church_sign-wideby Fred W. Anson
Since I’m known in most circles for my strong Reformed theological stance, a lot of people are surprised to discover that I’m also full blown, tongues speaking non-cessationist Charismatic.

There’s a reason for that: I’m embarrassed. Yes folks, I’m embarrassed by so much of the insanity that goes on among my Charismatic/Pentecostal Brethren these days that I find myself wanting to distance myself from a movement that I once was proudly part of. If anyone has any doubts about why, just pick the latest copy of Charisma Magazine skip the editorial content (which is generally written by sane, reasonable people), and read the ads (which in many cases seem to written by people who are neither).1 If that doesn’t convince you, just flip to the Trinity Broadcasting Network (aka “TBN”) on your television and try to last for more than about 15-minutes – them folks is all nuts from what I can tell!

Yes, the lack of biblical theological, sound doctrine, discernment, and good old common sense that some of today’s Pentecostals and Charismatics engage in is embarrassing folks, truly embarrassing – and I’m saying this as someone who’s part of the tribe! The term that we thinking Charismatics use for these lunatic fringe nutballs is “Charismaniacs” – and trust me, they have legitimately earned the title! In fact, a few have even go so far off the rails that they openly embrace – and even promote – Mormon error. Let’s look at a couple of these.

Paul Richardson and Lynn Ridenhour

Advertisement for a joint Paul Richardson, Lynn Ridenhour seminar. (click to zoom)

The Errors of Paul Richardson
In previous articles2 Beggar’s Bread readers were introduced to Dr. Lynn Ridenhour, an allegedly ordained Baptist Minister who has a testimony of Joseph Smith as prophet due to being introduced to the Book of Mormon by one of his Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS)/Community of Christ neighbors in Missouri. Dr. Ridenhour merited his own article because he’s the most notorious personality in this regard. In fact, it was through Lynn Ridenhour’s Facebook page that I discovered Dr. Paul Richardson, of whom he wrote:

MEET A DEAR FRIEND. Meet Dr. Paul Richardson, Pentecostal minister who loves and preaches out of the Book of Mormon. A few years back we hosted a Book of Mormon seminar in Independence. Two protestant preachers—a Baptist and a Pentecostal—preaching out of the Book of Mormon. I remember the night. The place was packed! We had an LDS Bishop there, missionaries were there. RLDS brothers and sisters were there. A Catholic priest came.

I consider Dr. Paul and his lovely wife, Faye, the dearest of friends. What a John the Baptist they are! Forerunners ahead of their time—spreading the good news of the restoration gospel and the message of the precious Book of Mormon throughout the southern states of this nation. Dr. Richardson publishes his monthly newspaper and mails it out to Pentecostals, mostly pastors all over southern United States. He also gives away free “Record of the Nephites,” as he calls the Book of Mormon.

Dr. Richardson is the chancellor of Spirit of Truth Institute, a Bible School. His school has ordained over 430 Pentecostal ministers. What a friend!3

Now it should probably be noted here that Dr. Ridenour actually transitioned from being a cessationist Baptist to continuationist Pentecostal during the Charismatic Renewal of the 1970’s. So if you attended that seminar what you really got, despite Lynn Ridenhour’s spin doctored rhetoric, was not one, but two Pentecostals who have fallen into Mormon error. And Dr. Ridenhour isn’t joking about any of the stuff he said about Paul Richardson, let’s consider some “gems” from his website:

El Greco, "The Pentecost"

“The Pentecost” by El Greco

OUR DISTINCTIVE STAND
We accept the Book of Mormon, which we also refer to as “The Record of the Nephites” or “The Nephite Record.” Why? Because …

  • It is a companion to and comparable to the traditional 66 books of our Holy Bible, as Sacred Writ
  • It is obviously inspired of God and from heaven.
  • It is in harmony with our Holy Bible, confirms and supports fundamental Christian teachings and is another powerful witness unto our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • It is a fascinating true account of ancient Israelites who migrated by ship to America about 600 B.C.
  • This authentic account was dug up, supernaturally translated by the power of the Holy Ghost, and first printed in 1830. Sadly, the Utah “Mormons” have made many little alterations in their version of it, but we still have copies that conform to the original manuscript.
  • It authoritatively corrects a number of old false teachings that have plagued the Church for generations.
  • It is theologically sound, full of spiritual light, and very edifying to the soul.
  • It is the first installment of much more extra-Biblical Revelation prophesied to come forth in this end time.4

And how does Paul Richardson support his claims that the Book of Mormon is an “authentic account”, “obviously inspired of God and from heaven”, and a “true account”? Archaeology? Science perhaps? Cross referencing the historic records? Evaluating the linguistics of the Book of Mormon relative to Native American linguistics maybe? Theological consensus perhaps?

Of course not! Rather, given the fact that it’s been soundly discredited archaeologically, scientifically, historically, linguistically, theologically, and just about every other way, he just does it the same way that all true believing Mormons do: He elevates his feelings and experience above all else. He simply ignores the fact that not only isn’t there a scrap of evidence to validate the Book of Mormon, there’s a mountain of evidence that discredits it. Here’s an example of the type of feellings driven, Mormon style, mental gymnastics that he engages in:

SOMEONE HAD TO WRITE THE BOOK OF MORMON
—It did not just drop down out of Heaven. There are only three possible origins: 1. God, 2. Man, or 3. the devil.

Joseph Smith, Jr. did not write the Book of Mormon. He only translated it. Then soon afterward his life became such a lie that the Book he translated was stigmatized causing the Christian church to rejected [sic] it.

What does the Book of Mormon do for me?
• Well, it inspires me to pray and to be loving and kind.
• It convicts me of any selfishness, fleshly disposition or worldly attitudes.
• It builds up my faith and gives me courage to trust the Lord.
• It puts me in a Heavenly frame of mind and kindles a strong desire in me to walk with God and to live holy for Him.

Each time you lay the Book of Mormon down and walk away, it feels just like you had a real good church service. Reading the Book of Mormon does all the same things for me as reading the Holy Bible does.5

But the fact of the matter is that objective evidence simply can’t be ignored. And if that evidence contradicts your emotional decision it still has to be dealt with somehow. Given that, consider how arbitrary and inconsistent he is in accepting the divine calling of Joseph Smith as inspired translator of the Book of Mormon while simultaneously throwing him under the bus as a fallen prophet:

Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and a great Seer.

His gift was utterly supernatural!

He had an amazing gift from God to translate the ancient Nephite Record. His great contribution was incomparable, for which we are very grateful.

But not long after he translated the Book of Mormon, he clearly became deceived and misguided and no one should follow either his personal example or his false teachings, which clashed with both the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon.

I prefer to follow the pure Word of God!6

Wiggin-Pentecost-smaller

“Pentecost” by Mark Wiggin

This is pretzel logic at it’s finest! This is like saying that Mohammed was a divinely inspired moralist when he received the Koran but lost the anointing when he started slaughtering infidels. Or that L. Ron Hubbard was an expert in human psychology when he wrote Dianetics but suddenly became a manipulative hack after it fell off the bestseller list. Neither narrative is true: The moral character of neither man changed before or after the these works were published, they remained the same. Likewise, the historical record demonstrates that Joseph Smith was a con-man and a shyster before, during, and after the creation of the Book of Mormon. In all cases, the only thing that really changed was the amount of power and influence that these men were able to consolidate to themselves as a result of the publication of their defining work. And once they had that power consolidation protecting them, their true nature manifested itself.

So apparently in Richardson’s mind the rationale goes something like this: “So what if Joseph Smith didn’t live a life that produced good fruit (per Matt 7:15-20)? So what if the rotten fruit he produced has resulted in a plethora of abusive Mind Control Cults that have followed him in engaging in the practice of polygamy? So what if he taught that the God of the Bible is just an exalted man who is just one of an infinite number of such gods throughout the cosmos (in violation of Deut 13:1-11)? So what if Joseph Smith destroyed fortunes and families through failed prophecies (in violation of Deut 18:18-22)? Brother, his book sure makes me feel like I’m in a really good church meeting when I read it, so it must be of God, right?”

Clearly Dr. Paul Richardson is failing to plumb line any of his beliefs against the absolute and objective standard of the Bible. I can say this emphatically because while the Book of Mormon is an interesting example of 19th Century American Protestant Restorationism, it simply isn’t fully “in harmony with our Holy Bible”. As Donna Morley noted in her analysis of similar claims by Lynn Ridenhour:

Here’s what Alma 13:13 actually says:

“And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest.”
(Alma 13:13, RLDS, bolding added)

Further, here’s something else Alma says in chapter 13:

“Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish.”
(Alma 13:10, RLDS, bolding added)

In the above, Alma stated that the high priests escaped damnation only by working righteousness. The righteousness is credited as “their righteousness.” This isn’t the unconditional grace that’s taught in the Bible this is conditional grace where one must perform good works in order to merit grace rather than it being a unilateral gift of unmerited favor and mercy from God Himself!

True Christianity isn’t based upon our righteousness. The prophet Isaiah says that our righteousness is as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6, NASB). Because we don’t have righteousness of our own, true followers of Christ are given His righteousness:

“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.”
(Romans 3:22, NASB)

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB)7

pentecost 2

“Pentecost 2” by William Grosvenor Congdon (1912-1998)

The Book of Mormon also contradicts with biblical theology on other key points as well. For example, it’s view of the Godhead is modalistic8 and it rejects salvation by grace alone through faith alone (that is unconditional grace) for Roman Catholic style conditional grace ( that is, salvation by grace plus works):

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
(2 Nephi 25:23 LDS bolding added for emphasis)

This is in direct contradiction with the Bible:

“For it is by faith you are saved through faith, not that of yourselves it is the gift of God”
(Ephesians 2:8-9, NASB bolding added for emphasis)

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”
(Romans 11:6, NASB)

So it’s clear that Dr. Paul Richardson is in very grave error. He isn’t following the “pure Word of God” at all. I would respectfully suggest that he reconsider his feelings regarding the Book of Mormon in light of what the pure Word of God actually says regarding using feelings as the ultimate means of discerning truth:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
(Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
(Proverbs 28:26, KJV)

Dr. Paul Richardson pitches the “Record of the Nephites” without explicitly stating that it’s the Book of Mormon.

The Errors of Cal Fullerton
While he’s not well known, probably the most interesting of the Charismatics who have been snared by the spirit of Mormonism is Cal Fullerton. Unlike Lynn Ridenhour and Paul Richardson, his justification for his stance isn’t quite as eye rollingly, face palmingly, ham fistedly inane, absurdist, and irrational. Rather, like non-Charismatic LdS Church advocates Richard J. Mouw and Roger E. Olson, he has been seduced into an odd form of theological liberalism and eyes wide shut ecumenicalism that’s rooted in feelings and experiences trumping both biblical orthodoxy and reality. One need go no further than the home page of his website to see this:

“Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) Christian?” This question and others about Christianity in the Mormon Church are reverberating worldwide.

The answers given are usually polarizing. Those who say no are primarily evangelical Christians. Those who say yes are primarily Mormons . . . but not all of them.

Respected evangelical leaders such as Joel Osteen have said yes.

The president of Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. Richard Mouw, who has been recognized as an important voice among reform-oriented evangelicals, confessed that evangelicals have spread lies about LDS beliefs…

In order to do this completely and most effectively, there must be unity among us. Jesus prayed, “I have given them [my disciples] the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. . . . May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me” (John 17:22-23 NIV).9

"Icon-Pentecost" by Phiddipus

“Icon-Pentecost” by Phiddipus

So there you have it, an Evangelical Scholar whose work in Mormon Studies has been discredited and denounced by recognized and respected Evangelical Mormon Studies Scholars (Richard J. Mouw)10 and an ear tickling heretic (Joel Osteen)!11 I mean if these guys say it’s true, then it must be – right? I mean, with “evangelical leaders” like this who needs wolves, we have them right in the flock!

