[Biblemat] B> Gospel Observer 4/20/08
tedwards at onemain.com
tedwards at onemain.com
Wed Apr 23 16:19:19 CDT 2008
THE GOSPEL OBSERVER
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching
them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19,20).
April 20, 2008
1) Mormonism and the Virgin Birth of Christ (Connie W. Adams)
2) The Action of Baptism (Steve Wolfgang)
3) News & Notes
Mormonism and the Virgin Birth of Christ
by Connie W. Adams
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his
mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she
was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband,
being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was
minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these
things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream,
saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary
thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit"
This was in fulfillment of the prophecy that "a virgin shall be
with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his
name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt.
The virgin birth of Jesus has long been revered as a cardinal
tenet of the faith of Christians. This is what is meant by the
incarnation. God was incarnate in Jesus Christ. "God was manifest
in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16). This is how he "took upon himself the
form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men; and being
found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient
unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:7-8).
The Mormon View
The Mormon view of this subject is far removed from what the
Bible teaches. Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., wrote "The birth of the
Savior was a natural occurrence unattended with any degree of
mysticism, and the Father God was the literal parent of Jesus in
the flesh as well as in the spirit" (Religious Truth Defined 44).
President Joseph Fielding Smith said "Christ was begotten of
God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!"
(Doctrines of Salvation 1:18)
"And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this
Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal
sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is
nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived
and born in the normal and natural course of events . . . Christ is
the Son of man, meaning that his Father (the eternal God) is a Holy
man" (Mormon Doctrine , 742).
In connection with this blasphemy, it is the Mormon contention
that sexuality is an attribute of God. Consider the following:
"In the light of their understanding that God is a procreating
personage of flesh and bone, latter-day prophets have made it clear
that despite what it says in Matthew 1:20, the Holy Ghost was not
the father of Jesus... The Savior was fathered by a personage of
flesh and bone, and was literally what Nephi said he was, `Son of
the eternal Father'" (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn
Brigham Young taught that Mary was actually the wife of God.
"The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of,
have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another
husband" (Deseret News, Oct. 10, 1866). Mormon apostle Orson Pratt
also taught that Mary was "the wife of God."
Brigham Young wrote, "The birth of the Savior was as natural as
are the births of our children; it was the result of natural
action. He partook of flesh and blood -- was begotten of his
Father, as we were of our fathers" (Journal of Discourses 8:115).
As late as 1988, then President of the Mormon Church, Ezra Taft
Benson argued that God was the father of Christ "in the most
literal sense" (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 1988). On pages
6 and 7 of his book he wrote, "The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in
the most literal sense. The body in which he performed his mission
in the flesh was sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God,
as Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was he
Begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father."
Folks, this is the church that advertises the Book of Mormon as
"another testament of Jesus Christ." They have 10 million members
world-wide. No wonder they need "another testament" for they have
no respect for the Bible. Matthew 1:18-20 affirms twice that he was
conceived of the Holy Spirit. Now, here is the President of the
Mormon Church who flatly says "nor was he begotten by the Holy
Ghost." That would be a good quote to place alongside Matthew
1:18-20 when you tell a Mormon caller that a Book of Mormon and the
Mormon doctrine contradict the Bible. Will they repudiate their own
apostles and prophets?
The birth of our Lord was a supernatural event. It was not a
"natural action" as Brigham Young taught. Jesus was not begotten
"as we were of our fathers."
The Mormon religion is false to the core. It is suspended upon
the assumption that revelation is not final and complete in the
Bible. Peter said, "According as his divine power hath given unto
us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the
knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Pet.
1:3). Late in the first century Jude urged contending for "the
faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3,
NKJV). If Peter and Jude told the truth, there is no room left for
the supposed revelations of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Judge
Rutherford, Ellen G. White or Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy.
They are all frauds and any religion based upon their utterances is
false and cannot save.
(The author is indebted to the Salt Lake City Messenger
published by Jerald and Sandra Tanner for the documented quotes
from Mormon sources given in this article.)
-- Via Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 5 p. 3-4, March 2, 1995
The Action of Baptism
by Steve Wolfgang
The subject of the "action" of baptism quite evidently concerns
itself with the nature of the act. It raises the question, "Exactly
what is 'baptism'?" This is a question which should be of obvious
importance to every professed believer of the Bible. To those who
do not believe the word of God, little if any significance attaches
to what the act of baptism consists of, or is. To those who do
believe the promise of Jesus ("He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved" -- Mk. 16:16), it is of paramount importance to
understand exactly what is meant by "baptism."
