Can Two Walk Together Unless They Agree?
Can Christians and Mormons Stand Together?
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 instructs: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?”
As Christians, we are not to present ourselves as having common ground with other religions, we are supposed to avoid this confusion. We can respect their decisions as to what they have chosen to believe, but we are not to give any impression of our acceptance. We are to preach the gospel to them and contend for the faith with others who openly OPPOSE what we believe. This does not mean we become antagonistic or rude and argumentative. But we have every right, even an obligation by the commands in Scripture, to challenge their belief system of God by God’s word.
I get numerous letters from Mormons who try to prove to me that they too are Christian and that we are brothers. That if I disagree and write about them, it is disrespectful. It’s most unfortunate that some do not know what their own church has taught in the past or what it teaches today. They ignore that their own leaders have done the same for years on Christianity. Some have no idea what Christianity actually teaches and how much they differ. Others know full well, and surreptitiously want to win me over to their position. This is the Mormon churches new strategy- to be accepted as another denomination in worldwide Christianity.
In light of all this, it becomes a whole other issue when Christians begin to unite with Mormons and intentionally tour with them, complimenting how pleasant it is to have open discussions about common ground that will bring them closer.
The Church of Jesus Christ needs to make a decision, are we going to hold the position that Mormons are unbelievers, not brethren, who believe in another Jesus and another gospel, or is the church going to now change and accept them as believers even though their doctrines have stayed the same?
Greg Johnson, director of Standing Together Ministries, located in Utah has teamed up with Mormon representative, Robert Millet, to go on a public tour of what they call, dialogues between an Evangelical and Mormon. Robert Millet and Pastor Greg Johnson are trying to develop relationships between the two “churches” in a new way. “…Between 2003 and 2004, Johnson and Millet took “A Mormon and Evangelical in Conversation” to 24 cities from California to Canada, speaking in Mormon and evangelical churches and at colleges” (Salt Lake Tribune Saturday, March 19, 2005 Building bridges through discourse By Kristen Moulton The Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_2615727).
Robert Millet joined BYU Religious Education faculty in 1983. While at BYU, he has served as Ancient Scripture Department Chair and as Dean of Religious Education. He now holds a joint appointment with the Church Public Affairs (Manager of Outreach and Interfaith Relations).
In her January 5, 2004 article, “BYU professor builds friendships with leaders of other faiths,” Jessica Price, Staff Writer for BYU NewsNet wrote: “Robert Millet's duties will expand with his new position as Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding at BYU. His responsibilities now include manager of Outreach and Interfaith for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public affairs office” [emp. mine]. ( http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/47413).
To understand Robert Millet’s position, we need to look at a number of things he himself has written.
“He's opening up the eyes of members of our own faith as well as others,” said Lori Soza, Millet's secretary…Traveling around the United States from one meeting to the next, Millet meets with religious leaders to discuss the topic of Mormonism. “People just don't know what to do with us,” Millet said. “Are we Christian? They don't know which category to put us in.”
In the article it states “At times, he is faced with difficult questions that he does not know the answer to.
Millet related an experience where the Rev. Greg Johnson, evangelical director of Standing Together and Millet's close friend, asked him a doctrinally deep question about grace and temple ordinances that he didn't have an answer to. He asked Johnson to give him a day or two to respond.
“I wrestled with that question ... I was forced to say, what does that mean? Why do we believe in temple work?”
Millet was able to find the answer through studying, pondering and prayer and had the opportunity to explain the answer to Johnson.
“We've just had a type of discovery experience over and over,” Millet said. “It's an ongoing process. I've understood more about Christianity and I've understood more about my own faith.”
Millet said that he and Johnson have gone beyond religious tolerance to build a relationship of trust and friendship that they use to share their message with other religious leaders.
One of the many accomplishments of the two men is a peaceful religious debate, or dialogue titled, “A Mormon and Evangelical in Conversation.” Millet and Johnson recite it to audiences seeking to learn about religious understanding, at which places people do not always understand how they do not get mad at one another.