But, wait it gets, even better: Though it’s rarely mentioned in public, Cal Fullerton also bases his stance regarding the LdS Church on a prophecy from an errant Charismatic prophetess. Here’s how he relayed this incident on a Mormon/Evangelical discussion board:

I heard the prophecy (not a dream or vision) by the prophetess long after the Word of God—printed & living—revealed to me God’s perspective on the LDS.

Incidentally, the prophetess fell short of saying the LDS is Christian and should be accepted into the Christian fold. Rather, she rebuked the church of Christ for pointing fingers at Mormons. At one point she yelled, “THROW DOWN YOUR STONES!” I liked it so much that I asked permission to use her prophecy in something I was writing. She denied permission, which is why, for the sake of integrity, I’m not mentioning her name now. (She is well known and highly respected among charismatics.)12

And there you have it – classic Charismaniac error. When push comes to shove, Biblical absolutes get shoved to the side and are subordinated to feelings and experiences. This theme can be found again, again, and again on Mr. Fullerton’s website. Again one need go no further than his home page:

Helen [Cal Fullerton’s wife] and I are not taking this stand because we have another opinion– opinions are already too easy to find–it’s because the Spirit of the living God has revealed it to us. Have you ever noticed that virtually all non-Mormons who say the Mormon Church isn’t Christian, don’t say that God told them so? The reason is He didn’t!13

So it came as no surprise to me when Mr. Fullerton offered the same, “Pray about it my friend” defense of the Mormon Church in the aforementioned online discussion that one would expect from a Mormon. Here was my response:

[Your challenge that I pray about the Mormon Church] deserves special, detailed attention. With this statement you have demonstrated WHY some Charismatics/Pentecostals and nearly all Latter-day Saints fall into error.

Cal, I don’t HAVE to pray about whether Mormonism is Christian anymore than I have to pray about whether I should lie, cheat, steal, or commit adultery. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to told to pray about Biblical absolutes.

Rather, for a true Christian the Bible is his/her absolute authority – not feelings, not experiences, not relationships, and not . . . whatever. And in this case Joseph Smith failed to pass every Biblical test for a true prophet and he passed every test for a false one:

1) Deceiving God’s covenant people into following another God. (Deu 13:1-11)
2) Giving future predictions that failed to come to pass. (Deu 18:18-22)
3) A life that produces bad fruit. (Mat 7:15-20)
4) Denying that Jesus Christ was God eternal incarnated in human flesh. (1 John 4:1-3)

In addition we can add:
5) Use of Occult practices like scrying and Shamanism.
6) Incorporating Freemasonry into the LDS Temple ceremonies.
(Freemasonry is rooted in Kabbalah which is occultic)

As I’m sure you know occult practices are soundly condemned throughout both the Old and New Testament so I won’t bore you and the other readers with a list of proof texts on this. In regard to Joseph Smith’s involvement with these practices here’s a good write up by former Mormon, Janis Hutchinson that ends with this closing statement: “No individual, knowing the truth about the Mormon Church’s occult background, could possibly follow Joseph Smith as a prophet or embrace his teachings.”
http://www.janishutchinson.com/joeoccult.html

So no Cal, there’s no need to pray about whether Mormonism is Christian anymore than I need to pray to determine if Branch Davidianism, Christian Spiritualism, Freemasonry, or Scientology are. Sure there are good, moral, admirable people in each of these religions but that doesn’t make them Christian any more than it makes their founders true prophets of the God of the Bible.

And, I must say it, suggesting that I – or any other Christian for that matter – disregard Biblical absolutes and pray about whether the false religion started and based on the teachings of the false prophet Joseph Smith simply demonstrates how flawed, errant, and unbiblical your theology has become.14

At this point, I’m not quite sure what to add in regard in regard the Errors of Cal Fullerton. One need only parse through his website to see error, after error, after error.

"Pentecost" (Unknown Artist)

“Pentecost” (Unknown Artist)

Good Theology? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Good Theology!
Lynn Ridenhour, Paul Richards, and Cal Fullerton represent the Charismaniac extremism that John MacArthur and his supporters pointed to with glee in their “Strange Fire” book and conferences in indicting Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement as a fountainhead of error. They’re easy targets since, unlike many Charismatics, they seem to lack any real theological depth. For example, consider this “gem” from Cal Fullerton:

It has been said that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is not a Christian organization because Mormonism denies one or more of the “essential” doctrines of the gospel. To determine if that statement is correct, we need to have a good grasp of what actually is essential. To correctly classify the LDS we need to be sure which doctrines of the Holy Bible are absolutely mandatory in order for someone to become a Christian and enter heaven. Roughly seventy percent of Mormon teachings agree with evangelical teachings. But that does not prove that the LDS is a Christian denomination. The tenets and members have to agree with the Bible’s essentials.

I have assembled these essentials into four.

Essential Number 1: Believe God Rewards…
Essential Number 2: Repent to Faith in Jesus…
Essential Number 3: Receive Jesus (the Holy Spirit) Into Your Heart (Be Born Again)…
Essential Number 4: Believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ…

According to the Bible, if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches the four essentials I’ve listed above, we must classify it as a Christian denomination instead of an unchristian cult. That is because God has plainly promised that if you do the essential requirements I have outlined, he will accept you into his eternal family.

Back when I thought the Mormon Church wasn’t Christian, I didn’t pay much attention to whether each of their doctrines had to do with a mandatory requirement for entering heaven. That was one of the reasons I made a tragic mistake of judgment.15

I can hear the sound of palms hitting faces throughout cyberspace as those grounded in historic, biblical theology read that “masterpiece”. I know of no credible theologian who would accept that list as fundamentally sound criteria for soteriology, let alone mainstream Christian orthodoxy! He apparently has no clue that the Essential Doctrines of the Christian faith have recognized throughout Christian Church History as the following:16

"Pentecost 4" William Grosvenor Congdon (1912 - 1998)

“Pentecost 4” by William Grosvenor Congdon (1912 – 1998) (click to zoom)

The Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith
1) The Deity of Jesus Christ.
2) Salvation by Grace.
3) The resurrection of Jesus Christ.
4) The gospel of Jesus Christ, and
5) Monotheism.

In the end Cal Fullerton only demonstrates his own ignorance and destroys his own case by doing a Mormon style “redefining the terms to fit the predetermined conclusion”. In fact, Mormonism doesn’t even get through the Judeo-Christian gate because of it’s rejection of monotheism in favor of henotheistic polytheism.

Likewise, as pointed out in a previous article, Lynn Ridenhour can’t even properly articulate the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity held by mainstream Christianity without speaking heretically. And he then one ups that heresy by concluding that Joseph Smith’s blasphemous tri-theistic view of the godhead is correct.17 Finally, as noted previously, Paul Richardson seems quite happy with the modalistic version of the Trinity presented in the Book of Mormon, as well as its denial of salvation by grace alone. Folks, if you’re looking for theological depth from these three, look elsewhere! The aforementioned John MacArthur could well have been writing specifically about them when he said:

We ought to begin with the Word of God, allowing a proper interpretation of the text to govern our experiences. A true work of the Spirit thrives on sound doctrine. It promotes biblical truth; it does not dismiss it or see it as a threat. Once experience is allowed to be the litmus test for truth, subjectivism becomes dominant and neither doctrine nor practice is defined by the divine standard of Scripture.

Charismatics downplay doctrine for the same reason they demean the Bible: they think any concern for timeless, objective truth stifles the work of the Spirit. They envision the Spirit’s ministry as something wholly free-flowing, infinitely pliable— so subjective as to defy definition. Creeds, confessions of faith, and systematic theology are seen as narrow, confining, not elastic enough for the Spirit to work within. Acknowledging this tendency within charismatic circles, one author wrote, “A college student once warned me of the ‘dangerous doctrine of demons’— his description of systematic theology. ‘The Lord has given us the Holy Spirit to interpret Scripture,’ he explained. ‘Teaching doctrine is Satan’s attempt to use our minds to understand the Bible rather than relying on the Holy Spirit.” (William E. Brown, “Making Sense of Your Faith”, Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1989, p.55)

That is a shocking statement. In reality, the only thing good theology stifles is error, which is why sound doctrine is the single greatest antidote to charismatic deviations. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 16: 13). Any work of His will elevate biblical truth and sound doctrine in the hearts and minds of His people.18

Pentecostal Charismaniacs: Mormons Gone Bad
But now it should be apparent that these men are more Mormon than Christian in their epistemology. This should come as no surprise since as noted in prior articles19 Mormonism was a byproduct of the same 19th Century American Restorationist Pentecostalism that birthed today’s modern Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. That epistemology, in a nutshell, can be described thusly: Feelings, faith, facts – in that order. As Lutheran Pastor, Don Matzat (who has past involvement with the Charismatic Movement) observed well:

There is nothing wrong with Christians desiring feelings, emotions, and experience. In fact, the lack of any experience is in itself an experience. The lack of feeling is a feeling. The lack of emotion is an emotion. Any cursory reading of the New Testament demonstrates that love, joy, peace, hope, contentment are to be the Christian’s experience, feeling, and emotion…

Rather than coming against a feel-good faith, we should clearly teach that true Christian feelings, emotions, and Holy Spirit experience are the product of sound theology. Rather than confronting imbalance in the church by promoting the alternative and pushing the pendulum to the other side, we should begin with a balanced perspective which means recognizing that feelings will follow a faith that clings to the objective promises of God in Scripture. The person who believes and confesses that his sins are forgiven because Jesus died on the cross should feel guilt-free and experience the joy of having a cleansed conscience. Feelings and emotions. while not the cause of our faith, are the expression of our faith. Martin Luther writes, “We can mark our lack of faith by our lack of joy; for our joy must necessarily be as great as our faith.” Again he writes, “You have as much laughter as you have faith.” (Ewald Plass, What Luther Says, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), Vol. 2, p. 692.)…

Hopefully the present conflict between sound doctrine and feel-good experience will lead to a balanced perspective on both sides. Those who minimize sound doctrine and promote feelings and experience must recognize that they are plotting a course for deception and disaster. Those who focus on sound doctrine must begin teaching people to apply those great truths of Scripture to their daily living so that the experience of God’s people matches what the Word of God commands.20

And Charisma magazine more directly and forcefully articulated the same sentiment in a web article by Joseph Mattera entitled, “10 Signs You Are a Charismaniac”. In fact, according to Mr. Mattera, this is the #1 characteristic of a Charismaniac:

1. You put prophecies and extra-biblical leadings on the same level as the written Word of God. Isaiah 8:20 says if we speak not according to the Scripture then we have no light. Second Timothy 3:16 teaches that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. The Scriptures are our rule for life and the highest standard for judging truth.

