We just spent a week in the State of Utah, sharing the Gospel of Grace with the people of the LDS faith. Along the way we came under heavy fire and condemnation from members of the Church, and the experience encouraged us to examine our hearts and motives. There were many times when we wondered why we should even have bothered to make such a trip.
We spent time in the neighborhood that surrounds BYU, going door to door in a manner that is similar to the Mormon Missionary tradition. We also spent time on the campus of BYU (including a 2 ½ hour session with John Tvedtnes, Senior Resident Scholar for the Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts). In addition to this, we visited the Temple in Salt Lake City.
While we were at the Temple, we took the time to stop and talk to visitors outside the Temple gate (both Mormon and non-Mormon) about the difference between Mormonism and Christianity. We shared the truth that Christianity still stands alone as the only faith system on the planet that embraces the concept of GRACE; the notion that God alone is powerful enough to save us. Mormonism is yet another religious invention that requires humans to work hard to save themselves. We’ve written so much about this truth on our website that I won’t belabor the point here in this post.
But we truly believe that Christian scripture warns us not to offend God by thinking that we can save ourselves with our own good deeds. This is what the people in Galatia did in Paul’s day. After accepting the reality that they were saved by the work of Jesus alone, they began to add back the requirement of their own good works, and Paul reacted by telling them:
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)
Paul is very clear here, spending the better part of the remaining chapter trying to convince them that he too could argue that as a hardworking Jew, he could easily default to his own good works and obedience to the law. But he knew better. He knew that to rely on your own work is to deny the work of the cross:
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified… I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:16 and 21)
See, as Christians, we believe this is serious stuff. God is warning us here: don’t add works to the free gift I am offering. When we do that, we are an accursed people who deny the work of Jesus on the cross.
That’s why we go to Utah, that’s why we spend time in front of the Temple, that’s why we go door to door. Sometimes members of the Mormon Church will yell at us and ask us why we are standing around protesting against the church. It is true that we often hold signs that point people back to our website. It certainly may look like we are protesting. But my son (who also came on the trip) made an excellent point yesterday as we were debriefing the week. One interpretation of our actions could certainly be that we are picketing as we stand and talk to people outside the Temple Square. But another interpretation is truer to our actions in Utah last week. Sometimes people hold up signs and hand out literature to COMPLAIN about something and to PROTEST, but there are also times when people hold up signs and pass out literature to WARN about something.
As Christians, we truly believe that Mormons have surrendered their salvation for a notion of Good Works that insults the God of the Universe. That’s not our opinion, it’s the message of the Bible. If we were simply mad at these folks, we would stand outside their temple and complain and protest about them, but what point would there be in doing that? Wouldn’t that be a little silly? On the other hand, if we truly love them enough to care about their eternal destiny and we take the words of the Bible seriously, we might want to WARN them that they are heading down a path that God says is offensive; a path that God actually curses.
We spent a week in Utah. It was a powerful time filled with many meaningful spiritual discussions. And during this time, we tried to have a heart that was broken for the people of the LDS faith. It wasn’t really hard to do. After all, we weren’t there to protest. We were there to rescue.
Check out our articles on Mormonism and Christianiy at www.PleaseConvinceMe.com