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The Biblical teaching is that we can say of those who have accepted the Biblical Christ: 'ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:26, emphasis added), a fact Brigham obviously overlooked.
It is one of the great truths of the Word of God that salvation is not of him that wills or of him that strives, but of God who shows mercy (Romans 9:16), and that Jesus Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).
As we have proven, it was the teaching of our Lord that 'all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out' (John 6:37), and the salvation which He still offers to lost men is 'not by any works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us' (Titus 3:5).
Mormon 'Second Chance Theology'!
Mormonism boldly teaches universal salvation, and 'that all men will be saved, but each one in his own order' (Evans, Mormon apostle). It is the teaching of the Scriptures, however, that not all men will be saved, and that at the end of the ages some shall 'go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal' (Matthew 25:46). The earnest warnings of the apostle John stand marshalled against the Mormon doctrine of universal salvation:
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. … And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. … And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. … 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. … The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name (Revelation 19:19-20; 20:10, 15; 21:8; 14:10-11).
By no conceivable stretch of the imagination is universal salvation to be found in these passages where the Greek words in their strongest form indicate torment, judgment, and eternal fire that burns forever. When the deceiver, Joseph Smith, originally put the Book of Mormon together, it crudely agreed with many Biblical doctrines, e.g. that Hell was a place of eternal torment from which their was no escape (e.g. 1 Nephi 14:3-7; 15:35; 2 Nephi 28;16-23; Jacob 7:18; Mosiah 16:10-12; Alma 26:19-20; 34:31-35; Helaman 12:26; 3 Nephi 27:11, 17; Ether 14:25:). Three of these quotes are incapable of being re-interpreted in the light of further Mormon contradiction:
Mosiah 16:10: Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil Mosiah 16:11 If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation Mosiah 16:12 Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.
Alma 34:31-35: Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. Alma 34:32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. Alma 34:33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. Alma 34:35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.
3 Nephi 27:11, 17: But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return ... 3 Nephi 27:17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
'You Must Be Born Again' - 'Again'?!
There is no way that the Mormon doctrine of 'a second chance' can exist in the framework of the Book of Mormon - and this is true of the many subsequent doctrines added by Smith. The chaos of Mormonism's unsystematic doctrines quickly led to attempts to 'patch up' the incredible contradictions Smith and Young, et al, were left with, e.g. the Mormon doctrine of 'celestial marriage.' This derived from Smith's adultery which he disguised with the polygamy 'revelation' (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132) and 'celestial marriage' slowly substituted for it in 1890, when the Mormon church was forced to abandon their immoral conduct lest Utah was refused statehood. This, in turn, is tied to the Mormons confused doctrine of salvation. Since Mormons were then taught that the family unit will endure unto the eternal ages, the insistence upon the sealing of Mormon men to many women, and the sealing of families, began. It was for this reason that the special rites and ceremonies were instituted on behalf of the dead (particularly relatives), baptism for the dead, and laying on of hands (for the bestowing of the gift of the Holy Ghost) by proxy. Sadly, many of Smith's other contradictory 'sealings' to men more or less died with him, although the records still exist and have also been exposed by the incomparable Tanner's.
You write: I believe in spiritual rebirth to change the heart, but it has to be constantly reoccuring as we repent. Can you honestly say that when you accepted the Saviour that you never backtracked and had to be reborn again? Don't you wish you could be reborn again on a daily basis? You can. I can. The Holy Ghost does this. Thank God it is so, because we as humans forget. 'Remember' is one of the most frequently used words in the scriptures along with repent.
TCE: We have discussed the passage in which the Lord Jesus Christ introduced the expression 'born again' (John 3) whilst talking to Nicodemus. Jesus clearly declared: 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God' (John 3:3). Nicodemus thought that Jesus was talking about a second physical birth and struggled to understand the concept and you have a similarly confused view of 'born again.' There was a time (only about 20 years ago) when the Mormons never used the term and, if they understand it in the way you do now, they still remain confused. Nowhere in the Bible do we find the doctrine of a second physical birth, which is quite obvious, but nowhere do we find a second spiritual birth described either. When you are born again, you are regenerated by the Spirit of God, and given a new nature that has a capacity for God and longs for Him and will not be happy except to dwell in the Father's house. This new nature never leaves you because you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. It becomes as vital a part of you as your old nature. At the new birth you get a new nature, but you do not lose your old nature. You have these two natures contending for priority in your life. This was the struggle Paul went through - as we all do - and he described it perfectly in Romans 7:21-25:
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I challenge any Mormon to find a single passage by a supposedly 'inspired' Mormon prophet - or authority of any kind - that can even begin to approach the spiritual depth and beauty of Bible verses such as this. It is no coincidence that Mark Twain described the Book of Mormon as 'chloroform in print' - which is ironic, since it includes a genuinely anaesthetic book, the Book of Ether, in its pages!
Genuine new birth means that the Holy Spirit baptizes the true believer into the one body of believers. It is an organic union of all believers who are brought together into one body, and that one body is called in Scripture the church. You cannot be born again two or more times; but if you have been born again one time, you remain a child of God, though you demonstrate more of the old nature (the 'old Adam') at times than the 'second Adam' (Christ) at times, and may feel that you are far from God. It is the process of sanctification which makes us take off the old Adam and put on the new Adam (Christ Jesus, ref. 1 Corinthians 15:45-49) by degrees so that we lead a more and more holy life as we learn to obey His Word and walk by His Spirit. Anyone attempting to walk by the spirit of Mormonism, as exemplified by the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, and necromantic-occultic temple ceremonies, will never be able to do more than wall-paper over their 'old Adam' as they strive to put on a Christian front via 'good works.'
You write: I'm afraid I find my church very consistent with the teachings of Christ, so Galatians 1:6-9 cannot apply to our church.