Unfortunately, some in the charismatic camp seem to be led more by personal prophecies and supernatural visions and dreams than by the Scriptures. I have known some people who would record personal prophecies by well-known “prophets” and—without praying about it or comparing it to Scripture or getting discerning counsel from more seasoned leaders in the kingdom—would just obey the prophecy as if it were as inspired as the Bible.21

Jean_II_Restout_-_Pentecôte

“Pentecost” by Jean II Restout, (c.1732)

In other words, biblical epistemology is facts, faith, feelings – in that order. To see the contrast, just consider Paul Richardson’s “evidence” that the Book of Mormon must be true because, “Each time you lay the Book of Mormon down and walk away, it feels just like you had a real good church service.”22 Now compare this to his lack of any acknowledgement that the Book of Mormon does in fact contradict both the Bible and Christian orthodoxy. When you take that and then factor in the reality that there is absolutely no empirical evidence to support the historicity of the Book of Mormon – a glaring omission that somehow fails to be addressed on his website or in any of his articles – the work’s rejection as holy writ should be fait accompli. Instead, again, again, and again in his articles Mr. Richardson endorses the book as scripture equivalent to scripture based on subjective analysis that’s devoid of any objective evidence. As I said to Cal Fullerton regarding this same kind of lack of discernment and failure to plumb line such impressions against objective evidence:

I, a fellow Charismatic who believes in modern prophetic utterances and the other gifts of the Spirit say to you now as I did back on the [now defunct] Concerned Christians board [in 2010]: I don’t care WHO that prophetess was, I could care less what her reputation is among Charismatics or anyone else for matter, she gave a false prophecy – period.

When plumblined against the Bible it was a false prophecy. Period.

And most distressingly she validated a false prophet and a heretical non-Christian group in the name of (and allegedly in the voice of) God. She is, therefore, a false prophet and a deceiver. Period.23

This blatant disregard of objectivity (especially biblical objectivity) over personal subjectivity is very Mormon isn’t it? In fact, Chuck Smith, the founder of Calvary Chapel and a Charismatic with Pentecostal roots, could have been describing these men when he wrote:

It is of utmost importance that we allow the Bible to be the final authority for our faith and practice. Any time we begin to allow experiences to become the criteria for doctrine or belief, we have lost biblical authority, and the inevitable result is confusion. There are so many people today who witness of remarkable and exciting experiences. The Mormons, for example, “bear witness” to the experience of the truth of the Book of Mormon. They encourage people to pray in order to experience whether or not their Book of Mormon is true. One person says he has experienced that it is true, and another says he has experienced that it is false. Which one am I to believe? Each swears he has had a true experience from God; yet one has to be wrong. Whenever you open the door for experience to become the foundation or criterion for doctrinal truth, you are opening a Pandora’s box. The result is that the truth is lost in the conflicting experiences, and the inevitable consequence is total confusion. We know that God is not the Author of confusion.24

Further, didn’t Christ stress the importance of evidence throughout His sermons? And could Paul have been any clearer when he said that if our Christianity isn’t empirically true then “we are of all men the most pitiable”?

If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
(1 Corinthians 15:14-19, NKJV)

In summary and conclusion, this unbiblical, feeling affirming, evidence denying pattern can be seen plainly in the writings and public instruction of all three men – again, one need only spend some “quality time” on their websites to see this clearly. By embracing false scripture from a False Prophet – and even worse, encouraging others to do the same – these men have become false teachers themselves. And the Bible was quite clear what God’s people are to do when we encounter a false teacher, false prophet, false apostle, or false anything for that matter:

You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
(Deuteronomy 13:3&4, NKJV) bolding added for emphasis

pentecost

A primitive fresco of Pentecost.

NOTES
1 Full disclosure and clarification: I worked as a Music Reviewer for “Worship Leader Magazine”, which is also owned by Strang Publications, the publisher of Charisma Magazine, from 1992-1993. During that time I found John Strang and his staff to be reasonable, personable, and theologically sound. I think that’s why you will find the editorial content of Charisma Magazine to be generally sound.

That’s why I’ve specifically recommended that you just view the advertisements in the magazine instead – they’re an unvetted, raw picture of the current state of the Pentecostal/Charismatic Church at the grassroots level and, frankly, it’s scary. Whenever someone asks (or challenges) me about my (admittedly blunt) assessment of the modern Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement I just point them to there. After seeing them, nothing else need be said. For example, let’s look at a couple of them from the December 2015 issue of Charisma magazine:

“Blood Moons are not about the end – they are about the beginning.

For over 3,000 years God has used the blood moon tetrads on His feast days of Passover and Tabernacles as a sign of special revival coming to His people. The last great blood moon revival came in 1967, when God poured out His Spirit to begin the charismatic renewal. Today there are over 600 million charismatic Christians who are the fruit of this revival, including most of the readers of this magazine.

The blood moon tetrad of 2014-2015 occurred in troubled time, as have most the previous 14 blood moon tetrads. Yet we can see the beginning of a new revival coming based on unity in Christ in answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Don’t miss it!

we invite you to study the Scriptures, the heavenly signs, and the history of the blood moon tetrads in our new book . . . ”
(Charisma, December 2015, p.9)

But, wait folks, if blood moons aren’t enough, there’s more! Consider this “gem”:

“Discouraged?
Need a miracle?
Lack the faith to believe?
Desire to be empowered to heal?

– Receive step by step Biblical Instruction to activate God’s healing power in your life.
-Be encouraged as you read the amazing testimonies that are in this book.

Afraid?
Feel defeated?

– Tap into the supernatural potential of your faith.
– Unleash the power of God.
– Experience the impossible.
– Overcome in these Last Days.
(Charisma, December 2015, p. 15)

Even more disturbing are the titles and subtitles of the latter books being advertised in the second advertisement: “Dare to Believe: The True Power of Faith to Walk in Divine Healing and Miracles” and “Greater Than Magic: The Supernatural Power of Faith”. Apparently, the Bible isn’t enough any more, now we need the equivalent of “How To” Charismatic cookbooks and computer manuals! Further, if one didn’t know in advance one might even assume from the title alone that these are books from pagans on how to cast spells or channel metaphysical powers and forces. Yet there they are, being advertised in the flagship periodical of American Pentecostals and Charismatics! And not only does no one seem to care, but judging by the reviews of these books on Amazon, my Pentecostal and Charismatic brothers and sisters seem to be delighted by it! It is any wonder that prudent and conservative continuationists distance themselves from such things?

My dear Pentecostal and Charismatic brothers and sisters we can do better than this! Brothers and sisters we must do better than this in the Name of, and for the cause of, Christ alone!

2 See “The Errors of Dr. Lynn Ridenhour” and “Weak Arguments #7: ‘The Book of Mormon doesn’t have a trace of orthodox, mainstream Biblical Christianity in it.’” in particular.

3 Lynn Ridenhour, Facebook post October 20, 2014

4 Paul Richardson, “Our Distinctive Stand”; “The Full Revelation Believers” website. The reader may also be interested in reading Dr. Richardson’s biography (which for or some unknown reason he calls a “News Release”) by clicking here.

5 Paul Richardson, “Someone Had To Write The Book of Mormon”; “The Full Revelation Believers” website

6 Paul Richardson, “The Charm of Joseph Smith”; “The Full Revelation Believers” website

7 Donna Morley, “The Errors of Dr. Lynn Ridenhour, Appendix: Is the Book of Mormon Really “Baptist”?”

8 See Ronald V. Huggins, B.F.A., Th.D., “Joseph Smith’s Modalism: Sabellian Sequentialism or Swedenborgian Expansionism?”; Also see Bill McKeever, “Modalism in the Book of Mormon”.

9 Cal Fullerton, “Evangelicals and Mormons for Jesus” home page. Bolding retained from original.

And in accordance with the usage guidelines of that website we post the following: “Copyright © 2008 Cal Fullerton. Permission is granted, and you are encouraged, to print the above article in hard copy form, as well as send it to your own email lists and post it on your own websites. We only ask that you include the name of the originating website (EvangelicalsandMormonsforJesus.com) and this copyright and permission notice.”

10 Please see the Evangelical Ministries to New Religions “Statement On Richard Mouw And Evangelical Countercult Ministries”; And for a good analysis and deconstruction of Richard J. Mouw’s claim that Evangelical Christians have lied about and misrepresented the Mormon Church see Fred W. Anson, “Scolasticus cum Peter Principle”; Also recommended: Mike Thomas, “That Apology and How Liberal Theolgians “Go Native”’, and; Fred W. Anson, “Apologizing For Richard J. Mouw”.

11 See Matt Walsh, “Joel Osteen and his Wife are Heretics, and that’s why America Loves Them”; Also see “Joel Osteen-Preaching a False-Positive, with a Smile”.

12 Cal Fullerton comment, September 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm on the article “Turns out, the Bible says that Protestants should unite with Mormons” by Jared C. on the LDS and Evangelical Conversations website.

13 Op Cit, Fullerton, “Evangelicals and Mormons for Jesus” home page.

And by the way, and for the record Mr. Fullerton, there are thousands of Christians who can subjectively claim that the Mormon Church is neither true or Christian because God told them so. I’m one of them:

I would like to bear my testimony . . .
I have diligently sought God regarding whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true or not. To that end, I have studied the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon and I have prayed consistently for over 30-years. I have taken the “Moroni 10 Challenge” and I have felt an intense “burning in my bosom” many, many, many times in my life — in fact, I carry it with me everyday of my life.

… and my testimony is this:
I am utterly convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a non-Christian cult, that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, as is Thomas S. Monson. Further, I am utterly convinced that the Book of Mormon is an uninspired, man created work of 19th Century fiction.

Here I stand before God and before men – I can do no other.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen.

And if my testimony isn’t enough, I can provide similar testimony from other Christians with little to no effort at all. Further Mr. Fullerton, please note that -unlike your testimony of the LdS Church – the body of objective evidence, including the bible itself, supports and verifies our subjective testimony. So in the end where has all this subjective testimony bearing of contrary positions gotten either of us? Answer: Absolutely nowhere.

What I have said to countless Mormons, I will now say to Misters Ridenhour, Richardson, and Fullerton: That Mormon testimony of yours plus a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee at Denny’s and that’s about it! And what’s true for you is just as true for my contra-Mormon testimony: Testimony bearing in and of itself proves nothing. Rather, let’s see the objective evidence that supports and verifies it – because in the end that’s all that really matters.

14 Fred W. Anson reply to Cal Fullerton, September 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm; Op Cit, Jared C., “Turns out, the Bible says that Protestants should unite with Mormons”.

15 Cal Fullerton, “Essentials for Salvation”“Evangelicals and Mormons for Jesus” website. Bolding from original retained.

16 See Matt Slick, “Essential Doctrines of Christianity”, CARM website. While Mr. Slick’s article is an excellent short vernacular primer, C. Michael Patton’s “Essentials and Non-Essentials in a Nutshell” article is the better resource for those seeking a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the subject. Finally for those who find Mr. Slick’s outline format a bit too cryptic and Mr. Patton’s article too long should consider the short but insightful “What are the essentials of the Christian faith?” article on the “Got Questions?” website instead.

17 In his article, “God of the Philosophers: Brief Comments on the Godhead” Lynn Ridenhour writes:

“The God of the Trinity wallows in modalism, stumbling to give its advice to new converts. Listen to Cyril of Jerusalem:

“…For there is one Salvation, one Power, one Faith; One God, the Father; One Lord, His only-begotten Son; One Holy Ghost; the Comforter. And it is enough for us to know these things; but inquire not curiously into His nature or substance: for had it been written, we would have spoken of it; what is not written, let us not venture on; it is sufficient for our salvation to know, that there is Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost.” –Catechetical Lectures 16:24

Enough.

What kind of Being is God?

Let Joseph answer. The Prophet preached that “…if you were to see [God] today, you would see him like a man in form,” and that “the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as a man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit” (D&C 130:22).

As I said in the beginning, this may be old hat to most, and not unlike the tour guide, some may be tempted to say “…O, we see it all the time…” and walk away, but for me—it’s like seeing the Niagara Falls for the very first time.”

In case you didn’t notice that a heretical definition of the Trinity followed by an endorsement of Joseph Smith’s blasphemous tri-theistic view of the godhead.

