What Must I Do To Be Saved?
Proclaiming the
in Utah

During our recent book-table outreach there were a lot of interesting conversations. We are thankful for each and every opportunity to speak with people whether it was just a passing comment or a 30-minute intense dialog. To give you a taste of what it’s like, below are a few sample conversations. 1

  1. The silent type.
  2. The intellectually curious Mormon.
  3. The spiritually concerned Mormon.
  4. The trans-denominationally uninformed Christian.

The silent type.

guest- [quietly scanning our materials]

me- “Good afternoon! Free books. Old ones, new ones, thin ones, thick ones.”

guest- [silent]

me- “At least take these two [our main brochure and a tract on the authority/inerrancy of the Bible]; anything else you see you are welcome to.”

guest- “Hmm.”

me- “What is your religious background?”

guest- “Oh, I’m LDS.”

me- “Ah, well this might be helpful [tri-fold tract with a chart comparing Mormon and Christian Doctrine on a few key points]. A lot of folks think there aren’t any real differences, but if that was true we wouldn’t be here and Joseph Smith wouldn’t have made a big fuss about ‘restoring’ the church.”

guest- “Hmm.”

me- “Maybe take this one too [a small tract about the fact we are all sinners and need the Gospel, titled 'We Have Something in Common']. It points to a central difference: the Gospel. You see, we are all sinners. Have you told a lie?”

guest- “Well, yeah.”

me- “Yep, I know I have. Go through the rest of the 10 commandments and I don’t fare too well, none of us do. The Bible says that breaking one law we are guilty of all of it [James 2.10]. The fact of the matter is we are guilty. We are sinners. So what are we going to do about it? Some people pretend it isn’t the case. Other people take drugs to help them forget about it. Other people try really hard to ‘do better next time’. But even if I could start being perfect tomorrow I’d have to deal with the penalty due for yesterdays sins, and the day before, and the day before and the day before.”

guest- [nodding his head]

me – “That’s the bad news: we are guilty and deserve God’s punnishment. The good news, the gospel, is the fact that Christ died for sinners! He paid the penalty I could never pay and gave me his righteousness which I could never achieve!”

The intellectually curious Mormon.

me- “Good afternoon! Free books. Words of eternal life!”

guest- [with perked eyes] “Free, really?”

me- “You bet. We want to get good materials into peoples’ hands. What is your religious background?”

guest- [with a shrug and a smirk] “I’m LDS. Like most people here, right.”

[expression changing to a curious smile] “So tell me, are you the true church?”

me- “Well, the true church is all people throughout time and geography who truly profess faith in Jesus Christ.”

guest – “Are youthe true church?”

me- “By virtue of Christ’s perfect life and atoning death, and his effectual call unto me, a sinner; yes, I profess faith in him and am a member in the true church.”

guest- “Is your congregation the true church?”

me- “I can’t assure you that everyone who sits in the pews of our congregation is a member of the true church. To be a member of the local church they are interviewed by our leaders (elders) and have to give a credible profession of faith. But occasionally people lie, or are deceived. So it is possible that they could be members of the local/visible church yet not be members of the universal/invisible church.”

guest- “So where is the true church?”

me- “Wherever true Christians are. Israel is not the ‘Holy Land’ per se. The whole earth is the Lord’s. Where Christians are, Christ and his Spirit are present among them and there the true church exists.”

guest- “One of the things that shows the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the fact that wherever I go around the world the worship and the doctrine is the same. Whereas you guys have Methodists and Baptists and Presbyterians and all that.”

me- “The same everywhere, eh? Mormonism is not as monolithic as you claim. There are over 100 Mormon splinter groups: the FLDS, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 2, The Church of the Lamb of God, etc. All claim to be inheritors of Joseph Smith’s teachings and the current restored church of God. Which one is?”

guest- [no comment]

me – “We must have a measuring stick for truth. God has been gracious to give us such a standard: the Bible. Please have this [give him Is God a Liar?]. God cannot lie. He’s said the Bible will be preserved without error. Thus, the Bible we have today is accurate. One thing the Bible teaches us is how to determine if a prophet is a true prophet or a false prophet. Are you familiar with those tests?”

guest- “No.”

me- “We are to test the prophet’s message. The first test is in Deuteronomy chapter 13; a prophet must teach correctly about God. If he teaches things contrary to what God has said then he is a false prophet. Jospeh Smith said that God has a body [Doctrine and Covenants 130:22] whereas the Bible says God is spirit (without a body) [John 4.24]. Clearly, Joseph Smith taught about a different god.”[Incidentally, the Book of Mormon agrees with the Bible that God is spirit, Alma 31.15]

guest- “I have a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and the Mormon church is true.”

me- “I would love to talk more with you about God’s testimony in 1John 5. Could you write in your name and phone/email so we could keep in touch. I’d really like to talk to you more.”

guest- [hesitating] “Yeah, sure. I’ve got a bit of time this summer before the fall term begins.”

me- “Great, I’ll give you a call. In the mean time if there are any other books here you’d like, you are welcome to them.”

guest- “No thanks. I’m good.”

me – [with a smile and a wave] “‘There’s none good but God! [Mark 10.18]. Talk to you soon!”

