Counterfeit Jesus

Acts 20:28-30 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

Have you ever seen a counterfeit $20 bill? It may look just like the real thing, but bring it to the bank, and truth will show it’s… a fake. What is the most deceptive lie? One that looks like the real thing.

Today’s verse warns to keep watch for savage wolves who bring false teaching.

When I first met Mormons, I thought they were Christian. I thought they followed Jesus.

Over the years, some of my closest friends have been mormon. They’re great, friendly, reliable people. They have great mom/toddler play groups. They follow some great biblical principles. They always work in pairs, so they can keep each other accountable. They never work 1 on 1 with someone from the opposite gender who’s not their spouse. They don’t drink coffee or caffeine to avoid impaired consciousness. They all go on mission for a year, straight out of school. They have great family life. If you divorce you’re kicked out from amount them. 

But have you ever gone a little deeper, asking a few biblically founded questions? Like… Who is Jesus? How do you get into Heaven? How many God’s are there? What book holds the ultimate scriptural reality, the Bible or the Book of Mormon? Well, that’s when things get confusing, even downright concerning. 

If they are honest, you will receive answers like: Jesus was just a man who attained divinity and you can too; there are 3 Gods; You don’t have to believe in Jesus or God to get into heaven, but you get a better spot if you’re a good Mormon, and gain a better place if you’re married. The Book of Mormon just ‘clarifies’ a few things, and has ‘authority’ over the Bible.

It comes in a blatant wrapper of, ‘God’, ‘Jesus’ and ‘Holy Spirit’, but inside is artificial candy. ‘God, Son and Spirit’ are no longer means 3 essences of the same 1 eternal God. ‘God’ is not the God of the Bible, he was a man from another planet (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321; Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 613-614). And ‘Jesus’ is stripped of His pre-incarnate divinity. It’s all about works to get them into heaven, instead of grace. In this way Mormonism is similar to other heresies throughout church history, such as gnosticism.

But don’t take my word for it, check out the extensive work done by the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. For a quick rundown see The Gospel Coalition. Even learn about Heresy in the Early Church at Ligonier Ministries and how seemingly new heresies are just old ones re-packaged. 

It’s been a few years since we hung out with our good mormon friends. Our lives just grew apart when we both moved. We’ve since been in the Bible more, and learned more about how Mormon beliefs contradict with the Bible. 

Then one day I met a new friend. I’ve spent enough time with mormons to recognize her and her husband’s white undershirts, demeanor and lingo. They just moved here. One thing she said truly baffled me, “We’re Christian”. 

Years ago, when we first moved here, all our Mormon friends called themselves ‘Mormon’. Then I got used to hanging out with them, I would ask someone I hadn’t met, “Are you mormon?” And they’d answer, “We’re LDS” (Later-day saints). That confused to me, since they’d always called themselves ‘Mormon’. It seemed strange to me that people would change their religious label when their religion hadn’t changed.

Still puzzled arriving home, I asked my husband why a mormon would ever call themselves a Christian. My husband said a Mormon friend just mentioned it was a new direction passed down to them, to call themselves ‘Christian’. His friend expounded, for years they were ordered to call themselves ‘Mormon’ then ‘LDS’ and now ‘Christian’. This knowledge matched exactly to experience. He also said our city is a target, and that’s why so many Mormon families are moving here. 

The same night shortly after our conversation, termites infiltrating through the back door. We sprayed and planned to call the exterminator, but it seemed like an illustration. My reaction; we need to be like Joshua’s or David’s army, or Esther… fasting, praying and inquiring of the Lord.

The next morning in the kid’s Bible, we read about God saving His people through Joseph, the verse: “what you intended for evil, God intended for good…” (Genesis 50:20) really stuck out to me. This ‘influx’ of Mormons has the potential for leading some astray, but God can use it for great good… To draw His people to their knees, draw them together, and strengthen them to know truth and why they believe it.

We know God tells us to love our enemies. But Mormons are not really enemies, they’re people made in God’s image. They’re just misled into a very convincing deception. A deception that is so close to the truth found in the Bible, that it seems real. (Matthew 24:11,24, 2 Timothy 4:4) Just another reason why we, as believers, are to consume God’s Word in the Bible EVERY DAY, and point others to the Bible.

Praise God He sent the “Spirit to remind you of everything the father told”. (John 14:26) That’s spiritual discernment. Yes, God can and does give spiritual discernment to spiritual babes. However, those of us who have been Christians a while need to be eating the solid food of scripture, pondering on it daily. Hiding it in our hearts and minds, so that it’s truth bubbles up from within. (Psalm 119:11, John 7:38)

Our authority is the Bible. Not any extra books. 

By God’s grace, let NONE of us fall for a counterfeit Jesus.

God sure protected our family, by removing our contact with our beloved Mormon friends at just the right time, as we started seeking the Lord more. Now He’s educated us, and sends us out to be His ambassadors of truth and love.

What is the best way to approach a Mormon on what they believe?I would say, pray about it. But if God puts one in your path to be friends with. Be their friend. Shine the light of Jesus. Don’t bombard them with errors in their religion. Listen to their story. Ask questions. Pray for God to give opportunity in natural conversation to share His truth. We must LOVE, be vulnerable in sharing our lives with our Mormon friends, but never lose sight of Truth. We must KNOW God’s Word! And share His truth in love, not condemnation, shame or judgement.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank-You for adopting us into Sonship through Jesus, who is Himself God, existing before creation, Your Word become flesh. Thank-you for sealing us with Your Holy Spirit, a sign of Your grace, forgiveness and presence forever. Guard our hearts above all else as we interact with those whose understanding doesn’t align with Truth. ~Amen.

Other Verses:
Proverbs 4:23
John 1:1-5
John 1:14
John 10:30
Ephesians 1:13, 4:30
Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29
Psalm 118:14, Exodus 15:2, Isaiah 12:2
Ephesians 6:17 (Use the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God to tear down arguments) 2 Corinthians 10:4
Isaiah 44:6 (If God was a man on another planet, He had to have had a Creator)
Romans 3:23 (If Jesus was just a man, He could not be the perfect sin offering)

There are only 2 kinds of beliefs: Christianity – which is being saved by grace through faith, and ALL OTHERS – striving for salvation through works.
See Rules, Rules, Rules and The Secret of Praying for Unbelievers