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What Church Is True, Then?, Pt. 2

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The Truth Network Radio
April 19, 2020 12:30 am

What Church Is True, Then?, Pt. 2

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April 19, 2020 12:30 am

The Sons of Light continue to discuss the question, "what church is true, then?" The conversation covers topics related to their transition into Christian churches and the new experiences that came with that. They share some of the challenges, joys, and surprises that came their way during their transitions.

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That was pretty much what it was for me is that when I was kind of questioning and didn't want to leave the church and then my doubts grew and then you really start to study scripture and I'd been listening to talks and sermons and things like that from Reformed preachers because I was introduced to that through James White. And it's just like, I started to understand that the core is not all these other extraneous things.

Yes, Mormons are great, they're nice people, they're always willing to help and serve, they're willing to love, but really what is the core? The core is who is God, who are we in relation to God, what is the gospel and how do we have a right relationship with God? How are we saved? And so just studying scripture, Romans especially, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, it's so clear that we are not good at the core because of our fallen nature. We don't sin or we're not sinners because we sin, we sin because we're sinners. And so that needs to change, that our core nature needs to change and so scripture talking about raising us up to spiritual life in Christ.

We were dead in our trespasses and sins and then in Christ raised us up. So all these different passages just made me remember like with those thoughts about wanting to stay in kind of the vein of Mormonism but cherry picking what I wanted to keep and didn't want to keep. I just realized, studying Romans 4, Romans chapters 1-4, it's like the fact is that I can't save myself, nothing I do can save me and what the LDS church teaches is a different gospel from what the Bible teaches. So when I realized that the heart of what I was being, the heart of what Mormonism represents is not correct, it's not biblical, it's not from God, then it was at that point where I decided, okay, I need to do something else, I need to go somewhere else. And so I just continued to study Reformed theology and I just saw it as consistent, I saw it as consistent, logical, it follows the scriptures.

Of course, we all have our biases and so like maybe what I see as consistent, someone else might see as inconsistent but from what I've studied and read, it just all seemed very consistent to me and that's why I've stuck with the Reformed tradition. But when I studied my baptism, Michael you talked about how you attended a Presbyterian church, I actually attended both Presbyterian church and a Reformed Baptist church when I was studying the topic of Covenant theology and baptism. I was trying real hard to not let my past of studying James Talmadge's great apostasy and all the negative feelings we were given as children about infant baptism. I think infant baptism is one of the few things in the Book of Mormon that teaches we'll send you straight to hell. Yeah, and even thinking about it when you die, you go straight to hell in the Book of Mormon. If you think it's a good thing, I mean, not thinking about it but if you think that it's good and then you die in the thought, you're hellbound. Yeah, so I thought about that and I thought, you know what, I have really solid friends in the Christian faith who are pitobaptists. I don't want to let my experience taint what could be a biblical doctrine. So I really gave it several months of study.

I don't think everybody should do what I did. I kind of like, when I was in my faith transition, kind of figured out I wanted to leave Mormonism and find a church. I basically shut myself into my room, watched, you know, sermons and talks on YouTube and just studied scripture and just bought up all kinds of study Bibles and stuff and just like didn't leave my room for months. You know, figuratively I still had work and stuff but, you know, basically just studied until my brain exploded and then I'm like, okay, I think I figured it out now and then when I figured out what I believed, I started going to that church. It was purely on doctrine so I googled, you know, Reformed churches and so I found two. I found the Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Baptist Church and there's that one topic I wasn't quite sure about baptism because the Reformed Baptist, our confession is a 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and the Presbyterians is the Westminster Confession of Faith and the London Baptists copied, I mean like literally copied the Westminster Confession in almost all of it except for the sections on church government, covenants and sacraments.

So I feel very comfortable with other, with Presbyterians even when we disagree on baptism because our confessions are so close to each other. So anyway, so again, what's funny about that is I was just thinking today about J.S. Smith's history account where he talks about all the different religions that were just at war with each other and how they were so decided against each other and that's how I viewed Christianity for so long that they don't even view each other as Christian and then I come to this side of things and I don't see that at all.