TCE: we have proven that the opposite is true in nearly every aspect of Mormonism, which is why every single un-Biblical doctrine of Mormonism can easily be exposed.
You write: I don't think you explained what will happen to someone who has never been introduced to the gospel of Christ? 1 Peter 3:19 talks about preaching to the spirits in prison and other scriptures refer to this same prison. This doctrine is very important to understand. The spirit world as you have probably already read is divided into two parts - prison and paradise. We believe that the Christ said to the thief 'Today we will be together in the 'world of spirits' and paradise was what the Catholic priests interpretted that to mean misunderstanding the concept. I can't prove this, but it makes sense to me that the thief will have to learn a little more about Christ and will do so there and then when he knows the 'word' well enough he too can accept Christ as his Saviour. Like you said - The word can cleanse and knowledge of the word is important.
TCE: Again, the spectre of Mormon invention raises its head. Because it was necessary for Smith and Young, et al, to try and undermine the Bible in order to insert their false doctrines in the minds of the unwary, they have taught you to invent doctrine whenever the Bible fails to fit Mormon doctrine - which is regularly. There is absolutely no evidence that 'Catholic priests' were ever successful in perverting the Bible - either in manuscript form or in translation - because there are simply too many manuscripts available which can be used to check the accuracy of any translation. We will gladly supply additional evidence that the Bible is 100% trustworthy whereas the Book of Mormon, Abraham etc. are embarrassingly corrupt inventions of men. Equally embarrassing is the so-called 'inspired' Bible translation of Joseph Smith - which is full of contradictions of his own earlier declarations on Biblical text!
The reason we can be certain that 1 Peter 3:19 does not mean what you have been taught it means is clear from the Greek (1 Peter 3:18-22):
18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand - with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
Christ, during the interval between his crucifixion and resurrection, went down to the realm of the dead and preached to Noah's contemporaries. Various opinions have been put forward to explain the nature of the proclamation:
(1) Christ's soul ministers an offer of salvation to the spirits. (2) He announces condemnation to the unbelievers of Noah's time. (3) He announces good tidings to those who had already been saved.
But to whom did he preach - and what did he preach? The best explanation is that the 'spirits' (pneumata) are fallen angels. Verse 19 has been taken by others beside the Mormons to try and prove that Christ descended unto hell and gave the prisoners there a second chance to be saved, but we know from Hebrews 9:27 that there is no 'second chance' after death to be saved. The fallen angels (spirits) of verse 20 are identified as those who were disobedient at the time of Noah. This connects with the rebellion of Genesis 6:1-4, which is referred to in Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4. Verse 20 makes a connection between the disobedience of the spirits and the Flood-judgment. The Flood-judgment is a warning to humanity of God's coming eschatological judgment on the disobedient world (cf. Matthew 24:37-41; 2 Peter 3:3-7). The ark that saved a few through water portrays the salvation now available in Christ. Jesus went to the place of angelic confinement and, although the content of the proclamation is not stated, the verb kerysso means 'to proclaim' or 'to announce.' Since the Word of God chose to use this verb rather than euangelizo ('to proclaim good news'), which is used in 1 Peter 4:6 ('For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit'), is significant and shows that He did not announce the gospel to the fallen angels! Of course, the thought of salvation for angels is foreign to the New Testament anyway (Hebrews 2:16: 'For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants') and also to Peter (cf. comments on 1:12). The announcement is most likely to be of his victory, and of their doom, that has come through his death on the cross and his resurrection.
In the future, at the end of the Tribulation, an angel will descend from heaven with the key of the abyss and with a great chain in his hand (Revelation 20:1). The fact he has the key and the chain shows he has been given authority and power from heaven to carry out this assignment. The word 'abyss,' the Greek abussos, means 'boundless or bottomless.' This is the bondage place of fallen angels (demons or unclean spirits). It is the same place called 'tartaros' in 2 Peter 2:4. Literally, 2 Peter 2:4 reads, 'and to pits of darkness (gloom), he committed them by casting them into tartaros' (the verb here is tartaraw, 'to cast into tartaros'). This and other verses tell us: (1) that tartaros is an abyss of gloom or darkness, (2) that it is a prison of fallen angels, and (3) that the fallen angels who were bound there were those who sinned in the days of Noah in Genesis 6 (2 Peter 2:5; Jude 6-7; Luke 8:31).
In the account in Luke 23:43, Jesus' emphatic response was to assure the criminal - who said 'remember me when you come into your kingdom' - that he need not wait for any future event but that he would have an immediate joyful experience of fellowship with Jesus 'in paradise' (Greek: en to paradeiso). This Persian word, which had been taken over into Greek, symbolizes a place of beauty and delight. It means 'park' or 'garden' and is used of both the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:8 (LXX - The Septuagint) and to the future bliss the garden symbolizes (Isaiah 51:3; cf. Revelation 2:7). It is also the place Paul said he was caught up into (2 Corinthians 12:4).
You write: I don't follow your explanation of the reason there is no second chance. I do read in that passage that we must be doers of the law to be justified, but the passage is very difficult to understand and open to much interpretation.
TCE: presumably you refer to the passage from Romans, Chapter 1 & 2, so we have supplied the New International Version translation into modern English. We would not be surprised if much of the difficulty people have with understanding passages of Scripture comes from relying on an Elizabethan translation. Although the King James Version is perfectly capable of conveying the truth of God's Word, we simply do not speak or read in the language of King James' day and this is only a little removed from the problem of trying to understand instructions in a foreign language. We have highlighted the points we wish to emphasise in red, as follows:
RO 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I have purposed to come unto you (but was prevented hitherto), that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise; 15 so, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are at Rome.
RO 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'
RO 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
RO 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
RO 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
RO 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
RO 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
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