Thursday, April 14, 2011

My God can save anybody

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (1 Timothy 1:15, NASB).

I’m still getting used to the fact that on Tuesday nights the Lord has brought some close friends back into my life. These are guys that I spent years with studying the Scriptures, praying, worshipping at church, evangelizing the lost, and having a good time. I spent (and still spend) a lot of time praying for them on my own, and thinking about their spiritual well-being. Which is why I was delighted the night I received a text from Brett inviting me to a Bible study they were having, and I’ve been joining them ever since.

We’re now working through 1 Timothy, and this verse in chapter one seems especially relevant to me in light of the week-long Easter Pageant put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Mesa, AZ. Not only is the pageant Monday through Friday the week of Easter, but also in Spanish the week prior! While I don’t have current statistics about how many Latter-day Saints will attend during Easter week, in years past it was estimated to be around 80,000. That’s a lot of folks each night at the Pageant!

If you’ve spent more than a few years witnessing to the LDS people you have noticed some not so subtle changes in their knowledge (rather, their lack of knowledge) of their own Church’s theology and doctrine. Many people have become apathetic in their approach towards non-Mormons, even to the point where they have no desire to engage in a discussion of our differences.

By God’s grace, the King James Onlyist sign-holders haven’t made a huge appearance for the past two or three years, probably because it isn’t as “exciting” for them. I see this as a direct answer to prayer because frankly, they were nothing but a horrible distraction – even though they opened up many opportunities with the Latter-day Saints along the lines of: “I’m not one of the hateful sign-holders yelling at you…”

… lol …

Around this time of year I usually re-read my elder James’ book Is the Mormon My Brother? If you have not had a chance to read it, please do. Also, his Letters to a Mormon Elder is another must-read – please take this as my official recommendation to the reader. I have read many of the prolific authors about Mormonism, but these two works by Dr. James White offers one of the most succinct and balanced presentations I have come across thus far. “Letters” is a compilation of fictitious letters between James and two Mormon elders, and is most useful to use as a reference for specific topics that will come up in conversations with the Latter-day Saints. Is the Mormon My Brother? is a systematic presentation meant to fairly explain Mormon theology using their own sources. What I love about this book is the explanation about how Mormons prioritize their sources of authority.

Why do I spend time each year at the Mormon Easter pageant trying to talk with the Latter-day Saints? When I was in high school one of my pastors said to me, “I don’t know why you bother witnessing to Mormons when there are so many people who are ready and willing to believe in Jesus…” This bothered me. This bothered me a lot. I remember replying to him, “My God can save anybody.” At the root of my thinking was theology. I know that at the core of man he is unwilling and unable to believe in the gospel: 44No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44, NASB). No one can come; no one is able to come. Man actually lacks the ability to come to Christ in faith. It takes the drawing of the Father for one’s heart to be changed. To those who might argue that Christ draws everyone equally, I will point out to you the result of the drawing of the father: they are raised up on the last day. In other words, no one can come unless they are drawn; and those who are drawn will be raised on the last day.

Keeping this text in mind, how does this apply to the Latter-day Saints? Straightforwardly (is that even a word? It is now! LOL), since no one is able to come to Christ because of their deadness in sin, and salvation is a result of the Father’s drawing to Christ, I preach the gospel trusting that God will save whom He wills to save.

The ruler of all universe can even save those who happen to agree with Joseph Smith: “Here, then, is eternal life-to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.” 

My God can save anybody. He does not just save those who appear to be more likely to convert to the truth. He can even deliver polytheists like the Latter-day Saints. The Spirit goes where He wills, and no one knows who the Lord will choose to save. This is why I preach the gospel to all men. And so we will proclaim the gospel to the Mormon people, with love and respect, and pray that while we plant and water seeds, it is God who makes it grow – if He wills to do so.

Alpha and Omega Ministries would appreciate your prayers as we go out there Easter week. Thanks for reading,


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