A Baptist theologian, who’s spent years studying the works of leading Mormon scholars, said he has noticed a shift in “Mormonism” that can potentially lead to the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one day being viewed as a Christian denomination, much like what occurred in the evolution of the Worldwide Church of God.
Although many evangelical critics belonging to mainline Christian denominations view the LDS Church as less-than-Christian, Roger Olson, who’s a theology professor at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas, wrote in a recent blog post on Patheos.com that through his studies of the Mormon faith and discussion with various LDS leaders, “there is no doubt” in his mind that there is a “discernible” evolution of Mormonism that is leading it to a “more biblical” account of Jesus and salvation.
“There is no doubt in my mind that something is going on in the LDS Church and Mormonism, in general, that constitutes a gradual but discernible shift away from those doctrines most anti-Mormon Christian critics like to highlight toward a somewhat more biblical and even evangelical account of Christ and salvation,” Olson, who’s also a Baptist minister, wrote.
“But the shift I see, at least in ‘BYU Mormonism,’ is so dramatic — from [James] Talmage’s Mormonism, for example — that I can envision someday the LDS Church evolving into a Christian denomination,” Olson continued. “For now, though, I consider it an alternative religion rooted in Christianity but also rooted, unfortunately, in Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s fantasies.”
Olson, whose blog post was titled “Is Mormonism Christian?” explained that he has had a “life-long” interest in Mormonism, has read many books about it by Mormon and non-Mormon scholars, and has had many conversations about Mormonism with all types of Mormons — “from teenage missionaries to top scholars of the LDS Church and many ‘in between.’”
Olson, who has also taught about Mormonism while teaching courses on American religion, further explained that he was invited to participate in a two-weekend “ecumencial dialogue event” at Brigham Young University. Olson wrote that he believes the event was an attempt by Mormon leaders to convince mainline Christians that the LDS Church is, in fact, Christian, even if it means being “Christian with a difference.”
“I learned a lot about Mormonism during those two weekends,” Olson stated. ” I discerned from them, as well as from reading contemporary Mormon literature, that the top leaders of the LDS Church very much want their religion and church to be considered authentically Christian — the fourth ‘branch,’ as it were, of Christianity: Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Mormon.” (Continue reading online source)
Forsaking the Assembling [Emphasis in bold, and indented passages are taken from translator notes in the margins of the 1880’s KJV Sunday School Teacher’s Edition Bible, cross references, Strong’s definitions, and Greek or Hebrew Dictionaries.]
16 “This is the covenant [new] that I will make with them after those days [old covenant], saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [see Matt. 26:28] 19 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness [liberty] to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated [made new] for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil [4190 πονηρος poneros pon-ay-ros’ 2) bad, of a bad nature or condition; 2a) in a physical sense: diseased or blind; 2b) in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad] conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession [confession] of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised; [1 John 1:9]) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking [abandoning] the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
As important as it is to gather together with fellow Christians to pray, bear one another’s burdens, lift each other up with encouragement, etc., we must keep the verses above in context. The whole of which is addressing accountability, not attendance to church services. If left to ourselves, we in our sinful nature would succumb to temptation the majority of the time. Exhorting and being exhorted to stand firm in our faith, provoking unto love and to good works encourages accountability and avoidance of sin. Verse 26 is quite clear on this—what was the point of having Jesus sacrifice his blood for our sins if after receiving the knowledge of truth we are saved, but willfully choose to continue in sin anyway?
The word forsaking in Heb. 10:25 and forsaken in Matt. 27:46 are from the same Greek word as defined below. Jesus asked his heavenly Father “why hast thou forsaken me” when he bore our sins on the cross. It was necessary for God the Father to temporarily abandon his son because he cannot be in the presence of sin.
In more conservative churches, however, Heb. 10:25 is most commonly quoted to keep the congregation in faithful attendance, but, as it has just been pointed out, these verses are not pertaining to attendance. The overly emphasized word is “forsaking,” but what is not taught is the correct definition—abandonment.
