ANALYZING MORMON DOCTRINES
Mormons call themselves Christians and yet they differ greatly from the beliefs of traditional Christianity. Due to the differences, both belief systems cannot be right. Over the next few weeks I would like to analyze Mormon doctrines by comparing beliefs. We will begin our study with the most important doctrine in Christianity.
Traditional Christians believe the Trinity is Biblical
To prove the Trinity is a Biblical doctrine 3 important facts have to be established.
- There is only one God.
- The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit are distinct persons, in that they communicate, love, & have a will.
- The Bible teaches the Father is God, Son is God, and Holy Spirit is God (yet there is only one God – #1).
If all 3 can be shown to be scriptural then the only conclusion an honest person can make is the Bible teaches the Trinity.
1. The Bible teaches only one God.
This is actually very easy because multiple verses teach there is only 1 God. Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear (Shema) O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Isaiah 45:5a, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” For additional support read Isaiah chapters 43-48 and you will find the Bible clearly teaches there is only one God.
2. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate persons.
A person is non-physical. A person can love, have a will, communicate, and possess emotions. The Bible clearly establishes the fact that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit demonstrate the attributes of personhood.
3. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
The claim the Father is God is usually not controversial. Many verses teach this includingGalatians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)…”
The claim the Holy Spirit is Godis more difficult but can be established multiple ways. Acts 5:1-4 “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Ananias lied about the money he supposedly gave and Peter said he lied to the Holy Spirit. Then in verse 4 Peter told him he had lied to God; equating the Holy Spirit as God. Another way to demonstrate the Holy Spirit as God is to find all the verses showing the Holy Spirit possesses the same characteristics and power as God.
Finally, the Bible teaches Jesus is God. Matthew believed Jesus was God when he writes about the birth of Jesus. Matt. 1:23 “. . . and they will call him Immanuel” — which means, “God with us.”
John believed Jesus was God. John 1:1, 14 The Apostle John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” v14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
Thomas believed Jesus was God. In John 20:28 prior to seeing the resurrected Jesus, we see Thomas doubting the resurrection. Then he sees Jesus, and Thomas proclaims, “My Lord and My God.”
Paul believed Jesus was God. Apostle Paul writes in Titus 2:13, “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”
Jewish religious leaders believed Jesus claimed to be God. John 10:30-33 [Jesus speaking] I and the Father are one.” 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Remember to show the Trinity is Biblical, three important facts have to be established: 1) There is only one God, 2) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are 3 distinct persons, and 3) that each is God. Only the doctrine of the Trinity can explain the relationship of these 3 facts in describing the one true God.
A definition of the Trinity: We believe in one God subsists in 3 persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All 3 are co-equal and co-eternal.
For a more in-depth teaching on the Trinity, go to a series I wrote called “Loving the Trinity.” You could also listen to the two part series I have posted on this web site under the heading of “Sermons.” I delivered these messages to an attributes of God series in the winter of 2010 at Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, CA.