“I think it's a landmark presentation,” Johnson said. “What makes it so valuable and well received is that it's so candid. It can have a great influence on members of both traditions because it's a model of how Christ would have us act.” [emp. Mine]
“What we're doing is building friendships,” Millet said. “Truman Madsen was the master of this. Truman built relationships with religious leaders all over the world, and the church has been blessed by that ... we're building relationships for the church.” http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/47413
It becomes apparent there is an agenda from the Mormon church through Millet and Greg Johnson that is involved. Yes, they both have gone beyond religious tolerance to a platform of working together or as Johnson’s ministry name says, “Standing Together.” We need to take note that it was Greg Johnson who was instrumental in bringing Ravi Zacharias to speak at the Mormon Tabernacle along with all the other speakers (and one speaker apologized for evangelicals misrepresenting Mormonism - Fuller president Richard Mouw).
I have to question the statement that this is how Jesus would have us act. He did not act like this and neither should we! When confronting the religious leaders of the day that led people away from Him, he went after them publicly and humiliated them. He told them why they were wrong and warned the people. Read Matthew 23 with His utter disgust of what they did by lying to the people about their religion. How about the apostle Paul’s statements: “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). Did Paul follow Jesus? Did he give us himself as an example” So why would anyone say they are doing what Jesus said and work on a platform with another religion that opposes Christianity on almost every point?
Therefore, my question is: Is Mormonism any less dangerous with their teachings that go contrary to Jesus than the Pharisees were? You need not answer this immediately, but it will become apparent as I make the case that it is.
According to the Faith Dialogue of Greg Johnson’s Standing Together website, “Pastor Greg has taken his convictions regarding an approach of dialogue and genuine diplomacy to the streets with his good friend, Dr. Robert Millet, professor of Religion at Brigham Young University. Dr. Millet, former Dean of the Religion program at BYU, author of over 40 books, and current Richard L. Evans Chair holder, is a first rate Mormon scholar and theologian. Since their first meeting in April of 1997, Greg and Bob have fostered a genuine friendship and association. They have had many lunches together, traveled across the country together, and present a public seminar entitled, “An Evangelical and a Mormon in Conversation,” where they communicate how they have maintained their friendship and at the same time discussed candidly their theological differences and concerns for one another.( http://www.standingtogether.org/dialogue.html)
Johnson and Millet have been friends for 8 years and neither one has changed their position, or have they? We all can have genuine relationships with people in other religions, but it is a whole different matter to present this as a substitute for evangelism. How long can one discuss their religion without it affecting their own position?
The dictionary defines dialogue as: 1: a conversation between two or more parties 2: the parts of a literary or dramatic work that represent conversation (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
In another Dictionary it expands on the first 2 explanations adding--The lines or passages in a script that are intended to be spoken. 3. A literary work written in the form of a conversation: the dialogues of Plato. 4. Music. A composition or passage for two or more parts, suggestive of conversational interplay. 5. An exchange of ideas or opinions (American Heritage Dictionary).
Dialoguing is what you do with a friend or acquaintance one on one. When you dialogue in a public forum and each person already knows the other persons position on what is being discussed, it is like a play. If it was debate this would be an acceptable format, but to dialogue you are presenting something to the public, it becomes a show for the benefit of others. Dialoguing then becomes a discussion intended to produce an agreement between two parties. It becomes an exchange of ideas or beliefs in conversation. We do not need public dialogues as much as we need debates or reasoning from the Scriptures as Paul gave in his examples.
The apostle Paul said to the church, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). Is Mormonism divisive? Of course, and the Bible commands us to separate from those who do not have the same doctrine, not yoke ourselves together with them. The longer one does not obey this command the harder it is to comply. These do not sound like we have the prerogative to make our own choices on this matter. Paul says, “ but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—” (Romans 2:8).
A portion of Standing Together “Vision-Mission-Values” reads, “To be a catalyst for uniting the Utah Christian community around movements of prayer, service and strategic evangelism.”
What is this strategic evangelism? Strategic Outreach... “A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation,” presentation-- Facilitate LDS/Evangelical Scholarly Dialogue-- Host Collegiate Mission Teams-- Manti Bible Study Effort--Mission LovingKindness during LDS General Conferences.
Is this now how we evangelize, making them think we are all nice, good people? This can only blur the lines of distinction. Yes, there is something very strategic going on here and it is far bigger than these two men on stage together.
What is significant is that this dialoging is the same approach of the ecumenical/interfaith World Council of Churches.
The World Council of Churches developed the “Guidelines on Dialogue with People of Living Faiths and Ideologies” “ The ecumenical movement has taken significant steps toward facilitating interreligious relations and dialogue.”
“More than ever, we sense a growing need not just for dialogue with people of other faiths but for genuine relationships with them.”
