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Matt Slick Live (Interview with Eric Johnson)

Matt Slick Live! / Matt Slick
The Truth Network Radio
September 19, 2022 7:14 pm

Matt Slick Live (Interview with Eric Johnson)

Matt Slick Live! / Matt Slick

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September 19, 2022 7:14 pm

On this special edition of Matt Slick LIVE, Matt interviews Christian apologist and evangelist to Mormons Eric Johnson on his new book -Introducing Christianity to Mormons.- They discuss the important differences between Mormonism and Christianity, some tips on how to effectively reach Mormon friends and neighbors, and the reasons why this book is such an important resource.--You can learn more about the book at www.IntroducingChristianity.com or find it on any major online bookseller.

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The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. It's Matt Slick live. Matt is the founder and president of the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry, found online at KARM.org. When you have questions about Bible doctrines, turn to Matt Slick live.

Francis taking your calls and responding to your questions at 877-207-2276. Here's Matt Slick. Everybody, welcome to the show. Well hey, it's a nice Tuesday. The reason I was out yesterday is because I had another commitment to ABN Sat TV and I was doing a hosting gig with them discussing the issue of Islam and 9-11 and did that for a while.

That's what I was doing. And now we're back on the air right now and guess what, now I mentioned this, I mentioned this before and I just want to let you know that I got a good friend here, Eric Johnson, and Eric is a great guy, he knows a lot about Mormonism, he's got a new book out, and he is on right now and we're going to be discussing his new book. Eric, are you there? I'm there and thanks so much for having me on, Matt.

Hey, no problem, Eric. Okay, just adjusting, I've got your book in my hand, Introducing Christianity to Mormons, and is it today that it's coming out, right, today? Well that's why I'm on your show because I saved your show, I've done over two dozen podcasts but I had to come on your show on the first day this book is available.

Oh good, because I'm special. Actually not a podcast, radio show, I've done enough of those and so yeah, I'm excited to be on your show and talk a little bit about a book that, two years in the making, I'm really excited about this. Let's go through it, it looks pretty good. You do a lot of good work though, you and Bill both, because I'd like you to introduce yourself to everybody, who you are, the book, and just go ahead, just take the floor there and introduce yourself. And I'm hoping you didn't find too much heresy in the book, but when you have apologists who read, they read it pretty closely, so I had to be really careful. So I work with Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry, we're based in Salt Lake City, we're on 820 AM, the station that you're on right now. And I've been with this ministry since 1989, I taught for a couple decades in Southern California before I moved over to Utah, where Bill had moved in 2004, we were from Southern California and we decided to be in the center of where Mormonism is right now. So MRM.org is our website, we have a podcast that we do, it's a radio show as well, on 820 AM, as well as on five other stations, in fact last week we went right into Honolulu, Hawaii, which has a very large LDS population, so we're on six radio stations, and the podcast, we have over 3,000 in our index, but yeah, we like to reach out to Latter-day Saints on the streets, we do a lot of evangelism, but we also have our website, which is a major part of what we do, and writing books, and so this is my sixth book that I have written on the topic of Mormonism.

You guys do great stuff, great work. And I know that your wife, Terry, listens to me on the radio every now and then, or pretty regularly, I mention you guys on the air, and praise you guys up, you're out there, MRM.org, your ministry, MRM.org, that reminds me, Bill, I was checking domains, Mormonism Research Ministry, the full three words, wasn't taken, so I took it, yeah, so I took it, and so I told Bill. And probably redirected to karm.org, I bet.

Oh no, I took it so that no one else would, I said, hey Bill, you want it, I got it, whatever, and for a small fee, I'm always teasing them, but at any rate. Well, hey, I tell you, let me tell you this, we used to own Mormonism.org, and the church had Mormon.org, but this was back in the 90s, and it was very expensive to have domain. I forget, it was like a couple hundred dollars a year or whatever, they didn't have GoDaddy, and so we let it go, very sad that we did that, but you know, a website domain is so important, in fact, we just purchased utahchurches.com. We had utahchurches.org, but we purchased the.com because we use that for when somebody gets out of Mormonism and then becomes a Christian, we think they ought to go to church. So if you go to, I don't know if we forwarded it yet, but it's utahchurches.org, and people can find a church in their area, it will look where you're at, and it will tell you, while the good church is around, we think every Christian ought to be going to church. Oh wow, yeah, there it is, Mission Church, Ridgeline Church, Crossroads Church, Berean Bible, The Rising, The Rock, yeah, look at all that, that is good stuff, I didn't know that was there.

