LDS Food Storage–Take what you want.

In our church, we are counseled to build up a reserve of food, water, and finances so that we are able to ride out the unanticipated economic adversity in our lives.  Often, when I talk to other people about food storage, there is a wide difference in reaction between men and women.  If you’ll excuse the generalization, women talk about canning, wheat recipes, and gardening.  Men often talk about disaster scenarios and the topic of firearms seems frequently to creep in.    I think the argument goes that if you are going to the effort of stockpiling food for some kind of disaster scenario, you’d better have a way of protecting it, because thousands of other unprepared people are going to come and take it.  Although the conversation is usually interesting, I think our church leaders had a different strategy in mind.  I prefer to think that our response to anyone that wants some of our food storage is supposed to be, “Everyone’s welcome.  Take what you want.”

There’s a church website called Provident Living that gives a lot of guidance on what to store and how to store it.  Several years ago, when we first started accumulating food storage, wheat was the only food item on the list that was good for 25+ years.  (Now there are other “Life Sustaining” foods that are recommended with shelf lives over 30 years.)  Since we started before this “new list”, we have big plastic buckets full of wheat in our garage. 

But Don, should you really be advertising on the Internet that you have all this wheat in your garage?  I don’t think it matters.  Maybe in a disaster scenario, someone might come wandering to our home to see if they can take some of our wheat – maybe even by force.  They’ll likely run into very little resistance.  In fact, after they see the wheat they might have second thoughts about taking it.  We often equate wheat with bread, but there’s a lot of stuff that needs to happen before wheat turns into bread.  Not only do you need equipment like a mill, but you also need the other ingredients and the skills to actually make wheat into bread.  And if you’ve never made bread before, I guarantee you’re not going to be able to make a loaf of Wonder™ bread.  I tried once to take a few cups of wheat, grind it, and follow a recipe to make some bread.  And you would think that this super-fresh bread made from whole kernels of wheat would be absolutely delicious – like something you’d buy at Panera.  But, it was not.  It was the opposite of delicious.  I don’t think I know how to properly use yeast.  There’s some magical step that I’m missing because it didn’t make my bread nice and fluffy.  It didn’t even make it a little fluffy.  I could not believe how much effort I had to put in to make something that tasted so disgusting.  This is why I think we’re safe.  If you’ve got a gun, go hunt for a rabbit down on the Interurban trail (I saw about 5 of them on my bike ride), and put it on a rotisserie.  Because if you use it to take some wheat from a Mormon’s food storage, the jokes on you.

I couldn’t imagine going through the effort of making another piece of wheat dough cracker bread, then trying to get it down with some bleach flavored water.  And if you look at the recipe pamphlet, the other recipes don’t look that much better.  In a disaster, my guess is that I’ll probably revert to the “Thermos Wheat” recipe because it’s easy.  It’s kind of a “college guy recipe” for wheat.  You put a handful of wheat in a thermos, fill it up with hot water, then eat it the next day.  By about day 2 of this, I’m pretty sure I’d be looking for people to share this meal with.  Mostly, to hasten the end.  And if someone showed up with a firearm to try and take it by force, I would hand him (or her) a big sample bowl of the wheat gruel and ask with a smirk, “Are you sure?  Because you can have as much as you want.” 

For those with the mysterious skill of being able to make wheat into edible bread, you will be in high demand, and I personally invite you to come live at our home in the case of a large-scale disaster.  It’s like you can turn water into wine in my book. 

Until then, we’ll be crunching away on our lukewarm Thermos wheat. Maybe on special occasions, we’ll pop some “Roasted Wheat Kernels”  (A wheat version of Popcorn… or Popwheat as some may refer to it.)  And likely, we’ll be praying that the food supply runs out quickly.  

An exception to this is canned peaches.  To me, canned peaches taste just as delicious if not even more so than fresh peaches.  A few years ago, my wife canned several boxes worth of peaches.  It was so amazingly delicious.  But, it ran out within about a month.  Our family can tear through peaches like nobody’s business.  In a disaster scenario, you’ll probably come too late for the peaches.  We’ll be eating those for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack – dreading the day we have to crack open our thermos.

Now, it is possible that over time we might actually figure out how to use some of our food storage in a way that does not sap our will to live.  Even in this scenario, my reading of the scriptures seems to imply that we’re compelled to share until the end.  So, everyone’s still welcome, and you can still have what you want.  (You’ll probably want the bread, though, and not the wheat kernels).

If you’re interested in starting your own food storage, Tenille will be attending a women’s seminar on canning on July 19th and another one about the LDS cannery, Food Storage, and budgeting on August 30th.  Give her a ping, and she’ll be happy to give you the info or go together.  I highly recommend starting the food storage as there is so much interesting, basic information to learn about food preservation.  As for the firearms to go along with the food, you can decide for yourself, but probably not necessary in my opinion.


  1. Questions for Mormons

    by Matt Slick

    1. If the principle of “progression” is eternally true, why is it that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not gods of their own worlds?
    2. If it is necessary to have a body in order to become a God, then how did the Holy Spirit, who does not have a body, attain the status of godhood?
    3. If the book of Mormon is the most correct book of any on earth and contains the fullness of the gospel, then why does it not contain the essential Mormon doctrines of eternal progression, the priesthoods, the plurality of gods, that God is an exalted man, and the 3 degrees of glory?
    4. If the book of Mormon was transmitted to us by the power of God, why does it have thousands of changes in it?
    5. Why does the book of Mormon say that black skin is not “enticing” to God’s people in 2 Nephi 5:21? “And he had caused the acursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”
    6. Why does the Mormon Church still claim the book of Abraham is inspired Scripture when it has been demonstrated that it is not that but is instead an Egyptian burial papyrus?
    7. How could the Garden of Eden be in Missouri (according to Mormonism) when the Pearl of great Price 3:10-14 tells us it was the area of Assyria when it mentions the rivers of Eden located there?
    8. Mormonism teaches an infinite regression of Gods, but an infinite regression of gods means that there is no first god by which his subjects were exalted to godhood. If there is no first God, how can there be a second and a third and thus the Mormon doctrine of eternal progression?
    9. If Elohim (which is God the Father in Mormonism) was once a man, then he changed from being a man to becoming God. How is this possible when the Bible says in Psalm 90:2 that God is God from everlasting to everlasting?
    10. Joseph Smith said he saw God the father (and Jesus) in the first vision in 1820. Smith said he received the priesthood in 1829. In the Doctrine and Covenants 84:21-22, Smith said that you cannot see the face of God and live without the authority of the priesthood. How did Joseph Smith see God when he didn’t have the priesthood?
    11. How did Joseph Smith carry home the Golden plates when the weight of the plates, if they had been pure gold, would have been over 200 pounds?
    12. Some later Mormon apologists are theorizing that the Golden Plates were not pure gold but an alloy weighing as little as 50 pounds. There is no mention by Joseph Smith receiving any supernatural help carrying the plates. How is it possible for Smith to run with 50 pounds of metal plates under his arm for three miles while being pursued and attacked three times?
    13. In Mormonism, the father is called Elohim and Jesus is called Jehovah. But in 1 Kings 8:60 it says that “The Lord is God.” Literally in the Hebrew it is “Jehovah is Elohim.” How do you explain this passage that says Jehovah is Elohim?
    14. In Mormonism, God and his wife are exalted beings from another world. We know that life forms from another planet are called aliens. Therefore, isn’t it true that Mormons worship an alien from another world who they call their god?
    15. Brigham Young, the second prophet of the Mormon Church, said that the birth of Jesus was “the result of natural action” (Journal of discourses, volume 8, page 115). He also said, “When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 218). In light of this, how was Jesus born of the Virgin Mary?
    16. In light of the previous question and Mormon doctrine saying that we are all literally the children of God, then wasn’t Brigham Young teaching that God had relations with his spirit daughter?
    17. According to Mormonism, Jesus was the one being married to Mary and Martha at the wedding of Cana in John 2. If this is so, then why was Jesus invited to his own wedding?
    18. If the book of Mormon is true, why have both National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute rejected it as being archaeologically reliable?
    19. Why is it that there have been no archaeological discoveries at all that demonstrate what Joseph Smith said is “reformed Egyptian?”
    20. Why does the book of Mormon contain the word “church” in 1 Nephi 14:3, 9, 10, 12 which was set around 600 BC, yet the word church was not used until the time of Jesus (Matt. 16:18)?
    21. Why is the French word “adieu” in the book of Mormon in Jacob 7:27?
    22. Why should I become a Mormon if when I die, I go to the middle level of heaven when that is where most Mormons will go anyway?

  2. Interesting Quotes from Brigham Young, the Second Prophet of the Mormon Church

    by Matt Slick

    Brigham Young said your own blood must atone for some sins.
    “There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it . . . ” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 247; see also, vol. 4, p. 53-54, 219-220).

    Brigham Young said you must confess Joseph Smith as a prophet of God in order to be saved.
    ” . . . and he that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is Antichrist,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p. 312).

    Brigham Young said his discourses are as good as Scripture.
    “I say now, when they [his discourses] are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible . . . ” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 264; see also p. 95).

    Brigham Young said he had never given any counsel that was wrong.
    “I am here to answer. I shall be on hand to answer when I am called upon, for all the counsel and for all the instruction that I have given to this people. If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 161).

    Brigham Young compared his sermons with scripture.
    “I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom . . . I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 95).

    Brigham Young said you are damned if you deny polygamy.
    “Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).

    Brigham Young said you can’t get to the highest heaven without Joseph Smith’s consent.
    ” . . . no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 289).

    Brigham Young said God was progressing in knowledge.
    “God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 120).

    Brigham Young boasted.
    “What man or woman on earth, what spirit in the spirit-world can say truthfully that I ever gave a wrong word of counsel, or a word of advice that could not be sanctioned by the heavens? The success which has attended me in my presidency is owing to the blessings and mercy of the Almighty . . . ” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 12, p. 127).

    Brigham Young said that we are obligated to keep all the laws and ordinances of God.
    “Some of you may ask, ‘Is there a single ordinance to be dispensed with? Is there one of the commandments that God has enjoined upon the people, that he will excuse them from obeying?’ Not one, no matter how trifling or small in our own estimation. No matter if we esteem them non-essential, or least or last of all the commandments of the house of God, we are under obligation to observe them.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 339).

    Brigham Young said Jesus’ birth was as natural as ours.
    “The birth of the Savior was as natural as the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood–was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).

    Brigham Young said that God the Father and Mary ‘do it.’
    “When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 218). “The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood–was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115). Note: the late Bruce McConkie who was a member of the First Council of the Seventy stated “There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events . . . ” (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 742).

    Brigham Young said that Jesus was not begotten by the Holy Spirit.
    “I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 51).

    Brigham Young taught that Adam was God.
    “Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken–He is our Father, and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50).

    Brigham Young made a false prophecy?
    “In the days of Joseph [Smith] it was considered a great privilege to be permitted to speak to a member of Congress, but twenty-six years will not pass away before the Elders of this Church will be as much thought of as the kings on their thrones,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 40).

    Brigham Young comments about blacks
    “You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind . . . Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290).

    “In our first settlement in Missouri, it was said by our enemies that we intended to tamper with the slaves, not that we had any idea of the kind, for such a thing never entered our minds. We knew that the children of Ham were to be the “servant of servants,” and no power under heaven could hinder it, so long as the Lord would permit them to welter under the curse and those were known to be our religious views concerning them.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 172).

    “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110).


    William Albright (1891 – 1971). Once a director of the School of Oriental Research at Johns Hopkins University, William Albright wrote more than 800 books and articles, mostly on the validity of biblical manuscripts. He is best known for his work in confirming the authenticity of the Old Testament, and especially the authentication of the Dead Sea scrolls.

    Albright also researched and confirmed the dating of the writings of the New Testament. His conclusion was that there was “no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80.” Early in his professional life, Albright had some doubts about the validity of biblical claims about Jesus. These, however, were answered conclusively in favor of the authenticity of the Bible as he conducted his research.

    Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916). Sir William Ramsay was, arguably the greatest archaeologist of his day. He had rejected much of the written New Testament account and was determined to prove it false based on other writings of the day that contradicted the Bible. Ramsay believed that the books of Luke and Acts were actually written in about A.D. 150 and therefore did not bear the authenticity that first-century document would. His archaeological journeys took him to 32 countries, 44 cities, and 9 islands. Throughout some 15 years of intensive study, he concluded that “Luke is a historian of the first rank, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

    What Critics Thought
    • There was no Roman census (as indicated in Luke 2:1).

    What Ramsay Discovered: There was a Roman census every 14 years, beginning with Emperor Augustus.

    • Quirinius was not governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth (as indicated in Luke 2:2).
    What Ramsay Discovered: Quirinius was governor of Syria in about 7 B.C.

    • People did not have to return to their ancestral home (as indicated in Luke 2:3).
    What Ramsay Discovered: People did have to return to their home city, verified by an ancient Egyptian papyrus giving directions for conducting a census.

    • The existence of the treasurer of the city of Corinth, Erastus (Romans 16:23), was incorrect.
    What Ramsay Discovered: A city pavement in Corinth bearing the inscription “Erastus, curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense.”

    • Luke’s reference to Gallio as proconsul of Achaia was wrong (Acts 18:12).
    What Ramsay Discovered: The Delphi inscription that reads, “As Lucius Junius Gallio, my friend and proconsul of Achaia.”

    Time and time again Ramsay’s search to find evidence that Luke’s writing was in error turned up evidence that it was, in fact, accurate. As a result, Sir William Ramsay eventually converted to Christianity proclaimed Luke as “one of the greatest historians” of all time.

    Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) Greenleaf, (former Atheist), one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, and a world-renowned expert on evidence, originally set out to disprove the biblical testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was certain that a careful examination of the internal witness of the Gospels would dispel all the myths at the heart of Christianity. But this legal scholar came to the conclusion that the witnesses were reliable, and that the resurrection did in fact happen. Being a man of conviction and reason, and in accordance with his conclusions, Greenleaf converted from Agnosticism to Christianity.

    Ralph Muncaster, (former atheist) in his book: Examine the Evidence, presents extensive evidence to validate the truth-claims of Christianity. He provides compelling arguments from science, biblical prophecy, history, and archaeology. This former skeptic points out that of all religions and philosophies on earth, only one, Christianity is verifiable and testable.

    1,456 hours of Sunday school and church turned Ralph Muncaster into a hard-core atheist. Then he was challenged to honestly investigate the Bible and the facts of modern science. He was stunned. Fact after fact, from biology, history, archaeology, physics, lined up with the Bible’s account!

    The Bible Itself Argues Against the Possibility of Its Corruption

    The charge that the Bible has been corrupted, contradicts what the Bible itself teaches. After all, in Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.” In the New Testament Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

    The Almighty God who had the power and sovereign control to inspire the Scriptures in the first place is surely going to continue to exercise His power and sovereign control in the preservation of Scripture.


    An Examination & Refutation of the Book of Mormon

    Lecture notes by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
    Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry


    The Mormon Church is officially known as: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormon Church is commonly referred to by Mormons, simply as “LDS,” short for Latter-day Saints.

