Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

RELIGIONS

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Framing The Argument

Monday, February 22, 2021
     I am hoping you can help me in how to answer a friend.  She is Mormon, and so I asked her to explain to me how she is able to use an "extra book" – the book of Mormon, and this is what she had to say.  I was wondering if you could help me understand how to further explain this in a clear way.

Here is the e-mail that she sent to me: "It is super important that we ask questions; God tells us in James 1:5-6 to ask, and He will answer.  So the reason I know the book of Mormon is true isn't because my parents taught me or because I've read it, but it's because I read it and then prayed about it.  I was definitely given an answer and know that it’s true.  From Ezekiel 37:16-17, we know the stick of Judah is referring to the Bible, and the stick of Ephraim is referring to the book of Mormon, and in verse seventeen when it says put them together, they become one.  That's why we believe there are two books that both testify and strengthen a testimony of Jesus Christ when used together.  Also, John 10:16 – Christ is speaking, the Bible is written of and for the people in Jerusalem.  Christ is explaining that there are others, and He will preach to them as well.  We believe He is speaking of the people in the book of Mormon.  Both sets of people wrote what they were taught from Christ, just in different places.  And answering your question about Revelation, we believe that John isn't referring to the Bible as a whole, but rather the book of Revelation when he says ‘do not add to this book’.  Deut. 4 also states something similar."

That's all she wrote, folks!  Thanks again for your help!

Sincerely,
Not A Mormon

Dear Not A Mormon,

There are a lot of components that your Mormon friend brings up, and that is oftentimes the struggle with studying with a Mormon.  They are taught to bring up about ten different things without really dealing with any of them in-depth.  We are going to do the opposite.  If we can prove Mormonism wrong in one area, it falls like a card castle.  Forget about Ezek. 37 and Jhn 10:16… those have nothing to do with the book of Mormon, but it will take you forever to help them put those back in context.  We are only going to deal with two issues:

  1. Your friend said she read the book of Mormon and prayed about it, and that gave her the answer that the book of Mormon was from God.  Here is the problem with that.  Right now, there is a Hindu who believes Hinduism is correct praying to his gods.  And there is a Catholic listening to a speech from the Pope, believing that the Pope is correct.  And there is an atheist reading Richard Dawkins who feels that he is correct.  All of their feelings can’t be correct!  God tells us in Isa 1:18 to “reason together”, and Jhn 8:32 tells us, “Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”.  On top of that, Matt 7:21-23 makes it clear that many people will die feeling they had served God but will be cast out because their feelings were wrong!  It isn’t enough to feel that the book of Mormon is from God; she has to prove it.
  2. Mormons agree that God wrote the Bible, so let’s start there.  If the book of Mormon is from God, it won’t contradict the Bible.  If it does contradict the Bible, then it is wrong – Gal 1:8 makes that very clear.  Here is the problem.  The book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price (the Mormons actually have three books they use beside the Bible) all contradict the Bible repeatedly.  In fact, they even contradict themselves.

In short, remind your friend that she has to prove her religious views – feelings aren’t enough… just like you have to prove your views.  She would never accept you saying, “I prayed about it, and I received an answer that Mormonism is wrong.”  The same goes for her saying the opposite.

Israel's One Purpose

Friday, February 19, 2021
     One question I've wondered about for some time is why were God's people the children of Israel?  What about all the other people on the earth?  Thanks for the clarifications.

Sincerely,
People Everywhere

Dear People Everywhere,

God once did try to work with all the people of the earth at once – and He ended up having to flood the whole planet because things got so bad (Gen. 6:5-8).  After Noah’s flood, God made the promise never to flood the earth again because He had a different plan in mind.  Instead of leaving every man to do what was right in his own eyes until things got completely and totally depraved (as was the case before the flood), He used one man to bring hope to all men.

