Mormons at Your Door: Evangelizing the Missionaries

Yesterday, I talked about some of the basics for what to expect when Mormon missionaries come to the door.  Today, I’m going to take some examples from a real life encounter with Mormon missionaries to show how you can use it as an opportunity to Evangelize them.

On Wednesday, my friends Cary and Meg had invited me to join them at dinner with a couple of Mormon (LDS) missionaries.  During dinner, we talked about their lives and about their mission. Afterwards, we move over to the couch, and got down to the nitty-gritty of the things which unite and divide us.  It really was a blessing to have two missionaries as open to listening as these two men were. I’m not sure if we helped at all, but I think the Holy Spirit was able to use us a bit . In any case, here are the basic arguments we raised; I’d love to hear feedback about how strong or weak you feel each one is.

I . The “Great Apostasy” and Apostolic Succession

Cary went right for this one, because he’d been reading about it, and was genuinely confused by the Mormon position. In a nutshell, here’s the LDS position:

Mormonism teaches that not long after Jesus Christ’s lifetime, internal rebellions within the early Christian community caused the primitive Christian Church, led by the Twelve Apostles to disappear and be replaced by many factions, each of which had pieces of the truth, but not a fullness. More importantly, this falling away (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3) resulted in a loss of authority, which Mormons call Priesthood. Without proper authority from God, man cannot perform the ordinances of the Church. […] 
Many of the Apostles and righteous members of Christ’s Church were killed by the wicked, and the priesthood along with Christ’s Church were taken from the earth. Persecution of those who were called Christians began in about the first century by the Roman Empire. Revelation could no longer be received on behalf of the Church, because there was no one authorized by God to receive it, although individuals could and continued to receive inspiration in their personal lives. […] 
The Restoration, a necessary event after an apostasy, came about through Joseph Smith. In the spring of 1829, while translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visited by heavenly messengers who restored to them the Priesthood, the authority to act in God’s name. In 1830, the Church of Christ, as the Mormon Church was originally called, was organized officially. The authority to act in God’s name was restored, as was true doctrine. Latter-day Saints believe there are again Apostles on the earth, and a Prophet who guides the Church of Christ through revelation and the power of the priesthood. 

So in about 95-105 A.D., the Church which Jesus promised wouldn’t be overcome by the gates of Hades, death (Matthew 16:17-19), was overcome by the death of the last Apostle, St. John.  But then the Church was restored through Joseph Smith, and it hasn’t been wiped out again.

The missionaries explained that the early Church died out because of the wickedness of the people. If Mormons thought Catholics were wicked God-hating apostates, this view would make sense. But that’s not the view they take these days.  They tend to think that the early Catholics were God-fearing, but just didn’t have the full truth.  In fact, they think that these early Christians (1) more or less recognized which Books were the word of God (the Old and New Testaments), and (2) preserved these Books carefully. The Mormon Joseph Smith Edition of the Bible is based off of the King James Version, which is based off of the early Christian manuscripts. The JSE makes a few minor tweaks, but it’s very close to the KJV.

So we’re left to believe that there were early Christians trying to follow God, and doing a pretty good job of it (preserving the Bible, going to the death for the faith, and all that), yet who God considered too wicked for the Church to remain with.  If they’re too wicked to be trusted with the Church, how can we trust them with the Bible?   We raised a few major points in response to these Apostasy/Restoration claims:

  1. Why was Joseph Smith able to carry on the Church and Jesus wasn’t?  Jesus personally founded the New Testament Church in Matthew 16:17-19, and calls it His Church.  Within the Mormon view, God’s own Church died out faster than 8-track tapes.  Cary asked why this view didn’t elevate Joseph Smith over Jesus.
  2. Doesn’t this view leave Mormonism’s status in serious question?  If the early Church unwittingly fell into a total Apostasy, who’s to say that it hasn’t happened again?
  3. The third pope was already in Rome by the death of St. John. Cary mentioned this, but I thought his point was great.  By the time the Apostle John dies, we know from Church history that Peter (who’d died about thirty years before) was succeeded by Popes Linus and Clements. If the papacy was a false Church, and if the rest of the bishops throughout Christendom were phonies, why didn’t the Apostle John say anything to condemn them?
  4. Jesus praises the early Church. Not only do we see, from the Book of Acts, a Church which is on fire for Christ and rapidly growing, but even by the end of John’s life, the Church is still pleasing God. Just read the praises bestowed in the Book of Revelation, perhaps the last-written Book of the Bible.  In Revelation 1, Jesus tells St. John to deliver specific messages to each of the seven area churches.  And He’s got mostly good things to say to the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, and Philadelphia. Sure, the Church, both locally and globally, had / has / will have problems, but Jesus is encouraging these Christians, not denouncing their wickedness.