    The Church was founded by Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was born in Vermont in 1805. Somewhat confused as a young man about the disagreements between the denominational churches of his day, Joseph Smith says he took the verse found in James 1:5 to the Lord in prayer. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

    As the story goes, Joseph Smith, lacking wisdom about which church to join, walked into the woods (behind his home) to pray. According to Joseph Smith, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him there in the forest and supposedly informed him that…

    Stop. Stop. Stop it right there.

    This is one of the reasons it’s so important to know the Bible.

    If someone comes out of the forest and says that God the Father has appeared to him visibly, in human form, you should immediately realize this is not to be believed. Why?

    • God told Moses,
    “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:20).
    • God the Father “alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16).
    • John wrote, “No man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18).
    • Jesus said, “God is spirit” (John 4:24).

    God the Father doesn’t have a body of flesh and bones (as the Mormon church, to this day, contends).
    Had the people Joseph Smith deceived known their Bibles better they would not have been misled by Smith’s outrageous claims. It’s so important to know the Bible!

    Now, back to the story. According to Joseph Smith, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him there in the forest and supposedly informed him that…

    • the churches “were all wrong”
    • “their creeds were an abomination”
    • and “their professors were all corrupt”

    Of course, this was an outrageous charge! There were lots of good churches in the early 1800s.
    But Joseph Smith was just getting warmed up.

    It’s important to keep in mind that a Christian’s response to the claims of the Mormon Church is not a mean-spirited attack on their faith (as some Mormons claim). It is a response to Joseph Smith’s attack on Christianity.

    We are not here tonight with one ounce of mean-spiritedness or hatred towards Mormons. We love the Mormon people. We are only concerned with the unbiblical theology their church espouses. We have a genuine concern for the spiritual well-being of the Mormon people and believe that we have good reasons to be concerned (as I will go on to show).

    Now, in 1823 (three years after supposedly being visited in the forest) Joseph Smith alleges that “a glorified resurrected being” named Moroni, appeared to him and told him of golden plates that were buried in a nearby hillside, in Cumorah, New York. These plates, as the story goes, were written by an ancient prophet-historian by the name of Mormon, and contained a record of an ancient people who had migrated from the near east to the Americas in 600 B.C. [See the Book of Mormon: Introduction]

    In 1827 the angel Moroni supposedly again appeared to Smith. This time, he directed him to a location on the a hill called “Cumorah” to unearth the plates and begin “translating” the “Reformed Egyptian” characters inscribed on them with “the gift and power of God.”

    Joseph Smith says that he was forbidden by Moroni from revealing these golden plates to anybody lest he be destroyed. [Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 1, 1:59-60]

    Well, hello! You have to immediately suspect something fishy is going on!

    Three men, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and Oliver Cowdery, prayed with Joseph Smith that they might also get to see the plates. According to the introduction in the Book of Mormon, an angel of God came down from Heaven in June of 1829 and laid the plates before their eyes to see (not literally but in a vision).

    According to the Mormon Church, some time after Joseph Smith was done translating the plates, the plates were removed by Moroni and to this day are not available for inspection.

    How convenient!
    It is interesting to note that all three of these individuals eventually left the church. [Source: Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, p. 149-150]

    In 1830, three years after having supposedly received the plates, Joseph Smith published his results. The name of the book?

    The Book of Mormon
    The Book of Mormon claims right on its cover to be: “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” It claims to be an abridged account of God’s dealings with the original inhabitants of the American continent, between about 600 B.C. to 421 A.D. The Book of Mormon teaches that after his resurrection, Jesus came to the Americas, performed miracles, and chose 12 men from a people known as the Nephites to be His American disciples.

    One month after publishing the Book of Mormon in 1830, Joseph Smith founded his church in Fayette, New York. As the church grew, so did public opposition, not only because of their doctrines, but also because of the polygamy Joseph Smith was espousing. This opposition forced the Mormons to move on to other areas. They settled for a while in Kirtland, Ohio; then in Independence, Missouri; then in Nauvoo, Illinois, where Smith became the mayor of the city. During this time, Joseph Smith’s continuing revelations yielded other Mormon “Scriptures”: Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. [Concise wording here adapted from Ron Rhodes, Find It Quick Handbook on Cults and New Religions, p. 64]

    By 1844, Joseph Smith, at the age of thirty nine, had nearly 35,000 followers.

    In 1844 Joseph Smith was imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois, and charged with inciting a riot after his city council attempted to destroy the office and printing presses of a newspaper company that exposed the Mormon’s secret practice of polygamy.

    Before Joseph Smith could be tried on these charges, a mob broke into his cell and killed both him and his brother.

    Brigham Young (1801-77) took over leadership as the second president of the Mormon Church. It was under Brigham Young’s leadership that the followers of Joseph Smith’s teachings made the long journey west to relocate to Salt Lake City, Utah. And of course that is where the Mormon Church has been headquartered to this day.

    Today, the Mormon Church has grown to 15,000,000 members (2015 figure) and is officially known as: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” It’s unfortunate that they have attached our Lord’s name to it, for Mormonism is far from Christian (as I will go on to show!).


    There are numerous teachings we disagree with the Mormon Church on. Let’s just consider four.
    This first one has to do with…

    1. The Mormon Church’s View of God
    Mormonism is a polytheistic religion (e.g.,The Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 5:1-21). That is, they believe in the existence of more than one god. Although Mormons believe in the existence of more than one god, they only worship one god, whom they call “Heavenly Father” or “Elohim.”

    The Mormon Church says this god (“Elohim” or “Heavenly Father”) is just one of many gods in an eternal chain of gods that have been begotten by other gods. Because “Elohim” is the god over this planet, LDS leaders say we need not worship the other gods that were around before Elohim. Elohim is our creator and thus the god to whom we are accountable.

    Well, you Bible students know that we disagree with them on their polytheistic view of God. Notice what God says in Isaiah 44.

    Isaiah 44:6–8 says: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God…I know not one.'”

    If God—who is omniscient—does not know of any other gods, then surely there are no other gods. And this is something the Scriptures affirm elsewhere. For example, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:4: “There is no God but one.”

    There is only one God! And this is completely opposed to Mormon doctrine.

    2. The Mormon’s Church’s View of Man
    Mormons believe that before birth into this present world, all human beings preexisted in Heaven as spiritual offspring of a father and mother, a god and goddess. [Gospel Principles, 2010, p. 275]

    According to LDS doctrine, being born into this life here on Earth is something that we agreed to in Heaven. Mormons are taught that this life serves as a test and a means of obtaining exaltation one day to godhood. [Gospel Principles, 2010, p. 275]

    Godhood? Humans can become gods? According to the Mormon Church…yes!

    The Mormon Church says that humans are gods “in embryo” [Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Christology,” 1992, p. 273] and may attain exaltation to godhood just as our Heavenly Father has.

    Joseph Smith declared: “God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man.” [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345-346]

    Brigham Young, the church’s second president, said: “The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like himself…We are created to become Gods like unto our Father in Heaven.” [Journal of Discourses, 3:93]

    The fifth president of the LDS church, Lorenzo Snow, coined the phrase, “As man is, God once was: as God is, man may become.” [Quoted in The Gospel Through the Ages, Milton R. Hunter, p. 105-106]

    How does one become a god?

    According to Mormon theology, one achieves exaltation to godhood by living a life of obedience to Mormon teaching and practices.

    Those exalted to godhood will get to inhabit a planet one day and procreate spirit children, continuing the cycle of gods begetting other gods. [Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20, Gospel Principles, 1992, p. 14]

    Well! For you Bible students, you know that this is all completely contrary to the Bible. The God of the Bible says this in Isaiah 43:10: “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.”

    There were no gods before God and there will never be another god after Him!
    This rules out any possibility that human beings have become (or are able to become) gods.

    3. The Mormon Church’s View of Jesus
    The Bible teaches that Jesus…

    • is God (John 20:28)
    • is the creator of all things (John 1:3)
    • existed from all eternity (Micah 5:2)
    • is equal in nature with the Father (John. 5:18, Hebrews 1:3)

    Mormon teaching says that Jesus was one of many sons who were procreated in Heaven by Elohim and one of his many unnamed wives.

    These sons, according to the Mormon Church, included Lucifer (Satan) himself.
    [See: Pearl of Great Price: Book of Moses, Chapter 4, v. 1-4; Gospel Principles, 1992, p. 17-18]

    Now, this isn’t something Mormon missionaries will tell you on your porch (for obvious reasons).
    But this is the official teaching of the Mormon Church. The church’s official website ( even acknowledges this. For example:

    “On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers… Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)”

    The Mormon Church also denies the Biblical account of the virgin birth. It teaches instead that the human body given to Jesus at His birth was the product of physical relations between God the Father who visited Earth and had relations with Mary (who was previously his spirit daughter in Heaven!). [For Mormon sources that teach this, see: and]

    So, the Jesus of Mormonism is a different Jesus than the one the Bible reveals and the One Christians have long loved and worshipped (the Son of God, uncreated, equal with the Father in nature and born of a virgin).

  5. Twenty Reasons Christians
    Believe Jesus is God

    Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry

    Author of Scrolls and Stones: Compelling Evidence
    the Bible Can Be Trusted

    The Bible, which we believe is trustworthy for a wealth of reasons, teaches that there is one God who eternally exists in three coequal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It teaches that Jesus (God the Son) came to the Earth 2,000 years ago to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin. Many religious cults deny this, they teach that Jesus was, and is, merely a man, an angel, or one of many gods they say exist. Below are twenty reasons, taken right from Scripture, as to why Christians believe Jesus is Almighty God.

    1. The Apostle Thomas called Jesus “God.”

    John 20:27-29: Then He [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    2. The Apostle Peter called Jesus “God.”

    2 Peter 1:1: “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”

    3. The Apostle Paul called Jesus “God.”

    Titus 2:12b-14: “…we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

    4. The Apostle John called Jesus “God.”

    John 1:1-3, 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” See verse 14 for confirmation that this reference to the “Word” is a reference to Jesus.

    5. God the Father called Jesus “God.”

    Hebrews 1:8: “But to the Son He [God the Father] says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.’”

    6. Isaiah the Prophet said the Messiah would be God.

    Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

    God the Father, in the Old Testament, is also called “Mighty God” in Isaiah 10:21, the same title that can be ascribed to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

    7. The Jews who crucified Jesus understood Him to be saying that He was equal with God.

    John 5:18: “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”

    John 10:33: “The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”

    8. Jesus called Himself “I AM”, the Old Testament name for God (Exodus 3:14).

    John 8:58-59: “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

    9. Jesus calls Himself “the Alpha and Omega,” the title of Almighty God.

    Revelation 22:12-13: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

    Revelation 1:8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

    10. Like God (Gen. 1:1), Jesus created.

    Colossians 1:16-17: “For by Him [See context. This is speaking of Jesus] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
    John 1:3: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

    Yet God says in Isaiah 44:24, “I am the LORD, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by Myself”

    11. Like God, Jesus forgives sin.

    Mark 2:5-7, 10-11: “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” “…But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”–He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house.”

    12. Like God, Jesus gives eternal life.

    John 10:27-28: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

    13. Like God, Jesus received, receives, and will receive worship.

    Matthew 14:32-33: “And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” (also see Matthew 28:9, 17, John 9:37-38)

    Revelation 5:13: “And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

    Hebrews 1:6: “But when He again brings the firstborn [JESUS] into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

    Jesus never rebuked any of His followers for worshiping Him and yet worship of anything or anyone other than God is absolutely forbidden in the Bible . . .
    Luke 4:8: “And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

    14. Jesus said that only God was good; and Jesus was good.

    Mark 10:17-18: “And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”

    John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
    Jesus was as good as they come. He was “sinless,” “holy,” “righteous,” “innocent,” “undefiled,” and “separate from sinners.” (Hebrews 7:26) That’s pretty good!

    15. Like God, Jesus can be present in more than one place at the same time.

    Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (See also Matthew 28:20)

    16. One of Jesus’ titles is “God with us.”

    Matthew 1:23: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

    17. Jesus’ blood is called God’s blood.

    Acts 20:28: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

    18. Jesus has the same nature as God.

    Hebrews 1:3a: “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”

    19. Jesus spoke as God.

    Jesus did not speak as one of God’s prophets: “thus says the Lord,” but as God: “I say to you.”
    Matthew 5:27-29: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
    John 14:15: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
    Matthew 7:28-29: “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

    20. Like God (Psalm 136:3), Jesus is called the “Lord of Lords and King of kings.”

    Revelation 17:14: “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (See also 1 Timothy 6:15).

    It is clear from these passages and dozens of others that Jesus was and is God almighty. Don’t let a Religious Cult or any other person lead you astray. Be a noble minded Berean (Acts 17:11) and search the Scriptures to see for yourself that this is indeed the case.


    Charlie Campbell is the Director of the Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry and a popular guest speaker at churches and conferences. He is the author of numerous articles, books, and DVDs, including:

    • Scrolls & Stones: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted
    • Evidence for the Existence of God
    • One Minute Answers to Skeptics
    • Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
    • The End Times: Ten Upcoming Events in Bible Prophecy
    • The Case for the Resurrection
    • Teaching and Preaching God’s Word

    His DVDs and books have been endorsed by Norman Geisler, Charles Colson, Chuck Smith, Ed Hindson, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Jeremy Camp, and many others.

    Email: for further details.

  6. Checking out Scriptures

    Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

    This is important, for Luke carefully draws a sharp contrast here between the rabble in Thessalonica — with their unthinking, prejudiced minds, and their emotional, impulsive actions — and these Jews in Berea, who were more noble. In what did their nobility consist? Well, not merely in receiving the word, but also in checking it out with the Scriptures. A noble person is one who has not only an open mind but also a cautious heart. He will not accept a teaching unless he checks it with the Scriptures.

    That is what the Scriptures are for. They are your guide so that you can tell what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong. And unless a Christian does this, he is lost in a sea of relativism, where he does not know what is right or what is wrong. Your mind becomes confused and blinded and you can be misled and manipulated, as the rabble in Thessalonica manipulated the crowd there, unless you have the nobility to check things out according to the Scriptures. That is what these Jews did, and it was a tremendous help. They checked up on the Apostle Paul.

    The value of this story to us, and the reason Luke includes it, is that we might learn the necessity of testing any man’s word. Do not listen to just one man’s CD’s, or read only one man’s books or messages. It is a very dangerous practice. You will be misled by his errors and you will not know how to recognize them. Never give yourself to following a single man. Paul writes to the Corinthians: “You who do this are carnal. You follow Apollos or Cephas or Paul, but we are all provided for your instruction. You need us all…” (1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:22).

    Do not ever limit yourself to a single man’s ministry. Do not read only the messages published in your own church and take them as Scripture. Check them out in the Scriptures and with other teachers. Establish what the Word of God says. That is the authority. How delighted Luke is to commend these Bereans for their nobility in doing this very thing!