#1459 εγκαταλειπω egkataleipo eng-kat-al-i’-po from 1722 and 2641; v
AV-forsake 7, leave 2; 9
1) abandon, desert
1a) leave in straits, leave helpless
1b) totally abandoned, utterly forsaken
2) to leave behind among, to leave surviving
Spiritually, it is the pastor’s responsibility to look after the flock of his congregation when they are gathered, but it is on the individual’s shoulders to be responsible for his or her spiritual walk when not in attendance. In this way, there should be no blame or guilt placed on either side if and when an individual strays from that which he or she professed to believe and uphold.
For church elders to imply in any way that a person is forsaking the assembly if he or she is not faithful in attending every service they see fit to schedule, especially when they say “it is a Christian’s duty to be here every time the door is opened,” then they are as guilty as the Pharisees for expanding the written law and expecting equal reverence to it. There is no timetable as to how often Christians should gather.
It has been voiced by many a preacher how physically tired they get from the work put into preparing for the services they preach, not to mention, the other duties they are called upon to perform such as visitation, comforting those in the hospital, or shut-ins due to health or disabilities, counseling, and so forth. “The Sabbath”, or as it has come to be known “The Lord’s Day”, was not intended for so much work. As time has progressed, more and more edicts of men have been added to the “assembling together.” This, the preachers have brought on themselves, and thus, by their actions, have taught their congregation to expect it of them.
This, by no means, is advocating non-attendance to church services—abandonment of Christian fellowship whether in church or elsewhere is not wise. By the same token, missing some services, or occasional lack of attendance to every weekly, by-weekly, and extra services for special occasions, etc., is not breaking a law of God or any of His principles. These are traditions of men!
Berean Research: Baptist Scholar Says Mormonism Is Evolving Towards Christianity With “Biblical,” Views of “Christ and Salvation”
Below is a re-post from my good friends at Berean Research. When I originally saw the piece in a Prophecy News Watch email with a “Baptist” university professor saying Mormons are adopting more Christian doctrines, I said, “Oh really!?” Again, I was shocked that someone with a ‘doctorate’ from a Christian university was really that naive’ to believe it!
I have been exposing what I see as a perilous road some well-meaning Christian leaders and teachers have been taking with Mormon leadership not the least of them Dr. Albert Mohler (more here) and now add to that Dr. Roger Olson a theology professor at Baylor University.
On a personal level I see this cozying up with Mormons by evangelicals and charismatics as nothing more than being friends of a cult! Second, if Dr. Roger Olson and Dr. Albert Mohler really believe they are winning over these Mormons by either of their ways of thinking, they have been deceived and deeply compromised!
Dr. Olson’s errors have had more scrutiny since this came out in June 2015 for a more in depth look at this I strongly encourage you to listen to some real soldiers for Christ taking a stand against Mormonism for more than 30 years. These soldiers are at the front lines of this spiritual battle sharing the true gospel, Mormon Research Ministry (MRM). So at the end of the Berean Research article I have provided links to a 10 part series clearly exposing the unpardonable errors made by Dr. Olson’s thinking and how very perilous it is!
For those reading our posts warning about Roma Downey and Mark Burnett here is a new movie they are introducing Christians to the occult. The link below covers this in great detail I recommend sharing it with anyone you can that they may be able to avoid this latest snare:
Just how big is the Universe we live? As a former Trekkie, Science Fiction lover here is a dose of reality if you dare to read it. For my Christian brothers and sisters I hope it is a blessing to you.
Roma Downey has NOT renounced New Age teachings! Beware if you are watching the AD series these two are not to be trusted! “Roma Downey has never renounced her New Age involvement and continues to promote it in one form or another.”
If time allows I will look into this further but the material at Lighthouse Trails lays it out well. If you are watching the AD series I have little doubt they are rewriting the Bible with their own narrative. If you are a Bible believing Christian, look very hard at what you are being presented even a cursory look I could see and hear things not aligning to scripture even adding to it. Bad, bad stuff!
II Cor 10:5