“Dialogue offers the promise of discovering new dimensions of understanding our faith.”
They too have tolerance “Love requires us to recognize and respect the integrity of our partners who enter into dialogue from the standpoint of their faith and commitment.”
Greg Johnson was quoted by the BYU news. “We are trying to show the upcoming generation that we don’t have to be confrontational on truth,” Johnson said. “There is a lot of room for us to build on our compromise of scriptures.” (BYU NewsNet Jan. 21, 05.) [emp.mine]
On his website he corrects this quote of him on the BYU Newsnet.
BYU Newsnet Offers Correction to Standing Together Regarding Misquotation.
Standing Together received the following clarification today, February 19, 2005, from Mr. Robb Hicken, Newsnet Managing Director at Brigham Young University, regarding a statement incorrectly attributed to Reverend Gregory Johnson, President of Standing Together, in an article by Emilie Foss, Daily Universe staff reporter, on January 21, 2005, with the title,Evangelists visit BYU, Temple Square.
We wish to express our gratitude to Newsnet for this correction. A quotation by Pastor Greg Johnson, Director of Standing Together Ministries in Utah, in an article titled, Evangelists visit BYU, Temple Square, published Jan. 21, 2005, should have read: “We are trying to show the upcoming generation that truth does not always have to be confrontational. There is a lot of room for us to build on our common values and to respectfully share with each other our perspectives on scriptures.”
However, BYUnewsnet maintains that they would not provide a correction to their quote.
What common values can one have if they are not spiritual values? Do not moral values come from God? How can there be common values if Mormons believe their god came from man. The Mormon god said polygamy was acceptable and the blacks were cursed for following Lucifer in heaven. What are the common values in these? If you find these moral equivalents in Mormonism, then you can also find it in Buddhism, Islam, etc.
What we see is Mormon representative Robert Millet and Pastor Greg Johnson are trying to develop relationships between the Mormonism and Christianity in a new way.
Either way this quote is not good. “build on our common values is wrong” but to “build on our compromise of scriptures” brings this quote into a whole different ball game. Yet Johnson, even in his corrected statement said “share with each other our perspectives on scriptures.” Is Johnson saying that the Mormon books are considered equal with the Bible? Notice the word Scriptures making this reference to not only the Bible being called infallible and inerrant as Scripture but something else. What the Latter Day Saints considers Scripture, the Bible condemns the extra-biblical revelation through their prophets.
But the fact is as far back as October Greg Johnson was quoted by the BYU news. “It is possible to have meaningful relationships with people of other faiths,” Johnson said. “We share common moral values and can learn from one another's beliefs and teachings” (Source:http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/53113 ]Salt Lake “Tabernacle opens doors to other faiths” NewsNet Web Reporter, 20 Oct. 2004 By AMBER GILES).
This is not something a Christian should be saying or promoting in public.
In an article posted on BYU NewsNet Oct. 22 2003 LDS, reverend stand together By Jessica Price NewsNet Staff Writer – “ the Reverend Gregory Johnson, president and director of Standing Together, an organization that unites faiths, encounters many interfaith opportunities.” [emp.mine]
In an effort to bring together both Evangelical Christian churches and the Latter-day Saint community, Rev. Johnson created Standing Together in March 2001."
So there we have the reason, according to this article, both are creating interfaith unity. The photo in this article adds “LDS leaders and evangelical ministers take a stand for interfaith unity.” Millet who is now heading up being the manager of Outreach and Interfaith for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public affairs office. Johnson created Standing Together ministries to unites faiths.
In another article on BYU NewsNet, “Standing Together, a group based in Salt Lake City, has a two-fold mission to unite evangelical church bodies in Utah and change the relationship paradigm between themselves and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This Christian group has been developed to exemplify the importance and worth of all individuals. They said they believe people of differing faiths should view each other as a whole.” (BYU NewsNet 'Standing Together' seeks to unite evangelical church bodies By Jennilyn Bylund NewsNet Staff Writer - 6 May 2004 at http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/50186) [emp.mine]
It is right out in the open what they believe and what they are trying to change. To promote this new dialogue for friendship (the posted Schedule of Events” at http://www.standingtogether.org/events.html.)
Bob Millet and Greg Johnson have begun a new weekly TV program on Channel 20. The new CBS TV program is called “Bob and Greg in Conversation.” This is a live call in program on Tuesday nights at 9pm. On March 3-4: Boise, Idaho (Classic Dialogue & Digging Deeper, a first ever second level presentation that focus on one doctrinal matter between Bob Millet and Greg Johnson, this night it will be “The First Vision, and Apostasy”) and events are scheduled throughout the month.