Historically, discussions of this question have centered in
distinguishing between so-called "modes" of baptism -- whether
baptism is "by" sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. Ancient indeed
is the argument that "baptism is commanded -- but the 'mode' is not
revealed; therefore any 'mode' is acceptable." This, of course, is
tantamount to arguing that God commanded an act (baptism) upon
which one's eternal salvation depends (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Pet.
3:21), but was so nebulous and unclear as to leave completely
undefined what the act is! (We recognize that many who would leave
baptism so undefined also deny the necessity of the act for
salvation.) From a Biblical standpoint, the complicated and
intricate arguments over "modes" are completely unnecessary; in
fact, they are foreign to the Scriptures, being instead the results
of human systems of theology. The Bible simply does not say
anything about "modes," for the simple reason that the word itself
indicates precisely what it means and what its "action" is.
In its most basic and fundamental sense, the act of baptism
"consist(s) of the processes of immersion, submersion, and
emergence" (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament
Words, Volume I, p. 96). Standard lexicons (Greek dictionaries),
such as Arndt and Gingrich's Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, define "baptism" in
this way: "dip, immerse," and point out that in "non-Christian
literature" it means to "plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm, etc." (p.
131). Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines
the Greek verb for "baptism" as "immersion, submersion" (p. 94);
while Liddell and Scott, in their Greek-English Lexicon, define the
word to mean "dip repeatedly, dip under" (p. 126). Alan
Richardson's Theological Wordbook of the Bible defines the word in
this manner: "dip, plunge under water, sink or swamp" (p. 27).
Thus the English word "baptize" does not adequately translate
the idea of the action contained in the original Greek word
(baptizo); in fact (as we can see by comparing the Greek word and
the English word), it is not a translation at all, but rather a
transliteration. It merely transposes Greek letters
(transliterates) into English letters, instead of selecting any of
a number of English words (such as dip, plunge, immerse, submerge,
overwhelm, etc.) which would correctly convey (translate) the idea
of the Greek, baptizo. (It is also interesting to notice that a
separate Greek word -- rantizo -- meaning "to sprinkle" could and
would have been used if that were the action being contemplated.)
But one does not necessarily need a knowledge of Greek or
access to a Greek lexicon to learn what the Bible means by
"baptism." Perhaps the best way to establish that the word itself
indicates its own meaning is to examine passages of scripture in
which the word is used. One of the best descriptive passages with
regard to "baptism" is found in Acts 8, the record of the
conversion of the Ethiopian treasurer. From the account beginning
in verse 35 and continuing through verse 39, we learn that the act
of baptism involves a coming unto water (v. 36), a going down into
the water (v. 38), and a coming up out of water (v. 39).
Other passages are likewise revealing in helping us to
understand the nature of the action of baptism. In Rom. 6:3-4 and
Col. 2:12, baptism is called a "burial," which involves again the
ideas of a submersion, or an overwhelming. Perhaps we can
understand from passages such as these why it was necessary that
John the baptizer baptized where there was "much water" (John
3:23). Also, the concept of inundation and a complete overwhelming
with water is implied by Peter's use of the flood in Noah's day,
and his declaration that a "like figure whereunto baptism doth also
now save us" (1 Peter 3:21).
Seeing then that baptism is declared to be an essential
requirement for a person's salvation, we need to be very certain
that we understand what baptism is -- that by definition and by its
own usage it is immersion, and all of the sophisticated and complex
discussion about "modes" will not make it otherwise; nor will it
make sprinkling and pouring something which they are not --
Dear reader, if you have not been "baptized" (immersed) for the
remission of sins (Acts 2:38), we fervently urge you to think
seriously about, and act upon, this important commandment.
-- Via Truth Magazine XIX: 27, pp. 421-422, May 15, 1975
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians be remembering Anne Mae
Jackson in prayer. She had been in the hospital again recently,
but is now back home receiving hospice care. Her nurse said that
Anne's body is now shutting down, and it will be just a matter of
days -- perhaps no longer than a week. Family are now at her home.
Let us be praying for her and for all her family and friends, as
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e-mail: tedwards at onemain.com
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