As is evident from my blog postings, I am a Christian, and a baptised member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Importantly, I am a practising member. I attend church each week. Additionally, I have a responsibility in my local church to assist the full-time missionaries in their efforts to share the gospel message on the Isle of Man. What I am trying to make clear, is that I am an active member. I strongly, strongly believe the teachings of this church. Strongly (!!).
I have spent many hours of my life debating the doctrines of the church, more typically with those who merely want to attack them and try to make a mockery of them. I have read many anti-mormon articles. I am more than aware of the more common complaints/disputes regarding the church that are used by those who attack it. I am far from being an ‘apologist’, but I am a defender of the faith.
I have often criticised the position of one who merely attacks another person’s faith, however, with this post today, it may appear that I am falling into that category. I don’t wish to ‘attack’ the beliefs of another man, however, I do feel it important to address an issue here that I feel is often overlooked within the beliefs of evangelical Christians.
I am a Christian, but I do not consider myself to be an evangelical Christian. I’m not sure exactly what the term is supposed to mean anymore, but more recently, it appears to be the more fashionable name to go by. Through this posting, for the sake of simplicity, I will effectively class all other Christians who are not Mormon to be an evangelical Christian.
Through this posting, I will address two key issues that I find startling about evangelical beliefs:
- The belief that God is primarily a hateful God (more hate than love).
- The belief that God forces every man and woman into sin.
Those do sound rather startling.. and I imagine most evangelical christians would be surprised to hear me say it, but this I believe is because they have overlooked these two points that lie at the very foundation of their belief.
I will now address these two points in turn:
A God of Hate
The gospel is clear and on this point, all Christians agree, a man or woman can only return to the presence of God through the grace of Christ. Through his sacrifice. Through the atonement, by which he took upon himself the sins of the world.
We are all sinners. Our only hope is through Christ.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)
The apostle Paul laid it out very clearly, and again, all Christians would agree:
“..Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:13-14)
It is clear. A man cannot call on the name of Christ if he has not believed in Christ. That man cannot believe in Christ, if he has not heard of Christ.. and that man needs someone or something to preach it to him. To share with him the message of Christ.
What happens if that man dies without accepting Christ? Evangelical Christians will tell you.. (if they are being honest) the man will go to hell. Plain and simple. No questions about it. No Christ = no salvation. No salvation = no heaven. No heaven = Hell.
Now that that is clear, let us consider the position of God in all this. Let us consider how much he hates the world, and his creations.. specifically, us humans (according to evangelical Christian beliefs).
What chance does a man have if, let’s say for example, the man is born in a Muslim country? Will the gospel of Christ be taught there? Will this man hear about Christ? You may like to think so, and in fact, in some Muslim countries, he may be afforded that opportunity, but it’s certainly fair to say that there are many many people who will not. Many people will (again for example) be born in North Nigeria, be taught about Allah, live the teachings of the Quran, and die without ever hearing the message of the gospel that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
What is the consequence for these people?… Hell. Plain and simple.. hell. An endless torment in Hell with the devil and his angels. Why? Oh, because they did not accept Christ and believe in him. They couldn’t call on his name, and sadly, they couldn’t therefore be saved.
There are many others, in fact, many millions of other people in similar circumstances. They never hear the gospel of Christ. They have no idea who he is, nor what he did for them. They have no idea that they are (according to the beliefs of evangelical Christians) headed to an eternity in hell. Ultimately, they have no hope.
God determined that they should be born where they were born. He knew that they wouldn’t be fortunate to have a preacher come and tell them about Christ their Saviour. He knew from day one, that they were lost souls. Ultimately, God created them for their destiny in hell.
This may sound a bit extreme, but evangelical Christians praise God for it, and they often quote from Romans 9:
Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”
What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
Rather than putting the verses into the context of the gospel message – which is a gospel of happiness, salvation, and a loving Father in Heaven – many a pastor has delighted in quoting these verses to me to (in their minds) evidence that indeed God is a hateful God. He will condemn most of humanity to hell.. but he saves a few. I hardly think that something to boast about.
Cause of Sin
Hold on now, I’m not suggesting that the evangelical Christian beliefs put God as the cause of sin am I? Yes I am.
According to evangelical Christian beliefs, we did not exist before this life. Our existence began in the womb. Before then, we were nothing.
God however chose to create us in the womb – we had no choice in the matter, in fact we had no way of escaping it – and in that sense, he is at fault for our being born. What’s my point here? Well, according to evangelical Christian beliefs, we were born into sin.. the ‘sin of Adam’. Each of us instantly became sinners, as we took upon ourselves the sin of Adam. It goes something like this.. baby born *boom* he/she is a sinner. Instantaneously!
Even IF the baby grew up and lived a perfect, sinless life… he/she would still be a sinner. He/she would still carry the weight of the sin of Adam which he/she obtained through birth. The birth that God forced on him/her.
Now, let’s combine the two points. Let’s say in this example, that the baby was born into a Muslim home.. and point 1 above is repeated (i.e. baby grows up, and dies without hearing the gospel) it is true to say that that baby had no chance. Born to go to hell. Created for that express purpose. Wow.
The baby had not asked to be born. Not asked to be created. Not asked for the sin of Adam to be placed on his/her head. Even if the baby lived perfectly (yes, it’s impossible.. but let’s pretend), the baby was headed to hell from birth.. because of the sin of Adam – and – born into a Muslim home without opportunity to come unto Christ; had no hope at all.
(yes, I’ve repeated myself.. but for emphasis!)
These are the unfortunate doctrines at the heart of the evangelical Christian beliefs. They amaze me. They disappoint me. What do you think?
I am a Christian, but as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we understand these teachings differently. In short, we disagree. We teach of a God of love. A God who is the Father of our Spirits, and who wants the best for us. A God who will provide an opportunity for salvation – through Christ – for every man and woman who has ever lived… Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, the lot. If not in this life, then after we die.
Where? In the place where the Spirits of all men and women reside whilst awaiting their resurrection. 1 Peter 4:6 tells us:
“For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”
I don’t wish to attack the beliefs of my fellow [evangelical] Christians. I merely wish to raise an awareness of these two key points that lie at the heart of their beliefs. Points that are often overlooked, but here, I have tried to speak plainly, that they might be understood.
Of course, evangelical Christians may dispute my words. They may say I have misunderstood, but I have not. Again, my writings are plain enough here for all to see, and dispute not.
This post is the first that I have written that is critical of evangelical Christian beliefs, however, having had many discussions over the past few weeks regarding my own salvation (evangelical Christians tell me I’m going to hell too!), I felt it necessary to explain here the problems with their claims.
They often criticise my beliefs, through everything from A-Z, from what the mormon missionary did or said, what a church apostle wrote in his own personal writings.. and more. Well, now I have responded.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? ..You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3 & 5)
To my evangelical Christian friends.. rather than attacking the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, might I suggest that you first deal with your own problems?