  7. Evidence from Scripture

    Authentic Text

    Many powerful men over the centuries have tried to discredit or destroy the Bible. All have failed. There is more evidence for the authenticity and accuracy of the Scriptures than for any other ancient book. No one who has studied these issues doubts the genuineness of the Bible. Many, however, reject its message.

    The Manuscripts

    There is more evidence for the Bible’s authenticity than for any literature of antiquity. Textual analysis begins with historical investigation, beginning with the latest documents and working backward. As evidence develops, the data is evaluated against other sources. The record is then checked for consistency of information, and the claims are analyzed as if it were a legal case, looking for credible testimony with cross-examination. There is an enormous amount of evidence for authenticity of the biblical manuscripts.

    The New Testament was written in first century A.D. There are some 20,000 manuscripts in existence. The earliest textual evidence we have was copied 100 years after the original. In contrast:

    • Caesar’s Gallic Wars was written in the first century B.C. There are only 10 manuscripts in existence. The earliest textual evidence we have was copied 1,000 years after the original.
    • Aristotle’s Poetics was written in the fourth century B.C. There are only 5 manuscripts in existence. The earliest textual evidence we have was copied 1,400 years after the original.

    There are many more writings of the Church Fathers quoting sections of Scripture; we could reconstruct the entire New Testament from their writings alone. There were millions of man-hours spent in cross-checking the manuscripts. There remains only 1 percent of all New Testament words about which questions still exist; no questionable passage contradicts any Bible teaching.

    The Old Testament has been more accurately transmitted to us than any other ancient writing of comparable age. The textual evidence is greater for both the Old and New Testaments than any other historically reliable ancient document. The ancient scribes were very meticulous. There were only 1,200 variant readings in A.D. 500.

    The Masorites produced an official text in A.D. 500. There are other versions that confirm the accuracy of the Masoritic Text.

    • Samaritan Pentateuch: 400 B.C.
    • Septuagint Greek: 280 B.C.
    • Dead Sea Scrolls: 0 A.D.
    • Latin Vulgate: 400 A.D.

    The quotations from pre-Christian writing confirm the text. The New Testament accepts the Old Testament as authentic, confirming the traditional authors, quoting from at least 320 different passages, and confirming the supernatural events cited in the Old Testament.

    The Message

    There are over 3,000 different religions in the world, all of which claim to teach the way to eternal happiness. It has often been said that each of them provides a different path to the same end, and that men are free to choose the path that best suits their own disposition and culture. The Word of God is insistent that this is not so!

    The Bible insists that the God of the Bible is the only true God (Isaiah 44:6; 45:5-6) and that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6). All other religions, while stressing their “paths,” would allow for some other contingency.

    The Bible insists that it is the only true revelation, that its words are not to be changed (Proverbs 30:5-6;Revelation 22:18-19), and that its words are the basis of all judgment (John 12:47-50).

    The Bible has a unique account of origins (Genesis 1-11). All others are either evolutionary or pantheistic, with eternity of matter as the “beginning.” The biblical account of origins is unique in both quality and quantity of information.

    The Bible has a unique historical basis. Other religions are based on the subjective teachings of their founders. Biblical teachings are based on objective and demonstrable facts: creation, the fall, the flood, the life and work of redemption of Christ.

    The Bible teaches a unique plan of redemption. It reveals a unique Savior.

    • He was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25).
    • He lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:14-16).
    • He taught as no other man taught (John 7:46; Matthew 7:28-29).
    • He died a unique, volitional death (John 10:17-18; Luke 23:46).
    • He had unique victory over death (Acts 17:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

    The Bible demands a unique salvation.

    • Perfect holiness is required (Romans 3:10-18, 23; 6:23).
    • Substitutionary atonement is the only means of reconciliation (Hebrews 10:4-14; Romans 3:24-26).
    • Grace is the only measurement (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 11:5-6).

    Other religions require some form of works or participation.

    Accurate Data

    The Bible is unique among all books. Not only is it different in its form, structure, and history, but it takes the position of supernatural superiority to all other communication. It insists on total accuracy for its content and absolute obedience to its commands. No other book is so demanding.

    Historical Accuracy

    The Bible has proven to be more historically and archaeologically accurate than any other ancient book. It has been subjected to the minutest scientific textual analysis possible to humanity and has been proven to be authentic in every way.

    Genesis Is Historically True
    The most controversial book of the Bible is Genesis, especially the first eleven chapters. Those chapters speak of the creation of the universe, the fall of man into sin, the world-wide flood of Noah, and the language-altering event at Babel. There is much evidence that these events are historically accurate.

    Biblical Data Is Historically Testable

    Historical evidence routinely includes ancient literature, business records, and government documents, analyzed in conjunction with linguistics, geography, and archaeological analysis of physical objects (pottery, coins, remains of buildings, etc.), using forensic science techniques.
    After many millions of man-hours of research and evidence analysis, archaeology has repeatedly confirmed the reliability of the Bible. The Bible has been proven geographically and re-proven historically accurate, in the most exacting detail, by external evidences.

    Scientific Accuracy

    Many would suggest that the Bible is an antiquated religious book, filled with scientific fallacies and mistakes. Others believe that the Bible is a book of true religion, but dealing solely with spiritual subjects, with any matters of science and history to be interpreted spiritually or allegorically.

    Either the Bible is wholly reliable on every subject with which it deals, or it is not the Word of God.

    Although the Bible is obviously not a science textbook (otherwise it would be continuously out of date), the Bible does contain all the basic principles upon which true science is built. The Bible abounds with references to nature and natural processes, and thus frequently touches on the various sciences. For instance, there are many passages that deal with principles of hydrology, geology, astronomy, meteorology, biology, physics, cosmology, and the grand principles of the space-mass/energy-time continuum.

    Again, if the God revealed in the Bible truly exists, then everything that He reveals would of necessity be true.

    One often hears of mistakes or errors in the Bible. Seldom, when confronted, is there an example provided. When such “errors” are cited, they fall into three kinds of alleged mistakes: 1) mathematical rounding, 2) relative motion, or 3) miracles. Obviously, mathematical rounding is both scientific and in constant use today, as is the use of relative motion for all sorts of navigation and distance calculations. To deny the miraculous is to assume that one is omniscient.

    Just as the Bible has become a source book for history and archaeology, so it is also a source book for the foundational principles of science. Those who ignore the information of Scripture will be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).

    Reliable Eyewitnesses

    The Bible, like many books, was written by eyewitnesses (Luke 1:2; 2 Peter 2:16) to the events and circumstances that they recorded. That they were trustworthy witnesses is only to be expected, since God inspired them to co-author their respective portions of the Bible. But some ask: how can we know if the Bible’s human co-authors were really reliable eyewitnesses?

    The following eyewitness traits are the ones emphasized in common law, in law school, and in the Rules of Evidence.

    A reliable witness will evidence honesty by his/her sincerity of speech, and be clearly motivated by a drive to speak the truth. The quality of a witness’s observations can be observed by accurate memory, evidenced often by access to accurate records. The competency of his/her communication will be demonstrated by an ability to recall and describe observations, with accurate information and relevant details. Testimonial consistency is also a key factor in reliability.

    Though each witness will provide idiosyncratic differences (due to different perspectives and interests), all Scripture has perfect evidentiary consistency. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Moses, Daniel, Jude, and all of the other Bible’s co-authors qualify as impeccably reliable eyewitnesses. Many of the Bible’s writers suffered cruel treatment, even death, for their stand on their witness. To the obvious credibility of their writings is added the unshakeable belief that their testimony was so true that it was worth suffering and dying for.


    Lecture notes by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
    Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry


    The Bible is a book unlike any other book. It is a compilation of 66 different books written by more than 40 different authors, over a period of 1,500 years, on three different continents, in three different languages.

    Over and over the authors of the Bible claim to be recording events and writing words inspired by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16). And of course, the Bible reveals to us very plainly…

    • God exists
    • What He is like
    • And what His will is for our lives

    SKEPTIC: “Charlie, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Bible is true.”

    You’re right. But don’t misunderstand me. I’m not asking you to believe the Bible “because it says so.” I want you to believe the Bible because of the wealth of good evidence that has demonstrated the Bible is historically reliable and divinely inspired. I’m talking about:

    • Its hundreds of fulfilled prophecies
    • The Bible’s amazing internal harmony
    • The Bible’s incredible scientific accuracy and foresight
    • Thousands of archaeological discoveries
    • Numerous details in the Bible that have been corroborated by extrabiblical historical sources
    • And so on

    Another reason you can be confident God exists is…

    5. CHRIST

    Many who doubt the existence of God have reassured themselves with the thought, “If God wanted us to believe in Him, He would appear to us.” Well, we have to be careful when we talk about wanting God to appear to us. If He were to do that in all His glory, while we were in our sinful fallen condition, the Bible says we would not live through the experience (Exodus 33:20, 1 Timothy 6:15-16, John 1:18) . But what if God was to veil His glory and appear to mankind in the form of a man, someone mankind could really relate with? What kind of a man would God be?

    Someone wisely pointed out that, “We would expect Him to be sinless; we would expect him to be holy; we would expect His words to be the greatest words ever spoken; we would expect Him to exert a profound power over human personality; we would expect Him to perform supernatural doings; and we would expect Him to manifest the love of God.” [John MacArthur summarizing a teaching by Bernard Ramm.]

    Hmmm. Has anyone ever come on the world’s scene, who claimed to be God and who met all of those criteria? Ahh, of all the human beings who have ever lived, Jesus Christ alone met these criteria. When someone says, “If God wanted us to believe in Him, He would appear to us,” I like to tell them that is what God has already done.

    The Bible tells us that Jesus was God in human flesh (Isaiah 9:6, Colossians 2:9, John 20:28) and Jesus Himself made that clear in verses like John 5:18 and John 8:58.

    And Jesus didn’t just claim to be God. Anybody can do that. So Jesus proved that He was God by doing things that only God can do:

    • He opened the eyes of the blind
    • He healed the lame
    • He raised the dead
    • He walked on water
    • He lived a sinless life
    • He rose from the grave three days after He was put to death
    • And forty days later, He ascended visibly into Heaven

    These are just a few of the miracles the disciples recorded for us in the New Testament that help substantiate Jesus’ claims to deity.

    SKEPTIC: “Hold on here a second Charlie!
    That doesn’t mean that what the disciples said about Him was actually true. Maybe they were making up the whole story about His resurrection!”

    Well, I’m not sure what their motivation would have been for doing that. Liars lie to get out of trouble or gain some type of advantage or benefit. But what the early Christians said about Jesus, didn’t get them out of trouble or result in any kind of benefit. The things they said and wrote about Jesus got them in trouble. What they received was rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom. Hardly a list of perks! That, to me, is compelling evidence these men were telling the truth about Jesus.

    So, we’ve considered five lines of evidence for the existence of God…

    1. The Cosmos
    2. The Conditions for Life
    3. The Complexity of Life
    4. The Canon of Scripture
    5. The Christ

    Friends, this evidence from cosmology, biology, philosophy, history, and the Bible is a reminder that there is a God! If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you haven’t followed after cleverly devised tales. Your faith isn’t grounded in wishful thinking. Your faith is grounded in the truth. There is good evidence that the God of the Bible is actually there.

    What good news this is!
    You are not part of some gigantic cosmic accident! You are not just some conglomeration of cells walking around without meaning on a random planet in a purposeless universe. You’re not the result of millions of years of evolution. No. You are one of God’s creations. He formed you in your mother’s womb. The Bible says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that God has a purpose for your existence. Do you know that? God loves you! And He desires to have a close, intimate, personal relationship with each one of you.

    Do you have that kind of a relationship with God? You can.
    Two thousand years ago Jesus (God in the flesh) died on that cruel wooden Roman cross to take the punishment for your sins so that you could be forgiven, saved from eternity in Hell, and come to experience the greatest relationship you’ll ever know:

    Knowing God personally, not only in this life
    but throughout eternity.

    Jesus rose from the grave on the third day and today He is offering mankind the “free gift” (Romans 6:23) of salvation and everlasting life for those who will turn from their sins and place their faith in Him.

    I exhort you friend to do that if you never have. A day of judgment is coming. You can stand before God still in your sins or forgiven. Standing before God still in your sins will result in condemnation and eternity in Hell. Being forgiven will result in everlasting life in paradise. The choice is yours. The ball is in your court. God made the first move. Now it’s your turn. Place your faith in Jesus, and receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior!

  9. Christ’s two natures

    Jesus Christ played a role in the creation since the New Testament says that God made the world through (Greek: dia) Christ. The Greek word dia is used several times of Christ’s role as Creator of the universe (John 1:3; 1 Corinthians. 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), the New Testament also states that the world came into being through (dia) God (Romans 11:36), specifically through (dia) the Father (Hebrews 2:10). The Greek word dia cannot be taken to indicate a secondary, lessor role.

    Though the New Testament teaches that the world was created “through” Christ, it also teaches that the world was created “through” the Father. Hence, Christ did not act as a junior partner in the creation of the universe.

    It is important to note that the scriptural teaching that only God is the Creator. God says in Isaiah 44:24: “I, the Lord [Yahweh], am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone”.

    The fact that Christ Himself is the Creator of “all things” (John 1:3) proves that Christ is God Almighty, just as the Father is.

    In Hebrews 2:9, Christ Jesus in His incarnation had two attributes: human attributes, and Divine attributes. The apostle Paul made this clear when he affirmed that in the incarnation Christ was “taking the very nature of a servant,” “being made in human likeness,” and “being found in appearance as a man” (Philippians 2:7,8)

    The incarnation of Jesus Christ involved not the subtraction of deity but the addition of humanity. So, in order to dwell among human beings, Christ made Himself nothing in the sense that He veiled His preincarnate glory, He submitted to a voluntary nonuse (without surrendering) of some of His divine attributes, and He condescended Himself by taking on a human nature. All this adds great significance to Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. Clearly, this verse was cited from the vantage point of the incarnation.

    One of the most complex aspects of the relationship between Christ’s two natures is that, while the attributes of one nature are never attributed to the other, the attributes of both natures are properly attributed to His one person. Thus Christ at the same moment in time had what seem to be contradictory qualities. He was finite and yet infinite, weak and yet omnipotent, increasing in knowledge and yet omniscient, limited to being in one place at one time and yet omnipresent. In the incarnation, the person of Christ is the partaker of the attributes of both natures, so that whatever may be affirmed of either nature, human or divine, may be affirmed of the one person.

    Though Christ sometimes operated in the sphere of His humanity and in other cases in the sphere of His deity, in all cases what He did and what He was could be attributed to His one person. Even though Christ in His human nature knew hunger (Luke 4:2), weariness (John 4:6), and the need for sleep (Luke 8:23), in His divine nature He was also omniscient (John 2:24), omnipresent (John 1:48), and omnipotent (John 11). All of that was experienced by the one person of Jesus Christ.

    The Gospel accounts clearly show that at different times, Christ operated under the major influence of one or the other of His two natures. Indeed, He operated in the human sphere to the extent that it was necessary for Him to accomplish His earthly purpose as determined in the eternal plan of salvation. At the same time, He operated in the divine sphere to the extent that it was possible in the period of His humiliation (Philippians 2:6-9).

