Witness to a Mormon

INTRODUCTION: During the month of October, I was carried off course from my planned study for MPN, by three separate visits to my door: the first from two men of Jehovah's Witness, and the next two visits were by two young "missionaries" of the Mormon church. I spent only ten to fifteen minutes with the JW's, then sent them along their way, indicating that it was they who needed to find the truth of scripture. Within less than a week, the Mormons arrived, and I talked with them for about an hour on my front porch. They wanted to return in one week for an appointment, so we set October 18th as the date. I took that day off from work and spent a little over eight hours preparing a response to the scripture which was quoted in their brochure (the first in a series of six). I ignored all of the references to the book of Mormon, but expanded and commented on the Bible passages. Elder Arnold was from Idaho and usually took the lead on responding to my difficult questions, and Elder Burch was from Utah. Elder Arnold also seemed to be open to a genuine exchange of discussion about the Bible, and on the return visit he said he had looked at the passage I suggested regarding John leaping within his mother's womb, when Mary entered the house. This came up because they said they were opposed to abortion, but were not sure when the growing baby became a person.

During the second visit of about an hour, we discussed more of the Mormon theology as they made presentation and responded to my questions. I eventually took control of the conversation and lifted up Christ before them as the true and living God, and the Savior of whosoever believes, without regard to their own works. When I heard the sound of the zipper rapidly closing on Mr. Burch's Bible, I knew he was concluding our time. I then gave each man an envelope with my seven-page response to the Mormon brochure, and each of my two gospel tracts. Mr. Arnold wanted to make another visit, and I responded with surprise. I said I would be very frank, and discuss Christ if they returned. Mr. burch said if I would read the book of Mormon and pray to God to reveal it to me to be scripture, they would return. I told them I would spend no time in the book of Mormon because it is not scripture and Joseph Smith was not a prophet. Early the next week, I received a hand written note from Mr. Arnold, suggesting that the Mormon religion is true, and enclosing a card with 17 points of Mormon, with only bible references, none from the book of Mormon. This tiny ray of hope is enough for me to desire to pray for Mr. Arnold that he will concentrate on scripture, and that the Holy Spirit will open his mind to the truth of salvation in Christ. I responded to his letter, which had a Columbus post office box return address and that response is now the subject of this MPN.

Dear Mr. Arnold,

I received the information card and brief note, which you mailed to me about a week ago, but my schedule has made it difficult to respond as quickly as I would have liked. It would please me if we could maintain some contact to exchange our viewpoints of scripture, and the attributes of God. I had planned to send some comments on the 17 points listed on the card, but for now I will just let you know that I am here, and desire to keep in touch. It is possible that God may have allowed us to meet for a purpose, which He has in mind beyond either of our plans. Since your mailing address will probably change, the burden of maintaining contact will rest with you. My mailing address and E-mail address are listed above, and my immediate future plans are to remain at this location, with no E-mail change of address either.

As recorded in several passages, Jesus said "come to me" or "come unto me"; and when we come, He is completely sufficient to save us from the penalty of sin, which is eternal separation from God in the second death. It is his power, alone, which saves us and keeps us secure. The comments which follow the passages highlight only some of the thoughts which came to mind during my brief review.


Luke 14:25-27,33

"25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."

"33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

COMMENTS: Jesus does not ask us to bring ANYTHING to him, in fact he asks us to forsake EVERYTHING we think we have, and come to him in complete trust and surrender, even to the point of forsaking all loving human relationships, and our own life, if to do less would deny him. Everything in this present world is temporal, and that which is eternal lies only in the hands of God. There are many stories of people who accepted Christ by faith, and were then rejected by family and others who had formerly been there contacts and support system.


John 5:39-44

"39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that [cometh] from God only?"

