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Is Mormonism Just Another Christian Denomination?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
November 21, 2023 11:30 am

Is Mormonism Just Another Christian Denomination?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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November 21, 2023 11:30 am

Episode 1363 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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 CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

 

1. Who was Cain afraid would kill him after he killed Abel?   2. Was Jesus born the Messiah or become the Christ later in life?   3. In Luke 15, did the prodigal's brother kill his father?   4. Should we consider Mormonism a part of Christianity or a cult?   Today’s Offer: Inner Core   Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.   Resources

Book -  Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God's Story by Michael Horton

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Is Mormonism just another Christian denomination? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us with your question at 833-THE-CORE, and feel free to leave us a message if you get our voicemail system.

Again, that's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can always email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Riley, who's calling in from Wisconsin. Riley, what's your question for Adriel?

I'm doing a little bit exploring myself. I think it was relating to them being the first humans or the first breath of life, but what I had a question on was when Cain does kill Abel, he's afraid of the hunters and datherers. So that kind of leads me to maybe believe or question, you know, we can look at science and fossils back from different hominids and different traits of evolution and stuff like that. So I was curious what your take on that would be if there were actually other living creatures, and then God may have given us the gift of consciousness.

Hey Riley, thank you for reaching out with that question. So yeah, the question that was asked was, you know, essentially were Adam and Eve the first people, or was it that like God, I'm assuming with the question that came on a previous episode, was it that God, that there were already, you know, human beings, if you will, or some sort of like higher evolved creature, and that God breathed the soul into that creature, and that became the first man. And so you had these other people, and that's who Cain was afraid of. So all of that assumes, or is assuming, this sort of evolutionary framework for the human species. And so at least the way it's approached from the perspective of someone who believes in God and in Jesus, but also wants to affirm that, you know, they're arguing for what we sometimes refer to as theistic evolution.

Now there's a lot there. My point in answering that question, what I'll say to you is, it seems to me like in reading the early chapters of Genesis that you don't have human beings already on the scene, and that God just sort of picks a couple and says, okay, I'm going to endow you with this special gift with a soul, with my spirit, I'm going to breathe into you. But that in Genesis chapter 2 verse 7, when the Lord formed the man of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, that man became a living creature at that moment, from dust to humanity, if you will.

And then you have the species growing, populating and so forth. And so the question with regard to Cain is, well, who are these people that Cain was afraid of when the Lord exiled him, if you will? And the answer that I would give is that there were other children that Adam and Eve had had.

He had other siblings. And that seems to be suggested in the Genesis text as well. So you think of Genesis chapter 4 verse 17, it says Cain knew his wife. This other question people have is, where did Cain get his wife? Cain knew his wife and she conceived and bore Enoch, and he built a city and he called the name of the city after the name of his son Enoch. And so probably, right, Genesis chapter 5 verse 4 says the days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years and he had other sons and daughters. So there's a lot of time to have children here and a large extended family. And so that's probably the source of Cain's concern after he committed the great act of murder.

And so I appreciate your question, Riley, and thanks for reaching out and following up about that previous caller. So those hunters and gatherers were his possible brothers. Is sibling rivalry going on there or what are we talking about? It's been happening since, I mean, well, he's definitely known for sibling rivalry if anyone is in the Bible, Cain and Abel. But yeah, so that's one way of looking at it. That's the take that I have from, you know, just looking at the early chapters of Genesis. And so that's what I would say.

Okay. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. You can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE.

You can also email us anytime at questions at corechristianity.com. Well, let's go to Marie, who's calling in from Kansas. Marie, what's your question for Adriel? Hi. I'm having some trouble hearing you.

Let's go to this. Can you hear me? Yeah, Marie, I can hear you. I can hear you well.

Okay. So what my question is, Pastor, is within the Bible reading through the whole thing, Jesus is referred to as Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, and then Christ Jesus. And I think I understand why, because he's in different levels of his walk through the portion of his life where he is a man, and then he's glorified, and then, you know, so on and so forth. But I want to hear what your explanation is of that.

Hey, Marie, thank you for that question. Well, I mean, it gets to the very heart of the most important question, really, that any of us could ask. Who is Jesus? It's the question that he asked his own disciples who went to Peter, and he said to him, Who do men say that I am? And Peter said, you know, some people think you're a prophet, sort of like, you know, Elijah. Others, you know, a list. There's a lot of ideas floating out there about who you are, Jesus.

