A total misunderstanding of Election and Predestination, and of what sin is

We continue our comments on the manuscript sent to us by a Mormon called Stephen.(*) Click here to see the other articles in this series. You can also go to the Mormonism page to find all the articles that are in this refutation of Stephen’s document.

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Stephen continues:

My last commentary on the LDS Plan of Salvation has to do with accountability and availability of salvation to all.

Stephen, wake up: you still did not explain to your readers they will be saved from WHAT exactly, and WHY they need to be saved…

Note that it is the LDS Plan of Salvation, and not God’s Plan of Salvation, as we have seen.

Stephen said:

I touched on this subject while dissecting Ephesians 2:8,9. I will now address what we believe about those who are not accountable.

And we have explained your errors in their place.

Stephen continues:

We know God is no respecter of persons. (See Acts 10:3; Romans 10:12.) We know He would have all people make it back to Him. (See 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9.)

Yes, God is not respecter of persons, but we didn’t get what you mean by “make it back to Him”… Is that how you define Salvation, Stephen?… Do you believe that man can “make it back to Him”? Then why did Christ die? In vain?…

Stephen continues:

No Christian who claims to believe God is just can believe in a doctrine of Predestination in its modern definition—having no power to determine outcome, that we are predestined to certain salvation or damnation. Again, the old English term, predestinate, simply meant, foreordain. To foreordain means to call,

Interestingly, the Apostle Paul puts a distinction between the call and the predestination:

“Because whom he has foreknown, he has also predestinated [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be [the] firstborn among many brethren. But whom he has predestinated, these also he has called (Romans 8:29-30)

It is those whom He has predestined that He has ALSO called…

And the Lord Jesus Himself has put a distinction between Election in Christ and another kind of calling: “For many are called ones, but few chosen ones.” (Matthew 22:14)

So Stephen is confused…

Stephen continues:

though we still have agency to either ignore the call or answer it and endure to the end.

We have already refuted the sovereignty of Agency: Sovereignty of Agency?…

Let me note here that Stephen has ZERO idea what he is talking about when he discusses Election in Christ and Predestination. The following article can be very useful for him: An important debate with an Armenian Orthodox about the doctrine of Election.

Stephen continues:

Hence, we have the warning given by the Savior, “for many be called, but few chosen.” (Matt. 20:16)

As you see, although many are called and many answer the call, yet FEW are CHOSEN. There is no way to escape the biblical doctrine of Election in Christ.

Stephen continues:

Given all the Biblical information that points to a just God, many ECs, as well as many misinformed LDSs, still believe we are predestined, even to certain diseases and time of death.

While the well informed theologian, Stephen Douglas, believes that God is not Sovereign, and that our diseases and death are NOT under His full control… Stephen really despises God’s Sovereignty, as we have seen…

I know: he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and yet this does not justify him, because he has chosen lie instead of truth.

Stephen continues:

Part of this mindset comes from our natural defense mechanism, a way to console ourselves when tragedy strikes.

To believe what God says in the Bible is part of our natural defense mechanism?…

This is a really corrupted mind…

Stephen continues:

When someone is taken suddenly by accident or by the evil actions of others or by terrible disease, even after the prayers of the righteous are given on behalf of the righteous victims of such woes, it is a comfort for us to say, “Well, it is the will of God.”

Then whose will is it?? Does anything happen in this universe without God being in FULL control on it?? Do not the righteous pray “Thy Will be done”?? Then why can’t you accept this biblical truth? Is it because you have believed the teachings of the false prophet, Joseph Smith?…

Stephen continues:

Though there are occasional exceptions, the belief God wills the time or status in mortality of everyone is erroneous doctrine.

Who said this is erroneous doctrine? Is it only because you said it is erroneous that it is erroneous?? Do you have any biblical text that says God is not in full control of everything in His creation? On the contrary: we have MANY passages clearly saying that God is in full control.

Stephen continues:

One problem with the modern definition of Predestination is, it excuses perpetrators of crime, as in the case of murder, and excuses us for carelessness in our personal health and safety.

