Part 2 Rejecting the Jesus of Mormonism

Last Wednesday I got the opportunity to share the Luke passage (concerning counting the cost) with my new Mormon co-worker.  I had him read it from the Bible I keep in my desk.  Luke 14:25-33 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: [26] ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. [27] And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. [28] Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? [29] For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, [30] saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' [31] Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? [32] If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. [33] In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

I asked him, what did Jesus communicate to the crowds?  He said if you are going to follow Him, you’d have to make Him number one.  I said when Jesus used the word “hate” he couldn’t have been teaching we have to despise parents, wife, and children; this would go against the clear teaching of the Bible.  One of the 10 commandments teaches we are to honor our father and mother, not hate them.  There are verses that teach to love God and others.  Many verses indicate we are to take care of our families, not to detest them.  So what did Jesus have in mind?  He was telling his audience to love parents, wife, and children less than Him; to make him your highest priority.  Luke was using a Semitic idiom.  He was literally using Old Testament language of when you love someone less, you “hate” them (Genesis 29:30, 31 RSV).

In the verses that follow, Jesus supported this line of reasoning with examples of counting the cost of being a follower.  If you build a tower will you not estimate the cost before you start?  Or if you go to battle will you not weigh whether you can win or not?  If you want to be a follower of Jesus Christ you have to make Him your highest priority; He has to be more important than anything.  Jesus goes on to say to be His disciple you have to give up everything.

My Mormon friend said this was not the Jesus he was willing to follow; his family meant too much to him.  He then went after the accuracy of the Bible by saying it not accurate because of the multiple translations.  I spent time letting him know how accurate the Bible is and how we can trust what it says.  However, it didn’t seem to matter to him.  This was not the Jesus he wanted to follow; he preferred the Jesus of Joseph Smith.  The cost of following the Biblical Jesus was too high.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tom Wright December 13, 2010, 9:23 pm

    So you were asking for this guy to go home and tell his wife and children from now on they are not as important to him as his religion. Pretty high hurdle. How would you break that to a Parker Jane?

  • Steve December 19, 2010, 2:28 pm

    Once he comes becomes a follower of Jesus Christ and has eternal life, I expect him to go home and tell his wife and kids about how they can know Jesus Christ so they can experience life everlasting. If his family rejects the truth, then he can still love and provide for his family. The Bible gives lots of good advice for how fathers can lead their family.

    In my life Jesus is number one, Peggy number two, and the kids number three. I had no problem telling my kids who is number one in my life. All of them have great respect for the order of my priorities.

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Do Objective Morals Exist?
Answering Tough Questions
Counting the Cost
Is God the Author of the Bible?
God’s Holiness and Love Wins
Ministering to Mormons in Utah
Challenging a Jehovah’s Witness
What Ever Happened to Hell?
Accurately Interpreting the Scriptures
Understanding the Christian Worldview
Accused of Partnering in Wickedness
Set Apart Christ as Lord
Sharing with Knowledge & Wisdom
Becoming a Good Ambassador for Christ
How to Persuade Others

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