JUNE 2021

JUNE 2021 THE CROSS NEWSLETTER Concerned Christians
FUNDAMENTALS OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF
THE FIRST DEVIATION – JUDIASM
In the May 2021 Newsletter, I discussed ‘ORTHODOXY’. Orthodoxy is the basics of unity among Christians. If a person claims to be Christian, allegiance to these fundamentals is considered imperative. I will repeat the eight basic concepts again.

  1. The Bible (God’s personal Word to humanity)
  2. God (The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit)
  3. Christ (Jesus)
  4. The Holy Spirit (The Comforter, God’s Spirit with us)
  5. Mankind (Human life, God’s ultimate Creation)
  6. Salvation (God’s plan for bridging the sinful separation between His Creation)
  7. The Church (God’s body of disciples)
  8. Eschatology (‘The last days’, Jesus’ return, End times)
In the May 2021 Newsletter, I discussed ‘ORTHODOXY’. Orthodoxy is the basics of unity among Christians. If a person claims to be Christian, allegiance to these fundamentals is considered imperative. I will repeat the eight basic concepts again.
The Bible (God’s personal Word to humanity)God (The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit)Christ (Jesus)The Holy Spirit (The Comforter, God’s Spirit with us)Mankind (Human life, God’s ultimate Creation)Salvation (God’s plan for bridging the sinful separation between His Creation)The Church (God’s body of disciples)Eschatology (‘The last days’, Jesus’ return, End times)It did not take long after Jesus’ resurrection for these fundamentals to be challenged. The first major challenge came from within the Jewish community and some early Christian believers called – JUDAIZERS.Judaizers were both, believing and non-believing, Jews who maintained that all Christian men must be circumcised. They also believed new Christians must practice some or all of the old Law of Moses. We know about this deviation because Luke recorded details in Acts 15. The Apostle Paul also addressed the problem in Galatians 1-2. In Galatians, Paul confronts the Apostle Peter about this problem.It is interesting that Peter even has this misunderstanding of fundamentals. In Acts 10-11, Peter travels to the house of Cornelius by direction of the Holy Spirit. The events which occur shows Peter the separation between the Law of Moses and Christian beliefs. He really seems to understand the separation when he defends his actions in chapter 11. Somehow peer pressure seems to change his understanding. This prompts the confrontation in Galatians chapter 2.Acts 15 is the Church’ solution to this prickly problem. The summation of this meeting of the apostles and elders is stated in Acts 15:19-21: it is my judgment (Peter is speaking), therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.In other words, the new Christian leadership acknowledges a COVENANT CHANGE. The Law of Moses has requirements which are no longer necessary. This does not mean that principles included in The Law of Moses are not valid. No, it means there is a NEW COVENANT with new principles. Circumcision is no longer necessary. Also, keeping the ‘Sabbath’ is no longer necessary. (The Seventh Day Adventists do not agree with this.) The Hebrew word ‘Shabbat’ literally means ‘seventh’ referring to the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, Sunday. Sunday became the important day of observance in the church.Let us evaluate ORTHODOX fundamentals and see why the JUDAIZERS were wrong.
  1. God’s Word, The Bible, did not change.
  2. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
  3. The Christ (Jesus), His sacrifice supersedes the Law of Moses.
  4. The Holy Spirit is now available for all Believers, not limited to just a few.
  5. Mankind. Access to God is now available to Jew and non-Jew (Gentile).
  6. Salvation, direct connection to God belongs to all peoples on Earth.
  7. The Church is the total of all Believers. It is not described by a building or headquarters.

The JUDAIZERS did not understand the miracle which God had performed through His Son’s sacrifice.

Next month I will look at other early deviations from ORTHODOXY. We will continue learning the development of non-Christian groups who have found their origin in Christianity but corrupted one or more of the seven basic Christian concepts. Usually, they wish to call themselves Christian for being accepted. Wolves in sheep’s clothing? Possibly!