Never! What a wrong understanding Stephen has of Predestination. Stephen has no idea to WHAT exactly we are predestined, but the Bible says it clearly:

“Because whom he has foreknown, he has also predestinated [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be [the] firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

Does being predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son mean that we excuse crimes and carelessness in health and safety?? When the Son was on earth, did He excuse crime and carelessness for personal health and safety?? Was His crucifixion a carelessness to His personal health and safety?? If a Christian chooses the way of the cross, does this mean he has chosen the way of carelessness to his health and safety? Is sanctification a way of carelessness??… Stephen REALLY has no idea about what the cross is and about what Predestination is…

Stephen continues:

After all, neither we nor criminals could or would be held responsible for simply fulfilling God-mandated destiny.

WHAT??! What are you talking about?? EVERY man is responsible for all what he does. If God controls everything, this doesn’t mean we’re not responsible. We sin by our will. And if God controls even the evil that we do, this does not mean that He causes that evil.

Blindness is really sad…

Stephen continues:

Some have so excused the Jews who brought about the Lord’s Crucifixion for having fulfilled His destiny.

On the contrary, in this case it is BECAUSE the Jews have fulfilled God’s Purpose that they are NOT excused!!! Wow, it seems that Stephen does not want to read what the Bible says: “this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death… Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:23,37,38) As you see, doing what the predetermined plan of God had determined concerning sinners means that they are sinners! What could be clearer than this?? But Stephen cannot see even this…

Stephen continues:

And no, His request, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” did not apply to the Jews, but to Roman soldiers scavenging for His raiment while He on the cross.

No, this applies to ALL those who crucified Him. As we have read above, it is the JEWS who have nailed Him to a cross BY THE HANDS of godless men (the Romans); so all sinful humanity crucified Christ.

And as Stephen insists that “they know not what they do” does not apply to the Jews, so let’s quote a passage from Scripture that CLEARLY says that this also applies to the Jews: “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.” (Acts 3:17) So when the Jews crucified the Prince of life (see v. 15), they acted in ignorance. What does “ignorance” mean? Yes, it means “they know not what they do”… And how does God forgive them according to Christ’s prayer for them? Through repentance. If they don’t repent, then they are NOT forgiven.

By the way, although the Jews crucified Jesus in ignorance, and yet that was counted as sin for them, and not just a “transgression” as Stephen defines this term. It was counted as a sin that needed forgiveness. This once again refutes one of the arguments of Stephen about Adam’s innocence and about the definition of “transgression” that we have seen in the following article: Did Adam have to choose between two sins?

Stephen continues:

Some have even excused Judas Iscariot for his betrayal of the Lord for similar reasons of destiny.

Predestination is not the same as destiny. And we have seen how the fact that Judas did what God had predetermined for the traitor means he is the traitor and a great sinner!

Stephen continues:

Another problem with belief in the modern definition of Predestination is, it contradicts Solomon’s clear statement what occurs to those who live under the sun, all of us, regardless of strength and wisdom: “[T]ime and chance happeneth to them all.” (Eccl. 9:11)

Stephen, tell us really honestly: do you believe verses have a context?… Here is the context of this verse:

1. The large context is the Book of Ecclesiastes that describes things as observed by any human on earth. For instance, when he asks “Who knoweth the spirit of the children of men? Doth it go upwards? and the spirit of the beasts, doth it go downwards to the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:21), this doesn’t mean that the author does not know the answer. Actually, in another place he tells us that the spirit of man goes to God (see Ecclesiastes 12:7). Again, in another place the same Book says: “Rejoice, young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes (Ecclesiastes 11:9); does this mean that God is encouraging the young men to sin and to walk as their hearts wish and as their eyes see it to be good? Not at all! The same verse continues and says: “but know that for all these [things] God will bring thee into judgment.” Brief: the large context which is the Book of Ecclesiastes has this method of presenting things as seen by humans and then judging them under the light of God’s Holiness. And this Book does not contradict the yet larger context which is the whole Bible.

