will need to provide examples of where their prophecies became unfilled. I presume regarding “Palestine” you are referring to the Abrahamic Covenant between God and Abraham from Genesis 15:18-21 (or earlier in Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 13:14-18). Are you saying that God lied in promising Abraham land? Perhaps you missed the fulfillment of this convenant with Israel entering the promised land under the leadership of Joshua (see Joshua 1:2-4)and 1 Kings 4:21 records a description of this land under the rule of Solomon.

    Sir, the differences between Mormonism and Christianity are quite stark. Surely as a teacher of LDS history you can see this. The Word of God, not that of Joseph Smith, will remain for all eternity. Jesus Christ is my Lord and God, is he yours?

  8. Thanks for the compliment Simon! I agree this is an issue worth staying on top of, as I suspect it will gain speed going forward. I hope to address this weekend’s event, namely the “Divine Destiny” and “Restoring Honor” that Beck promoted. That’s a notable parallel you made with previous political alliances of the 1990’s. History again repeats itself.

    In Christ,

    John

  9. Even if we ignored the fact that Mormonism is not spiritually or doctrinally compatible with Evangelical Christian Doctrine the point that remains is that this “ecumenical event” joining of all faith groups and asking them to turn to “God” – whatever their definition of God is? is being outright denied by many supporting evangelicals as being a “ecumenical” event (yoking and covenanting with non-believers) but rather they falsely choose to perceive it as a “Christian” one.

    The NWO church is being born right before our very eyes and of course as the Bible foretells, many will be blind to the fact and welcome the delusion and be willing members.

  10. John,

    I’m sorry if you felt that my comments were personal shots at you. They weren’t intended as such. I assumed that you were citing material from a list that didn’t provide actual citations—but were, as Todd Friel’s comments, someone else’s faulty conclusions. That’s why I included the actual words. I agree with you that we’re perilously close to a circular argument because we are talking past each other. We perceive things very differently in practically every facet of theology; and it’s difficult to get past each other’s pre-suppositions.

    I don’t have any problem with the Bible passages you cited—I believe all of them. I don’t necessarily accept what you see in them; but sorting that out would take much more time and effort than I have, and more space than you ought to allow on your blog.

    I don’t believe that either Abraham, or the other prophets I referred to were false prophets, nor do I believe that God lied. I believe that if you were to use the same standard to judge them that you apply to Joseph Smith that they too would fall short. That doesn’t suggest that they were false; only that your standard is. I imagine that I could give you reasons for my conclusion; but I haven’t anyone who can look at those reasons without concluding that I’m attacking the Bible. (I’m attacking the standard of judgment– which the Bible shows to be erroneous.)

    I agree that differences between my theology and creedal Christianity are vast and stark—I have never believed otherwise. I would be happy if people who sought to point out those differences could do so factually and without equivocation (used in the sense of logical fallacy rather than any attempt to deceive.)

    I have trouble with the conclusion that the phrase “in the beginning” can be understood “from all eternity.” Whenever someone asks me to “start at the beginning” I invariably go to the start of a particular event rather than from all eternity.

    I have wondered for many years who has the right to determine whether or not someone else is a Christian. Certainly you have the right to believe that I am not a Christian; but I don’t think you or any other mortal is in a position to formally declare who is or is not a Christian—unless through equivocation you assume that “Christian” is means “someone I have fellowship with.”

    Last of all, I’m not convinced that attempts to exclude Mormons from having the “right” Jesus are legitimate, based, apparently on things they believe about Him that conflict with the beliefs of others. You think Joseph Smith was a fraud and I believe he was a prophet of God. We’re not talking about two Joseph Smiths were talking about different perceptions of the same man. My Lord and Savior was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, He lived a sinless life, healed the sick, caused the blind to see, died on the cross for my sins (and yours) and rose again the third day. Salvation was and is and is to come only through His name. His life, His teachings, and those of His disciples are found in the New Testament. Nothing I believe in Mormonism changes any of those facts about who Jesus is. Consequently, I will continue to affirm that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and consequently, a Christian.

  11. I dont disagree Lyn, though the rallying point for this event was an outspoken Mormon, not for a political gathering, but for a religious one, so it’s difficult to ignore the blurring of distinction that’s taking place in that regard. Thanks for the comment!

