BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY (BYU)
ROBERT L. MILLET
Utah Gospel Mission
Dr. Robert L. Millet 2004 quote: "You should never allow
science to dictate faith."
There is no Connection
Between Reason and Faith?
Archaeology defined: the scientific study of material
remains of past human life and activities.
BYU prof a man on a mission — to show Mormons are Christians
Published on May 25, 2011
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Salt Lake Tribune
Robert Millet has spent decades engaged in dialogue with various kinds
of Christians, always trying to explain the similarities and
differences as best he can between their views and Mormonism and to
show that Mormons are, indeed, Christians.
What drives the Brigham Young University religion professor to continue in this sometimes-futile quest?
For Millet, it’s personal, and it started in sixth grade.
His father was a Mormon and his mother a Methodist, who eventually
converted to her husband’s faith. Young Robert grew up in Baton Rouge,
La., surrounded mostly by Southern Baptists and Catholics, and the
topic of religion rarely came up. But when the family moved to a
southern Louisiana town just as Robert was completing grade school, he
attended a Catholic school where he was taunted and jeered for his
“They called me the Moron,” Millet explains in the introduction to his
new volume, Modern Mormonism: Myths and Realities. “I remember the sick
feeling that settled in my stomach every Sunday evening as we drove
back to our home [from the nearest LDS branch 40 miles away], knowing
that, starting again tomorrow, I would be the butt of jokes for another
At age 19, Millet was assigned to serve his two-year mission for the
Utah-based church in the New York mission, which included parts of New
Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. It was in Tenafly, N.J., where
he first encountered anti-LDS literature, in the form of pamphlets
being distributed in Protestant churches to give to Mormon missionaries.
In the 40 years since then, Millet has been on a different kind of
mission, this one to combat anti-Mormonism wherever he finds it. In
recent years, however, the “ever-present shout that Latter-day Saints
are not Christian,” he says, “has begun to trouble me more and more.”
And so, Millet has taken up the assignment one more time to try and
dispel myths about his faith and convince others that Mormonism is not
a Catholic or Protestant faith, but it does have Jesus Christ at its
What We Believe
I am honored to be asked to speak at the devotional assembly this
morning. Because the weekly devotionals at Brigham Young University
have been such a significant part of my life, I have taken this
invitation very seriously. My topic is "What We Believe."
Sooner or later you and I will be approached by men and women not of
our faith--persons either sincerely interested in what we believe or
else opposed too much of what we stand for (1). This is particularly
true as the Church grows and as our influence spreads throughout the
world. Perhaps it would be worthwhile for us to entertain a few
questions about what we believe, questions frequently asked of the
Latter-day Saints concerning scripture, God, Christ, and salvation. For
1. How can the Latter-day Saints justify having additional books of scripture and adding to the Christian canon?
I remember very well sitting in a seminar on biblical studies at an
eastern university many years ago. One of the things that stand out in
my mind is our discussion of the canon of scripture. For at least two
hours the instructor had emphasized that the word canon--referring, of
course, to the biblical books that are generally included in the
Judeo-Christian collection--was the "rule of faith," the standard
against which we measure what is acceptable in belief and practice. He
also stated that the canon, if the word meant anything at all, was
closed, fixed, set, and established. He must have stressed those words
at least 10 times as he wrote them on the blackboard over and over.
I noticed in the second session on this topic that the instructor
seemed a bit uneasy. I remember thinking that something must be wrong.
Without warning, he stopped what he was doing, banged his fist on the
table, turned to me, and said: "Mr. Millet, will you please explain to
this group the Latter-day Saint concept of canon, given your people's
acceptance of the Book of Mormon and other books of scripture beyond
the Bible?" (2)
I was startled. Stunned. Certainly surprised. I paused for several
seconds, looked up at the blackboard, saw the now very familiar words
under the word canon, and said, somewhat shyly, "Well, I suppose you
could say that the Latter-day Saints believe the canon of scripture is
open, flexible, and expanding." We then had a really fascinating
Joseph Smith loved the Bible. It was through pondering upon certain
verses in the Epistle of James that he felt directed to call upon God
in prayer. Most of his sermons, writings, and letters are laced with
quotations or paraphrased summaries of biblical passages and precepts
from both the Old and New Testaments. The Prophet once remarked that
one can "see God's own handwriting in the sacred volume: and he who
reads it oftenest will like it best" (3) (Teachings, p. 56). From his
earliest days, however, he did not believe the Bible was complete or
that religious difficulties could necessarily be handled by turning to
the Old or New Testaments for help (see JS--H 1:12). Nor did he believe
in either the inerrancy or the infallibility of the Bible. The Prophet
From what we can draw from the Scriptures relative to the teaching of
heaven, we are induced to think that much instruction has been given to
man since the beginning which we do not possess now. . . . We have what
we have, and the Bible contains what it does contain: but to say that
God never said anything more to man than is there recorded, would be
saying at once that we have at last received a revelation: for it must
require one to advance thus far. [Teachings, p. 61; see also The
Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City:
Deseret Book Company, 1984), pp. 297–301] (4)
Occasionally we hear certain Latter-day Saint teachings described as
unbiblical or of a particular doctrine being contradictory to the
Bible. Let us be clear on this matter. The Bible is one of the books
within our standard works, and thus our doctrines and practices (5) are
in harmony with the Bible. There are times, of course, when latter-day
revelation provides clarification or enhancement of the intended
meaning in the Bible (6). But addition to the canon is not the same as
rejection of the canon. Supplementation is not the same as
contradiction. All of the prophets, including the Savior himself, were
sent to bring new light and knowledge to the world; in many cases, new
scripture came as a result of their ministries. That new scripture did
not invalidate what went before, nor did it close the door to
subsequent revelation. We feel deep gratitude for the holy scriptures,
but we do not worship scripture. Nor do we feel it appropriate to "set
up stakes and set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty," to
tell God, essentially, "Thus far and no more" (Teachings, p. 320; see
also p. 321). As the Lord declared through Nephi, "Wherefore, because
that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words;
neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written" (2
Nephi 29:10). (7)
In short, we believe God has spoken through modern prophets (8),
restored his everlasting gospel (9), delivered new truths, and
commissioned us to make them known to the world (10). We feel it would
be unchristian not to share what has been communicated to us.
2. What do the Latter-day Saints really believe about God? Is it true that they believe man can become as God?
Joseph Smith’s First Vision represents the beginning of the revelation
of God to man in this dispensation. We will no doubt spend a lifetime
seeking to understand the doctrinal profundity of that theophany. This
appearance of the Father and Son (11) in upstate New York had the
effect of challenging those creeds of Christendom out of which the
doctrine of the Trinity came--a doctrine that evolved from efforts to
reconcile Christian theology (12) with Greek philosophy. (See Adolph
von Harnack, What Is Christianity? [New York: Harper, 1957]; Edwin
Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity [Gloucester,
Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1970]; Henry Chadwick, The Early Church,
rev. ed. [New York: Penguin Books, 1993], pp. 77, 89–90; Jaroslav
Pelikan, Christianity and Classical Culture [New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1993], pp. 28–29, 74, 84–85, 231–47; Dallin H. Oaks, CR, April
1995, pp. 112–13.) President Gordon B. Hinckley has observed:
To me it is a significant and marvelous thing that in establishing and
opening this dispensation our Father did so with a revelation of
himself (13) and of his Son Jesus Christ, as if to say to all the world
that he was weary of the attempts of men, earnest though these attempts
might have been, to define and describe him. . . . The experience of
Joseph Smith in a few moments in the grove on a spring day in 1820,
brought more light and knowledge and understanding of the personality
and reality and substance of God and his Beloved Son than men had
arrived at during centuries of speculation. [TGBH, p. 236]
By revelation Joseph Smith came to know that the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost constitute the Godhead. From the beginning the Prophet Joseph
taught that the members of the Godhead are one in purpose, one in mind,
one in glory, one in attributes and powers, but separate persons (14)
(see Teachings, p. 370).
God is the Father of the spirits of all men and women (see Numbers
16:22, 27:16), the source of light and truth, the embodiment of all
godly attributes and gifts, and the supreme power and intelligence over
all things. From the book of Moses (15) we learn that among the
ancients God the Father was called "Man of Holiness," and thus his Only
Begotten Son is the Son of Man of Holiness, or the Son of Man (Moses
6:57). The title Man of Holiness opens us to a deeper understanding of
deity. We believe that God the Father is an exalted man (16), a
corporeal being, a personage of flesh and bones.1
That God has a physical body is one of the most important of all truths
restored in this dispensation (17); it is inextricably tied to such
doctrines as the immortality of the soul (18), the literal resurrection
(19), eternal marriage, (20) and the continuation of the family unit
into eternity. In his corporeal or physical nature, God can be in only
one place at a time (21). His divine nature is such, however, that his
glory, his power, and his influence, meaning his Holy Spirit, fill the
immensity of space and are the means by which he is omnipresent and
through which law and light and life are extended to us (see D&C
88:6–13). The Father's physical body (22) does not limit his capacity
or detract one wit from his infinite holiness, any more than Christ's
resurrected body did so (see Luke 24, John 20–21).
Interestingly enough, research by Professor David Paulsen of our (23)
Philosophy Department indicates that the idea of God's corporeality was
taught in the early Christian church into the fourth and fifth
centuries (24) before being lost to the knowledge of the people (25).
(See David L. Paulsen, "Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity:
Origen and Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses," Harvard Theological
Review 83, no. 2 [April 1990]: 105–16; "The Doctrine of Divine
Embodiment: Restoration, Judeo-Christian, and Philosophical
Perspectives," Brigham Young University Studies 35, no. 4 : 7–94.)
On the one hand, we worship a divine Being with whom we can identify
(through the Holy Spirit). That is to say, his infinity does not
preclude either his immediacy or his intimacy. "In the day that God
created man," the scriptures attest, "in the likeness of God made he
him; in the image of his own body (26), male and female, created he
them" (Moses 6:8–9). God is not simply a spirit influence, a force in
the universe (27), or the First Great Cause. When we pray, "Our Father
which art in heaven" (Matthew 6:9), we mean what we say. We believe God
is comprehendible, knowable, approachable (28), and, like his Beloved
Son, touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).
On the other hand, our God is God. There is no knowledge of which the
Father is ignorant and no power he does not possess (see 1 Nephi 7:12,
2 Nephi 9:20, Mosiah 4:9, Alma 26:35, Helaman 9:41, Ether 3:4).
Scriptural passages that speak of him being the same yesterday, today,
and forever (29) (e.g., Psalms 102:27; Hebrews 1:12, 13:8; 1 Nephi
10:18–19; 2 Nephi 27:23; Alma 7:20; Mormon 9:8–11, 19; Moroni 8:18,
10:7; D&C 3:2, 20:12, 17, 35:1) clearly have reference to his
divine attributes--his love, justice, constancy, and willingness to
bless his children. In addition, President Joseph Fielding Smith
From eternity to eternity means from the spirit existence through the
probation which we are in, and then back again to the eternal existence
which will follow. Surely this is everlasting, for when we receive the
resurrection, we will never die. We all existed in the first eternity.