Gary Keating

General Manager

How do Mormons handle sin in their lives? (Excerpts from “Freedom for the Latter-day Saint Soul”by Judy Robertson)                                                         
“Mormons are taught they were born good. This helps many Mormons strive to maintain the righteous life they believe they had in pre-existence. With a sense of pride, the conscientious Latter-day Saint attempts to maintain this pre-mortal state of righteousness” (From Freedom for the Latter-day Saint Soul, page 75).
From the Bible:“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
From the Mormon book Gospel Principles:“Some people believe Adam and Eve committed a serious sin when they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, Latter-day scriptures help us understand that their fall was a necessary step in the plan of life and a great blessing to all of us” (Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 33, emphasis added).This is actually the lie of Satan calling evil good. The Bible teaches us clearly, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).According to LDS teaching, living exemplary lives here on earth guarantees a spot in the LDS Celestial Kingdom. Therefore, we see clean wholesome lifestyles as Mormons strain every nerve to obey the ordinances set out in their church doctrine in order to gain what the Latter-day Saint calls the “highest degree of glory.”All this striving is not without pressure. The clean-cut appearance and good wholesome living we see in Mormons is admirable. But looking behind that appearance we see a person trying desperately to repent of past and present sins. No one would undermine a repentant nature. But how does a Mormon know when he or she “totally repents”?…Thus, hidden guilt is the norm among Mormons and devours their well-being.  (From Chapter Eight, “A Life of Condemnation.”)
The simple gospel message is about Jesus It isn’t complicated. Perhaps that’s why Paul expressed concern when he said he was afraid that “as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity in Christ” (2Corinthians 11:3 KJV).       Jesus said we must come to Him “like a little child” (Mark 10:21).                
When Mormons say, “I believe that the Mormon church is the only true church,” and say nothing whatsoever about Jesus, then we must conclude that this “testimony” is of “another gospel” as spoken of by Paul in Galatians 1:8-9.               
 The whole essence of the gospel message revolves around who Jesus is and what He did for us, not on who we are or what we can do. It’s all about Him.Jesus said, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”It’s really only love that we have to give to others. All our knowledge and all our stumbling efforts can never win another into the Kingdom of God. But our love can. So dear reader:“Let us love one another, because love is from God” (I John 4:7).
Many of you have faithfully supported Concerned Christians for many years. And I personally thank you for continuing to pray for the salvation of your loved ones and others you have never met. I hope you will use some of our hot summer hours to read, “Freedom for the Latter-day Saint Soul.” The article you just read is simply a few short excerpts from this book. I hope you will decide to order it from Concerned Christians and read “the rest of the story.” Out of Mormonism, my first book,was the personal story of how Jim and I converted to Mormonism and how God drew us out. Within my most recent book, (printed 2020) Freedom for the Latter-day Saint Soul, are interviews with many who came out of the LDS church. Find out why they left. And how some believers in Christ Jesus alone for salvation, were instrumental in showing LDS how a person who knows Jesus on the heart level, lives. As you may or may not know, all the resources from Concerned Christians are sent to you free of charge. However, we do have to buy the books we send out. Supporting the ongoing of our ministry helps others acquire resources that they may not otherwise be able to do. Thank you for remembering Concerned Christians in your prayers and financially, if you’re able to do so. God bless you,
I recommend this book to get a real insider’s look at the complexities of exiting the LDS Corporation. Falling into the pile of quicksand that is LDS is heartbreaking to watch for those who have a real relationship with Jesus. Somedays it seems totally hopeless. An outsider has no idea the toll taken on one’s mind-it is a very emotional undertaking. Everyone knows someone who is LDS. Pray for them by name daily. Paulette