2. The immediate context is the passage itself and even the verse itself. The verse that Stephen misquoted has a beginning and a context… Let’s read it together: “For all this I laid to my heart and [indeed] to investigate all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; man knoweth neither love nor hatred: all is before them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:1) As you see, the very first verse in this chapter contradicts what Stephen has concluded from that misquoted part of a verse… ALL is in the hand of God; He is in full control. Solomon will continue and explain now that, although it seems to us that all is happening by chance, but, as already said in the very first verse, all is in God’s hand. He continues and says: “All things [come] alike to all: one event to the righteous and to the wicked, to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean, to him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. This is an evil among all that is done under the sun, that one thing befalleth all: yea, also the heart of the children of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live; and after that, [they have to go] to the dead.” (Ecclesiastes 9:2-3) As you see, he says that in our observation, it seems that everything happens to everyone as if it were by chance, and that this is considered evil by us. Of course, Solomon does not mean that God is doing evil to the righteous. Let’s continue reading: “For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” (Ecclesiastes 9:4) Humans strive to stay alive; but is that the right way? Jesus said that the one who loses his life for Him will find it: “He that finds his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:39) Of course, we have noticed before in the text of Stephen how Mormons do not have this concept of the cross and of dying to live… So Ecclesiastes does not mean that the human concept is right; he’s just presenting things as observed by humans. And he continues (and I will skip some verses to reach the verse that Stephen misquoted): “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are taken with the snare, like them are the children of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12) Does this contradict verse 1 that we saw together which says that all is in God’s hand? No. This says that things are not in the hand of any man, however strong or wise he is, because things happen suddenly and they seem to happen in a way of chance, without any visible explanation. But is this human observation right? No, because Ecclesiastes has already noted that all what happens to the righteous is in the hand of God, as Paul also explained: “But we do know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to purpose.” (Ecclesiastes 8:28) So the human observation is wrong: nothing evil is happening to the righteous, but all things are working together for his good. It is true that Job thought something bad and unfair was happening to him, because that’s what he saw with his human observation, but we know that all was in God’s hand, and that God was working all things together for Job’s final good.

Thus we see that Stephen misquoted a part of a verse from a text, without considering its context, and thus concluded the exact opposite of what the text is saying… This is actually his habit, as we have seen.

Stephen continues:

Solomon even counseled, “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” (Eccl. 7:17)

And I hope that Stephen does not also understand this to mean that we should not strive to be very wise… In this text also, Stephen makes the same mistake he did above. The text is talking about being wise in our own eyes… Let’s read the immediate context, as we already know the large context: “Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what he hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity enjoy good, and in the day of adversity consider: God hath also set the one beside the other, to the end that man should find out nothing [of what shall be] after him. All [this] have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a righteous [man] that perisheth by his righteousness, and there is a wicked [man] that prolongeth [his days] by his wickedness” (Ecclesiastes 7:13-15) Man cannot change anything that God has done! God is Sovereign, exactly the opposite to what Stephen is trying to prove with his misquotations… And note this well: there are righteous people who die early although they are righteous, and there are wicked people who have long days of life although they are wicked! This is what man observes, and he finds this enigmatic, because in principle the righteous should prolong his days on earth. So what’s God’s answer to this? Ecclesiastes continues: “Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” (Ecclesiastes 7:16-17) As you see in the part that I have put in bold, God says that we should not be wise in our own eyes or righteous in our own eyes, because it’s not our righteousness that will prolong our life, nor is it our wickedness that will shorten our lives as we have seen above in the context; note that these two verses equate self-righteousness to wickedness, and wisdom in our own eyes to foolishness, and says that all this will destroy us and will make us think wrong. If we think in the wrong way and if we believe we are righteous in ourselves or wise in ourselves, then we will not rely on God and we will think that we (or any righteous man) have died before our times, because we don’t rely on God and we don’t believe that the times of man are in the hand of God… But a truly righteous man does not think he is wise or righteous in himself, so he knows that his times are in the hand of God: “My times are in thy hand” (Psalm 31:15). So that passage of Ecclesiastes concludes: “It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from that withdraw not thy hand: for he that feareth God cometh forth from them all.” (Ecclesiastes 7:18) The one who is truly righteous and does not rely on his own righteousness will know that there is nothing good in him, that is, in his flesh, and that he should rely on God’s Righteousness and Wisdom alone: “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, good does not dwell: for to will is there with me, but to do right [I find] not.” (Romans 7:18) For a more detailed explanation of this righteousness, read the following article: A true Christian is a saint — Perfection in Christ.

