Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We all worship the same GOD

I read the page on Mormonism that you have on your web site. First of all let me compliment you on your time and effort to share your beleifs and comments on the LDS Church. I'm sure you receive many e-mails from Latter-Day Saints often on your site. When i was 16 years old i received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I remember that day and how much it changed me. I was a senior in high school when two missionaries came knocking at my door, they gave me a Book of Mormon and asked me to pray about the talk they gave me. I did just as they asked me. For two years on and off i studied the LDS faith and Prophet Joseph Smith. I read good and bad subjects on the church, but mostly on the 14 year old boy Joseph Smith who found the church. Sometimes it makes me sad to know people who bash The Chuch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. This is a free country where people are free to express their feelings, but it makes me wonder if they really speak from their hearts or if they just speak out of hatred. I have never felt the spirit in anyother church than i have in the LDS chuch. I do beleive in the chuch i feel so strongly about it. I've grown so much, and i am in love with every little thing about it. What i am trying to say to you is everyone is different. Everyone has thier beleifs. In the end we all worship the same GOD. Different people grow in defferent churches. We are all Heavenly Fathers children, and he loves all of us just the same. It dousn't matter if we are Catholic, Jewish or even people who don't believe in him. I have been open to many different churches, and to be completely honest the nondenominational chuches are the most judge mentel people i have ever met. They teach that they are the onlyones who will go to heaven. We teach even if your not LDS you will oneday be with heavenly father. That is the reason we have the temple. Thank you for your time, and i hope you will be open to my letter and different religions.


Hello Stephanie,

Thank you very much for writing your thoughtful letter. I wanted to begin by saying that I am in complete agreement with you that each individual believes as he chooses. I also am thankful that you recognize the difference between those who speak out of love and those who speak out of hate. I want to be up front about the fact that while I very much disagree with the teachings of the LDS faith, I do not hate the Mormon people. In fact, it is because of my great love for you all (Latter-day Saints), that I desire greatly to proclaim the message of my God and my Gospel.

You said, "In the end we all worship the same GOD."

I do not believe that all people worship the same god. In fact, the god that I worship is not the god of the Mormon faith. For example, I believe in what is called Absolute Monotheism: the belief that only one true god exists. Mormons believe that many true gods exist; even that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three separate beings, and three gods. This is called polytheism.

Why is this important? If you would, read through John 8. To quickly catch us up, the Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman they caught committing adultery. He challenges the authority of the Pharisees which they then use to question Christ's authority. In verse 13 the Pharisees challenge Christ by declaring: "You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true" (NASB). Jesus then responds by saying that He testifies about himself, and the Father, who sent him, also testifies of him. After asking where Jesus' father was, Jesus replied: "You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also." Jesus continues: "I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." It is Jesus' next statements in verses 23-24 that brings me to my point: "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

Jesus told the Pharisees that they will die in their sins, unless they believe that "I am he." You probably noticed that the word "he" is italicized in your translation. The reason it has an italics font is because "he" is not in the Greek copies that the New Testament is translated from. ego eimi, or "I am" is actually a claim of divinity. I would now like to provide some background info to establish this. Bear with me =). The Old Testament that Jesus and the rest of the Jews had in the first century was a Greek translation of the Hebrew called the Septuagint. Interestingly enough, what we find in the Septuagint's rendering of Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 43:10 (both key passages in describing God) is the same Greek phrase for "I am" that Jesus says in John 8:24. In Exodus 3:14, God describes Himself as "I AM that I AM" ... which was how Moses was to describe God to Pharaoh. In Isaiah 43:10, another important text where God declares that He is the only true god in existence, we find the phrase "I AM." It is with this rich background in mind that Jesus describes Himself in John 8, and throughout the rest of John's Gospel. In John 8:58-59 Jesus calls himself "I am," and the Jews picked up stones to throw at him! In John 18, Jesus' referring to himself as "I am" results in the Jews falling down to the ground!

Scurrying back to our text in John 8:24 where Jesus refers to himself as the "I am," you will notice that Jesus' states that a rejection of his divinity results in dying in your sins. Therefore to reject Jesus as he truly is is to remain dead in your sins. It is my belief that the Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus taught in the Bible, and is therefore a false Jesus. This means that a belief in the Jesus taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints results in one remaining in one's sins. This is why I am so passionate about preaching my Jesus to the Mormon people, because I desire that they, and you, turn from the Jesus taught by the Mormon Church to the Jesus of Scripture.