I think I can say of myself and others, we are from eternity; and we
will be to eternity everlasting, if we receive the exaltation (30).
[Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., comp. Bruce R. McConkie (Salt Lake
City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 1:12; emphasis in original. See also Bruce
R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book
Company, 1978), p. 166.]
We come to the earth to take a physical body, to be schooled and gain
experiences in this second estate that we could not have in the first
estate, the premortal life (31). We then strive to keep the
commandments and grow in faith and spiritual graces until we are
prepared to go where God and Christ are (32). Eternal life consists in
being with God; in addition, it entails being like God (33). A study of
Christian history reveals that the doctrine of the deification of man
was taught at least into the fifth century by such notables as Irenaeus
(34), Clement of Alexandria (35), Justin Martyr (36), Athanasius (37),
and Augustine (38) (see Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christian?
[Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], pp. 60–61). Because we know that
many plain and precious truths were taken from the Bible (39) before it
was compiled (see 1 Nephi 13:20–39 and preface to D&C 76), we might
not agree with some of what was taught about deification by such
Christian thinkers, but it is clear that the idea was not foreign to
the people of the early Church.
For that matter, no less a modern Christian theologian than C. S. Lewis
recognized the logical and theological extension of being transformed
by Christ. "The Son of God became a man," Lewis pointed out, "to enable
men to become sons of God" (40) (Mere Christianity [New York:
Macmillan, 1952], p. 154; see also The Weight of Glory and Other
Addresses [New York: Macmillan, 1980], p. 18). Further, Lewis has
The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to
do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey
that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and He is
going to make good His words. If we let Him--for we can prevent Him, if
we choose--He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or
goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through
with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine,
a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though,
of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and
goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that
is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said. [Lewis,
Mere Christianity, pp. 174–75; emphasis in original] (41)
All men and women, like Christ, are made in the image (42) and likeness
of God (see Genesis 1:27, Moses 2:27), and so it is neither robbery nor
heresy for the children of God to aspire to be like God (43) (see
Matthew 5:48, Philippians 2:6). Like any parent, our Heavenly Father
wants his children to become and be all that he is (44). Godhood comes
through overcoming the world through the Atonement (45) (see 1 John
5:4–5; Revelation 2:7, 11; D&C 76:51–60), becoming heirs of God and
joint-heirs with Christ (46), who is the natural Heir (see Romans 8:17,
Galatians 4:7), and thus inheriting all things, just as Jesus inherits
all things (see 1 Corinthians 3:21–23; Revelation 21:7; D&C 76:55,
95, 84:38, 88:107). The faithful are received into the "church of the
Firstborn" (Hebrews 12:23; D&C 76:54, 67, 94, 93:22), meaning they
inherit as though they were (47) the firstborn. In that glorified (48)
state we will be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus (see Romans
8:29, 1 Corinthians 15:49, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 John 3:2, Alma 5:14),
receive his glory, and be one with him and with the Father (see John
17:21–23, Philippians 3:21).
Although we know from modern revelation (49) that godhood comes through
the receipt of eternal life (see D&C 132:19–20), we do not believe
we will ever, worlds without end, unseat or oust God the Eternal Father
or his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ; those holy beings are and
forever will be the gods (50) we worship. Even though we believe in the
ultimate deification of man (51), I am unaware of any authoritative
statement in LDS literature that suggests that we will ever worship any
being other than the ones within the Godhead. We believe in "one God"
in the sense that we love and serve one Godhead, one divine presidency,
each of whom possesses all of the attributes of Godhood (see Alma
11:44, D&C 20:28).
In short, God is not of another species (52), nor is he the great
unknowable one; he is indeed our Father in Heaven. He has revealed a
plan whereby we might enjoy happiness in this world and dwell with him
and be like him (53) in the world to come.
3. Do the Latter-day Saints believe that salvation comes through their
own works rather than by the grace of Christ? Are they "saved"
The theological debate over whether we are saved by grace or by works
is a fruitless argument that is much "like asking which blade in a pair
of scissors is most necessary" (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.
129). Latter-day Saints have often been critical of those who stress
salvation by grace alone, and we have often been criticized for a type
of works-righteousness. The gospel is in fact a gospel covenant--a
two-way promise (54). The Lord agrees to do for us what we could never
do for ourselves--to forgive our sins, to lift our burdens, to renew
our souls and re-create our nature, to raise us from the dead and
qualify us for glory hereafter. At the same time, we promise to do what
we can do--receive the ordinances of salvation, love and serve one
another (see Mosiah 18:8–10), and do all in our power to put off the
natural man and deny ourselves of ungodliness (55) (see Mosiah 3:19,
We believe that more is required of men and women than a verbal
expression of faith in the Lord (56), more than a confession with the
lips that we have received Christ into our hearts. The scriptures of
the Restoration add perspective and balance (57) to the majestic
teachings of the apostle Paul on the matter of salvation by grace. We
know, without question, that the power to save us, to change us, to
renew our souls, is in Christ. True faith, however, always manifests
itself in (58) faithfulness. Good works evidence our faith (59) and our
desire to remain in covenant with Christ, but they are not sufficient.
(See Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols.
[Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–73], 2:499–500; and Dallin H. Oaks,
CR, October 1988, p. 78). The real question is not whether I am saved
by grace or by works but rather, in whom do I trust? On whom do I rely?
(See 1 Nephi 10:6; 2 Nephi 2:8, 31:19; Moroni 6:4.)
Too often we are prone to view grace as that increment of goodness,
that final gift of God that will make up the difference and thereby
boost us into the celestial kingdom, (60) "after all we can do" (2
Nephi 25:23). To be sure, we will need a full measure of divine
assistance to become (61) celestial material. But the grace of God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, is available to us every hour of every
day of our lives. "True grace," as one non-LDS writer has suggested,
"is more than just a giant freebie, opening the door to heaven in the
sweet by and by, but leaving us to wallow in sin in the bitter here and
now. Grace is God presently at work in our lives" (John F. MacArthur,
Jr., Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles [Dallas: Word
Publishing, 1993], p. 32). The grace of God is a precious gift, an
enabling power (62) to face life with quiet courage, to do things we
could never do on our own. The Great Physician does more than forgive
sins. He ministers relief to the disconsolate, comfort to the bereaved,
confidence to those who wrestle with infirmities and feelings of
inadequacy, and strength and peace to those who have been battered and
scarred by the ironies of this life (see Isaiah 61:1–2, Alma 7:11–13).
Few things would be more serious than encouraging lip service to God
but discouraging obedience and faithful discipleship. On the other
hand, surely nothing could be more offensive to God than a smug
self-assurance that comes from trusting in one's own works or relying
upon one's own strength. Understanding this sacred principle--the
relationship between the grace of an infinite Being and the works of
finite man--is not easy, but it is immensely rewarding. The more we
learn to trust the Lord and rely upon his merits and mercy, the less
anxious we become about life here and hereafter. "Thus if you have
really handed yourself over to Him," C. S. Lewis wisely remarked, "it
must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way,
(63) a less worried way" (Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 129).
Are we then "saved Christians"? (64) Whereas the ultimate blessings of
salvation do not come until the next life, there is a sense in which
people in this life may enjoy the assurance of salvation and the peace
that accompanies that knowledge (see D&C 59:23). True faith in
Christ produces hope in Christ--not worldly wishing but expectation,
anticipation, assurance. As the apostle Paul wrote, the Holy Spirit
provides the "earnest of our inheritance," the promise or evidence that
we are on course, in covenant, and thus in line for full salvation in
the world to come (Ephesians 1:13–14; see 2 Corinthians 1:21–22, 5:5).
That is, the Spirit of God operating in our lives is like the Lord's
"earnest money" on us--his sweet certification that he seriously
intends to save us with an everlasting salvation. Thus, if we are
striving (65) to cultivate the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are living in
what might be called a "saved" condition.
One of the most respected Evangelical theologians, John Stott, has written:
Salvation is a big and comprehensive word. It embraces the totality of
God's saving work, from beginning to end. In fact salvation has three
tenses, past, present and future. . . . "I have been saved (in the
past) from the penalty of sin by a crucified Saviour. I am being saved
(in the present) from the power of sin by a living Saviour. And I shall
be saved (in the future) from the very presence of sin by a coming
Saviour" . . .
If therefore you were to ask me, "Are you saved?" there is only one
correct biblical answer which I could give you: "yes and no." Yes, in
the sense that by the sheer grace and mercy of God through the death of
Jesus Christ my Saviour he has forgiven my sins, justified me and
reconciled me to himself. But no, in the sense that I still have a
fallen nature and live in a fallen world and have a corruptible body,
and I am longing for my salvation to be brought to its triumphant
completion. [Authentic Christianity from the Writings of John Stott,
ed. Timothy Dudley-Smith (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press,
1995), p. 168]
President David O. McKay taught that
the gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, is
in very deed, in every way, the power of God unto salvation. It is
salvation here--here and now. It gives to every man the perfect life,
here and now, as well as hereafter. [GI, p. 6; emphasis in original.
See also Brigham Young, JD 6:276 and 8:124–25.]
Too many of us wrestle with feelings of inadequacy, struggle with
hopelessness (66), and in general are much too anxious about our
standing before God. It is important to keep the ultimate goal of
exaltation ever before (67) us, but it seems so much more
profitable to focus on fundamentals and on the (68) here and
now--staying in covenant, being dependable and true to our promises,
cultivating the gift of the Holy Ghost. President Brigham Young taught:
Our work is a work of the present. The salvation we are seeking is for
the present, and, sought correctly, it can be obtained, and be
continually enjoyed. If it continues to-day, it is upon the same
principle that it will continue to-morrow, the next day, the next week,
or the next year, and, we might say, the next eternity. [JD 1:131]
In short, salvation is in Christ, and our covenant with Christ, our
trust in his power to redeem us, should be demonstrated in how we live.
The influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives is a sign to us that we
are on (69) course, "in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17), and thus in line
4. Are the Latter-day Saints Christian? Or do they, as some have suggested, worship a different Jesus?
We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, in the One sent of the Father to "bind
up the brokenhearted" and "proclaim liberty to the captives" (see
Isaiah 61:1, D&C 138:11–18). For us, the Jesus of history (70) is
indeed the Christ of faith (71). He was and is the Only Begotten Son of
God in the flesh (72) (see John 3:16, 2 Nephi 25:12, D&C 20:21).
Although some may exclude us from the category of Christian for this or
that doctrinal matter, our behavior must be consistent with our
profession; those who claim new life in the Spirit are expected to walk
in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25).
"Are we Christians?" President Gordon B. Hinckley asked.
Of course we are. No one can honestly deny that. We may be
somewhat different from the traditional pattern of Christianity. But no
one believes more literally in the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus
Christ. No one believes more fundamentally that He was the Son of God,
that He died for the sins of mankind, that He rose from the grave, and
that He is the living resurrected Son of the living Father.
All of our doctrine, all of our religious practice stems from that one
basic doctrinal position: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and
in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." (73) This is
the first article of our faith, and all else flows therefrom. [Meeting
with Religion Newswriters Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 14
September 1997; excerpted in Speaking Today, Ensign, February 1998, p.