It was just a complete myth. Even when I see, you know, Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians, you know, they'll take jabs at each other but it's like they're just joking around usually online and I'm like, this is what J.S. Smith was talking about?

Like seriously? That's a really good point to bring up because I think that's the perception we have as Mormons is that we imagine like I remember there was this one video about, I think it was, it wasn't J.S. Smith's Prophet of the Restoration, I think, do you remember what it was? It was an official LDS church video about J.S. Smith's life. I know what you're talking about but I don't remember what it was called.

I think it was called The Restoration or something maybe and it shows J.S. Smith as a kid and he's going outside and all the Christian preachers are shouting at each other, pointing their fingers, yelling at each other, saying, oh they're going to hell and all this stuff and that was my thought too. It's like Christians just hate each other, you know, like, oh there's only one true church, you know, so which one is true, you know, should I become a Methodist or a Baptist or a Lutheran? Like only one of them has got to be right, right?

So I think that's primarily why I wanted to bring up this episode so I think that's a good transition into kind of what I wanted to talk about next. So I brought up Ephesians 4-5 in the intro. So does Ephesians 4-5 teach really that there is only one true church?

Is there only one Christian denomination that's true? Why or why not? And Michael, you kind of already spoke a little bit about that.

Did you want to continue from where you left off? I'm just going to kind of finish the thought but Ephesians 4-4, like the verse before says that there's only one body and so I do think that there is just one church but I wouldn't define church now the way that I did when I was LDS because when I was LDS it was about the one denomination that is true, the one church with all the exact doctrine being lined up perfectly and now I would say that it is every Christian church, every Christian person, it actually goes beyond the scope of just a building or even an organization with offices and callings and priesthood keys and it's just all the followers of Jesus and every church that holds to those Christian essentials, we are all part of the kingdom and the different denominations are just different parts of the body. That's how I see it. How about you, Paul?

Yeah, I agree with that. The way that the New Testament talks about the church as the body of Christ, it does so in a metaphorical sense. If you were to take that literally then you have to take the view like the LDS church that either that church that was built up by the apostles through their preaching either continued throughout all of history and you can find that particular church in one of the existing denominations of Christianity or you have to take the view that there was this great apostasy, right? That church fell.

So from a historical standpoint, no, I don't take that view and I don't believe that Ephesians 4 or 5 teaches that view. When we were in the process of leading the LDS church, there was another couple also from our ward leaving the LDS church and we were friends with them. I had served with the husband and the couple in the elders quorum presidency for a number of years and we were getting together for a couple's day.

We were going to go see the movie Inception when it was in theaters. We thought that would be an interesting film to take in given that our view of reality had just shifted drastically and we were sitting around talking before we went to the movie in our dining room and the wife asked me about the church we were attending and what view they took on authority, priesthood authority and I did my best to describe to her what I had learned thus far and she was like, oh, so it's sort of like the Martin Luther priesthood of all believers kind of view and I was like, yeah, sort of like that and she was curious and I was learning but yeah, the body of Christ is the collective of believers who have been born again, who have been drawn by God to his son and saved through his sacrifice on the cross and so is the church an entity that can be identifiable? No, it's not any one given body. It's made up of believers from many different denominations. And you know, if I can just piggyback on that a little bit more too, I remember being LDS and talking to Christians who pointed out to me that even members of their own congregation might not necessarily be saved and it blew me away because I figured, you know, the way I thought is everybody in my ward is headed towards the celestial kingdom.

You can judge where somebody is based on their religious affiliation and where they go to church and now I'm like, no, it has nothing to do with that and everything to do with somebody's personal relationship with Jesus Christ, right? You know, as I was thinking about this question, I thought about a sermon that I saw at my wife's parents Baptist church one time before we left the LDS faith and the pastor was preaching and he made that same point, Michael, that, you know, there may be some there that are not saved, even some who to all outward appearances are faithful believers, faithful members of that particular Baptist church and he made the statement and it stuck with me. He said, a church cannot save you, not even this one. He said, you don't come here to get saved. For that you have to kneel at the foot of the cross and that statement in his sermon has stuck with me ever since and it was kind of one of those moments that opened a lock in my mind and allowed me to see things differently because as a Latter-day Saint, the way to salvation is prescribed.