You know, recognize that the same thing is true today. There are people who say Jesus was a great teacher. There are people who say Jesus was a zealot with a failed mission. There are people who say Jesus was a prophet, similar to the other Old Testament prophets.

And then there are those who, like Peter, recognize, what did Peter say? You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. That Jesus is not just another prophet, but we're talking about God himself, the second person of the Holy Trinity, who took human flesh, assumed humanity from the womb of the Virgin Mary, and came in that humanity on our behalf for us to redeem us. And he's referred to as Christ. That's not, Jesus Christ, Christ is not his last name. The word Christ, it's the parallel for the Hebrew word Messiah, and it means anointed one. Jesus is the anointed one, the redeemer, the savior, the king.

And so that's why he has that title in the New Testament. It was the hope of the prophets that we see throughout the Bible, in the Old Testament in particular, that one would come, an anointed one, an anointed king and ruler who would redeem the people of God. That's what the Jews were waiting for, the Hebrews were waiting for. They were waiting for that Messiah to come. And Jesus came and surprised everyone. And he accomplished redemption, a deeper kind of redemption than many people were expecting. It wasn't just, it wasn't simply the sort of political movement.

That's not the heart of what it was, actually, initially, at all. It was redemption from tyranny of Satan, the tyranny of Satan, and bondage to sin. It was being free from our sins. And so, I mean, this is precisely what John the Baptist says, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And so, you know, we're thinking about those titles that we see in the Gospels and how Jesus is referred to. And it's interesting because throughout the Bible, even the Old Testament prophecies that speak of him, I'm thinking of Isaiah chapter 9, for example, in verse 6. His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

There are all these different things that are highlighted. Even the name Jesus coming from the Hebrew Joshua, right? You think of what Joshua did. He led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, accomplishing the conquest, if you will. Those are the ideas that would have been, you know, brought to the minds of those who knew that story, the story of Israel and Jesus coming as the true and greater Joshua to lead us into the freedom and Promised Land of God's eternal rest.

All of those things are things that we're seeing in the biblical text. But again, for you listening right now, that question, who do you say Jesus is, is the most important question that any of us could ever answer. Getting that correct, understanding who Jesus is, is so important for each one of us, because ultimately he's our only hope. He's our only hope against sin. He's our only hope against Satan.

He's our only hope for eternal life, and so we look to him and we trust in him. Amen. Thanks for that, Adriel. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. By the way, we have a YouTube channel, and you can watch us on YouTube each day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time.

See what Adriel's up to in the studio, and you can submit your question through YouTube. Miriam submitted one, and she says, did the prodigal son's brother kill his father? I heard a prominent teacher say this, but I can't find a verse to support it. Miriam, thank you for that question. Honestly, Luke 15 and the parable of the prodigal son is one of my favorite passages in all of the Bible.

I'm just going to read part of it, and the part I think that might be suggestive, or wherever this preacher was getting the idea, I think I know where he's getting the idea. In Luke 15, verse 11, it says, there was a man who had two sons, and the younger of them said to his father, give me the share of property that is coming to me, and he divided his property between them. So now there, sometimes people will say, not that he killed his father, but that when he says, father, give me the share of the property that is coming to me, he's in essence saying to his dad, I wish you were dead. Because when do we get our inheritance, ordinarily? You get it when the father dies, when he's deceased.

That's when the inheritance comes. And so the son here, the son that's being spoken of, he wants his inheritance now. He doesn't want to wait for his father to die. He's saying, in essence, again, I wish you were dead.

Now, that's the closest thing to any sort of suggestion of one of the brothers killing the father. What maybe this pastor was trying to do is, in part, the older brother here in the parable later on, stands for, I think, the religious leaders, the scribes and the Pharisees, who as the Gentiles are coming in and experiencing God's grace and redemption, they don't want to be a part of the party. They're upset. They're mad at God.

They're full of jealousy. And what ultimately did those religious leaders do? I mean, if you trace the entire gospel, you recognize that eventually they denied Jesus and even wanted him crucified, killed him. But that's not a part of the parable itself of the prodigal son. Instead, you have the prodigal son who gets his inheritance early, squanders it, and basically just said, Dad, I wish you were dead.