Thus we have seen once again that Stephen despised the context and misquoted a verse to conclude the exact opposite of what the text is saying… Typical cultist method… Has not the devil followed the same method while tempting Christ?…

Stephen continues:

Obviously, what we do and the people with whom we associate can also have a direct influence, and even direct impact, on our lifespan, in addition to the factors of random violence, accident, and disease. Most of the time, “being at the wrong place at the wrong time,” is, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, not God’s will.

Yes, as Ecclesiastes says and as we have seen, you say this because you are wise in your own eyes and you rely on your own righteousness. Therefore you think that all things are not under the sovereign control of God Almighty.

Stephen continues:

Perhaps some of the Predestination doctrine stems from the apparent conflict of Scriptural doctrine where information and understanding are purposely withheld from certain people.

What are you talking about?…

Stephen continues:

The Lord told Isaiah, “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (Isa. 6:9,10) Wow! Why would God, Jehovah of the OT and Jesus Christ of the NT, purposely withhold information that would tend to convert and heal Israel? Was he predestining them to damnation?

No, in the Bible there is no such thing as a divine predestination to damnation. Yes, the Lord Jesus said this is why He talks to the outsiders in parables. But no, Salvation is not about information as you think… All humans get the same information, but information does not save. What this text is saying is that God does not want people to be saved by their own understanding or wisdom or righteousness, while they refuse God’s Righteousness. God does not want people to be saved with a false repentance. This is the same reason behind God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart before he released the people, so let me explain that and you will understand this (in case you have an understanding heart…)

“And Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and did so, as Jehovah had commanded; and Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh, and before his bondmen, and it became a serpent. And Pharaoh also called the sages and the sorcerers; and they too, the scribes of Egypt, did so with their enchantments: they cast down every man his staff, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staves. And Pharaoh’s heart was stubborn, and he hearkened not to them, as Jehovah had said.” (Exodus 7:10-13)

When Pharaoh saw that he had the means to come out from the trouble, he hardened his heart without asking Moses to pray for him. But whenever he couldn’t find a way out, he asked to be released, but with a false repentance. Now I go to Exodus 9:

“And Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.” (Exodus 9:7)

Pharaoh would try to find a deceitful way of reconciliation or would negotiate with Moses if he didn’t have the means to survive this judgment that came on him. This is what he did each time he couldn’t survive. But in the case of the death of the cattle which are in the field, the Pharaoh had the means to survive: The cattle which were not in the field were still there; he still had authority over the cattle of the children of Israel that were spared; he (as a nation) still had enough gold and riches to buy new cattle; he also had the resources of the slave nations… Pharaoh sent and saw what was the matter. He saw that the cattle of the Israelites were spared, but instead of seeing the hand of God, he chose to do his own materialistic calculations… And these calculations certainly showed him that he could survive the catastrophe with his human means, so he hardened his heart, just as the verse says (cf. Exodus 9:7).

This is what happens with the sinner who hardens his heart: he thinks he has the means to survive and to be self-sufficient and to escape God’s judgment. But we all know that he is wrong. The right way is to repent and receive forgiveness instead of judgment.