It's very clear. You are baptized at age eight, you progress through the ranks of the priesthood or young women and you go to the temple and you take out your endowments, you make covenants in the temple and you endure to the end and then you are saved and it's all because you belong to the one true church that has the one true priesthood and as a Latter-day Saint, that view was very comforting to me because it was just like, well, if I just keep doing this thing, I'm all good. And yet there was a sense in which internally I was really struggling because I wondered if I was actually saved so I had this conflict of, on the one hand, wanting to feel confident that I had found the true church and therefore I was in, but internally I knew that maybe my relationship was not what it should be to Jesus Christ and so when the pastor made that statement that really struck me as an important thing for him to have said and I heard him loud and clear when he said, a church cannot save you.

Yeah, I agree with what you both expressed here. I was thinking too about how the Reformed typically used terms like universal church to speak of all the body of believers throughout the world, throughout time, we're all part of this, part of the invisible church because like you said, we can't know who's saved and who's not saved, only God knows that, but all of true believers throughout time and space are all united as the body of Christ, as those who will have an inheritance in heaven. And the ideal is that the visible church, the congregation, is equal to the invisible church, but we know that's not the case, obviously. There's always going to be tears among the weak, so we always preach the gospel at our church on Sundays and the pastors will say, if any of you don't know the Lord, go to him, bow before him at the cross and ask for salvation. So, sorry about that Paul, go ahead.

No, not at all, I just remembered something that I was thinking about over the last several days as we thought about this topic and wanted to make a point. So, going back to what I was saying about historically, and you have to either take the view that the church that Christ's apostles built up either continued, unabated, unbroken throughout the centuries or fell away, if you're going to view Ephesians 4-5 in such a literal way as to say that there's only one true identifiable church, if you want to take that view, you run into problems even within the New Testament, because that view would kind of require you to take the approach that if there is this one true identifiable church and it's the one set up by the apostles and it was never going to go away, then you would have to take the view that anyone who belonged to that church was in, right? But you, as I said, you run into problems with that view even within the pages of the New Testament where you see the Apostle John talk about those who had fallen away and that they went out from us and the fact that they went out from us shows that they were never really of us. And so, if these people who had fallen away and went out away from us, away from the church, were never really of the church, then it is not the church that saves as we've been talking about. And so, to take a hard line view about Ephesians 4-5, that there's only one true church and it's identifiable just as inconsistent with Scripture.

I was reading about this too, about Ephesians 4, and commentaries from scholars can be a very great blessing if you use them correctly. And so I use a commentary from a Dutch Reformed scholar named William Hendrickson and he said that there could be multiple understandings of this particular passage. So he says, what is meant by this one faith?

Is it faith in the objective sense, body of truth, creed, or is it faith in the subjective sense, reliance on our Lord Jesus Christ and on his promises? And he says that the fact that faith is mentioned immediately after Lord and is immediately followed by baptism, all in one very short sentence, would seem to indicate that the triad is a closely knit unit. Hence, he says he agrees with another author when he states, it is better to take the whole sentence as expressive of a single fundamental fact, one Lord in whom we all believe and in whose name we have been baptized. So I think he makes a great point there that it's not three completely separate ideas that are chopped up into pieces saying, okay, there's one Lord, only one true church, and only one perfect type of baptism. It's all together. There's one Lord in whom we put our faith and in whose name we have been baptized.

So I think that makes a lot of sense to me, that interpretation. Okay, so I think this is an important thing to bring up. Michael, you had also, I think both of you actually spoke about essentials of the faith. So are there essentials to the faith? Are there essential doctrines that should be taught in a local church for it to be considered a part of the Church of Jesus Christ? And are there some topics that are secondary or non-essential where Christians can disagree and still be brothers and sisters within the universal Church of Christ?

Yeah, so I do think we have talked about that quite a bit. And I think there are essential doctrines. I don't think there's a whole lot of them, but I think the essential doctrines are really important.