Give me the inheritance. And so, I mean, talk about the kind of dishonor that this son has exhibited towards his father. And yet when he leaves and gets what's coming to him for his rebellion and disobedience and prodigal living, he's eaten with the pigs and realizes what a foolish mistake he made, he goes back to his father's house, after, in essence, saying, I wish you were dead. And what does the father do? The father sees him and runs to him and extends him grace and mercy.

And, boy, just to see, if you've never read Luke 15, verses 11 and following, the parable of the prodigal son, spend some time there today. Find a Bible, download the Bible app on your phone, and read Luke 15 and see the gracious love of the father towards sinners who turn to him. For so many people, they think, man, I'm just too bad. God is for people that got their life together and are really good. Me, I'm a mess. I'm so far from God, and we think, I can't even go towards him.

That whole thing makes me uncomfortable. You can turn to the Lord, no matter what you've done or how bad it's been, and hope in his mercy, because his mercy, his grace, his love is bigger than your sins. And when we turn to him, confessing our sins and repenting of them, he holds us in his arms, he covers us with the righteous robe of Jesus Christ. He redeems us.

And so read Luke 15, and again, to your question, Miriam, there doesn't seem to be any indication in that text, I think, that the older brother murders his father. So, God bless. You've painted a great picture for us there, Adriel.

Thanks for that. And again, just a wonderful parable. If you've not read that in the book of Luke, we would highly recommend it. It will really help you understand God's grace and mercy and how it's extended to you in your own life. This is Corps of Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can leave us a voicemail anytime, 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Sally, who's calling in from Kansas. Sally, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi there. Thank you for your program. I love radio, and I love your program. The answers are always so good to hear from you.

My question has to do with the Mormon or Latter-day Saint group, and I would like to know if they can consider themselves Christian, and do they believe in Jesus and salvation? Sally, thank you for that. Well, thank you, one, for your encouragement. What a blessing it is for us to get to serve you.

And thank you for this question, a really, really important question. Are Mormons Christians? Are they just another Christian denomination? Do they believe what Christians believe? And sometimes you get in a talk, into a conversation with someone who's Mormon, and they make it sound like that's the case. I believe in Jesus, they'll say.

I believe in grace and salvation and the Heavenly Father. The issue is there are differences in terms of how they define each of those things, in terms of how they define the person of Christ, who God is. They don't embrace the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. So when they talk about the Heavenly Father, when they talk about Jesus Christ, or when they talk about grace, or when they talk about salvation, or when they talk about baptism, they define all of those things differently from how the Church, how Christians have defined those things. And so I think there's something really sad and frankly deceptive about that. There's a real issue there.

It can be quite confusing. One thing that's just interesting to note is when Mormonism started, it fed itself against all of the Christian denominations, if you will. I mean, the whole point was Joseph Smith was saying, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been lost essentially by these other churches and denominations, and it needs to be recovered.

We need another testament of Jesus Christ because so much corruption has taken place. And so Joseph Smith and the early Mormons set themselves in antithesis to the rest of the Christian Church, everyone else's apostate. And in fact, in Mormon doctrine and theology, and even Mormon apologists will say, what ended up happening really early on in the history of the churches is basically the Gospel was lost.

And so it needed to be recovered. Years ago, I was in Salt Lake City and I visited, it was the Mormon Church History Museum, sort of as an undercover Christian spy, and not really, but we were there, I was there with another pastor, and it was so interesting because they had these murals of the Book of Acts, big paintings of themes in the Gospels, and then of course the Jesus preaching in the Americas and whatnot, but then you had this big black wall. And I think I asked the tour guide, okay, what's with the big black wall? And then after the big black wall, you had the vision of Joseph Smith and so forth. Well, they said, well, those are the dark years when the Gospel was lost.

And what did those dark years consist of? Well, like basically all of church history, the post-apostolic period. Frankly, some of the period where you have so much rich theology happening, where there's just a lot of wonderful, wonderful things, they said, well, no, that's where the Gospel was lost and it needed to be recovered. And so it's strange that today, many Mormons that you talk to, they'll try to act as though, you know, we're just another Christian church like you guys, and oh, we basically believe the same things, but that's a total change from at least the stance of the Mormon church early on, which was no, we're totally an antithesis to you and you guys are apostates and have lost the Gospel.