Having said all that, I would be honored to have a pleasant and kind discussion with you. Might I suggest a first topic: how many true gods exist? I should briefly state that while I do believe in only one true god, I also believe that His one Being is shared by three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (this is what we call the doctrine of the Trinity. And I would love to discuss the Trinity, but after establishing how many true gods are in existence).

Thank you for your email. I hope this was beneficial, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Casey Ryan

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Oneness Pentecostalism

Dear Friend I have read many of your books and heard you at conferences, have appreciated your ministry. I especially enjoyed your book on the Trinity. My question is-what do we say about folks like T.D. Jakes, Phillips C & G., Jesus Only people, etc. Can a person truly be a saved person (Like Jakes) who denies the Trinity? Isn't the whole foundation of salvation destroyed by this? Is it simply ignorance on their part God will overlook? Is it in the same class as the Jehovah's Witnesses? Thanks. Doyle.

Hello Doyle,

To deny the Trinity is to deny the God of the Bible. When Jesus claimed divinity, it was always a claim of who He actually is, and not to the exclusion of the Father and Holy Spirit as co-equal and co-eternal divine Persons. Throughout John 8, where Jesus claims his own divinity (Consider the "I AM" statements in John 8:24, 8:58, 13:19, 18:6 with Exodus 3:14, and Isaiah 43:10), we see Jesus addressing the Father as a distinct, divine Person. Claiming that Jesus is divine isn't enough. One must believe in Jesus as He truly is: the second Person of the Trinity.

Jehovah's Witnesses deny the Trinity from a different angle by believing Jesus is indeed a god, but not Jehovah.

If you haven't already, you would be greatly benefited from reading Dr. White's The Forgotten Trinity. It is a personal favorite of mine, and have read it at least four times over the years =). For further information, I also recommend Robert Reymond's A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, specifically his section on the Trinity. It is excellent.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

In Christ,
Casey Ryan

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The choicest gift of God to man, the gift of reason

At least, Thomas Paine thinks so. Having read Common Sense and Rights of Man, I figured that I might as well finish reading his other major work: The Age of Reason. Unfortunately for me, TAOR contains all of Mr. Paine’s arguments against organized religion, specifically the three monotheistic religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Paine had a background with the Quakers, and it is for this reason that I believe he attacks Protestantism and Roman Catholicism with great energy. It would be an understatement to say that Thomas Paine detests Christianity. No, he hates it with all of his being.

Here is the author’s profession of faith: “I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavouring to make our fellow creatures happy. But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them. I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit” (Paine. Pgs. 3-4).

Okay, so there is one god. But what do we know about this God? Weeell, that’s where Paine gets a little fuzzy. You see, God is incapable of communicating an unchangeable message to human beings through language, whether spoken or written, because human language is always evolving.

“But some perhaps will say-Are we to have no word of God-no revelation? I answer yes. There is a Word of God; there is a revelation. The Word of God is the creation we behold: And it is in this word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man. Human language is local and changeable, and is therefore incapable of being used as the means of unchangeable and universal information. The idea that God sent Jesus Christ to publish, as they say, the glad tidings to all nations, from one end of the earth unto the other, is consistent only with the ignorance of those who know nothing of the extent of the world, and who believed, as those world saviours believed, and continued to believe for several centuries, (and that in contradiction to the discoveries of philosophers and the experience of navigators,) that the earth was flat like a trencher; and that a man might walk to the end of it.” (Paine. Pg. 33. Bold Emphasis Mine).

Particularly enjoyable was the latter part of his statement where he compares those who believe in the message of Jesus Christ with those who believe the world is flat. This brings out an interesting point that I see time and time again in the writings of Enlightenment Thinkers: if you don’t agree with them, with modern thinking, and with the science of the day, you are living in the Dark Ages. If you aren’t Enlightened, you are Darkened. How ironic that both Paine and Christians believe each other’s worldview is backwards and “reverse” in their reasoning.

Up to this point in the book, there has been no argument or piece of information I have not heard before by liberal professors or in the media. This means that secularists have not changed their arguments one bit.