The question that needs to be answered is: Why are these men doing this publicly? They already know where each other stands. How long is this supposed to go on? What is the purpose for all this? To show how we can get along, or to convert others?
We have the warning from the apostle John who writes in 2 John 1:9-11: “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”
“Shares in his evil deeds” is quite plain and those who do not recognize this are acting in direct violation of Scripture. When you are dealing with those who have another gospel and another Jesus, along with another Spirit, you are not to give any impression that you condone their false teachings.
The doctrine of Christ is about who He is in relation to the Father and what Jesus did on the cross.
Of the Father and the Son, Mormonism's teachings are completely different than those in historic Christianity. They do not abide in the doctrine of Christ found in the Bible, so why is there only a few speaking out on this. Why is this taking place in Christian churches?
Millet assures himself “I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that the Lord God is its author” (p. 314 Robert L. Millet’s The Power of the Word: Saving Doctrines from the Book of Mormon).
Robert Millet claims, “much of the misunderstanding in modern Christendom stems from a “vocabulary issue” -- the need to educate ourselves as to what our friends mean.
“If someone says to me 'have you been saved?', if I know they mean have you accepted Jesus as savior in your life, made him the lord of your life, then we're fine, we're talking the same language. For them it's almost as if we have to equate their word 'saved' for our word 'converted'. For them the conversion process begins with salvation. For us, salvation represents the end of the conversion process,” Millet said. (BYU NewsNet at http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/25277, Robert Millet to speak Tuesday Universe Staff Writer - 2 Feb 1998, By Mike Southworth)
Yes we do need to be educated to understand the meaning behind the words used. So lets have Millet teach us what He and the Mormon religion actually mean when they say such words as God, Jesus, salvation, grace, heaven, etc.
In a book by Robert L. Millet, he writes, that man could produce the plan of salvation... for such is the work of the Gods. (Yes, he said, “GODS”)...the grace of Christ is not sufficient for salvation” (From Watchman Expositor, Vol.6, number 10 1989 Rick Branch)
“As with the proposal of Lucifer in the preexistence to save all mankind, so with the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, without works, as it is taught in modern Christendom -- both concepts are false. There is no salvation in either of them. They both come from the same source; they are not of God” (What Think Ye of Salvation by Grace p. 49; cf. Millet, p. 73).
Robert Millet in the Ensign magazine says, “The life of Joseph Smith was in some degree patterned after that of his Master, Jesus Christ. That pattern holds true even when extended to its tragic conclusion. Like his Master, Joseph Smith also shed his blood in order that the final testament, the reestablishment of the new covenant, might be in full effect" (see Heb.9:16).
In the June 1994, issue of Ensign magazine Robert Millet had an article entitled, “Joseph Smith Among the Prophets.” Millet quoted LDS Prophet Brigham Young, who stated, “From the day that the priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up things of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are -- I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent” (Journal of Discourses 7:238. also Search These Commandments, 1984, p. 133).
Millet is not just a member of the Mormon church, he is a spokesman and promoter of everything they believe. Millet is not a friend to Christianity, we need to understand his purpose for dialoguing openly with Johnson is not as untainted as he presents.
In a 43 minute video clip, Robert Millet speaks to a group of prospective Mormon missionaries and shows the real spirit of Mormonism, not the Donnie and Marie side. He states:
“Robert Millet points out that Latter-day Saints have frequently gotten the Bible/Book of Mormon evidential relationship backwards. It has been common to attempt to use the Bible as a tool for demonstrating the validity of the Book of Mormon. Recent conservative Christian attacks on the Book of Mormon should make clear the error of this approach. Today, their principle charge is that the Book of Mormon could not be true because it teaches a different gospel than that which they claim is "clearly taught in the Bible. "No, as Joseph Fielding, McConkie has so eloquently stated, "The Bible is not common ground, it is battle ground.” The starting place must be the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon testifies both to the truth and to the meaning of the biblical message. Again, the brass plates are a powerful contributor to that testimony http://www.cometozarahemla.org/brassplates/brass-plates.html [emphasis mine]
One can only wonder how the early church had faith and grew spiritually without their Book of Mormon.
