Is the Book of Mormon from God…or the devil?

Thu, Nov 14, 2013

Biblically Balanced

I recently shared a post from ChristianPost.net on my Facebook page and was immediately overwhelmed with the response.

Some said I should only focus on sharing Jesus with those who do not know Him and not spend my time “putting down other people’s beliefs”.

Others said that If I am a Christian then everything I do should be done in love and never try to discredit someone else’s belief.

I have to disagree.  If I believe what I say I believe.. If I truly believe that there is only ONE way to Heaven… If I believe that all other religions out there are teaching a false path to salvation… If I truly believe that my dear friends and co-workers are destined to spend eternity in Hell, then true love is standing up and warning them.  True love is pointing out the false doctrine and showing the true path according to the Bible.

 

Society wants us to believe that love is weak.  That love is quiet.  That love is silent.  Sometimes it is.  But other times love is strong and loud.  Love is not afraid of warning someone that the path they are on is going to lead them to Hell.  Love is not afraid of losing friends or relationships with family members over sharing the Gospel and the plan of salvation with them.

 

First, what is salvation?  What does the Bible say about salvation?

First we must realize that we are sinners.  The Bible says in Romans 3:23

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

There is not one perfect person in the whole world.  We are all sinners.

Second, we must understand that the consequence of our sin is eternal separation from God for eternity in Hell.

Romans 3:23 and Revelations 21:8 say:

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Some say hell is on earth.  The Bible clearly states that Hell is a place of fire and brimstone.  It is called the second death because the first death is the physical death of the body.  The Second death is the eternal death of your soul in Hell.

Third, we must understand that when Jesus died on the cross, He died on the cross in our place for our sins. The Bible says that there is a price for sin.  That price is death.  Jesus died so we don’t have to.  He took our place. Romans 5:8 and John 3:16 state:

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Finally, salvation is a gift but we must choose to accept it.  God will not force anyone to believe.  He will not force anyone to go to Heaven if they do not want to. Ephesians 2:8-9 states:

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.

To receive this gift we only need to ask God for salvation.  It is not by works.  It is through faith alone.  Romans 10:9,10, and 13 state:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

God did not write the Bible and give us the plan of salvation and then make it so complicated that we cannot understand it.  God’s Word is clear.  The plan of salvation is clear.  We do not need a prophet or teacher or another book to teach us what the Bible says about salvation.  God gave us the Bible so that we could find our way to Him.

Now what about the Book of Mormon.  Is it from God?  Is it from the devil?

The question is not whether or not the Bible is the Word of God.  Mormons concede that the Bible is the Word of God.  With their words as you will see in a moment, they call the Bible the “first witness”.

The true question is whether or not the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible.  If the answer is yes, then both books cannot be true.  If the Bible teaches salvation by faith alone and the Book of Mormon teaches salvation by baptism, both cannot be correct.  Logic defies it.

 

After sharing a link to this article:

http://blogs.christianpost.com/dear-ephesus/4-major-differences-between-the-book-of-mormon-and-the-bible-18804/

Some dear friends of mine sent me a private message on Facebook and asked me to examine this article:

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/the-book-of-mormon-a-book-from-god

There is a transciption of the entire video on that same page.  I have posted my response to the video here.  Typical of many false churches, the LDS church takes Bible verses out of context and twists their meaning to try to justify their beliefs.

My responses are in bold.

 

Years ago my great-great-grandfather picked up a copy of the Book of Mormon for the first time. He opened it to the center and read a few pages. He then declared, “That book was either written by God or the devil, and I am going to find out who wrote it.” He read it through twice in the next 10 days and then declared, “The devil could not have written it—it must be from God.”1

 

He spoke truthfully when he said: That book was either written by God or the devil…”

 

That is the genius of the Book of Mormon—there is no middle ground. It is either the word of God as professed, or it is a total fraud. This book does not merely claim to be a moral treatise or theological commentary or collection of insightful writings. It claims to be the word of God—every sentence, every verse, every page. Joseph Smith declared that an angel of God directed him to gold plates, which contained the writings of prophets in ancient America, and that he translated those plates by divine powers. If that story is true, then the Book of Mormon is holy scripture, just as it professes to be; if not, it is a sophisticated but, nonetheless, diabolical hoax.

 

Again, truth.  There is no middle ground.  The Book of Mormon is either the word of God or it is a total fraud. 

 

The author then asks us to take a test to decide if the book is from God or the devil.

 

Likewise, we must make a simple choice with the Book of Mormon: it is either of God or the devil. There is no other option. For a moment I invite you to take a test that will help you determine the true nature of this book. Ask yourself if the following scriptures from the Book of Mormon draw you closer to God or to the devil:

 

The logic used to “prove” that the book is from God is extremely flawed.

 

Basically he is saying, look at these sections of the Scripture.  These verses tell you to draw closer to God.  The devil cannot tell you to draw closer to God, therefore these verses have to be from God.

 

 1.    Just because something contains the word of God, does not make it the word of God.  If I write a book and quote Scriptures from the Bible, does that make it the word of God?

