Scripture Twisting and the LDS Interview on Youth Apologetics Training Podcast – 68:00

Bethel | Book | Mormonism | Podcast | Scripture Twisting | Sharing Jesus with the Cults

My recent interview on Scripture Twisting and the LDS featured on the Youth Apologetics Training podcast.

To listen to the interview, click here.

In this podcast we discuss how LDS use the Bible to support their views of deification, the pre-existence, multiple gods, baptism for the dead, second chance to receive the gospel in spirit prison, etc… as well as how you can use the Bible to defend core Christian doctrine and the accurate interpretation of the verses LDS use to support their viewpoints.

To listen to my previous interview with Michael Boehm and Youth Apologetics training on “Witnessing to Mormons” click on the following links:

Part 1 – This session covers the LDS Plan of Salvation and “Communicating Grace to the Religious Mind,” click here.

Part 2 – In this session we cover some practical tips in reaching out to LDS as well as how to respond when your LDS friend asks you, “Have You Prayed about the Book of Mormon?” as well as some historical issues. To listen to the podcast, click here.

I strongly recommend you subscribe to Michael’s podcast. I’ve personally listened to almost every episode, which is saying something, because there are a lot of episodes.

Becoming Gods

I have said, Ye [are] Gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High. (Psalm 82:6)

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are Gods? (John 10:34)

The claim is that the Hebrews were more technically Henotheists that believe in one God, but acknowledge the existence of other Gods. When the reforms came later under Hezekiah and other kings, the Hebrews became monotheist and then edited their Scriptures.

Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You are Gods.” So, unless the LDS are willing to believe that the Pharisees were Gods while they were still alive, this can’t mean what they want it to mean.

You have the word Elohim, which is used in several different ways. Most of the time, it is speaking of the one true God. Even in LDS terminology, they teach Elohim is the personal name of Heavenly Father, so they have a contradiction right off the bat when dealing with Psalm 82 when it refers to other Elohim.

In the Old Testament, Moses in Exodus 7 and a couple of other places, is referred to as an Elohim to Pharaoh. Yet LDS do not teach that Moses was a literal member of the Divine Council. So you have an example of a human judge who would die as a human, which is exactly what you read in Psalm 82.

The other problem that exists with interpreting Psalm 82 is referring to other Gods, then you have Yahweh declaring that these other Gods would die like humans. Unless you take the LDS interpretation that God is subject to the priesthood, and can be removed from Godhood, this is a problem.

For though there be that are called Gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be Gods many, and lords many,) (1 Corinthians 8:5)

It’s amazing how many of these can be resolved by just looking at the whole passage. The verse before and the verse after clears this up by saying that while there are many that are called Gods, there is only one real God.

Some other verses that you can use to challenge this idea that there are other Gods, or there is a Divine Council, or even the LDS view that the Godhead consists of three separate Gods.

Isaiah 44:6 speaks of two beings, God and the Lord.

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God. (Isaiah 44:6)

Isaiah 43:10-11 says there are no other Gods formed before or after him.

Ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I [am] he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour. (Isaiah 43:10-11)

Bible translations really do some harm. In listening to a debate between James White and Martin Tanner about the possible existence of other Gods, Martin Tanner quoted from the Good News Translation of Psalm 82 which says, “God stands in the Divine Council.” This gives the impression that the Israelites were just like the Canaanites and other surrounding groups that taught that the Most High God presided over a Divine Council of other legitimate Gods.

These groups also point to the Dead Sea Scroll translation of Deuteronomy 32 to teach that God appointed other Gods over the nations after disinheriting them at Babel and Yahweh adopted Israel as his chosen people.

The terminology that these groups point to as speaking of the Divine Council can be easily interpreted as references to angels, such as “sons of God” and “heavenly hosts.”

Some have called Joseph Smith the master religious synthesizer. He would take passages that nobody had a clear interpretation of, and build them into entire belief systems. Some examples:

Pre-existence

Hebrews 12:9 – Father of our spirits

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:9)

Acts 17:28 – We are his offspring

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (Acts 17:28)

Jeremiah 1:5 – Before you were in your mother’s womb, I knew you

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Joseph Smith took those concepts and formed a theology that we all existed as literal spirit children of heavenly father before coming to this earth.

Yet, as Christians, we can easily show that Joseph Smith must be wrong in his interpretation of these verses by citing a few other verses:

And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:23)

Jesus is expressing the contrast between himself and humanity. I am from above. You are from below. I am not of this world. You are of this world. I am the Son of God. I was sent from heaven. (We did not all descend from heaven).

Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (1 Corinthians 15:46)

First we have our natural bodies, and then we get our spiritual body.

Baptism for the Dead

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:29)

What we do know from the context is this is something the Christians weren’t practicing. We know this because Paul uses “I, we, you” language all throughout this passage, and all of the sudden Paul uses “they” when he refers to those who were being baptized for the dead.

Paradise and Spirit Prison

For the LDS person, the LDS church teaches that all of us go to the Spirit World, either to Paradise or Spirit Prison. Both of those terms are used in Scripture, and Joseph gave them new definitions and meanings.

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; (1 Peter 3:19)

Every single occurrence, except for one, in which it is clarified, when spirit is used in the plural, is used to speak of evil spirits. The word for preach is the general “proclamation.” I believe this links back to Genesis 6 and the evil spirits who were in the days of Noah before the flood.

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Peter 4:6)

This really says that these people had the gospel preached to them while they were still physically alive, they since have died, but they were made alive in the Spirit.

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence. (Luke 16:26)

The rich man is calling out to Abraham asking for just a drop of water on his tongue. “There is a great gulf fixed, so that those who would pass from us to you cannot.” You cannot pass from one side of the Spirit World to the other.

Jesus Submitting to the Father

The LDS, and many of the other groups discussed in this book, love to point out verses such as the following to show that Jesus was clearly not equal with the Father, and therefore can’t be God, and can’t be the second person in the Trinity:

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5:19)

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)

All of those things Jesus said because he was in our place. From the LDS mindset, Jesus came to get his body, to finish his assigned task, so he could progress to Godhood. For Christians, as Philippians 2 says, Jesus emptied himself of his Godhood to become one of us to stand in our place. Scripture says that he was tempted in every way just like we are, yet without sin. Jesus felt the full weight of temptation because he never gave in. We all as human beings tap out to temptation at some point. Jesus never did. So Jesus is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses because he was truly one of us and truly stood in our place. He was able to truly “become sin” so that we might become “the righteousness of God.”

Jesus took on an additional nature. He took on human flesh. When he did that, he agreed to do it completely “in the will of God” and “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus truly modeled the kind of life we can have in him. He lived life the same way we, as his believers, are able to.

This is Jesus saying, in this flesh, on this earth, I submit myself to the Father, so that I can play this role. This in no way takes away from John, Paul, Peter and the other New Testament writers clearly saying that Jesus is God.