Yeah. That's really helpful because I will point people to that, particularly in the Salt Lake area. All right, okay, I got a question for you, because I got your book in my hand here, Introducing Christianity to Mormons, okay, why would you want to write something like this, what's the reason for writing Introducing Christianity to Mormons? Well that's a great question, and the purpose of this book is different from the other books that we have written, in that many people are leaving the LDS church in droves, and the church's name officially is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but we're going to use LDS or Mormon, not to be offensive, but just to shorten it up. The problem is, when people leave Mormonism, they don't come rushing over to the Christian church, in fact, 45%, according to Jan Rees, a Mormon blogger, who wrote a book called The Next Mormons with Oxford Press, she's a very popular person, and she did surveys back in 2019, and found that 45% go to atheism, agnosticism, or nothing at all, after they leave Mormonism. Another 21% claim to be quote-unquote just Christian, they haven't gone to any church, they just left Mormonism, and because they're good people, they think that therefore they're just Christian, as many Americans probably think so.

That means two out of three people who leave, leave for nothing. One third go to other religions, but out of that one third, a total of 10% become Evangelical Christians, which is actually higher than Catholics or the liberal Protestants in her survey, 10%, but I still think one out of 10 who are basically abandoning their faith in God and Jesus, and leaving that behind when they once believed in those things, I think that's a tragedy. I want Christians to be able to be informed about what it is that Christians believe, to be able to tell Latter-day Saints, using their vocabulary, their language, what this means, and how we are different, because we really are different, as you explain all the time on your show, and I don't want anyone to be confused when a Latter-day Saint says, well, I'm a Christian too, but let's take a closer look at that, let's look at some of the doctrines that are so important. I think a person who is willing to look at those differences, we'll see very easily that Christianity and Mormonism are two different religions. All right, well let's talk about that, because I mentioned talk about Mormonism, as you said a lot, well not a lot, but when it comes up, so I know there's Mormons listening right now, and there's probably some Mormons who listen to you on 820, you and Bill and have heard of you and stuff, so okay, aren't they Christians, why or why not? Well the problem is Mormonism denies or distorts every fundamental teaching of the historic Christian church. Matt, what I did in this book, Introducing Christianity to Mormons, and by the way, that title could be very offensive for many Latter-day Saints, and I'll tell you why in a second, but what I have done in here is I have explained in the glossary the difference in meanings between the words that we use. When we use the same terms such as God, Jesus, Scripture, salvation, well that's a problem when we don't understand what the other person is thinking when we say that, and the Mormon is assuming we're believing certain things, and so it's important to be able to distinguish what that language is, but coming back to the title of my book, Introducing Christianity, that's going to be controversial right there, because Mormons do consider themselves Christians. In the last 30 years, 30 years ago they didn't really say that, they really wanted to be known as Mormons, but today, they want to be known as being the same.

They're not just another denomination. So I put in Christianity because it has a historic meaning to it, and then I put in two Mormons, and that is controversial because Russell M. Nelson back in 2018 declared that using the word Mormon or LDS or Mormonism is offensive to Jesus, and they're not supposed to use that term anymore. But here's the problem, if I'm supposed to call the church the Church of Jesus Christ, which is what they'd like us to use, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's just too difficult to say that, I mean, Mormons is understood. How would the Latter-day Saints who might complain about my title want me to title this book? Introducing Evangelical Christianity to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

It's way too complicated, and it doesn't make it understandable to the main audience I'm writing to, to Evangelical Christians who want to share their faith in a positive way with Latter-day Saints. We do this in love, as you do every day on your radio show. We speak the truth in love. We want to have an answer for everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope we have, but we do it with gentleness and respect.

So I'm not trying to be offensive, I'm just trying to communicate, what is this book about? And hopefully a Latter-day Saint who's listening to this will understand. I love them very much. I wouldn't have moved to Utah if I hated Latter-day Saints.

That's right. I knew you and Bill down there in San Diego, and I remember when you guys moved up. You want to be right in the heart of it, because you really do have a heart for Mormons. You and Bill do, both of you. We've witnessed a lot together, and done Manti together, and stuff over the years, many times.

I've seen it in your house many times, and Bill many times. And we're going to Israel, and maybe talk about that later. By the way, folks, if any of you out there listening want to talk to Eric here, all you got to do is just call the number, 877-207-2276. He is extremely knowledgeable about Mormonism.

When I have questions about things that I'm not sure about in Mormonism, I'll call up Bill or Eric, and we'll talk. We've had a lot of conversations. I've learned a great deal from these guys.

They're really good. Eric here is a good, godly man who leads missions, forks, or trips to Europe, and things like that, and Israel, and stuff like that. So I'm looking through your book. And let me just mention real quick, if you don't mind, you mentioned Bill. Without Bill, I would not have been able to write this book. Bill McKeever has been my mentor for many, many years.

