What is salvation and who is God?

by Matt Slick

This dialogue with two Mormons is a good illustration of the necessity of knowing not only what they believe, but also what the Bible teaches, where it says it, and what it means.  This takes some practice, but practice makes perfect.

Gary: In your info on CARM, do you preach mostly against the Mormons, or is there anything we teach you believe is good?
Matt: I teach against what goes against the Bible. The Mormons do many good things. But, they teach a false god, therefore, they are leading people to hell. Simple....
Gary: So all our good works count for nothing?
Matt: That's right. They count for nothing in getting your sins forgiven.
Matt: The Bible says that if we could be forgiven by what we do, then Jesus died needlessly (Gal. 2:21). It says in Romans 3 that we are made right in God's eyes apart from the works of the law.
Gary: I agree with you. We can't save ourselves.
Matt: The Bible says we are saved (justified -- cleansed from all sin), by Faith (Rom. 5:1). You can do NOTHING at ALL to contribute ANYTHING to God forgiving you. It is NOT dependent upon any of your works.
Gary: We're saved by grace. Right, God forgives us because of what his son Jesus Christ did for us.
Matt: In Mormonism, salvation is universal resurrection. Is that what you are referring to?
Sue: We don't think that just because we do a lot of good things that we will get to heaven. It is by grace yes, but we as Christians should do things to show our willingness, our faithfulness, etc.
Gary: He's asked us to be obedient though. That's part of it. But to be forgiven of our sins we must repent. Do you believe that?
Matt: Yes, we are to be obedient, but the point I am trying to make is that obedience FOLLOWS salvation. We are freely forgiven of our sins, by God, if we trust in Jesus’ ALONE. We can’t add anything to what He did and we can’t add anything that contributes to our salvation in any way. We are not saved by "grace through faith after all we can do." We are forgiven of our sins, completely, and solely, by faith alone in Christ alone. THEN we go and do good works.
Gary: I believe that we must show God our good works so he knows we are sincere. Then we can be saved.
Matt: But Gary, that isn’t what the Bible teaches. You should study Eph. 2:8-9; 6:23, Gal. 2:20-21; and Romans 3-5.
Gary: Maybe I’ll take a look sometime.
Matt: I hope so. Let me ask you something else. Do you believe that God used to be a man on another world and that he became a god and brought one of his wives to this world?
Gary: I don't know about all that. As far as the Bible says, God is infinite and eternal. We believe that.
Matt: Gary, let's work with that.... Do you believe God has a body of flesh and bones and that he used to be a man on another world?
Gary: Yes. But he is still infinite and eternal.
Matt: So, how can god be eternal if he had a beginning? How can he be everywhere if he has a body of flesh and bones....
Gary: Do you have a reference to these teachings of ours you like to bring up? or did you just hear them from someone?
Matt: Hold on. I’ll copy it from my website into here.
Matt: There are many gods, Mormon Doctrine, p. 163.
Matt: There is a mother god, Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 443.
Matt: God used to be a man on another planet, Mormon Doctrine, p. 321. Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, vol 5, pp. 613-614; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol 2, p. 345, Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333.
Matt: After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-347, 354.
Matt: God the Father had a Father, Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 476; Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 19; Milton Hunter, First Council of the Seventy, Gospel through the Ages, p. 104-105.
Matt: God resides nearest a planet called Kolob, Pearl of Great Price, pages 34-35; Mormon Doctrine, p. 428.
Matt: God the Father has a body of flesh and bones, Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22.
Matt: God is in the form of a man, Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 3.
Matt: God is married to his goddess wife and has spirit children, Mormon Doctrine p. 516.
Sue: CARM, read Romans 8:16, you can too Todd, I think it will help out in the issue of whether or not we are children of god
Matt: . 8:16 says, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
Matt: That is true. The verse is speaking to those who are already Christians.
Sue: Yes, it says right there that we are children of God!!
Matt: The children there in Romans 8 is referring to adoption.
Matt: . 8:16, "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
Matt: . 8:23, "And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body."

Matt: The problem with the Mormons is that they do not teach the Bible. They teach 'parts' of the Bible and when they do, they take it out of context.
Matt: The children of God stuff is dealing with adoption. That is what Romans 8 is talking about. If we are LITERALLY children of God, why do we need to be adopted?
Matt: Hhave you read John 1:12? "It says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
Matt: The word power there in the KJV is also the word for authority.
Matt: Either way, being a child of God is not natural. It must be by divine action based upon the work of Christ; hence, receiving Christ.
Gary: We need to be adopted into the family of Christ. But we are already God's children.
Matt: The Bible states that we are children by adoption, not because god had relations with his goddess wife and had children who came down and inhabited human bodies. There is no pre-existence.
Matt: 1 Cor. 15:46 says that the natural is first, THEN the spiritual. In other words, the natural, physical, is what comes first as far as bodies go, and then the spiritual body follows. Mormonism has it reversed.
Gary: In one way we must be adopted. But first, we are already His literal children
Matt: So, does God literally produce children? He has a body of flesh and bones, and he has a wife, right. Does he have genitalia?
Gary: that's very disrespectful to speak of those doctrines you know nothing about. if only your heart were to change and be willing to really seek the truth, maybe you could find out the truth. you mock sacred things, and the spirit cannot reside in you. you could not recognize the voice of God with your attitude
Gary: Do you hold anything sacred?
Matt: Honestly, I mean no offense. I just don’t any other way to say it. I am curious.
Gary: I doubt that.
Matt: I’m trying to make a point. Romans 1:22-23 says, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man."
Matt: Don't you see? Your god is in the form of a man.... completely! That is NOT the God of the Bible.
Gary: He's an incorruptible perfected Man.
Matt: Your god is the image of a man. He was corruptible because he sinned.
Gary: More like we are in His image.
Matt: But isn’t it more than that? He has a goddess wife. They have children. They both have bodies of flesh and bones.
Matt: Your god is merely an ex-sinner who became a god of a particular world and he has a goddess wife.
Matt: That is NOT in the Bible. The Bible contradicts such teachings.
Matt: Because you cannot see it, you are unregenerate. You are not a Christian.
Gary: He is perfect. We are His children.
Gary: You haven’t answered my question from before.
Matt: Which question?
Gary: Do you hold anything sacred?
Matt: Yes I do... that is why I defend the truth. God is not an exalted man. He does not have a goddess wife. I hold the truth sacred and defend it.
Gary: Does it bother you if people tear down what you believe is true?
Matt: Yes. That is why I defend Christianity.
Gary: Well, I can see that this is getting no where.
Matt: Sorry, I do not mean to be difficult. But I am just trying to get you to see.
Gary: I think it is you who cannot see.
Matt: That is always a possibility. But, at least I am trusting God’s word.
Gary: I do too.
Matt: Well, that is debatable given our conversation.
Gary: Alright, I have to go.
Matt: Okay, I hope to see you again sometime
Gary: Bye.
Matt: Bye.
Sue: Bye.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.