God is Holy. He hates sin by Nature. He never agrees or accepts sin, even when saving the sinner. Some people think that when God forgives the sinner, that means He says “no problem” to sin. But that’s totally wrong. An essential condition for forgiveness is that the sinner admit he is a lost sinner. A person who insists that he is righteous and that he doesn’t need Salvation will never find forgiveness, but God will harden his heart more and more as he refuses to repent. This is God’s way of holiness all the time:

“for [the] shewing forth of his righteousness in the present time, so that he should be just, and justify him that is of [the] faith of Jesus.” (Romans 3:26)

If God justified the sinner without judging his sin, He would be unjust; He would be lowering His standard of holiness. God who is perfect and just would never do such a thing! God reveals His Glory by being the God of Grace, i.e. by redeeming the repentant sinner who puts his trust in the Redeemer. If God does NOT harden the heart of the sinner who refuses to repent, He will be “working both sides”!! Because sin is what kills the sinner! If God agrees with sin and says “no problem”, He will be like a physician who says “no problem” for a disease, and thus leaves the patient without healing! So as Pharaoh insisted on hardening his own heart towards the call of God to repentance, God hardened his heart more, or else He would be compromising with Pharaoh’s sin for the sake of the liberation of His people. God would not do such a wrong thing. And indeed, God didn’t harden the heart of someone who was willing to repent. He hardened the heart of someone who already chose to harden his heart to the call of God to repentance:

“And Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders had ceased, and he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he, and his bondmen. And the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, neither would he let the children of Israel go, as Jehovah had spoken by Moses.

And Jehovah said to Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his bondmen, that I might do these my signs in their midst” (Exodus 9:34-10:1)

God didn’t make Pharaoh harden his heart, but He confirmed and judged his stubbornness. So even when people sin, God uses their sinning for His holy plan WITHOUT participating in their sin. As you see, God gave Pharaoh and his people many opportunities to turn from their sin and to repent, as He stopped the judgments that He brought on them. But as all the instances where Pharaoh repented were cases of false and hypocrite repentance, so God would not agree with such false repentance just to release His people. He is Holy, and He will judge sin. Thus the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, as God hardened his unrepentant and stubborn heart.

Thus God showed His Glory through Pharaoh:

“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”” (Romans 9:17)

Although Pharaoh refused to repent, but God was not surprised by that! He had already revealed the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart to Moses (cf. Exodus 4:21). This was said to Moses in way of prophecy, and not in way of destiny.

So, as you see, it’s not about a predestination to Hell. It’s about God’s full control even on the sin of the sinner to use it to His Glory. God would not have mercy on Pharaoh without him accepting God’s justice in repentance. He would not accept the false repentance of Pharaoh just for the sake of saving His people; justice should be satisfied, so the heart of Pharaoh should be hardened as it really is. And as God is in full control, so He used the hardened heart of Pharaoh by hardening it more so that His mercy would not be against His justice. Remember that Paul quotes this in the context of Romans 9, and the context of Romans 9 is about the Jews who did not believe in Christ (hardened their hearts). Later he says that if they do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted again.

And this text that Stephen quoted means the same thing that happened to Pharaoh and his bondmen. As you see, it is again about God having full control…

Stephen continues:

When the Savior recited these verses in Matthew 13:14-16, it appeared to be a willful act on the part of the Jews, instead of the apparent mandate from the Lord.

Yes, as they harden their hearts, God hardens them more, because God does not want a false repentance; He does not contradict His Holiness.

Stephen continues:

But Mark 4:11-12 and Luke 8:10 show the same purposeful withholding by the Lord, not just hindering, but actually blocking their access to saving information.

It’s not about information, as we have seen.

Stephen continues:

For the general population of uneducated Jews, Jesus spoke in parables, but He explained them to His disciples.

Yeah, maybe because the disciples were educated Jews?… Wake up, Stephen: this is not about information.

