This week, I’ve joined many other Christians in Manti, Utah to talk to Mormons who are attending the Mormon Miracle Pageant (see here to learn more about this event). As I was reviewing a very basic list of verses for conversations with Mormons that I compiled a while back, I thought you might find it useful, as well. It’s in no way comprehensive, but it could give you a good place to start, serving as a rough outline for your discussion.
The Book of Mormon offers a test for truth that your Mormon friend will likely share with you. It comes from Moroni 10:4–5:
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
While Mormons will ask you to pray about the truth of the Book of Mormon in order to receive a revelation of its truthfulness from God, the Bible offers a different way of testing new revelation, telling us to examine “prophetic utterances” carefully (1 Thess. 5:20–21), and holding up the Bereans, who diligently compared the claims of Paul to the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), as a model for us.
There are two explicit tests for new revelation given in the Bible, so I like to focus on the two categories they cover—God and the gospel. See my notes below.
THE BIBLICAL TESTS FOR NEW REVELATION
Deuteronomy 13:1–3—Does it teach the same God the Bible teaches?
Galatians 1:8—Does it teach the same gospel the Bible teaches?
- You have to believe the Book of Mormon is true to accept the test it offers as valid. Therefore, stick with these two tests first. If Mormonism is true, it will stand up to these tests. These are the tests God commanded.
- If we bypass and ignore the truth of the Bible (i.e., by praying before we test against Scripture), God may allow our deception. In fact, in 2 Thessalonians 2:10–11, God sends a delusion to those who don’t love the truth. If we ignore the truth given in the Bible and look for some other answer, we have nobody to blame but ourselves if we are deceived.
- Ask, “Have you prayed about Islam [or adultery, or anything that’s contrary to Scripture]? No? Why not?”
WHO IS GOD?
Is there more than one god?
- Isaiah 43:10—No god formed before Him, and no god formed after Him.
- Isaiah 44:8—He knows of no other god.
Has God changed from a man to a god?
- Psalm 90:2—God has been God from everlasting to everlasting.
- Malachi 3:6—God doesn’t change.
- Your God is not perfect if He changes.
Does God have a body?
- 1 Kings 8:27—A building could not contain God.
- Jeremiah 23:23–24—The LORD is near, and He fills the heavens and the earth.
- 1 Timothy 6:15–16—No one has seen God, nor is anyone able to see God.
- John 1:18—No man has seen God at any time.
- 1 Timothy 1:17—God is invisible.
- Psalm 139:7–10—God’s “right hand” is everywhere (i.e., the Bible isn’t referring to a literal right hand).
Do you worship Jesus?
- Matthew 28:9, 2:11—People worship Jesus, and they aren’t struck down.
- Exodus 34:14—We are to worship no other god—therefore, Jesus and the Father aren’t two separate gods.
The Trinity is supported by three clear truths of the Bible (see here and here for more):
- There is one God.
- There are three Persons.
- Each of the three Persons is God.
HOW ARE WE SAVED?
If someone asked Jesus and the apostles, “What do I need to do to be saved,” what would they answer?
- John 6:28–29—Jesus’ answer.
- Acts 16:30–31—The apostles’ answer.
- 1 Corinthians 15:1–4—Paul’s definition of the gospel by which we are saved.
- Galatians 3:2–3—You are foolish if you say you need to be perfected by your works after receiving the Spirit by faith.
- Galatians 3:23–26—We are no longer under the tutor of a Law.
- Galatians 5:1–4—If you are seeking to be justified by following laws, you are severed from Christ.
- Ephesians 2:8–9—Salvation is by grace, through faith, not as a result of works.
- Be sure to define what you mean by “salvation,” and see “Answering an Objection to Grace: Why Not Sin?” to respond to this inevitable objection.
If Mormonism does not teach the same God and gospel the Bible teaches, then either
- the Bible has been changed, and Joseph Smith could be a true prophet, OR
- the Bible has not been changed, and Joseph Smith is a false prophet.
If you reach this point in a conversation with a Mormon, you’ll need to address the question of the reliability of the Bible. See here for a post on that topic.