So the nature of God, the Trinity, that Jesus died on the cross and took our sins and that he was resurrected, physically resurrected. I think those are all essentials. The solas, I would say, are essentials. Other than that, I mean, I think all the denominations are going to have different little doctrines and it's okay.

Yeah, I agree with the essentials that Michael listed. And so my view is that the essentials are within the pages of the Bible. That's our rule of faith. And so if a doctrine is established from the Bible, and there are many doctrines that can be propped up by using the Bible, but that does not make them true doctrines. But if the doctrine is established from the Bible through sound exegesis of the text, then that's an essential because the Bible is what we have.

So yeah, I think there are essentials. I think, as you were saying earlier, Matthew, we need biblical teaching in church. That is what is important. God's Word is sharper than any two-edged sword.

When the Word is preached, it does not return void. And so that's kind of the essentials in my view. Yeah, I think it's not only important to recognize that there is a distinction between essentials and non-essentials when it comes to doctrine.

I think that's very important, actually. I want to stress that because I think from a Latter-day Saint viewpoint, it seems like in our brains, it's like you're either all on board or you're not, kind of a thing, where it's like if a Latter-day Saint were to say something like, well, I'm a Latter-day Saint, but I don't believe our prophet is the prophet today, that would put up some huge red flag. Or if they were to say something like, well, I just don't think we need temple work anymore. It seems like in the Latter-day Saint mindset, it seems like pretty much everything is kind of essential. Maybe some things are more important than others in their minds.

Maybe some really think genealogy should be high up on our priority list. But for the most part, it's either like you, at least in my mind when I was a Latter-day Saint, it's like Christians, they have a couple things of the truth, but they're not with us. They don't have the fullness of salvation. And even if you're in our church, you've got to be on board with everything.

If you pick and choose, if you're a cafeteria Mormon, kind of like what I started to try to end up becoming, then you're not following the prophet. So it seemed kind of like everything was essential, but it was liberating to me to realize that there is the core of the gospel, which you both had already described. And the things that we disagree upon, it's not because we just pick and choose whatever we want.

It's more like none of us is perfect. We're each trying to understand the word of God as God wrote it and inspired it. And some things are not 100% clear in scripture. Like there is disagreement in things like church government. So there are those who think there should be deacons, elders, and then above them even like a bishop office.

That's kind of like the Episcopalian view of church government. And there's the view that there are deacons, teaching elders, and ruling elders, a distinction between those two types of elders. But those, because there are certain passages that you could point to in scripture for those kinds of ideas, but those are not essential. Those are not part of the core of the gospel. And as important as I think baptism is, water baptism. I have to recognize that that, I believe that that's not an essential, to have a specific kind of baptism, because otherwise I would have to say that my Presbyterians are not my brothers in Christ. If I say, you have to be baptized a certain way, or else, you know.

So anyways, there's a lot of different topics that I think are non-essential, and it's important to be able to distinguish the essential from the non-essential. And a lot of the essentials were figured out within the first few centuries of the church. I'll just quote really quickly from 1 John 4. By this you know the spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. So that is just one of many tests that scripture has given us to determine if someone is from God or professes the same faith. There were those in the early church that said that Jesus Christ had not come in the flesh, that he was not truly man, that he only appeared to be a man, that he came down as God and looked like a man, but he wasn't truly man. So that was one of the tests that they were fighting in the early church, was there were people denying the true humanity of Christ, and then with the Arius controversy in the 4th century, they were redefining what it meant for Christ to be God. So that was another battle that was fought. But I don't want to get into a history lesson, but just to show that there are essentials, like you said, the true divinity and true humanity of Christ, the Trinity, all of what you said.

