Front Door Apologetics Article_Wong

Front Door Apologetics

By Letitia Wong

At any given time, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) fields over 50,000 missionaries dedicated to netting converts to the LDS.  Missionaries are thoroughly prepped with specific talking points and a polished presentation designed to impress the homeowner that their Church is true. Though it is easy to politely refuse a visit with these missionaries, consider the following that may make an eternal difference in the lives of two non-Christian young persons.

Out of the hundreds of homes Mormon missionaries approach, how many committed and knowledgeable Christians able to succinctly share the truth of Jesus do they meet? In 2010, the Pew Forum released its findings from a short general religious knowledge quiz given to a sampling of Americans. The highest scores belong to atheists, Jews, and Mormons. On the knowledge front, it seems that Christians are at a disadvantage when it comes to meeting Mormon testimonies with facts.

Women are the most likely persons to encounter Mormon missionaries during the day, which raises the importance of Christian women to provide the first line of defense against the belief system of the LDS church. In what might be dubbed “apologetics at the front door,” what better evangelistic opportunity exists for Christians other than to have two interested people literally knock on the door?  In this unique circumstance, Christian women have a unique mission field that requires a minimum exercise of apologetics to plant and cultivate a possible Gospel seed. While the study of Mormonism can get extensive, a few broad knowledge points are necessary for any woman to understand the big picture of what the missionaries may or may not state out loud.

Mormons claim nowadays that Mormonism is a contemporary form of Christianity.  They hope that by convincing unaware Christians of their claim to doctrinal compatibility between LDS teachings and the Bible, more Christians will come to accept Mormonism as the only true church of God (whereas actual denominational churches are at best incomplete and at worst “all wrong” and abide by creedal abominations). Further, LDS believe that Christians preach spiritual libertinism. With such a stacked proposition, the Christian must tease out several issues within the proposition, such as contextual Bible reading, whether Mormonism is at any point doctrinally compatible with the Bible, and whether there is an earthly organization that can truly be the only true Church of God. If you have the opportunity to talk with Mormon missionaries, take the time to dispel just one myth that the LDS church convinces their members about Christians, which is that Christians believe that salvation by faith alone is a license to sin.

The Mormon paradigm of eternity is radically different than that of biblical Christianity.  Instead of a unique creation, redemption, and completion in God’s salvation, Mormonism, by contrast, teaches a cycle of repeated creations, redemptions, and exaltations of human beings to godhood as successive generations of people attain the ability to create and procreate as the god who created this world has done. All Christians must realize that this understanding of reality flies in the face of both historic Judaism and Christianity.

The divine authority within the LDS church ultimately rests on the president of the LDS organization as the mouthpiece of God and his prophetic leadership ability. As much as LDS missionaries emphasize the Book of Mormon and their related scriptures, the Christian must challenge the truthfulness of this claim, especially since the entire LDS church is built on the lone claim of Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God.

Finally, the basic message of the LDS church is salvation without redemption.  While this may sound oxymoronic to Christians, Mormons redefine the language found in biblical Christianity to present another gospel. To Mormons, salvation is an already universal resurrection to the beginning of proving oneself worthy to receive eternal life (which means eventual godhood), not the substitutionary atonement that Christ achieved in order for believers to reside in the kingdom of God.  Similarly, Christian terms such as original sin, law, grace, heaven, hell, and ‘child of God’ have all been stripped of their biblical meanings and redefined to establish a unique system that is better described as polytheistic Gnosticism rather than Christianity.

Apologetics at the front door is a unique missions opportunity for anyone who finds herself at home when the Mormons stop by for a visit.  As much as it may seem an imposition of time and convenience, consider that the young men or women at the door have dedicated six days a week for two solid years of their lives to convince others of a false gospel. The few minutes or hours it would take to winsomely share the truth of Jesus Christ with these missionaries may be the most important investment into their lives you could make for their eternal life.

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