When I met with the Ratio Christi team the other month, two of the leaders told me that they had finished their doctorates in theology from North-West University in South Africa, which is one of the largest universities and top schools in Africa. After listening to me speak on Mormonism, learning of my educational background, and learning that I had been working on a book on Mormonism for quite a while now, one of the leaders, Tim Stratton of Free Thinking Ministries, encouraged me to turn that book into a dissertation and get my doctorate done already. As I began praying about it, he connected me to his supervisor there, who also connected me with another professor there. This latter professor is a mutual friend of Paul Carden, who does apologetic work on the cults in Africa. This professor sent me a very encouraging email (see the first entry in the Mailbag section below), so I’m now in the process of applying. The program would strictly be via correspondence. There is one hang up now… COVID 19. The South African Qualification Authority needs to validate my past education to determine if it meets their standards, but they have been closed down due to the virus. When they eventually get back to work, they will be quite backlogged. In the meantime, I am doing a lot of background reading for my dissertation. So if you pray about all this, I’d really appreciate it.
Tara’s and Our Girls’ Schooling
Many of you know that Tara has been doing a grad program at the University of Utah in Occupational Therapy. She just finished her second semester and is starting an intensive summer school schedule that will go through the beginning of August. She’s got two more years to go! I’m so proud of her. She got all As and just one B!
Our girls will be finishing up their school-year at the beginning of next month. Charis has been a tutor for Zoe in her French program. They are both in ballet, and Charis has been taking piano lessons. Of course everything is done online at home now. Never thought we’d be home school parents, but here we are! Thank God for the internet! Charis is also helping Zoe with some piano too. Zoe has finally become interested in piano since she started watching some YouTube videos for kids.
Here's what we should get next month!Chicken Coop
For those interested, we won that chicken coop from CAL Ranch that I was eliciting your votes on a few weeks ago. Thanks for your help! However, there’s hang up with that as well. They were so inundated with selling chickens and chicken coops due to the COVID 19 virus that they forgot to set aside the prizes for the winners! Not only that, those prizes are all out of stock, and we’d have to wait perhaps a year for them to come back in! After a little while of figuring out what they could do, CAL Ranch told us that they are getting other coops in next month from a different company, and they would allow us to get one of those instead. Wow! It’s a lot nicer than what we were supposed to get!
Given the virus has kept us at home for the most part, I’ve also been doing lots of yard work and that gives me an opportunity to interact with the neighbors more. I am in the middle of doing some landscaping work for our next door neighbor, who not that long ago had heart surgery. I was also able to pray with another neighbor who asked me if we had any video security on our door that would perhaps catch some thieves that have stolen from her twice now! Our Easter sign cross in our front yard has also been preaching to our neighbors… and hopefully those thieves as well!
Given my online presence, it seems there are always opportunities to interact with others all over the world. Over the last couple months, I have been able to help a couple guys understand how their rejection of the Triune God has been primarily a matter of their confusion over what the doctrine of the Trinity actually teaches (see the second entry in the Mailbag section below for the latest dialogue). All too often, those in the cults falsely and pretentiously dismiss this doctrine by assuming it is modalism--an ancient heresy that teaches the members of the Godhead are merely titles or ways of appearing and not actually different persons. However, unlike Mormonism, the Christian Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is not comprised of separate Gods. Rather, they are inseparably united from eternity. This is a fundamental point that Christians need to understand when they deal with their family, friends, and others who have been brainwashed in the cults. Of course understanding the difference doesn’t entail cultists are ready to repent. However, I like to think of it as one less obstacle to repentance. It’s part of what the late Francis Shaeffer famously referred to as the important work of “pre-evangelism.”
Some of you may think that all online debates are futile, but that’s simply myopic. God has in fact used online arguments to get people to repent. I know people in which God has used this medium to radically transform their lives for the good. Sure, there are plenty of arguments (online or offline) that are indeed futile, but that just tells us to be discerning in how we use our time.
We Need Your Partnership!
