On Sunday nights at First Baptist Church Oloh, where I am an Associate Pastor, I have been walking our students through some everyday apologetics. We spent several weeks looking at our current culture as it operates with a Post-Modern worldview and how to combat various skeptics and some arguments that they bring to the table. Most recently, we have begun to look at various religions, their history, their beliefs, and ultimately why they are false and why Christianity is true. I can assure you that once you begin the research and hold these different views up to Scripture, they begin to break down rather quickly.
Last night, we continued our study of Mormonism. We have been looking at Mormonism for several weeks now and have been researching their history, beginning with Joseph Smith Jr. (their founder) and other aspects of their religion that the modern day Mormon missionary will not know about when they knock on your door. The study of this is very important for every believer because Mormons can be very persuasive in their speech and how they present their “truth.” It is not uncommon, at least where I live, to see Mormons out riding their bikes or walking the roads on their 2-year mission sharing what they call the “gospel of Jesus Christ.” This makes it all the more important for believers to be rooted in their beliefs, knowing how to combat Mormonism because after talking with a Mormon missionary you may find yourself thinking “maybe we aren’t that different.” Well, I can assure you that if you are a born-again believer, you are operating in a completely different hemisphere than a Mormon.
I do want to share one aspect of Mormon theology that breaks down and is not in line with the Bible. If you know anything about Mormonism, you know that they have 4 books that they refer to as Scripture. One of these book is the King James Version Bible, as well as The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. Mormons believe all 4 of these books to be divine revelation from God. From the start, you can recognize that they are way different than Christianity as we operate with the closed canon of Scripture, the Old and New Testaments. But, if one is to study Mormonism a little deeper, it does not take long to realize that there are some major discrepancies within the Mormon Scriptures and the Bible. I am not going to elaborate on all of them because it would take days, but if you want to get a pretty good idea of all of the falsehoods within Mormonism and within their Scriptures, I recommend Walter Martin’s book Kingdom of the Cults.
Specifically today, I want to address a small portion of a Mormon’s understanding of sin. The Book of Mormon in Moroni 8:8 states, “little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me.” Now the traditional Mormon perspective is that children are incapable of sin until the age of 8 when they are baptized. I didn’t say they are sweet and innocent, I said that they are incapable of sin. Yes, incapable of sin. I want you to think about this. I have 2 daughters. They are about to be 5 and 2. According to the Mormon view, they are incapable of sin. But, I promise you, they have been totally depraved since day one. If my children are incapable of sin, why is it easy for them to tell a lie? If my children are incapable of sin, why is it easy for one of them to slap the other in the face just because she can? If they are incapable of sin, why are they so selfish and get angry when the other plays with a toy that is not hers? Mormons are famous for having a bunch of kids and you would think that they would pick up on this rather quickly.
But it is more than a simple observation. The Holy Bible is in direct opposition to this view that is held by Mormons. In Psalm 51, David is relenting from the adultery that he had committed with Bathsheba, and in verse 5 he says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” David is saying that from day one of his existence, he was a sinner. This is the doctrine of Total Depravity. All of mankind of inherited the nature of Adam, that of a totally depraved sinner. It’s not that you wait until you commit a sin to be a sinner, it’s that we were born into sin, totally incapable of doing anything about it on our own. This is why Jesus was born of a woman, conceived of the Holy Spirit. Had he been born of 2 human parents by the seed of man, he would have also inherited the nature of Adam and would have been born totally depraved but he wasn’t.
If this is not enough for the everyday Mormon, let’s look further. In Romans 3, Paul begins his defense of total depravity. He is putting forth the truth that there no one righteous. He doesn’t say, nobody is righteous except for little kids 8 and under. No, he says that there is none righteous. In Romans 3:11-18, he begins to quote the Psalms when he says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” As you can see, Paul leaves no room for children to be excused from unrighteousness.
I could go on further with some more theological and biblical evidence but I think that you get the picture. I do want to mention one thing further on this topic. Tradition has taught Christianity something that goes along these lines but is also not true. I am unsure of this understanding in various other denominations, but within Southern Baptist life (that which I am most familiar with) there has been something called the “age of accountability.” This is something that is often times thrown out there in an attempt to excuse children from the judgment of God for their sins. Yet, there is no biblical evidence that supports the “age of accountability.” What is the age? I have heard 7, 8, 10? The fact is that there is no age of accountability and we must excuse this from our minds. We must teach and implore children, just like adults, to repent from their sins and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
But, I do want to say this. The question always arises, “what happens to a baby, or a child, when they die?” This is a question that theologians and pastors have wrestled with, and will continue to wrestle with, for many years. I am not going to attempt to answer this question in great detail because it is a tough question and it requires and extensive answer. But, in short, I will say that when this happens, God will do the right thing. God is righteous, He is loving, and He is faithful, and at the tragic death of a child, He will do the right thing and I can rest in that. I do want to recommend a resource if you desire to read further on the topic of infant/child death. John MacArthur is way smarter than me and he has written a book entitled Safe in the Arms of God that will give much more biblical insight into this subject.
Nonetheless, Mormons have it biblically wrong when it comes to children. Not only do they have it wrong in regards to children, they have it wrong in regards to tons of beliefs. But, what I have come to the conclusion of when it comes to Mormons and children, Mormons must not work in the nursery.