In the long run, all we can do is live what we preach and bear
testimony of what we feel in our hearts and know in our minds. Although
we do not want to be misunderstood and we certainly would like for
others to recognize the centrality of Christ (74) in our lives, we do
not require the imprimatur of the religious world to substantiate our
claim. We are who we are and we know who we are, and if all the world
should think otherwise, so be it. Our primary thrust in the religious
world is not to court favor. Our desire to build bridges of
understanding does not excuse us from the obligation to maintain our
distinctive position in the religious world. Our strength lies in our
(75) distinctiveness, for we have something to offer the world,
something of great worth . No one wants to be spurned, misunderstood,
or misrepresented. But sometimes such is the cost of discipleship (76)
(see Matthew 5:10–12).
As to whether we worship a different Jesus, we say again: We accept and
endorse the testimony of the New Testament writers: Jesus is the
Promised Messiah, the resurrection and the life (see John 11:25),
literally the light of the world (see John 8:12). Everything that
testifies of his divine birth, his goodness, his transforming power,
and his godhood, we embrace enthusiastically. He has broken the bands
of death and lives today. All this we know. But we know much more about
the Christ because of what has been made known through latter-day
prophets (77). President Brigham Young thus declared:
We, the Latter-day Saints, take the liberty of believing more than our
Christian brethren: we not only believe . . . the Bible, but . . . the
whole of the plan of salvation that Jesus has given to us. Do we differ
from others who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? No, only in believing
more. [JD 13:56]
Our conduct and our way of life cannot be separated from our doctrine,
for what we believe empowers and directs what we do. A number of years
ago an article appeared in Christianity Today entitled "Why Your
Neighbor Joined the Mormon Church." Five reasons were given (or were
1. The Latter-day Saints show genuine love and concern by taking care of their people.
2. They strive to build the family unit.
3. They provide for their young people.
4. Theirs is a layman's church.
5. They believe that divine revelation is the basis for their practices.
After a brief discussion of each of the above, the author of the article concluded:
In a day when many are hesitant to claim that God has said anything
definitive, the Mormons stand out in contrast, and many people are
ready to listen to what the Mormons think the voice of God says. It is
tragic that their message is false, but it is nonetheless a lesson to
us that people are many times ready to hear a voice of authority.
[Donald P. Shoemaker, "Why Your Neighbor Joined the Mormon Church,"
Christianity Today 19, no. 1 (11 October 1974): 11–13]
The Savior taught of the importance of judging things--prophets, for
example--by their fruits, by the product of their ministry and
teachings (see Matthew 7:15–20, 1 John 3:7) (prophets are not needed –
Hebrews 1:1). He also explained that "every plant, which my heavenly
Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:13). Evil
trees cannot bring forth good fruit. Works of men eventually come to
naught, but that which is of God cannot be overthrown (see Acts
In short, we proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (78). We
have taken his name upon us, eagerly acknowledge the redeeming power of
his blood, and seek to emulate his perfect life.
Let me close by sharing with you three simple suggestions--learned
through both sad and sweet experience--on how we might effectively deal
with difficult questions posed by those not of our faith. First, stay
in control. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing the truth,
loving the truth, sincerely desiring to share the truth (79), and yet
being unable to communicate our deepest feelings to another who sees
things differently. Argument or disputation over sacred things cause us
to forfeit (80) the Spirit of God and thus the confirming power of our
message (see 3 Nephi 11:28–30). We teach and we testify. Contention is
unbecoming of one called to publish peace and thus bless our brothers
and sisters. In the words of Elder Marvin J. Ashton, "We have no time
for contention. (81) We only have time to be about our Father's
business" (CR, April 1978, p. 9).
Second, stay in order. The Savior taught that gospel prerequisites
should be observed when teaching sacred things (see Matthew 7:6–7; see
also Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book
Company, 1975], chapter 11; The Holy Temple [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft,
1980], chapter 2). A person, for example, who knows very little about
our doctrine will probably not understand or appreciate our teachings
concerning temples, sealing powers, eternal life, or the deification of
man (82). Joseph Smith the Prophet explained, "If we (self-focus) start
right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we (self-focus)
start wrong, we (self-focus) may go wrong, and it [will] be a hard
matter to get right" (Teachings, p. 343). It is always wise to lay a
proper foundation for what is to be said; the truth (lie) can then flow
more freely. The apostle Peter is said to have explained to Clement:
The teaching of all doctrine has a certain order, and there are some
things which must be delivered first, others in the second place, and
others in the third, and so all in their order; and if these things be
delivered in their order, they become plain; but if they be brought
forward out of order, they will seem to be spoken against reason.
[Clementine Recognitions III, p. 34; cited in Hugh Nibley, Since
Cumorah, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company and FARMS,
1988), p. 97]
Third, stay in context. As we have already noted, we love the Bible and
cherish its messages. But the Bible is not the source of our doctrine
or authority (83), nor is much to be gained through efforts to "prove"
the truthfulness of the restored gospel from the Bible. Ours is an
independent revelation (84). We know what we know about the premortal
existence (85), priesthood (86), celestial marriage (87), baptism for
the dead (88), the postmortal spirit world (89), degrees of glory, etc.
(90), because of what God has made known through latter-day prophets
(91), not because we are able to identify a few biblical allusions to
these matters. Some of our greatest difficulties in handling questions
about our faith come when we try to establish specific doctrines of the
Restoration from the Bible alone (92). There is consummate peace and
spiritual power to be derived from being loyal (93) to those things the
Almighty has communicated to us in our dispensation (see D&C 5:10,
31:3–4, 43:15–16, 49:1–4, 84:54–61). President Ezra Taft Benson stated:
Our main task is to declare the gospel and do it effectively. We are
not obligated to answer every objection. Every man eventually is backed
up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand. [Ezra Taft
Benson, A Witness and a Warning (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company,
1988), p. 5]
I testify to the truthfulness of these remarkable doctrines (94) about
which I have been speaking. I know, by the witness of the Holy Ghost to
my soul, that God is our Father, Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior,
Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of the living God (95), and that The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed the kingdom of
God on earth (96). These things I know, because I have studied and
searched and sought to understand (97). These things I know, because I
have read and pondered and prayed and pleaded for light and knowledge
(98). What has come to me is as settling and soothing to my heart as it
is stimulating and enlarging to my mind. This work is true, and because
it is true it will triumph (99). The First Presidency of the Church in
Our motives are not selfish; our purposes not petty and
earth-bound; we contemplate the human race, past, present and yet
to come, as immortal beings, for whose salvation it is our mission to
labor; and to this work, broad as eternity and deep as the love of God,
we devote ourselves, now, and forever. [CR, April 1907, appendix,
p. 16; cited in Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy (Salt Lake
City: Deseret Book Company, 1994), p. 59]
I pray that we will come to know what we believe, by study and by
faith, and then with boldness but quiet dignity share those saving
truths with others (100), in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. If the 14-year-old Joseph Smith did indeed learn of the Father's
corporeality in the First Vision, he did not state it specifically in
his various accounts of that vision. The Prophet explained in Ramus,
Illinois, that "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as
man's" (D&C 130:22). That statement was recorded in April of 1843.
However, the Saints were teaching of God's corporeal nature at least as
early as 1836. (See Milton V. Backman, Jr., "Truman Coe's 1836
Description of Mormonism," Brigham Young University Studies 17, no. 3
[spring 1977]: 347–55; see also The Words of Joseph Smith, eds. Andrew
F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook [Provo: Brigham Young University Religious
Studies Center, 1980], pp. 60, 63–64.)
ROBERT L. MILLET
Robert L. Millet was the dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University
University when this devotional address was given on 3 February 1998.
1) Christians are to speak the truth that the gospel was not lost and rediscovered in the 19th century.
Jude 1:3 (NKJV) Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you
concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you
exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all
delivered to the saints.
2) Scientific evidence via Archaeology and DNA has proven the Book of Mormon to be fiction.
Sources: National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institute, numerous scientists, etc.
3) Joseph Smith was ignorant and uneducated that led to his numerous misinterpretations of the Holy Bible.
No Man Knows My History, page 168: His own lack of formal schooling had
always felt as a frustration, since the New England reverence for
education permeated every village in which he had lived.
4) Joseph Smith was plagued throughout his entire adult life and is not in heaven today.
Revelation 22:18-19 (NKJV) For I testify to everyone who hears the
words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God
will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if
anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God
shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and
from the things which are written in this book.
5) Robert Millet will contradict himself on this point several times during this speech.
See critique note numbers 39, 49, 57, and 83.
6) Joseph Smith twisted the Scripture of the Holy Bible to his own destruction.
2 Peter 3:14-16 (NKJV) Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these
things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and
blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is
salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom
given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking
in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand,
which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as
they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
7) The Scriptures of the Holy Bible will point to Jesus Christ not a fictional person named Nephi.
Hebrews 10:7 (NKJV) Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’”
8) God does not use modern prophets.
Hebrews 1:1-4 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways
spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last
days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things,
through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His
glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by
the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down
at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better
than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent
name than they.
9) The Christian Gospel and Church were never lost nor had to be restored.
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV) “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on
this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not
prevail against it.”
10) True Christians will be witnesses of Jesus Christ not of a false church based in Utah.
Acts 1:8 (NKJV) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has
come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in
all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
11a) The Apostle John disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
John 1:18 (NKJV) No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
11b) Jesus Christ disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
John 6:46 (NKJV) Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
11c) The Apostle Paul disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
Colossians 1:15 (NKJV) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
12) The knowledge of the infinite one God has been made known to mankind via the Holy Bible.
Colossians 2:1-3 (NKJV) For I want you to know what a great conflict I
have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my
face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit
together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of
understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the
Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom
13) The Apostle John again disagrees with Joseph Smith, Robert Millet, and Gordon Hinckley.
1 John 4:12 (NKJV) No one has seen God at any time.
14) The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are separate persons yet one God.
John 10:28-30 (NKJV) “And I give them eternal life, and they shall
never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My
Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is
able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
15) Sidney Ridgon was not satisfied with the Holy Bible and used Joseph Smith to elevate his ideas.
Sidney Rigdon, A Portrait of Religious Excess - page 72: Although
Mormon usage designates this Bible revision as the Joseph Smith
Translation (JST), ancient manuscripts were not used, nor were Smith or
Rigdon familiar with foreign languages. From Smith’s description of the
process the procedure was an “inspired revision,” not a translation.
16) The prophet Moses disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
Numbers 23:19 (NKJV) “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.”
17) The Apostle Paul again disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV) Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to
God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
18) The soul is not the body, but mankind is comparable to God as a
trinity. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV) Now may the God of peace Himself
sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be
preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
19) God the Father was not raised from the dead.
Acts 3:14-15 (NKJV) But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked
for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life,
whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
20) There is no eternal marriage in Christian thought or doctrine according to Jesus Christ.
Matthew 22:30 (NKJV) “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor
are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.”
21) God the Father Himself is omnipresent and is not limited by a body.