Are we to accept the book of Mormon as Scripture? That is what they want to have this new unity. Consider how Millet presents their new image, “If Mormons are increasingly talking like Christians, “It’s because we’re becoming aware of things that are in our own scripture,” says Millet. “(Salt Lake Tribune Saturday, March 19, 2005 Building bridges through discourse By Kristen Moulton The Salt Lake Tribune)
These following questions and answers are from a LDSfaq/BYU on what Millet really believes and teaches. [emp.mine]
Q Do Latter-day Saints believe that men and women can become gods?
A Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that human beings can grow and progress spiritually until, through the mercy and grace of Christ, they inherit and possess all that the Father has—they can become gods. This doctrine is generally referred to as deification, and was a part of mainstream Christian orthodoxy for centuries before Joseph Smith and other modern prophets taught it. Although Latter-day Saints believe in the ultimate deification of men and women, they do not believe that human beings will ever be independent of God, or that they will ever cease to be subordinate to God. They believe that to become as God means to overcome the world through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Thus the faithful become heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ and will inherit all things just as Christ inherits all things. In order to inherit all things, those who receive eternal life will look like God, receive the inheritance of God, receive the glory of God, be one with God, sit upon the throne of God, and exercise the power and rule of God. As such, they will be called gods, a term that does not reduce or limit the sovereignty of God our Father.Abstracted from Robert L. Millet, Noel B. Reynolds, “Do Latter-day Saints Believe That Men and Women Can Become Gods?” in Latter-day Christianity: Ten Basic Issues, FARMS 1998, 25–29.
The fact that God himself says he alone is God does not endorse this concept of god[s] as in plural. Mormonism teaches that men will become gods over other planets as Jesus did over ours. In 1997 I attended a lecture by Monty Nyman at BYU campus in Hawaii. I asked a specific question in reference to the content of that lecture; Jesus dying for creatures on this planet. In light of the teaching of other creatures existing on other planets and men becoming gods on these other planets, would that god would have to die for those sinful creatures? He said he never thought of that; but his answer was in the affirmative, that these exalted men that become gods would all seemingly imitate what Jesus did on other planets.
QWhat do Latter-day Saints believe about Jesus Christ?
A Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ, and in no other way. In the pre-mortal life, Jesus Christ, whose main title was Jehovah, was the firstborn spirit child of God the Father. He served as a representative of the Father in the creation of the world. Jehovah was born into this life in Bethlehem of Judea and grew up as Jesus of Nazareth. His life was one of moral perfection—he was sinless and completely submissive to the will of the Father. Jesus Christ is also the literal son of God the Father. The Savior's dual nature—man and God—enabled him to make an infinite atonement. First, he was able to assume the burdens and effects of the sins of all mankind and, in doing so, to engage suffering and anguish beyond what a mere mortal could endure. Second, he was able to submit to physical death, to willingly lay down his life and then take up his body again in the Resurrection. Jesus Christ will come again to earth in power and glory. He is the God of the whole earth and invites all nations and people to come unto him. His mortal ministry was primarily among the Jews, but the Book of Mormon teaches that he also ministered to the Nephites in America. Latter-day Saints pray to the Father and perform ordinances in the name of Jesus Christ. They worship Christ as they acknowledge him as the source of truth and redemption. They look to him for deliverance and seek to be like him.
Has anything changed? Millet is clearly expressing non Christian doctrine but Mormon doctrine. How can Mormons, as Millet says “They worship Christ as they acknowledge him as the source of truth and redemption”? When they reject the Bible’s teaching on Jesus being the God of the universe (not just earth) that He was always God and not the firstborn spirit creature of the father (and we are all also spirit creatures). Jehovah is not a title but a name that expresses him as the eternal God in nature (YHVH). They pour a completely different meaning into this.
In another question Millet answers:
Q Do Latter-day Saints believe in the Bible and Christianity?
…. “They believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restoration of that Church of Jesus Christ, restored by the Savior himself. Latter-day Saints believe, however, that the creeds of the later Christian councils did not accurately preserve the biblical doctrine of God. Members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ do not recognize the authority of these councils to issue binding formulations of doctrine. Latter-day Saints believe that the guidance of the Holy Ghost is necessary in order to correctly understand the scriptures. In interpreting the Bible, Latter-day Saints strive to rely primarily on the Holy Ghost and the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Some people do not understand how pervasive the Bible is in the Latter-day Saint faith and way of life. “
abstracted fromRobert L. Millet, Noel B. Reynolds, “Do Latter-day Saints Believe in the Bible and Biblical Christianity?” in Latter-day Christianity: Ten Basic Issues, FARMS 1998, 13–17.