This last point is important, I think, because it basically disproves the Mormon case for the Great Apostasy.  If, towards the close of the Apostle John’s life, there are still worthy men following Christ, men who Jesus Christ Himself announces that He’s pleased with, there are surely men to draw the next generation of Church leaders from.  The Mormon claim that these Christians were simply too wicked runs headlong into the praises bestowed by Jesus.

II. Abortion

One area where most Mormons are excellent is morality. The two missionaries we spoke to had no problem denouncing abortion as murder, and saying that even in the tough cases (rape, incest, etc.), there are better options. In fact, they pointed to the numerous social services which the LDS Church provided.   I said, “I thought your church permitted abortion in some circumstances?” and they denied it.  At this point, I read from the official LDS website:

Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.

So in fact, while most Mormons are very pro-life, the LDS Church is much less so.  Cary then asked, “Wait, so is murder sometimes okay?”  The two missionaries were clearly unaware that their church taught this, and seemed troubled by it.  One of them speculated that the local church leaders wouldn’t permit an abortion, despite what it said, but I don’t think he even convinced himself.

III. Disarming Their Best Weapons

Mormon missionaries are apparently trained to fall on a few stock answers: to “pray on it,” or “I can feel in my heart it’s true” or some similarly non-falsifiable claim. If they’re not trained to do this, it’s at least the common refrain I’ve heard from countless Mormons I’ve talked theology with.  So if you’re going to move ahead with a discussion, it’s important to take it out of the realm of the subjective and the non-falsifiable. Otherwise, as long as Mormonism “feels right,” the person you’re talking to will never move towards a fuller Christianity.

In other to move past these fall-backs, we talked about how the LDS think that non-Mormons still have some truth, and that the Holy Spirit still works through these other denominations or churches. They conceded that it wasn’t as if all the Catholics and Protestants were acting in bad faith, or that Catholic and Protestants don’t pray. So we talked about the phenomenon of a Catholic, a Baptist, and a Mormon each praying, and each walking away thinking that God’s telling them different (contradictory) things. We were careful to note that yes, we should pray, and yes, God does communicate to us through prayer, but we explained that as Catholics, we saw prayer alone as fallible, since it’s easy to mix up what God’s telling us, and what we want God to be telling us.

IV. Polygamy and Contradictions

Most people’s argument about Mormon’s one-time fling with polygamy (what they refer to as “plural marriage”) goes something like this: “You used to do polygamy. The Bible says polygamy is bad. You’re wrong.” That argument is weak.  After all, we see polygamy in the Old Testament, and much of it goes uncondemned by God (we talked about that in the comments here, by the way).  The Mormon answer is that just as the Jews are forbidden to eat pork, but not Christians, it’s possible that plural marriage is right or wrong for specific people, given the particular culture and context.

So  here’s the approach I took to the question, instead, with a Q&A with the senior of the two missionaries that went something like this:

  • Q: Can God contradict Himself? [I genuinely didn’t know the Mormon answer to this, so this wasn’t just a set-up].
  • A: No
  • Q: So I can see how God could theoretically say that plural marriage is right for David and not for Solomon, or vice versa, but can God says that plural marriage is both right for Solomon and wrong for Solomon?
  • A: No, that would be a contradiction.
I then read from the Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:24,

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

We all agreed that sounded quite clearly like the Book of Mormon was saying that God was condemning David and Solomon’s plural marriages as an abomination. Then I read from Doctrines & Covenants 132:38-39

David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. 

David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.

Yup, this passage says that not only was David and Solomon’s taking of plural wives not an abomination, it was not even a sin; and not only was it not a sin, these women were given to David by God. Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, is the only exception.  At this point, the senior missionary protested that he wasn’t a “Scriptorian,” and realized it had gotten late and that they had to leave.