Stephen continues:

After recounting one such parable of a lord and his servant, He declared, “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.” (Luke 12:42-48)

And this parable also was not explained to those “uneducated Jews” of yours… So those “uneducated Jews” will NOT see and will NOT come to Christ and will NOT be saved, and not just receive few stripes. While those who hear this parable, i.e. those who understand, are those who are born of God, whether in the Old Testament or in the New Testament. In the time of the Old Testament the revelation of God was not yet completed, so the saints of the Old Covenant knew less; however this does not mean that they were not saved; the same is with Christians in Middle Ages: when they knew not more, they were beaten less, but no one was saved without coming to Christ. But they won’t come to Christ if God hardens their hearts, as we have seen.

So Stephen’s quote is off topic.

Stephen continues:

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; . . .” (Rom. 2:14,15) Even those who have not the law have a conscience to know right from wrong. But are they held to the same standard as those of us who do have the law?

Yes: “What then? are we better? No, in no wise: for we have before charged both Jews and Greeks with being all under sin: according as it is written, There is not a righteous [man], not even one” (Romans 3:9-10). So both Jews and Gentiles are under sin and all are under judgment, because all humans without exception have transgressed the Law of God, whether that Law was given to them in revelation or in their conscience!

Stephen continues:

“[F]or where no law is, there is no transgression. . . . For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” (Rom. 4:15; 5:13,14) Even though death strikes all those who followed Adam to mortality

Followed Adam to mortality?? What does this mean??

Even those who did not sin the same sin that Adam did were always under sin, even when they did not have the Law; sin was always in the world, and death is the wages of sin as we have seen in details before. For more details, you can read How to be saved?

Sin was not imputed when there was no Law, i.e. the sin of Adam is not counted for those who do not sin. Remember that, even before the Law was given to Israel, its work was written in the hearts of all men (as Stephen also ignorantly admitted above), so there was no time when there was no Law in the sense that its work was not written in the hearts or that there was no conscience. Paul is not primarily talking about the given Law itself, but about sin which took strength from the given Law (i.e. it was revealed, as the Law reveals sin — see Romans 3:20 and Romans 7:7-8), not because the Law is bad but because sin is bad (as Paul explains in Romans 7). This is similar to John 7:39 where in the original text the Bible literally says “the Spirit was not yet”, which of course does NOT mean that God the Holy Spirit did not exist, but that He was not yet given. So when Paul says that sin was not imputed when there was no Law, he means that the sin of Adam is not counted for those who do not sin, and his argument is that all have sinned, so the sin of Adam IS counted to them because of those sins: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12) Note how Stephen carefully skipped verse 12 in Romans 5, so that his readers may be deceived to think that some sins are not counted…

Stephen continues:

not all are held to the high standard as those who were given instruction, such as Adam had received in the Garden.

Where does the Bible say that they are not held to the same standard of holiness? Have we not seen that all are under sin and all are inexcusable?

Stephen continues:

And these verses confirm more than one has not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, i.e., willfully.

No, it means they have not sinned the same sin that Adam sinned. Note that the passage says where there is NO law, there is NO transgression, so where there is NO knowledge there is NO transgression, i.e. the exact opposite of what Stephen is saying… Stephen says where there is NO knowledge, there is transgression and not sin… For more details about this error of Stephen, read this: Did Adam have to choose between two sins?

Stephen continues:

And we still have to keep in mind Adam’s lack of full understanding. As I explained in the Introduction, it was not until Adam partook of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that he had full understanding of the consequences of his actions and full responsibility for them. Once so enlightened, Adam remained faithful all his days. And there is nothing in Scripture indicating the contrary.

We have seen how wrong these conclusions are: Did Adam have to choose between two sins?

Stephen continues:

Speaking of the Jews who rejected Him, Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke (excuse) for their sin. . . . If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” (John 15:22,24) There was distinction between the ingenuous general population and the disingenuously ignorant religious elite who should have recognized their Redeemer upon introduction.