Of course one can only get the holy ghost by the laying on of hands in their church, which is the ONLY true church as their writings teach. So Millet is only propagating Mormon teaching.
Q Do Latter-day Saints believe that men and women can become gods?
A Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that human beings can grow and progress spiritually until, through the mercy and grace of Christ, they inherit and possess all that the Father has—they can become gods. This doctrine is generally referred to as deification, and was a part of mainstream Christian orthodoxy for centuries before Joseph Smith and other modern prophets taught it. Although Latter-day Saints believe in the ultimate deification of men and women, they do not believe that human beings will ever be independent of God, or that they will ever cease to be subordinate to God. They believe that to become as God means to overcome the world through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Thus the faithful become heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ and will inherit all things just as Christ inherits all things. In order to inherit all things, those who receive eternal life will look like God, receive the inheritance of God, receive the glory of God, be one with God, sit upon the throne of God, and exercise the power and rule of God. As such, they will be called gods, a term that does not reduce or limit the sovereignty of God our Father.
Abstracted from Robert L. Millet, Noel B. Reynolds, “Do Latter-day Saints Believe That Men and Women Can Become Gods?” in Latter-day Christianity: Ten Basic Issues, FARMS 1998, 25–29.
There is no such thing in Christianity. There is a tremendous difference between God and man. God and man are two separate species; the position of God is reserved for God alone. The Bible teaches that God is eternal (Deut. 33:27).“From everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Ps.90:2). Isaiah 43:10: “before me there was no God formed nor is there after me.” There are two classes of beings in the universe, created and uncreated. God is in the uncreated class and He, as Spirit, is all by Himself, as the one God. God is the eternal, uncreated ruler of the universe.
Clearly, Millet promotes Mormon teaching, and Mormonism is another gospel. So why is Greg Johnson, who is supposed to represent Christianity, “Standing Together” with a man who has these beliefs and is willing to share them?
Certainly, to be friendly does not exclude our responsibility. Any good minister worth his salt will “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
“That you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3).
“Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16). Mr. Millet has accompanied Johnson for quite some time now, is he hearing sound doctrine to repent from this counterfeit Christianity?
Q Why do Latter-day Saints try to convert others?
A Latter-day Saints believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ restored to Joseph Smith and that this fulness is not found elsewhere. Therefore, they feel a responsibility to make the message of the restoration of Christ’s Church available to all who will hear. They profess to have received the same commission that the Lord Jesus delivered to his ancient followers—to preach the gospel to people of all nations. This is the basis for the missionary system within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Latter-day Saints affirm that the answer to the world’s problems—crime, inhumanity, the dissolution of the family—ultimately lies in the promise that God will change the hearts of those who have faith in Jesus Christ. There is much good being done by people of many Christian denominations to bring this message of Christ to a world that desperately needs it. Yet the Latter-day Saints declare that the fulfillment of complete truth and joy is found only in the restored Church of Jesus Christ. Latter-day Saints believe that the gospel is intended to do more than make us good. The gospel contains the power to transform good people into Christlike people, noble souls into holy souls. Christ himself has given his restored church divine authority and the truths of salvation. Latter-day Saints do not believe one can fully come unto Christ—and partake of all the blessings he offers—independent of (or in opposition to) the Church of Jesus Christ.
QHow did the doctrines of the trinity and ex nihilo creation develop in early Christianity?
A The doctrines of ex nihilo creation and trinitarian unity, although foreign to biblical and apostolic writings, developed in tandem in the early Christian era. Early Christian scholar Keith Norman explains that original Hebrew and Greek texts suggest that God created the universe out of preexisting matter, not out of absolute nonexistence. In addition, these texts also suggest that the members of the Godhead were numerically distinct and not consubstantial. Early Church writers, including Clement and Origen, seemed to subscibe to these simple doctrines. The influences of Gnostic teachings and Neoplatonic doctrines, however, moved some later thinkers to claim that the universe was created out of absolute nonexistence and that all members of the Godhead had one essential substance. These unscriptural doctrines found their most eloquent advocate in Augustine. Interestingly, the teachings of Joseph Smith on these subjects are closer to the biblical and apostolic doctrines of the Creation and the Godhead. Thus it seems that some of the apostolic Christian doctrines were modified by later writers who were influenced by unorthodox and pagan views.
abstracted from Keith E. Norman, “Ex Nihilo: The Development of the Doctrines of God and the Creation in Early Christianity,” BYU Studies 17, no. 3 (1977) 291–318.