A lot of what you're going to read in this book are my words, said the way that I would say them. But he and I together, I mean, doing podcasts and working together so closely for 30 plus years, so I want to give credit to Bill for, even though he's not a co-author, our other books that we have written, like Mormonism 101, or Answering Mormon's Questions, he and I have co-authored. But this one has my name on it, so I owe a debt to Bill and the work that he has done. Since 1979, that's over 40 years that Bill has been doing this work. That's because he's really old. You know, I mean... Let's tell him that next time we talk to him. Yeah, well, you know, I'm coming down there the first week of October, but hey, you know, look at him. I mean, he looks like he's been doing it for a long time, so, you know. Oh, no, I didn't say this.

This is a mass work thing, that. Sure. Oh, I'd definitely say it. He's my boss, Bill. And he owes me a lunch, too, so, you know, we'll have to get to that. And I'm sure he does. If he brings his wallet, that will be the key. Yeah, Bill.

Hope he's listening. So, it's a long story, folks. The joke is that when we were down there in San Diego, I called up Bill, and I go, hey, Bill, I'm going to come down and buy you a lunch, because we're about 40 miles away. And so I come down there, and I take him out to lunch, and I forgot my wallet, right? Well, you know, it happens. We laughed about it. And two months later, I says, I owe you a lunch. So I go down there, and for the second time, I forgot my wallet. So I realized my wallet, I didn't have it the second time he looked at me, and I could see the whole future of just years of teasing, and sure enough.

So it's kind of a running gag. All right, OK, well, OK. What are some of the major, it's obvious to me, what are some of the major differences between Mormon and Christianity? What would you say would come from the major?

What really stands out is different? Well, I mean, let's just start with God. According to Mormonism, God was once a human being on another world. He has a body of flesh and bones, Doctrine and Covenants, section 130, verse 22 says that. That he may have been a sinner. Many Latter-day Saints don't have a problem to say that God may have sinned in this previous world, because he was just like we are, and that God worshiped his Father. And then that Father, at one time, had worshiped his Father. And his Father had worshiped his Father ad infinitum. I mean, we're talking infinite regression of the gods, which, when you come down to brass tacks, the beginning was, there was no beginning, I mean, they don't know when the beginning took place, because there always has been material. That's how God created ex materia. He didn't create ex nihilo, Latin for meaning out of nothing. He actually had to create from what the previous gods had left behind. So the idea that Mormonism teaches that as man is, God once was. So as we are today, God once was in a previous realm, and today he still has this body of flesh and bone, and then as God is, man may be. That's known officially as the Lorenzas snow couplet. The idea that you can become as God, that someday you will be with your family forever, you will create new spirits to be able to populate your own world, and you'll continue doing what Heavenly Father was doing.

That is much different than what the Bible talks about, God being from everlasting to everlasting. It's Matt Slick live, taking a call at 877-207-2276. Here's Matt Slick. All right, welcome back to the show. We had a bit of a hiccup there. We have a new guy doing the producing, and he said in the text, he goes, I was listening to you guys talk, and he forgot to put the sound out, the intro and outro stuff in. So no big deal, it does happen, and I'll just tease him about it sometime.

I like to tease some people. So Eric, you still there? I'm still here. All right.

So I don't know where we were. Not that Duane is that bad of a guy. He's a pretty nice guy.

I'm teasing him already. So we were talking about God. We were talking about a difference. And let me just say, if the Scriptures in Mormonism disagree with each other, and they do. I mean, here you have Moroni 8.18 that says that God is from everlasting to everlasting.

Mosiah 3.5 agrees. Doctrine and Covenants 20.17. Very clearly, talk about a God that was before the later Joseph Smith. The early Joseph Smith, in the 1820s and 30s, was kind of a confused Protestant, if you will. But he was teaching, according to the Scriptures that he put together, that God has always been God, and there was only one God. And then, in the 1840s, he changes his mind, and he said that God is a man like we are, and that we have the potential to become gods, rejecting major teachings such as the Trinity. I mean, if you have a different God, then you're going to have a different gospel. Galatians 1.8 and 9 very clearly teaches us that. And if you have a different God, you're going to have a different Jesus.

Second Corinthians 11.4 says that false Jesuses do exist, just because a religion has the name of Jesus in its name, does not make it a Christian religion. And I think that's something that a lot of people don't understand, because they talk to their Latter-day Saint friends, their friends tell them, oh, yeah, we believe in God. Oh, yeah, we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Oh, yeah, we believe in Scripture and all of these other things. But if you don't understand what they're saying, it's a different language, and you have to ask them, well, what do you mean when you say you're saved by grace through faith?