    Here is the key point: Both of Christ’s natures come into play in many events recorded in the Gospels. For example, Christ’s initial approach to the fig tree to pick and eat a fig to relieve His hunger reflected the natural ignorance of the human mind (Matthew 21:19a). (That is, in His humanity He did not know from a distance that there was no fruit on that tree.) But then He immediately revealed His divine omnipotence by causing the tree to wither (verse 19b).

    On another occasion, Jesus in His divine omniscience knew that His friend Lazarus had died, so He set off for Bethany (John 11:11). When Jesus arrived, He asked (in his humanness, without exercising omniscience) where Lazarus had be laid (verse 34). Robert Reymond notes that “as a God-man, [Jesus] is simultaneously omniscient as God (in company with the other persons of the Godhead) and ignorant of some things as man (in company with the other persons of the human race).” (Reymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah: The New Testament Witness, p. 80).

    All that helps to give a proper understanding of Jesus’ comment in Mark 13:32: “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone”. In this passage, Jesus was speaking from the vantage point of His humanity. Thus, as a human being Jesus was not omniscient but was limited in understanding just as all human beings are. If Jesus had been speaking from the perspective of His divinity. He wouldn’t have said the same thing.

    Bible scholar Thomas Schultz has provided an excellent summary of the massive evidence for Christ’s omniscience:

    First, He knows the inward thoughts and memories of man, an ability
    peculiar to God (1 Kings 8:39); Jeremiah 17:9-16). He saw the evil in
    the hearts of the scribes (Matthew 9:4); He knew beforehand those who
    would reject Him (John 10:64) and those who would follow Him (John 10:14).

    Second, Christ has a knowledge of other facts beyond the possible
    comprehension of any man. He knew just where the fish were in the water
    (Luke 5:4,6; John 21:6-11), and He knew just which fish contained the coin
    (Matthew 17:27). He knew future events (John 11:11; 18:4).

    Third, He possessed an inner knowledge of the Godhead showing the closest
    possible communion with God as well as perfect knowledge. He knows the
    Father as the Father knows Him (Matthew 11:27; John 7:29; 8:55).

    The fourth and consummating teaching of Scripture along this line is that
    Christ knows all things (John 16:30; 21:17), and that in Him are hidden all
    the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). [Quoted in
    McDowell and Larson, Jesus: A Biblical Defense of His Deity (San Bernardino,
    CA: Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1975), p. 54.]

    • Can anyone do the things Christ did in these verses without having the attribute of omniscience?
    • Can anyone other than God have the attributes of omniscience?
    • Since Christ in the incarnations had both a human nature and a divine nature, and since Christ in His divine nature exercised His omniscience on numerous occasions in the Gospels, can you see how Jesus was speaking from His human nature when He said He didn’t know the day of the hour?

  10. Made Alive with Christ

    But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… (Ephesians 2:4-6)

    The Apostle Paul wrote about our old sinful nature (Ephesians 2:1-3). Here Paul emphasizes that we do not need to live any longer under sin’s power. The penalty of sin and its power over us were miraculously destroyed by Christ on the cross.

    Through faith in Christ we stand acquitted, or not guilty, before God (Romans 3:21, 22). God does not take us out of the world or make us robots, we still feel like sinning, and sometimes we will sin. The difference is that before we became Christians, we were dead in sin and were slaves to our sinful nature. But now we are alive with Christ (see also Galatians 2:20).

    Because of Christ’s resurrection, we know that our body will also be raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:2-23) and that we have been given the power to live as Christians now (Ephesians 1:19). These ideas are combined in Paul’s image of sitting with Christ in “the heavenly realms”. Our eternal life with Christ is certain because we are united in his powerful victory.

    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God — not because of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

    When someone gives you a gift, do you say, “That’s very nice, now, how much do I owe you?” No, the appropriate response to a gift is “Thank you.” Yet how often Christians, even after they have been given the gift of salvation, feel obligated to try to work their way to God. Because our salvation and even our faith are gifts, we should respond with gratitude, praise, and joy.

    We become Christians through God’s unmerited favor, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. However, out of gratitude for this free gift, we will seek to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness, and not merely to please ourselves. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service. We are not saved merely for our own benefit but to serve Christ and build up the church (Ephesians 4:12)

  11. Your Best Defense Against False Teaching

    By Pastor Greg Laurie July 13, 2016

    You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! —James 2:19

    If we were to interview Satan (and we would never want to do that), we might be surprised at how orthodox he is. For example, if we were to ask him, “Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?” I think he would say, “Yes, I hate every word of it. But I know it is the Word of God.”

    If we were to ask, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?” again, I think he would say yes. When Jesus encountered two demon-possessed men, the demons cried out, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God?” (Matthew 8:29, emphasis added). They knew Jesus was the Son of God.

    James wrote, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19).

    I think the Devil reads the Bible, but he reads it to misquote it. In the same way, false teachers memorize their little group of Bible verses to prove their false doctrine. And if we don’t know the context of those verses and what the Bible teaches, we can be pulled into their false teachings.

    The Bible tells us that in the last days, false teachers will draw people after themselves who have an itch for novelty. They will tell people what they want to hear.

    For those of us who are called to preach, the way to counteract that is to “preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

    If you don’t know the Bible well, you can be misled. But if you’re conversant with the teaching of the Bible, when something false comes along, you’ll know the difference between what is true and what isn’t.


    September 17th, 2016 Posted in sermons by Pastor Greg Laurie

    Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is angry at death.
    In an interview last year he said, “Your whole life you work, you try to improve yourself, save money, invest wisely, and then all of a sudden – poof. It’s over.”

    I have some news for Arnold Schwarzenegger: Death makes God angry, too.

    Someone might be thinking, Why didn’t God do something about it? He did. He sent his son to die on the cross. And when Christ died on the cross and rose again, he defeated death.

    I know that people still die, of course. My mother is in heaven. My father who adopted me is in heaven. My son is in heaven. I have had to face death head-on, so I’m not approaching this subject from an ivory tower of theory. Rather, I’m giving a dispatch from the valley of the shadow of death.

    I know what it is like to feel that pain. I also know what it is like to know the hope that Christ can bring, because I know death is not the end. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25 NKJV).

    Life goes by so fast. I remember when I was a kid, I would look at older people and think, “Where do these people come from?” Then one day I looked in the mirror and realized that I was one of those older people.

    My generation, the generation that launched the youth culture, has turned from sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to nip, tuck and Botox. We have gone from acid rock to acid reflux. The reality is that life will come to an end. We can’t live forever in these bodies of ours.

    The good news is the soul lives on. There is an afterlife. We make such a big deal about this life, but we don’t talk enough about the afterlife. This life on earth, the Bible says, “is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14 NLT). But the afterlife goes on and on.

    We need to think very seriously about this, because once we die and enter the afterlife, we can’t change our destination. You can decide right now where you will spend eternity. But once you die, there are no more chances.

    The Bible says, “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NLT). We want to be thinking now about where we will spend eternity. We have only two options: heaven or hell – paradise or outer darkness … bliss or misery. Each of us has a choice.

    The last thing God wants is to send any person uniquely created in his image to the place called hell. Jesus died on the cross for us so we could be forgiven and not end up there. Hell wasn’t made for people. According to Jesus, hell was created for the devil and his angels.

    But if someone is bound and determined to reject the offer of forgiveness from Jesus Christ and ends up in hell one day, it really will be his or her own fault. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.”

    We can have the hope of going to heaven one day. That is where the death and resurrection of Christ comes in.

    John’s gospel gives us an inviting scene of a breakfast cooked by Jesus, the risen, living Savior. His hands had been pierced for the disciples, yet he took the time to make them a delicious meal. He had risen again in a physical body. He wasn’t a ghost. He wasn’t a phantom. He wasn’t a spirit. He was standing before them alive again.

    Just for a moment, go back in your imagination to the first century. Here was Jesus with his great ministry, the people were singing his praises, and things were building to a crescendo. Jesus was headed to the cross. He talked about it all the time. He told his disciples that he would be betrayed, whipped and crucified, that he would rise from the dead three days later. But somehow they missed the memo on that. They were expecting him to establish his kingdom on earth right then and there.

    But according to God’s plan, Jesus was betrayed. He was beaten. He was crucified. He was laid in a tomb. And just as he predicted, he rose again from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus changes everything.

    Because of the resurrection of Jesus, one day we will receive new bodies. And those bodies will no longer age or get sick or break down. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we will have resurrected relationships. One day we will be reunited with our loved ones who have died in faith. We will be reunited with loved ones who have gone on before us.

    By the way, these are promises for Christians only. If you are not a Christian, then the only promise you have is that of a certain judgment. The Bible says, “He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31 NKJV). Because Jesus died and rose again, there will be a final judgment.

    Good works don’t get you to heaven, however. Even if they did, there is no way, even on your best day, that you would have enough good works to earn the approval of God. The good news is there is nothing we can to do that is bad enough to keep us out of heaven. But the bad news is there nothing we can do that is good enough to get us into heaven.

    This is where Jesus comes in. This is why we need Jesus – because we are not good enough. We need help. Jesus, who was God in human form, satisfied the righteous demands of the heavenly Father, whom we have all offended through our sin.

    When Jesus died on the cross, he took hold of a holy God with one hand, and with the other hand, he took hold of sinful humanity. He died there in our place. That is why Jesus Christ – and Jesus Christ alone – is our only way to heaven. God has dropped one lifeline from heaven, and it is Christ himself.

    God doesn’t grade on the curve; he grades on the cross. Heaven isn’t for good people; heaven is for forgiven people.

    If you were to die right now, do you think you would enter into Heaven? Would you like to have the absolute assurance that you will be welcome there? If so then, pray this simple prayer:

    Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I know I cannot earn my way into Heaven. I thank you for sacrificing your life so that my sins could be forgiven. I know the only way anyone can receive forgiveness is through you, and so I come to you now and ask you to come into my life, forgive me of my sins, cleanse me, heal me, and be my personal savior so I may have eternal life through you. I pray in your name Jesus. Amen.

    As a continuation of your faith in Christ, you should start studying the Bible daily in order to gain a closer relationship with God, also find a local church to attend that teaches directly from the Bible so you will have someone to answer any questions you may still have. Welcome to the family of God!

  13. What makes you think Christianity is the only way to God?

    The truth of Christianity rests completely in the person of Jesus. The Gospels are the written accounts by eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and deeds. Jesus said that He alone was the way to the Father (John 14:6) and that He alone revealed the Father (Matt. 11:27, Luke 10:22). Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58, Exodus 3:14), who forgave sins (Mark 2:5, Luke 5:20, 7:48) and who rose from the dead (Luke 24:24-29, John 2:19-21). Jesus said that He was the only way. Jesus is unique. He was either telling the truth, He was crazy, or He was a liar. But since everyone agrees that Jesus was a good man, how then could He be both good and crazy or good and a liar? He had to be telling the truth in order to be good. He is the only way.

    Furthermore, Christianity is not just a religion. It is a relationship with God. It is trusting in Jesus and what He did on the cross (1 Cor. 15:1-4) and not on what you can do for yourself (Eph. 2:8-9). It is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and dependence upon the One who died and rose from the dead (John 2:19-21).

    Buddha didn’t rise from the dead nor did Confucius or Zoroaster. Muhammad didn’t fulfill detailed prophecy or rise from the dead either, and though there is far less reliable information written, people believe in them.

    The Scripture is right when it says in 1 Peter 2:7-8, “This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.”

    It is Jesus to whom we look for the validity of Christianity. If Jesus is false, then Christianity is false. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then Christianity is the only correct religion.

    The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

    “The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner1 to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies, ‘we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 exp 17.” That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that “we take 10 exp 17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas (268,820 square miles) [(696,241 km (square)] . They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”

    Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, “we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10 exp 157 or 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000.” 2

    The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 10 exp 17. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies by accident. He was who He said He was: the only way (John 14:6).

    • 1.Science Speaks, Moody Press, 1963.
    • 2.McDowell, Josh, Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

  14. The “I AM”s OF CHRIST

    By Dr. Henry M. Morris

    (Founder and President Emeritus of ICR)

    Those “Christians” who think of the Lord Jesus as just a great man who never really claimed to be God need to confront His amazing statement to the scribes and Pharisees there in Jerusalem when they were berating Him in the temple, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day,” He said. Then, when they questioned that assertion, He went on to insist that “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56,58).

    This was such a bold claim to deity, that they immediately prepared to stone Him for what they thought was blasphemy. But He somehow “hid Himself,” (v. 59) and escaped.

    Of course, if He was not God, what He said was blasphemous, which was a capital crime under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 24:16). He was actually claiming to be the God to whom Moses spoke at the burning bush, when he asked God what His name was, God had answered that His name was “I AM” (Exodus 3:14), that is, He is the God who is eternally self-existent, transcendent to time as well as to space and matter. And that was who Jesus was claiming to be!

    But what about His claim that He and Abraham had seen each other, and that Abraham rejoiced to see His day? Abraham’s time was centuries before that of even Moses.

    That claim probably was in reference to the very critical time when “the word of the LORD [that is, the pre-incarnate Christ] came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1).

    This was the very first of His great “I am” claims, as He promised to be both Protector and Provider to Abraham in a strange and hostile land.

    It is fascinating to note the frequency of such “I am” claims in the Bible after the first one, and how they occur in multiples of seven, a fact which seems possibly designed, not by the human authors, of course, but by the Holy Spirit who inspired them (that is, of course, assuming my own somewhat arbitrary countings are correct).

    For example, there are seven “I am”s in the Book of Genesis, the first being Genesis 15:1, as already noted. The second is in Genesis 15:7, where God, speaking to Abraham, said simply: “I am the LORD.” The Word, “LORD,” of course, is the Hebrew Yahweh (or Jehovah), and carries essentially the same meaning as “I Am,” or “The One Who Is.”

    Then, there are 21 (i.e., 3 x 7) “I am”s in the Book of Exodus, including the divine answer to Moses, already mentioned, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

    The wonderful Book of Psalms contains seven “I am”s that speak prophetically and sadly of the future sufferings of the incarnate Christ, These are:

    “I am a worm, and no man”
    (Psalm 22:6).

    “I am poor and needy”
    (Psalm 40:17).

    “I am . . . a stranger unto my bretheren”
    (Psalm 69:8).

    “I am full of heaviness”
    (Psalm 69:20).

    “I am poor and sorrowful”
    (Psalm 69:29).

    “I . . . am as a sparrow alone upon the house top”
    (Psalm 102:7).

    “I am withered like grass”
    (Psalm 102:11).

    These all occur in psalms that are specifically known to be Messianic psalms (thus referring to Christ) because they are quoted as such in the New Testament.

    The prophetical books abound in “I am” statements by the Lord. The second division of Isaiah, for example, (Isaiah 40-66) contains 35 such claims (7 x 5). The first is Isaiah 41:4. “I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am He.” The last is Isaiah 60:16. “I the LORD am thy Savior and by Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” However the first division of Isaiah, which has a different than the second division, has no such “I am” statements.

