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Archive for October, 2011

Many Worlds and Many Gods: An Excerpt from “Mormonism Explained”

A very puzzling primordial position of Mormonism for Christians is the belief that many inhabited worlds and planets existed before God created our world, as emphasized in the Pearl of Great Price’s book of Abraham 3:1–10. Mormonism also believes that these innumerable worlds or kingdoms were also inhabited by gods. This is what Brigham Young, the second Mormon President and Prophet, states:

How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals [mortality] that we are now passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity.

Brigham Young even goes further and declares that there were not only many gods on these planets, but also multiple redeemers:

Every earth has its redeemer, and every earth has its tempter; and every earth, and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through.

Although Mormonism does not like the word polytheism because it too closely reflects a pagan worldview, there is no doubt that Latter-day Saints believe in the eternal reality of a plurality of gods.

Mormonism also believes that Jesus Christ under the direct authority of Father God created not only this earth but also many other worlds for future humans who would progress into gods to inhabit and fill with spirit-children.

Gods Who Organized the World

In opposition to every branch and denomination of Christianity, Mormonism promotes a theory that a council of gods organized the universe out of independent eternal physical matter instead of creating the world “out of nothing.” Joseph Smith, in his famous 1844 King Follett funeral sermon during a church conference near the end of his life, expounded on the idea that God organized the universe out of preexisting chaotic matter:

You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing, and they will answer, “Doesn’t the Bible say he created the world?” They infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means . . . to organize the world out of chaos—chaos matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had. The pure principles of element . . . can never be destroyed . . . ; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end.

This LDS doctrine is made clear by Brigham Young:

To assert that the Lord made this earth out of nothing is preposterous and impossible. God never made something out of nothing.

If God simply organized the world, as taught by Mormonism, then God does not actually transcend the natural universe, but is immanent within it. According to Mormonism, God oversaw the organization of this world, but is not the single infinite and absolute Creator of the physical universe as taught in Christianity. What is even more confusing is that the LDS scriptural book Pearl of Great Price states that many gods participated in the organization of our universe:

They went down at the beginning, and they, that is, the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

God Created the World

The biblical doctrine of creation is indispensable to a distinctively theistic and God-centered worldview and perception of reality. Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”—is the first verse in the Bible, and how a person understands this verse will significantly shape every other facet of his or her perception of ultimate reality. This is why creation is an essential truth for Christians. Christians maintain that God alone is the absolute Creator of every element in the physical universe.

A biblical Christian worldview is founded on the belief that God created all universal reality out of nothing. The God of the Bible is the first cause of all things, and before creation only God existed. As a result, all major branches of Christianity—Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic—maintain the total distinction between the Creator and physical creation.

It is important to understand that the biblical doctrine of creation out of nothing is what fundamentally distinguishes the nature of the Judeo-Christian view of God from the multitude of ancient Near Eastern religions and Hellenistic philosophical and mythological systems of classical Greece, which assumed that the world had been formed out of eternally preexisting matter.

Excerpt from Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice by Andrew Jackson

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October 15, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Apologetics,Evangelism & Missions,Life & Doctrine,Ministry,Theology | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 9:00 am | 0 Comments »

The Worldview of Mormonism

Mormonism and Christianity advocate two deeply contrasting and conflicting worldviews. As Fuller Theological Seminary President Richard Mouw correctly states, “At the heart of our continuing disagreements, I am convinced, are the very basic worldview issues.” Dr. Stephen Robinson makes the same general point: “The real sticking point is not what the LDS think about Christ and his gospel, but rather the different ontological frame or view of the nature of the universe into which the Mormons fit the gospel.”

James Sire, in The Universe Next Door, defines a worldview as “a set of presuppositions which we hold about the basic make-up of our world.” A worldview is a view of total reality that is developed by the use of words and concepts in order to create a coherent frame of reference for all beliefs, thoughts, and actions.

Essentially, a worldview is our answer to the ultimate questions of life: What is primary reality, the really real?

What is the nature of external reality, the world around us? What is a human being? What happens to a person at death? Why is it possible to know anything at all? How do we know what is right and wrong? What is the meaning of human history?

It is no accident that the official LDS Web site declares that Mormonism, as the real restored truth, provides answers to life and worldview questions such as these: What’s the purpose of my life? Where did I come from? Did I exist before this life? Could a young farm boy really have seen God? Is motherhood part of God’s plan? Will I be with my family after death?

Mormonism is much more than just another religion; it is a full-fledged worldview. As the official Web site reveals, Mormons teach a totally different perception concerning the nature of God, the pre-creation universe of eternal realities, the origins of our world, the nature of humanity, and the eternal potential of humans to become gods. In fact, the worldview constructed and promoted by Mormonism mirrors several aspects of ancient paganism, Egyptian and Greek mythology, Hinduism, and New Age, and is foreign and destructive to a biblical Judeo-Christian worldview.

Modified from Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice by Andrew Jackson. Buy the eBook here.

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October 14, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Apologetics,Evangelism & Missions,Life & Doctrine,Ministry,Theology | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 1:00 pm | 0 Comments »

Crossway’s Friday Faves

See what Crossway authors have been up to in the blogosphere this past week:

| Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 9:43 am | 1 Comment »

October Offer to Crossway Impact Members

One of the benefits of Crossway Impact—our “Rewards with a Mission” program—is the exclusive monthly offer.

This month, with the release of John Piper’s new book, Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, we’re offering Crossway Impact members a free book on the life of William Wilberforce, the great Christian abolitionist.

When you purchase either the hardcover or eBook version of Bloodlines, you’ll receive a free paperback or eBook copy of Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce, also by John Piper.

Sign-up or Login to your Impact account, add either version of Bloodlines to your cart, enter the corresponding promotion code at checkout (AMGR for hardcopy books or EAMGR for eBooks) and the free Wilberforce book will be added to your order.

Please note that you can redeem each promotional code only once and have until the last day of October.

You may also be interested in the related video documentary featuring Pastor John as he walks through his personal story of growing up in the racist South. His story boldly champions the transforming power of the gospel and the beauty of racial diversity and harmony in Christ. You can watch the full documentary here.

This special offer will only work for Impact members, so if you share this to your friends, make sure they know to sign-up for Crossway Impact.

October 13, 2011 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 3:03 pm | 1 Comment »

The ESV Grow! Bible Has Arrived

The ESV Grow! Bible is in now in Crossway’s warehouse and is available for order. A brand new edition for kids ages 8–12, the ESV Grow! Bible contains the full Bible text with lots of colorful “helps” that not only comment on the passage, but more importantly encourage your kids to read the Bible for themselves. Here are some of the features of the Grow! Bible, with examples of each included:

  • “W Questions” answer the who, what, where, when, or why of a text.
  • 90 “4u” sections explain a passage from Scripture, applying it to the lives of kids.
  • 45 “Cross Connections” show how specific passages in the Bible point to Jesus and his gospel.
  • Articles, charts, maps, and book introductions are featured in full-color and engagingly written.

We’re excited about this new Bible for kids, because its emphasis is consistently on the Word of God. An animated sampler of the ESV Grow! Bible, including the full book of Genesis, is included below.

Available in three editions: a hardcover, a blue TruTone®, and a purple TruTone®.

Download a pdf of the excerpt

| Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News & Announcements | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 12:00 pm | (3) Comments »