But Doesn't Rome Also Believe in Salvation by Grace?
Visitor: Rome also believes in salvation by grace: See Trent CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema."
ANSWER: ... Indeed we fully acknowledge that they affirm salvation by grace .. this was never in dispute ...but they do not affirm salvation by GRACE ALONE ... Rome only believes in the NECESSITY of grace but does not affirm the SUFFICIENCY of grace.
- Trent also rejects the biblical teaching of "grace alone" through "faith alone" in "Christ alone" here in the same document:
CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.
CANON XII.-If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.
CANON IV. If any one shall affirm, that man’s freewill, moved and excited by God, does not, by consenting, cooperate with God, the mover and exciter, so as to prepare and dispose itself for the attainment of justification; if moreover, anyone shall say, that the human will cannot refuse complying, if it pleases, but that it is inactive, and merely passive; let such an one be accursed"!
CANON V.- If anyone shall affirm, that since the fall of Adam, man’s freewill is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing titular, yea a name, without a thing, and a fiction introduced by Satan into the Church; let such an one be accursed"
Ironically, these directly contradict many of the declarations of the early church by Augustine and the Council of Orange
The real issue with Mormonism
The real issue with Mormonism: “God is an exalted man” - by Dr. James White (Source here)
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man. . . . That is the great secret. . . . We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea. . . . [H]e was once a man like us.” ~Joseph Smith
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:1‒2).
“God is not a man” (Num. 23:19; Cf. 1 Sam. 15:29).
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Is. 43:10; Cf. 44:6, 8).
The following words are the most often quoted non-Scriptural teaching of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)—most often quoted, that is, in LDS Church literature itself:
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.
In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.
These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.
These words come from the infamous “King Follett Funeral Discourse,” delivered by Smith on April 7, 1844. They represent the final, developed form of Smith’s theology of God, a theology that underwent massive change between the founding of the Church almost exactly fourteen years earlier. In fact, it is quite plain that Smith did not hold to this radical denial of historic Christian doctrine when he founded the LDS Church in 1830. But sometime in the mid 1830s his views became more and more radical until they reached this final stage shortly before his murder in the Carthage City jail June 27th, 1844. These words, though never canonized, obtained quasi-canonical status by their constant repetition in the teachings of the LDS leadership over the next decades. A quick review of the writings of the LDS leaders all the way up to the modern period will find these words repeated more often than any other teaching of Joseph Smith.
In postmodern times, where fuzziness of thinking and inaccuracy of thought has become the hallmark of so much dialogue, and in particular, in the realm of religion, clear delineation of belief and doctrine has become outdated and unpopular. There is an automatic suspicion of anyone who seeks clarity in confession and doctrine. Such persons must be insecure or, even worse, may be on the road to some kind of fundamentalism—closed-minded individuals holding old-fashioned ideas of universal or objective truths. So with the recent resurgence of Mormonism in the United States, spurred partly by an aggressive, if less-than-doctrinally-oriented advertising campaign on billboards and the Internet, partly by the rise to national prominence of Mormon bishop and returned missionary Willard Mitt Romney, the public discourse on the nature of Mormonism and its teachings has been anything but focused upon accuracy of definition. In fact, the idea that the LDS faith is simply a somewhat odd variant of Christianity has been accepted widely without much fuss or bother. Only those most radically out-of-step with the modern world would actually ask, “But, what is the core of the LDS faith and its teachings? Is it really an expression of Christian faith, or a radical departure from it?”
Until recent times, dialogues with Mormons did not focus upon establishing that Mormonism had a radically different doctrine of God than Christianity: that was a given. But over the past thirty years a definite move toward ecumenism and “mainstreaming” has been present, and Mormonism now seeks to redefine “Christian” so that it can be stretched to encompass the complete negation of its own most central assertion: that there is one true and eternal God, unchanging, without beginning and without end, unique, without dependence upon prior forces or powers.
The deity of Mormonism is, in fact, an exalted man, one who comes in a long line of previously exalted beings, each dependent upon the one before. In fact, as we will see, in Mormonism, God and man are of the same species, with God simply being further advanced in exaltation. In fact, in orthodox Mormon belief, God is not eternal. Matter is eternal; the Mormon God is one god amongst an infinite pantheon of gods existing in unlimited universes. In fact, Mormonism may well be the most polytheistic religion ever devised by man, for while it teaches an increasing number of deities (any worthy Mormon man who is married in the LDS temple and who remains faithful to the end of his life can be exalted as a god, hence increasing the number of gods) it likewise asserts that no number can be placed upon the already existing gods. Modern proponents of this embodiment of Smith’s idea have adopted it primarily out of a recognition that if the number of gods is finite, then we should be able to tract the line back in time to the first god and then ask if he was a man before he became a god, and if so, how did creation come into existence? To avoid this, many Mormons assert an infinite number of deities, just avoiding the “first god” conundrum.