Hold On
By Kristine Nelson
Have you experienced the longing and desperation that comes from waiting for the Lord to move in your life or the lives of your loved ones? Does it seem like forever since you’ve seen the fruit from the relationships you have been sowing? Have you wished to see a loved one come to know the love of Jesus Christ?For me, I reflect and realize how different my life is now with Christ, how incredibly graced my life is and how He has changed my heart. These are joyous moments when I feel so grateful and free. In the midst of praising God for this, my throat wells up, and I feel an ache, a wishful hopeful ache for my family. How I long for my sisters and brother, my parents, and a few close friends to experience the freedom and the renewing of the mind that Jesus Christ has given me. At times in the past, I’ve taken things into my own hands, shared much too quickly, forgotten to pray and wait on the Spirit, or have just been frustrated at another’s seemingly apathetic stance on God. Now I just pray for Jesus to work a miracle.One recent Sunday, our pastor of music was delivering the sermon. He was speaking about “holding on” being patient in difficult circumstances. He told us the story in John 11 of how Jesus could have worked a small miracle in the life of Lazarus by healing him immediately when he was sick. Mary and Martha had sent word for Jesus and were waiting for him. They knew Jesus could work a miracle. Jesus chose to have Mary and Martha wait for four days, and Lazarus died. When asked “why” by his disciples, Jesus told them, “Lazarus is dead and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”After Lazarus died, Mary was torn apart with grieving. Jesus came along side Mary and shared in her grief and wept. Then, Jesus worked an even more amazing miracle…he brought Lazarus back from the dead. Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” Jesus made a situation wait for the benefit of the people standing there, believers and non-believers alike, so that they would believe in Him.If we can wait on the Lord for that opportunity to plant a seed instead of taking the course into our own hands, we may see small changes taking place. If we have patience in our place of anxiety and need for another person, we can call on him, give what He moves us to give and accept what He provides. If Jesus had chosen to heal Lazarus in his sickness, maybe far fewer would have been affected by the amazing miracle he performed. Also, we must trust that when we are aching for another person and their struggles in life, that Jesus is right there along side us, grieving and weeping with us because he loves us.We, as humans, can’t see how close we are to the goal. We can’t see how close someone else is to finding freedom with Christ. God acts in his own time from his own sovereign view. As much as we may desire that person to know and follow God, we cannot orchestrate it, nor can we thwart God’s will. We also cannot impede on another person’s free will and choices in life.Often it seems so easy to give up in the battle for lost souls. We may not be heard by the ones we are witnessing to or we may be exhausted from watching lives deteriorate without the hope of Christ. But each moment on this earth is a gift, when we’ve been blessed with the gift of eternal life, and it is our purpose to share this gift.In God’s perspective, He sees all. He often makes us wait. He grieves with us. He knows exactly what is ahead for us and for those we love. Then sometimes, when we are drier than a desert, or hurting more then ever, he moves and simply amazes us. If we can hold on to Him, God can and will work small miracles in our lives and in the lives of those we love. In my own words, “I just want to see those whom I love in eternity with Jesus Christ and have a little less burden to carry here on earth.”
Kristine is a long time member at Concerned Christians. She was born and raised in a 5th generation LDS family and has studied and compared Mormon theology with Biblical Christianity.
NO COMPARISON
by Judy Robertson
the difference between Mormonism and Christianity
Mormonism
CROSS
The cross is somehow related to pagan beliefs and so is not displayed anywhere in ward buildings or temples nor are they worn. (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R. McConkie, p. 172)

PLACE IN HEAVEN
Place in heaven is earned by good works.(Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McKonkie, pp.328-331. “Good Works”)See also: Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, pp.670-672. “Salvation by Grace.”
BAPTISM
Is to become a member of the Mormon Church and may be performed only by one having the authority of the priesthood. (Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, p. 70)Baptism by proxy is performed in the temple for those already dead. (Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith by Joseph F, Smith, p. 193, Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R, McConkie, p.73)
Christianity
CROSS
Christ died on the cross bearing our sin and so it is a reminder of redemption by Christ’s blood. (I Corinthians 1:17-24, Galatians 6:12-15)
PLACE IN HEAVEN
A place in heaven is being prepared for us by Christ (John 14:1-3) who gave us the way by dying on the cross in our place for our sins. We could never be rewarded with a place in heaven by being “good” by our own efforts. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Isaiah 64:6) When we recognize our helplessness to save ourselves by living righteous lives, we can only look up and say, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18: 10-14) and then thank him for his merciful act of sending His Son to die in our place. (Titus 3:4-7, Galatians 3, Galatians 5:4, Philippians 3:3-9)
BAPTISM
Is in to Jesus Christ, not membership into a Church. (Galatians 3:27) Our old sinful self is crucified with him. “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-5)No second chance for salvation after death, (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Hebrews 9:27, II Corinthians 6:2).


Welcome to Witness Tips
by Jason BornAgain

 Faith – When LDS people refer to faith, it has NOTHING to do with faith from GOD. Faith to them is code for works. Faith WITHOUT works is dead (James 2:17). When LDS quote this, I say, ‘Yes, of course I believe this.’ Then I flip it on them. “I also believe that works WITHOUT FAITH is DEAD.” Then ask, “Would you agree? This helps the LDS realize they don’t have a clue about REAL faith, and that they have been slaves to busyness instead of coming to the Authentic JESUS faith.   Roman’s 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God”, means NOTHING to them. I always help them BEGIN to understand how I came to Biblical faith. 
See you next time.
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