What do you mean when you say blank, whatever the term is? That's where I'm hoping this book, Introducing Christianity to Mormons, comes in and be a help for Christians, a glossary in the back, and every chapter, there's ten chapters, and every single one, I am giving evangelism stories that I have personally been involved with, changing the names, but trying to give Christians a better idea of how can they share Christianity. I'm not so focused on teaching Mormonism here.

You can go to Mormonism 101, printed in 2015 by Baker Books, and you can get a full rundown on the differences. But what is it that we have that's unique, that's different from Christianity, because I want Latter-day Saints to not have those stereotypes. We call them that. In our profession, we call them straw man argument. When you ask a Latter-day Saint, the Trinity comes up, and you ask them, what do you think we believe about the Trinity? You've heard this before. They say, well, the Father is the Son of the Holy Spirit. They have modalism, perhaps, is their idea. And then they like to ask, well, who was Jesus praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane?

Well, that's an easy answer. He was praying to the Father. But the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit. So I have a whole chapter on the Trinity, because I want to correct the stereotype that Latter-day Saints have on that, on the idea of grace. A lot of Latter-day Saints assume that we don't believe in good works because we're justified by grace through faith, and not by works. They say, well, then you must not believe in James 2.20 after you get done quoting from Ephesians 2.8 and 9.

That is a misnomer. Christians certainly believe in good works. We call it sanctification. But the Bible is very clear in Romans 3.28 that we're saved by faith apart from works of the law. And if you read Romans, you read Galatians, you see very clearly how this justification isn't done based on our work, it's based on what Jesus did on the cross. He said it is finished. He's the one who imputes His righteousness into our account, not based on what we did, or what we're doing, or what we will do, but based on what Jesus did.

And so those are the kinds of things, when you ask, well, what are some of the differences, I just named a few, that I want to make sure we're communicating correctly so that we can allow Latter-day Saints to get a clear presentation of what Christianity is all about. Amen. Brilliant. Love it. All right, we have a guest online here who would like to ask you a question, so let's get to Rudolph from Raleigh, North Carolina. Rudolph, welcome. You're on the air, buddy.

Yes, sir. I just answered the question that I asked, but it was about the, do Latter-day Saints believe in their trinity? Because if they don't, they can't say that Jesus and the devil are public.

There's no way. Yeah, and what you're referring to, Rudolph, is the idea in the pre-existence, which was a previous state before this world, this is called the second estate or mortality, but before we lived here, and we don't remember it, we lived in, according to Mormonism, not me, we lived in what's called pre-mortality or pre-existence, where Heavenly Father created all spirits through relations with his wives, because Heavenly Father, God the Father, is married to multiple women. And so these wives created all the spirits, we were up there, along with billions of spirits, there was a council in Heaven, and at the Council of Heaven, we had to make a decision as to who would be the Savior of the world, either Jesus or Lucifer, who are brothers. And by definition, so are we, they're brothers.

They're just the older brothers. And so Jesus' plan of being able to give agency to everyone who would come to the earth to choose the Gospel or not, Lucifer said, no, we're going to force that, Lucifer had the wrong plan, he was cast out of Heaven with one-third of our brothers and sisters' spirits, and they became the demons, and Lucifer became Satan, leaving the other two-thirds to be born on this world based on our merit, that we're born into a family based on how we did in the pre-existence. So the idea of the Trinity, now Mormons might say they believe in the Trinity, you have to ask them, what do you mean by that? Do you believe three persons, one God, the essence of God, there's one God as revealed in three persons? And they'll say, well, we believe in the Father as a God, or as a God we worship, but Jesus is just a God, He was created to be God, and then the Holy Ghost is a God. That's not monotheism as Christianity teaches, the idea and the belief of one God, Deuteronomy 26.4, Hero Israel, the Lord thy God, the Lord is the God, is one in essence, that is denied in Mormonism, they believe in three separate gods. The idea that three separate gods, they're separate and each God on his own right is not the Trinity, that's tritheism. And then they believe in the existence of millions of gods, they only worship one, so I would hesitate to call them polytheistic, because a Hindu who's polytheistic praying to different gods, that's not what they do. They only pray to Heavenly Father, they're not allowed to pray to Jesus, they can pray in his name, but not pray directly to him.