    The Book of Ezekiel contains 70 of these great assertions (more than any other single book). Jeremiah contains 21 of these statements. Then, all the smaller prophetical books of the prophets have a total of 21 “I am”s. All told, the 17 prophetical books contain a total of 154 (22 x 7) of God’s great “I am” claims.

    The final such claim in the Old Testament is found in Malachi 3:6, in which God appropriately reminds everyone that “I am the LORD, I change not.” He is the great “I AM,” the self-existent God. We must remember always that our own personal Savior and Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to us that He Himself is that same great I AM.

    It is the Gospel of John, however, that the most beautiful and personally meaningful “I am”s are found. There are seven of these, as follows:

    “I am the bread of life”
    (John 6:35,48,51).

    “I am the light of the world”
    (John 8:12).

    “I am the door of the sheep”
    (John 10:7,9).

    “I am the good shepherd”
    (John 10:11,14).

    “I am the resurrection, and the life”
    (John 11:25).

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life”
    (John 14:6).

    “I am the true vine”
    (John 15:1,5).

    How anyone could hear or see these claims and then still deny that they were claims to deity is a great mystery. For example, how could anyone except God Himself claim to be the way, the truth, and the life?

    Well, maybe a madman might make such a claim, or maybe a gross scam artist of some kind. But no honest, sane person could ever do so, unless the claim were true!

    That is the choice. Either Jesus Christ was mad or wicked, or else He truly is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the one way reach God, the incarnate truth about God, and the only real giver of eternal life with God. One will come to the same conclusion as he examines each of these seven great “I Am” claims.

    The Lord Jesus Christ is “very God of very God,” as the old creeds expressed it. God “created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9) and it is “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Furthermore, it is He who has “made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself” (Colossians 1:20).

    Look also at the remarkable claim in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

    Death has always been man’s great enemy. It always seems a great tragedy and sorrow when a loved one dies, and people generally try to stay alive as long as possible. But Jesus claims to be able to restore one’s life even after he dies, and then to keep him alive forever! What a preposterous claim for any mortal man to make!

    Yet He demonstrated His ability to do just that when He Himself defeated death, rising bodily from the grave on the third day. After all, He is the I AM, the self-existent One! Therefore He is fully able to make good on His promise to those who come to Him for forgiveness and salvation. “Because I live, He says, “ye shall live also” (John 14:19).

    There are also seven great “I am” statements in the Book of Revelation, and one of the key verses of this set has to do with His resurrection. “I am He that liveth, and was dead: and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).

    “Believest thou this?” He would ask today, just as He asked Martha long ago as she was grieving over the death of her brother, Lazarus (John 11:26). How could anyone doubt the overwhelming evidence of Christ’s victory over death (the evidence of the empty tomb, the many post-resurrection appearances, the transformation of the disciples, the testimony of 2000 years of hosts of lives also transformed through faith in Him)? Many have believed, of course, but there are multitudes who have not, and for them there is the dread prospect awaiting them of an eternity without God. “If ye believe not that I am He [but “He” is not in the original; Jesus just said, ‘I am’ ], ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).

    It is significant that the other six “I am”s in Revelation also stress His eternal existence, from eternity to eternity. Note the list below:

    “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending”
    (Revelation 1:8).

    “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last”
    (Revelation 1:11).

    “Fear not; I am the first and the last”
    (Revelation 1:17).

    “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end”
    (Revelation 21:6).

    “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”
    (Revelation 22:13).

    “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star”
    (Revelation 22:16).

    Our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom we have trusted our eternal souls, is more than just a great religious teacher who was martyred for His faith long ago. He is alive on His throne in heaven, having defeated death forever. He was our great Creator, our sin-bearing Savior and will be our eternal Lord and King.

  15. Fraudulent Faith

    By Pastor Ray Stedman

    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (1 Timothy 4:1 RSV)

    As we draw near to the end, before the return of the Lord, there may come an increasing departure from the faith, but I do not think this passage is talking about any one great departure. In fact, other Scriptures suggest that the departure from the faith will occur at the time of the appearance of the man whom Paul, in Second Thessalonians, calls “the man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV), the so-called “antichrist” (1 John 2:18), who will lead this great departure from the faith.

    This verse in First Timothy, however, is more properly understood when it is translated, “in succeeding seasons there will be many departing from the faith” — i.e., this is something that is going to go on, the apostle is suggesting, throughout the whole course of Christian history, in succeeding seasons of time. Just as there are several seasons in a calendar year, so in the calendar of history God has seasons for human events — seasons of war, seasons of peace, seasons of unrest in society, when everything seems to be torn apart (we are going through such a season now); seasons of discovery, when the human mind breaks through into new vistas of truth, geographical discoveries, scientific discoveries; seasons of retrenchment, when everything seems to quiet down; and, as the apostle clearly says here, “seasons of deceit,” when error breaks forth afresh; like a fountain, it seems to gush out a whole new spectrum of untruth. I have lived long enough to have seen several such seasons.

    These seasons of deceit were predicted by the Holy Spirit, we do not know how. Perhaps Paul learned this in some of those direct visions and visits from Jesus himself. Perhaps it came through the prophetic ministry of some of the New Testament prophets. At any rate, the Spirit had precisely stated that there would be succeeding seasons of deceit.

    In the last part of the 19th century, there was a pronounced season of deceit, when new cults that have occupied the scene ever since emerged here in America. Mormonism was born then; Jehovah’s Witnesses came into being during that latter part of the 19th century; Christian Science emerged. All of these claimed to be Christian, yet they distorted biblical Christianity. That period in the 19th century was followed by a period of quiet, when no new cults emerged. Error was being taught but no new organizations were formed.

    Suddenly, in the mid-60’s, it all broke loose again. A torrent of error began to flood our churches and the media. The Moonies came into existence under the Korean leader, Sun Myung Moon; the Hare Krishna, those young people in saffron robes with shaved heads, started appearing in airports, passing out literature and pinning flowers to lapels; Scientology, with its strange and cruel doctrines, was born; Transcendental Meditation came into popularity then.

    Here the apostle is explaining that strange phenomenon to us. He says these things will occur in successive seasons of time. During those times, Paul says, many will depart from the truth, depart from the faith as it is presented in the apostolic Scriptures.

    These groups make their appeal in various ways: some appeal to the emotions, some to the intellect, some to the will, to the pride of mankind. But they all have one common characteristic. This characteristic is indicated in this passage by the way the apostle moves from the central truth of Christianity, “the mystery of wholeness” (the person of our Lord and his work) expressed in Chapter 3, Verse 16, to the sharp and stark contrast of this “departure from the faith.” Thus Paul seems strongly to suggest that the central focus of all error is to present a different Jesus; that is the key mark of deceit.

    If you want to know whether a group you are listening to, or are in touch with, is preaching and teaching true Christianity, ask yourself: “What do they say about Jesus? Who is he? Is he God appearing as man? Did he come in the flesh? Is he the Savior who has in himself accomplished all that God requires for the redemption of humanity?” Ask yourself, “What part does the blood of Jesus play in this teaching? What is said about his Person?”

    The central deviation of all religious error is a negative testimony to the centrality of Christ in the universe. Even the unseen forces of life know that Jesus is central. Jesus is truly Lord, so the thrust of error is to attack him.

    This is why in a university like Stanford it is possible to teach Buddhism, or some other teaching, and find it widely approved and supported by the faculty and the administration. Someone told me this morning that he took a course at Stanford University on Druids and Druidism and the religion of King Arthur. It became evident through the course that the teacher believed these things and was actively propagating a belief in Druidism — and nobody objected. But when Jesus, when true Christianity, is presented, there immediately is sharp and subtle opposition against it. This is what the apostle Paul is pointing out.

    Paul reveals the ultimate origin of these cults as coming from “deceitful spirits.”

  16. Why believe in Christianity over all other religions?

    Critics often ask why Christianity is any better than any other religion in the world. After all, of all the religions that exist, how can it be that only Christianity is true? If God exists, why can’t God use different religions? Don’t all paths lead to God? Skeptics ask these kinds of questions all the time; and, unfortunately, few Christians have the answers. Therefore, in an attempt to demonstrate why Christianity is true and all other religious systems are false, I’ve prepared the follow list of reasons for Christianity’s superiority.

    There are such things as absolute truths

    If truth is relative, then the statement that truth is relative is an absolute truth and would be a self-defeating statement by proving that truth is not relative. But, if truth is absolute, then the statement “truth is absolute” is true and not self-defeating. It is true that truth exists. It is true that truth will not contradict itself as we have just seen. In fact, it is absolutely true that you are reading this paper.

    If we can see that there is such a thing as truth in the world, then we could also see that there can be spiritual truth as well. It is not absurd to believe in spiritual absolutes anymore than physical or logical absolutes. Even the statement that all religions lead to God is a statement held to be a spiritual absolute by many people. This simply demonstrates that people do believe in spiritual truth. Why? Because truth exists. However, not all that is believed to be true actually is true. Furthermore, all belief systems cannot be true since they often contradict each other in profound ways–and truth is not self-contradictory.

    Religions contradict each other; therefore, they cannot all be true.

    Mormonism teaches that there are many gods in existence and that you can become a god. Christianity teaches that there is only one God and that you cannot become a god. Islam teaches that Jesus is not God in flesh where Christianity does. Jesus cannot be both God and not God at the same time. Some religions teach that we reincarnate while others do not. Some teach there is a hell, and others do not. They cannot all be true. If they cannot all be true, it cannot be true that all religions lead to God. Furthermore, it means that some religions are, at the very least, false in their claims to reveal the true God (or gods). Remember, truth does not contradict itself. If God exists, He will not institute mutually exclusive and contradictory belief systems in an attempt to get people to believe in Him. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that there can be an absolute spiritual truth and that not all systems can be true regardless of whether or not they claim to be true. There must be more than a mere claim.

    Fulfilled Prophecy concerning Jesus

    Though there are other religions that have prophecies in them, none are 100% accurate as is the Bible; and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds. The Old Testament was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Yet, the Old Testament prophesied many things about Jesus. This is undoubtedly evidence of divine influence upon the Bible.

    Please consider some of the many prophecies of Jesus in the following chart.

    Prophecy Old Testament Prophecy New Testament Fulfillment
    Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14
    Matt. 1:18, 25

    Born at Bethlehem Micah 5:2
    Matt. 2:1

    He would be preceded by a Messenger Isaiah 40:3
    Matt. 3:1-2

    Rejected by His own people Isaiah 53:3
    John 7:5; 7:48

    Betrayed by a close friend Isaiah 41:9
    John 13:26-30

    His side pierced Zech. 12:10
    John 19:34

    Crucifixion Psalm 22:1
    Psalm 22:11-18
    Luke 23:33;
    John 19:23-24

    Resurrection of Christ Psalm 16:10
    Acts 13:34-37

    Fulfillment of prophecy can have different explanations. Some state that the NT was written and altered to make it look like Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy (but there is no evidence of that). Others state that the prophecies are so vague that they don’t count (but many of the prophecies are not vague at all). Of course, it is possible that God inspired the writers and Jesus, who is God in flesh, fulfilled these prophecies as a further demonstration of the validity of Christianity.

    The Claims and Deeds of Christ

    Christianity claims to be authored by God. Of course, merely making such a claim does not make it true. Anyone can make claims; but, backing up those claims is entirely different. Jesus used the Divine Name for Himself (John 8:58)–the same Divine Name used by God when Moses asked God what His name was in (Exodus 3:14). Jesus said that He could do whatever He saw God the Father do (John 5:19), and He claimed to be one with the God the Father (John 10:30; 10:38). Likewise, the disciples also called Him God (John 1:1, 14; John 10:27; Col. 2:9). By default, if Jesus is God in flesh, then whatever He said and did would be true. Since Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can find God without Him (John 14:6), His words become incredibly important.

    Again, making a claim is one thing. Backing it up is another. Did Jesus also back up His fantastic words with miraculous deeds? Yes, He did.

    • Jesus changed water into wine (John 2:6-10).
    • Jesus cast out demons (Matt. 8:28-32; 15:22-28).
    • Jesus healed lepers (Matt. 8:3; Luke 17:14).
    • Jesus healed diseases (Matt. 4:23, 24; Luke 6:17-19)
    • Jesus healed the paralytic (Mark 2:3-12).
    • Jesus raised the dead (Matt. 9:25; John 11:43-44).
    • Jesus restored sight to the blind (Matt. 9:27-30; John 9:1-7).
    • Jesus restored cured deafness (Mark 7:32-35).
    • Jesus fed the multitude (Matt. 14:15-21; Matt. 15:32-38).
    • Jesus walked on water (Matt. 14:25-27).
    • Jesus calmed a storm with a command (Matt. 8:22-27; Mark 4:39).
    • Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:39; John 20:27).
    • Jesus appeared to disciples after resurrection (John 20:19).

    The eyewitnesses recorded the miracles of Jesus, and the gospels have been reliably transmitted to us. Therefore, we can believe what Jesus said about Himself for two reasons: One, because what He said and did agrees with the Old Testament; and two, because Jesus performed many convincing miracles in front of people who testified and wrote about what they saw Him do.

    Christ’s resurrection

    Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important. Without the resurrection our faith is useless (1 Cor. 15:14). It was Jesus’ resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid. But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that all that Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God in flesh, the Savior.

    No other religious leader has died in full view of trained executioners, had a guarded tomb, and then risen three days later to appear to many many people. This resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for mankind.

    Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead, etc. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead. He has conquered death. Why trust anyone else? Why trust anyone who can be held by physical death when we have a Messiah who is greater than death itself?


    Why should anyone trust in Christianity over Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, or anything else? It is because there are absolute truths–because only in Christianity is there accurate fulfilled prophecies of a coming Messiah. Only in Christianity do we have the extremely accurate transmission of the eyewitness’ documents (gospels), so we can trust what was originally written. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). All this adds to the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity above all other religions–all based on the person of Jesus. If follows that if it is all true about what Jesus said and did, then all other religions are false because Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). It could not be that Jesus is the only way and truth and other religions also be the truth.

    Either Jesus is true and all other religions are false, or other religions are true and Jesus is false. There are no other options. I choose to follow the risen Lord Jesus.

  17. Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths (1 Timothy 4:7)
    By Pastor Ray Stedman

    There are a lot of distracting things you could give your attention and your mind to. Evidently this was true in the 1st century as well as ours. I do not know what it was that was particularly in Paul’s mind when he wrote to Timothy. Paul mentions earlier in the letter something about foolish myths, etc. These myths were godless only in the sense that they were common. (It is actually the word for common; it was widespread; everybody around believed this superstitious nonsense.) And these myths were silly, because the word really means, “foolish old wives’ tales” — stories that foolish women, riddled with superstition, spread around and everybody believed them. Paul tells Timothy not to give himself to these kinds of things.