So I agree with that. And it's important to be able to, as a Christian, to be able to make those distinctions, because if we think everything is essential, then anyone who disagrees with us is a heretic. And there are people that are like that, and it's really sad to see that, that there are those who say you have to be, you know, it's either my way or the highway mentality, and that's a really dangerous path to go down, or to be under the leadership and tutelage of a pastor that teaches such a thing. So that's one thing I would caution those who are leading the LDS church and heading to Christianity, is that if they're not taught the distinction between essentials and non-essentials, then I would be very weary of staying with such a congregation. So what would you say to a Latter-day Saint who personally asks you how you would explain that you believe your church is true and theirs isn't?

Why don't you go first, Paul? Yeah, so we've talked about the idea that the church is the invisible body of believers, right? That we're not able to tell who's saved, but God knows. And we've also talked about the importance of essentials and solid biblical teaching in a church. And so I would point to those things as reasons why it's fair to believe that the church I belong to, the church I attend, is true and the Latter-day Saint church is not. There is an essential core of Christian doctrine.

Michael named several. And when you step outside of that essential core, you do enter the realm of heresy. And, you know, it may come across as unloving. I know it feels that way to Latter-day Saints to say such a thing. But I would simply ask them to consider the fact that in their preaching, they teach a very similar thing. So, for example, when I was training to be a Latter-day Saint missionary, one of the questions that we were trained to ask investigators was if they were a Christian and attended church, where their pastor got the authority to perform ordinances. And that question implies that their pastor does not have true authority. And that's one of the things that a Latter-day Saint missionary will teach to someone who's investigating the LDS church is that the LDS church is the only church that has that true authority. And so without that true authority to have performed baptism, the investigator is still on the outside of true Christianity, even though they may consider themselves to have been a Christian for their entire lives or from the time that they began following and walking after Jesus Christ. There's a sense in which Latter-day Saints teach a very similar thing.

So although it can sound abrasive and sound hurtful to hear someone say that there are things and doctrines upon which the Latter-day Saints are heretical, Latter-day Saints have a very similar view. And so I think it's fair to have that conversation. It should be done in love, but it's fair to have that conversation.

I agree completely. I was just thinking in my mind how we think of loving meaning that you just accept everybody for who they are and what they believe and don't try to change them. But if you truly love someone and they're believing or doing something that could lead them to eternal punishment, if we love them and say nothing, how is that love? So I think I agree entirely that we're not being hateful by trying to explain that we believe that certain of their teachings are emphatically condemned in Scripture as being heretical and could lead one to their doom. We're trying to help them. We love them.

We care about them. We want them to find peace and have true loving, saving relationship with Christ. I was thinking of John chapter 8, where Jesus said very plainly, he says, paraphrasing, I have told you that if you do not believe that I am, that you will die in your sins. And it's not just saying that we need to believe that Jesus existed, but when he said I am, in the Greek it was ego ami, which is in the Greek Septuagint, which was the Old Testament in the Greek translation, that same phrase, ego ami, was used of God.

So Jesus was saying, you must believe that I am God or you will die in your sins. That's something we cannot negotiate with. There are certain truths that we cannot negotiate. And so denying those truths, it's not simply living a good life, being a good person, being nice, having a really good disposition. If there are certain teachings we believe that are false, they could lead us to condemnation. So Michael, do you have thoughts on that?

Yes. So when I'm talking to Latter-day Saints, I usually try to keep it pretty simple. I mean, there's a lot of just similar language when we're talking, and so I try to just be real careful to draw a distinction with what they believe and then what I believe. So one of the big questions that I will ask is, do you believe that the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient?

And they'll usually say yes. It says in the Book of Mormon that it is. And so the problem then is if Christ's grace is sufficient, then we don't need anything else.

We don't need to do ordinances. And if we need to do ordinances, then that means that Christ's grace is deficient. And it just doesn't sound right to acknowledge that the grace of Christ is deficient, and nobody wants to take that position, because obviously that's not true.

Anybody who hears that knows that that isn't true. So that's typically my standard way of going. And then just a little bit further into the discussion, I'll kind of say, you know, there's basically two Gospels. You know, there's imputation, where Christ gives us His righteousness, and we wear that like a cloak, and it covers our sin, and our worthiness hinges on our faith. Or there's a Gospel of amputation, and that's what the Book of Mormon teaches, that we must amputate all the sin from our life in order to be worthy. And with that mindset, as long as there's sin in our lives, we're in trouble, because our worthiness hinges on our obedience, and none of us are wholly obedient.