And yet the idea that God, the Father had a God, that's acknowledged as an unspoken truth, that Heavenly Mother is a goddess, and all of his wives, so we have that issue of a big difference, Mormonism does not teach the Trinity. Okay, um, so they think that, they think we're angels, they think we're angels, no, they don't think we're angels. Hold on, we've got a break, okay? You can hold on, we've got a break, because there's the music, we're going to put you on hold, and we'll come back to you. Hey folks, we'll be right back after these messages, please stay tuned, we're talking to Eric Johnson from the Mormonism Research Ministry about his book, Introducing Christianity to Mormons, please stay tuned, we'll be right back. It's Matt Slick live, taking your calls at 877-207-2276, here's Matt Slick. All right, buddy, welcome back to the show, we are on the air with Eric Johnson from Mormonism Research Ministry discussing his book, Introducing Christianity to Mormons, and Eric, are you still there? I am here. All right, now we're going to go back to the caller, we've got two callers waiting, Rudolph again, but I wanted you to tell us how to get your book, and then we'll get to the callers. Well, you can do several things, you can just go to an online site, amazon.com, christianbooks.com, barnesandnoble.com, any of those sites, you certainly can.

If you would write a review, if you do get the book, I would love to have you write a review about the book, especially, well, I want you to read it, I don't want you just to give me a positive review, but one other place, for those folks who are living in the Utah area, I will be at Sandra Tanner's Utah Lighthouse Bookstore right across the street from the Bee's Ballpark, the Smith's Ball Field, this is off of West Temple and 1300, if you just look up, UTLM, or Utah Lighthouse Ministry, I'm going to be there on Saturday from 12 to 5, signing books for anybody who would come in, wants to purchase a book from Sandra, it's a great bookstore, and so I'd love to meet you, and if you'd like me to sign the book, I can do that, so that's this Saturday, 12 o'clock noon, till 5 o'clock, I will be there at the bookstore manual. Yeah, yeah, I've enjoyed you guys there, it's a good effort, it's a good thing, a lot of good conversations happen there. All right, well let's get back on there, we have Rudolph still waiting, and Rudolph, do you have anything else you want to add? Yes sir, I was saying that, yes, they believe that we're angels, because, you know, they believe that we're human.

Yeah, the answer to that question Rudolph, no, they're not, we're not angels, but we were former spirits in a previous world, called the pre-existence, we became flesh, we received bodies of flesh and bones, which were necessary for us to be able to progress to godhood, exaltation or eternal life are synonymous terms, and so we once were spirits, but because of our obedience by following Jesus, all humans did that, therefore we were allowed to be born on this earth with bodies. Amen. Okay. Hey, thanks a lot Rudolph. All right, well thank you, yes sir, thank you, God bless you, bye-bye.

Thank you. All right, that was Rudolph, and if you want to call, we have three open lines, 877-207-2276, we're talking with Eric Johnson from Mormonism Research Ministry about his new book, Introducing Christianity to Mormons, he's an expert, surely is an expert on Mormonism, and if you want to talk to him while you do this, give me a call, or give us a call, let's get to Joe from High Point, North Carolina, whom we lost, which is okay, we have open lines, so give me a call folks, 877-207-2276, okay now you said something earlier, you recorded the Book of Mormon, which I always thought was an interesting point, why is the Book of Mormon teaching stuff that general Mormonism doesn't teach about God, why is that? Well my interpretation is that Joseph Smith was, he had been around the Christian churches in upstate New York for his early years, he published it in 1830 when he was 24, but he understood enough of Christianity, the religious revivals, the Second Great Awakening was taking place in his area back in the 1820s, so he knows a lot about Christianity, and in fact if you go through his book, he uses the Bible throughout the Book of Mormon, he'll even use dozens and dozens of times New Testament phrases in a time that was Old Testament minded, I mean if you look at it, you just go, where did he get that from, well it's from the Bible, I mean there's a little booklet I'm looking at right now that is sold by UTLM Bookstore, Utah Lighthouse Bookstore called The Use of the Bible in the Book of Mormon and Early 19th Century Events Reflected in the Book of Mormon. Well you go through this, and this is actually, this is by Michael Marquart who lives here in Utah, he has taken dozens and dozens of phrases, let me just give you one, this is the Old Testament, Alma in the Book of Mormon chapter 38 verse 9, he is the light of the world, well does that ring for you, well of course it does, that's talking about Jesus, Jesus called himself the light of the world in John 8-12, Alma was written in the Old Testament period before Christ had even come, and according to Mormonism in the Book of Mormon, Jesus came to the Americas after he went up into Heaven in Acts chapter 1, he came here to visit a group of people called the Nephites and the Lamanites, two groups of people, and so all through here, God I thank Thee that we are better than our brethren, Alma 38-14, well it's taking it right out of Luke 18-11, God I thank Thee that I am not as other men, over and over again, in Helaman 8-14, and as he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, even so shall he be lifted up, who should come?