    Yet these myths are the scourge of every generation. Last week the Peninsula Times-Tribune had an article right on the front page about a man at Stanford who confessed that all his life he was afraid of women and never knew why. (If he had four daughters, a wife and a mother-in-law in his home, like I had, I could perhaps understand that!) The article said that this man went to a woman who called herself “a researcher into past lives.” She told him she had the ability to go back into the lives he had lived earlier and there she discovered (according to her) that he had been attacked by a woman once. This was what was now producing this strange fear of women. What a bunch of hogwash! It is pure rubbish, an old wives’ tale. There is absolutely no semblance of reality to that kind of superstitious nonsense. Yet thousands of people, even Christians, are going in for that kind of thing, believing in reincarnation. The entire record of the Bible, from beginning to end, sets aside the teaching of reincarnation. Resurrection is the biblical truth. In the same body in which you now live this life you will live all eternity; you do not get another one. Anybody who believes the Bible about resurrection can never believe in reincarnation. That is nonsense; it is an old wives’ tale. Do not give yourself to silly myths like that.

    Another widespread myth in our day, one that is winning increasing status on every side, is the doctrines of Mormonism. Mormonism is based upon foolish myths about early American history that do not have a semblance, a shred of evidence from archaeology, to support them. Archaeologists have tried to find any evidence whatsoever for the strange story the Book of Mormon tells, about an early American civilization that flourished here before Columbus came. They can find nothing that confirms it in any degree. Instead, everything they find is absolutely contrary to the picture drawn in the Book of Mormon. But how many believe this nonsense, and how widely it is being accepted and even gaining a position of prominence among us! I am not talking about Mormons. Many of them are wonderful, dear people. Merely because people are lost is no sign they are worthless. Mormons are often marvelous people, but their teachings are in error. We ought to understand that and not give ourselves to godless and silly myths.

  18. “The Word became human” – John 1:14

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
    – John 1:14

    “The Word became human.” By doing so, Christ became (1) the perfect teacher, in Jesus’ life we see how God thinks and therefore how we should think (Philippians 2:5-11); (2) the perfect example, as a model of what we are to become, he shows us how to live and gives us the power to live that way (1 Peter 2:21); (3) the perfect sacrifice, Jesus came as a sacrifice for all sins and his death satisfied God’s requirements for the removal of sin (Colossians 1:15-23).

    “The only Son of the Father” means Jesus is God’s only and unique Son. The emphasis is on unique. Jesus is one of a kind and enjoys a relationship with God. He is unlike all believers, who are called “children of God.”

    When Jesus was born, God became a man. He was not part man and part God; he was completely human and completely divine (Colossians 2:9). Before Christ came, people could know God partially. After Christ came, people could know God fully because he became visible and tangible in Christ. Christ is the perfect expression of God in human form. The two most common errors people make about Jesus are to minimize his humanity or to minimize his divinity. Jesus is both God and man.

    In human history that actually takes place: God becomes man; God becomes flesh, in an amazing blending together of these two concepts.
    In his letters, John the Apostle says that fact is so fundamental to our faith that a denial of it constitutes an anti-Christian heresy: “If any man deny that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, that is the spirit of anti-Christ,” (1 John 4:3). That truth is so central to our faith that if you want to test any other religion or cult, ask yourself, “What do they teach about Jesus? Was he God made flesh, or not?” That is the test of heresy. The glory that John saw in Jesus was the shining out into the darkness of the world of the eternal glory of the Word of God.

  19. BOOK OF MORMON (Part I)

    The Book of Mormon was actually written in the early 1800s, supposedly translated from golden plates written before the time of Jesus (unfortunately, these valuable plates have never been available for verification). Let say, for the sake of argument that these golden plates do exist:
    How did Joseph Smith carry home the golden plates of the Book of Mormon, and how did the witnesses lift them so easily? (They weighed about 230 lbs. Gold, with a density of 19.3 weighs 1204.7 lbs. per cubic foot. The plates were 7″ x 8″ by about 6.” (See Articles of Faith, by Talmage, p. 262, 34th ed.).
    Some later Mormon apologists are theorizing that the Golden Plates were not pure gold but an alloy weighing as little as 50 pounds. There is no mention by Joseph Smith receiving any supernatural help carrying the plates. How is it possible for Smith to run with 50 pounds of metal plates under his arm for three miles while being pursued and attacked three times?

    Changes in the Book of Mormon
    There were more than 3,913 changes between the original edition of the Book of Mormon published in 1830 and the ones printed and issued through the mid-1970s. The 1981 edition introduced between one and two hundred additional word changes. (Scott Faulring, “Changes in New Triple: Part I – The Book of Mormon,” Seventh East Press, 21 October 1981, Provo, Utah.)
    The Ensign (an official LDS church magazine) defends the many changes this way: “Most changes correct typographical errors, misspellings, matters of grammar or style, such as changing singular to plural, and incorporate corrections made by the Prophet Joseph Smith.” (The Ensign, October 1981, p. 19.)
    In fact, many of the changes are related to spelling and grammar, though some are quite substantial. But that doesn’t solve the Mormon dilemma. The problem is, the Mormon account of how Joseph Smith went about translating the Book of Mormon would seem to disallow any possibility of any errors or the need for changes, even relating to misspellings and grammar mistakes.
    According to the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following the translation of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith said he heard a voice from out of a bright light above him that said, “These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.” (“Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 1973), 1:54-55).
    Oliver B. Huntington recorded in his journal that in 1881, Joseph F. Smith, who later became the sixth president of the Mormon church, taught that the Lord gave Joseph Smith the exact English wording and spelling that should be used in the Book of Mormon:
    Saturday Feb. 25, 1881 . . . Heard Joseph F. Smith describe the manner of translating the Book of Mormon . . . Joseph did not render the writing on the gold plates into the English language in his own style of language as many people believe, but every word and every letter was given to him by the gift and power of God . . . [(“Journal of Oliver B. Huntington, “ p. 168 of typed copy at Utah State Historical Society; in Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Major Problems of Mormonism (Salt Lake City: UT: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1989), p. 161.]
    In view of this precise process, a process that involved individual characters and specific words, it would seem there is room for no human error. (Joseph Smith went on to boast that the Book of Mormon is the “most correct of any book on earth.”) (Smith, 4:461). But the 4,000 plus changes that have been made in the Bok of Mormon since 1830 are clearly impossible to reconcile with the Mormon account of how the Book of Mormon was translated.

    • Did you know that following the translation of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith said: “We heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying, ‘These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct’”? (Smith, 1:54-55).
    • Did you know that over 4,000 changes have been made in the Book of Mormon since its original publication in 1830? Even articles in your own Ensign magazine concede that changes have been made.
    • How do you reconcile these many changes with the testimony that the heavenly messenger speaking to Joseph Smith said the original translation was done by the power of God and was “correct”?
    • How do you reconcile these many changes with the testimony that the translation process, utilizing a “seer stone”, involved individual characters and specific words?
    We must conclude that Mormon leaders are not being honest. How can they claim that the Book of Mormon is the “most correct book on earth” (Smith, 4:461), knowing full well that many thousands of changes have been made in it through the years? (See Jerald and Sandra Tanner, 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon).
    Steve Benson, the grandson of the late Mormon church president and prophet Ezra Taft Benson (Steve and Mary Ann Benson resigned from the LDS Church in October, 1993), wrote the following indictment in a newspaper article: “Troubling to us was the pathological unwillingness of the Mormon Church to deal forthrightly with its doctrine and history. Our personal study revealed that church canon, history, and scripture had been surreptitiously altered, skewed, rewritten, contradicted, and deleted.” (The Arizona Republic, 22 May 1994, p. C1).
    • Did you know that the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon had the following words at 1 Nephi 11:21: “And the angel said unto me, Behold the Lamb of God, yes, even the eternal Father”?
    • Yet later editions of the book, read, “And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea even the son of the eternal Father.”
    • Did you know that the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon had the following words at Mosiah 21:28: “. . . King Benjamin had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings”?
    • Yet later editions of the book read, “ . . . King Mosiah had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings.”
    • How do you explain these major changes in the Book of Mormon?

    Note that these are not mere grammatical or punctuation changes, but are changes of substance that affect doctrine.

    The Book of Mormon contains two prophecies about Jesus, both of which are false:

    And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yes even the Son of God (Alma 7:10, Book of Mormon).

    Of course Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem. Some may claim that Bethlehem is a suburb of Jerusalem; however, when transportation was by foot, a town an hour and a half away would not be considered a suburb. Even the Book Mormon indicates it is a separate city (1 Nephi 1:4). Here’s another example:

    But behold, thus saith the Lord God: “When the day cometh that they (the Jews) shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth unto the lands of their inheritance” (2 Nephi 10:7, Book of Mormon).

    Of course the Jews did return to the land in 1948 despite not yet “believing” in Jesus.

    The Mormon book of Doctrine and Covenants contains several prophetic errors (with none right, in fact) regarding a Temple that was to be built in western Missouri within a generation of Joseph Smith’s prediction in the early 1800s: 1) A temple was to be built at a consecrated site in Jackson County, Missouri (“Zion”), within a generation of 1832 (Doctrines and Covenants 84:5,31). 2) The city (“Zion”) was
    “never to be moved” out of that place (98:19; 101:17-21). Over 150 years have passed with no temple built there.

  20. BOOK OF MORMON (Part II)

    Plagiarisms in the Book of Mormon

    The Book of Mormon has not only seen thousands of changes over the years, the book is also undermined by the many plagiarisms it contains from the King James Version of the Bible. In fact, there are whole chapters that have been lifted from the book of Isaiah.

    Now, here is a thorny problem for Mormons: The Book of Mormon has some 27,000 words that were taken directly from the King James Version of the Bible. There are whole verses lifted right out of the King James Version.1 The problem, then, is this: If the Book of Mormon was first penned between 600 B.C. and A.D. 421, as claimed, how could it contain such extensive quotations from the A.D. 1611 King James Version, which was not written for another 1200 to 2000 years? 2

    It is highly significant that in the many King James plagiarisms in the Book of Mormon, even the italicized words from the King James Version were plagiarized. This is relevant because, as noted in the preface of the King James Version, the italicized words were not in the original languages but were added by the King James translators to provide clarity. How could the Book of Mormon, which was written long before the King James Versions, happen to include “inserted clarifying words” from the King James translators?

    Archaeology and the Book of Mormon

    Down through the years, Mormons have claimed that archaeological finds have proven the veracity and reliability of the Book of Mormon. But is there support for such claims?

    We must keep in mind that according to the Mormon Scriptures, the Nephite and Lamanite nations had huge populations that lived in large, fortified cities. They allegedly waged large-scale wars with each other for hundreds of years, culminating in a conflict in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed in A.D. 385 near Hill Cumorah in present-day New York State (See Mormons 6:9-15).

    If all this really happened, you would think we’d find archaeological evidence to support it. But no evidence has ever surfaced. While there is massive archaeological evidence to support the people and places mentioned in the Bible, such evidence is completely missing in regard to the Book of Mormon and other Mormon Scriptures.

    • If there were large-scale wars, culminating in a conflict in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed in A.D. 385 near Hill Cumorah in presents-day New York State, wouldn’t we find some archaeological evidence from non-Mormon archeologists, that such a conflict occurred?

    Mesoamerica had been studied so thoroughly by non-Mormon archeologists that one of them certainly would have come forward by now with evidence in support of the Book of Mormon if what is in the Book of Mormon is really true. But that has not happened. The evidence is completely lacking from non-Mormon archeologists.

    Let us consider a case in point: Prestigious non-Mormon archaeological institutions deny any evidence of a “Reformed Egyptian” language. For many years the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute, in Washington D.C. had sent this response to inquiries about the Book of Mormon:

    Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World
    writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently
    appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None have
    been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492
    except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland. (Natural Museum of Natural History – Smithsonian Statement on the Book
    of Mormon #8).

    So, one of the most prestigious of all archaeological institutions does not agree that any writings such as those Joseph Smith claimed was written on the plates have been found on American soil. There is virtually no evidence that a “Reformed Egyptian” language ever existed on the American continent.

    The Institute also affirmed, “Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book [of Mormon].” (Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Major Problems of Mormonism, p. 162.) Similarly, the Bureau of American Ethnology asserts, “There is no evidence whatever of any migration from Israel to America, and likewise no evidence that pre-Colombian Indians had any knowledge of Christianity or the Bible.” (Cited in John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Cult Watch: What You Need to Know About Spiritual Deception (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1991), p. 38).


    • Do you find it curious that archaeologists at one of the most respected institutions in the world, the Smithsonian Institution, see no archaeological support for the Book of Mormon, or for a migration from Israel to America?
    • Did you know that even a Mormon scholar at Brigham Young University: Dr. Ray Matheny, said there is a great lack of archaeological evidence for historical accounts in the Book of Mormon? (Letter on file at Christian Research Institute in Charlotte, NC ).

    In a letter dated February 4, 1982, the National Geographic Society denied that archaeologists placed any weight on the Book of Mormon: “Neither the Society nor any other institution of equal prestige has ever used the Book of Mormon in locating archaeological sites. Although many Mormon sources claim that the Book of Mormon has been substantiated by archeological findings, this claim has not been verified scientifically.” (Letter dated February 4, 1982, National Geographic Society, cited in Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Major Problems in Mormonism, p. 162).

    In another letter, Dr. Chris Moser, of the Mesoamerican Archaeology Study Unit, answered a reply to questions about the Book of Mormon. One of the points he made was that “while I have several Mormon friends, some of them are archaeologists, and as I admire their moral code and way of life, I am afraid that the Book of Mormon has no basis in fact” (Letter from Dr. Chris Moser of the Mesoamerican Archaeology Study Unit, available at Christian Research Institute).


    • If you claim that the Book of Mormon has archaeological support, do you
    have hard documentation from non-Mormon sources that you can examine?

    Joseph Smith’s “Inspired Version” of the Bible

    Mormon founder Joseph Smith is credited with the “translation” of the Inspired Version of the Bible. Actually, Smith did not come up with a new translation at all. Rather, he took the King James Version of the Bible and added to and subtracted from it, not by examining Bible manuscripts, but allegedly by “divine inspiration.”

    Bruce McConkie says that “at the command of the Lord and while acting under the spirit of revelation, the Prophet [Joseph Smith] corrected, revised, altered, added to, and deleted from the King James Version of the Bible to form what is now commonly referred to as the Inspired Version of the Bible.”3

    Virtually thousands of changes were introduced into the King James Version by Joseph Smith. 4

    Joseph Smith didn’t do any manuscript study whatsoever. Rather he simply rewrote certain Bible passages in the light of supposed new revelations from God.5 This means that we cannot verify Smith’s “translation” by any objective means.

    It took a large group of the world’s greatest Bible scholars (who knew Hebrew and Greek) years to finish their work on the King James Version, it took Joseph Smith a mere three years to complete his work, despite the fact that he has virtually no knowledge of the biblical languages.

    A significant passage that was added by Joseph Smith in Genesis 50 predicts Smith’s own coming: “And the seer will I bless . . . and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father . . . for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.”6


    • Does it strike you as being even slightly suspect that Joseph Smith inserted a passage into the King James Version of the Bible that predicted his own coming?