Psalm 139:7-8 (NKJV) Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I
flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I
make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Note: Cult members will have a difficult time following the personal pronouns in context.
22) Jesus Christ again disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
John 4:23-24 (NKJV) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true
worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father
is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship
Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
23) Brigham Young University professors are notorious for biased research.
Book explores the life of Islam’s founder; BYU author aims to educate Westerners; Deseret Morning News; August 11, 2007.
24) Early Church Fathers taught the Holy Bible in context not Greek Mythology.
2 Second Clement 20:5 “To the only God, invisible,” the Father of
truth, who sent forth to us the Savior and Founder of immortality,
through whom he also revealed to us the truth and the heavenly life, to
him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (The Apostolic Fathers, page
25) Early Church Fathers taught the Holy Bible in context not Greek Mythology.
Tatian's Address to the Greeks – 2nd Century Only when I am
commanded to deny Him, will I not obey, but will rather die than show
myself false and ungrateful. Our God did not begin to be in time: He
alone is without beginning, and He Himself is the beginning of all
things. God is a Spirit, John 4:24 not pervading matter, but the Maker
of material spirits, and of the forms that are in matter; He is
invisible, impalpable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and
invisible things. Him we know from His creation, and apprehend His
invisible power by His works. Romans 1:20
26) God the Father created mankind in His spirit image since He does not have a body.
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we
are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint
heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be
27) Jehovah’s Witnesses error on intangibility while Mormons error on the tangibility of God.
Watchtower magazine February 15, 1998, Page 13: Jehovah used his holy
spirit, or active force, to beget Jesus as his spiritual Son, in order
to bring him to heavenly glory.
28) Sinful mankind cannot approach a holy God except by the Holy Spirit via the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 6:13-16 (NKJV) I urge you in the sight of God who gives life
to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good
confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment
without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which
He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only
Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has
immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or
can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
29) Robert Millet has confused the Father and the Son as being the same distinct person.
Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
30) Joseph Fielding Smith and Robert Millet are greatly mistaken about eternity.
Revelation 5:13-14 (NKJV) And every creature which is in heaven and on
the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that
are in them, I heard saying:“Blessing and honor and glory and power be
to Him who sits on the throne (figure of speech), and to the Lamb,
forever and ever!” Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the
twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and
Note: God the Father never died and was resurrected.
31) Cults will often redefine the English language to suit their unbiblical doctrines.
Webster’s Dictionary: creation – the act of bringing into existence.
32) A Christian’s purpose is to be Christ-focused not self-focused.
John 15:5 (NKJV) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in
Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
33) Cults will often redefine the English language to suit their unbiblical doctrines.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been
revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we
shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Webster’s Dictionary: like – similarly to; example – she sings like a bird.
34) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
Irenaeus - Against Heresies (Book II, Chapter 1) - There is but one God: the impossibility of its being otherwise.
1. It is proper, then, that I should begin with the first and most
important head, that is, God the Creator, who made the heaven and the
earth, and all things that are therein (whom these men blasphemously
style the fruit of a defect), and to demonstrate that there is nothing
either above Him or after Him; nor that, influenced by any one, but of
His own free will, He created all things, since He is the only God, the
only Lord, the only Creator, the only Father, alone containing all
things, and Himself commanding all things into existence.
35) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
Exhortation to the Heathen (Chapter 8) - BY CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
Chapter 8. The True Doctrine is to Be Sought in the (Biblical) Prophets.
And once more by Isaiah. And this utterance I will repeat: I am, he
says, I am the Lord; I who speak righteousness, announce truth. Gather
yourselves together, and come. Take counsel together, you that are
saved from the nations. They have not known, they who set up the block
of wood, their carved work, and pray to gods who will not save them.
Isaiah 45:19-20 Then proceeding: I am God, and there is not beside Me a
just God, and a Saviour: there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and you
will be saved, you that are from the end of the earth. I am God, and
there is no other; by Myself I swear. Isaiah 45:21-23
36) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
Dialogue with Trypho by Justin Martyr
Chapter 11. The law abrogated; the New Testament promised and given by God
There will be no other God, O Trypho, nor was there from eternity any
other existing, but He who made and disposed all this universe. Nor do
we think that there is one God for us, another for you, but that He
alone is God who led your fathers out from Egypt with a strong hand and
a high arm. Nor have we trusted in any other (for there is no other),
but in Him in whom you also have trusted, the God of Abraham, and of
Isaac, and of Jacob.
37) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
Ad Episcopus Aegypti et Libyae by Athanasius
2:14. Arguments from Scripture against Arian statements.
He also who suggested to them this heresy, while tempting Him, in the
mount, said not, 'If Thou also be a Son of God,' as though there were
others besides Him, but, 'If Thou be the Son of God,' as being the only
one. But as the Gentiles, having fallen from the notion of one God,
have sunk into polytheism, so these wonderful men, not believing that
the Word of the Father is one, have come to adopt the idea of many
words, and they deny Him that is really God and the true Word, and have
dared to conceive of Him as a creature, not perceiving how full of
impiety is the thought. For if He be a creature, how is He at the same
time the Creator of creatures?
38) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
The City of God (Book XI) by Augustine
Chapter 10 - Of the Simple and Unchangeable Trinity, Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost, One God, in Whom Substance and Quality are Identical.
There is, accordingly, a good which is alone simple, and therefore
alone unchangeable, and this is God. By this Good have all others been
created, but not simple, and therefore not unchangeable. Created, I
say—that is, made, not begotten. For that which is begotten of the
simple Good is simple as itself, and the same as itself. These two we
call the Father and the Son; and both together with the Holy Spirit are
one God; and to this Spirit the epithet Holy is in Scripture, as it
were, appropriated. And He is another than the Father and the Son, for
He is neither the Father nor the Son. I say another, not another thing,
because He is equally with them the simple Good, unchangeable and
co-eternal. And this Trinity is one God; and none the less simple
because a Trinity. For we do not say that the nature of the good is
simple, because the Father alone possesses it, or the Son alone, or the
Holy Ghost alone; nor do we say, with the Sabellian heretics, that it
is only nominally a Trinity, and has no real distinction of persons;
but we say it is simple, because it is what it has, with the exception
of the relation of the persons to one another. For, in regard to this
relation, it is true that the Father has a Son, and yet is not Himself the Son; and the Son
has a Father, and is not Himself the Father. But, as regards Himself,
irrespective of relation to the other, each is what He has; thus, He is
in Himself living, for He has life, and is Himself the Life which He
39) Robert Millet has contradicted himself in his speech. Please
see note number 5.
40) Christians have become children of God through adoption.
Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the
heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame
before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus
Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the
praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the
41) It is Jesus Christ working in us and through us to do His good will and pleasure.
Mere Christianity, Book Two – Practical Conclusion by C.S. Lewis
That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people
who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if
there is one; or-if they think there is not-at least they hope to
deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks
any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does
not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make
us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not
attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright
because the sun shines on it.
42) We were created in the spirit image of God.
Galatians 6:18 (NKJV) Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
43) Robert Millet applied Holy Scripture about Jesus Christ to himself and that is heresy.
Philippians 2:5-8 (NKJV) Let this mind be in you which was also in
Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it
robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking
the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being
found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to
the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Note: Cult members rarely humble themselves.
44) God the Father wants mankind to worship Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and
given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and
of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
45) Satan thought he could become God and was cast down.
Isaiah 14:12-17 (NKJV) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son
of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened
the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into
heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit
on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I
will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most
High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of
the Pit. “Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying:
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, Who
made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not
open the house of his prisoners?’
Note: Mormons are actually followers of Satan and should not be confused as Christians.
46) Christians have become heirs of eternal life through the death of Jesus Christ for their sins.
Galatians 4:1-5 (NKJV) Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a
child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,
but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the
father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the
elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God
sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem
those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as
47) In context, firstborn refers strictly to Jesus Christ and Christians belong to Him.
Hebrews 12:22-24 (NKJV) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city
of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of
angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are
registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just
men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the
blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
48) In the glorified state Christians will be worshipping God not themselves.
Revelation 19:1 (NKJV) After these things I heard a loud voice of a
great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and
honor and power belong to the Lord our God!”
49) Robert Millet has contradicted himself in his speech. Please see
note number 5.
50) Mormon theology is similar to Greek mythology.
Isaiah 43:10 (NKJV) “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My
servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and
understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall
there be after Me.”
51) Mormon theology is similar to Greek mythology.
Isaiah 44:6 (NKJV) “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his
Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides
Me there is no God.
52) Mormon theology is similar to Greek mythology. World Book Encyclopedia.
Zeus, pronounced zoos, was the ruler of the gods in Greek mythology.
Zeus was a sky and weather god, especially associated with rain,
thunder, and lightning. The Greeks believed he was all-knowing and
all-seeing. The Greeks considered Zeus a father figure and a protector,
especially of guests and strangers. The Roman god Jupiter was
equivalent to Zeus (see JUPITER). Zeus was the son of Cronus and Rhea,
members of an earlier race of ruling gods called the Titans. Zeus and
the other children of Cronus defeated the Titans. Zeus then took
Cronus' place and ruled from his home on Mount Olympus. He headed a
family of 12 major gods and goddesses called the Olympians. Some lesser
gods also lived on Olympus. Zeus's brothers were the gods Hades and
Poseidon. Hades ruled the underworld, and Poseidon ruled the seas. The
goddesses Demeter, Hera, and Hestia were Zeus's sisters. At the time
Zeus was introduced in Greece, the religion of that area was based on
fertility. Each community had a major fertility goddess and a male god
associated with her. Zeus eventually took the place of many of these
male gods, and became the husband or lover of the goddesses. Later,
Hera became Zeus's wife, and other goddesses took a lesser status. Zeus
had many love affairs with goddesses and mortal women and fathered many
children. His children included the goddess Aphrodite; the gods Apollo,
Dionysus, and Hermes; and the mortal heroes Perseus and Heracles
(Hercules in Latin). Zeus alone gave birth to the goddess Athena.
53) Mormon theology is similar to Greek mythology.
Isaiah 45:5 (NKJV) “I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no
God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that
they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is
none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
54) The Christian Gospel is strictly about Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:1-5 (NKJV) Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the
gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which
you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word
which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to
you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our
sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He
rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was
seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
Note: Mormons are not saved according to the Apostle Paul.
55) Christians are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live godly lives.
Galatians 5:16-18 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall
not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one
another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are
led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
56) Christians have made the sincere confession of faith. Have you?
Romans 10:8-10 (NKJV) But what does it say? “The word is near you, in
your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we
preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe
in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation.
Note: Mormons do not preach the word of faith.
57) Robert Millet has contradicted himself in his speech. Please see note number 5.
58) True faith is not defined as good works.
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
59) Good works is evidence of a Christian being focused on Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk
60) Grace should not be confused with your works.
Romans 4:4 (NKJV) Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
61) Grace should not be confused with your works.
Romans 11:6 (NKJV) And if by grace, then it is no longer of works;
otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no
longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
62) Godly power in a Christian’s life is evidence of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NKJV) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and
peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the
63) Godly power in a Christian’s life is evidence of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (NKJV) And my speech and my preaching were not with
persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit
and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in
the power of God.