    In Christ,
    John

  12. Alma,
    Do you ever get tired of doing? Do you ever wonder when is enough really enough? How do you know if you’ve done enough acts of service for Christ to allow His atonement to cleanse you?

    I would get so tired of working and trying to do good, wondering if it were ever enough to get me into heaven. It’s quite laborious and wearisome, no? Despite the differences I’ve pointed out that you’ve refuted, I am so glad that we are different in this one regard, I don’t have to do anything good to get to heaven, in fact I can’t do anything good on my own. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” I just can’t help but feel like Mormonism is labor filled, it’s so much work to keep up with that it would be draining and tiresome and even then at the end of the day, would it be enough to get me there?

    I carry the yoke of Jesus, not Joseph Smith, or a church or any man, and it is so light and free and I have peace. Jesus didn’t just take part of the burden, nor does He fill in where I am weak, He took the whole thing. I don’t have to labor, work, or worry because the work has all been done by Him on the cross. See not only did Jesus take my sins on the cross, but he nailed the requirements of the law there too because He knew I couldn’t keep them. Colossians 2:13-14 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” And this is such great news for me, because it lets me know that the fulfillment of the law, the commandments, was made for me in Christ. Apart from Christ I stand condemned to Hell as a guilty sinner because of my violation of every commandment, because my heart is deceitful and wicked. But because of the blood He shed on Calvary, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the grave, I am a new man in Jesus and my sins are forgiven, past, present, and future. All legal requirements of the law were met in Christ’s death on the cross and my slate was wiped clean, never again to be marred. Because of that I can stand before the Judgment Seat with boldness knowing that nothing I ever did was good enough, but because of my faith in Christ, His perfect obedience and righteousness have cleansed me white as snow.

    I am saddened that others have to work so hard, while I can rest and place my hope in Jesus Christ. I’m saddened because I fear your Mormon religion has placed you under a burden which is heavy and cumbersome. Come out from under that burden and live free in Christ. Have assurance that on the Day of Judgment you will stand before the Holy God of all creation, knowing that nothing you did was ever good enough to get you to heaven. No amount of works or service, no keeping of the commandments, no teaching for years, nothing was good enough to get you there, except Christ alone. Take His yoke upon you and live free.

    “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:25-28

  13. John:

    I’m afraid you’re laboring under a misconception about what I believe. It’s not surprising because there’s a lot of bogus information out there and many people refuse to accept what we say believe. For example, one fellow wrote today on a Lutheran blog, “… they do “say” they believe the Bible. But they believe the Bible about as much as they believe the “Book of Mormon”, which is to say not at all.”

    People will say that we believe lots of things that we don’t and won’t allow that we believe many things that we do. Your questions to me seem to be based on a false premise—that somehow our good works bring us salvation.

    The Book of Mormon teaches (and I absolutely accept it 100%) that if we were to serve God with all our whole souls yet we would be “unprofitable servants.” (Mosiah 2:21). That and other passages reinforce the concept that it is Christ’s righteousness that saves us. One of the Book of Mormon prophets tells his own son, “Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer;

    People don’t like the fact that Joseph Smith made his own revised version of the Bible—but they fail to consider the nature of his changes such as his version of Romans 3:28: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone without the deeds of the law. Why do you think he added the word alone in that passage? If you’re going be saddened about my theology, I hope you can be so from a perspective that I would believe is consistent with my actual theology.

    If any of my students were to claim that their good works were somehow building them a credit for heaven, I would tell them they don’t understand Mormon theology. If that’s your perception, I say the same to you. Consider this passage of our canon of the prophet Nephi speaking to his people:

    And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. 2 Nephi 31:20

    Do you see that they were relying “wholly” upon the merits of Christ for salvation? That’s what I believe is foundational to Mormonism. Joseph Smith claimed that the fundamental principles of our religion are: “the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”

    So, don’t mourn for me or my attempts to be obedient to Christ. They’re not the least bit onerous or wearisome. Neither are they my hope for salvation or exaltation. I am relying wholly on Christ who is mighty to save.