18 John F. MacArthur, “Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship” (pp. 73-74) Kindle Edition.

I would ask the reader to note that while I find much to soundly applaud in this work, overall I was disappointed by John MacArthur’s extremist stances, exaggerations, misrepresentations and generally ungracious, polemic attitude in both this book and the conferences that preceded it. Perhaps Dr. Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the “Reformation Commentary on Scripture” as well as several other books said it best when he wrote:

“Within the worldwide charismatic movement, there are no doubt instances of weird, inappropriate, and outrageous phenomena, perhaps including some of the things MacArthur saw on TBN. Many Pentecostal leaders themselves acknowledge as much. But to discredit the entire charismatic movement as demon-inspired because of the frenzied excess into which some of its members have fallen is both myopic and irresponsible. It would be like condemning the entire Catholic Church because some of its priests are proven pedophiles, or like smearing all Baptist Christians because of the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church.

When told that his all-charismatics-are-outside-the-pale approach was damaging the Body of Christ because he was attacking his brothers and sisters in the Lord, MacArthur responded that he “wished he could affirm that.” This is a new version of extra ecclesiam nulla salus—except that the ecclesia here is not the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church but rather an exclusively non-charismatic one.”
(Timothy George, “Strange Friendly Fire”, First Things, November 4, 2013)

I also agree with Reformed Theologian John Piper who wrote:

‘On each point, it is surely misguided to single out charismatics, says Piper. “Charismatic doctrinal abuses, emotional abuses, discernment abuses, financial abuses, all have their mirror image in non-charismatic churches.” Of charismatics and non-charismatics alike, “we all stand under the word of God and we all need repentance.”

But those charismatic abuses remain. So how are these excesses best policed? How are Christians today protected from the abuses of the charismatic church? Is it through attack-centered books and conferences?

“I don’t go on a warpath against charismatics. I go on a crusade to spread truth. I am spreading gospel-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated, Calvinistic truth everywhere, and I am going to push it into the face of every charismatic I can find, because what I believe, if they embrace the biblical system of doctrine that is really there, it will bring all of their experiences into the right orbit around the sun of this truth.”’
(John Piper, “Piper Addresses Strange Fire and Charismatic Chaos”, Desiring God website)

I’m trying hard in this article to tread a fine line between being too polemic and too tolerant regarding Charismatic practices that I consider imbalanced or outright unbiblical. I will leave it to the reader’s judgment to determine if I’ve succeeded or not.

19 See Fred W. Anson, “Mormons: Pentecostals Gone Bad”“Mormons: Pentecostals Gone Bad [The Sequel]”; Also see John Farkas, “Speaking in Tongues and The Mormon Church”.

20 Don Matzat, “Feelings, Emotions and Christian Truth”

21 Bishop Joseph Mattera, “10 Signs You Are a Charismaniac”, Charisma magazine’s “Charisma News” website. Bolding from original retained.

22 Paul Richardson, “Someone Had to Write The Book of Mormon”.

23 Fred W. Anson reply to Cal Fullerton, September 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm; Op Cit, Jared C., “Turns out, the Bible says that Protestants should unite with Mormons”.

24 Chuck Smith, “Charisma Versus Charismania”, Kindle Locations 1282-1289.

The Bible

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
(2 Timothy 2:1, KJV)

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Comments
  1. CAL FULLERTON RESPONDS (via email 5/2/2016, 5:57 PM Pacfic)
    I received the following email response to this article from Cal Fullerton on 5/2/2016. He has graciously given me permission to post it here along with a rejoinder.

    My view of Joseph Smith is mixed. I see strong evidence that he was prophetically gifted during roughly the first half of his ministry but equally strong evidence that he fell away during the latter part of his ministry. In response to your question below, the LDS views the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one Godhead and at the same time three persons, each having their own body. They are practically Trinitarians, though they may not regard themselves as such. I’ve gathered from various sources that when they say they disagree with the Trinity Doctrine, they are actually disagreeing with modalism. They don’t understand that Trinitarians also believe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons.

    Have a good evening, my friend. . . . Oh, by the way, thanks for saying my view is less eye-rolling than others!

    Your brother in Christ,

    Cal

    Then in the (5/3/2016 5:01 AM Pacific) email in which he gave me permission to post his response he added this:

    I’m not inclined to continue the conversation, however. I believe I’ve talked to you many times in the past. I don’t think there’s any chance I’m going to change your mind.

    Yours in Christ,

    Cal

    REJOINDER FROM FRED W. ANSON (5/3/2016, 8:06 AM Pacific)
    Thank you for your reply Mr. Fullerton. In response I offer this:

    YOU WROTE
    “I’m not inclined to continue the conversation, however. I believe I’ve talked to you many times in the past. I don’t think there’s any chance I’m going to change your mind.”

    RESPONSE
    No Cal, I won’t be changing my mind. Why should I? I have both facts and the witness of the Spirit backing my play. What have you go other than feelings and indefensible logic and reasoning. For example, you wrote:

    “I see strong evidence that he was prophetically gifted during roughly the first half of his ministry but equally strong evidence that he fell away during the latter part of his ministry.”

    Mr. Fullerton could you please explain to me how and why God would use an occult practice like scrying to bring forth new scripture via the Book of Mormon?
    (see https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/10/joseph-the-seer?lang=eng)

    Could you explain to us why Joseph Smith was renounced from the very beginning – BEFORE the Book of Mormon was published – as a False Prophet and a False Christian by the Christians of his day?
    (see http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/josephsmithmethodist.htm)

    Could you explain to us why the Book of Mormon – which is and has always been Joseph Smith’s prophetic credential – teaches another gospel, one explicitly condemned as “anathema” by the Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians?
    (see https://beggarsbread.org/2016/04/17/the-bible-v-the-book-of-mormon-gospel/)

    Could you explain to us why if it’s true that, “he [Joseph Smith] was prophetically gifted during roughly the first half of his ministry” his revelations and scripture from the first half of his ministry are not only heretical, but in some cases blasphemous? Consider please consider this from The Book of Abraham (circa 1834):

    And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

    And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.

    And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.

    And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.
    (The Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham Chapter 4:1-4)

    Further, and on that note, you continue to ignore the fact that Mormonism isn’t even monotheistic, it teaches a form of henotheistic polytheism whereby Heavenly Father is just the chief god of this world in a pantheon of gods. This is evident in the fact that you can’t articulate the Latter-day Saint of the godhead properly. For example, you wrote:

    “the LDS views the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one Godhead and at the same time three persons, each having their own body. They are practically Trinitarians, though they may not regard themselves as such.”

    Mr. Fullerton, this is simply wrong. Please consider this from the official LdS website:

    “The Mormon view of the members of the Godhead corresponds in a number of ways with the views of others in the Christian world, but with significant differences. Latter-day Saints pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. They acknowledge the Father as the ultimate object of their worship, the Son as Lord and Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as the messenger and revealer of the Father and the Son. But where Latter-day Saints differ from other Christian religions is in their belief that God and Jesus Christ are glorified, physical beings and that each member of the Godhead is a separate being…

    From the Prophet’s account of the First Vision and from his other teachings, we know that the members of the Godhead are three separate beings. The Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bones, and the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit (see D&C 130:22). Although the members of the Godhead are distinct beings with distinct roles, they are one in purpose and doctrine. They are perfectly united in bringing to pass Heavenly Father’s divine plan of salvation.”
    (see https://www.lds.org/topics/godhead?lang=eng)

    Got it? That’s three BEINGS and three PERSONS Mr. Fullerton – in other words, three separate and distinct GODS. That sir, is polytheism. Then when you add this . . .

    “They [Latter-day Saints] acknowledge the Father as the ultimate object of their worship, the Son as Lord and Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as the messenger and revealer of the Father and the Son.”

    . . . you have a henotheistic hierarchy. And if you have any doubts on this please reread the Abraham 4:1-4 citation from above again – henotheistic polytheism is written right into their canonized scripture.

    Mr. Fullerton, simply put, you are encouraging Christians to accept a false church, founded by a false prophet, teaching a false gospel from false scripture. As I stated in the article:

    “By embracing false scripture from a False Prophet – and even worse, encouraging others to do the same – these men have become false teachers themselves. And the Bible was quite clear what God’s people are to do when we encounter a false teacher, false prophet, false apostle, or false anything for that matter:

    You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
    (Deuteronomy 13:3&4, NKJV) bolding added for emphasis”
    (see https://beggarsbread.org/2016/05/01/pentecostal-charismaniacs-mormons-gone-bad/)

    Sir, there’s really no nice way to say it: You need to repent. You need to turn from these false teachings and denounce them. Currently Mr. Fullerton you are a False Teacher and as long as you continue in teaching this error I have no choice but to continue to warn people about you and your error.

    Like

    • CAL FULLERTON’S RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE REJOINDER (via email 5/3/2016, 2:31 PM Pacific)
      Do you know that many theological terms, such as even the word god, are slightly redefined among Mormons? Before we can understand what they believe we have to learn their vocabulary.

      If I remember correctly, the last time I talked to you—maybe it was 9 months ago, maybe much longer—I asked you how much time you spend in prayer. You refused to answer the question. Was that you or am I thinking of someone else? If that wasn’t you, let me ask you that question. How much time do you spend in prayer? Also, how much time do you spend in simple Bible reading for your own edification? These habits are important for developing discernment.

      Take care,

      Cal

      RESPONSE TO CAL FULLERTON FROM FRED W. ANSON (via email 5/3/2016, 3:34 PM Pacific)

      YOU WROTE
      “Do you know that many theological terms, such as even the word god, are slightly redefined among Mormons? Before we can understand what they believe we have to learn their vocabulary.”

      RESPONSE
      Sir, please excuse me while I face palm. I have just cited directly from THE official, correlated Mormon source that Latter-day Saints are supposed to use for their own study and for preparing public lessons. What more do you want? What was unclear about the heresies and blasphemes that are contained therein? I understand their vocabulary just fine, I would assert that it’s you who’s unclear on what the LdS Church teaches about God and how they define Him. The Mormon god is clearly NOT the God of the Bible; The Mormon Christ is not the Christ of the Bible, and; The Mormon Holy Spirit is NOT the Holy Spirit of the Bible. One need go no further than official, correlated, First Presidency vetted and approved LdS Church literature to see this sir!

      YOU WROTE
      “If I remember correctly, the last time I talked to you—maybe it was 9 months ago, maybe much longer—I asked you how much time you spend in prayer. You refused to answer the question. Was that you or am I thinking of someone else? If that wasn’t you, let me ask you that question. How much time do you spend in prayer? Also, how much time do you spend in simple Bible reading for your own edification? These habits are important for developing discernment.”

      RESPONSE
      OK Cal, now you do realize that you have just engaged in the logical fallacy known as an “ad-hominem” right? That is, rather than arguing to the evidence you have just argued to the man. It is irrelevant how much time I spend in prayer and studying the Bible. Further, it is irrelevant how much time YOU spend in prayer and studying the Bible as well. Personal piety isn’t the issue here. Subjective experiences aren’t the issue here either. The issue is simple: What does the evidence say?

      Now sir, I know innumerable Charismatics who spent so much time in prayer and Bible Study that their personal lives are falling apart. Where’s their discernment? I know Pentecostal Charismatic leaders who claim to spend their entire lives in prayer and Bible study yet teach one heresy after another. Where’s their discernment? The issue here isn’t quantity, the issue is QUALITY. And the issue when it comes to Mormonism isn’t subjective feelings and experiences the issue is objective evidence.

      Sir, if the key to discernment is engaging in personal piety why is it that you can’t even properly articulate the essential doctrines of the Christian Faith? Why can’t you discern Mormon heresy and blasphemy when it is LITERALLY staring you in the face from official LdS Church sources? You are simply proving again what I have stated in the article:

      “ classic Charismaniac error. When push comes to shove, Biblical absolutes get shoved to the side and are subordinated to feelings and experiences. This theme can be found again, again, and again on Mr. Fullerton’s website.”

