Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Dear Billy Graham, Mormonism is still a cult

I thought I'd wait until after the American election before posting this as this is not in anyway politically motivated. I am not American, although I am married to one and love the US and the church there. I also have my theologically differences with Billy Graham but I do respect him and believe God has used him mightily throughout the latter half of the C20th. His achievements should not be dismissed and neither should his love of God. Yet I am really concerned that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed Mormonism off it's list of cults after Mitt Romney visited Dr Graham.

I know that we share similar ethical views with Mormons on marriage (although some Mormons still hold to their original belief in plural marriage), abortion and would share simple moral views on a whole host of other issues so I do understand why Billy Graham felt he could endorse Mitt Romney's campaign to get into the White House yet Mormonism is still a cult because:

It believes God was once a man on a planet and that a good Mormon shall become a God of his own planet and populate his own planet with his many wives. Genesis 3 tells us that it was the Serpent who first suggested to man that he could become a god and he hasn't changed his game.

Mormons do not believe in the Trinity, Elohim was born on a planet and fathered Jesus or Jehovah (this is confusing because they call him by a name of God but He is not Elohim- In Scripture, Elohim and Yahweh are the same, The Father, The Son and the Spirit. In Mormonism Jehovah has a brother and his name is Lucifer, according to Mormonism these were fathered in the spirit world. They felt out when Elohim picked the Mormon Jesus to be the saviour of the World.

They do not believe in the virgin birth instead The Mormon Elohim impregnated baby 'using natural means' Brigham Young. Which 

Of course much worse than any of that is their view of Salvation, Mormons believe that man is basically good so Christ did died to pay for the sins of Adam only. Mormons believe in a sort of universalism, the best Mormons get to be gods of their own planets, the rest go to heaven. They baptise the dead to make non-Mormons into Mormons so they can go to this second class of heaven. They have a system in place that makes salvation obtainable by works, baptism and temple sacrifices (not animal sacrifices).
Paul warned us in Galatians chapter 1 to be aware of even an Angel if it preaches a different Jesus and a different Gospel this applies to the message of Mormonism which was supposed to be delivered by the Angel Moroni. May Mormons come to see the true God and the true gospel and find life.


Friday, 9 November 2012

The Prodigal Prophet

I have been hanging out with an old friend recently, the prophet Jonah or at least the book in the Bible about him.
I find Jonah's story to be one of the most amazing stories in the whole Bible .  Each chapter begins with a surprising twist. In fact the whole account is full of surprising twists and turns. The first chapter even opens with a shock, Jonah the son of Amatti, has the Word of the LORD come to him. Yet the surprise comes as this prophet of God, who may already have had a faithful ministry in Israel against the crooked King Jeroboam the 2nd, (2 Kings 14:25) runs off in the opposite direction.  Verse 3 tells us ‘But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.’ Jonah who was called of God, hears the voice of God, experiences the presence of God in a real way and what does he do? He bolts in the opposite direction as fast as he can. This isn’t a sin of ignorance it is wilful disobedience as he tells the sailors later, (v10) ‘For the men knew he was fleeing the presence of the LORD, because he had told them so.’  Jonah experienced the utter folly of running from an omnipresent God, for you cannot outrun a God who is everywhere at the same time.  So the consequences of Jonah’s actions led to his being thrown overboard the ship and ending up in the belly of a great fish. That is probably where we would expect Jonah to end, a very short book on judgement of disobeying God but that is not where the book ends.