    Alma

  14. I’m unclear on how Mosiah 2:21 and 2 Nephi 31:20 reconcile themselves with 2 Nephi 25:23 “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

    The Biblical definition of grace is unmerited favor. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This passage is contradictory to 2 Nephi 25:23, which states Mormons are saved by grace “after all we can do.” LDS doctrine states (True to the Faith: A Gosepel Reference) that grace “refers to divine help and strength received through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Additionally, LDS states that “we need His grace to purify and perfect us ‘after all we can do'” It further adds that the phrase “‘after all we can do’ teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fulness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him.” This clearly teaches that effort is required on the part of the Mormon in order to “earn” God’s grace. Do you refute this doctrine? Because it does not line up with what you have been telling me thus far. It seems either Mormon doctrine is self-contradictory, or someone has neglected to share this information with you.

    http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=024644f8f206c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=d9296052b3ff3110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1

    In the end, if I’m wrong in my attempts to point you toward the only Gospel of Jesus Christ, then Mormon Doctrine teaches that I’m still good enough to make it to the 3rd heaven. Yet if I’m right, and what I am saying is true, then Mormonism is a false religion, Joseph Smith is a false prophet, and subsequently you and Mormon followers will go to Hell. Not outer darkness or spiritual prison, but the lake of fire. Are you confident enough in the doctrine of Joseph Smith to risk your eternal soul?

  15. John, in answer to how the passages I cited can be reconciled with 2 Nephi 25:23, I don’t see that they’re at odds with each other – -unless you begin from the assumption that anything we do can place God in debt to us; which is a terribly false assumption. God requires obedience, and Jesus is the author of eternal salvation only to those who obey Him; . (Heb. 5:9) But our obedience couldn’t earn us anything because we begin in a position of infinite debt to Him. An infinite debt cannot be paid by finite means (which is all we as mortal sinners could ever offer.)

    Additionally, the Book of Mormon explains what “all we can do” means. It recounts the conversion of a whole nation of people. One of these converts explained:

    “And I also thank my God, … that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son. And now, …since it has been all that we could do, to repent of all our sins … and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain.” (see Alma 24:10-11)

    Do you see that in it is the merits of Christ and not their works that took away their sins? Do you also see that “all they could do” was repent? The fact that it is by grace we are saved “after all we can do” still means that it is by grace that we are saved.

    You claim that the “Biblical definition” of grace is “unmerited favor.” I’m familiar with the Bible and interestingly, I have yet to find “the Bible” defining the word grace. The passage you cited doesn’t quite say as much as you have suggested it says. I would say that the definition of gift is at play as much as is the word grace. I also see instances where God gives something to individuals and explains what they need to do to obtain that gift. Perhaps one of the best examples is God telling Joshua, “I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” He then told Joshua what the armies of Israel needed to do to obtain that gift. The whole land of Canaan was given to Israel even though they had to drive out the inhabitants and even though they occasionally lost it due to wickedness.

    What I have been telling does line up with LDS teachings. I’m familiar with everything you cited and my comments wouldn’t merit the least rebuke in an LDS setting. Properly understood, the concepts of grace and works are complementary. That is why the late LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie could say: “Does salvation come by grace, by grace alone, by grace without works? It surely does, without any question, in all its parts, types, kinds, and degrees. We are saved by grace, without works; it is a gift of God. How else could it come?” and still proclaim the necessity of righteous living and obedience to God.

    You might consider, if grace is “unmerited favor” why Peter would encourage Christians to “grow in grace?” If it’s entirely unmerited, what possible reason would he have to encourage anyone to try to get more of it?

  16. Alma,
    It seems as though you are confusing the application of gift with the application of reward and I suspect that this is at the heart of the misunderstanding of “earning” merit from God. A gift is never something earned or a quid pro quo, it is free, undeserved. In fact, using “birthday gift” as an analogy is even a misrepresentation of the gift being referenced in the Bible because it could infer that because of someone’s “birth” they have “earned” the gift. No my friend, this gift from the Bible is quite different because it is from God. James 1:17 states, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Only God can give a gift that’s good and perfect, everything else quite simply is incomparable. Grace is this good and perfect gift, because it is Jesus Christ. John 1:14 says that Jesus came “full of grace and truth.” No one deserved for Jesus to come and be the atonement of sin for all who believe. Romans 3:24 states that believers, “are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.”

    My claim that grace is defined Biblically as “unmerited favor” using Ephesians 2:8-9 is quite valid. Grace is the Greek word charis which by definition means favor. In reading Ephesians 2:8-9 we see that it is a “gift” that doesn’t come from works, meaning any sort of effort and is therefore undeserved. Conversely if a person were to work, he would then be entitled to a wage, i.e. that person would “deserve” payment. Since we cannot earn salvation through any merits of our own we can therefore surmise that grace is in fact “unmerited” while those that work earn the “wages of sin” which “is death.” Just because Scripture does not say “Grace is defined as…” does not mean we cannot arrive at a definition. Surely our discussion is not going to be reduced to etymology.