      And it’s becoming increasingly clear sir, that you haven’t read the article as I cover this topic in excruciating detail there. For example:

      “So it came as no surprise to me when Mr. Fullerton offered the same, “Pray about it my friend” defense of the Mormon Church in the aforementioned online discussion that one would expect from a Mormon. Here was my response:

      [Your challenge that I pray about the Mormon Church] deserves special, detailed attention. With this statement you have demonstrated WHY some Charismatics/Pentecostals and nearly all Latter-day Saints fall into error.

      Cal, I don’t HAVE to pray about whether Mormonism is Christian anymore than I have to pray about whether I should lie, cheat, steal, or commit adultery. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to told to pray about Biblical absolutes.

      Rather, for a true Christian the Bible is his/her absolute authority – not feelings, not experiences, not relationships, and not . . . whatever. And in this case Joseph Smith failed to pass every Biblical test for a true prophet and he passed every test for a false one:

      1) Deceiving God’s covenant people into following another God. (Deu 13:1-11)
      2) Giving future predictions that failed to come to pass. (Deu 18:18-22)
      3) A life that produces bad fruit. (Mat 7:15-20)
      4) Denying that Jesus Christ was God eternal incarnated in human flesh. (1 John 4:1-3)

      In addition we can add:
      5) Use of Occult practices like scrying and Shamanism.
      6) Incorporating Freemasonry into the LDS Temple ceremonies.
      (Freemasonry is rooted in Kabbalah which is occultic)

      As I’m sure you know occult practices are soundly condemned throughout both the Old and New Testament so I won’t bore you and the other readers with a list of proof texts on this. In regard to Joseph Smith’s involvement with these practices here’s a good write up by former Mormon, Janis Hutchinson that ends with this closing statement: “No individual, knowing the truth about the Mormon Church’s occult background, could possibly follow Joseph Smith as a prophet or embrace his teachings.”
      http://www.janishutchinson.com/joeoccult.html

      So no Cal, there’s no need to pray about whether Mormonism is Christian anymore than I need to pray to determine if Branch Davidianism, Christian Spiritualism, Freemasonry, or Scientology are. Sure there are good, moral, admirable people in each of these religions but that doesn’t make them Christian any more than it makes their founders true prophets of the God of the Bible.

      And, I must say it, suggesting that I – or any other Christian for that matter – disregard Biblical absolutes and pray about whether the false religion started and based on the teachings of the false prophet Joseph Smith simply demonstrates how flawed, errant, and unbiblical your theology has become.”
      (see https://beggarsbread.org/2016/05/01/pentecostal-charismaniacs-mormons-gone-bad/)

      Now all that said I really have no need to answer your fallacies argument Mr. Fullerton but I will: I am in prayer and Bible study constantly. I live my life “Coram Deo” (before the eyes of God) as scripture commands and as Christ and the Apostles modeled for us. Further, before you ask it again, I have ALSO prayed about the veracity of the Mormon Church and that result can be found in footnote #13 which is, in fact, addressed directly to you, sir. Here’s the direct link to it: http://wp.me/p25Eco-1Yg/#13

      Further, I know that some Pentecostals and Charismatics just LOVE to play the, “Oh yeah! Who’s more spiritual here? Who’s has the most ‘floor time’? Who has the superior experiences? Who spends the most time in prayer? Who’s fasted more? Who’s spent the most time in their Bible? Who’s [fill in the blank]?” game but stated simply, it’s a meaningless fool’s game and passive aggressive means of trying to gain an advantage over someone that’s you’re in conflict with it. Sir, I’m not playing, I’ve been a Charismatic for too long and seen this folly far for what it is far too many times.

      Now respectfully Mr. Fullerton, I’m tiring of addressing arguments that were addressed in detail in the article. I will ask you again to read it – in its entirety, footnotes and all – before you respond again.

      Thank you.

      (please note the above interchange has been lightly edited to remove typos that occurred in the original emails)

      Like

      • CAL FULLERTON RESPONDS (via email 5/3/2016, 5:32 PM Pacific)
        I have an unrelated question for you that just comes out of my curiosity. It’s a subject I’ve given a lot of thought to. Are you a Calvinist, an Arminian, or somewhere in between?

        Another request I have, if you want to continue, is this: Take at least two paragraphs to tell me what the Bible means when it says the Father, Son and Holy Spirit make one God. Unpack it for me according to your understanding.

        Thanks,

        Curious Cal

        FRED W. ANSON REPLIES (via email 5/3/2016 7:08 PM Pacific)
        Again, I don’t see what these questions regarding my person have to do with anything. They remind, candidly, of Mormons who rummage around getting personal information in private to base future ad-hominem arguments on. Never the less, I have nothing to hide here . . .

        YOU WROTE
        “I have an unrelated question for you that just comes out of my curiosity. It’s a subject I’ve given a lot of thought to. Are you a Calvinist, an Arminian, or somewhere in between?”

        RESPONSE
        OK, that question confirmed what I have suspected all along – you never bothered to read the ENTIRE article. That question is answered in the very first line of the article which states:

        “Since I’m known in most circles for my strong Reformed theological stance, a lot of people are surprised to discover that I’m also full blown, tongues speaking non-cessationist Charismatic.

        There’s a reason for that: I’m embarrassed. Yes folks, I’m embarrassed by so much of the insanity that goes on among my Charismatic/Pentecostal Brethren these days that I find myself wanting to distance myself from a movement that I once was proudly part of. If anyone has any doubts about why, just pick the latest copy of Charisma Magazine skip the editorial content (which is generally written by sane, reasonable people), and read the ads (which in many cases seem to written by people who are neither).1 If that doesn’t convince you, just flip to the Trinity Broadcasting Network (aka “TBN”) on your television and try to last for more than about 15-minutes – them folks is all nuts from what I can tell!

        Yes, the lack of biblical theological, sound doctrine, discernment, and good old common sense that some of today’s Pentecostals and Charismatics engage in is embarrassing folks, truly embarrassing – and I’m saying this as someone who’s part of the tribe! The term that we thinking Charismatics use for these lunatic fringe nutballs is “Charismaniacs” – and trust me, they have legitimately earned the title! In fact, a few have even go so far off the rails that they openly embrace – and even promote – Mormon error. Let’s look at a couple of these.”
        (see https://beggarsbread.org/2016/05/01/pentecostal-charismaniacs-mormons-gone-bad/; bolding and underlining added for emphasis)

        And I gave you the full opening section of the article to answer any other questions you may have regarding my soteriological or theological stance.

        YOU WROTE
        “Another request I have, if you want to continue, is this: Take at least two paragraphs to tell me what the Bible means when it says the Father, Son and Holy Spirit make one God. Unpack it for me according to your understanding.”

        RESPONSE
        Well I don’t need two paragraphs, it’s really quite simple:

        The Bible teaches that God is an uncreated, eternal omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Being consisting of three uncreated, co-eternal, co-equal, co-omnipotent, co-omnipresent, co-omnipresent and distinct Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They are one in essence, yet three in person.

        However, if you want a fuller explanation that that I will simply refer you to the best written description of the Trinity that I or anyone else has found in the last 1,700 or so years: https://beggarsbread.org/2016/01/24/the-athanasian-creed/

        Again, I don’t know why you need or want this information Mr. Fullerton, but there is it.

        (please note the above interchange has been lightly edited to remove typos that occurred in the original emails)

        Like

  2. CAL FULLERTON REPLIES (via email 5/4/2016, 6:06 PM Pacific)
    Thanks, Fred.

    I agree with your view of the Trinity.

    God bless you.

    Cal

    FRED W. ANSON RESPONDS (via email 5/4/2016, 6:49 PM Pacific)
    Again, I have no idea what difference it makes but thank you (I guess).

    But tell me Mr. Fullerton, how can you agree with my definition of the Trinity yet still claim that we and Mormons worship the same God?

    Please refer again to the definition of the Godhead that I cited from LdS.org. It is clearly Tri-Theistic – that is a form of polytheism. So how Mr. Fullerton, can you go on to make outlandish claims like, “They are practically Trinitarians, though they may not regard themselves as such,” when that’s not the case?

    Can’t you see that when someone misrepresents Mormon Doctrine like this in the interest of encouraging Evangelicals to accept Mormons as fellow believers in the Biblical God, they MUST be publicly exposed and denounced? To do otherwise would be to be a poor watchman wouldn’t it?

    “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”
    — Ezekiel 3:17 (NKJV)

    So that’s where we are at this point Mr. Fullerton. Until you repent and denounce what you have said in public you shall continue to be publicly be denounced as a False Teacher.

    Thank you.

    (please note the above interchange has been lightly edited to remove typos that occurred in the original emails)

    Like

    • UPDATE 5/6/2016
      After the above set of exchanges, the email conversation with Cal Fullerton splintered into a topic that is, at least from my perspective, completely unrelated to the above article or Mormonism in general: God’s essence.

      Further, I felt it was in the best interests of Mr. Fullerton to NOT post the conversation for the reasons you will read later in this new discussion thread.

      However, Mr. Fullerton has asked me to continue to publicly post our private email discussion here so I will honor his wishes.

      CAL FULLERTON RESPONDS (via email 5/4/2016 7:37PM Pacific)
      Hi again, Fred Anson,

      Just now I was brushing my teeth and planning to begin my prayer time when I thought of another question I’d like to ask you.

      I turned on my computer to find that you had already written back and that my question is directly related to the very questions you have asked.

      Here’s my question, which I ask primarily out of curiosity because you have told me there’s no chance of changing your mind. What is the essence that binds the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together into one?

      I’ve run into people on the internet who said they didn’t know what it was even though it’s plastered all over the Bible.

      Your friend,

      Cal

      REPLY FROM FRED W. ANSON (via email 5/4/2016 7:50PM Pacific)
      Please enlighten me. What is the answer to the question, What is the essence that binds the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together into one, that’s plastered all over the Bible?

      RESPONSE FROM CAL FULLERTON (via email 5/5/2016 6:00AM Pacific)
      I’m asking you! You don’t know?

      Cal

      REPLY FROM FRED W. ANSON (via email 5/5/2016 8:18AM Pacific)
      So what’s the answer Cal? Even the wording of your question was heretical so I’m sure that the answer is going to be as well.

      So fire away. What’s the answer?

      RESPONSE FROM FRED W. ANSON (via email 5/5/2016 7:40PM Pacific)
      OK, I’m tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop so I’m going to take the initiative here Mr. Fullerton.

      My guess is that you were going to tell me that “love” is the answer to the question: “What is the essence that binds the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together into one, that’s plastered all over the Bible?”