Well who's that referring to? Jesus of course, John 3-14, and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, Jesus speaking there, so I think a lot of the ideas are just, he just kind of borrowed them, there are some things that are not quite right of course, I'm not saying everything in the Book of Mormon is correct, he has an improper view of the Trinity in there, he does have the idea that you have to, 2 Nephi 25-23, we're saved by grace after all we can do, well where did he come up with that? Ephesians 2-8-9? So he thought well, you know, because we teach that we're saved by grace through faith, and not by works, and so he takes that part and adds on, after all we can do. That's a big bugaboo in Mormonism, because who's doing all they can do? But that's what this religion does teach, this religion teaches that there is a general salvation, everybody receives that because of our obedience in the pre-existence, we all have bodies, we'll go to one of three kingdoms of glory, the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, and the telestial kingdom, Joseph Smith said, we're the three kingdoms of glory, the goal is to get to the celestial kingdom and become a god, that is immortality, so when a Latter Day Saint talks about atonement or salvation by grace, they're talking about all of us, we all get the atonement, we all get salvation by grace, but only those who keep all the commandments continually, and unless you do, where I am, you cannot come, that is, D&C, one of the four scriptures, Doctrine and Covenants, section 25 verse 15, the idea of eternal life, or exaltation, or celestial glory, those are all synonymous terms for godhood. Mormonism teaches that you can become a god, you can be with your family, you can be with your wife and children, and create new children in the next life.

Well, that's anathema when we take a look at what Christianity teaches. Good stuff. Let's get on the air here with Dave from Salt Lake City, right there in Utah, and Dave, welcome, you're on the air, you have a question for Eric?

Yeah, I have a quick question. I used to be a Mormon, and I have a lot of relatives and friends that are still in the church, and the biggest hurdle I have is to try and get them to stop using feelings as a truth detector. That seems to be the paradigm that they follow, and I don't know how to get them to think outside of that paradigm. I think that's a great concern, and the Bible says that the heart is deceptively wicked.

Who can understand it? When you rely on feelings, Latter-day Saints, as you know, will go to James 1, verse 5, Joseph Smith used it to pray for wisdom, and so they have a verse in the Book of Mormon, Moroni 10.4, which says that you have to do this with a sincere heart, true intent, and if you do it that way, then you're going to have this feeling. But the problem is, feelings do deceive. We do this every day of the year. We use our rationale to help us navigate. We look both ways when we cross the street. If we don't, we're going to get run over.

What's the evidence? Is a car coming that way? Is it coming over this other way?

No, I can cross the street now. That is a natural thing. Well, you know what? The Bible never says to pray about a religion, to pray about a certain Scripture like the Book of Mormon. It teaches us that we're supposed to test everything. 1 Thessalonians 5 21. It says in 1 John 4 to test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. I think it's a mistake many Latter-day Saints will do when they will just pray about something without looking at God's Word. And that's why I spent two chapters of the ten chapters talking about the Word of God being the source for us to understand what is God's mindset. His mindset is, here's what I want you to do, here's what I want you to believe. And He takes us to the Bible.

He's provided that Bible. So how can you do that? How can you explain that to your family?

And I'm with you because I have family on my wife's side as well. It's very difficult. But I just try to take a look at the evidence that's available by even going to their own Scriptures and explaining that this is what your own Scriptures say. 2 Nephi 25 23 I cited earlier, that we're saved by grace after all you can do.

You can ask them the questions. So are you doing all you can do? Because Mormon leaders have very clearly taught that perfection is an achievable goal. That's what Spencer W. Kimball said in his book, The Miracle of Forgiveness. Hey folks, we're on the air with Eric Johnson from Mormonism Research and Ministry. We'll be right back with more on the air with Eric Johnson from Mormonism Research and Ministry. Eric, are you still there? I am. All right.

Okay, so we were talking. Oh, by the way, folks, if you want to give me a call or you want to talk to Eric, you want to ask him a question, all you got to do is just dial 877-207-2276. Now, you mentioned you're going to be at the Utah Lighthouse Ministry facility. Could you tell us more about that, people, what they want to stop by? Yeah, the Utah Lighthouse Bookstore, that's across the street from Smith Ballpark on West Temple and 1300 South.

It's easy, right off the 15, just take the 1300 South and where the ballpark is, right across the street is the Utah Lighthouse Bookstore. I'll be there Saturday from noon to five. We'll have plenty of copies of this new book that just came out and I'd love to be able to meet you, be able to maybe sign a copy if you'd like it and ask questions in person.

That would be fun. Yeah, a lot of great conversations have happened there. I've been here with you and Bill and it's really neat. People come in and it's a safe place, a lot of material there, very comfortable.