A Final Point: The Importance of Charity

While we had, as the above post shows, some obvious points of disagreement, the single most important thing to remember when dealing with Mormons (or anyone) is to do it lovingly.  Name-calling, just telling them they’re a “cult,” or “not Christian,” or anything else, is unhelpful. It might make us feel superior, but if we’re genuinely concerned for their spiritual well-being, do for them what you would want done for you.  Would you be convinced by someone simply blowing off your religion?   So be prepared to make a defense of orthodox Christianity, and of Catholicism particularly, but do so with “gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:16).  I can just about guarantee you that the Mormons are so used to being treated poorly by the folks they’re meeting door-to-door that a genuine Christian witness done in charity will be a drink of cold water. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise the Truth — quite the opposite. If you truly love someone, you’ll want them to be on the right track towards God.

We were fortunate because while Cary and I were pointing out many of the areas on which we disagreed, Megan balanced us out by talking about some of the great things about Mormonism, as well as many of the things we have in common. Her presence meant that there wasn’t any “ganging up,” and I’m quite thankful she was there. It’s important for someone to accentuate the positive for a couple reasons. One, if you come across as simply argumentative, they’re going to leave. And two, your goal isn’t to just disprove Mormonism. You don’t want some poor missionary leaving an atheist.  Rather, it’s to show how Catholicism is the fulfillment of those truths which Mormonism has.

That is, Mormons are great at recognizing the importance of Apostolic succession, of a central Church hierarchy, of a leadership guarded by the Holy Spirit, of speaking the Truth in love, and so on. Showing that Catholicism affirms all of these things, without suffering from the many flaws within Mormonism, makes the Church an obvious candidate to look to if a Mormon starts to wonder exactly how his Church can both condemn and condone the murder of unborn children, or claim that God both praises and detests David and Solomon’s many wives.

You might find yourself in the position of trying to do both of these things at once: show how we’re similar, and show how we’re different (and right).  It’s a hard balance to strike, and I can nearly guarantee you’ll have a strong sense of l’esprit de l’escalier after you say good night.  Certainly, there are a number of things I wish had been said, or said differently.  God understands.  Finally, remember that “One sows and another reaps” (John 4:37).  It’s easy to let pride lead you to think you can convert someone, from start to finish, in an hour.  You almost certainly can’t. So just do your part, and let God do the rest.

83 Comments

  1. Terrie and others,

    I think there is some confusion about the idea of discussing theological topics. What Mormons are saying is something different from what Catholics are saying.

    Catholics are not saying to trample upon a Mormon with theological arguments, but rather have something to actually discuss and bring up facts and reasonable bits of info when presenting a case. Praying is important, as is asking God for Light, but this is “insufficient” as a testimony because anyone of any religion can argue such. Truth is, I as a Catholic followed those same steps Mormons suggest, and I believe it’s only confirmed and strengthened my choice for Catholicism. Mormons and Protestants and such are utterly shocked to hear I and other Catholics have regularly prayed and read the Bible as the basis for us being Catholic since it’s a testimony that directly conflicts with the ‘expected results’.

    From the Catholic point of view, sending someone out ill equipped to discuss theology is a disaster waiting to happen. This is not the same as the call for all Catholics to share their faith in their life, but this is not to be confused with Church-sponsored and trained missionaries. This is why I see it confusing and inappropriate to confer the title “elder” on a mere 19 year old child with no life experience (i.e. wisdom from age) or formal theological training.

  2. Seth,

    I’d like to make a quick comment about your post. The claims Catholics make are not meant to be arguments that can stump an inexperienced missionary, but rather what we believe is the superior argument, and thus can be presented to even the most experienced and knowledgeable Mormon.

    The main point I’d focus upon regarding the main thrust of your argument is whether you believe the Church can go utterly apostate. If you say no, then there goes the Great Apostasy claim – the foundation of the LDS Church, according to a famous LDS theologian. If you say yes, then that puts you in the dubious position of claiming Jesus was in essence a failure, as well as no principled basis for saying the “Restored Church” couldn’t (or hasn’t yet) go apostate as well. From the Catholic perspective, your exegesis of Matthew 16 misses the forest for the trees – Jesus is building His Church on a Rock, whatever you want “Rock” to be, it’s undeniable the foundation Jesus is building on is “rock-solid” (and thus cannot go apostate).

  3. Brent Stubbs. You asked for citations to early Christian sources supporting my reading on this scripture passage. So here are a couple:

    In Lectures on John chapter xxi:19-25, Augustine writes:

    “For petra (rock) is not derived from Peter, but Peter from petra; just as Christ is not called so from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. For on this very account the Lord said, “On this rock will I build my Church,” because Peter had said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ;3 and on this foundation was Peter himself also built.”