    The Mormon Dilemma

    David A. Reed and John R. Farkas, authors of several Christian books on Mormonism, note that the Joseph Smith translation has apparently put the Mormon church in somewhat of a dilemma:

    Some of Smith’s revisions to the King James text fail to agree with the same passages as quoted in the Book of Mormon. Other portions contradict current Mormon doctrine. Therefore, fully endorsing it could prove embarrassing, but flatly rejecting it as erroneous would discredit Smith as a prophet. Instead, LDS leaders have sidestepped the issue by alleging that the work Smith began in 1831 was left unfinished at his untimely death in 1844; numerous errors remain in the uncorrected portions of the King James text, and therefore publication would be inappropriate. However, in a letter Smith wrote dated July 2, 1833 at Kirtland, Ohio, he states that he “this day finished the translation of the Scriptures” (History of the Church, vol. 1, p 368).7


    • Since in your own History of the Church it says that Joseph Smith claimed in July 1833 to have completed “the translating the Scriptures,” why hasn’t the Mormon church ever published the Inspired Version?

    While the Mormon church has never officially canonized the Inspired Version, it has bestowed a “high status” on it by including excerpts from it in the notes of their version of the King James Bible.8 This was a “compromise” solution no doubt designed to avoid or at least minimize embarrassment to the church.9

    The Authority of Scripture

    Joseph Smith claimed authority that was not even claimed by Jesus Christ Himself, namely, the authority to alter the text of Scripture.10 Jesus said in Matthew 5:18: “Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot [the smallest letter] or one tittle [the least stroke of a pen] shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (inserts added). Jesus considered the Word of God as absolutely authoritative. He dared not change it. How, then could Joseph Smith claim to have an authority to do something that even Christ could not do?

    When Jesus was tempted by the devil during His 40 days in the wilderness, the devil misquoted Scripture in an attempt to thwart Christ. Christ responded, however, by affirming the absolute authority of Scripture by saying, “It is written . . .” (Matthew 4:4,7,10).


    • How could Joseph Smith claim the authority to do something that Christ could not, namely, the authority to change the text of Scripture?

    • Why was it necessary for Joseph Smith to make changes in the Bible when Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18)?

    1. An excellent resource you may want to consult is The Use of the Bible in the Book of Mormon by H. Michael Marquardt. Contact Utah Lighthouse Ministry:
    2. Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Major Problems of Mormonism, pp. 148-54.
    3. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1966), p. 383.

    4. John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1987), p. 97f.
    5. Anthony A. Hoekema, The Four Major Cults (Grand Rapids, MI: Eermans, 1978), p. 19.
    6. Joseph Smith, Genesis 40:33, Inspired Version.
    7. David A. Reed and John R. Farkas, Mormons Answered Verse by Verse (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992), p. 29.
    8. Note that Deseret bookstores sell the RLDS edition of the Joseph Smith Translation.
    9. Reed and Farkas, p. 29.
    10. Hoekema, p. 23.

  21. Why we should believe the Bible

    We should believe the Bible because of the wealth of good evidence that has demonstrated the Bible is historically reliable and divinely inspired. It speaks about:

    • Its hundreds of fulfilled prophecies
    • The Bible’s amazing internal harmony
    • The Bible’s incredible scientific accuracy and foresight
    • Thousands of archaeological discoveries
    • Numerous details in the Bible that have been corroborated by extrabiblical historical sources
    • And so on


    For the Bible to be regarded as the inspired word of God, it must be scientifically accurate…since God would certainly know the facts about his creation. A word of caution, however, as we seek to evaluate the claim of scientific accuracy. Over time, science has often discovered new facts that confirmed a revised understanding of the truth, previously unknown. These discoveries have always been consistent with the Bible, however, at times a careful consideration of the words and
    The account of creation (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1900s). The account of creation as given in the Bible (Genesis 1) is accurate according to the steps understood by science. Written down originally by Moses, they were not fully recognized by science until the 1900s, using modern astronomy, physics, chemistry, paleontology, and geology.

    Time, space and matter had a beginning (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1916). The Bible’s first words are “in the beginning.” And elsewhere, including the New Testament, there are references to the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Corinthians 2:7). In 1915, Albert Einstein’s equations of general relativity proposed a beginning of time, matter and space. Later these equations were confirmed by repeated experiments.

    The first law of thermodynamics (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1842). The law of conservation of energy indicates that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed (just converted). There are many biblical references to God’s completion (that is, there was no more creation), going as for back as Genesis (2:2-3), and also in several other books (Psalm 148:6; Isaiah 40:26; 2 Peter 3:3-7; Hebrews 4:3-4,10). Joule and Mayer both independently discovered this in the same year (1842), what is now known as the first law of thermodynamics.

    The second law of thermodynamics (the Bible: 1000 B.C.; Science: 1850). Commonly known as entropy, this law states that all things progress from a state of order to a state of disorder (within a closed system) without a purposeful input of energy. Common illustrations: things decay, springs unwind, stars burn out, heat dissipates, and materials become mixed over time. There are many references to the principle of entropy in the Bible, for example,

    In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like garment
    (Psalm 102:25-26).

    Other similar references include Isaiah 51:6; Matthew 24:35; Romans 8:20-22; 1 John 2:17; and Hebrews 12:27. In 1850, Clausius discovered this second law of thermodynamics.

    Circumcision on the eighth day (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1947). No one really knows for sure why God specifically chose circumcision as the sign of his covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:11). Though it seems like an odd practice, research has indicated that it does have medical value. A study in the mid-1900s showed that Jewish women had a lower rate of cervical cancer. The smegma bacillus has been shown to be a major cause of cervical cancer. It can be easily carried in the foreskin of uncircumcised males and transferred to females through a abrasions of the cervix (as those occurring in childbirth).

    Interestingly, God specified that newborns be circumcised on the eighth day after childbirth (Genesis 17:12). Research shows that infants are particularly susceptible to hemorrhaging from the second day after birth to the fifth. A small cut can be deadly. Vitamin K, necessary for the production of prothrombin (the body’s blood-clotting substance) is not present sufficiently until days five through seven. It skyrockets to 110 percent of normal on day eight, and then levels off. The Bible specifies the best possible day.

    Sterilization (the Bible: 1450 B.C.; science: 1800s). It is easy to take our understanding of germs and disease for granted. However, germs and sterilization were not understood until the time of Joseph Lister (1865), near the end of the Civil War. The Bible required sterilization for many things: infectious disease (Leviticus 13), childbirth (chapter 12), bodily discharges (chapter 15), and handling of the dead (Numbers 19).

    Interesting to note that many of the world’s greatest scientists have been Christians working from within a Christian worldview, including men such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Sir Isaac Newton. These brilliant men found to be true what many others discovered: The Bible is a book that can be trusted.

    Archaeological Evidence

    Archaeologists have discovered substantial support about many
    details of Jesus’ life. Some examples include:

    Indirect Resurrection Evidence

    Evidence that the people in Jesus’ time believed in the resurrection is found on caskets of bones (ossuaries) discovered in a sealed tomb outside Jerusalem in 1945. Coins minted in about A.D. 50 were found inside the caskets, dating the burial within about 20 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. Markings are clearly legible, including several statements reflecting knowledge of Jesus’ ability to overcome death. Example of writings (in Greek) of hope for deceased loved ones include: “Jesus, Help” and “Jesus, Let Him Arise.” The caskets also contain several crosses, clearly marked in charcoal. This is powerful evidence that early Christians believed in Jesus’ ability to triumph over death. It also ties the idea of victory over death to the cross.

    Jesus’ Burial Shroud?

    A burial shroud (Shroud of Turin) is believed by many people to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus (Matthew 27:59; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53). Items supporting its authenticity are:

    1. Test that confirm fiber type and small particles of limestone dust unique to the region.
    2. Confirmation of blood, in wounds precisely as indicated in the accounts of Jesus’ unique execution.
    3. Confirmation of a crucifixion as likely cause of the type of image created: matching a deceased body.
    4. Coins on eyes dated about the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

    Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916). Sir William Ramsay was, arguably the greatest archaeologist of his day. His archaeological journeys took him to 32 countries, 44 cities, and 9 islands. Throughout some 15 years of intensive study, he concluded that “Luke is a historian of the first rank, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

    The Dead Sea Scrolls

    Any doubt regarding the accurate transmission of manuscripts was erased in 1947
    with the discovery of hundreds of scrolls buried in caves for nearly 2000 years.
    Many were written before 100 B.C. Comparison of biblical books with recent
    Jewish copies shows virtual no change in words or even letters.

    The Trustworthiness of the New Testament

    1 The New Testament has better manuscript evidence than any other ancient book.

    a. There are over 5,000 New Testament manuscripts and portions of manuscripts. By comparison, the majority of classical works have less than 20 manuscripts.

    b. The dates of the New Testament manuscripts are close to the original writings. One Gospel fragment (Ryland’s) dates about 25 years after the Gospel of John and most of the New Testament (Chester Beatty and Bodmer Papyri) from 50-150 years after the originals. Most classical works date from 700 – 1400 years after the originals.

    c. None of the canonical New Testament is lost or missing. By comparison, 107 of Livy’s 142 books of history have been lost and about one half of Tacitus’ 30 books of Annals and Histories is missing.
    2. Good arguments can be given that each of the Gospels was either written by an eyewitness, or significantly influenced by firsthand testimony, as recognized by many contemporary scholars.
    3. Even without proving eyewitness authorship, the Gospels measure up well by normal historical standards used in ancient historiography.
    4. The Gospel are trustworthy sources, as explained by A.M. Hunter
    a. These Christian authors, like their Jewish counterparts, were careful to preserve traditional material.
    b. The Gospels are close to eyewitness sources.
    c. The Gospel authors were honest reporters.
    d. The picture of Jesus presented in the four Gospels is virtually the same (see Archibald M. Hunter, Bible and Gospel, pp. 32-37).
    5. The Gospels and Acts exhibit a specific interest in reporting historical facts, not mythology. This is especially the case when the life of Jesus is reported.
    6. Contemporary historians frequently opposed the application of radical criticism to New Testament studies. According to A.N. Sherwin-White and Michael Grant, such attacks fail at a number of crucial points (see A.N. Sherman-White, Roman Society, pp. 186-193; Grant, Jesus: An Historian Review, pp. 179-184, 199-201).
    a. Numerous ancient works exhibit intentions and methodologies similar to that of the New Testament authors, and yet these ancient works are well accredited as historical works.
    b. There are no ancient writings in the category that radical critics place the Gospels.
    c. New Testament books such as Acts have been largely confirmed by external test of historicity.
    7. The Gospel and Acts were recognized as inspired books almost immediately after being written (see J.B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers).
    a. 1 Timothy 5:18 quotes Luke 10:7 and refers to it as “Scripture.”
    b. Clement of Rome (about AD 95) speaks of the “Gospel” and quotes portions found in all three synoptic Gospels, referring to them as the words of Jesus (Corinthians 13,46).
    c. Ignatius (Smyrnaeans 3) and Polycarp (Philippians 2, 7), both writing about AD 115, refer to verses in the synoptic Gospels as the words of Christ.
    8. Paul’s epistles were also recognized as inspired Scripture almost immediately after being written.
    a. 2 Peter 3:15-16 calls Paul’s epistles “Scripture.”
    b. Clement of Roman (Corinthians 47), Ignatius (Ephesians 10; to Polycarp 5), and Polycarp (Philippians 1,3-4, 6) all refer to Paul’s writings as inspired.

    Ralph Muncaster, (former atheist) in his book: Examine the Evidence, presents extensive evidence to validate the truth-claims of Christianity. He provides compelling arguments from science, biblical prophecy, history, and archaeology. This former skeptic points out that of all religions and philosophies on earth, only one, Christianity is verifiable and testable. He was challenged to honestly investigate the Bible and the facts of modern science. He was stunned. Fact after fact, from biology, history, archaeology, physics, lined up with the Bible’s account!

    Manuscript Documentation

    The position of Jewish scribe was one of the most demanding and esteemed jobs in biblical times. After training for years, scribes were allowed to practice the profession only after age 30. Often referred to as doctors of the Law, they joined the priests in the teaching of the Law.

    Scripture Copy Rules

    Recording of Holy Scripture was a serious responsibility. So important was exact reproduction that Old Testament scribes were forced to adhere to demanding rules anytime a manuscript was copied:

    1. Scrolls – special paper, ink, and surface preparation required.
    2. Tight specifications – specified column number, 37 letters per column.
    3. Master used – no duplicates of duplicates.
    4. Each letter visually confirmed – no writing of phrases.
    5. Distance between letters checked with thread.
    6. Alphabet – each letter counted and compared to original.
    7. Letters per page counted and compared to master.
    8. Middle letter of scroll verified to be the same as the master.
    9. One mistake – scroll was destroyed (i.e., master scrolls)

    Consider the following facts about the Bible:

    First, the Bible is not just one single book. This is a more common misconception than many people realize, especially with people who do not come from a Judeo-Christian background. Rather than being a single book, the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, which is called the canon of scriptures. These 66 books contain a variety of genres: history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, letters, and apocalyptic just to name a few.

    Second, these 66 books were written by 40 different authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds: shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others. And most of these authors never knew one another personally.

    Third, these 66 books were written over a period of 1500 years. Yet again, this is another reminder that many of these authors never knew or collaborated with one another in writing these books.

    Fourth, the 66 books of the Bible were written in 3 different languages. In the Bible we have books that were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; a reflection of the historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written.

    And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe . Once again, this is a testament to the varied historical and cultural circumstances of God’s people.

    Think about the above realities: 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents. What’s more, this collection of books shares a common storyline – the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people; a common theme – God’s universal love for all of humanity; and a common message – salvation is available to all who repent of their sins and
    commit to following God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. In addition to sharing these commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions. God’s word truly is an amazing collection of writings!

    The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, bears the mark of Divine inspiration.

    The Bible Itself Argues Against the Possibility of Its Corruption

    The charge that the Bible has been corrupted, contradicts what the Bible itself teaches. After all, in Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.” In the New Testament Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”
    (Matthew 24:35).

    The Almighty God who had the power and sovereign control to inspire the Scriptures in the first place is surely going to continue to exercise His power and sovereign control in the preservation of Scripture.

  22. Deceptive Philosophies

    “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

    First, according to Apostle Paul, these empty, deceptive philosophies “depend on human tradition.” They arise out of the thinking of men, find a foothold in society, and then are passed along from generation to generation so as to appear popular and widely supported. Hardly anyone dares question them because everybody believes them.

    Second problem with false doctrine, is, in Paul’s words, “not according to Christ.” Evil teaching always focuses on demoting Jesus, refusing to recognize the full revelation of his Being as it is set out in the Scriptures. Every cult attacks the Person or the work of Jesus—or both. They claim that he was nothing but a very good man, a model man, perhaps, although he lacked the insights into life and reality that are ours through modern knowledge. Thus, they put him down and demote him. Or, going to the opposite extreme, they regard Jesus as a supernatural being, one among several Divine Masters who come periodically into human affairs to teach us wonderful truths that we would never know otherwise, and which, if followed, will release within us great divine powers. (This is the teaching of the New Age movement that we are being exposed to today.) But these cults never view Jesus as God himself, willing to die in our place.