2.    Just because something has good positive teachings, does not make it the word of God.  If I write a book and encourage others to follow Christ, that does not make the book the word of God.

 

 Next the author states that the Book of Mormon is essential because all of the other Christian churches are interpreting the Bible incorrectly.

 

But why is the Book of Mormon so essential if we already have the Bible to teach us about Jesus Christ?

 

It is not essential.

 

But why is the Book of Mormon so essential if we already have the Bible to teach us about Jesus Christ? Have you ever wondered why there are so many Christian churches in the world today when they obtain their doctrines from essentially the same Bible?

 

Yes. There are three types of churches.  Protestant, Catholic, and Baptist.

 

Origin of the Catholic Church: http://www.biblebelievers.com/jmelton/Catholic.html

 

History of the Baptists, Protestants, and Catholics

http://www.danvillebaptistky.com/web_documents/trail_of_blood_timeline.pdf

 

As you can see from that timeline above, Baptists do not claim to be Protestants. All Protestant churches have doctrinal errors as they came out of the Catholic church.

 

The Baptists was the name given to the groups that have always remained separate from the Catholic Church and hence doctrinal purity.

 

It is because they interpret the Bible differently.

 

It is because the Catholic and Protestant churches all have doctrinal errors.

 

If they interpreted it the same, they would be the same church.

 

It is not about interpretation of the Scriptures so much as false doctrines being carried over from one generation to the next.

 

This is not a condition the Lord desires, for the Apostle Paul declared that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).

 

That is true, God does not like it when people believe false doctrine.

 

To help bring this oneness about, the Lord established a divine law of witnesses.

 

This is extra-biblical teaching.  No where is the Bible teaching that we need two witnesses to bring unity in the church.

 

Paul taught, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1).

 

Paul was coming to deal with a sinning church member.  He is referencing Jesus command back in Matthew 18:16 and also Deuteronomy 19:15

 

16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

 

15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

 

The Bible is one witness of Jesus Christ; the Book of Mormon is another.

 

There is no proof that the Book of Mormon is a witness and the whole premise of two witnesses to prove Christianity true is taking the Bible verses out of context.

 

Why is this second witness so crucial? The following illustration may help: How many straight lines can you draw through a single point on a piece of paper? The answer is infinite. For a moment, suppose that single point represents the Bible and that hundreds of those straight lines drawn through that point represent different interpretations of the Bible and that each of those interpretations represents a different church.

What happens, however, if on that piece of paper there is a second point representing the Book of Mormon? How many straight lines could you draw between these two reference points: the Bible and the Book of Mormon? Only one. Only one interpretation of Christ’s doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses.

 

This illustration is true for two or three witnesses as it relates to church discipline.

 

Again and again the Book of Mormon acts as a confirming, clarifying, unifying witness of the doctrines taught in the Bible so that there is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

 

The Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible in many places so this is not a true statement.

 

For example, some people are confused as to whether baptism is essential for salvation even though the Savior declared to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

 

Salvation is not by baptism per Paul in 1 Corinthians:

 

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

 

Baptism is something you can do.  It is a work.  We are not saved by works.

 

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.

 

 

The Book of Mormon, however, eliminates all doubt on that subject: “And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, … or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 9:23).

 

This is proof that the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible and teaches works salvation and salvation through baptism.

 

There exist various modes of baptisms in the world today even though the Bible tells us the manner in which the Savior, our great Exemplar, was baptized: “[He] went up straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16). Could He have come up out of the water unless He first went down into the water? Lest there be any discord on this subject, the Book of Mormon dispels it with this straightforward statement of doctrine as to the proper manner of baptism: “And then shall ye immerse them in the water” (3 Nephi 11:26).

 

We agree the Bible teaches that Believer’s Baptism is only by immersion.  All other baptisms are not valid.  Baptism must also be after salvation.

 

Many believe that revelation ended with the Bible even though the Bible itself is a testimony of God’s revelatory pattern over 4,000 years of man’s existence.

 

The two statements are not dependent on each other.  You can believe that God revealed the Bible over a time of 4,000 years and you can believe that the word of God is finished in the Bible.  The beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

 

But one incorrect doctrine such as this is like a domino set in motion that causes the fall of other dominoes or, in this case, the fall of correct doctrines.

 

Belief in one incorrect doctrine is like a domino effect.  That is why it is important to examine everything you believe and compare it with Scripture.

 

A belief in the cessation of revelation causes the doctrine that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Mormon 9:9) to fall;

 

The correct Scripture to be quoted here is Hebrews 13:8

 

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

 

it causes the doctrine taught by Amos that “surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7) to fall;

 

Amos 3:7 is being taken out of context.  First let’s just look at the verse itself.

 7Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets

 

In the context of the book of Amos, Amos is preaching to God’s people telling them that they can expect judgement for their sin.  Amos is warning them of what is to come as a consequence of their sin. 

 

There are 6 questions in verses 4-6 that are all rhetorical and the answer to all of them is “No.” What Amos is saying in verse 7 is: “Will God do anything without revealing His secret counsel to His servants the prophets?”

