Regardless, if you have Mormon beliefs or you are of another persuasion what is your hope?
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15
I could not help but think of this scripture when Evangelist Paul Miller wrote the following on his Facebook timeline:I decided give my answer on my blog and only listed my sub-point titles on the FB comments. I let them know I will include my response in this blog post on what I would tell Lily concerning her Mormon beliefs.
That way I can have this post as a reference (stuff simply gets so lost on my FB timeline) and I would like to hear your thoughts as well.
How I Would Not Answer
One thing I would NOT want to do is start comparing mine and Lily’s experiences with God. God is dealing in the lives of people both lost and saved.
He is a personal God and deals with each of us in a distinct experiential manner. Our Lord is able to take our circumstances and pour out his goodness and make us feel so blessed that we want to know Him and seek him (see Acts 17:27).
Lily’s experiences with God are not made less in her life because of her Mormon beliefs. They are going to be far more real to her than anything God has done in my own life.
Have you ever talked with someone that does not agree with you doctrinally but because they are so sure of your experience leaves you wondering that perhaps they really do know God?
Can I then ask you where is your hope?
The Danger of Faith in Experiences
Many have faith in their experience with God dealing with them. And these experiences are very real.
There is no denying that God works through wonderful experiences in our lives for His goal of bringing us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
It is possible that God is working in Lily’s life. She could probably give testimony of it. But is that really where the Christian faith is? Is the Gospel, our testimony of a changed life?
Unfortunately, Mormons and others, to include lost “faithful member” in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches who rejoice in having excellent doctrine, stop short of repentance and get emotional and excited about God’s goodness because they heard and RECIEVED his word with gladness (the seed being planted on rocky soil see Matt 13:20,21).
They come to believe that the joy they are experiencing is God’s salvation and even go as far as saying, “A Christian is one who believes in Jesus Christ.”
When in fact a Christian is not one who believes ONLY but rather on who is. Anyone can call themselves a Christian, not everyone is a Christian.
In fact you do not read in the Bible that people called themselves Christian but rather OTHERS referred to them as Christian (see Acts 11:26).
Another danger of having faith in your experience is that you can even come to acknowledge that Jesus died for you, that through repentance you can live with Him and on and one and still fail to miss the very salvation.
Because your hope and faith was on your experiences rather than God’s.
Ask Lots Questions
So, first off, I would certainly ask Lily lots of questions about her love of Jesus. Then as God would grant wisdom at just the appropriate time I would ask her, “What do you know about God’s experience?”
The reason for this, is I have noticed there is a focus on telling others about our personal testimony of God’s goodness in our lives (and we should) but this in of itself not the Gospel nor could it hold credibility with Lily who may be experiencing God for herself.
What difference does my personal experience with God compare to Lily’s experiencing God’s goodness in her own life?
There is Only One True Hope
Not only do I see that Mormons are not true Christians but neither are those in Bible believing churches who base their faith in a false hope.
I would deal with Lily based on the point of truth, “In the beginning God…” to see if she understand the nature and character of God rather than attacking her Mormon beliefs.
Any misconceived beliefs are usually rooted in the misconception in understanding the nature and character of God and why the Gospel is needed to begin with.
The hope we have for this world is not that God changed our lives, “our experience with God,” which may or may not connect with Lily.
But rather the hope we have for the world is “God’s experience with man.”
It is one thing to say you know God and how much you love him. It is another to rest assured that God knows and loves you (Luke 13:27).
The Gospel is all about HIM. When we set aside all our experiences with God what hope can we give Lily who also has Mormon beliefs?