64) Assurance of salvation is central to a Christian’s faith in Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NKJV) For our gospel did not come to you in word
only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance,
as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
65) Christians will strive to preach the Gospel in word and in deed to a lost and dying world.
Philippians 1:27-28 (NKJV) Only let your conduct be worthy of the
gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I
may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one
mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way
terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition,
but to you of salvation, and that from God.
66) Assurance of salvation frees a person into true service for God.
Authentic Christianity by John Stott, page 170. Salvation is freedom …
It includes freedom from the just judgment of God on our sins, from our
guilt and our guilty conscience, into a new relationship with Him in
which we become His reconciled, forgiven children and we know Him as
our Father. It is freedom from the bitter bondage of meaninglessness
into a new sense of purpose in God’s new society of love, in which the
last are first, the poor rich and the meek heirs. It is freedom from
the dark prison of our own self-centredness into a new life of
self-fulfilment through self-forgetful service. And one day it will
include freedom from the futility of pain, decay, death and dissolution
into a new world of immortality, beauty and unimaginable joy. All this
– and more! – is ‘salvation’.
67) Christians will keep Jesus Christ ever before them as they are focused on Him.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so
great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin
which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race
that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of
our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne
68) Christians will keep Jesus Christ ever before them as they are focused on Him.
Titus 2:11-15 (NKJV) For the grace of God that brings salvation has
appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present
age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great
God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might
redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own
special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and
rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
69) Christians are ambassadors for Jesus Christ not for prophets, baptism, or a church.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NKJV) Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s
behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin
for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
70) Jesus Christ was not created from a sex act between God the Father and Mary.
Elder James E. Talmage has written: "That Child born of Mary was
begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law
but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof; and the
offspring from that association of supreme sanctity, celestial
Sireship, and pure though mortal maternity, was of right to be called
the 'Son of the Highest'" (Talmage, 81). Doctrines and Covenants
Encyclopedia, Hoyt W. Brewster, 1996.
71) Mary conceived Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit not sex with God the Father.
Matthew 1:20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel
of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is
conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
72) Begotten is defined as raised not physical conception in the Holy Bible.
Acts 13:33 (NKJV) God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that
He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You
are My Son, today I have begotten You.’
73) Cult members will use Christian language to deceive you.
Colossians 2:4-5 (NKJV) Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you
with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am
with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the
steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
74) The Mormon Jesus was married and was a polygamist.
As to the doctrine of Deity, the "Address" declares: "We believe in the
God-head, comprising the three individual personages, Father, Son and
Holy Ghost." As this declaration stands here, it will not perhaps
suggest Tritheism or Materialism to Christians unfamiliar with Mormon
theological terms. But when the full doctrine of the Deity, as taught
in Mormon congregations, is known, it will at once be seen that no
Christian can accept it. In fact, the Mormon Church teaches that God
the Father has a material body of flesh and bone's; that Adam is the
God of the human race; that this Adam-God was physically begotten by
another God; that the Gods were once as we are now; that there is a
great multiplicity of Gods; that Jesus Christ was physically begotten
by the Heavenly Father of Mary, His wife; that, as we have a Heavenly
Father, so also we have a Heavenly Mother; that Jesus Himself was
married, and was probably a polygamist—at least so it has been printed
in their publications and taught among their people; and that the Holy
Spirit is of material substance, capable of actual transmission from
one person to another. (B. H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the
Saints, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907], 2: 268.)
75) The distinctiveness of the Christian is their focus on Jesus Christ and not themselves.
Philippians 3:7-11 (NKJV) But what things were gain to me, these I have
counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for
the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I
have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I
may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness,
which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the
righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the
power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being
conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the
resurrection from the dead.
76) Christians are willing to suffer for Jesus Christ.
Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for
righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are
you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil
against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for
great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who
were before you.”
Note: Jesus Christ should not be confused with a church or false prophets based in Utah.
77) God does not use prophets anymore.
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways
spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last
days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things,
through whom also He made the worlds.
78) Christians will proclaim Jesus Christ who died for your sins.
1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NKJV) For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek
after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling
block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both
Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
79) Jesus Christ is the truth not self exaltation to becoming a Mormon god.
John 14:6 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
80) Christians will strive to preach the Gospel in word and in deed to a lost and dying world.
Jude 1:3 (NKJV) Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you
concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you
exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all
delivered to the saints.
81) Christians will strive to preach the Gospel in word and in deed to a lost and dying world.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (NKJV) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but
to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of
Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is
foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved
it is the power of God.
82) Christians will strive to preach the Gospel in word and in deed to a lost and dying world.
Acts 8:4-5 (NKJV) Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere
preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and
preached Christ to them.
83) Robert Millet has contradicted himself in his speech. Please see note number 5.
84) Robert Millet has denounced the Holy Bible and should not be considered a Christian.
1 Corinthians 14:36-37 (NKJV) Or did the word of God come originally
from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself
to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which
I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
85) Cults will often redefine the English language to suit their unbiblical doctrines.
Webster’s Dictionary: creation – the act of bringing into existence.
86) The Levitical Priesthood has been done away with.
Hebrews 7:11 (NKJV) Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical
priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further
need was there that another priest should rise according to the order
of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?
87) There will be no marriage in the resurrection.
Matthew 22:30 (NKJV) For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.
88) Pagans not Christians baptize for the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:29-30 (NKJV) Otherwise, what will they (pagans) do who
are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are
they (pagans) baptized for the dead? And why do we (Christians) stand
in jeopardy every hour?
Note: Cult members have a difficult time following simple rules of grammar.
89) There will be no second chances in the after-life.
Hebrews 9:27-28 (NKJV) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but
after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of
many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time,
apart from sin, for salvation.
90) Christians will receive degrees of rewards not glory in the resurrection.
Matthew 19:29-30 (NKJV) And everyone who has left houses or brothers or
sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s
sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many
who are first will be last, and the last first.
91) LDS prophets have been found to be false prophets by the testing of the Holy Bible.
1 John 4:1 (NKJV) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the
spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone
out into the world.
92) Sadly, Mormons believe in fables.
1 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound
doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching
ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn
their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
93) Loyality is a cult catch-word and is not Christian.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest
anyone should boast.
94) The Apostle Paul rebukes Robert Millet over the centuries.
1 Timothy 1:5-7 (NKJV) Now the purpose of the commandment is love from
a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from
which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to
be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the
things which they affirm.
95) Joseph Smith was dead less than three months after giving the blasphemous King Follet sermon.
2 Peter 2:1 (NKJV) But there were also false prophets among the people,
even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring
in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and
bring on themselves swift destruction.
96) The kingdom of God is not a church based in Utah.
Romans 14:16-18 (NKJV) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as
evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but
righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves
Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
97) Christians will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Have you?
2 Peter 3:17-18 (NKJV) You therefore, beloved, since you know this
beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness,
being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both
now and forever. Amen.
98) Sadly, Robert Millet forgot to consult the Holy Bible in context.
Romans 10:16-17 (NKJV) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For
Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes
by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
99) God is true not a church based in Utah.
John 3:33 (NKJV) He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.
100) Christians will preach Jesus Christ as the truth.
2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (NKJV) For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ
Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it
is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone
in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
the face of Jesus Christ.
Basic LDS beliefs emphasized a
The Deseret News
Saturday, February 7, 1998
By Edward L. Carter, Staff Writer
For the second time within a
week, a speaker at Brigham Young University emphasized basic beliefs of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ways to deal with proselytizing
members of other religions.
Millet, BYU dean of religious education, spoke to students on ``What We
Believe'' during a weekly devotional at the Marriott Center Tuesday.
Millet's words clearly resonated with those delivered
Sunday by President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the LDS Church's Quorum
of Twelve Apostles.Millet's talk consisted of the answers
to four questions "frequently asked of Latter-day Saints.'' The questions dealt
with scripture vs. continuing revelation, the nature of God, the church's
beliefs about Jesus Christ and the definition of salvation.
Millet also offered three suggestions for church members to handle difficult
questions posed by those of other faiths.
was not assigned the topic by church leaders, and the similarity of his message
with that of President Packer was coincidental, he said. Although neither
speaker said so, both messages apparently were aimed at preparing LDS members in
Utah for Southern Baptist Convention to be held in June in Salt Lake City.
Thousands of Southern
Baptists are expected to include door-to-door proselyting as part of their
visit. In preparation for that convention, the Southern Baptists have produced a
video saying Latter-day Saints are not true Christians. Both President Packer
and Millet focused heavily on refuting that assertion.
"For us, Jesus of history is
indeed the Christ of faith,'' Millet said. ``He was and is
the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh.''
emphasized that LDS Church members who are approached by missionaries of other
religions must exercise the Christian qualities they preach and cannot hope to
persuade through argument. He said members should testify of their beliefs but
not dispute over doctrinal points.
"Contention is unbecoming of
one called to publish peace and thus bless our brothers and sisters,''
He advised church members to
stay in control of their emotions, to stay in order concerning the profundity of
their beliefs and to stay in context in terms of modern-day revelation vs.
ancient scripture. In the end, Millet said, individuals
must take a stand based on their personal beliefs.
"We are who we are and we
know who we are, and if all the world should think otherwise, so be it,'' he
said. ``Our primary thrust in the religious world is not to court favor.''
reminded students that their church teaches that the Bible is not the only book
containing the word of God. While the church accepts the Bible as part of its
canon, members must also realize that God continues to speak through prophets on
Earth, he said.
In describing the nature of
God and the definition of salvation, Millet alternately
described similarities and differences between the LDS Church and traditional
Christian churches. Although the differences may cause criticism, they are to be
"Our strength lies in our
distinctiveness, for we have something to offer the world, something of great
worth,'' he said. ``No one wants to be spurned, misunderstood or misrepresented.
"But sometimes such is the
cost of discipleship.''
invoked the words of both LDS and non-LDS scholars from several centuries to
describe the church's concept of the Godhead. He said that God, Jesus Christ and
the Holy Ghost are separate beings with one purpose. Also, he contradicted the
idea that Latter-day Saints who aspire to become like God commit heresy.
On that point,
Millet quoted philosopher C.S. Lewis, who described the
Lord's command to be perfect as very literal. Also, Millet
said,". . . the doctrine of the deification of man was taught at least into the
fifth century by such notables as Irenaus, Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr,
Arthanasius and Augustine.''
Millet said, there is no basis to support the claim that God's children will
ever worship anyone other than the three members of the Godhead.
Millet attempted to clarify the church's doctrine regarding faith and works.
Grace is not, as even many members of the church believe, ``that final gift of
God that will make up the difference and thereby boost us into the celestial
kingdom,'' Millet said. Instead, grace is a gift that enables individuals to
daily accomplish things they could not do on their own.
"In short, salvation is in
Christ, and our covenant with Christ, our trust in his power to redeem us,
should be demonstrated in how we live,'' he said.
For those who continue to
misstate the church's doctrine, the message was clear: Latter-day Saints don't
need their approval.
