It is fashionable to be a heretic…

Read this from the first pages of G. K. Chesterton’s Heretics and think about how true this is over 100 years after it was written…

Nothing more strangely indicates an enormous and silent evil of modern society than the extraordinary use which is made nowadays of the word “orthodox.” In former days the heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox. He had no pride in having rebelled against them; they had rebelled against him. The armies with their cruel security, the kings with their cold faces, the decorous processes of State, the reasonable processes of law–all these like sheep had gone astray. The man was proud of being orthodox, was proud of being right. If he stood alone in a howling wilderness he was more than a man; he was a church. He was the centre of the universe; it was round him that the stars swung. All the tortures torn out of forgotten hells could not make him admit that he was heretical. But a few modern phrases have made him boast of it. He says, with a conscious laugh, “I suppose I am very heretical,” and looks round for applause. The word “heresy” not only means no longer being wrong; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word “orthodoxy” not only no longer means being right; it practically means being wrong. All this can mean one thing, and one thing only. It means that people care less whether they are philosophically right. For obviously a man ought to confess himself crazy before he confesses himself heretical. The Bohemian, with a red tie, ought to pique himself on his orthodoxy. The dynamiter, laying a bomb, ought to feel that, whatever else he is, at least he is orthodox.

Tuesday Thomas Watson: Murdering Ministers

Ministers are murderers, who either starve, or poison, or infect souls.

[1] That starve souls. ‘Feed the flock of God which is among you.’ 1 Pet 5: 2. These feed themselves and starve the flock; either through non-residing, they do not preach, or through insufficiency, they cannot. There are many in the ministry so ignorant that they had need to be taught the ‘first principles of the oracles of God.’ Heb 5: 12. Was he fit to be a preacher in Israel, think ye, who being asked something concerning the decalogue, answered he never saw any such book?

[2] That poison souls. Such are heterodox ministers, who poison people with error. The basilisk poisons herbs and flowers by breathing on them; so the breath of heretical ministers poisons souls. The Socinian, who would rob Christ of his Godhead; the Arminian, who by advancing the power of the will, would take off the crown from the head of free-grace; the Antinomian, who denies the use of the moral law to a believer, as if it were antiquated and out of date — poison men’s souls. Error is as damnable as vice. ‘There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them.’ 2 Pet 2: 1.

[3] That infect souls by their scandalous lives. ‘Let the priests which come near to the Lord sanctify themselves.’ Exod 19: 22. Ministers who by their places are nearer to God, should be holier than others. The higher the elements are, the purer they are; air is purer than water; fire is purer than air. The higher men are in office, the holier they should be. John the Baptist was a shining lamp. But there are many who infect their people with their bad life; they preach one thing, and live another. Qui Curios simulant et bacchanalia vivunt [They make a show of goodness, but live a life of riot]. Like Eli’s sons, they are in white linen, but have scarlet sins. Some say, that Prester John, the lord of Africa, caused to be carried before him a golden cup full of dirt; a fit emblem of such ministers as have a golden office, but are dirty and polluted in their lives. They are murderers, and the blood of souls will cry against them at the last day.

-Thomas Watson on the sixth commandment in The Ten Commandments

Mormonism is a cult…

One of my dilemmas about the upcoming election is the fact that the “conservative” nominee is the member of a growing cult. Mitt Romney explicitly drew attention to his Mormon faith in his nomination-acceptance speech, and the Mormon church is giddy about so much positive publicity. My present trouble in contemplating a vote for a Mormon candidate is, should he be elected, Mormonism will be mainstreamed and legitimized for many. Of course, a vote for the cult of Obama (whose devotees congregate at abortuaries and faculty assemblies at our most prestigious universities) is not an option. Up to this point I’ve happily been a one-issue voter, but the question of casting a vote for a Mormon candidate (who believes doctrines such as those stated below) has got me thinking. I haven’t come to any good resolution of the question and very well may end up voting for Romney…but the first step in coming to any closure on this is for me–and all Christians–to get a better grip on the teachings of this cult.

Here’s a helpful start from the ESV Study Bible…

What do Mormons believe about apostasy and restoration?

Mormons claim that “total” apostasy overcame the church following apostolic times, and that the Mormon Church (founded in 1830) is the “restored church.”

What’s the problem with this understanding?

If the Mormon Church were truly a “restored church,” one would expect to find first-century historical evidence for Mormon doctrines like the plurality of gods and God the Father having once been a man. Such evidence is completely lacking. Besides, the Bible disallows a total apostasy of the church (e.g., Matt. 16:18; 28:20Eph. 3:21; 4:11–16), warning instead of partial apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1).