Here Millet (and Mormonism) twist the truth on its head and clearly falls short in his education by quoting someone who is wrong. The word for God creating in Genesis (in the beginning) is creation out of nothing, and then other words used for creation of things on earth are from its substance. Gen.1:1 describes something out of nothing. The Hebrew word Bara means to create and is used only of God. The other words are made and formed . The word create (bara) is used but three times in Genesis 1. It is related to the origin of matter; the origin of life; and the origin of man's soul; The word means creation of matter from nothing, something that did not exist by a supernatural act performed by a eternal being we call God.
The heaven and the earth were not created from any pre-existing material. God called the universe into existence. God created the world ex nihilo, meaning “out of nothing.” All other things are said to be made. Romans 4:17, therefore, says, God, who calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Hebrews 11:3 tells us that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things, which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Here, God is viewed as the Creator of both the material and the immaterial universe.
Creation cannot be out of something. This would mean that matter is eternal. Without an eternal something you cannot have creation. God is uncaused; everything else created is caused- by Him. He is the source of all and upholds all. Col. 1:16-17: “for by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” In other words He holds it all together. How? By “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3)
In Hebrews 1, the Father says to the Son (quoting Ps. 102:25-27) v.10: “And you Lord in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.” Therefore the Son who has the same nature of the Father is God, He is the eternal one not a first born spirit of anything in heaven (as if there were such a thing.)
I think this is sufficient to show what Millet believes and how he subtly attacks Christian teachings.
Greg Johnson on the other hand, promotes the book How Wide the Divide? On his website by: Craig L. Blomberg and Stephen E. Robinson.
On the Standing Together website it says this, “Mormons and evangelicals don't often get along very well, at least not once they begin to discuss their religious beliefs. They often set about trying to convert one another, considering the faith the other holds as defective in some critical way. Unfortunately, much of what they say about one another simply isn't true. False stereotypes abound on both sides, preventing genuine and helpful communication.”
Is it what they claim it is? After reading what Millet teaches (and there is much more) is this true? So then Mormonism is not defective? From Robert Millet’s own mouth (and more officials in the Mormon church) we find how defective it really is. Is this the goal of our getting along together so we can stand together?
On the Standing Together website it also says, “Though this book does not sweep differences under the rug, it is meant to help Mormons and evangelicals know and tell the truth about one another. It does not expect to end evangelistic efforts from either side. In fact, it may help to promote more effective communication because it can help to get rid of misrepresentations from both sides. In the end, however, you will be able to judge for yourself just how wide the divide between them is.”
Was Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and a host of other Mormon prophets and presidents unable to communicate what they believed about being offspring spirits in heaven to Father God and Mother goddess, and that obedient Mormons would become gods over other worlds as Jesus the firstborn spirit son of the Father and brother of Lucifer did?. Did they not communicate then and now that the fullness of the gospel was restored to Joseph Smith and is not found elsewhere.
Well, the divide is still as wide as the ocean is deep, but there are some people who are in the position who have us believe it is NOT. It will not result in Mormons coming to walk on the narrow way but instead the road gets wider for Christians.
The book, “How Wide the Divide” calls the many differences a semantic problem. Both authors work diligently toward finding a unity with one another. The book it states, “because these so-called anticultists always insist the LDS believe things we do not in fact believe” (p.11).
Above, we have read Robert Millets own words in his own book showing it is indeed true and no different than those in the Mormon church.
As I wrote in a previous article “Dialogue or a Widening of the Road,” it bears repeating. The Mormons can continue to put ads on the TV saying that their prophet restored the fullness of the gospel. At the same time, they want us to stay quiet and lay still.(http://www.letusreason.org/Current55.htm) If we don’t see this for what it is we will play right into their hands.
Johnson says on his site, “We need to try harder as Evangelicals,” says Pastor Greg, “to love people we say we love (the Mormon people), but who often feel that we (Evangelicals) despise them and their faith.”
