Any reason to fear?

The Mormon Coffee post of April 18, 2008 discussed Jesus’ words from Matthew 7:21-23. Here Jesus warns of the result of spiritual self-deception:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart form me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:21-23).

The article referred to Jesus’ warning as “the most frightening words,” for they speak of being eternally cast away from the safe and comforting presence of the Lord.

After reading the article on Mormon Coffee about the Matthew passage, a Latter-day Saint commented,

“Frightening words? I’ve read this passage many times, and have never found it frightening. The Savior’s ministry has always brought me peace.”

This made me wonder. Under what circumstances would the threat of eternal separation from the Savior Jesus Christ not be frightening?

For someone who does not believe in Christ I suppose the words would have little meaning; but clearly our LDS friend is not in that category.

Someone believing he is secure in his salvation may not be frightened by these words, but he would be foolish to dismiss them so readily. After all, Jesus is warning of self –deception — He is speaking specifically about people who (mistakenly) believe they are secure in their salvation.

Be that as it may, it’s unlikely that our LDS friend is in that category, either. In Mormonism there is no ultimate assurance of spending eternity in the celestial kingdom where Christ dwells, for one of the requirements to enter that kingdom is faithful endurance to the end.

If a person does not believe in a hellish eternal punishment Jesus’ words might not be frightening. In the Mormon belief system pretty much everybody gets an eternal life far better than the earth life we are familiar with. So the prospect of gaining any one of the three LDS eternal kingdoms would probably not generate fearful concern.

Nevertheless, the Mormon understands that being assigned to a place outside the celestial kingdom is in turn being banished from living eternally in the presence of Christ. Is this not frightening to contemplate?

A Christian reader of Mormon Coffee responding to our fearless LDS friend suggested a possible answer:

“Jesus words are sobering to those of us who follow Him because we know what the stakes are.”

Could that be it? People who are not frightened or sobered by Matthew 7:21-23 don’t know what they have to lose? That makes sense to me. If we don’t know Jesus, if we don’t know the depth and the height of who and what He is, maybe we aren’t too worried about living without Him.

Several Mormons have told me over the years that heaven would not be heaven without the continuation of their marriage and family unit; if all they got was dwelling forever in the presence of God they were not really interested in going there.

An LDS man once asked me what I wanted eternity to be like. I told Him that my hope and my joy are in Christ. I long to spend eternity in His presence. That is my perfect eternity, to be with my Savior forever.

The man told me that I would probably get what I hoped for, but I would be missing the best part. He said,

“It’s like going to an exquisite restaurant, ordering an incredible dinner, and leaving after the soup and salad, before the entrée arrives.”

For him, Jesus is a nice appetizer preceding a fulfilling eternity that goes way beyond the joy of the Lord.

Listen to the way Christian pastor S.M. Lockridge described his King Jesus:

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Is He your King? Do you know Him?

He is what we have to lose if we deceive ourselves into believing a lie.

Terrifyingly frightening thought.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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57 Responses to Any reason to fear?

  1. Rick B says:

    Ralph, A PHD is mearly Human wisdom, Some Guy that thinks he is smart gives you a paper because you pretty much agree with him, Big Deal, Did Jesus hand out a PHD? Did Jesus call the 12 because they had them? PHD is not in the Bible does that mean they are bogus?

    So the Word Trinity is not in the Bible, we see the Concept all through out the Bible, LDS teach 3 seperate gods, yet here again is what Scripture clearly teachs and you guys ignore.

    Isa 40:13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or [being] his counsellor hath taught him?
    Isa 40:14 With whom took he counsel, and [who] instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

    If His father is a God and he was a mere man who exalted to goodhood then that verse is false. Also in the Pearl we read God saying I sat in the Councel of the gods and WE CREATED, Again that shows God taking councel.

    Isa 41:4 I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I [am] he.

    He is not saying that He is the First and last over this Planet, He is the First and Last PERIOD.

    Again God says
    Isa 43:10 understand that I [am] he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
    Isa 43:11 I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.

    I bring up verse 13 for this reason, God says Isa 43:13 Yea, before the day [was] I [am] he; and [there is] none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

    God is rather bold to say, NONE can deliever out of His hand, if their are more powerful gods before Him, surly they have the power to do so.

    I love this verse here,
    6 “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.
    7 And who can proclaim as I do?
    Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,

    God not only says, He is the Only God to exist but wants others to prove it.

  2. shelli says:

    Here is another verse…

    1Jo 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

    It seems pretty obvious to me.