Chapter 2 begins in the belly of a great fish. You may have heard of the revivals in Wales, but chapter 2 starts with a revival IN a whale (or big fish). The shock of chapter 2 is first, that there is a chapter 2 and second that what is eating to Jonah is not a big fish but his own stricken conscience.  Jonah in the midst of the dark, dank, smelly belly of the great fish calls out to God in prayer. If ever a situation was without hope this seemed like it - the disobedient prophet hidden away in the stomach of a fish towards the bottom of the ocean. Yet it is not without hope, Jonah cries out to God in prayer (2:1), ‘Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the great fish.’ We are given some indication of that hope for, in spite of his disobedience and the circumstances Jonah finds himself in, we are told that Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. There is still some sort of a relationship between God and Jonah. Jonah takes the words of Psalm 18 and makes them his own. He acknowledges his sin and his utter dependence upon the LORD. Verse 7 proclaims, ‘While I was fainting away I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to You, into your holy temple.’ He goes on to say, ‘That which I have vowed I will make good. Salvation belongs to the LORD’.  Jonah in his hopelessness promises to keep his vow to the LORD and chapter 2 ends with Jonah standing on dry ground, although probably still smelly and messy from his experience.
The greatest shock in the whole book however is that in chapter 3, ‘The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time.’ This prophet who disobeyed God by running from his very presence is once again given the opportunity to serve God as the call is renewed and Jonah is forgiven. Jonah discovered that God’s mercies are new every morning. Whilst we serve a holy God, He is also a God who is able and willing to forgive us and bring us home to him

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon by Steven Lawson

I received this book for free I am not obliged to give a positive review. 

I am enjoy the series Long Line of Godly Men edited by Steven Lawson  and this book is no exception Lawson loves Spurgeon and knows his subject well. That said I do think that it is very dependent upon Iain Murray's Forgotten Spurgeon and covers much of the same ground. This isn't a problem unless you read the two back to back (as I did due to Lawson giving thanks to Murray for his book). Lawson weaves in and out of direct Spurgeon quotes and retains a beautiful flowing text, it seems almost effortless but reflects I suspect years of delving into Spurgeon's vast treasure trove. Lawson shows that Spurgeon had a warm hearted reformed theology, a theology that was motivated by a high view of God's sovereignty but that was equally concerned to see sinners saved. 'I preach Calvinism as high, as stern, and as sound as ever; but I feel, and always did an anxiety to bring sinners to Christ. He saw anxiety for sinners as a key trait of preachers' This led Spurgeon into controversy with the hyper Calvinists on the one hand and the Arminians on the other. This is because Spurgeon was biblical in all his thinking and preaching, as he said of Bunyan we can say of him, his blood his bibline, wherever you prick him he bleeds Bible. The truth always attracts controversy it is not that Spurgeon looked for it but it came looking for him and he was able to stand up for Christ. This was to help him later when within his denomination when he fought for the authority of Scripture in the downgrade controversy. Spurgeon was confident in God and in God's word and this kept him, Lawson tells us that Spurgeon was concerned to preach only what he found in scripture. He did this by using his extensive intellect to study the word but also relying upon the Holy Spirit. Unlike a lot of reformed baptists Spurgeon believed in the power of the Holy Spirit in more than a credal sense, but he wasn't a charismatic in fact he dismissed the holiness movement seeing it as an Arminian error that had developed because much Arminian gospel preaching did not led to regeneration and so was inadequate. Spurgeon believed in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about life at the New Birth which resulted in a personal holiness. In preaching Spurgeon relied on God to speak through His word and trusted the Holy Spirit to do the work in saving souls. He entered the pulpit believing this was God's work and that God would do it. May He do it again by raising up men like Spurgeon in this generation. I commend the book to you!

In the Grip of Grace

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The glorious humility of Christ! Spurgeon on the exaltation of Christ

The Shadow of Death- Holman Hunt


Man seeks to win his glory by the slaughter of others—Christ by the slaughter of himself: men seek to get crowns of gold—he sought a crown of thorns: men think that glory lieth in being exalted over others—Christ thought that his glory did lie in becoming "a worm and no man," a scoff and reproach amongst all that beheld him. He stooped when he conquered; and he counted that the glory lay as much in the stooping as in the conquest. Charles Spurgeon

The best and worst moment in history was the moment that Christ died, the agonising, humiliating death of Christ. He was dishonoured and treated like a sham so that those who put their trust in Him can dwell in his glory forever. 

Stephen <><