After the Great Flood, God called Abraham to be His servant and the father of a great nation (Gen 12:1-2).  God made a promise to Abraham that through Abraham’s seed, all mankind would be blessed (Gen 22:18).  Jesus is the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:16).  After the Great Flood, God put into motion His plan to offer salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ.  That road began with Abraham, and when the proper time came… Jesus was born (Gal 4:4).  Israel was God’s chosen people for one reason – they were the nation that Jesus would be born out of, and the Father was preparing them for the day they would be used to bring the Savior to all of mankind.

A Testament To Change

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
I know this might seem like a really basic question but... why do you go to church on Sundays?   Isn't Saturday the seventh day?

Sincerely,
Weekend Warrior

Dear Weekend Warrior,

Christians go to church on the first day of the week because that is when the early church assembled.  Saturday is the Sabbath day… but christians don’t have to worry about keeping the Sabbath.  The word ‘sabbath’ means ‘rest’.  The Sabbath day was a day that the nation of Israel was told to rest, stop working, and make holy to the Lord (Ex 31:15).  This rule was so strict that a man was once stoned for collecting firewood on Saturday (Num 15:32-36).  However, this was a Jewish command, not a Christian one.  The Sabbath was part of the Old Testament law – a law that christians are no longer under (Gal 3:23-25).  We are specifically told not to let anyone bind the Sabbath on us (Col 2:16).  Christians worship Christ on the first day of the week – Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2).  If you’d like more information on the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, we have a video tutorial on the subject here.

Sorta Spiritual

Friday, February 12, 2021
Is it possible to be a Catholic… but not too much?  Are there certain "degrees" of being religious?  What do you think of the phrases "I'm a Catholic in my own way" or "I'm a Catholic, but I don't exaggerate"?

Sincerely,
Cath-Light

Dear Cath-Light,

You can be a deeply devoted, strict Catholic or a mild Catholic… but we recommend neither.  Catholicism places the pope as the head of the church; Christianity places Christ as the head of the church (Eph 5:23).  All Catholic practices exist because the papal hierarchy believes them to be right; sometimes those beliefs agree with the Bible, but many times they don’t.  Catholicism tells priests to not marry, and it forbids certain foods – practices specifically condemned by Paul as false teaching (1 Tim 4:1-3).  Catholics are taught to call their religious leaders ‘Father’, but the Bible says that is wrong (Matt 23:9).  Catholic practices like infant baptism (and the teaching that children are born sinful), Vatican councils, cardinal vs. venial sins, etc. have no foundation in the Bible.  We derive our authority from the Bible, and that is where faith starts (Rom 10:17).

You want to be a Christian – someone who gets all of their practices and beliefs from the Bible and nowhere else.  Sticking to the Bible is the only way you can have confidence in your salvation.  After all, salvation is from God – we don’t get to decide which way we want to be saved.  If you would like help finding a congregation in your area that uses only the Bible as their guide, we would be happy to help you find one.  Simply e-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org.

Conscientious Objector

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
      My husband is a Mason and Shriner and has been for at least twelve years.  During that time, I, too, became an Eastern Star but quit only after a year because it did not feel right.  However, over the years, I have attended Mason functions and Potentate balls with my husband.  However, the more I read the Bible, the more I know that this is idol worship.  Since my husband does not write well, he asks me from time to time to type things for the Masons or Shriners.  I feel uncomfortable doing this and feel that I am participating in this idol worship.  I don't want my husband to feel that I don't want to help him, but I am conflicted.  Please help.

Sincerely,
Uneasy Wife

Dear Uneasy Wife,

You answered your own question when you said, “I feel that I am participating in this idol worship.”  God tells us that anything we can’t do in faith is sin (Rom 14:23).  You are correct; the Masons add to the Scriptures (Rev 22:18-19) and mix the occult with the biblical – it is wrong.

God tells us that we ought not to intermix our lives with idolatry (2 Cor 6:16).  We should flee idolatry and not help it along (1 Cor 10:14).  It is good to support your husband when you can… but this isn’t one of those times.

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