No Joel, No!
NO JOEL.. No! Mormonism is not Christian at all - it is not Christian doctrine to deny the Trinity, to proclaim that the god who rules this earth (and who we are to worship) was once a man and who lives now on a planet encircling a star called Kolob; that Jesus was conceived by a sexual union between God and Mary... that the Bible has been superseded by the book of Mormon; that Jesus' death and resurrection merely secured an opportunity to be saved if people will work for it.
Every Mormon needs to hear and embrace the true Gospel, not be affirmed as already being a Christian, especially by someone as prominent as yourself Joel. If you don't know what you are talking about say nothing - admit that you have not studied what Mormonism teaches - but PLEASE don't affirm the Mormon faith as Christian. Mormonism is the most polytheistic faith on the planet.
It is not at all loving to let the wolves roam free amongst the flock Joel and you just did that through your words. You also have undermined all the many ministries out there (many of them former Mormons) whose seek to win LDS people to the Lord.
More explanation here:
"Don't give me doctrine, I just want to follow Jesus"
When someone says, "Don't give me doctrine, I just want to follow Jesus", what they are really saying is "give me law, not gospel. Give me more imperatives and less indicatives. I just want something practical." But how is this any different than Mormons or theological liberals? Fact is, we need a Savior, not just a moral example.
You could not have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ without knowing its contents. You did not just follow a generic Jesus. To be saved you understood that you had no self righteousness of your own and you trusted in Christ's finished work... which included His living the life you should have lived and dying the death you deserved. This is doctrine. The idea of simply "following Jesus" is requiring more demands of the law because you are looking for Jesus to tell you something you can do. But you need the gospel, not merely law, to be saved or to grow in grace. Indeed following Jesus springs out of a renewed heart. As Christians we only follow Jesus when we know Who we are following and as such we need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily.
The Spirit first first brings an elect soul face to face with Godâ€™s holy Law, for â€œby the law is the knowledge of sinâ€ (Rom. 3:20). It condemns and curses him because it demands perfect obedience in thought, word, and deed. Next, the Spirit brings before the soul the precious Gospel where the law's demands are perfectly met by Jesus Christ. The Spirit so works in his heart that He appears to him to be the most glorious object in the world; and so rests entirely upon His finished work.
No one is suggesting that we have right doctrine but do not follow Jesus, but the imperatives (Commands) always spring from indicatives (what Jesus has done). Look at Ephesians for example. The first 3 chapters are pure doctrine... - "this is what Jesus has done for you". Chapter four (4) then says THEREFORE, "live like this". But the opposite is not true Biblically... right doctrine does NOT flow out of right living.
To those who squirm at the word "doctrine" it simply means "teaching" - the Bible is full of teaching from start to finish. It does not matter if your church never used the word. Your eyes were opened an you believed because the Holy Spirit gave you understanding of the gospel and the teaching or doctrine in the Bible that Jesus is not just a moral example, but a Savior. You could not have been saved unless you FIRST understood the doctrine about these teachings about what Jesus did for you . You could not have been saved simply by saying "I am going to obey Jesus".... that is moralism --- and no one is saved by obeying the moral commands of Jesus. They will damn you if you trust in them.
But anticipating your criticisms, let me also declare that a simple reciting of doctrine without a changed heart has no value. Having pride is how good your doctrine is would mean that they have not yet grasped the most basic doctrine that we are saved by grace ALONE. Such a tragic misapplication of the doctrine we have learned denies Christ because it is trusting in something else (how good ones doctrine is). but again, the opposite is most often true in this day and age ... that many people will say, "I don't want doctrine at all, I just want to follow Jesus." This is to want only instruction for practical living by giving them law.... and to shun the teaching of the gospel altogether. This is the root of all cults and heresy.
Most of the people who say "I don't want doctrine" are usually the same people would say in the same breath "just give me something practical from the Bible"- and what they mean by this is that they want instructions about WHAT TO DO... rather than hear about what God has done for them in Christ. The phrase 'Jesus follower' places the focus on my following and the moral imperatives of Jesus. "Theological Liberals" and Mormons are characterized by their sermons on moral instruction - not the priority of Jesus as God the Savior. While people in the above cults all say they want to follow the Bible, but look closely because they only want the LAW part of the bible because that is practical for me. They don't want to hear about the gospel part of it because it is doctrinal and, more importantly, it strips us of all hope in ourselves and places our hope in Another.
False Prophecies of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
Deut 18:20 "But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.â€™ 21 And if you say in your heart, â€˜How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?â€™â€” 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him."
From the files of official Jehovah's Witness sources, here are some of the documented false prophecies. - JS
Mormonism v. Biblical Christianity
Here is a short overview of the differences between the montheism of biblical Christianity and the polytheism of Mormonism, written by Justin Taylor.
Watch Out for the Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
Updated article with links to counter cult ministries here. - JS