COMMENTS: In this passage of historical documentation, Jesus was speaking to men who looked at him in the flesh, and they rejected the fact that he is Emmanuel, "God with us". He has the power to give life eternal, and since his death, burial, and resurrection, men still have the opportunity to accept by faith his offer of eternal life, from the one who gave us life in our flesh. But, how can you believe, if you receive honor one of another, and do not seek the honor that comes from God only?


John 6:37-42

"37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life."

COMMENTS: The Jews saw a man standing before them, and they knew of his father and mother, which led them to the conclusion that he was only man (rather than being the God-man), so they were puzzled by his statement of coming down from heaven. Jesus pointed them to scripture for the answer of his appearing to fulfill prophetic scripture, that God himself would teach man. Three times in this passage, Jesus said that HE would perform the resurrection of men, which indicates that he is God himself. Every man that hears the message and learns of God the Father comes unto Jesus. Jesus gives the Jews another bit of information about his nature as the God-man when he says, "Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is of God, he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say unto you, He that believes on me has everlasting life".


2 Timothy 1:7-12

"7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

COMMENTS: It is my desire now to let God use that power, and love, and soundness of mind given by him to me; without being at all ashamed of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because he is the one who saved and called me, not because of any works, but in accord with his own purpose and grace which was given in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now revealed and disclosed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Despite the mocking and ridicule of an unbelieving world, his grace brings me to profess that I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.


Three verses for contemplation without another's comments

John 3 "36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

2 Corinthians 5 "17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

2 Corinthians 11 "3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."


CONCLUSION

I concluded my letter to Mr. Arnold with those three verses above, which I believed would have an impact without comment, if the Holy Spirit is beginning to deal with him. I had not taken the time to talk with either JW's or Mormons for probably over five years, and even though I know it can be very difficult to break through long term indoctrination, the power of scripture in tune with the call of God cannot be denied. I leave Mr. Arnold with our Savior, and commend him to the prayers of any reading this, who would feel so inclined to pray.


--- Reflections in prayer ---

NOTE: To provide my customary closing after examination of scripture, I have composed some prayer in response to the key scripture of earlier comment.

Luke 14:25-27,33
Lord Jesus, my thoughts often carry me away from you and back to the world. Guide my spirit to draw closer each day to your spirit, and to truly forsake all which is in the world, including the life I have in this flesh of the old nature. Thank you that there is no other need for me than to completely submit to your will in my life, and your will in the life of those who surround me whether that seems good or not, so as to die to self and live to Christ.

John 5:39-44
Thank you Lord for access to the Holy Scriptures that declare your gospel, and for those individuals that you have brought across my life's path who have shared with me from their faith in Christ. Then by returning to the scriptures for myself, and reading in belief, my faith was made more firm. Thank you for opportunities to point others in the right direction, and then for building my patience to let them be affirmed by reading and searching scripture for themselves. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The scriptures do speak of you, and your recorded words bear witness to your deity. I pray for this MAN WHO CALLS HIMSELF A Mormon, that he would seek the honor that comes from you only!

John 6:37-42
I praise you Lord for the absolute security of my everlasting life, because since the Father has given me, I have come to you, and you will by no means cast me away. Through your grace and word, I am secure until you will raise me up at the last day. Thank you Lord for the sure word of the prophets of old who said we would be taught of God, and then you came to fulfill your word. You are that unique Son of God, because no man has seen the father except you who came from him, and returned to him. Belief in you provides your gift of eternal life.

2 Timothy 1:7-12
Thank you Lord, for not giving me the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Strengthen me Lord, so I will never be ashamed of your testimony, because you saved me and called me with an holy calling, not according to my works, but according to your own purpose and grace, which was given me in Christ Jesus before the world began. Your appearing, Christ Jesus, the Savior for all who will believe, has made that purpose and grace manifest. You have abolished death, and have brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Sustain me Lord for whatever part you have for me in advancing your kingdom, so that I may say with the apostle Paul: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Amen and Amen!

Published 31 May 2004, first issued 18 November 2000