And so that's where I try to draw the line between us and Latter-day Saints. It is a different Gospel. It's not a Gospel of faith alone, like what I believe. And Paul says very clearly that if anyone teaches a different Gospel than what he has taught, let them be accursed. And so we can't be saved by a false Gospel. And so one of us is right, and one of us is cursed. And we need to know that there's a distinction there, and then we need to talk about that distinction. So for me it is really the Gospel and how it functions is how I want to talk to a Latter-day Saint about why my church is true and theirs is not.

That's really great. I agree with both of you. I think whenever I'm speaking with a Latter-day Saint, the three things that I feel like I need to hit, the three topics I need to hit are who is God, who is Christ, what is the Gospel? Because that's the heart and soul of the Gospel. That's the heart and soul of everything.

If we don't have those three things, we can get everything else right, but it won't matter. So I try to explain that I'm part of the true church of Christ in the sense that, as Paul said, I belong to a church that teaches the Gospel, that teaches the biblical God, and that teaches the biblical Christ. And then if they have a question about that, you know, let's dive into it, okay. If you don't think the Trinity is biblical, then let's go into it. And so I try to start with, well, there's one God only, go through passages that show there's one God only.

And then usually that's where it ends because that's the passages where it says there's only one God, they'll usually try to redefine. But that's where I try to start is the foundations, the core, because we can get caught up in lots of other ancillary topics, and that's what we need to keep going back to is that core. Yeah, I agree with that too. I mean, I've mentioned a couple of times that, you know, a lot of us are on the same forums online where we're debating Latter-day Saints, and if you look through those threads, you will see so many non-essential beings being debated in those forums, and a lot of them don't even have anything to do with Christianity, it's just here's why your church is wrong, or here's some historical aspect, and I think the danger with that is that, you know, a lot of the historical stuff, if you prove to them that Joseph Smith did some shady things, that just leads to atheism. That's where the tendency tends to go, but if you're talking about the essentials, the core doctrines, that is a bridge to Christianity, and I think that's what we need to be talking about.

I totally agree. That's a good point, Michael. What you said about the history, I spent a decade really digging into Latter-day Saint history and trying to reconcile the difficult historical record with the cleaned up, sanitized view of Mormonism as a restoration of pure Christianity, and I got to a point where I realized that I was so dedicated to having to make it fit.

It had to be that or nothing. I've talked about the conversations I had with Angela and my wife about, you know, I can't see myself being anything other than Mormon. It had to be Mormonism or nothing, and I had to make those puzzle pieces fit. It became an idol in my life, and I think that can be true of, you know, we talked about folks on the Christian side of things who are also so dogmatically dedicated to their denominational views that it can become a hindrance in their fellowship with other believers. It can become a hindrance in their evangelism because they will focus on non-essentials, and it can really become an idol, and so I just go back to what matters is Christ. What matters is what He did for us on the cross. What matters is His resurrection, and those things are the core, and there are other things that are non-essential and are interesting to study, but it's important that we not let those things become an idol. Our worship is of God.

Our worship is of Christ, and if that's the case, then we are in a good place, and that's where I strive to be. There's a quote by Charles Haddon Spurgeon that I was trying to find. It was really short. Okay, here we go. So Charles Haddon Spurgeon, he's a Reformed Baptist preacher. He's called the Prince of Preachers. He says here, I do not ask you whether you are a Wesleyan, a Baptist, or a Presbyterian. My only question is, are you born again? And I think that's really important, like you both have been saying. Do you know Christ? That's what matters most to me. And do you have a love for the biblical Christ?

That's one thing R.C. Sproul said in one of his sermons. He says, how can we know that we're saved? Do we have any love at all for the biblical Christ? Not a different Christ, but the Christ of Scripture, the one who's eternal God, the one who is God made flesh, the one who died for the sins of His people. Do you believe in that Christ? Do you have any love for Him? Because you can only have love for that Christ if you've been born again, if you've been saved.