That's why we needed to recover it. And there are a ton of issues with that, this idea. One, I think it calls into question the promise that our Lord Jesus made to Peter and to the disciples when he said, Peter, you know, on this rock, I am going to build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her. Now, if you're going to say that essentially shortly after the time of the apostles, the Gospel was completely lost for, you know, thousands of years and it needed to be recovered, essentially what you're saying is, well, the gates of hell have prevailed against the church for the majority of church history. Jesus was sort of right, but not really at all, actually. So I think we really need to question the claims of the Mormon church and again, getting to the heart of just the theology now, no, they don't believe in, at least when you're looking at quote-unquote Mormon dogma and who the Mormon church says God is, God the Father, Jesus, they reject the orthodox teaching of scripture and of the church for the last 2,000 years.

And so it's really a scary thing. And I don't say this to knock, I mean, I have friends who are Mormon. I've had throughout my ministry, you know, relationships, friendships with Mormons and talked about these things, just really wonderful, wonderful individuals give you the shirt off their back kind of a thing. But when it comes to doctrine and salvation, right, we're not saved by being good neighbors.

We're saved by the truth of the gospel, what God has done for us, and that's where there's so much confusion. And that's where the Mormon church gets it wrong. And remember what the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11, that Satan himself, the evil one, does what? Disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11 verse 15, So it is no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, their end will correspond to their deeds.

So there's a sobering warning there, certainly. You know, it can look really good externally, but when you get to the core of doctrine and how they define the gospel and how they define who Jesus is truly, the second person of the Holy Trinity, the eternal Son of God who assumed human flesh for us and for our salvation came down from heaven, when you get to that, that's where there is a deep rottenness at the core. And I've spoken with Mormons and I've shared the gospel with them and had some of them even say, Well, I believe that, I believe that. I had one friend who for years we were having conversations about doctrine and theology and I would share the gospel very clearly with him and he'd say, Well, I believe that, and I'd say, My friend, if you really believe what the Mormon church teaches, let me show you what they say in some of these documents, if you really believe what the Mormon church teaches, you can't say you believe what I just said. And he'd always respond by saying, I've been a Mormon longer than you, don't tell me what we believe.

And I'd say, Okay, here we go. But look, now at the end of the day, we can't look at an individual's heart. Maybe there are Mormons who actually reject what the church teaches and don't even know it and they embrace the truth of the gospel. Maybe they're reading through the scriptures, the New Testament, and they are struck by the Word of God.

I believe that Jesus can work in that way and save people, and I thank God for that. But if you're going to be consistent, I would say, you're going to have to get out of the Mormon church and join a true church where the gospel is faithfully preached and where Jesus, the true Jesus, is exalted and worshiped and you'll be welcome there. And so, again, really appreciate your question, Sally. It is such an important one.

May God give us grace and wisdom in interacting with our Mormon friends and neighbors and humility to engage them, not with hostility, but to really grieve and say, Man, this is so important. You need to get this right. We need to get this right. And getting the gospel wrong, getting that question, Who is Jesus?

We talked about it earlier on the broadcast. Getting that question wrong has eternal ramifications. And so come. Let's reason together. Let's open up the scriptures. Let's study them, and let's follow the way of Jesus.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. Just a reminder that we are a listener-supported ministry.

We count on people just like you to keep this program on the air. We'd invite you to join what we call our inner core. Yeah, if you're encouraged by the work that we do here and you want to support us to continue to get the truth of the word of God out there, would you consider joining the inner core?

We have a monthly donation of $25 or more. And as a thank you, we'll send you a copy of the book, Core Christianity, where my friend, Dr. Michael Horton, gets into a lot of these core doctrines that we've been talking about. Really, again, the identity of Jesus. Who is he?

How can we know him personally? What does the Bible say about Christ's work for us? Get a hold of this resource, and again, thank you for considering being a part of the inner core. God bless. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, go to corechristianity.com forward slash radio, or you can call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833 the core. When you contact us, let us know how we can be praying for you. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-21 12:41:57 / 2023-11-21 12:51:54 / 10

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