    The reference to Joshua and Jericho is from Joshua 6:2-5 where the Lord defines the conditions which the Israelites must meet in order to conquer the city. This is not a gift, it’s a reward. It would’ve been a gift if the Lord had said you guys wait here and I’ll let you know when the city is destroyed, then I’ll give it to you. As such, the Lord required obedience from Joshua to march around the city and obey the specific commands he was given and he was subsequently rewarded for his diligence. Take for example Joshua’s very next battle at Ai. A smaller, less formidable opponent, yet the Israelites were defeated because Achan had sinned. Later when the disobedience was punished, they were able to conquer Ai. Was it then a gift or a reward for obedience? If the Land of Canaan was given as a gift, why were Moses and an entire generation of Israelites not allowed into the Promised Land? It was because of their disobedience. If it was a “gift” then surely Moses, who saw the remnant of God’s glory would’ve been given this gift right? I mean if anyone “deserved” a gift it would’ve been him right?

    Finally, the passage from 2 Peter 3:18 is simply taking the word grace out of context and attempting to give it a universal application. It would be like reading Esther 2:17, “…she won grace…” and presuming that grace was something awarded as a result of merit or a contest. Different context, different application. Peter is encouraging Christians to grow in grace just like he is telling them to “grow up into salvation” in 1 Peter 2:2. In context both are exhortations for Christian maturity, not that Christians must reach a certain level of growth to be saved nor is the other passage telling them to “do” in order to gain additional grace. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Does this infer that grace is like a hidden box in a forest somewhere that we need to find? No, this passage tells us the source is Christ and His throne of grace. It tells us that grace is being continually given during times when we need it most. At the moment of salvation Christians are given all the grace they need in order to be justified before the throne of God. But as believers progress in sanctification, becoming more like Christ, this is where grace increases and this is the point that both Peter and the author of Hebrews is making. When you were a baby, milk was a sufficient food for your nourishment, but as you grew you needed this milk supplemented by additional food. That original food supply via milk would have been more than enough for you to survive, but your growth would’ve been stunted. So it is with grace. As a believer grows, they require more grace to reach maturity in Christ.

    I am certainly glad that you are familiar with the Bible. It is a shame for anyone to claim Christ and not be familiar with His Words. But I wonder if perhaps most Mormons don’t spend more time reading the Book of Mormon instead of the Bible. After all, I would question the genuineness of anyone who claimed to be a Christian but did not spend regular time in the Bible. I would challenge you to read (or re-read if you already have) The Gospel of John and the book of Romans and get back with me.

  17. One additional comment I had.

    Moroni 10:32 states, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”

    Now let’s read Nephi 25:23 “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

    In this first passage from the Book of Mormon, we see a conditional statement regarding the grace of God. “If ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you.” This is a classic if/then statement that illustrates the Mormon belief that grace is in fact not a gift, but is a reward based on merit. Who can ever love God will all their might, mind, and strength. In fact has anyone ever? Have you? I haven’t. Therefore based on not meeting that condition, I cannot receive His grace. The passage is clear, do this and receive grace. This is precisely the point I am making in my previous response. The Bible clearly refutes this idea, not once is the grace of God ever conditional, ever.

    The link that I provided last time was from the LDS.org website that defined what “after all we can do” means specifically as it relates to Nephi 25:23. Why did they not use the Alma passage? Because it was a different context perhaps? Maybe someone needs to inform them that their statement is contradictory to the Book of Mormon. This is a direct quote from the link that I provided: “The phrase “after all we can do” teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fullness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him.” What you believe does not correspond with what the Mormon Church actually believes and teaches, unless you refute the statement that is posted on the official LDS website and was taken from the publication, “True Faith: A Gospel Reference”. Note the difference between the Book of Mormon passages and those from God’s Word provided below.

    Romans 5:15-17, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

    Romans 11:6 “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

    2 Timothy 1:9 “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”

    Ephesians 1:7-8 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.”

    Romans 15:15 “But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God.”

    Ephesians 4:7 “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

    See also, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:24, Romans 4:16, Romans 5:2

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