  3. jackg says:

    Wow, this is my first time in this arena, only getting here through chance (Spirit-led?). I am a former Mormon, and all the rhetoric on display is not getting anything accomplished. Everything seems to be a mess because there is no delineation of dogma, doctrine, and opinion. I appreciate that each group is trying to convert each other because at the core of your beings is the desire to bring each other to the truth as each group perceives the truth to be. Neither side wants the other side to spend eternity absent from God’s presence. So, we can’t allow these conversations to become contests of who’s right and who’s wrong. With that said, we need to decide on the measuring stick of truth:is is it the Bible or the extra-biblical books in the LDS canon? Also, we cannot just proof-text the Bible so it conforms with preconceived ideas or beliefs. We need to understand the historical context before we can apply it to today. As a Mormon, I knew nothing about biblical exegesis, and realize that a lot of eisegesis is happening in this dialog. As for me, the measuring stick is the Bible without the Apocrypha. Who is in disagreement with this?

  4. Ralph says:

    RickB,

    I made the comment about a PhD as a joke in response to your argument. All the people I work with who have a PhD agree that its a waste of time and means nothing, which is why we make the comment about it proving that we have no brain. So I don’t know why you made a big thing about it.

    As for the verses you have quoted, these have been discussed many times in the past and we have tyo agree to disagree. Our interpretation of them fit in with our beliefs just as your interpretation fits in with your beliefs.

    Shelli, the verse you have referenced is a 4th or 5th century inclusion in the Bible, meaning that it does not exist in the earliest manuscripts that have been found. It is known as the Johanine (spelling?) Comma and has been discussed many times in past blogs. So it is not a verse that proves the Trinity from the Bible as it was added in a couple of centuries later. So no, its not obvious from this verse.

  5. Rick B says:

    Well Ralph, If you choose to say God is a liar, then thats your choice, you will stand before him and explain why you feel He lied, then after that you will be tossed into ever lasting darkness and be put exactly where you desire to be. Rick b

  6. Ralph says:

    Bold words RickB considering the topic of this blog. It seems from this quote that you are definite that you are correct and that you have nothing to fear. But lets go back to the scriptures you mailed last time.

    You compared Is 40:13-14 with the PoG. I think you had better go into the PoG and our church’s teachings better before making statements like this. Yes there was a Council (*) in heaven – this means that there was a meeting or a conference. No where do we say that God received counsel (*note the spelling of the 2 words – different spelling and different meaning) from anyone. He already had in mind His plan for us and He divulged this to us in the Council. All that was done there was He asked for a volunteer to act as Saviour for all. No where do we teach that any one told Him what needed to be done, or that He asked what He should do. So we do not teach that God received counsel from anyone. As for the “we created”, the actual translation of Genesis should also indicate the plural as the word used is ‘Elohim’. It also uses the words “us” and “our” in reference to God, so the PoG does not do anything different from the Genesis account in using these words.

    I went into Is 41:4 and to me this is in context with a battle (see surrounding verses). God has always said to the Israelites that He would lead them into battle, so He is the first. In this verse note that He also said “and with the last”. So to me, in the context of surrounding verses He is saying that He will not leave any of them alone to fight, but He will be first in line and He will also be with the last.

    Is 43:10-11 Do you know of any genetic fathers to your children apart from yourself? Yes there are other fathers to other children, but only one to your children. So there is one father forever for your children and no other fathers. These verses can also be read in this manner.

    So none of these really supports a Trinity in my view. So no God is not lying.

  7. Michael P says:

    Jack, I agree and think such a discussion could be fruitful.

    Sub, I am a few days late in response: if you notice my next phrase, in the same sentance is to ask you to make a compelling case. We cannot prove anything, but we can make cases for or against. Proving comes from belief, which I am not likely to convert you.

    I also very well know it is easy to say something. Which is why I then asked you to make a compelling case, to put the rubber to the road, so to speak. Can you do that?

    I know the topic of the trinity has been discussed, but my questions were not addressed. So be it at this point.

    Actually, your comments on the denominations is also off track. You introduce a new argument, one that you have no evidence to support: that being that the LDS is the only church to accurately represent the earliest church. Please provide the evidence to show your faith mirrors the earliest church.

    Is God not all knowing? Does he not know what you will do tomorrow? If you answer yes, then you should know how God foreknew us. He knows all, through all eternity. Pretty amazing, but true, and this foreknowledge does not necessitate a pre-existence, now does it?

    Finite answers to questions. God speaks in Godly ways, humans seek human answers. I see you seeking human answers, ie the Trinity makes no sense, nor does foreknowledge without pre-existence, we have to be able to baptize for the dead to give all a chance, and since God spoke through prophets before, he has to now.

    I know you disagree, and that is fine. These are just my observations on your faith. I also do not think you can even try to understand our faith. I am confident enough in my faith to understand yours, in large part why I am here. Can you say the same?

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