In this hefty citation, Paine tells us how Christianity was formed:

“It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing at that time to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion. Their Jupiter, according to their accounts, and cohabited with hundreds; the story therefore had nothing in it either new, wonderful, or obscene; it was conformable to the opinions that then prevailed among the people called Gentiles, or mythologists, and it was those people only that believed it. The Jews, who had kept strictly to the belief of one God, and no more, and who had always rejected the heathen mythology, never credited the story. It is curious to observe how the theory of what is called the Christian Church, sprung out of the tail of the heathen mythology. A direct incorporation took place in the first instance, by making the reputed founder to be celestially begotten. The trinity of gods that then followed was no other than a reduction of the former plurality, which was about twenty or thirty thousand. The statue of Mary succeeded the statue of Diana of Ephesus. The deification of heroes changed into the canonization of saints. The Mythologists had gods for everything; the Christian Mythologists had saints for everything. The church became as crowded with the one, as the pantheon had been with the other; and Rome was the place of both. The Christian theory is little else than the idolatry of the ancient mythologists, accommodated to the purposes of power and revenue; and it yet remains to reason and philosophy to abolish the amphibious fraud” (Paine Pg 8-9. Bold Emphasis Mine).

No one (except for the modern Roman Church) denies that the Roman Catholic Church adopted various forms of paganism to its strange system of beliefs, but is it fair to apply this to non-Romanists? Have you begun to notice what Paine’s arguments are seriously lacking? Evidence. He is devoid of evidence. He has placed many presuppositions out on the table, but he has not substantiated one.

What was most fascinating about TAOR thus far is how much of these arguments I have heard before. I could have sworn the next selections were my ASU history professors back at it:

“When the church mythologists established their system, they collected all the writings they could find, and managed them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and the New Testament, are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them; pr whether they added, altered, abridged, or dressed them up. Be this as it may, they decided by vote which of the books out of the collection they had made, should be the Word of God, and which should not” (Paine 19).

Okay, I just can’t go on. If you’ve stuck with me this long, I congratulate you! Well done, for you have put up with a whole lot of Darkened Thinking … see, two can play at this game =).

It seems to me that the secular and anti-Christian arguments of Thomas Paine have won out in Western society. From Paine’s perspective, human reason is the highest authority. Man is his own supreme authority. This is the logical outworking of his worldview.

I’ll post another update once I’ve finished with this horrendously bad series of indefensible arguments.

Thanks mucho,

Resources for Defending the Bible's Accuracy

I responded to an AOMin email that I know some of you would enjoy.

I have a question. Can you please point me to articles that suggest the bible is 99.9% accurate. I am currently in an email conversation with a mormon who claims that this statement is false. He claims apologists and not textual scholars have claimed the bible is 99.9% accurate. I did some research and it seems i find more articles that the bible is not 99.9% accurate. I am an evangelical christian and i do believe the bible is trust worthy and need to convince my mormon friend. Again, please tell me the bible is 99.9% accurate despite the claims of Metzger and his scholar friends. Please help with this. Thanks Dean


Hello Dean,

You are correct that the Bible has been safely transmitted to us. We also have many accurate and excellent English translations of the Bible: NASB, ESV, NIV, and the NKJV to name a few.

There are relatively few passages in the Bible that we lack complete confidence in, however, we do have all the possibilities of what these passages could be. In fact, in these places where we are left with a few choices, most Bibles have footnotes to provide the Christian with this information.

I’m not aware of any Internet articles, but I would strongly recommend two of Dr. White’s books: The King James Only Controversy and Scripture Alone. Both works contain a discussion of how the Bible was transmitted and translated. You should find them very helpful. Bruce Metzger (who would in fact agree that the Bible is “accurate”) also has some wonderful works on the subject – specifically on the New Testament. If you need even more information, get a copy of the Nestle Aland 27th Edition of the Greek New Testament (NA27), which contains an extensive textual apparatus. The NA27 lists the various choices we have for debated passages, and rates the confidence of each choice. It even lists the major sources containing various renderings of the text. Finally, AOMin's webcast, "The Dividing Line," has started a series on Textual Criticism that you would benefit from.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

In the saving work of Christ,
Casey Ryan

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Long Expected Date


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows will be released on July 21st.

!!! !!! !!! !!! !!! !!! !!!

There is so much to look forward to in July. First the OOTP July 13, then the conclusion of the book series on the 21st.

If I was any better I couldn't stand it.