THE DIVIDE OR BLURRING THE LINES?
Evaluation of Greg Johnson’s Approach to Dialogue with Latter-Day Saint Scholar
Robert L. Millet
“Bridging the Divide: The Continuing Conversation
Between A Mormon And An Evangelical”
is, for the most part, a published transcript of a dialogue between Gregory C.V.
Johnson (formerly an Evangelical pastor in Utah and now head of a ministry in
Utah called “Standing Together”) and Robert L. Millet (Professor of Ancient
Scripture and former Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University).
This article seeks to provide an evaluation of the dialogue between these two
men to determine if the dialogue is creating clarity or confusion over the
differences between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons/LDS
Church) and Evangelicals. It is this author’s opinion that the lines of
distinction between Mormons and Evangelicals are being blurred by Greg Johnson’s
ongoing dialogue with Robert Millet. The following critique is offered in the
hope that Greg Johnson would change his approach to interfaith dialogue by being
clearer about the truth.
The first major problem with their dialogues is
that Greg Johnson makes several statements that give the impression that Robert
Millet, and other Latter-Day Saints, are our Christian brothers and sisters and
not ensnared in a cult. In the chapter “Imagine What God Could Do!” Greg
“Indeed, to my Mormon friends and my own Evangelical community, just imagine
could do if we would just let Him! Is it possible that the Lord of the universe
miracle that would allow us to reach out to each other, not as enemies to be
rather as brothers and sisters in common love of Jesus Christ?
Yes, I hear you: I know we
not there yet. Yes, I know there are important doctrinal matters for us to
clarify. Yes, I realize we may never achieve complete doctrinal harmony. I do
however, in a big God and would like to believe that in a world that grows
against traditional values and morals, we Evangelicals and our LDS friends could
significant things together if we were more united in biblical truth.” (152
Are Mormons our brothers and sisters?
Do we have a common love of Jesus Christ? How can Mormons be our brothers and
sisters when their belief about Jesus Christ is in error? It’s questions such
as these that Johnson needs to answer in order to clarify what he believes about
the LDS Church. Johnson not only gives the impression that Mormons are our
brothers and sisters, but he also accepts the view that Mormonism is not a cult
when he states,
agree completely with Ken Mulholland, the former President of Salt Lake
Seminary, that a more appropriate statement defining Mormonism today is not that
it is a ‘cult’
that it is a culture. The term cult, no matter how carefully you define
the word, is clearly
pejorative and only causes offense to Mormons when used to label them. Perhaps
such a label
things easier for us Evangelicals when explaining what Mormonism is to our
teens by simply calling it a ‘cult’, but I would counter that such a caricature
simplistic and too dismissive.” (171-172)
Again, what does Greg Johnson mean when he refers to
Mormonism as a culture, and not a cult? Mormonism definitely fits the
theological definition of a cult in that the LDS Church denies the historic
orthodox doctrines of the Christian faith. It seems that a better way to speak
of Mormonism, at least in the state of Utah, is that it is a cult with a
culture. In regards to the term cult being “pejorative” and causing “offense to
Mormons”, one wonders if the Apostle Paul had the same concern about being
“offensive” given the way he spoke of the false teachers living in his day (Gal.
1:6-10; Phil. 3:1-4, 17-18; 2 Cor. 11:1-5; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18).
Johnson gives further hints concerning
his beliefs about Mormons when he says,
“But we also know, as C.S. Lewis once stated, that there are many people even
of Christianity who are being led by God’s ‘secret influence’ to focus on those
their religion that are in agreement with Christianity and, as he said, ‘who
thus belong to
without knowing it.’” (128-129)
What is Johnson implying in this use of
C.S. Lewis? Are we really to believe that some Mormons “belong to Christ without
knowing it”? Are we to believe that Millet belongs to Christ without knowing
it? On what basis can such a claim be made? While C.S. Lewis was a great
Christian author, even his views are subject to the Word of God. Where in the
Bible is the idea found that a person can believe false doctrines concerning
God, Christ, sin and salvation and still “belong to Christ without knowing it”?
In an attempt to encourage Evangelicals
to communicate with Mormons by using gentleness, Greg Johnson gives the
impression that Mormons are our brothers when he says,
“So to the Evangelical community I would ask that we be more empathetic of the
Mormons’ feelings when we attempt to share with them where we think they are
Remember the message of Proverbs 18:19: ‘A brother offended is harder to be won
city; and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.’” (107-108)
Again, is Johnson implying from his use
of Proverbs 18:19 that Mormons are our brothers? How can this be so? What about
all the doctrinal differences? In a section of the dialogue where the audience
is given the opportunity to ask questions of Millet and Johnson, one individual
asks if Johnson thinks Mormons can be saved Christians. In reply Johnson says,
“If you were to ask me if my friend Bob Millet is a saved Christian, I would
have to answer
do not know for sure. But I can say that it is entirely possible that he and
be saved Christians in that they have a sincere and genuine relationship with
Christ. Now, before you get nervous and suppose that I am heretical, there are
doctrines of Mormonism that I see inconsistent with historic orthodox
Christianity. I would
say that the differences between our two faith traditions are minimal. They are
not. As an
Evangelical I would not encourage a person who claims to be a Mormon Christian
they are; if I had my way, as we suggested earlier, Bob Millet would embrace the
Evangelical faith. But Christianity is, above and beyond everything else, all
relationships, particularly one’s relationship with Jesus Christ. And only God
individual can know about that. So to be specific to your question, it is
conceivable to me that
Mormon could be as saved as someone who got saved at a revival meeting, because
ultimately I cannot truly know anyone’s heart, but I would be very cautious in
because enough of traditional Mormon doctrine as I was taught it and understood
it is not
consistent with what we call Christian orthodoxy.” (89-90)
In this quote, Johnson makes several
disturbing statements. First of all, it is difficult to understand how a person
like Millet can be saved and not hold to the doctrines that are found within
“historic orthodox Christianity.” How can Johnson hope that Millet would come
over to the Evangelical faith, where orthodox doctrine is found, and yet if he
does not, Millet may still be saved? The basis for this seems to be Johnson’s
optimistic belief that sincerity is more important than correct doctrine. There
is no reason to question the sincerity of Millet’s faith in the false Jesus of
Mormonism, but it should be clear that it is possible to be sincerely wrong and
not have salvation as a result of believing in a false Jesus (2 Cor. 11:1-3).
Secondly, what’s disturbing about this
last quote is that Johnson asserts that only God and the individual can know if
men like Millet have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Is this notion that only
God knows the heart found in scripture? It is certainly true that only God
knows the heart perfectly (1 Sam. 16:7; Ps. 44:21; 139:23; Rev. 2:23), but it is
also true that we are called to discern truth from error (1 Thess. 5:19-21; 1 Jn.
4:1-3) and that we can know the heart by what comes out of the mouth (Mt.
12:34-37; Mk. 7:21-23; Lk. 6:43-45). An example of this is found in the
ministry of the Apostle Paul who stated that those who preach a false gospel
were damned (Gal. 1:6-9). Was Paul judging the heart? No, Paul was judging
what he heard from false teachers. When the gospel is false, the person or
group teaching a false gospel cannot be in a relationship with the Jesus of the
Bible. While a person may have sincerity of heart (Rom. 10:1-2), the fact
remains that believing correctly about Jesus and the Gospel is essential for
salvation (Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 2 Cor. 11:1-4; Gal. 1:6-9).
This notion that sincerity is enough
and that God alone knows the heart is a view that Johnson seems to share with
his friend Dr. Richard Mouw from Fuller Seminary who said,
“At the same time, though, as I’ve gotten older I’ve found it increasingly
difficult to draw
lines in my own mind about who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’. And this, too, I get
God alone will judge the human heart in the end. He works in mysterious ways.
to me that anyone who believes strongly in God’s sovereignty is going to live
with a lot
of mystery on this
Where does Dr. Mouw get this from the
Bible? Good question! He goes on to make the following statement regarding what
he calls his “spiritual hunches”:
“But I hold out for divine generosity. And for me, this hope has to do with
Here is one. I have a rabbi friend who is now very old. He has often sent me
about something I have written, and on a number of occasions he has told me that
for God’s blessing on my work. I have a spiritual hunch about how things are
for this rabbi. I would not be surprised if, when the final encounter comes
and he sees the face of Jesus, he will bow in worship, acknowledging that Jesus
whom he should have named all along as the Promised One of Israel – and
that the Savior
will welcome him
into the eternal kingdom.
One wonders why this rabbi friend of
Dr. Mouw’s would get to heaven if Cornelius still needed a relationship with
Jesus Christ even though he was “devout and god-fearing” (Acts 10:2)? One
wonders why Paul would feel so much sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart
for his own people if they were all going to make it (Rom. 9:1-3). Why would
Paul desire his own people to be saved if he had a ‘spiritual hunch’ about their
acceptance before God (Rom.10:1)?
How does all this relate to Mormonism
and the dialogues between Millet and Johnson? In his book, Calvinism in the
Las Vegas Airport, Richard Mouw likely spoke of Robert L. Millet when he
have a Mormon friend, a scholar, with whom I have some very interesting
conversations. He doesn’t fit my stereotype of what a Mormon should believe. He
tells me, for
example, that in recent years he has fallen in love with Paul’s letter to the
Romans. When I
him about what that love comes to, he says things that sound very good to me. At
of his relationship to God, he tells me, is his profound sense that he is a
sinner who is
by grace alone, with a salvation that is made possible only through the
atoning work of
Jesus Christ at Calvary.”
While it is uncertain if Mouw was referring to
Millet, it would not be surprising given that after Mouw published “Calvinism
in the Las Vegas Airport,” he wrote the foreword and afterword to Robert L.
Millet’s book “A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.”
In his comments regarding Millet, Richard Mouw said that,
“As an Evangelical Christian I want more than anything else that people –
disagreements I might have with them on other matters – know Jesus personally,
heaven-sent Savior who left heaven’s throne to come to the manger, and to
Calvary, to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. I also know that
genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ does not require that we have
all our theology
straight. All true Christians are on a journey, and until we see the Savior
face-to-face we will
see through a glass darkly.
But I also believe with all my heart that theology is important. There is a real
danger for all
that we will define Jesus in such a way that we cannot adequately claim the full
he alone can provide. I think that an open-minded Christian reader of this
book will sense
that Bob Millet is in fact trusting in the Jesus of the Bible for his salvation.
That is certainly
sense. And this is why I find it
especially exciting to be in dialogue with him and other
friends about what it means to have a theologically adequate understanding of
and work of the One
who alone is mighty to save.”Italics
Having read numerous books authored by
Robert L. Millet, this author finds it extremely difficult to understand how
Richard Mouw can make the outlandish comments that he has regarding the
salvation of Millet. Millet’s theological syncretism of faith and works that is
found throughout his writings cause him to fall under the anathema of Galatians
1:6-9 because he has a different gospel and a different Jesus (2 Cor.11:1-3).