Again, the same traditional error of Stephen: quoting text out of context… What was Jesus talking about here?… Let’s see: the context is John 13 to 16 where the Lord is telling the disciples that the Holy Spirit will come and that they will be persecuted. In the same context, He explained what this sin is about which the passage of Stephen is talking: “And having come, he will bring demonstration to the world, of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe on me (John 16:8-9) So when the Holy Spirit comes, He convicts the world of the sin of not believing in Christ who came, i.e. of unbelief in Christ. The text that Stephen quoted is saying that if Jesus did not come, the Jews would not have this sin of unbelief in Christ, i.e. they would not have rejected Christ, which is the chief sin, as we have seen before. If you reject Christ, you have no hope for Salvation. This does not mean that those Jews were sinless; the Bible and Jesus Himself clearly say that they were under sin. But what Jesus is saying here is that they have no more hope, because they have rejected Him, which is the chief sin.

Unbelief in Christ is THE sin, but even that can be forgiven if we repent and believe in Christ, that’s why Jesus said even blasphemy against the Son of Man will be forgiven. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of THIS sin, because it is THE sin: “And having come, he will bring demonstration to the world, of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe on me (John 16:8-9) If we believe in Christ, all sins can be forgiven, but if we don’t believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, leading us to faith in Christ. If even with that, and after being convinced that it is the Holy Spirit that is leading us, we refuse to repent and believe in Christ, then we are just like the heathens and we can’t be forgiven. This obstinate refusal of the Spirit’s work that leads us to faith in Christ is called the sin against the Holy Spirit. For a more detailed explanation about the sin against the Holy Spirit, read our article: Some questions about Hebrews 6:4-6.

Stephen continues:

Therefore, I submit that God is Merciful, having provided opportunity after mortality to those who had not received the Gospel here.

We have seen that there is no way to be saved after death, because there is no faith after death.

Stephen continues:

Of course, there are degrees of valiance and understanding, so our Merciful God has provided graded degrees of glory, different levels or kingdoms.

And we have seen that God does not give glories to sinners. Sin does not deserve any kind of glory, but eternal contempt in Hell.

Stephen continues:

These verses reinforce LDS doctrine that only a Merciful God would provide post-mortal opportunity after having purposely withheld it during mortality and that said Merciful God also recompenses based on individual behavior, culpability, understanding, and circumstance—all in degrees that are just.

And we have seen how these satanic doctrines of Mormons contradict the Scripture.

Stephen continues:

Without this knowledge restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, I personally could not accept EC doctrine on Biblical text that appears to discriminate.

Yes, without the teachings of this false prophet Joseph Smith you would not follow such satanic doctrines that contradict Scripture, but you would follow other satanic doctrines nonetheless, because those who hate the truth will always find a false prophet to follow and will always find an excuse to refuse the truth.

Stephen continues:

The argument of ECs has always been, all sin is worthy of eternal damnation, no matter how minor the offence.

What do you mean by minor offense? Do you mean a sin that is not bad in the eyes of God?? Can you mention a sin that God does not hate with an eternal hatred?…

We have seen before how Stephen and Mormons hate God’s Holiness. They have replaced this Holiness with an unjust mercy… Their god is unrighteous, and he has the ability to accept some sins that are considered “minor offenses” for his followers…

Stephen continues:

This is refuted by the simple explanation given by John the Beloved in his first epistle. He said, “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” (1 John 5:16,17)

No, that is not refuted by this, because the one who is born of God does NOT commit the sin which leads to death. Once again, the traditional context error of Stephen: “We know that every one begotten of God does not sin, but he that has been begotten of God keeps himself, and the wicked [one] does not touch him.” (1 John 5:18) The one who is born of God does not sin the sin which is unto death. We have seen the details about this before. For more details, read: A true Christian is a saint — Perfection in Christ. And if one is not born again, he cannot be saved.

Besides this, note that the text that Stephen quoted says that the sin which leads to death should NOT be prayed for… While all other sins should be prayed for, as there is forgiveness for them. As we have seen, if you don’t believe in Christ, you can’t be forgiven. All this has been explained before, so I don’t need to re-explain.

