|Vol. 13 No. 12 December 2011||
Donald R. Fox
Over the years, I have been a student of Christian Evidences, also known as Christian Apologetics. Belief in the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ the Son of God is a paramount doctrine of Christianity. Evidences thereof have been orally debated in a formal fashion as well in a written form since the very early beginnings of Christianity. In my mind, it all boils down to a few questions or propositions: (l) Does God Exist? (2) Is the Bible the inspired Word of God? (3) Is Jesus Christ the Son of God? (4) Was Jesus Christ crucified on the cross and arose the third day? (5) Must men be obedient to our God in order to be saved? For a long time now, all these questions for me are affirmed, “Yes.” Most certainly, “Yes!”
There are many more questions that men have pondered, such as: (1) Did order and our earth come into being through the Big Bang explosion? Or worded a different way, did chaos become orderly, creating all life, etc. through an explosion? (2) Did all life on this earth come into being by chance? (3) Is it necessary for life to begat life, or in other words can life begin by chance via dead matter? Such like questions demand examination.
Most atheists scoff at questions brought up by Christians that believe the biblical account of creation and have faith in Jesus Christ. Some atheists and the like believe honestly that there is no God. They believe that given enough time that evolution is the answer to all questions concerning “In the beginning…” (Genesis 1:1). However, the axiom, from nothing comes nothing still stands. We remember that during the Warren-Flew debate on the existence of God, September 20-23, 1976, Thomas Warren asked Mr. Flew, paraphrased, “Was there ever a human baby born without a human mother.” Mr. Flew answered, “No.” I believe Mr. Flew showed great honesty in answering in such a manner.
The Warren-Flew debate can be viewed online at https://www.thebible1.net/video/warrenflewdebate. I believe the following is a good answer to the question “What is the goal of apologetics?” “A: According to Van Til, apologetics aims to defend the Christian faith by answering the variety of challenges leveled against it by unbelievers, thereby vindicating the Christian philosophy of life (worldview) over against all non-Christian philosophies of life (worldviews).” (Reference: answersingenesis.org dated April 25, 2009) Logic demands: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2). “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Psalms 14:1).
D. Gene West
In Galatians 1:6-9, the apostle Paul chastised the brethren among the Galatian churches for having accepted the teaching of the Judaizing teachers, who taught that unless the Gentile converts to Christ, accepted circumcision and kept the Law of Moses they could not be saved. In other words, these former Pharisees turned Christian were teaching falsely that the Gentile converts had to be first Jews in order to enjoy the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. Nothing could have been further from the truth, and in the verses mentioned above Paul verbally chastised the Galatian Christians for allowing this perverted gospel to be preached among them. In addition, he also pointed out that some of them had accepted the perverted gospel of the false teachers, and unless they repented, it would not be well with their souls. As a matter of fact, in 5:4 of this Epistle, Paul very plainly told them if they accepted the circumcision of the Law of Moses, they had fallen from grace.
The Mormons seize on this passage of Scripture, and from it, they teach what is not found therein. They say the church went into a complete apostasy because they accepted this false gospel. The church, according to their theology, went totally out of existence for the better part of 1800 years, and that God, through his angel Moroni (an angel never mentioned in Scripture) commanded Joseph Smith to restore the church.
However, the Mormons have some flies in their apothecary jars, which is to say they have some real problems basing such a theology on this text, or any other in the New Testament. The first fly they have to deal with is: Where in the New Testament is there any indication that these Galatian churches, or any other went into apostasy? Paul sounded more than one warning about an impending apostasy (falling away) in the early church, but there is not one single passage of Scripture to indicate that such an apostasy was complete! The fact that the early Christians were warned about such an apostasy would demonstrate that such never occurred with the church going out of existence, as is claimed. What the apostle warned of was bringing elements of the Law of Moses that had been nailed to the cross of Christ (Colossians 2:14) into Christianity and trying to amalgamate the two. History demonstrates that these churches existed as true servants of Christ for many years, demonstrating that Paul’s warning was effective.
However, let us investigate the notion that the Mormons are the original church restored. Where in the New Testament church was there anything like the “Priesthood of Aaron”? Where in the New Testament church does one find the “Priesthood of Melchizedek”? Where in the New Testament does one find young, unmarried men called elders? Where in the New Testament does one find a President of the church? We could go on and on just listing offices among the Mormons that never existed in the New Testament church. Where does one find such things as polygamy? Someone will say, “The Mormons no longer practice that.” Friends that is not what recent television programs have told us. “But these are offshoot groups,” is the cry. Maybe so, but would they have ever begun practicing such if Joseph Smith had not claimed to have had a revelation from God requiring it? All these things are additions, to say the very least, to those things found in the New Testament. When a thing is restored, it cannot have additions! That is not a restoration, but the building of something entirely separate, which is true in the case of the followers of Joseph Smith.
Where did the New Testament saints ever form a militia to fight against either their Jewish or Roman persecutors? Possibly Mr. Smith would have lived to have been an old man had he not developed grandiose dreams of military conquest. He raised his army of Zion, which never really engaged in a real battle, and never won any of the skirmishes in which it did engage. Such things as these are simply not found in the Bible; therefore, Mormonism is not a restoration of the ancient church, but a new religion peculiar to the American frontier in the 1830s.