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June 16, 2021 9:39 pm
When one examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 limited sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism so glad to be with us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM, but we've also been very pleased to have with us this week, a good friend of ours Michael Wilder Micah Wilder is with Adams Road ministries we play Adams Road music at the beginning and ending of this show.
In fact, that is Micah's brother Matt Wilder who was playing the piano in that opening and closing.
Micah has written a book titled passport to heaven, the true story of a zealous Mormon missionary who discovers that Jesus he never knew and Micah.
We were discussing yesterday your encounter with Christians and you had some negative experiences as we can expect. I guess because not everybody even professing Christians are willing to be challenged by a missionary, thinking that maybe they are theological giants which you have admitted that many of them are not but you would mention something to wear.
You don't recall a lot of Christians engaging you on theological subjects. Some were very nice, some are not very pleasant but there were two individuals that stand out in your book that played a very important role in your eventual conversion. God really use these two men and the first one is a black pastor in Florida by the name of Pastor Shaw and it's interesting how you come to ran across his path. Your companion needs to go to the bathroom, of all things and you guys find this church so he can write in there and use the facilities and you end up having a conversation with this pastor briefly tell us what happened about the divine problem you think of all the places in that moment. My companion had you the rest are the only place available.
We walk in the church unbeknown Skype at the time that was the church ego then use the restroom and I'm standing there and I'm waiting for him approached upon by the pastor very charismatic man, very intimidating man and that God used him in a very short exchange to plant the gospel in my heart and I think the most amazing thing that he said was that he looked at me and he said you know the story of Saul of Tarsus and I like the strange thing to address that the blue goes on and shared the conversion story of Saul of Tarsus and he said something to me that I never forgotten. I wrote it down in my journal that day and he said no. You are now assault will one day be as Paul, a minister of the word of God and that I wasn't sure whether to be offended by that or to be complemented by that but it was something that really stuck with me and that it was amazing how God providentially that man in my calf and began to plot it on the gospel in my heart when you left your conversation with Pastor Shaw in the some of the things that he said were you intrigued were you upset.
But what kind of emotion did you have a little bit of both. Such an amazingly kind and generous guy Lebanon but at the same time. Like, and even challenge a number you told me point blank that big Jesus that I believed in and represented as a Mormon missionary was not Jesus taking new insured as was revealed in the word of God and so he challenged me and thought I was upset I was offended but at the same time always kind of enamored by this man. And that was definitely life-changing experience you anyway. Looking back now, later on in your mission you come across another Christian pastor, a man by the name of Pastor Benson and you had a discussion with him at his church. This is what you write on page 75. After this conversation, you setting your desk and poured over the teachings of the church. You sense and inexplicable feeling I could eradicate something was different about this Pastor Benson fellow yet familiar all the same. I couldn't tell whether I loved him or hated him, but something drew me to him like I'm off to the flame very picturesque.
You did a great job with adjectives, but what was it about Pastor Benson that was different from others that you admit earlier how I had encountered a lot of Christians who do not engage with blood.
Pastor Benson will be entered but that of all of those Christian. He exemplified what it means to be loving to be kind and gracious to be Confederate to be respectful and so that was something that was very unique about him and him a part of the way that he engage with us and and and the loving attitude that he had towards us and so we sat down with. We had a dialogue with him.
I was very open initially to kind of speaking with and and because I respected him, I felt that mutual respect from him. But ultimately, after we shared our message of Mormonism with them. He responded with the gospel message. I very quickly kind of lost my respect for him because he was challenging the very core belief system that I had put my entire life Nino into serving and believing and that challenge me with the gospel message challenge me with the word of God and I had to get with that and in my heart and is a very very painful experience honestly and I think about what the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 4 that the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, in my file. God really pierced me with the power of the word of God. Pastor Benson on page 86 you describe what you're talking about right now. Benson says this elder Wilder I want you to know that I care about you. I can see something different in you. You are a genuine young man with an admirable zeal for God, both of you are he said diplomatically while nodding at Garcia elder Garcia but there is a big difference between you and me and what we believe. My mouth started twitching slightly as I delivered a smirk straightening my position in defiance of Benson's advantage over me determined not to let on that I was wounded in any way. He continued quote I put my faith in the word of God, the Bible and in the Jesus of Nazareth as revealed in the Bible, not in man, he declared a hole in the Bible in his right hand.
