Take A Stand! O N L I N E

"Discerning the Times in the Light of the Word"


March 11, 2000

Christianity Today Magazine
Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Tonight I read "A Peacemaker in Provo" about Pastor Dean Jackson's move to unite Mormons and Christians in Provo, Utah. I also read the "letters to the editor" responding to the article. Again and again, there were words of praise from LDS folks for Reverend Jackson’s position, while at least two evangelical ministers from Utah felt otherwise. There is a message here. Mormons love what Jackson has done because when summed up, it seems to identify an ally against "anti-Mormon" teaching. (No serious apologist is "anti-Mormon", but rather "anti-Mormonism".) After all these years of hearing how Mormonism is wrong, could it be that now they may be reminded less about the absolute charade on which Mormonism is founded?

On the other hand, the ministers – who’s mission it is to see captives set free – are grieved because Reverend Jackson has stepped over the line in the name of repentance. It appears, if your reporting is accurate, that he has misled his congregation down the slippery slope of trying to make peace with not only the people, but with the Mormon system itself. If so, this is surely a double-barreled victory for Satan.

While it is admirable and biblical to tear down the walls of human intolerance and hatred, it is apparent from the Christianity Today story that this situation is more than that. Two scriptures immediately race through my mind…"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal. 5:9) and "…what communion hath light with darkness?" (See II Cor. 6:14-18)

As an apologist I am mortified at the suggestion that somehow we are going to reach the lost by abandoning debate and discussion with groups like the Mormons and should instead commence singing hymns with them! Just what God would be praised in such a joint worship service anyway? Do we suppose that one Mormon missionary will stop spreading the satanic gospel of Mormonism to the unsuspecting just because we cease explaining that the LDS "Jesus" is identified as Lucifer’s brother in Joseph Smith’s theology? If we do not light the way for the lost, who will? As unseemly as it may feel at times, those embracing aberrant theology must be directly reasoned with through the pages of Scripture. Granted, this is a rather untidy and often tense job and one that too few Christians have taken on, but nothing less is going to pry any of those lost in the cults from Satan’s grip! While it is a fine line to follow Ephesians 5:11 ("And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them") i.e., "living in the world but not of it", the exercise of real love is to tell those lost in a false religion the hard truth. It is then and only then that the Holy Spirit is able to draw, convict and save.

Perhaps God wouldn’t lead "outsiders" to Utah to evangelize lost Mormons if Reverend Jackson and other locals were efficiently teaching their folks a balance of tact and tenacity, while inspiring them to expose Mormonism for what it is. We must persevere to demonstrate the theological, historical and practical DIFFERENCES between Christianity and Mormonism, NOT the likenesses. So, after this love-fest in Provo, is there now going to be an all-out effort to evangelize the Mormons? Perhaps it will take some fence-sitting folks, previously from the local Assembly of God church, to end up over at the local Mormon stake before Reverend Jackson and his supporters are able to see past their goose bumps and realize what has transpired. Repentance from ill will is one thing; to embrace those bent on converting us all to a false religion is quite another. Since Reverend Jackson taught in the Mormon Sunday School, isn’t it likely the Mormons will want a shot in return?

Is it wrong that some Christians have held bitterness against Mormons? Undoubtedly. I’m for befriending and reaching out to Mormons with the real gospel anytime. However, it is equally wrong to sidestep the truth just for the sake of peace. It appears that Jackson is in the process of doing this. If we really love our neighbor, we will tell him the hard reality – even if it upsets him. In the same way, Jesus riled the world around him and the apostles were chased from town to town, beaten, imprisoned and ultimately martyred. They boldly taught doctrines that offended the local religious establishment while presenting Heaven-sent truth at all cost. Thank God the Apostle Paul’s last name wasn’t Jackson!

Though most Mormons are oblivious to it, the truth is that LDS doctrine points to a different Jesus – not the one who died on the cross and shed His blood for mankind’s sins. They’ve been taught of a different gospel – not the one that millions have died in defense of for the past 2000 years. And thus, they are led by a different spirit – just as the Apostle points out in II Corinthians 11:3-4. I did not say they weren’t sincere, but their allegiance to the wrong "Jesus" is a one-way ticket to hell according to God’s Word.

Should we love the Mormons? Yes! Should we reach out to them and befriend them? Yes! Should we make absolutely certain that they know the blunt truth about Mormonism? YES! Love doesn’t mean compromise and it does not mean to beat them up with Scripture either. However, it is misguided and even demonically inspired to believe that by reconciliation in the flesh alone one Mormon will be saved from the pit. This is a worldly idea that negates the Holy Spirit from His mission. He convicts and saves the lost only when we carry out our end of the bargain – to preach and witness to the absolute truth at all cost.

However well intentioned Reverend Jackson seems perilously close to resembling Lot living in ancient Sodom. It appears that the longer Lot lived there, the greater his ability to ignore the spiritual state of those all around him. Being an affluent member of the community (Gen. 19:1), Lot chose prestige and power over righteousness. Living in a sinful, godless (or cultic) culture has a way of doing that. He may still have believed the same righteous doctrine as before but sharing it openly brought too much strife, so he abandoned proclaiming it. It was social pressure. In the end, he tried to reason with demon-possessed men (Gen. 19:6-9) and losing all rational judgment, he offered his own virgin daughters to the mob who were intent on the rape of angels. Could it be that some of us are fallaciously attempting to reason with Mormonism, while offering our most prized possession – the truth – to the devil in return?

Following his humanity Lot found a way to live amongst such a mess of lost people, obviously foregoing any talk of repentance with his neighbors lest they react against him. What good did it do him? None, as tragedy swept over his family. Though Scripture tells us Lot was grieved by what he saw (II Pet. 2:7-8), silence was convenient and more socially respectable. Besides, the culture he lived in was extremely intimidating – just like it is for Evangelical Christians in Utah today. I have ministered there on several occasions. I know.

As hard as it may be for a Christian to live in Utah, we must never forget that Believers are here on earth with a purpose – to defend the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) which means sharing the gospel even in uncomfortable situations. Our sole mission is to clearly, unabashedly proclaim that Jesus – the real Jesus – is unequivocally the only avenue to peace in this life and in eternity. Hatred and prejudice should be abandoned but if we really love the Mormons there must be a relentless campaign to expose Mormonism in their midst.

Eric Barger
Take A Stand! Ministries
Rowlett, TX



Having had a bad experience with USA Today, if you wish to publish this I ask that no editing be done whatsoever without my written consent. Thank you.

Eric Barger

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