We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial partnership as well. Keep in mind that your investment is not simply for us, but for the lives of others we reach with the gospel. The standard way to financially invest is by writing a tax-
Zoe and Charis with our Easter signdeductible check to Courageous Christians United (CCU). For more information on various ways to invest in this ministry, including online giving, please see our “Invest” page on our sites. Please keep in mind we have no financial guarantees each month. Ministry partners come and go. If you’re not a partner and are blessed by these monthly updates, please consider joining our team and let us know soon. We’d love to be your missionaries here in Utah.
For those who sign up to partner with us on a monthly basis, I will send a signed copy of the book I contributed a chapter in--Sharing the Good News with Mormons (Harvest House). Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and/or in your financial giving!
We expect God to provide for our needs through you. Why? Because the Bible is clear: “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).
Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6)!
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
(801) 792-6373 (leave message)
Thank you for your email and also for your courageous mission work among the Mormons in Uta. While the Mormons is now targeting Africa and especially also South Africa, it is good to have this contact with you. Their activities this last months in our university town Potchefstroom and on our campus, forced us to start training Christians to react and reach out to these American "missionaries". We are also getting more people that want to do their research on different aspects of the apologetic handling of Mormons, also on PhD level. When looking at the 10 points you want to address, it is clear that you really know these people and how they are trained to react.
Please apply as Annelize advised. Apply also for the NWU-bursary that I believed will be a big help: http://theology.nwu.ac.za/m-d-programmes/postgraduate-bursary
If there couldn't be a true religion then what difference does it make what people believe? They are all false anyway. Why waste your time preaching there is no true denomination as you say.
[I replied:] Because Jesus is the truth, He fulfilled prophecies, and rose from the dead. Follow Him.
[He replied:] There are thousands of Christian religions in this world. Their beliefs different from each other in some form or another yet they all believe they all believe they are following Christ. The LDS are just one of those many groups.
[I replied:] that's why it's good to read the source, the New Testament, without all the other outside influences and determine for yourself what it teaches about Christ.
[He replied:] I have read the New Teatament on more than one occasion. As have a lot of Protestants, Catholics, JW and LDS and they all have different views. An appeal to the Bible has not solved much in 1800 years. Based on the Bible you really can't say who is wrong or right because they can all make a good case for their beliefs.
[I replied:] well I'm not persuaded by those outside of the historic Christian faith of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox in their views of God and who Jesus is. Just because a case is made doesn't entail it has just as much worth as everything else. For example, I think Mormonism fails the biblical test on monotheism, so there's no reason I should take the claims of Smith seriously. In fact, I think he fails every biblical test for being a prophet of God. For more on this, see my site JosephLied.com.
[He replied:] I read the book The History of Christianity by Paul Johnson. Today's Christianity can't be counted on to be the Christianity of the first century. It incorporated pagen beliefs over the centuries. Just look at Christmas, a pagen holiday, and the idea of the trinity, another pagen belief.
[I replied:] Every member of the Christian family is imperfect, but that's no excuse for staying away from what C.S. Lewis famously called Mere Christianity. I'd also be wary of a huge genetic fallacy with regard to pagan incorporation.
[He replied:] I read the New Testament and it is obvious to me that the Trinity is a false belief as is our Christmas holiday. I guess we all get something different when we read the Bible.
[I replied:] yep, some people don't know the Good Shepherd's voice and attempt to minimize Him and do exactly what 2 Pt. 3:16 says.
[He replied:] And now the question is who are those people?
[I replied:] You deny the Triune God of the Bible as understood by 2,000 years of Mere Christianity, then it's obvious to me that you're blind and need to repent.
[He replied:] In Matthew 3:17 Christ is baptized. A voice comes from heaven and announces this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. It is clearly a father son relationship. In Luke 22:42 Jesus is praying and he says "not my will be done but thine". There are two wills and thus you have two people. It is obvious to the most casual observer that the trinity idea is wrong. I think the people who wrested with the scriptures were the ones at the council of Nicea.
[I replied:] this tells me you don't understand the doctrine of the Trinity. Of [course] there are 3 wills, but you are assuming they are separate from one another rather than being inseparably distinct or different from each other. If you're really up for learning more, please read my http://www.mormoninfo.org/faqs-31/how-can-jesus-be-one-being-with-the-father-when-jesus-prays-to-the-father-3691
We hope and pray that you are doing well in these crazy days in which we live. Our prayers are with you. May God bless you and protect you.