    In Expositions of Pslams xli:3–

    “3. But now there was read in the Gospel, how the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness was being tempted of the devil. Christ entirely was tempted of the devil. For in Christ thou wast being tempted, because Christ of thee had for Himself flesh, of Himself for thee salvation; of thee for Himself death, of Himself for thee life; of thee for Himself revilings, of Himself for thee honours; therefore of thee for Himself temptation, of Himself for thee victory. If in Him tempted we have been, in Him we overcome the devil.…”On the Rock Thou hast exalted me.” Now therefore here we perceive who is crying from the ends of the earth. Let us call to mind the Gospel: “Upon this Rock I will build My Church.” Therefore She crieth from the ends of the earth, whom He hath willed to be builded upon a Rock. But in order that the Church might be builded upon the Rock, who was made the Rock? Hear Paul saying: “But the Rock was Christ.” On Him therefore builded we have been. For this reason that Rock whereon we have been builded, first hath been smitten with winds, flood, rain, when Christ of the devil was being tempted. Behold on what firmness He hath willed to stablish thee. With reason our voice is not in vain, but is hearkened unto: for on great hope we have been set: “On the Rock Thou hast exalted me.”…

    In The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom: Matthew XV: 21, 22–

    “3. What then saith Christ? “Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas.” “Thus since thou hast proclaimed my Father, I too name him that begat thee;” all but saying, “As thou art son of Jonas, even so am I of my Father.” Else it were superfluous to say, “Thou art Son of Jonas;” but since he had said, “Son of God,” to point out that He is so Son of God, as the other son of Jonas, of the same substance with Him that begat Him, therefore He added this, “And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” that is, on the faith of his confession. Hereby He signifies that many were now on the point of believing, and raises his spirit, and makes him a shepherd. “And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” “And if not against it, much more not against me. So be not troubled because thou art shortly to hear that I shall be betrayed and crucified.”

  4. Seth,

    I’m familiar with those quotations. The rock being Peter and his confession is completely compatible with Catholicism. For some quotes from St. John Chrysostom go here. I was asking for quotations from the Church Fathers regarding your interpretations of the “gates”.

    For a discussion of the Petrine office, I recommend this article. I also recommend this article.

    Peace in Christ,

    Brent

  5. What is (or should be) the entire focus or center for the Christian life?

    Jesus Christ.

    So, to me, it would make no sense to make a mortal, sinful person (even though that person is one of Jesus’, as we all (here) are.)

    So, the Rock is the confession of faith that Peter spoke. And even that confession of faith was a gift of God (Blessed are you Simon Peter for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven”)

    Does this invalidate the Body and Blood of our dear Lord Jesus in the Lord’s Supper?

    NO!

    Jesus said that it IS his body, it IS his blood… “do this…”.

    When we “do this”, when we attach His promises to the bread and the wine (His Word)…then He is there, in it…working His will in the life of the person receiving it.

    That’s the Lutheran take.

    Thanks.

  6. Sorry for misunderstanding Brent.

    So, if I understand you correctly, interpreting the rock as not only Peter, but ALSO the confession that Peter made, is consistent with Catholic thought?

    If so, we may have little disagreement on that particular part of the passage.

    I’ll see about the other stuff you requested.

  7. The Church was built on The Rock, which is revelation from God to His church, and Peter was the rock, the REVELATOR, thru whom God would speak to His church. One was Petros, one was Petra, and I can’t remember which was which, but one was the big rock (revelation) and the other was the small rock (revelator).

    Except that Jesus did not speak Greek. He spoke Aramic. And the actual term was “Kephas” — Rock — which is transliterated as Peter for the name because Petra is a girl’s name, but is the same for both.

  8. From the Catholic point of view, sending someone out ill equipped to discuss theology is a disaster waiting to happen.

    How true. The aim is to attempt to be all things to all men in hope of saving at least some of them.

  9. If Jesus had much of an education he probably would have spoken Greek as well as Aramaic. Lots of people in Israel at that time spoke both.

    Even if true — so what?

    “Kephas.” In John, we are explicitly told it was Kephas and is only transliterated Peter.

  10. So, to me, it would make no sense to make a mortal, sinful person (even though that person is one of Jesus’, as we all (here) are.)

    This is why no Scripture is a matter of personal interpretation.

  11. Seth R,

    Yes, St. Peter and his faith–his confession–can both be understood as the rock (hope you will read the articles I referenced).