Praise God. Please consider going down there this Saturday. Check out Eric. You'll enjoy talking to him.

Let me just tell you, if you're a Mormon and you're not sure, you're having doubts, if you go there, Eric's a gentle guy, he really is. I've known him for, I don't know, how long have you done this? 20, 25 years? I don't know, a long time.

It might be even longer. We've known each other since, I believe, the mid or early 90s. Yeah, it's been a long time. Long time.

I can tell you, Eric and I went to it with others, of course, went to Israel, so I've done it for a long time. You're going to really enjoy his company. He's gentle and knowledgeable, compassionate and very informed. Don't feel threatened.

Don't worry about it. Just consider going down there and just spend some time answering or asking Eric. He'll talk to you.

He will. All right, Eric. I've got some more questions for you here about Mormonism. And, soteriologically speaking, for those who don't know, that's a doctrine of salvation. One of the things, I think, I don't know, I think it's important, is how do you get your sins forgiven in Mormonism versus Christianity?

Well, that's a question that we all need to be asking. What does it mean to get salvation? I'd like to use a book. It's not a doctrinal book, but he cites doctrine on every page practically of his book called The Miracle of Forgiveness. And this is written by an apostle at the time, over 50 years ago, in 1969, Spencer W. Kimball.

He later became the 13th president of the church. I just want to quote a couple of things out of the book to show you. I think he's accurate in what Mormonism teaches. But he says on page 206, one of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God. He just cited Ephesians 2, 8, and 9, favorite verses of Christians to use. He says that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation. Along with all the other works necessary for man's exaltation in the Kingdom of God, this could rule out the need for repentance. And in his mind, to have true repentance, you have to be able to prove yourself.

So if you can't just get forgiven, and then be able to, as many Latter-day Saints think, that we just say a little prayer and we go out and sin. Then he goes on on page 209, and he says the gospel is a program of action of doing things. Eternal life hangs in the balance, awaiting the works of men. This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins, and assures one of exaltation, eternal life and modernism, through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us. And then he cites Matthew 5, 48, a verse that is so often by Latter-day Saints taken out of context, to be therefore perfect. Then he goes on and says, being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from His children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.

I like to call Spencer W. Kimball, he was Nike before there was such a thing as Nike. His motto was, just do it. First Nephi 3-7 in the Book of Mormon says, God does not get commandments that cannot be kept. So I always like to ask the Latter-day Saints, well how many commandments must you keep? The answer is always, all the time.

How often? Keeping the commandments, always and all the time are the answers to those questions, and then I always ask, how are you doing at that? Latter-day Saints come up with excuses like, I'm trying or doing my best, which means that they're not doing what they're capable of doing. In fact, Spencer Kimball says on page 165 that trying is not sufficient, nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon repentance. To try is weak, to do the best you can is not strong, you must always do better than you can.

This is true in every walk of life. Latter-day Saints are great people, Matt, you know that. They're wonderful people, and they're trying their hardest, but they're never going to be able to attain what God's standard is, perfection. The only way that a person can get perfected and have their sins forgiven is through receiving the forgiveness available through Jesus Christ. Amen, brother.

Yeah, I'd like to tell people there's just no way. You know, God is perfect, we are not. He's holy, we are not.

And all of our, even our best works are touched by sin. And if we could get to heaven by being good or by doing anything in the law, then why did Jesus come to this earth? Just to make it possible for us to earn our salvation?

No. No, he did everything that's necessary. If you're a Latter-day Saint, you're secretly worried about the afterlife, you're having a doubt or two about Mormonism, you're not sure if your sins are forgiven. Let me tell you that true and living God has done all that's necessary. You don't have to do anything to receive the forgiveness except trust in Christ. You trust, and it does not mean it's then okay to go out and sin.

We don't believe in that. It is something though, Eric, a lot of people have talked, you know, easy believism. That means you just, like you said, say the prayer and you go out and sin, right? What do you say about that? Well, I do talk about, I don't have a problem with people wanting to pray to receive Christ.

And in fact, I talk about that in this book. And at the same time, I mean, that's not what makes you a Christian. It's the faith that you have not saying a little prayer. But once you become a Christian, we do believe in justification by faith alone, apart from the works of the law. What's justification?

Yeah, exactly. Justification is crucial in Christianity. That's what the Protestant Reformation was all about. But we also believe in good works. I mean, we do believe in James 2-20. Latter-day Saints like to quote that, after you bring up Ephesians 2-8-9, and they say, well, you must not believe in works, and what do you do with faith without works is dead?