    “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have this fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)

    Everywhere in Scripture you will find this approach: We are to be “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” We must focus again upon who he is, then the mind and heart are both protected against the assault of an evil teaching. Here the apostle reminds the Colossians that they already have everything they need if they have Jesus. They have God for “in Christ dwells all the fullness of Deity in bodily form.” All of God is present when Jesus is there. This does not mean that Jesus is both the Father and the Son. Scripture never teaches that. But “the fullness of God,” the whole Godhead, comes into your life when you receive Jesus. What more do you need? That is Paul’s question. What more can these false teachers add to that? What new experience, what other additional divine person can you receive than what you have already received when you have Jesus? It may be that we need to discover more of what it means to have Christ in our heart; that is a lifelong process. We shall always be growing in appreciation of what it means to have him, but the point is (and it is a very important one): you do not need anything more than you already have. You merely need to understand more of what you have received.

    Some cults teach that Jesus has mere divine qualities in Colossians 2:9, Rather, it is saying that the absolute “fullness of Deity” dwells in Christ in bodily form. Scholars are unanimous on this point. For example:

    • New Testament scholar Joseph B. Lightfoot says the phrase “fullness of deity” means “the totality of divine powers and attributes.” [J.B. Lightfoot, St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979), p. 181.]
    • Greek scholar J.H. Thayer says the Greek word in Colossians 2:9 refers to “deity, that is, the state of being God, Godhead.” [J.H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), p. 288.]
    • Greek scholar Richard C. Trench says that “St. Paul is declaring that in the Son there dwells all the fullness of absolute Godhead….He was, and is, absolute and perfect God.” [R.C. Trench; cited in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), p. 1401.]
    • Greek scholar John A. Bengel states that the Greek word refers “not merely [to] the Divine attributes, but [to] the Divine nature itself.” [John A. Bengel; New Testament Word Studies, Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978), p. 460.]
    • Bible scholar H.C.G. Moule states that the Greek word “is as strong as possible; Deity, not only Divinity.” [H.C.G. Moule, Studies in Colossians & Philemon (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1977), p. 102.]
    • Theologian Robert Reymond says the Greek word refers to “the being of the very essence of deity.” [Robert Reymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah; The New Testament Witness (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1990), p. 250.]
    • In keeping with all this, Theologian Benjamin B. Warfield concludes that “the very deity of God, that which makes God God, in all its completeness, has its permanent home in our Lord, and that in a ‘bodily fashion,’ that is, it is in Him clothed with a body.” [Benjamin B. Warfield, The Person and Work of Christ (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1950), p. 46.]

  23. Pastor Ray Stedman: Who is Jesus? (Part II)

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4 RSV)

    Any scientist who studies in the natural realm is always astonished when he comes to see the complexity of life, the marvelous symmetry of things, what lies behind all visible matter, the molecules, the atom, the make-up of a flower or of a star. The obvious order, design and symmetry of everything is astonishing; it is amazing.

    We have all wondered at what we have seen through some of the discoveries of science. All of that was in the thought of God, but it never would have been expressed until the Son said it; he spoke and these things came into being. So this amazing Man, Jesus of Nazareth, in the mystery of his being, was not only a human being here on earth with us, John says, but was the One who spoke the universe into existence at the beginning. He understands it; he knows how it functions; he is able to direct it, guard it and guide it. He spoke it into being.

    Furthermore, John says, Jesus sustains it: “Without him was not anything made that was made.” He is essential to it; he is what keeps it going and holds it in existence. I have always been fascinated by the great linear accelerator that runs out into the mountains back of Stanford University. You cross over it almost without thinking when you drive up Highway 280 to San Francisco. This linear accelerator is a great atom-smasher, which takes energy that is developed at the beginning of that great tunnel and increases its speed constantly until it approaches the speed of light so that the energy particles smash into a target of an atom at the end. Why does it take so much power to break loose what is in an atom so that scientists might investigate the electrons, the protons and other particles that make up that atom? Why does it take so much power to break it apart? Science has long asked that question, but has failed to come up with an answer to it. There is a force that they cannot describe or understand that holds all things together.

    The Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians what that force is: “He [Jesus] holds all things together,” (Colossians 1:17 RSV). Hebrews says, “He [Jesus] is upholding the universe by the word of his power,” (Hebrews 1:3). That is why we cannot forget Jesus: we are held together here this morning by his word and his power. That is why we do not fall apart and blast into smithereens. Something holds us together, and that is from him.

    The third thing John says is that Jesus is the originator of two tremendously essential things that we need: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The contribution that Jesus makes to us is our very life.

    What is life? Everybody senses the difference between life and death. A scientist can analyze what elements make up a living substance, but when he puts it all together it does not have life. The elements are there, the chemistry is there, but something is missing. It will not grow; it will not develop; it is not alive. What is life? No one knows. Again, life is one of the great mysteries. But what the Word declares to us and what all science is busy trying to demonstrate is that God is alone the source of life; Jesus is life! Plants have life; he gave it to them. Animals have a higher form of life; he gave it to them. Men have still a higher form of life, and he is the source of it. Thus we cannot escape him, we cannot forget him. Jesus stands at the beginning and the end of every human life. Ultimately our life goes back to him when it ceases down here.

    More than that, when life is given there comes with it light. Light here is a symbol of knowledge, of understanding, of truth. You and I can go to school and learn because we have human life, but Jesus speaks of an eternal life, a higher level, supernatural life, life that does not die. John declares in his letter, “He that has the Son has that kind of life, and he that does not have the Son does not have that kind of life,” (1 John 5:12). So eternal life comes only from Christ. When you have life from him you have the possibility of light as well. That is why there is no possibility of understanding the world and the universe in which we live without eternal life from the Son of God.

    Everywhere in Scripture we are invited to pursue knowledge and discover what is around us in all the exciting mysteries God has hidden in life. We can pursue science, medicine, art, literature and politics, and all that is right. But there is something more. If that is all we have, life at that level is narrow, crabbed and limited, and we can never understand what is really happening. It is only as we come to the level of divine light, understanding as it is in the Scriptures, coming from the lips of Jesus, that we begin to put all the pieces together. Only then can we see who we are, why we are here, and get the answers to all the puzzles and conundrums of life.

    So when John introduces his gospel he wants us to understand this: that the One he is going to talk about, this amazing man from Nazareth, is God himself somehow become a Man. He is the Creator become part of his creation, the Originator of life and of wisdom who somehow limited himself to learning as a little child, growing and partaking with us in the search for truth, and, at last, manifesting the fullness of it in his resurrected power. This is the One who is at the center of our faith. That is why we cannot forget Jesus. Every human being sooner or later must deal with Jesus of Nazareth. He is the ultimate crisis in every human life.


    We do not become Christians by following some manual, religious ceremony or using some technique. Our conversion is a result of God’s implanting His Spirit in our heart, giving us new power to live or him. The Holy Spirit gives new life to all who believes and accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

    ”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

    The Holy Spirit is given now, immediately when anyone believes in Jesus. There is no sign, no feeling, no emotional indication of it. It occurs, as Jesus said it would, when any believe on him. It is the means by which the risen life of Jesus becomes available to us, continuously and constantly. All that he is made available through all that I am.

    It is a glorious kind of power. It does not need any props, does not require outside help, and does not borrow anything from the world. It does not even need a cup of coffee to get started in the morning! And it works best in a cemetery. It operates most visibly where everything is dull and lifeless, and nothing is happening. Anyone who is operating on resurrection power can come in and change the whole scene.

    Resurrection power changes lives from within and not from without. It does not start on the outside, with the environment, or the circumstances, or the external situation; it starts within, and works out, to change the environment ultimately. And it does not separate or divide; it harmonizes, it heals, it draws together and breaks down “middle walls of partition” (Ephesians 2:14 KJV) that have been standing sometimes for centuries. It batters them down and brings people together, in harmony. It is a totally different kind of power. That is what you receive when you receive the Holy Spirit.

    All of us have messed up our lives in one way or another; we have destroyed the wholeness already. But the glory of the good news is that in coming to Jesus, through his work on the cross on our behalf and his raising again from the dead, he can actually give us a new start. All the past is wiped out and forgiven. We are restored.
    Some of you may have been going to church for years. You have been hearing the gospel but you have never opened your hearts to God. But that is the final, necessary step. Ultimately, the will must be moved. Jesus said in Revelation, “Behold I stand at the door (the door of the heart) and knock. If anyone hears my voice (feels desire), and will open the door (invite him to come in), I will come into him and live with him and he with me,” Revelation 3:20). That is what happened in Thessalonica.
    That is “the work of faith.” Until you have actually received Christ, you have not exercised faith. You can believe the story to be true, but until it moves you to receive the Lord you have not exercised faith.

    All Have Sinned – Romans 3:23
    “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

    The Wages of Sin is Death – Romans 6:23
    “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

    God Loves You – Romans 5:8
    “God demonstrated His live toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Confession and Salvation – Romans 10:9
    “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

    Thus the religion of the world, with its emphasis upon the external, is ignored by God. Man fulfills his proper function only by receiving what God has done in Christ, without any need for observances or candles or form or ceremony, but by a quiet act of faith. That is the simplicity of belief in Jesus Christ. It is so uncomplicated, so simple, so available to all.

    If you want to receive Christ into your life, visit this important message:


    We do not become Christians by following some manual, religious ceremony or using some technique. Our conversion is a result of God’s implanting His Spirit in our heart, giving us new power to live or him. The Holy Spirit gives new life to all who believes and accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

    ”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

    The Holy Spirit is given now, immediately when anyone believes in Jesus. There is no sign, no feeling, no emotional indication of it. It occurs, as Jesus said it would, when any believe on him. It is the means by which the risen life of Jesus becomes available to us, continuously and constantly. All that he is made available through all that I am.

    It is a glorious kind of power. It does not need any props, does not require outside help, and does not borrow anything from the world. It does not even need a cup of coffee to get started in the morning! And it works best in a cemetery. It operates most visibly where everything is dull and lifeless, and nothing is happening. Anyone who is operating on resurrection power can come in and change the whole scene.

    Resurrection power changes lives from within and not from without. It does not start on the outside, with the environment, or the circumstances, or the external situation; it starts within, and works out, to change the environment ultimately. And it does not separate or divide; it harmonizes, it heals, it draws together and breaks down “middle walls of partition” (Ephesians 2:14 KJV) that have been standing sometimes for centuries. It batters them down and brings people together, in harmony. It is a totally different kind of power. That is what you receive when you receive the Holy Spirit.

    All of us have messed up our lives in one way or another; we have destroyed the wholeness already. But the glory of the good news is that in coming to Jesus, through his work on the cross on our behalf and his raising again from the dead, he can actually give us a new start. All the past is wiped out and forgiven. We are restored.

    Some of you may have been going to church for years. You have been hearing the gospel but you have never opened your hearts to God. But that is the final, necessary step. Ultimately, the will must be moved. Jesus said in Revelation, “Behold I stand at the door (the door of the heart) and knock. If anyone hears my voice (feels desire), and will open the door (invite him to come in), I will come into him and live with him and he with me,” Revelation 3:20). That is what happened in Thessalonica.
    That is “the work of faith.” Until you have actually received Christ, you have not exercised faith. You can believe the story to be true, but until it moves you to receive the Lord you have not exercised faith.

    All Have Sinned – Romans 3:23
    “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

    The Wages of Sin is Death – Romans 6:23
    “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

    God Loves You – Romans 5:8
    “God demonstrated His live toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Confession and Salvation – Romans 10:9
    “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

    Thus the religion of the world, with its emphasis upon the external, is ignored by God. Man fulfills his proper function only by receiving what God has done in Christ, without any need for observances or candles or form or ceremony, but by a quiet act of faith. That is the simplicity of belief in Jesus Christ. It is so uncomplicated, so simple, so available to all.

    If you want to receive Christ into your life, visit this important message:

  26. Hello Darkness – Pastor Ray Stedman (Part I)

    But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 RSV)
    Every person in this room entered human life by means of birth. There is no other way in. This is how you got here — by being born. And that is true in the new creation as well. There has to be a birth. (Jesus is going to point this out rather astonishingly to a leader and teacher of Israel in the third chapter of John — he must be born again.) There is no other way into the new kingdom. It is like the old creation; it begins with a birth.
    Like the old creation, it too is not a mass-production. Nowhere on this earth, with its vast population of almost four billion people, do you ever find any mass-producing of human beings. They all come one at a time, individually, personally. (The most you can ever get is five or six at once, and even they are very distinct individuals!) Now, that is the way the new creation is. You do not enter the kingdom in a crowd; you have to come one at a time, personally, individually.
    John goes on to list the mistaken ways people think they can come to God. He says, First, that new birth is “not of blood.” That means, not by inheritance, not by human ancestry. You cannot get into the kingdom of God, or be born into the family of God, by being raised in a Christian family. You can be a member of a family, every one of whom is Christian except you, but that does not make you a Christian. You can grow up in a Christian home, attend a Christian school, spend all your life involved in Christian activities, but until you are born again you are not a Christian. You are not saved by Christian parents or Christian grandparents or by being born in a Christian country.
    Second, the new birth is “not of the will.” It is not by determining to be a Christian that you become a Christian. You cannot make yourself one. You cannot talk yourself into being a Christian. You cannot study Christians, act like them, join their church and sing their hymns and go through all the Christian externals and become a Christian. You cannot do it. It is “not of the will.” It is not by positive thinking or possibility thinking that you become a Christian. It is only, as we will see, by a new birth.
    Third, the new birth is “not of the will of man.” It is not by the efforts of others. Nobody can make you a Christian; no bishop, no archbishop, no priest, no one can make you a Christian. You cannot come by a ceremony, by reading a creed, by standing up or sitting down, by going forward or by kneeling at a bench. That does not make you a Christian.
    It is what has happened in your heart that makes you a Christian. It is a new birth. It is done by God: “but of God.” It is all by God, so it is beyond any human effort, any cleverness or manipulation. “To all who received him.” Not all who merely believe in him. Many people say, “I believe in Christ. I believe that he lived, that he died and rose again. I believe he was who he said he was.” But that does not make you a Christian. It is when you receive him, when you yield to him, when you surrender to his Lordship that you become a Christian.
    John put it very clearly in his first letter: “He who has the Son has eternal life; he who does not have the Son does not have life,” (1 John 5:12).
    It is that simple. It is by receiving him, by inviting him to be your Lord, by asking him to take over in your life, to enter your heart; that is the only way into the kingdom of God.
    That begins deep in the human spirit. If you receive him, something happens to you. Deep in your spirit a transformation occurs. God does it. You cannot do it. You do not even feel it. It is not something that happens by feeling.

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