    Even more, Peter’s confession points to his particular teaching role in the Church, a message that is reinforced by Christ asking him over and over to “feed his sheep”, praying that his “faith would not fail him”, his dogmatic interpretation the O.T. in Acts 2:17, and what he does in Acts 15:

    “The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, (this is important since they were all seated) “Brethren, you know that [fn] in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us…”

    Peace to you on your journey

  12. theoldadam,

    If Scripture interprets Scripture, which scripture should I start with in interpreting the rest of it? That decision, ipso facto, proves that interpretation must require an agent outside of the text since there is nothing in the scripture that is a sufficient cause for determining the interpretative starting point of the rest of Scripture.

    To posit anything otherwise is to suggest an infinite regress of causes, since one can always think of another scripture to start from when one posits any particular scripture that should serve as the starting point of interpretation. (one can think of another interpretation for that matter)

    Nonetheless, I can agree that exegesis requires considering all of Scripture, but interpretation is a human activity, and the truth something we comprehend “with all the saints” (Eph 3:18) in the Church that is the “ground and pillar of truth” (1 Tim 3:15).

    Peace

  13. theoldadam,

    So, to me, it would make no sense to make a mortal, sinful person (even though that person is one of Jesus’, as we all (here) are.)

    1. How is this scripture interpreting scripture? (“to me”)

    2. God uses the foolish things of men to confound the wise. Jesus built his O.T. people on the patriarchs. “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…”. He changed Abram’s name and he changed Simon’s name as well. Not a coincidence.

    In Christ,

    Brent

  14. Brent,

    Start with Christ. And then, end with Christ. And in the middle….Christ.

    So the gospel ought be the grid through which everything else can be understood.

    If you pull the gospel out of the text (the forgiveness of sins and love for sinners), then I believe that Scripture is properly interpreted.

    The law (that which we do) has already been tried and we were (are) failures at it. God knows this about us, and that is why He sent us a Savior.

    That, I believe, is the proper way to interpret Scripture. Law/Gospel. The law to convict of sins and expose our need of a Savior…and then the gospel, the free gift of Christ Jesus for our forgiveness and justification.

    Thanks.

  15. @theoldadam

    It makes sense that faith under those paramater would not require works. In fact, I’m shocked you’re certain it requires faith, with the ability to interpret away the meaning of scriptures. Wouldn’t Christ be that much more valuable if it didn’t even require faith? Why limit God’s ability and infinite love… Seems to be the next step, one that Rob Bell seems to come to in his most recent book.

    Brock

  16. Brock,

    God is the One who makes those decisions.

    He has decided to make faith the goal.

    “What is it to do the works of the Father” (they asked Jesus), Jesus replied, “…believe in the one whom the Father has sent.”

    God gives us faith as a gift. He gives that which He commands.

    That’s pretty gracious!

    But not everyone hears the gospel message and so not everyone receives faith.

    This is a mystery which we won’t ever resolve down here.

    Me thinks.

    Thanks, Brock.

  17. If you pull the gospel out of the text (the forgiveness of sins and love for sinners), then I believe that Scripture is properly interpreted.

    How can you know that?

  18. It was kind of fun for me to read this blog, because I have been in those missionaries shoes many times before. At the beginning of my mission it ended about the same way, by me getting stumped by my lack of knowledge, but toward the end of my mission I could carry on a much better conversation. Since we as missionaries are taught to teach the basic foundational beliefs, and considering that we are only 19-23 in age, that is probably plenty of material to get good at teaching. We are even advised to avoid going far beyond the basic lessons, because then we start to focus on trying to “prove” our beliefs scripturally, instead of trying to gain a testimony through the Holy Spirit, which is the only source of testimony (see my next paragraph). If you feel that you need more than that, you need to visit something like fairlds.org, because these guys address more in depth apologetics, although it is not an official church source.

    I think it is interesting that you focus so much on the fallibility of prayer, and following the Holy Spirit, because according to 1 Cor. 12:3 that is the only source of testimony. While I agree that we cannot rely on prayer alone, I think it is pretty clear that we can never have a knowledge of anything, including the divinity of Christ, without personal revelation. Seems to me that you are “Disarming” God’s “Best Weapon.”

    1 Cor. 12:3-
    Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

    By the way, your contradictory scriptures on polygamy is really a misuse of scripture by avoiding context. That really wasn’t fair to the missionaries. The rest of the Book of Mormon scripture is as
    follows.

