My Goal in Every Conversation with Mormons

The following post first appeared on Stand to Reason.

Last week some Mormon missionaries showed up at my door. I was unavailable at that moment, so we set up an appointment for them to come back next week. I’m looking forward to the conversation, but I don’t anticipate much impact…in that single conversation. After years of dialoguing with Mormons, I’ve learned to take it slow. Indeed, ex-Mormons will tell you that a patient approach is the best one. 

Think about the Mormons you know. Most of them probably grew up in the LDS Church. Their parents are Mormons. Their family members are Mormons. Most of their close friends are Mormon. The LDS church plays a preeminent role in their life, touching every area. With this in mind, is it realistic to expect Mormons to abandon their faith after one or two conversations? Probably not. That’s an unrealistic goal. 

continue reading

Resources to Help You Respond to Mormonism

I have six half brothers and sisters who were raised in the church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). When I first became interested in the existence of God and the reliability of the Bible, I committed myself to a simultaneous investigation of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. What I discovered kept me from becoming a Mormon. I hope some of these resources will help you investigate Mormonism as well (each article is printable and downloadable as a PDF file):

Resources Related to the Evidence Against Mormonism
Articles to help you examine the evidential claims of Mormonism:

continue reading

A Brief History of Islam

Have you ever wondered how a religion gets started? Do a bunch of people get together and decide to start a church just so they can pass the collection place and launch a television ministry? Does God look down from heaven and choose someone to start a new belief system just so he can have a few more buildings with stained glass windows built in his honor? Or does some ambitious person decide to blaze a new path to God because he believes all the others are wrong?

Here’s one story—the story of Islam—that may help you understand how a religion gets going. This is the true account (short version) of the early beginnings of Islam, the world’s second biggest monotheistic religion.

The Story of Islam

Muhammad ibn Abdallah was born in A.D. 570 into a prominent family in the city of Mecca, Arabia (now Saudi Arabia). His father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was six. Raised by his uncle, Muhammad married a 40-year-old wealthy widow named Khadijah when he was 25. The newlyweds settled in Mecca, where Muhammad became a successful businessman.

continue reading

I Dreamed a Dream: What Book Can Explain Jesus?

I dreamed last night that a friend I have been praying for finally became interested in Christianity. He asked me, “What’s the best book I can read to understand Christianity?” I was puzzled. At first, I thought, Mere Christianity, only to realize that Mere Christianity is better suited for a new Christian or someone who needs to become more serious about their faith. Then I was troubled. I didn’t have an answer.

My friend had asked me the question because he had recently heard me pray. While I was praying, he realized how much Jesus means to me and desired to believe—but wasn’t convinced yet—that there could be more to life. I assumed, in my dream, that the prayer made him realize that I actually believed that I was having a conversation with God: not just that I was petitioning, but that someone on the other side heard me, listened, and spoke back.

Latter Day Uneasiness

Let me just put it out there and take the wacks for being intolerant; I would be very uneasy having a devout Mormon in the Oval office.

Watching the political wrangling of the pachyderm party and the various missteps of those hopefuls for nomination to lead the nation, it is quite obvious that the “religious affiliation” question is a minefield not to be crossed.

So let me attempt to bravely venture out where one is forbidden to go and explain my queasiness.

Some religions are nutty.

Scientology comes to mind as a loopy scam. 

Some religions are deceptive, cloaking their real ideas and agenda in the guise and language of an already accepted faith.

The Gnostics were pretty good at this as I recall. 

continue reading

Did Christianity Copy From Pagan Religions?

In one of the scenes of the Coffeehouse Chronicles, my new novella series, Nick a student who is questioning his own Christian faith, watches the popular Zeitgeist YouTube video.

The video tells a story about religious leaders throughout history who had similar characteristics to Jesus. The video implied that Christianity simply plagiarized from other religious stories that were circulating years before. Names like Attis of Greece, Krishna of India, Dionysus of Greece, and Mithra of Persia were included in the video. The narrator described how these religious leaders, based on astrology were born on December 25, born of virgin, discovered by a star in East, adorned by three kings, became a teacher at twelve, baptized and started ministry at thirty, had twelve disciples, and performed miracles, were known as the “Lamb of God,” “The Light,” crucified, buried for three days, and resurrected.

continue reading

Is Sincerity Enough?