Perhaps the driving force behind Mouw’s willingness to embrace Millet as a
brother is not the theology of Millet, but simply that Mouw has a ‘spiritual
hunch’ much like he did with his rabbi friend that he described in Calvinism
in the Las Vegas Airport. Unfortunately, a hunch, no matter how spiritual
Mouw thinks it is, does not bring someone into the kingdom of God.
The second major problem with these dialogues
is that Greg Johnson’s approach does not seem to have precedence in the New
Testament. What is the approach? According to Robert Millet, “Greg and I have
likewise chosen not to push too vigorously the hard buttons, to focus unduly on
matters that divide us most directly” (98). In light of this, how can truth be
made clear in the dialogues? When Johnson speaks of the purpose of the dialogues
is to say, we are two men of two different faiths, historically hostile to each
building a bridge of friendship and dialogue between us in the hopes that
communication can lead to increased understanding of each other’s faith, reduced
confrontationalism, and an improved ability to share the hope the resides in us
in a way that is
respectable and gentle (1 Peter 3:15). Of course Bob and I could do this
writing a book or by presenting our national dialogue, “A Mormon and an
Conversation,” (which we have done now 50 times as of this writing) but it is
our desire that
model of what Dr.Richard Mouw of Fuller Seminary calls “Convicted Civility”
replicated in individual Mormon/Evangelical relationships throughout the world”
From this quote we can see the real
purpose of the dialogue is not to convince, but rather to present a model of
dialogue to the world. When a person in the audience asked Greg if he was being
too kind to Millet, he responded by saying,
“The point I’m trying to make is that Bob Millet in not my enemy. I repeat: he’s
Nor am I Bob Millet’s enemy. And even if Bob were my enemy, I have been
instructed by Jesus to pray for my enemies. We have enemies out there, to be
sure. Satan is the
arch-enemy. Immorality and indecency and abuse and brutality – these are our
both agree on that. And so, I don’t feel the need to debate him, put him down,
because this is not the heart of Jesus. A confrontational approach to spiritual
conversations is not in any way more Godly or effective, in my opinion, and I
believe 1 Peter
reminds us of the need to answer correctly, but to do so with gentleness and
said this, however, I do believe that I have asked and continue to ask Bob, both
private and during our public dialogues, some very difficult questions about the
nature of God,
place of Grace in Christian salvation, the Mormon concept of apostasy and
of Joseph Smith and his credibility as a prophet, and about the historicity of
Mormon among other things.” (70-71).
By way of response the following is
offered. First, the New Testament describes false teachers as “enemies of the
cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18) and not our friends. Who are the enemies of the
cross of Christ? In the context, anyone who adds anything to the sufficiency of
the death of Christ on the cross is considered an enemy of the cross (Phil.
3:1-11). When works of any kind are joined to faith as a necessary requirement
for salvation, then the gospel has been perverted and the cross of Christ
diminished. The Apostle Paul wrote the entire book of Galatians to confront the
false doctrine of the Judaizers who believed that in addition to faith in Jesus
Christ, upholding the requirements of the law was also necessary for salvation.
Paul and others sharply condemned such teaching and those who taught it (Gal.
1:6-9; 2:15-16; 3:1-3; 5:7-12; Rom. 4:1-12; Acts 15:1-11).
In a similar manner, Robert Millet and
the LDS church teach a syncretistic view of salvation in that faith in Jesus
Christ and works are needed to gain salvation. When Johnson says Millet is not
his enemy, he is not in line with how the Bible depicts false teachers. A
biblical response to false teachers is found in Jude 3 where we are told to
“contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” In this
regard, Mark Driscoll was correct in saying,
“Not only must God’s people personally
believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they also
must publicly contend for it. This is
because the gospel is under continual attack by Satan, the
‘father of lies’ (Jn. 8:44), and a
seemingly endless army of false teachers, false prophets, false
shepherds, and false apostles, whom he
sends to wage war against the church. The New
Testament letters model a warrior’s battle
cry, declaring that heretics are: dogs and evildoers
(Phil. 3:2), empty and deceitful (Col.
2:8), puffed up without reason (Col. 2:18), given to
mythical speculation and vanity without
understanding (1 Tim. 1:3-7), products of a
shipwrecked faith (1 Tim. 1:19), demonic
liars with seared consciences (1 Tim. 4:1-2),
peddlers of silly myths (1 Tim. 4:7),
arrogant fools with depraved minds (1 Tim. 6:3-5), the
spiritual equivalent of gangrene (2 Tim.
2:14-18), foolish and ignorant (2 Tim. 2:23), chatty
deceivers (Tit. 1:10-14), destructive
blasphemers (2 Pet. 2:1-3), ignorantly unstable (2 Pet.
3:16), and antichrists (1 Jn. 2:18).
In our day of pluralistic, postmodern,
perspectival politeness, the terse language of Peter
and Paul seems narrowly intolerant, as if
they had never been enlightened by taking a
philosophy class at a community college
from a long-haired, self-medicated grad student.
Nonetheless, the truth is the truth, and
Peter, Paul, and many of the faithful who have
followed Jesus on the narrow road of truth
have seen their blood spilled by those who were as
brotherly as Cain for contending for the truth.”
From what is mentioned above, it does
not appear that Johnson is correct about false teachers like Millet being our
friends. As believers we have an enormous responsibility to contend for the
Johnson is also incorrect in saying
that Jesus says to “pray for our enemies”. Jesus actually said, “love your
enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). While Jesus never
said specifically to pray for our enemies, he modeled this when he hung on the
cross (Luke 23:34). It should be noted that loving our enemies, or praying for
them, does not take away the fact that Jesus still refers to them as our enemies
(Matt. 5:43-48); something Johnson seems unwilling to do. While we are called to
love our enemies, it must not be forgotten that in the broader context of the
Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to “watch out for false prophets” (Matt.
7:15-23) such as Millet. Loving our enemies does not negate the necessity of
contending for the faith (Jude 3) and speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:14-15).
The clear teaching of the Old and New
Testaments is that we are to protect the flock from false teachers and put to
the test those who claim to be prophets (Deut. 13:1-5; 18:14-22; Acts 20:28; 1
Jn. 4:1-6). Nowhere are we encouraged to have an ongoing dialogue with known
false teachers or false prophets where the goal is not evangelistic in nature
but rather exists to help people see that we can actually have a nice, friendly
dialogue and try to understand each other better. In commenting on this
propensity for dialogue, Dr. John MacArthur says,
“After years of neglecting to defend
the faith, many evangelicals now simply refuse the
duty. They have become uncomfortable with
the whole idea of militancy in defense of the
truth. They have in effect embraced the
postmodern axiom that dialogue is morally superior to
debate, a conversation is inherently more
edifying than a controversy, and fellowship is
always better than a fight.”
Where would the Christian church be
today if it wasn’t for the Early Church Fathers and their defense of the
Christian faith against the false doctrines of Gnosticism, Ebionism, Docetism,
Modalistic & Dynamic Monarchianism, Arianism and Appollinarianism to name a few?
What would have happened to the Christian faith if the Early Church Fathers took
a view similar to Johnson and simply dialogued in order that the world could see
how to dialogue? The Early Church Fathers such as Athanasius, Hippolytus,
Tertullian, Novatian and Irenaeus are just some of the men who left us volumes
of literature showing us how they defended the faith against heresy that opposed
the “church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim.
Secondly, Johnson insinuates debating is wrong and
something Jesus would not endorse because it is “not the heart of Jesus.” While
deliberately embarrassing or insulting someone is not the best approach, Jesus
engaged in confrontation and was willing to speak rather directly to those who
taught false doctrines (Matt. 23; Jn. 5:36-47; 8:31-59; 10:22-39). Further
examples of Jesus’ approach are seen lived out through his disciples in the book
of Acts where they witnessed to religious unbelievers by arguing, reasoning, and
vigorously refuting false religious viewpoints from the Scriptures (Acts
9:20-22, 27; 17:1-4; 18:1-4, 27-28; 19:8). It seems that Johnson assumes one
cannot answer with “gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15) and at the same time
debate in the same way the disciples did in the book of Acts.
Johnson fallaciously suggests that a debate must consist of put downs and
attempts to embarrass the person with whom we are debating.
Having listened to many debates, this
author can testify to the ability of many Evangelicals to communicate the truth
in a clear, compelling, and loving manner so that the doctrinal distinctions are
properly explained, and the lines are not blurred between Mormon and Evangelical
Thirdly, on his website for his ministry called
Greg Johnson defends his model for “dialogue” citing Acts 17:16-34 where Paul is
in Athens speaking to the philosophers of the Areopagus. Johnson believes this
is exactly what he is doing in his dialogues with Millet. However, it should be
noted that Paul’s approach in dealing with people who use and abuse the
scriptures was to reason, debate, and prove Jesus is the Christ. It should also
be noted that Paul sought to evangelize the Athenians, not to “model” how to
dialogue without the intent to convince. Robert Millet and Greg Johnson have
made it clear that they are not trying to convince each other, but Paul’s model
was different in that he took a spiritual discussion with the Athenians and
turned it into an evangelistic opportunity. Paul’s approach comes from the fact
that we are ambassadors of reconciliation and that this necessitates imploring
people who do not know Christ to be reconciled to God (Ezek. 3:16-21; 33:1-9;
Acts 18:5-6; 2 Cor. 5:18-20). Since Greg Johnson is not “imploring” Millet to
come to the real Jesus to be reconciled, then how is his so-called ministry even
The fact that Johnson, after all his
dialogues with Millet, is not having an impact upon him in convincing him that
his beliefs are in error is evident when one considers that Millet recently
“At the same time, I have never been
more convinced than I am right now that The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a
distinctive contribution to make to the world,
unique voice to be heard at the religious
roundtable, and singular insights to be offered to
honest seekers of truth regarding our lives
before we were born, the purpose of life here, and
the nature of life hereafter. Latter-day
Saints have principles to teach concerning God’s
eternal plan for the family that would
revolutionize how people view marriage and children
and how such principles operate to bring
peace and security and healing into troubled homes
I am a Latter-day Saint because I
believe in God the Eternal Father. I am a Latter-day Saint
because I believe in the divine Sonship of
Jesus Christ. I am a Latter-day Saint because I
believe in the truthfulness of the Bible. I
am a Latter-day Saint because I believe that sins are
forgiven, hearts transformed, natures
changed, and the dead resurrected through the infinite
and eternal atoning sacrifice of Christ. I
am a Latter-day Saint because I believe that God
called upon Joseph Smith to restore
priesthood authority and many plain and precious truths
that had been lost. I am a Latter-day Saint
because I believe that the keys of the kingdom of
God have come down in rightful succession
(buy the laying on of hands) from Joseph Smith to
the present day. I am a Latter-day Saint
because I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of
God: it feeds my soul just as the Bible
does; reading 2 Nephi lifts my spirits as much as
reading the Gospel of John. I know holy
scripture when I read it.
I am a Latter-day Saint because I
know these things to be true, know them in a manner as
powerful as that I know I live.
