|Vol. 15 No. 4 April 2013||
D. Gene West
Not only do American cults attempt to destroy confidence in the Bible, but they also seek to destroy confidence in Jesus Christ as to His place in the Godhead. For example, one very special translation of the Bible renders John 1:1 in these words, “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” While to the best of our knowledge, there is not one Bible manuscript that would permit such a translation, these words are designed to prove this cult’s view that Jesus is somehow an inferior being to God. This cult, however, is not the only one in this country to teach that Jesus is some kind of inferior being to God the Father. There is another one, larger we would suspect, that teaches Jesus was a spirit child born by procreation, the offspring of heavenly parents. In a book entitled Gospel Principles (1986 p. 9), this idea is set forth as an explanation of Psalm 2:7, in which David wrote, “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” Their teaching is that God said He had begotten Jesus, and they cannot imagine “begotten” being connected with anything other than a sex act, so heavenly parents begot a spirit child known as Jesus.
When one looks at the verse and the context in which it is found, he quickly learns that the birth of a child, anywhere, is not under discussion. The Psalmist spoke of the “kings of the earth” who “plot” against God’s Anointed, the Messiah, to rid themselves of Him, or to kill Him. Consequently, the most natural sense of the Christ being begotten here is that He was appointed by God to rule over the nations, as is seen in verses 7-8. Hence, the begetting in the Psalm is the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
In addition to this, we should point out that one of the basic principles of biblical interpretation is that we allow the Bible to interpret itself. It is, therefore, reasonable to allow the Old Testament to be interpreted in the clearer light of the New Testament. In Acts 13:33-34, Paul speaking, said, “God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: I will give you the sure mercies of David.” Notice, dear reader, that Paul quoted Psalm 2:7 and applied it not to Christ’s coming into existence, but to His resurrection from the dead. He clearly said, “God has fulfilled this [Psalm 2:7] for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.” We can only conclude that Psalm 2:7 has absolutely nothing to do with an imagined and alleged procreation of Christ. Eternal Beings are not “procreated,” and Jesus is an eternal Being, as is the Father and the Holy Spirit. In 1 Timothy 1:17, Paul referring to Jesus (v. 16), wrote, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” In this passage, Jesus is not only called “the King eternal,” but He is also called “God.”
Yet, there are other Scriptures that show clearly that Christ never came into existence at some point, but has always been in existence, that is, He is an eternal Being. We have space for only one in this article. If we come to a true translation of John 1:1, we find: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It is really impossible to gainsay such a statement as that, and the translators of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures knew that or they would not have changed the ancient Greek text adding an article where none existed.
Jesus was neither “begotten” nor “born” of spiritual parents in heaven. His only birth was in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, just as Micah 5:2 says. Oh, yes, and He was not born in Jerusalem as one of the biblical unknowledgeable founders of one of these cults claimed.
Donald R. Fox
I am on the mailing list to receive the Salt Lake City Messenger, a magazine produced by former Mormons. An interesting part of their magazine is “Excerpts from Letters and Emails.” On page 18 of Issue 116, May 2011, the following was published:
February 2011: I am LDS, just a member, not a leader, and what makes it interesting is I have had special experiences similar to those which Joseph Smith had. I have received revelation for myself, and have sure knowledge… There are many out there like me that have had similar experiences, they know also. They have been visited by the power of the Holy Ghost and instructed and have obtained knowledge first hand for themselves too.
As strange as it seems, this view of “receiving revelation” is in tune with Latter Day Saints doctrine.
Formal debates with Mormons are very rare. However, discussions have been conducted over the years. An interesting debate was held in Salt Lake City, August 17-21, 1942. The participants were Otis Gatewood of the church of Christ in Salt Lake, Utah and Kenneth E. Farnsworth, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also of Salt Lake, Utah. This was an oral debate, and a book was published soon after the discussion. The book is now rare and hard to obtain. I bought my copy in October 1974.
James D. Bales was the moderator for Otis Gatewood. Bales wrote a five-page review of the debate at the end of the book. Extracting from page 228 is a portion of this review as follows, in response to LDS doctrine concerning “continuous revelation”:
1. Farnsworth assumed that continuous revelation is necessary in order to unite Christendom. He seemed to assume that believers were not united because they had a volume 2,000 years old and that they would be united if they had continuous revelation. Continuous revelation is assumed to be essential to unity of Bible believers.
2. The falsity of that position. This is shown by two things: First the Book of Mormon has helped establish other sects. Those who would be willing to unite on the Bible cannot on the Book of Mormon. Second, their continuous revelations have not brought them unity…
3. What we need is not continuous revelation, but to speak where the Bible speaks and to respect its silence. This will bring the unity for which Christ prayed.
The Scriptures condemn such folly of men, who claim to receive direct and continuous revelation. “But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:9 ASV). “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).
I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema. (Galatians 1:6-9)