What do Mormons believe about God?

Mormons claim that God the Father was once a man and that he then progressed to godhood (that is, he is a now-exalted, immortal man with a flesh-and-bone body).

What does the Bible teach about the nature of God?

Based on the Bible, God is not and has never been a man (Num. 23:19Hos. 11:9). He is a spirit (John 4:24), and a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Furthermore, God is eternal (Ps. 90:2; 102:27Isa. 57:151 Tim. 1:17) and immutable (or unchangeable in his being and perfections; see Ps. 102:25–27Mal. 3:6). He did not “progress” toward godhood, but has always been God.

What do Mormons believe about the Trinity and polytheism?

Mormons believe that the Trinity consists not of three persons in one God but rather of three distinct gods. According to Mormonism, there are potentially many thousands of gods besides these.

What does the Bible teach about the Triune God?

Trusting in or worshiping more than one god is explicitly condemned throughout the Bible (e.g., Ex. 20:3). There is only one true God (Deut. 4:35, 39; 6:4Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:18; 46:91 Cor. 8:4James 2:19), who exists eternally in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:192 Cor. 13:14).

What do Mormons believe about human exaltation?

Mormons believe that humans, like God the Father, can go through a process of exaltation to godhood.

What does the Bible teach about humanity?

The Bible teaches that the yearning to be godlike led to the fall of mankind (Gen. 3:4ff.). God does not look kindly on humans who pretend to attain to deity (Acts 12:21–23; contrast Acts 14:11–15). God desires humans to humbly recognize that they are his creatures (Gen. 2:7; 5:2Ps. 95:6–7; 100:3). The state of the redeemed in eternity will be one of glorious immortality, but they will forever remain God’s creatures, adopted as his children (Rom. 8:14–301 Cor. 15:42–57Rev. 21:3–7). Believers will never become gods.

What do Mormons believe about Jesus?

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ was the firstborn spirit-child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother. Jesus then progressed to deity in the spirit world. He was later physically conceived in Mary’s womb, as the literal “only begotten” Son of God the Father in the flesh (though many present-day Mormons remain somewhat vague as to how this occurred).

What does the Bible teach about Jesus?

Biblically, the description of Jesus as the “only begotten” refers to his being the Father’s uniqueone-of-a-kind Son for all eternity, with the same divine nature as the Father (see note on John 1:14; cf. John 1:18; 3:16, 18; see also John 5:18; 10:30). Moreover, he is eternal deity (John 1:1; 8:58) and is immutable (Heb. 1:10–12; 13:8), meaning he did not progress to deity but has always been God. And Mary’s conception of Jesus in his humanity was through a miracle of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20).

What do Mormons believe about our eternal destiny?

Mormons believe that most people will end up in one of three kingdoms of glory, depending on one’s level of faithfulness. Belief in Christ, or even in God, is not necessary to obtain immortality in one of these three kingdoms, and therefore only the most spiritually perverse will go to hell.

What does the Bible teach about our eternal destiny ?

The Bible teaches that people have just two possibilities for their eternal futures: the saved will enjoy eternal life with God in the new heavens and new earth (Phil. 3:20Rev. 21:1–4; 22:1–5), while the unsaved will spend eternity in hell (Matt. 25:41, 46Rev. 20:13–15).

What do Mormons believe about sin and atonement?

Mormons believe that Adam’s transgression was a noble act that made it possible for humans to become mortal, a necessary step on the path to exaltation to godhood. They think that Christ’s atonement secures immortality for virtually all people, whether they repent and believe or not.

What does the Bible teach about sin and atonement?

Biblically, there was nothing noble about Adam’s sin, which was not a stepping-stone to godhood but rather brought nothing but sin, misery, and death to mankind (Gen. 3:16–19Rom. 5:12–14). Jesus atoned for the sins of all who would trust him for salvation (Isa. 53:6John 1:292 Cor. 5:211 Pet. 2:24; 3:181 John 2:2; 4:10).

What do Mormons believe about salvation?

Mormons believe that God gives to (virtually) everyone a general salvation to immortal life in one of the heavenly kingdoms, which is how they understand salvation by grace. Belief in Christ is necessary only to obtain passage to the highest, celestial kingdom—for which not only faith but participation in Mormon temple rituals and obedience to its “laws of the gospel” are also prerequisites.

What does the Bible teach about salvation?

Biblically, salvation by grace must be received through faith in Christ (John 3:15–16; 11:25; 12:46Acts 16:31Rom. 3:22–24Eph. 2:8–9), and all true believers are promised eternal life in God’s presence (Matt. 5:3–8John 14:1–3Rev. 21:3–7).