    Jacob 2:30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

    This is saying that there are times that God will give his people more than one wife, if there is a purpose like to “raise up seed.” The Doctrine and Covenants say that their sin was not in polygamy, it was only in taking wives that were not given them by God, and mentions specifically the case of David. It does not say that Solomon didn’t do a similar thing.

    Well, thank so much for being so nice to the missionaries, it sometimes ends with hurt feelings, and just mean things being said to missionaries. The last section on the importance of Charity is great, thank you. And I hope you are being as open minded as you want those missionaries to be.

    Brad

  19. marycatelli,

    Because the Bible tells me so.

    The Bible tells me that Jesus loves me(us) and forgives me(us).

    The Holy Spirit creates faith in that Word.

    There is power in the gospel Word (Romans 1 :16).

    If there were no Bible, we would still know it because that Word gets spoken to people and creates faith. As St. Paul said, “Faith comes by hearing”.

  20. theoldadam,

    But faith requires something more than just intellectual assent.

    I read in the Bible–the Gospel–about faith without works, of action motivated by belief. Abraham did this by faith, Noah did this by faith, Rachel did this by faith…No one just said, “I believe”.

    If I believe it is raining, I will get an umbrella. If I don’t get an umbrella, I get wet and (apparently) I didn’t really believe it was raining.

    A burning in your bosom isn’t a good ground for knowledge or faith. Both require a concrete grounding in reality. If not, God would have simply declared the good news from a dirigible. “See”…”Believe”.

    He didn’t. He came into time/space as a someone like you and me and died, brutally. We must also die. It can get brutal, but that’s life.

    Peace,

    Brent

  21. Brent,

    Agreed.

    We Lutherans do not believe that ‘faith’ is intellectual assent.

    We believe it is a living, active trust, given to us by God, and fostered by God through the hearing of His Word and through the Sacraments.

  22. theoldadam,

    Good. Then can we stop all the poetry and agree to agree that “living” and “active” imply works of some kind, a participation with the grace of Christ given ordinarily through the Sacraments?

    Reading through this thread and other threads made me think you were trying on purpose to be obscurant. This last comment makes sense and is consonant with Catholic teaching. Thank you.

    Peace to you on your journey,

    Brent

  23. I’ve seen a few people here who suggest praying for truth doesn’t work. The Bible says it does. James 1:5 promises us God will tell us if we ask. Jesus admonished us to pray. Me? I believe God keeps His promises and that if he says he will give me answers, then He will also figure out how to make me recognize those answers as being from Him. I trust God and it baffles me when I’m attacked on that issue.

    So — do you also hold that everyone who disagrees with you obviously did it wrong?

  24. Because the Bible tells me so.

    The Bible tells me that Jesus loves me(us) and forgives me(us).

    The Holy Spirit creates faith in that Word.

    There is power in the gospel Word (Romans 1 :16).

    Only if you got the right Bible. Besides, where does the Bible tell you that those two are the important things so you can ignore everything else in it? It seems to me to say the exact opposite.

    If there were no Bible, we would still know it because that Word gets spoken to people and creates faith. As St. Paul said, “Faith comes by hearing”.

    I’m glad you admit the effectiveness of the Sacred Tradition.

  25. well, i have seen of a documentary. either in discovery channel or history channel.
    that mormons founder has lied,cheated, and made his own bible supposedly made by “moses” that he interpreted from an Egyptian tablet he bought.
    i forgot the whole story but its in the video.

    1. Yes he did, in my homeland of Ohio nonetheless, there was a merchant rolling along, had a mummy and that piece of papyrus, well that papyrus as we well know today was Anubis the Jackal Headed god performing a mummification ritual. You can also tell without the jackal head of the god by the canopic jars beneath the table which the mummified person is laying. Those canopic jars were used to contain internal organs of the deceased. And Joseph Smith supposedly looked into his hat (no joke) and waited for the “Reformed Egyptian” Letters and its translation to appear. And he redrew the top of the papyrus to look like a man with a feather was standing over another man, hence his little Abraham story. I do think I know of which documentary you speak of, I stumbled across it a while ago, and these Mormons Scholars or whoever were saying that because the other portions of the papyrus were not recovered, there’s no way to make the conclusion that this was the case and that the narrative of Abraham might be missing, truth is that Papyrus and the Heiroglyphics on it were hymns to pagan gods in a mummification ritual, and its ludicrous to think that there would be any sudden insertion of some narrative about Abraham being sacrificed by an Egyptian priest, especially when no such thing existed in the Egyptian religion ANYWHERE.

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