One of Christianity’s most important claims is also one of its most controversial:  Jesus is the only way to God (Acts 4:11-12, John 8:24).  A common objection follows:  “It does not matter if you believe in Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammed, as long as your belief is sincere.  What more could God want than a sincere heart?”  Indeed, the annoyed objector may even point to the fact that adherents of other religions are oftentimes more sincere than the very Christians who criticize their sincerity. 

Of course, Christians ought not needlessly offend people, but we do need to ask if sincerity should be our most important concern when it comes to religious belief, as this objection assumes.  Two responses will help bring clarity to the issue. 

First, notice that no one accepts sincerity alone in any other area of life besides religion.  Why?  Because sincerity may be important but it is not enough.  For example, if you decide to go skydiving, are you more concerned about having sincere beliefs or true beliefs?  When you are coasting in a plane at 10,000 feet in the air, preparing to jump into the wild blue yonder and then plummet towards the earth at mind-numbing speeds, do you merely want a sincere belief there is actually a working parachute in your backpack?  Of course not.  You want a true belief that your parachute is in full working order.  If you sincerely believe that your parachute works but you are sincerely wrong, you’ll look quite different once you land.

continue reading

It's 9/11: WWJD?

It's 9/11 and there is a lot of pain in the American soul. The pain is real and not unfounded. Living outside of the United States, I feel the world's focus on my home country, holding its breath to see if one man will spark violence in so many places if he goes ahead with his bonfire plans.  

It's 9/11 and my question, as I wake up this morning, is simply this: what would Jesus do?

I landed at London Heathrow yesterday in the remnant of darkness just before dawn. Our route had taken us up from Nairobi (Kenya, East Africa) and over a big hunk of Africa before crossing Europe. Just half an hour before our descent into London, we passed over Paris.  The City of Light looked dazzling from the air. From my vantage point, I wondered about the millions of Muslim people I had flown over in the hours since I'd lifted off.  Northern Africa is predominantly  Islamic, the home of the infamous Moors who held the Iberian peninsula for hundreds of years. And Islam is by no means restricted to Africa's north. Nor to that continent. The cities of Europe are filled with second and third generation followers. Look at Paris. Look at London.

continue reading

Is "Cult" a Four-Letter Word?

Mormonism is in the news these days, thanks to Glenn Beck, the highest profile Mormon since American Idol runner-up David Archuleta. Beck's rise to fame has come as a conservative radio and television talk show host and best-selling author, and most recently as a speechmaker for the Tea Party.

His call at a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for America to turn to God has conservatives and Christians in a lather. Does Glenn Beck speak for America? More crucially, does Glenn Beck speak for God and Christians?

In the interest of bringing clarity to the conversation, we thought it would be useful to do a couple of things. First, since Mormonism is often referred to as a "cult" (a word that sounds pejorative and mean-spirited), we want to explore with you just exactly what a cult is. In a subsequent post, we will outline some of the distinctives of Mormonism so you can answer the "Is Mormonism a cult?" question for yourself.

continue reading

Can Buddhism Lead to Christ?

Tiger Woods is back, and the world is watching. Some are watching for the golf, others for the story of recovery and redemption in play. Me, I'm watching for the Buddhism.

If you recall, just a couple of months ago Tiger held that rather strange and staged "mea culpa" press conference, the one where he apologized all over the place and then pointed to Buddhism as the rock upon which he was going to stand. Tiger hasn't mentioned Buddhism since, but that doesn't mean he hasn't made good on his intention to return to his religious roots. Come to think of it, was that Tiger's deceased father or was it the spirit of Buddha speaking to Tiger in that kinda creepy but somehow fascinating Nike commercial?

continue reading
Syndicate content

Bloggers in Other Faiths

Sign-up for the Newsletter
Sign-up for the Newsletter
Get the latest updates on relevant news topics, engaging blogs and new site features. We're not annoying about it, so don't worry.