      If so, as worded, this would be an semi-heretical abuse of Augustine’s reasoning in this regard that went like this:

      “As regards this question, then, let us believe that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one God, the Creator and Ruler of the whole creature; and that the Father is not the Son, nor the Holy Spirit either the Father or the Son, but a trinity of persons mutually interrelated, and a unity of an equal essence. And let us seek to understand this, praying for help from Himself, whom we wish to understand; and as much as He grants, desiring to explain what we understand with so much pious care and anxiety, that even if in any case we say one thing for another, we may at least say nothing unworthy. As, for the sake of example, if we say anything concerning the Father that does not properly belong to the Father, or does belong to the Son, or to the Holy Spirit, or to the Trinity itself; and if anything of the Son which does not properly suit with the Son, or at all events which does suit with the Father, or with the Holy Spirit, or with the Trinity; or if, again, anything concerning the Holy Spirit, which is not fitly a property of the Holy Spirit, yet is not alien from the Father, or from the Son, or from the one God the Trinity itself. Even as now our wish is to see whether the Holy Spirit is properly that love which is most excellent which if He is not, either the Father is love, or the Son, or the Trinity itself; since we cannot withstand the most certain faith and weighty authority of Scripture, saying, God is love. And yet we ought not to deviate into profane error, so as to say anything of the Trinity which does not suit the Creator, but rather the creature, or which is feigned outright by mere empty thought.”
      (Augustine, “On the Trinity (Book IX)”; http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/130109.htm )

      The problem here Cal is that Augustine was speaking in allegory, he was NOT speaking literally as your question seems to presume. As Christian Apologist and Theologian Margaret Manning Shull explains:

      “If reason is conscribed by logic, then at our best, we must speak of the Trinity in analogical terms. In other words, we look for analogies from our human experience, analogical images, pictures, or descriptions that offer an analogous explanation for that which is unexplainable. For Augustine, love best illustrated the nature of the Trinity. “Now when I, who am asking about this, love anything, there are three things present: I myself, what I love, and love itself. For I cannot love love unless I love a lover; for there is no love where nothing is loved. So there are three things: the lover, the loved and the love.” From this analogy, Augustine argues that God’s nature is indeed relational and personal as it is expressed in a divine community of love. It cannot be said that God is love (1 John 4:8) if God is alone and monadic. Instead, love resides both in God’s nature as a personal being and in relationship to the beloved (Jesus Christ) by love (Holy Spirit).”
      (Margaret Manning Shull, “Love, Lover, and Beloved”; http://rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/love-lover-and-beloved )

      So the Trinity isn’t LITERALLY bound together with love, it’s analogous expression of WHAT the Trinity is by nature. I like how this Reformed Theologian explains how this works in relationship to God’s ontology:

      “As we have mentioned before, the ontological trinity can only be approached by means of the concrete truths of the economical trinity, as the persons of the Godhead engage in their covenantal work of redemption. In the economical trinity, we have seen that, by an irrevocable agreement which each person has willingly entered into, the members of the Godhead have undertaken to bring glory to each other. In the discharge of their peculiar offices, they are always in perfect harmony. This would lead us to understand the ontological trinity as an eternal, unchangeable relationship between the Father, Son, and Spirit which involves perfect harmony, love, and mutual glorification. And this is exactly the picture that we see in the gospel of John: the persons of the trinity have been bound together by a mutual indwelling, a mutual love, and a mutual glorification of each other from before the foundation of the world (e.g. John 5:20; 10:38; 14:10-11; 17:1-5; 21-24). The ontological trinity, then, may be summed up in this expression: an eternal covenant of love. In the economical trinity, we saw a pre-temporal covenant of redemption, harmoniously wrought through the diversely complementary offices of Father, Son, and Spirit, for the purpose of the loving glorification of each other. In the ontological trinity, we see an eternal covenant of love back of this pre-temporal covenant of redemption, which is the concrete expression of its ontological counterpart.”
      (Nathan, “How the Doctrine of the Trinity Shapes the Christian Mission”; http://www.reformationtheology.com/2007/12/how_the_doctrine_of_the_trinit.php )

      So Mr. Fullerton, love isn’t like some LITERAL type of super glue or epoxy that “binds the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together into one”. Rather, love is the natural expression of who God (singular) is – His core attribute if you wish. In other words the Trinity isn’t bound together into one by an essence called “love”, God IS love as the Bible so clearly states. In a similar vein, God IS one – THAT is His nature, THAT is His essence, THAT is His being – just as the sh’ma states clearly:

      “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God — the LORD alone.”
      — Deuteronomy 6:4

      Or transliterated:

      In English: “hear-you Israel Yahweh Elohim-of·us Yahweh one”

      In Hebrew: “shmo ishral ieue alei·nu ieue achd”

      And the last word “achd” (aka “echad”) means “united one” – an allusion to the Trinity.

      Put another way, God’s ‘essence” isn’t “love”, God’s essence is God’s essence – a mystery and something that we don’t understand, and I doubt are capable of understanding.

      In closing, again, what I see here Mr. Fullerton is how superficial and bad your theology is. These aren’t light matters to be trifled with and how and what we teach others matters. Thus, one must be clear and precise in one’s use of language.

      I encourage you sir to get your theology and doctrine straightened out before you engage in any more public teaching. And once again, I call on you to drop your false teachings regarding Mormonism and the LdS Church.

      In Jesus’ Name.

      Fred W. Anson

      RESPONSE FROM CAL FULLERTON (via email 5/5/2016 7:50PM Pacific)
      I’m not going to tell you what the answer is because you will just argue with me. It won’t do you any good. I believe it will be better for you if you find it yourself. If you find it yourself, you will be much more apt to accept it and remember it. If you really want to find it, you will.

      Please let me know when you find it. It’s hard to find because it’s so upfront. It’s so simple that it’s easy to miss!

      Take care,

      Cal

      REPLY FROM FRED W. ANSON (via email 5/5/2016 7:59 PM Pacific)
      Respectfully sir, that’s nothing more than a cop out. If the answer is biblical I will not only commend and thank you for it, I will preach it myself. I am not unreasonable nor unteachable. However, your Charismaniac ways and tactics trouble me.

      That said, before you wrote this, I got tired of waiting and presented the answer that I suspected you’ve been holding in your back pocket: Love. That email was sent before I received your (so far) two emails tonight.

      My main objection to your question Mr. Fullerton was that it was semi-heretical – as I pointed out in my email. If you had articulated in a way that wasn’t teetering on the brink of heresy you would have gotten a much different response.

      REPLY FROM CAL FULLERTON (via email 5/6/2016 5:24AM Pacific)
      Good morning, Fred.

      Sounds like you got it. You said, “God IS love as the Bible so clearly states.” I’ve run into people online who have said no one can know what God’s essence is! I’m glad you didn’t take that direction.

      We could also add words like truth, righteousness, eternal, eternal life, light, Word of God, etc. Would you agree? If you do, I’ll move on to my next questions.

      (You certainly have lots of quotations at your beck and call!)

      Are you still adding this conversation to your website? In any case, you have permission.

      Cal

      RESPONSE FROM FRED W. ANSON (via email 5/6/2016 9:54AM Pacific)
      Cal, as I stated, love is ONLY allegorically God’s essence, not literally. You DO understand this don’t you?

      And those people are RIGHT, we still don’t know what God’s essence is, nor do we understand it, nor can we, I believe, ever understand it.

      Love and the other words you listed are attributes of God nothing more.
      To dogmatically claim that God’s essence is love (or the other attributes you listed) is not only weird and teetering on the brink of heresy.

      Sir, again I call on you to reconsider this weird, extra-biblical Charismaniac theology that you seem to have developed and get some sound theological training so you’re no longer drawn such weird, even dangerous, heterodoxy.

      And I wasn’t going to add this off topic discussion to the website since, it has nothing to do with Mormonism and, IMO, it makes you look more foolish and in even worse theological error than originally discussed in the article. However, since you seem to want it, I’ll make it so later today.

      FRED W. ANSON CONTINUES PRIOR RESPONSE (via email 5/6/2016 1:24PM Pacific)
      And now that I’m no longer mobile and back on a real computer, here is supporting evidence for my last email from theologian Matt Slick:

      “How does Christianity define God’s essence?
      by Matt Slick

      Defining God is not easy to do. We can offer definitions, but these definitions usually describe attributes. We can say that God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy, perfect, pure, wise, etc. We understand these concepts but that does not mean we are accurately describing the essence of what God is. But this is to be expected because God is completely different from what we are. He is “wholly other.” This means He is not physical like we are. He is not limited to space and time as we are. He’s different–not the same as us. So, when we describe Him, we can only describe Him in ways with which we are familiar even if these descriptions can never be totally sufficient.

      Take, for example, humanity. How would we properly define the essence of humanness? We recognize what it is, but we can’t define it perfectly without citing attributes. For example, to be human means to be able to reason, to know, to love, to hate, to interact with others in sophisticated conceptual constructs dealing with morality, justice, and love. But those are attributes. How do we describe the very essence of what it is we are? We can’t. Does this mean humanness doesn’t exist? Of course not.

      Atheists and God
      Atheists often ask Christians to define what God is and not by attributes but by describing His essence. When the Christian fails, the atheist complains that even the Christian can’t define who God is. Therefore, they often say that talking about God is more or less meaningless. However, I believe this is nothing more than an attempt to continue to deny God and His existence.

      When I ask atheists to define what humanity is without using attributes, they sidestep the question either by ignoring it or changing the topic. But if it is okay for atheists to ask Christians to define God without using attributive qualities, then why isn’t it all right to ask the atheist to define humanity with the same criteria? And if they cannot, does it mean humanity does not exist or that discussion about humanity is meaningless? Of course not. The same would go for discussions about God. Not being able to describe the essence of what God is without citing His attributes does not mean a discussion about God and what God is would be meaningless.”
      (see https://carm.org/how-does-christianity-define-god-essence)

      Again, I don’t understand why you’ve taken us down this rabbit trail but I DO know that it smacks of Charismaniac weirdness and error. Simply put sir, we don’t NEED to understand God’s essence, nor, I believe CAN we. If it were important then God would have clearly revealed it in the Bible – and despite your exuberance and insistence, He doesn’t.

      Put another way: What does understanding God’s essence have to do with ANY essential doctrine of the faith? What impact does it have on one’s salvation? The answer to both questions is, “None”. IMO, this is nothing more than classic Christian Scholasticism style, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” wheel spinning speculative theology at it’s finest! And, that’s NOT a compliment, sir.

      Put yet another way: Who cares?

      Further, your language regarding (as you put it in the new subject line of this new email thread) “The Mysterious Essence of God”, continues to be head shakingly (at most) close to heresy and (at least) just weird. The fact that you can’t see this is the most concerning thing of all. Mr. Fullerton, if you could see what theologically thin ice you’re on right now you would jump to the shore of sound theology right away. However, I suspect that this appeal (like all previous appeals) will fall on deaf ears.

      (please note the above interchange has been lightly edited to remove typos that occurred in the original emails)

      Like

      • FIRST CAL FULLERTON RESPONSE (via email 5/6/2016, 7:55PM Pacific)
        What exactly do you mean my allegorically? Either God is love or he isn’t. I’m totally flabbergasted by your comment, to be honest. Is the
        love of God in you? If not, you’re not a Christian. Romans says the love of God has been shed abroad into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If
        the love of God isn’t in you, Christ isn’t in you. And if Christ isn’t in you, you don’t pass the test (2 Cor. 13:5). Please tell me you know
        Jesus, Fred. Can Christ separate himself from his essence so that he can come in you and leave his essence in heaven?

        Derek Prince once said that many or most of today’s seminaries are turning out enemies of Christ. That’s an astounding statement. However,
        you’re making it a little more believable!

        You are right that love is an attribute of God. I’m trying to find where our common ground is. You do believe Jesus died on a cross for
        our sins, right?

        If this is a private conversation, that’s fine with me. I suppose that’s my slight preference, actually. I was going to ask you some
        personal questions, if you don’t mind.

        What caused you to get interested in Mormonism? Is it your specialty?

        Assuming you are Christian, what inspired you to become one? I always like to hear people’s stories. Our God is one incredible and caring and
        merciful and awesome God.

        By the way, did you say you are a Calvinist or an Arminian? I forgot your answer if you did answer it.

        Did you go to a seminary?

        In what part of the U.S. do you live? Obviously, you don’t have to answer these questions if they’re too personal. I’m trying to make a
        connection with you, if you know what I mean. It seems our relationship has been dominated by your bombardments of criticism, which are not a
        blessing to me at all, if you don’t mind me being honest.