 

The answer would be No!  No God would not do anything without first revealing it!  Let’s take a closer look: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing” … meaning God will surely not punish for sin unless He has first “revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets”.  What is this secret in singular?  What is the secret of the prophets?  Let’s compare Scripture with Scripture.  Psalms 25:14 says 14The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.  God’s secret that he has already revealed to his servants the prophets is the covenant.  What covenant?

 

There are two covenants.  The Old Covenant that was the law that was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.  The purpose of the Law was not to put down a bunch of rules that we had to follow in order to get to Heaven, but rather to show us it was impossible to be perfect.  To show us our sin.  Before someone can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, they have to first acknowledge that they are a sinner.  That was the purpose of the Old Covenant.  The New Covenant is the Covenant made with the blood of Christ.  That through the blood of Christ we have forgiveness of sin. 

So what is the secret? Let’s look at another verse. Romans 16:25 says 25Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

 

 26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

 27To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

 

So vs 25 acknowledges that there was a secret.  A secret since the world began but vs 26 states that that secret is now made manifest by the scriptures.  The scriptures of the prophets is the Word of God: The Bible.

 

And also 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

 8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

 

So what is the secret? What is the mystery? It is salvation through Christ alone.

 

and it causes the doctrine that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) and thus speaks to all men of all ages to fall.

 

The context of Acts 10:34 is Peter understanding that salvation is for the Gentiles also.  God is not a respecter of persons.  He offers salvation to all.

 

 

But fortunately the Book of Mormon reenthrones the biblical truth of continuous revelation:

 

“And again, I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations. …

“Do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever … ?” (Mormon 9:7, 9).

 

You cannot state that something is true because it claims to be true.  That is circular logic.

 

In other words, if God, who is unchangeable, spoke in ancient times, He will likewise speak in modern times.

 

Again this statement has not been proved.  The verse was taken out of context.

 

The list of doctrinal confirmations and clarifications goes on and on, but none is more powerful nor poignant than the Book of Mormon’s discourses on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Would you like to have emblazoned on your soul an undeniable witness that the Savior descended beneath your sins and that there is no sin, no mortal plight outside the merciful reach of His Atonement—that for each of your struggles He has a remedy of superior healing power? Then read the Book of Mormon. It will teach you and testify to you that Christ’s Atonement is infinite because it circumscribes and encompasses and transcends every finite frailty known to man. That is why the prophet Mormon declared, “Ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ” (Moroni 7:41).

No wonder the Book of Mormon proclaims with boldness, “And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 33:10).

 

This is simply a call to action to read the Book of Mormon. 

 

Together with the Bible, the Book of Mormon is an indispensable witness of the doctrines of Christ and His divinity.

 

Again no proof that the Book of Mormon is true.  Just a statement that it is.

 

Together with the Bible, it “teach[es] all men that they should do good” (2 Nephi 33:10).

 

It may have teachings that tell people to do good but it does not teach people how to be saved according to the Bible.  It has a different Gospel.  Being good does not get someone into Heaven.

 

And together with the Bible, it brings us to “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” That is why the Book of Mormon is so crucial in our lives.

 

Again this was mis-interpreted and the verse taken out of context.  No such proof has been given.

 

Some years ago I attended one of our worship services in Toronto, Canada. A 14-year-old girl was the speaker. She said that she had been discussing religion with one of her friends at school. Her friend said to her, “What religion do you belong to?”

She replied, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.”

Her friend replied, “I know that church, and I know it’s not true.”

“How do you know?” came the reply.

“Because,” said her friend, “I have researched it.”

“Have you read the Book of Mormon?”

“No,” came the answer. “I haven’t.”

Then this sweet young girl responded, “Then you haven’t researched my church, because I have read every page of the Book of Mormon and I know it’s true.”

 

When the Secret Service are trained to spot counterfeit dollars they are not taught what every counterfeit dollar looks like.  They are trained to study what true bills look like.  They study the truth so much that when a counterfeit one pops up, they can immediately recognize it.  The Bible is the truth and we don’t have to read the Book of Mormon to know it teaches a counterfeit Christianity.

 

I too have read every page of the Book of Mormon, again and again, and I bear my solemn witness, like my great-great-grandfather, it is from God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 

Reading something and declaring it to be true is not proof of its truth.

 

Anyone that knows me knows that I am completely open to having a discussion about doctrine and theology.  After I got saved at the age of 15 I was friends with many Mormons in my high school.  I had lively discussions with them and even went to a couple of classes at the local Mormon church with one of my friends.  My goal is not to “put down” another religion.  My goal is to expose the error with grace in love.  I Challenge my Mormon friends to examine what you believe.  Compare what you believe with the Bible.  Try reading the Bible alone for six months to a year.  Try to prove everything you believe with the Bible alone.  I believe that if someone is honestly seeking Him and seeking Truth, God will reveal Himself to you.  But what He reveals will never contradict what He has already revealed in the Bible.

 

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

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