I believe the gospel is delivered once for all, to the saints that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures from what you have shared with me. I fear that we are not proclaiming the same gospel, and we do not know and serve the same Jesus," not that was a pretty straightforward presentation of the gospel was in it yeah absolutely incredible talking convention. Years later, about the experience that he had just recently studied Mormonism like a baby.
God had prepared him for this experience.
But not only that you been preparing his part as well and actually softening his heart where he said if I would've come even a month earlier he would engage me in a more competitive and less compassionate way.
But there are some experiences that he personally and with his church that had caused him to realize that he did not have a heart a lot of the compassion that he was called to have Scriptures, and that ended the timing was right that he was prepared and that God was beginning to prepare my heart to receive this message as well and this is what you write on page 90 talking about Benson.
His words pierced me with the pain that ran through my chest. My lungs felt like it. I collapsed all over again and the mighty finger of God had put me straight to my heart and right to my soul in an instant, I was filled with an overwhelming dread and anxiety. What if what Benson was saying were true.
What if I was an enemy of the cross of Jesus Christ and what did that even mean aside from being confused and scared. I had no passion left the drawn I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and all manifested itself into the only defense mechanism I had left anger.
It's interesting because what you write about before this Mike that you came to this pastor and your goal was to convert him so that you might actually when the entire congregation.
And then you're the one who ends up getting challenged to piercing your soul as you mention, and if this really does set the tone for the rest of the book. Would you agree that this was a turning point in your life all absolutely that victory and led me to the word of God, which led me face-to-face to Christ in and to truth and that and I praise God for contravention for being a loving steward over the gospel and perfect for fulfilling the great commission and his call as a Christian to share the gospel to the world and and I'm so grateful you did it in such a loving but very direct way. All glory to God. You mention the loving but direct way. I know there's a tendency for not only a lot of Latter Day Saints. But even some professing Christians that when they talk to members of the oldest church or talk to evangelicals to dwell more on what they perceive are similarities. Benson didn't really do that although some of the things that he mentioned you would probably say that as a latter-day St. will I believe that to but still there was a portion of that message that went beyond these alleged similarities to really show you there's something very distinct and what Christians have historically believe something that you as a latter-day St. don't share and I think that's an important lesson to learn from your testimony and that is we should not be afraid to be firm in our convictions and to even say something that may run the risk of upsetting the person were talking to, but it's a risk worth taking. And I get some of the things that Benson said to you, and I'm sure you didn't take it very well at the time, but again, as I often tell people were in sales, not production which is supposed to present the message. Let the Holy Spirit do the work and I think God honored Benson's firmness with you by working in your life the way he did.
I just think that that's a great story until that is such an important point: I'm glad you brought that up.
I called public relations. Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth, love and wanting people to the gospel to the word of God to Jesus and that is going to come with offense to a nonbeliever and so constant that he calculated that risk that he knew that this may be the only duty that I had to hear the gospel of Jesus. Even though it was going to be offensive to me because the word of God is offensive to the nonbeliever and so I think that we too often worry about how somebody's going to respond to the message that we don't actually get the message across. And so we we catapult back and we don't deliberately say things because were worried that it may be offensive to people now our heart is full of love and were doing it in gentleness, then let the word of God be the thing that cuts an offense right not as personally. We don't need to deliberately do anything that's going to be offensive, but the word of God is and can be effective and I think that it was offensive to me at that time of my life.
But you know what you said it's our responsibility to plant and water exceeds the God one gets the growth that this very well said, and it's it's it's so true.
The gospel itself is offensive enough.
We don't have to add to it by doing stupid things or sayings. The gospel is going to offend them enough wheat we can't do anything about that.
That's the message we proclaim we need to proclaim it as it is written, and allow God to do a great work with it. And sometimes we just have to get out of the way as you mentioned were talking to Michael Wilder. He's the author of passport to heaven, the true story of a zealous Mormon missionary who discovers the Jesus he never knew. It is published by harvest House, publisher, and it certainly gets our recommendation. Here Mormonism research ministry, but tomorrow we want to continue with Micah story because after this conversation that he has with pastor Benson. He's going to do a lot of soul-searching in God's going to do a mighty work in his heart and it comes out very very good. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information is research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research.
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