Stephen continues:

All unrighteous behavior is sin, sin worthy of death and sin not worthy of death. I wonder how one can take a stand on an alleged doctrine without first verifying whether or not Scriptural contradiction exists.

Sin not worthy of death?? Where does the Bible say this?? The text that you quoted from 1 John 5 says sin UNTO death, and not sin worthy of death. Plus, the same context says that the one who is born of God does not sin this sin. While you are trying to say that even those who are not born of God are able not to commit this sin… Do you know what you are talking about?…

Stephen continues:

Besides all this Biblical support for LDS doctrine on degrees of faithfulness and disobedience, as well as degrees of understanding and intent

Where is all that imaginary biblical support?? We have only seen false interpretations that were refuted by biblical texts.

Stephen says:

Besides all this Biblical support for LDS doctrine on degrees of faithfulness and disobedience, as well as degrees of understanding and intent, how is it we, as a society whose Jurisprudence is based on the Judeo-Christian teachings of the Bible do not condemn the petit thief to death along with the cold-blooded, first-degree murderer?

Because we are applying earthly human justice, as we are not God. Our judgment is not the eternal and final judgment. Are you comparing the perfect Justice of God to human corrupted and imperfect justice??!!

Stephen continues:

To those who argue this point with the fact God does not owe us anything, I repeat: So, what’s your point? We LDSs know this fact. Just because God is not bound by the laws to which He holds us accountable, the Scripture reiterates over and over how He is just, in spite of the fact He does not have to be just.

Yes, God IS Just, and He never contradicts His Law. The wages of sin is death. Point.

Stephen continues:

Ironically, though the reaction to our doctrine has typically been heated contempt, over the years, reason has settled in to the mindset of Christendom, always in small increments and a few Christians at a time.

Yes, ironically, Stephen is glad that there are heretical Christians in the last days, just as the Bible predicted… Stephen is glad to be in that company…

Stephen continues:

I cited how Pastor Murray espouses the Premortality doctrine.

And I can cite how some Corinthians espoused the doctrine that there is no resurrection for the dead. So what does this mean?? Does this mean that what humans say is God’s truth?…

Stephen continues:

I cited how Pastor Jeremiah espouses commitment to one’s declared faith and the possibility of falling from grace.

So what?? What’s the point here?? That humans are right and God is wrong??

Stephen continues:

And I cited how Catholic and Protestant scholars have determined Paradise, as mentioned in Luke 23:43, refers to the Spirit World, not Heaven.

And? What does this prove?? That Roman Catholics and heretical Protestants are the reference??

Stephen continues:

But there are other such concessions to our doctrine.

Yeah, how shameful to agree with such satanic doctrines and to refuse the biblical truth.

Stephen continues:

The Pope recently declared Limbo as nonexistent.

The Pope who burned the Bible copies in the past?… I see… You’re in a good company, as it seems…

Stephen continues:

His reasoning was, a just God would not condemn innocent babies who died without baptism to endless exclusion from Heaven.

Yes, thanks for admitting that Mormons think exactly in the same corrupted way as Roman Catholics do…

Stephen continues:

Perhaps he read Moroni 8 in the Book of Mormon, which we will discuss in Chapter Six.

I will not be surprised if the Pope did that…

But we believe what God says, and not what humans say. Mormons believe in what humans say and they despise what God said, as we will see in our reply to Stephen’s next chapter.

Thus we have reached the end of this chapter about the Plan of Salvation, and Stephen did not tell us what it is that we are to be saved from and WHY we need Salvation… On the contrary, he practically said that we do NOT need Salvation, because we can save ourselves… Stephen’s chapter is entitled “The Plan of Salvation”, and yet he did not tell us WHOSE plan this is; all what we have seen in Stephen’s chapter was that man has to save himself and that this is not the sovereign Plan of God… We have seen all this in details, so now may the Lord give us the grace to pass to the refutation of Stephen’s chapter three.

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

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Posted in: Religious Movements / Mormonism
This is part 35 of the series: Answer to a Mormon’s manuscript

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