The spiritually concerned Mormon.

me- “Good afternoon! Free books. Offer ends Monday!”

guest- [with cautious eyes] “What’s the catch?”

me- “None. We just ask that you read it or give it to someone that will.”

guest- “What do you recommend?”

me- “Hmm, what is your religous background?”

guest- [looking over their shoulder then leaning forward and wispering] “LDS, sort of. But I’m starting to see some problems.”

me – “Ahh, well, this book might be helpful [handing them The Good Book Guide]. It gives a broad overview of key Christian doctrines. You see, you must start with the Bible, the ‘Good Book’.”

guest- “Ok.”

me – “As you begin to travel down this road the first thing you must establish is the proper view of the Bible. That’s the first error of Mormonism. Their 8th Article of Faith says ‘the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly’; I agree with that, a bad translation from good sources will do you no good. Thankfully we have ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and many fine linguistic scholars throughout the centuries. So we can trust the main, reputable English translations. In practice, Mormonism teaches there are countless errors and deletions to the extent that key doctrines of salvation have been corrupted and/or lost. However, the Bible has not been corrupted. Take this tract [handing them Is God a Liar?]. It briefly explains the fact that God himself promises to keep his Word pure. Further, God cannot lie. So either the Bible is true and accurate or God is a liar.”

guest- “Wow, I didn’t realize the Bible said that.”

me- “Yep, and the implications are vast. If the Bible is corrupt or is missing key teachings it would make sense to look elsewhere. We might need the Quran [Muslim Holy Book], or the Bhagavad Gita [Hindu Holy Book], or the Book of Mormon [part I of the Mormon Holy Book]. But if the Bible is what it claims to be — preserved without error, sufficient for salvation, and authoritative for all of life — then we dismiss these other writings as totally unnecessary.”

guest- “Great. I’ll be reading my Bible.”

me- “Wonderful. That’s where you’ll find eternal life.”

guest- [nodding his head]

me- “It would be great to talk more. We currently have a weekly Bible study here in Provo and are planning some discussion groups. Could you fill out your name and email/phone number so I can let you know about upcoming events; or we could meet together to talk some more.”

guest- “Definitely. I’ve got a lot to learn, and a lot to un-learn!”

me- “Yes, I didn’t get saved until my late twenties and I feel like I am still playing catchup. I really enjoyed meeting you. May God bless you and open the eyes of your understanding [Ephesians 1.18].”

guest – “Thank you!”

me – “My privilege; nothing else I’d rather be doing.”

The trans-denominationally uninformed Christian.

guest- [pointing to our banner] “So tell me, what does ‘Presbyterian’ mean? I go to an Assemblies of God church in Ogden [about 1hr 20min north of Provo].”

me- “First I should clarify that not all Presbyterian denominations are actually Christian. The big mainline Presbyterian group, the PCUSA — they have congregations in Salt Lake City, American Fork, Springville, etc. — don’t believe the Bible. They ordain women and homosexuals, they give money to goddess worship groups, they support abortion rights, and on and on. So we are not them!”

guest- “What is distinctive of the Bible-based Presbyterians?”

me – “In a simplistic sense ‘Presbyterian’ simply refers to form of government. ‘Presbyterian’ comes from the New Testament Greek word presbuteros meaning elder; so each local congregation is led by elders and those elders gather together to rule the regional church. The gathering of elders in the regional church can produce binding decisions for the local church, just like in Acts 15. Baptists congregations are often ruled by elders and may have regional associatations but those associations are non-binding.”

guest- “Anything else?”

me- “Yes, for example, regarding baptism. We understand baptism to be a covenant sign so every child born into the covenant (i.e. born to Christian parents) receives the covenant sign and is baptized. Other Christian denominations wait until the child grows up and makes a personal profession of faith; at that point they are baptized.”

guest- “I got baptized in a lake when I was 16.”

me- “Great!”

guest- “Are the differences all outward practices like organization and baptism, or are they theological?”

me- “Well, our differences in practice are because of differences in theology. One additional difference is that we believe the Bible teaches that God is sovereign in all areas of life — creation, salvation… everything. If ever you are doing research on this you may come across the term ‘Calvinism’; we are Calvinists. Calvinism is not just theoretical theology. It has significant day-to-day implications.”

guest- “Thanks, I appreciate the information. I love learning about other Christians and how similar we are.”

me – “There are lots of similarities. There is only one true religion and it is no surprise that Satan would copy aspects of it while adding on tricky errors. The crux difference between Christianity and other religions, and the key thing that all Christian denominations have in common, is the gospel. ‘Gospel’ means good news. Let me give you this little tract. You can share it with a friend.”

guest- “Thanks!”

me- “You said you live in Ogden? There is a phone number and web address on the back of those papers. If you have any questions or you are ever in the neighborhood give me a call/look us up. Plus, we have a sister church in Ogden: Berean Presbyterian Church.”

guest- “Will do. I appreciate your time and patient explanations.”

me – “You are very welcome. Glad to be able to build up the body of Christ.”

Category: Apologetics Topics: , , , ,

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