        Thanks and take care,

        Cal

        SECOND CAL FULLERTON RESPONSE (via email 5/6/2016 8:27PM Pacfic)
        Fred,

        I pretty much agree with what Matt Slick said except that at some points he makes God more mysterious than he needs to be. First Corinthians 2:9-10 says, “It is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'” I used to think Paul was talking about Christians there but no, he’s talking about non-Christians. He goes on to contrast their lack of revelation with our revelation: “but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” We can go deep, Fred. But we don’t have any right to our own opinion. You keep saying, IMO. I don’t care about anyone’s opinion, including my own. I only want to know what God says in his printed Word and I want to know what the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of his Word is. He’s the only one who knows what he meant when he wrote it, not meaning to exclude the Father and Son, of course.

        Have a good evening,

        Cal

        FIRST FRED W. ANSON RESPONSE (5/6/2016, 10:03PM Pacific)

        YOU WROTE
        “What exactly do you mean by allegorically?” (note: typo from your original email corrected)

        RESPONSE
        I mean exactly what every person that I cited stated explicitly and you have missed completely. Saying “God is love” doesn’t mean that God is LITERALLY love any more than saying, “Bryce Harper is baseball” means that Bryce Harper is LITERALLY a baseball. In both cases the statement is an allegorical description of one of their attributes, nothing more.

        YOU WROTE
        Either God is love or he isn’t.

        RESPONSE
        Indeed He is. However, He isn’t LITERALLY love. Love is His core or defining attribute nothing more.

        YOU WROTE
        I’m totally flabbergasted by your comment, to be honest. Is the love of God in you? If not, you’re not a Christian. Romans says the love of God has been shed abroad into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If the love of God isn’t in you, Christ isn’t in you. And if Christ isn’t in you, you don’t pass the test (2 Cor. 13:5).

        RESPONSE
        Sure the attribute, known as God’s love is in me via the Holy Spirit. And God in the Person of the Holy Spirit indwells me – THAT is the source of that love.

        YOU WROTE
        Please tell me you know Jesus, Fred. Can Christ separate himself from his essence so that he can come in you and leave his essence in heaven?

        RESPONSE
        Thank you for demonstrating so well why you shouldn’t be engaged in public teaching Mr. Fullerton. That sir, is a logical fallacy based on the errant presumption that God’s essence is LITERALLY love. Again sir, we do NOT know what God’s essence is – in His sovereignty He hasn’t chosen to reveal that to us in the Bible. Frankly, I don’t think that He ever will.

        Respectfully sir, repeating the same error over and over again doesn’t make it any more true.

        YOU WROTE
        Derek Prince once said that many or most of today’s seminaries are turning out enemies of Christ. That’s an astounding statement. However, you’re making it a little more believable!

        RESPONSE
        Well you have nothing to worry about since I’ve never been to seminary.

        Further, one of my best and oldest friends (and a member of my current church) lived with Derek and Lydia Prince as a kind of adopted daughter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida back in the day. In addition, another one of my past Pastors is David Rose who was Derek Prince’s right hand man for years. He and his wife Toni helped Derek and Ruth Prince (Derek’s Second wife) build their house in Jerusalem. Finally, Derek was one my major influences when I was a very young Christian and much of my theology is derived from his teachings.

        So I can say with some authority Mr. Fullerton that if Derek Prince saw what you’re teaching he would renounce it as heresy and commend me for my patience with you. If you don’t know, Derek wasn’t known for his patience. And he was extremely intolerant of the kind of heresy that you’re espousing and teaching. Trust me, if Derek were here he would NOT be backing your stance Mr. Fullerton – quite the opposite, in fact.

        YOU WROTE
        You are right that love is an attribute of God. I’m trying to find where our common ground is. You do believe Jesus died on a cross for our sins, right?

        RESPONSE
        Oh good grief! Seriously man, I have to say it: What is wrong with you? Of course I do Mr. Fullerton. What a ridiculous question!

        YOU WROTE
        If this is a private conversation, that’s fine with me. I suppose that’s my slight preference, actually.

        RESPONSE
        No sir, you asked me this morning to put this “off topic” conversation on the website so I have.

        YOU WROTE
        I was going to ask you some personal questions, if you don’t mind. What caused you to get interested in Mormonism? Is it your specialty?

        RESPONSE
        This article answers that question: https://beggarsbread.org/2015/12/13/how-i-became-a-mormon-studies-scholar/

        YOU WROTE
        Assuming you are Christian, what inspired you to become one?

        RESPONSE
        “Assuming you are Christian” Again Mr. Fullerton, what the heck is wrong with you? Good grief!

        I will challenge you yet again: Reread the article in its entirety and you’ll have your answer to that question. Here’s the link (for the umpteenth time now): https://beggarsbread.org/2016/05/01/pentecostal-charismaniacs-mormons-gone-bad/

        YOU WROTE
        By the way, did you say you are a Calvinist or an Arminian? I forgot your answer if you did answer it.

        RESPONSE
        Does it matter? However, AGAIN, if you would read the article in its entirety you would have your answer – it’s in the very first line (as I stated in a prior exchange, even going so far as to quote that first line).

        YOU WROTE
        Did you go to a seminary?

        RESPONSE
        See above. No.

        YOU WROTE
        In what part of the U.S. do you live?

        RESPONSE
        I live in Orange County, California. I grew up in Crystal Lewis’ Father, Holland’s, Nazarene Church. However, after I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit during the Jesus Movement in a small House Church that was pretty much the end of all that. Mine is a long and complex story. I intend to record it before I pass but I won’t be doing so today.

        YOU WROTE
        Obviously, you don’t have to answer these questions if they’re too personal. I’m trying to make a connection with you, if you know what I mean. It seems our relationship has been dominated by your bombardments of criticism, which are not a blessing to me at all, if you don’t mind me being honest.

        RESPONSE
        Well candidly Mr. Fullerton I don’t really care if you view what I’m doing as a “blessing” or not. Few people view correction of error as a “blessing”. And unfortunately all I’ve ever seen from you is one false teaching after another. If you want the criticism to stop so we can have a better relationship then stop teaching false doctrine – this really isn’t that hard.

        I’m not trying to be uncivil here but I am trying to be plain spoken and remain on point.

        SECOND FRED W. ANSON RESPONSE (via email 5/6/2016, 10:23PM Pacific)
        YOU WROTE
        I pretty much agree with what Matt Slick said except that at some points he makes God more mysterious than he needs to be.

        RESPONSE
        Mr. Slick doesn’t go any further than what scripture actually says. Candidly, I wish that you would do the same Mr. Fullerton. You would be in less error and heresy if you did.

        YOU WROTE
        First Corinthians 2:9-10 says, “It is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'” I used to think Paul was talking about Christians there but no, he’s talking about non-Christians. He goes on to contrast their lack of revelation with our revelation: “but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

        RESPONSE
        Respectfully Mr. Fullerton, that’s some of the worst exegesis I’ve ever seen. It’s quite clear from the context that Paul is speaking EXPLICITLY about believers. For example, consider what immediately follows verse 10:

        1 Corinthians 2:11-16 (NKJV)
        For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now WE have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that WE might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man DOES NOT receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; NOR CAN HE KNOW THEM, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But WE have the mind of Christ. (caps added for emphasis)

        And consider the exact wording of verse 10: “But God has revealed them TO US through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (caps added for emphasis)

        YOU WROTE
        We can go deep, Fred. But we don’t have any right to our own opinion. You keep saying, IMO. I don’t care about anyone’s opinion, including my own. I only want to know what God says in his printed Word and I want to know what the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of his Word is.

        RESPONSE
        Yet you go BEYOND what the clear text of scripture says regularly Mr. Fullerton. That’s the #1 source of your error and heresies.

        Sir, I’m not the one who eisegeting things into the text that aren’t there. And if it’s truly the “the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of his Word” then it will be hermeneutically sound, won’t it. After all, God isn’t opposed to logic, or reason is He? (see Isaiah 1:18) Nor is He the author of confusion is He? (see 1 Corinthians 14:33)

        YOU WROTE
        He’s the only one who knows what he meant when he wrote it, not meaning to exclude the Father and Son, of course.

        RESPONSE
        Seriously? So the Bible lacks perspicuity? So God is such a poor and sloppy author that He deliberately gave us a book that’s so dense and oblique that no one can possibly understand what it means? So He didn’t give us the clear Word of God in the Bible, He give us a puzzle to solve? Really?

        If that’s the case then why did God give it at all Mr. Fullerton? I’m thinking sir, that you need to give that stance some serious reconsideration – in Jesus’ Name.

        (please note the above interchange has been lightly edited to remove typos that occurred in the original emails)

        Like

  3. FIRST CAL FULLERTON RESPONSE (via email 5/7/2016, 6:12AM Pacific)
    Good morning, Mr. Anson,

    I do thank you for taking the time to respond to all my questions. Some of what you said is very interesting. I had hoped by my personal questions would improve our relationship a little, and I think they, and your answers, did—at least from my standpoint.

    It may be that if you and I had met under different circumstances and you did not know my view of the LDS, we would have a lot in common. Derek Prince, along with Kenneth E. Hagin, has perhaps been more influence on me than any other Bible teachers except the writers of the Bible. You are right that he would probably not agree with my view of Mormonism—at least at first glance—but if he read my stuff, he might begin to see differently. No one knows.

    You said in your article on how you got into studies of Mormonism that you are pretty good at exposing them—something like that. In some respects, I believe that is true. That’s why I want you on my side.

    Regarding God’s essence or his substance, where in the Bible does it say we cannot know what it is?

    YOU WROTE
    Respectfully Mr. Fullerton, that’s some of the worst exegesis I’ve ever seen. It’s quite clear from the context that Paul is speaking EXPLICITLY about believers. For example, consider what immediately follows verse 10:

    1 Corinthians 2:11-16 (NKJV)
    For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now WE have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that WE might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man DOES NOT receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; NOR CAN HE KNOW THEM, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But WE have the mind of Christ. (caps added for emphasis)

    And consider the exact wording of verse 10: “But God has revealed them TO US through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (caps added for emphasis)

    MY RESPONSE
    Respectfully Mr. Anson, that’s some of the worst exegesis I’ve ever seen. (I’m being cute by returning your exact words. It saves typing time. Forgive me.) It’s quite clear from the context that Paul is speaking EXPLICITLY about believers AND UNBELIEVERS. For example, consider what immediately follows verse 10:

    1 Corinthians 2:11-16 (NKJV)
    For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now WE [CHRISTIANS] have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that WE [CHRISTIANS] might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But [NOTE THE “BUT”] the natural man [A NON-CHRISTIAN] DOES NOT receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; NOR CAN HE [A NON-CHRISTIAN] KNOW THEM, because they are spiritually discerned. But [NOTE AGAIN THE “BUT”] he who is spiritual [A CHRISTIAN] judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who [NON-CHRISTIANS] has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But [BUT] WE [CHRISTIANS] have the mind of Christ. [caps added for emphasis]

    And consider the exact wording of verse 10: “But God has revealed them TO US [CHRISTIANS] through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (caps added for emphasis)

    Furthermore, go back to verses 8 & 9:

    1 Corinthians 2:8-9 (NIV)
    8 None of the rulers of this age [NON-CHRISTIANS] understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
    9 However [THEY DID CRUCIFY THE LORD OF GLORY BECAUSE THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE “SECRET WISDOM” MENTIONED IN VERSE 7], as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—”
    For confirmation, let me quote the New International Biblical Commentary. It says [emphasis added by me], “By mentioning the eye, ear, and heart Paul registers that humans (in “THIS AGE”) did not and could not perceive God’s will and work.”