I have not invested my life in a religious enterprise just because
of some emotional attachment to lofty
ideas, some warm and fuzzy feeling, but rather as a
result of divine investiture to me of
eternal truth, saving and sanctifying truth. I have not
chosen to cast my lot with the Mormons
simply because I like being with the people (although
I do enjoy sociality with the Saints
immensely), but rather because the Spirit of the Living
God has graced me with a witness that burns
like fire within my soul, a witness from God
Almighty that affirms that what those
Mormons are about is right and true and good. I am
willing to give my life for that witness,
and I am willing to go to my death, if need be, as a
sign of gratitude and love to a gracious and
Once again, if the goal of interfaith
dialogue is not to do our part to convince and hopefully see people reconciled
to God, then it’s no wonder that Millet remains unconvinced. If Johnson does not
even have as a goal the aim of reaching Millet, then he is not following the
approach of Paul, nor any other New Testament author.
The third major problem with Greg Johnson’s
approach to dialogue is that it fails to really get at the truth. In Bridging
the Divide, Millet and Johnson tackle numerous questions from each other
concerning such things as the creeds, the only true church, the fall of Adam and
Eve, the nature of God, and works righteousness to name a few. While Johnson
asks Millet some good questions, Johnson typically accepts the answers Millet
gives without further probing. The effect Johnson’s failure to probe deeper is
that Millet ends up leaving an impression with the uninformed reader that LDS
and Evangelical doctrines are not that different. Perhaps one of the strongest
examples of this is found in their dialogue over the fall of Adam and Eve where
Johnson asks Millet,
is the condition of men and women before God? What is the nature of human
beings? Mormonism has a teaching that has troubled us Evangelicals, the idea
that the Fall
good thing. As I recall, one of your early leaders called the Fall a ‘fall
upward.’ The idea
the Fall is a ‘fall upward’ is troubling to biblical Christianity. The Bible
says that the Fall
horrible event, a moment of separation and death between God and humankind with
horrible consequences. Bob, how could the Fall ever be considered good? The
that all human beings are sinners and that none of us does good. What is the LDS
perception of the nature of human beings?” (40-41).
Millet’s response is a surface level
reply in that he refers to the effects of the Fall on humanity and that the LDS
view of the Fall is “remarkably optimistic” and “part of God’s eternal plan”
(42). Perhaps this surface-level response from Millet is the reason why Johnson
commented the way he did in the introduction to Bridging the Divide by
remember that there were about 250 Latter-Day Saints in attendance, and I
listened as Bob
three messages that evening, one about the Fall, one about New Birth, and the
Being Saved by Grace. Several times that night, I remember thinking that Bob
teach these messages in a Christian church minus the Book of Mormon references”
A surface-level message about the Fall
of Adam and Eve may sound Christian, but it is imperative to dive below the
surface and uncover the details of the LDS doctrine. This is something either
Greg Johnson does not have the ability to do because he does not actually know
what the LDS church teaches regarding the Fall of Adam and Eve, or for the sake
of “building bridges,” he has deliberately chosen not to engage Millet over one
of the most significant doctrinal differences between Mormons and Evangelicals.
In fact, instead of probing deeper with a follow-up question regarding the LDS
doctrine of the Fall, and lovingly challenging Millet, Johnson turns the entire
subject matter into a discussion about the differences within the Christian
faith between Reformed and Arminian theology (44-45). In doing so, Johnson makes
it appear that we all have so many differences, but nothing of the magnitude
that would warrant the label cult. Surely the differences “in house” due to our
differing theological systems are not the same as the differences that exist
between Evangelicals and the LDS Church. It seems as though Greg Johnson does
not see the differences as that significant, nor does Robert Millet, who summed
it all up when he said, “We are not far off doctrinally when it comes to
discussing the effects of the Fall and the need for divine assistance” (46).
This could not be further from the truth.
One wonders why Johnson did not ask
Millet further questions related to the Fall of Adam and Eve that would have
brought out the differences and forced him to explain what the LDS church
teaches. For example, Johnson could have asked about the following quote from
Ensign magazine where it was stated that,
“President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876-1972) said: ‘I never speak of the part
Eve took in
fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin....This was a transgression of the
law, but not a
sin...for it was
something that Adam and Eve had to do!’”
In Preparing For Exaltation, an
LDS teachers manual for 12 to 13year olds, the following comment is made
regarding the Fall of Adam and Eve,
“The decision of Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was not a sin, as it is
considered by other Christian churches. It was a transgression – an act that was
prohibited but not inherently wrong (see Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report,
Oct. 1993, 98;
Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73). The Fall was necessary for us to progress toward
to experience mortality to become like our Father in heaven, and Adam and Eve
their mission to make this possible.”
A good follow-up question from Johnson regarding the
LDS distinction between sin and transgression would have been quite appropriate,
but Johnson seems content to leave the reader and the listening audience in the
When one understands that the Fall of Adam and Eve in Mormon doctrine is
intricately connected with the doctrine of Eternal Progression, it’s baffling
that Millet is let off so easy by Johnson. Why is there no serious engagement
over the theology found in the LDS scriptural references to the Fall of Adam and
Eve (2 Nephi 2:22-25; Moses 5:11)? Why is there no questioning over the issuing
of two commands by God (Genesis 1:28; 2:17), but the need for Adam and Eve to
violate the one in order to uphold the other? These are serious theological
issues, but Johnson does nothing to help the audience and his readers understand
that the divide between Mormons and Christians is very wide on this subject.
Instead of helping to bring clarity, Johnson is blurring the distinctions
between Evangelicals and Mormons through his dialogues. In doing so, the LDS
Church is presented as being not that different from Evangelical churches.
Surely it is advantageous for the LDS Church to have an Evangelical like Greg
Johnson make them look like another Christian denomination in the eyes of the
world and now among Evangelical churches by the continuation of these dialogues.
When it comes to witnessing, it is the
responsibility of every believer to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and
to provide an answer to everyone who asks, but “with gentleness and respect” (1
Pet. 3:15). Scripture further says to “be wise in the way you act toward
outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always
full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”
(Col. 4:5-6). It is our desire to be the “salt and light” that Jesus called the
church to be (Matt. 5:13-16). As believers we want to carry on the Great
Commission he entrusted to us by faithfully “making disciples” (Matthew
28:19-20). In our desire to reach the lost, the truth should never be watered
down or softened.
While the Bible is clear on our mission to reach the
lost, the Bible also makes it clear that when the truth is being undermined by
false teachers, we are to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted
to the saints” (Jude 3). Greg Johnson, rather than contending for the faith,
embraces an unbiblical method of dialogue that may in fact be considered an
unequally yoked relationship with a false teacher (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
For the sake of the truth it is essential that Greg Johnson rejects his present
approach in order to embrace the call to contend for the faith by publicly
speaking the truth to Robert Millet and exposing the false doctrines of
Robert L. Millet and Gregory C.V Johnson, Bridging the Divide: The
Continuing Conversation Between A Mormon and an Evangelical (Rhinebeck,
New York: Monkfish Publishing Company, 2007).
Of the false teachers infiltrating the Galatian church the Apostle Paul said
they are ‘throwing you into confusion’ (1:7; 5:10), ‘trying to pervert the
gospel of Christ’ (v.7), ‘damned’ (v.9), false brothers’ (2:4), ‘bewitching’
the believers (3:1), ‘zealous to win you over’ (4:17), ‘agitators’ (5:12)
and he hoped they would ‘go the whole way and emasculate themselves’ (5:12).
Richard J. Mouw, Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport (Grand Rapids,
MI: Zondervan, 2004), 85.
Robert L. Millet, A Different Jesus: The Christ of the Latter-day Saints
(Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005).
Richard J. Mouw, “Afterword,” in A Different Jesus: The Christ of the
Latter-Day Saints (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 2005), 183. It should be pointed out that prior to Mouw writing the
foreword and afterword to Millet’s book, he was invited in November 2004 by
Greg Johnson and Standing Together Ministry, to speak at the LDS Tabernacle
in Salt Lake City. During his address, Mouw said, “I am now convinced that
we evangelicals have often seriously misrepresented the beliefs and
practices of the Mormon community. Indeed, let me state it bluntly to the
LDS folks here this evening: We have sinned against you. The God of the
Scriptures makes it clear that it is a terrible thing to bear false witness
against our neighbors, and we have been guilty of that sort of transgression
in things we have said about you. We have told you what you believe without
making a sincere effort first of all to ask you what you believe…Indeed, we
have even on occasion demonized you…” (Cited by James R. White, Fuller
President Apologizes to Mormons in Error, www.aomin.org/Mouw1.html).
Mark Driscoll, “The Church and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern
World,” in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World, ed. John
Piper and Justin Taylor (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2007), 133-134.
Biblical references have been inserted by the author of this paper into this
quote, though they were supplied in the footnotes of the original.
John MacArthur, The Truth War (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007),
Johnson’s use of 1 Peter 3:15 raises four concerns: First, I find it
interesting that Johnson seems to take 1 Peter 3:15 as the priority text in
dealing with the subject of interfaith dialogue and this to the exclusion of
other texts in the New Testament that speak of how the early church engaged
the cultures around them (See Acts 9:20-22, 27; 17:1-4; 18:1-4, 27-28; 19:8
for the many places the first disciples reasoned, debated, and vigorously
refuted religious Jews). Second, it seems Greg Johnson imports his
own meaning into the words “gentleness and respect”. In other words,
he has his idea of what “gentleness and respect” look like in dialogue, but
this is again to the exclusion of the Acts narrative where we read a
proclamation of the Gospel that does not seem to fit Greg’s definition of
“gentleness and respect”. Third, the context of 1 Peter 2:11-3:15 is
not speaking directly to the issue of how to engage a false teacher in
dialogue. It would be wise for the reader to take careful note that the
context begins with Peter’s admonition in 2:12 to “live such good lives
among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see
your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us”’ Peter then
gives multiple examples of how believers who are suffering unjustly at the
hands of the pagans are able to glorify God. He speaks of suffering at the
hands of the authorities (2:13-17), slaves suffering at the hands of masters
(2:17-20), wives at the hands of husbands (3:1-6) and how husbands should
treat wives (3:7). In the midst of this, Peter reminds his readers that
Jesus is the example we are to follow in suffering unjustly (2:21-25). All
of this naturally leads Peter to make his comments in 1 Peter 3:15.
Fourth, while 1 Peter 3:15 does not seem to apply directly to the
dialogue between a false teacher and a believer, a more appropriate text to
review would be 2 Peter 2:1-22 where Peter speaks of false teachers
Robert L. Millet, What Happened to the Cross (Salt Lake City, Utah:
Deseret Book, 2007), 206-207.
“The Fall of Adam and Eve” (Ensign, June, 2006), 49.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Preparing for Exaltation
(Salt Lake City, Utah: 1998), 13.
Two passages Johnson should have discussed at this point are Romans 5:12 and
1Timothy 2:14. In both texts, Paul gives the impression that what Adam and
Eve did in the Garden of Eden was a sin as well as a transgression. This is
brought out in the King James Version, which the LDS Church recognizes.
The context of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 is not about marriage relationships
between believers and unbelievers as many today have wrongly assumed. While
principally 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 can apply to marriage, the context is
about separating from unions with false teachers. I think it would be wise
for Greg Johnson to ask himself whether his is an unequally yoked