Archive for December, 2009

15
Dec
09

Be Sure of Your Justification

 

    One of my favorite parables is the one Jesus told of the Pharisee and publican.  It is recorded in Luke 18:9-14. 

     “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

      Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

     And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

     I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

     Whenever I read or hear this parable, I become so reassured.  It cuts right to the chase.  Being justified – being declared not guilty by God – depends on nothing but God’s mercy.  The publican performed no works of penance or followed ant prescribed plan of repentance.  But he was immediately justified.

     I find that so reassuring because, no matter how hard I try, I can’t consistently do good.  Many are the days when I don’t carry through on my good intentions.  Then there are the days when my intentions aren’t even that good – when I really don’t even want to help others – when I think I need time for myself.  On and on it goes.  Everywhere I look I see mixed motives, uncompleted tasks, and half-hearted efforts.  It’s not a pretty picture.

     But then the brightness of God’s love shines through.  With these and so many other passages he reassures me that being right with him does not depend on what I do, but on his mercy.  On the mercy he put into action at Christmas by sending Jesus to be our Substitute – to life a perfect life in our stead – to die as payment for all our sins.

     Because of that I can rejoice even as I confess my sins.  Because of that I can be confident I will be living with Heavenly Father for all eternity in spite of all my failures.  Because of that life is so good!

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10
Dec
09

His Healing Now

 

     That is the name of a new website that I helped create.  It presents the message of God’s healing and forgiveness to those in Mormonism who are struggling with feelings of unworthiness.  It does that through various stories – especially stories from a woman’s perspective. 

     The one thing that has been interesting is that most of the early responses have been from LDS men – the majority of whom have been angry at us for doing this.  I find that interesting.  In many cases it becomes quite obvious that they have written without really reading the content of the site.  Just the fact that we made that site has angered them.  They are angry, they tell us, because we are trying to reach out to hurting Mormons.  I find that ironic because of all the LDS missionaries who appear unannounced at people’s door telling even Christians who answer that they would like to share with them their message of the fulness of the gospel.

     Don’t get me wrong.  I think all people, including LDS missionaries, who sincerely feel they have a message that will help people, should fervently share that message.  I have no problem with LDS missionaries knocking on my door.  The problem I have is when some LDS people don’t extend us the same right and ask us to cease and desist when we sincerely feel that we are sharing with them the true fulness of the gospel.

      I invite you to check out www.hishealingnow.com  It is my prayer that it will be used by the Lord to bring healing to many.

04
Dec
09

Who Is Jesus?

 

     Signs of another rapidly approaching Christmas are all around us.  Therefore it is only appropriate to address the question of who is it whose birth we celebrate each Christmas.   As is the case with so many other teachings, Mormonism answers this uniquely. 

     After quoting the angel’s announcement of Christ’s birth to Mary as it is recorded in Luke 1:35, Gospel Principles goes on to say, “Thus, God the Father became the literal Father of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father.  That is why He is the called the Only Begotten Son.” (p.53)   Although Christians have frequently portrayed this LDS teaching crassly and wrongly, it still must be acknowledged that Mormonism and Christianity view Jesus’ conception very differently.  I know of no Christian church that would agree with the above quotation.

     Another answer that Mormonism gives to this question is that Jesus was “the great Jehovah of the Old Testament”.  I have always found this puzzling for a couple of reasons.  In the King James Version, “Jehovah” is consistently translated with LORD (all capitals).  And quite often it is found in the combination LORD God.  In the original Hebrew this is literally Jehovah Elohim.  This is interesting because Mormonism identifies Elohim as the Father.  Therefore, in Mormonism, LORD God translates into Son, Father – quite an awkward construction.  But what is even more striking is that often the LORD God speaks in the singular, not in the plural.  For example, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.  I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18)  Why would the Bible so frequently use LORD God as a description of one person when it is, according to Mormonism, two persons?

     But it gets even more complicated.  For example, the LDS Bible rightfully refers Isaiah 50 to the Messiah.  One of the things it states in its chapter heading is “Messiah shall have the tongue of the learned.”  That refers to verse 6 which states:  “The LORD God has given me the tongue of the learned.”  Again, if LORD (Jehovah) is Christ then this has Christ giving Christ the tongue of the learned.

     Or how does Mormonism handle Isaiah 45:21?  “who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.”  How does the Father fit into that verse? God here is again the Hebrew Elohim.  Therefore Jesus here is saying that he is Elohim.   And how could Jesus be God before coming to earth and receiving a body, since, according to Mormonism, having a physical body is essential for godhood?

     Who is Jesus? As can be seen, Mormonism answers that question quite differently from Christianity.  Although it is not usually meant in this way, it is true that Mormonism has a different Jesus than Christianity.




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