Do Mormons believe the same as
What is it that separates Mormonism
from traditional Christianity?
Dr. John Ankerberg: All right.
Now we want to answer
the question, "Do Mormons believe the same as Christians do?" The answer is No.
And the reason for this is that the Bible is not their final authority. Now I'd like you
to listen to two Mormon leaders. First, Mr. Kay H. Christensen, a Mormon leader who is
president of a three state area and Mr. Lawrence R. Flake, a Mormon leader who actually
trains Mormon missionaries. Then you'll hear a response to their comments from two
Christian scholars, namely Dr. James Bjornstad and then the late Dr. Walter Martin, author
of Kingdom of the Cults. I'd like you to listen.
Lawrence Flake We believe -- and again this separates
us from traditional Christianity -- we believe that there is no logical reason or indeed
scriptural reason to indicate that God ceased to speak to man on the earth at the end of
the New Testament. In other words, He talked throughout the Old Testament. He talked in
the New Testament. Why for 2,000 years has He not spoken to man on the earth? And the
message, as President Christensen pointed out, that we share with the world is that He has
called again in the Latter Days prophets who can speak for Him and do speak for
Him. Their words are recorded then and recorded specifically in the Bible from ancient
times, in the Book of Mormon, and also in modern Scripture which we have as the Doctrine
and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
Dr. Walter Martin: I think what we have to recognize
here is a fundamental division. Their source of authority is independent of the
Scriptures. If the Bible contradicts it, it means nothing to them because their scriptures
are the supreme authority. Now, how can you call yourself a Christian if you will not
submit yourself to the words of Jesus Christ and to the New Testament documents? That is
the finished revelation, once for all delivered to the saints. Besides, in Hebrews chapter
one it says that, "God who spoke in times past to our fathers and the prophets has in
these days spoken unto us in His Son." Jesus Christ is God's last word to man
not Joseph Smith, not Doctrine and Covenants, not the Book of Mormon. Jesus
Christ. So, we go and test their documents by the New Testament and by the words of
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Kay H. Christensen But the point, again, is there
needs to be a place where you can go for the final answer and we're saying you can go to a
prophet. That's again our invitation.
James Bjornstad But can the prophet contradict literal
words in the Book of Mormon and the Bible?
Christensen He really doesn't. And I don't think
you'll find that.
Flake We both know that words are just words, and
that's why we have 1,200 churches that use the Bible. They see the same words and they see
Bjornstad Certainly there are many Mormon splits that
have come from the Church of Christ-- Temple Lott, the Reorganized Church, the
and Bickertonites-- and they would all claim the Book of Mormon to some degree. How
come, for instance, the Reorganized Church uses the Book of Mormon and you do and
don't come up with the same doctrine?
Flake That's an interesting question you bring up
about the Reorganized Church, and we might just mention the difference between the Mormon
church and the Reorganized Church.
Ankerberg: Please do.
Flake Basically, our position needs to be understood
in the context of all churches as they relate to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints. We believe that all churches are good to the extent that they teach Jesus Christ
and encourage people to follow his teachings. But we believe that he has a specific church
that he organized with power and authority and all of the truth within the confines of
that church. Our belief is that that church has been restored in its entirety in the
latter days. So, the other churches on the earth, including the Reorganized Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are in our view man made organizations that use the
Word of God as they understand it and do a great deal of good for many people but they are
not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which lives under the
inspiration, the direct guidance of revelation to a prophet on the earth.
Bjornstad Could I just put it another way. The
Reorganized Church as far as I know does have a prophet that they claim who actually
descends back through Emma Smith to Joseph Smith. If that's true and they have a prophet
that interprets the Book of Mormon and you have a prophet, which one is right?
Flake Again, it's a question of each individual
praying about that to know themselves.
Ankerberg: It's not the book itself, though, that
directs you to the prophet. In other words, it's the subjective prayer.
Flake Well, actually the Book teaches prophets just as
the Bible does. Prophets are the last word throughout the Bible. They're the last word
through the Book of Mormon.
Ankerberg: But the Book does not dictate which prophet
you go to, the prayer does.
Flake You go to the living prophet. The prophet that's
alive on the earth today is the one who speaks for God.
Ankerberg: Okay, Dr. Martin. A couple of statements
have been made here by our Mormon representatives, and that is namely that the prophets do
not contradict Scripture. Then we have this whole question of how they know truth. The
prophet speaks and then you feel it in your heart. You go out and pray about it and you
feel it's true in your heart. Let's talk about it. Does the prophet, the living prophet,
ever contradict the Scripture concerning Mormonism as far as you know?
Martin Oh, absolutely. Take for instance the classic
doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. Now the Bible says...biblical
Scripture--they say they believe in this...Matthew 1:18, the birth of Jesus Christ took
place this way. "Before Mary and Joseph had sexual relations, she was found pregnant
by the Holy Spirit." Now that's Scripture on the subject. Brigham Young comes back to
that and the Mormon church comes back to that and says, "No. He was not conceived by
the Holy Ghost. Now, remember this, from this time forth and forever Jesus Christ was not
begotten by the Holy Ghost."
Ankerberg: Where did he say that?
Martin: Journal of Discourses, volume one, page
50 and 51. "Again, when the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus the Father had
begotten Him in His own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. Christ was
begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of man and that man was
God. Now, what the Mormon doctrine of the virgin birth was from Brigham Young on down is
very clear -- that Adam-God or Elohim, whichever one you want, came, overshadowed Mary
sexually, had physical intercourse with her, conceived Jesus of Nazareth and that's how He
came into the world. There's enough material literally to sink a ship on the subject and I
could quote it here if we had the time. However, the moment you do that and cite Brigham
Young the Mormon church will say, as they have said on the program, "Well, we don't
Well, now here Brigham is the prophet of God, when he speaks he's
authoritative. "We don't believe that." Then you quote the Scriptures,
"Yes, we believe that but it's a matter of interpretation." So, what you've
really got is a classic case of theological double-think. When you nail the subject on the
prophet and the prophet contradicts the Scripture, you move from that immediately to
another portion of Mormon Scripture and you evade the issue, you juxtapose them against
each other. You can never really ever prove anything because whatever place you're caught
you simply go to the other one.
I say at that juncture, "Stop." It isn't a matter of what
you feel or subjective prayer, all of this material. It's a question of whether or not
it's true. And if you tell me I have this witness in myself and I turn to you and say,
"But I don't have that witness." Who determines whether I'm right or not. In the
Reorganized Church they have a living prophet. In the Utah church they have
a living prophet. Put them both together and the two living prophets don't agree with each
other. I say "Let's go back to Holy Scripture." That's the only thing that's
ever been proven reliable.
Ankerberg: Now, why have we done this program today?
Well we hope that it will help clarify Christianity is absolutely unique and assist you in
deciding in whom you will believe.
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