True love. So yeah, I think everything, we should just constantly be pointing back to Christ and who He is. And any system that pushes us away from that Christ is, or to trusting anything but Him for our salvation, is a different gospel. I had a different... Yeah, I mean what you said was great. Just the way you said it. So, any other thoughts on that? Negative. No.

Okay. Maybe this last one would be a good one to finish off on. Would you have any resources, books or websites, or anything that you would recommend for a questioning Latter-day Saint who may be considering joining a church, but don't know where to go? I would say, I mean I really like the Biggers Bread website a lot, but that doesn't really help know where to go.

But it's good for questioning, I think. I've heard a lot of good things about Nine Marks. I can't vouch for it personally, but I've heard that Nine Marks is kind of a ministry where they try to find churches that follow certain biblical standards, and you can look at their website at ninemarks.org.

That could be one place to go to. Personally, what I would do is, when anybody asks me, should I go to this church or that church, I don't ask what denomination it is necessarily. I just say, if you can find their website, if they have one, check it out. And usually they'll have a list of what they believe, and I would read that list and compare it to some of the things that we've talked about. Do they teach the Triune God, the Trinity? Do they teach Christ as our Savior? Do they teach that we're saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone?

Those kinds of things. Those can be a really easy way to see if the church that you're considering is a solid church to join. Are they studying another book during their sermons besides the Bible?

Red flag. And in our church, like for Sunday school, sometimes we'll have a book that we'll study, but it's always a solid book. So, you know, if you're, as long as, I think that the actual worship service should be focused on scripture, but I don't see a problem with studying something else for Sunday school or something like that.

I don't either, I don't either. I was talking about the main worship. Oh, sure, yeah. Oh, come on.

You're both heretical. There's nothing wrong with studying it, I'm just kidding. Oh, and worst of all, if the pastor's name is Lynn Ridenour and he's preaching from the Book of Mormon, run.

I don't know what it's like. That video goes into hibernation every four months, and then out of nowhere Mormons are posting it twenty times a day on all the groups, and I'm like, can we just go back to ignoring this again? I know, if they knew more about him, they would not post those things. He is so, he favors the other branches of Mormonism so much more than mainstream Mormonism. I don't have any resources or books or websites, maybe just some advice, and that would be to have an open mind. If you're considering leaving the Latter-day Saint Church and joining a Christian church, I would say, do as Matthew recommended. Google search some Christian churches in your area, look at their websites, read their statements of belief.

Generally they're easy to find. It'll be under a section called What We Believe in most cases, and you can look through and see what their core beliefs are. I would say have an open mind with regard to music and worship style, communion. When you're a Latter-day Saint, there is a tendency to, as Matthew was saying, believe that everything is an essential, and if you have that mindset, you're going to really struggle as you're trying to make a transition to a Christian church, because small things will seem like big things.

That's really not where you need to be at the time that you're transitioning. It's a difficult and a painful realization to come to, to be a Latter-day Saint maybe for, if you're a convert, for a number of years. If you were born in the covenant for your entire life and reached the point where you are willing to walk away and yet still seek after Jesus, it is still a very difficult thing to admit to yourself that you were wrong in many respects. But that humility is kind of key to being able to settle into and find a good Christian church, because you need to be able to walk in, sit down, hear the sermon for what it is. And so my advice would simply be to have an open mind. Be willing to experience things that are new and different than what you've experienced in the past. Be willing to listen without the Mormon filter, and really hear the gospel preached. That's really important.

I was going to add to that too. I think also there's no shame in attending a church for a while and you feel that maybe they don't focus on the Bible enough in the sermon or something feels off. I think, like you said, you kind of have those scales of Mormonism over your eyes, and it takes time for that to wear off and for you to kind of get into this idea that something else is different, doesn't make it wrong. But also at the same time, I've known baby Christians that are given really bad advice or that are, you know, they attend a church that kind of, how would I say this, they attend a church where it's not as biblically sound.