And I said, I'll tell them, I completely agree with James. Absolutely, we believe in works that come as a result of who we are. We don't do works to become who we are. We are Christians, and good works will follow. It says in Ephesians 2-10, a lot of people miss this, after you just cite from 2-8-9, we're saved by grace, not by works, lest any man should boast, and it goes on and it says, for we are God's workmanship created by Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do. Now, was Paul forgetful of what he just wrote, not by work? Now he's saying we're created to do good works.

Obviously, there must be something, there's a nuance there. You become a Christian in order to do what God has intended, and that's what we call fruit of the Spirit. You can't have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, the way that it was intended, as Galatians 5 talks about, unless you truly have the Spirit. Without the Spirit, you have nothing. Unfortunately, Latter-day Saints who are trying to earn it on their own, I don't believe that the Holy Spirit is a part of who they are, and so they're man-made doctrines that are completely false.

Well, I just realized we only have about four minutes left on this show. I've got so many questions I've got to ask you, we could talk about stuff, but let's reintroduce your book here online. Introducing Christianity to Mormons by Rick Johnson. It's on Amazon. I was checking out on Amazon and on Christianbook.com. Any place else you know of, or are those just the two main places? BarnesandNoble.com has it as well.

I'm not sure of all the pricing. You can certainly get it here in Utah at the Utah Lighthouse Bookstore. We have it available also through our ministry, MRM.org, if you want to order it from us.

So there's different ways of getting it. But yeah, I would encourage people to either get the Kindle copy, to get a hard copy, they're both available out there. I do have a website as well, that if people wanted to see some of the bells and whistles, because I start every chapter of the 10 chapters with a conclusion, a summary, and at the end of every chapter I have questions. You can do this in a group study, five questions, and every chapter has an evangelism encounter that's a real-life encounter, how you can use that information. The website is IntroducingChristianity.com. IntroducingChristianity.com will take you to that website.

I have a few other bells and whistles there, all the different podcasts that I have done, just hopefully something that will be useful for people who really want to get the most out of this book. There it is, I'm looking at it. There's a good picture of you and your lovely wife. Yeah. Yeah, nice, nice. Good thing you don't have a picture of me on there because you want it to be successful, so that's good stuff.

Well, you know, I'm going to say there are things in there that you actually had an influence on. I can't even pronounce it right. I can write it. Communicatio idiomatum, I can't even say it right.

Communicatio idiomatum. But I put that in there, and when you see that, that's because of you, Matt, because you always are stressing that, and I think it's an important concept. It is.

It is. Yeah, I remember Bill and I would talk doctrine, and I'd teach him a little bit of doctrine, I know, and then he would teach me Mormonism, he knows, and stuff like that. We always polish each other, but communicatio idiomatum with a hypothetical union is really necessary, particularly when discussing the acidity of God and the ontological trinity.

There are a lot of big words that just hurt people. So introducing Christian, I'm going to get the Kindle version, because I do everything on Kindle. I love stuff on Kindle, and it's roughly 250 pages, and it's got an index in there of scripture references, it's got a glossary, it's got some of the chapters in there. Ooh, that's good. There it goes right there.

I had it. Some of the chapters, check this out. God's special revelation in the Bible, the New Testament, trustworthy and reliable, the existence of God, reasonable reasons for belief, the nature of God, attributes worthy of worship, Jesus, the savior of his people, the resurrection, the cornerstone of Christianity, the trinity, one God, three persons, justification, sanctification, drawing in the faith, good stuff.

I'm going to make an offer real quick as we're finishing up the show. If a Latter-day Saint is listening to this, and they're thinking, well, you know, I kind of would like the book, but I'm not going to spend the money, have them email me, eric, E-R-I-C, at mrm.org. I'll give away up to five copies.

You have to be a Latter-day Saint or have left in the past year. I will send you a free copy just so you can actually read this and not feel like you've spent any money on it. But I'd like you to promise me, tell me what you thought of the book when you finish it. Amen. That's fair enough.

That is fair enough. Well, Eric, we've got about 20 or 30 seconds left. I want to say thanks for your friendship and for your great work for the Lord and Mormonism. You've done a great job. Thanks for what you do, Matt. Every day on that radio show, you are doing amazing work.

We pray for you and your wife, Anik, and just pray that God will continue to bless Carm, you, Luke, all the guys that work with you. Awesome. We appreciate what you do.

And vice versa. Well, God bless, Eric. Amen.

We'll talk to you later, buddy. All right. God bless. Take care. Bye. All right. Hey, everybody, we are out of time.

There's the music. May the Lord bless you. And by His grace, we're back on here tomorrow, and Lord willing, we'll talk to you then. Have a great evening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 12:04:51 / 2023-01-25 12:24:59 / 20

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