Yes, we can love them, and the way to show our love is to tell them the truth by drawing a distinction between the Jesus of Mormonism and the Jesus of the Bible. Despite Greg Johnson’s softening of the Biblical word “faith,” applying to those who are not believers the Bible teaches there is only one faith. It is shared to those who hold the common salvation (Jude 3). Mormons do not have the faith delivered to the saints-- they have another religion. Faith comes from hearing the word of God and believing it- the Word that is the Bible not Another Testament. Paul makes it clear: “Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8-11).
“Johnson says he couldn’t be happier that LDS leaders in recent years are encouraging Mormons to reach out to their neighbors. Where it will lead, he doesn’t know. But Johnson is willing to dream. “Why do we have to assume we could never see each other as fellow Christians?” asks Johnson. “If he [God] wants that to happen, he can make that happen. Let’s dream big dreams. Let’s hope for the thing we never thought would happen” (Salt Lake Tribune Saturday, March 19, 2005 Building bridges through discourse By Kristen Moulton, The Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_2615727).
If the Mormon church repents of its divisive teachings of its prophets and delivering another gospel and sincerely wanted to adhere to the faith presented in the Bible, as Christians we would certainly welcome them. Unfortunately that is not what we see happening here. One would have to intentionally blind themselves to what is actually taking place. Hearing rumors of what is taking place behind closed doors and then seeing what Millet and Johnson are doing openly, seems to be a glaring contradiction.
If Johnson wants to promote “being a friend,” he certainly can. But this activity is altogether different: he is bringing this consolidation before the world and involving the body of Christ as if this is a better way, a more effective way to do ministry, and it is not. It is clearly in violation of numerous commands in the Scripture. Greg Johnson may be politically correct for what is taking place in our age but he is not Biblically correct.
The way I see it he has moved over to consolidate the Mormons. As his ministries name says “Standing Together” which by its own actions implies holding hands with those who have only a small difference. What affect would this have on young and impressionable Christians who do not know the differences?
The Bible teaches us to reject a divisive man after two efforts. Clearly, Robert Millet is divisive. He openly teaches Mormon doctrine, and then sits with Johnson and discusses his beliefs and Christianity as if there are very small differences. Millet spoke of the historical significance of the lecture that Greg Johnson had brought to Utah: “We have two strong faith traditions who traditionally are prone to conflict working together,” Millet said. “This is a great occasion where people who share common moral values can come together and address the significance of Jesus Christ.” (http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/53124 )
Would the apostle Paul ask those in pagan religions to discuss with him their commonality and differences? How many times did Paul DIALOGUE with the philosophers on Mars Hill? What was Paul’s intent in speaking there? Did he dialogue or did he preach to them the gospel? Did he expose their faulty idolatrous worship? Paul: “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20). Don’t think for a moment that he sat and discussed this in a quiet and unobtrusive manner. This is not how the Jews discussed the Scriptures. His discourse was from the Scriptures and he argued opposing viewpoints.
The Greek word for reason is dialegomai and it is consists of two main words dia and lego. It means to say thoroughly, i.e. discuss (in argument or exhortation): dispute, preach (unto), reason (with), speak. Lego is a primary verb; properly, to “lay” forth, i.e. (figuratively) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse.
These were vigorous discussions in which Bible teachings were advanced and another position was spoken against. More like an open debate. In a debate, you evaluate the beliefs of the one who opposes you, your intent is not to agree with them, your goal is to prove their position to be wrong or false.
In Acts 17:2,17; 18:4,19 it records Paul reasoning with the Jews from the Scriptures. Acts 17:17 [Therefore disputed he] Or reasoned. He engaged in an argument with them” (from Barnes' Notes). He didn’t travel with the travels to present each others views to the Jews or the Greeks.
Acts 18:4: “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”
Paul sought to persuade his listeners. The Greek word is peitho, means in this context to convince (by argument, true or false) to win one over. This is not what is taking place according to their own words and actions.
Herein lies the flaw of Johnson’s dialoguing: pagans believe in more than one God– so do Mormons. If you recognize or worship more than one God you are no longer monotheistic but polytheistic. Paul warned the church that those who have another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9) are anathema and we are to have no fellowship with them. Standing Together and other ministries that employ these new ways are completely ignoring this and other Scriptures for the purpose of a show of friendship. Again, we should have no problem being friends or friendly to those at work or our neighbors. However, when you have two opposing religious views touring together to present themselves as comrades in many things, there is something else operating underneath.
In light of all that has been presented, we appeal to Greg Johnson to sever his ties with Robert Millet and his concept of presenting public dialogues. Stop trying to bring the Evangelical church into a unity with the Mormon church.