And that can be just as dangerous. So it's dangerous also to go church hopping, you know, to never settle down in one single church, to go from church to church to church and never settling down, but also to be tied without willing to concede that maybe this church is the right place to be. So there's a certain amount of flexibility, I think, that you need to recognize and you really need to find, I would recommend also finding a solid friend or coworker or somebody that's been a Christian for a long time. If they can mentor you or give you advice on certain things and you know that their theology is sound, you know, that can be a real huge blessing as well. I kind of wish I had that in my faith transition.

I was kind of on my own a little bit, just reading a lot of books and watching a lot of videos, but it would have been nice to have somebody there to ask questions and to just get their perspective. But again, it should be a mentor that has shown that they're sound and that they show the marks of a Christian who's been growing in faith and in Christ and over the years and they show some maturity in the faith. So I think that's important too.

If you can find that, that's an incredible blessing. Absolutely, 100% agree. And one other thing I would add to that too, if at all possible, find somebody to go to church with. Meeting Mormonism is an incredibly lonely journey and sometimes going into Christianity can feel lonely too.

And when I first started going and I was just going by myself and I didn't have any friends, I just feel so awkward and just dumb sitting there alone. So I recommend finding a small group if you can, reaching out to a pastor and sitting down and talking to him too. But it helps so much when you've got some other people in your corner and you're not making that journey by yourself.

Yeah, really good. Yeah, having solid pastors is also, pastor or pastors depending on your situation, is also really important. And I think it's important that they know you, that you aren't just a number or that you get ignored. They should be interested in your well-being and your spiritual well-being. And hopefully they're at least sensitive to your faith transition.

My living in New York, there really aren't a lot of Latter-day Saints or former Latter-day Saints so my pastors really had no idea about Mormonism other than kind of what they teach in a few things. But they've known people that have come out of every walk of life, every religion, into Christianity. And so they were just a huge blessing to me in my faith transition and they were just very loving and they were not pushy about me understanding everything all at once.

They were like, they were very much willing to go at my pace and help me to understand certain things. And they knew that I read a lot of books anyway so I don't think they really worried that much about the doctrine part but they really made it an effort to make me feel welcome in the congregation. And that was such a blessing because like you said, it's such a lonely road. You feel like you're leaving the LDS church all on your own. And I wish I had found my congregation sooner because I was by myself for months and it was just the loneliest experience. And then coming into this church, it's just like you feel like you're just home again.

It was just a great feeling. We thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Outer Brightness Podcast. We'd like to hear from you. You're invited to visit the Outer Brightness Podcast page on Facebook. Feel free to send a message there with comments or suggestions by clicking send a message at the top of the page and we would appreciate it if you give the page a like. We also have an Outer Brightness Podcast group on Facebook where you can join and interact with us and others as we discuss the podcast, past episodes, suggestions for future episodes, etc. We would love to hear from you and hope to speak with you soon. Stay bright, fireflies. Facebook for the Outer Brightness Podcast is graciously provided by the talented Brianna Flournoy and by Adam's Road.

Learn more about Adam's Road at www.adamsroadministry.com. And now I know that all the works I did were meaningless compared with Jesus' lonely death on the cross where he bore sin. And now I have the righteousness that is by faith in Jesus' name. I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus. For who's sake I have lost all things, oh, because of the cross. On the cross Jesus took away the red and gold, a lot of words that stood opposed and nailed it there for me.

And through the cross he put to death hostility and in his body reconciled us to God and brought us peace. And I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but he lives in me. I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus. For who's sake I have lost all things, oh, but when I gave Jesus it was worth the cost. All my righteousness I count as a loss because of the cross. Some demand a sign and some seek to be wise, but we preach Christ crucified. A stumbling bottle of sun, the foolishness of God, but wiser than the wisest man, the power of the cross. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord through which the world has been crucified to me. And I tell the world so I take up my cross and follow where Jesus leads. Oh, I consider everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus. For who's sake I have lost all things, oh, but when I gave Jesus it was worth the cost. All my righteousness I count as a loss because of the cross, because of the cross, because of the cross.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-07 10:25:23 / 2023-12-07 10:43:13 / 18

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