    (As a side note to my point, the commentary goes on to say, “What God has prepared for those who love him was Christ-crucified, the power of God for salvation.” Until now, I had imagined that what God had prepared is the glories of heaven. Instead, perhaps Paul was thinking of Christ crucified. Anyway, that’s beside the point.)

    Whether your exegesis or mine is best, we are still left with the question, “Where in the Bible does it say we cannot know what God’s essence is?” That’s the big question I have on the table. I happen to have a quote of Derek Prince that fits here. He said, “All that the Father has, is given to the Son and all the Son has, the Holy Spirit administers. In other words, the total wealth of the Godhead is administered by the Spirit” (Derek Prince, The Holy Spirit in You (New Kensington, Penn.: Whitaker, 1987), 55.).

    If it takes me a month or so to respond to your next letter, please don’t think I’m ignoring you. I have other important things to attend to. For one, my wife and I and Dad are taking a vacation 1 1/2 weeks from now. As you know, vacations add preparation time to one’s life. I live in New Hampshire, by the way, and we’re going to historical places that my Dad is interested in such as Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation. I wonder if the people of this age have removed his strong faith from his record.

    Yours in Christ,

    Cal

    SECOND CAL FULLERTON RESPONSE (via email Sat 5/7/2016, 8:55AM Pacific)
    Fred,

    A thought I’d like to add to my last letter is that although you say the teaching of a mysterious essence of God that we cannot know is unimportant to you, I’ve met many that seem to come from your camp who use it to condemn the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church, as I’m sure you know, does not recognize any mysterious essence of God that we believers in Jesus are fenced off from. On this point, they are more biblical.

    Cal

    FIRST FRED W. ANSON RESPONSE (via email Sat 5/7/2016, 2:54PM Pacific)

    YOU WROTE
    It may be that if you and I had met under different circumstances and you did not know my view of the LDS, we would have a lot in common. Derek Prince, along with Kenneth E. Hagin, has perhaps been more influence on me than any other Bible teachers except the writers of the Bible.

    RESPONSE
    Well I hope that the mention of Kenneth Hagin wasn’t meant to impress me because it had the exact opposite effect. I consider Hagin one of the greatest heretics of the 20th Century and I’m not alone in that assessment. As John MacArthur, who spent the greater part of a chapter on him, noted well of Hagin in “Strange Fire”:

    “it was Kenneth Hagin, widely known as the “father of the Word of Faith Movement,” who popularized [Essek William] Kenyon’s work— even plagiarizing large sections of Kenyon’s writings in his own books. Subsequent prosperity preachers— from Kenneth Copeland to Benny Hinn to Creflo Dollar— have all been influenced by Hagin. And as we saw in the previous chapter, the prosperity gospel prosperity gospel has become the dominant force in modern Pentecostal and charismatic circles.

    In the same way that Charles Parham’s personal character casts a dark shadow of suspicion over the beginnings of the Pentecostal Movement, E. W. Kenyon’s incorporation of New Thought principles betrays the true origins of the Word of Faith Movement and the prosperity gospel… For Kenyon, who integrated metaphysical philosophy into his sermons, his resulting theology was cultic. The Word of Faith teachers who follow in Kenyon’s footsteps owe their ancestry to men like Phineas P. Quimby— meaning their theology belongs to the same family as Christian Science, Theosophy, Mesmerism, Science of the Mind, Swedenborgianism, and New Thought metaphysics. The resulting prosperity gospel is a mongrel blend of neo-Gnostic dualism, New Age mysticism, and shameless materialism. It is a “destructive heresy” (2 Peter 2: 1) that claims health and wealth while leaving its victims morally destitute and spiritually bankrupt.”
    (MacArthur, John F., “Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship” (pp. 30-31). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition; http://smile.amazon.com/Strange-Fire-Offending-Counterfeit-Worship/dp/1400205174)

    And the Christian Research Institute agrees with Dr. MacArthur:

    “There is no denying that much of Faith theology is derived directly from metaphysics. Some of the substance, style, and scams endemic to the movement, however, can be traced primarily to the teachings and practices of certain post-World War II faith healers and revivalists operating within Pentecostal circles. With regard to substance, for example, both Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin point to T. L. Osborn and William Branham as true men of God who greatly influenced their lives and ministries. Of course, Osborn himself has consistently followed E. W. Kenyon’s (see below) Scripture-twisting antics, and Branham has (among other things) denounced the doctrine of the Trinity as coming directly from the Devil. Unfortunately, Hagin and Copeland are not alone in affirming Branham; Faith proponent Benny Hinn gives him a hearty “thumbs up” as well” …

    Despite his [Hagin’s] propensity for telling tall tales and describing false visions, virtually every major Faith teacher has been impacted by Hagin — including such “luminaries” as Frederick K. C. Price and Kenneth Copeland. Kenneth Copeland got his start in ministry as a direct result of memorizing Hagin’s messages. It wasn’t long before he had learned enough from Hagin to establish his own following. To say his teachings are heretical would be an understatement — blasphemous is more like it. Copeland brashly pronounces God to be the greatest failure of all time, boldly proclaims that “Satan conquered Jesus on the Cross” (emphasis in original), and describes Christ in hell as an “emaciated, poured out, little, wormy spirit.” Yet, despite such statements, Benny Hinn ominously warned that “those who attack Kenneth Copeland are attacking the very presence of God!” …

    Charles Capps was ordained as a minister in the International Convention of Faith Churches and Ministers by Kenneth Copeland and derived his teachings directly from Kenneth Hagin. This unfortunate combination has led Capps to make some of the most blasphemous statements in Faith lore. Capps has gone so far as to teach that Jesus was the product of God’s positive confession: “This is the key to understanding the virgin birth. God’s Word is full of faith and spirit power. God spoke it. God transmitted that image to Mary. She received the image inside of her….The embryo that was in Mary’s womb was nothing more than the Word of God….She conceived the Word of God.”…

    To those who would speak out against the false teachings proliferated on his network, [Trinity Broadcasting Network, President and founder Paul] Crouch has this to say: “I think they’re damned and on their way to hell; and I don’t think there’s any redemption for them.” Shortly after I met with Crouch to prove that the Faith movement compromises essential Christian doctrine, Crouch looked into the lens of the television camera and angrily declared, “If you want to criticize Ken Copeland for his preaching on faith, or Dad Hagin, get out of my life! I don’t even want to talk to you or hear you. I don’t want to see your ugly face. Get out of my face, in Jesus’ name.” Sadly, Crouch refers to the Faith message as a “revival of truth . . . restored by a few precious men.”
    (Hank Hanegraaff, “What’s Wrong with the Word Faith Movement? (Part One)”, Christian Research Journal, volume 15, number 3 (1993); http://www.equip.org/article/whats-wrong-with-the-word-faith-movement-part-one/)

    So stated plainly sir, Hagin was a fountainhead of error: Just as the false teachings of Copeland, Benny Hinn, Fred Price, Creflo Dollar and others proves. And, yes, I would now add your own false teachings to the list of those influenced to heresy and error by Hagin as well.

    YOU WROTE
    You are right that he would probably not agree with my view of Mormonism—at least at first glance—but if he read my stuff, he might begin to see differently. No one knows.

    RESPONSE
    Don’t delude yourself Mr. Fullerton. If he spent any time on it at all, Derek Prince would have been far more harsh regarding your teachings than I have been in my article and our exchange. The man wasn’t a fool and his absolute standard for anything and everything was the Bible in tandem with sound logic, reason, and evidence. As this obituary says well of Derek:

    “Derek’s second major theme was the truth and power of God’s Word, the Bible. At a time when charismatics often left being biblical in order to be spiritual, when experience ruled over thought, Derek helped draw the movement back into biblical boundaries. He was as devoted to spiritual experience as any charismatic could be, but he understood that Christian spirituality should grow organically from Scripture.

    Rather than simply viewing the Bible as a collection of inspiring statements, as many charismatics did, Derek understood it as a tapestry of truth woven over centuries and a revelation of God through the record of human experience. He called charismatics to a passion for the Bible, right methods of interpreting Scripture and sound doctrine as the path to spiritual power.”
    (Stephen Mansfield, “Learning From Derek”, Ministry Today, 2/28/2006; http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-today-archives/66-unorganized/12574-learning-from-derek)

    Yes, he was predominantly polite, but he could extremely direct when he wanted to be. Remember this is the man who in his waning years repeatedly used to say in his sermons (paraphrasing), “If God gave me a hand grenade that would instantly fix the error in the modern Christian Church in general, and the current Charismatic Movement in particular I wouldn’t hesitate to use it.” This wasn’t a man who was impressed with the state of the errors and abuses of the Charismatic Movement when he passed. Where do you think I got at least SOME of my boldness in confronting error from sir?

    YOU WROTE
    You said in your article on how you got into studies of Mormonism that you are pretty good at exposing them—something like that. In some respects, I believe that is true. That’s why I want you on my side.

    RESPONSE
    Mr. Fullerton I will be your greatest ally and defender as soon as your shut down your website and publicly renounce what you have taught about Mormonism. Until then I will continue to publicly denounce you as a False Teacher and your teachings as False Doctrine.

    YOU WROTE
    Regarding God’s essence or his substance, where in the Bible does it say we cannot know what it is?

    RESPONSE
    What an amazing double fallacy sir! Not only is it an argument from silence but you’re asking me to prove a negative. I shall return the favor with an equally fallacious response: Where in the Bible does it say that we CAN know what it is? In fact, I’ll do you one better: Where in the Bible does it teach on God’s essence at all? And that last argument ISN’T fallacious – it’s reasonable.

    So sir, if it wasn’t important enough for God to put in the Bible then why do you care? Why should I? IMO, you’re doing the classic Charismaniac “majoring on minors” thing. God simply hasn’t chosen to reveal what His essence is in the Bible. Period. I’m sure that there’s a reason for that – I’m content to let God be God, why aren’t you?

    YOU WROTE
    Respectfully Mr. Anson, that’s some of the worst exegesis I’ve ever seen. (I’m being cute by returning your exact words. It saves typing time. Forgive me.) It’s quite clear from the context that Paul is speaking EXPLICITLY about believers AND UNBELIEVERS…

    RESPONSE
    Yet another classic fallacy: Moving the Goalposts to win an argument. Sir, your original argument was this:

    “First Corinthians 2:9-10 says, ‘It is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’ I used to think Paul was talking about Christians there but no, he’s talking about non-Christians.” (see above email from 5/6/2016 8:27PM Pacfic)

    Indeed sir, Paul WAS speaking explicitly about believers AND unbelievers in First Corintians 2:9-10. The first clause is referring to unbelievers and the second believers. However sir, that wasn’t your original argument was it? Now if your current argument was what your original argument was SUPPOSED to be then we have another problem: An inability to clearly articulate. If that’s the case then again, you’re clearly not qualified to be doing public scriptural exposition and teaching – so you need to stop.

    YOU WROTE
    Whether your exegesis or mine is best, we are still left with the question, “Where in the Bible does it say we cannot know what God’s essence is?” That’s the big question I have on the table.

    RESPONSE
    And the big answer is that the Bible is silent on what God’s essence is. Period.

    YOU WROTE
    I happen to have a quote of Derek Prince that fits here. He said, “All that the Father has, is given to the Son and all the Son has, the Holy Spirit administers. In other words, the total wealth of the Godhead is administered by the Spirit” (Derek Prince, The Holy Spirit in You (New Kensington, Penn.: Whitaker, 1987), 55.).

    RESPONSE
    Which says exactly NOTHING about God’s essence. Derek is talking about the various roles and functions of the persons of the Godhead in that citation, nothing more. This citation is a complete non-sequitur relative to the issue of God’s essence.

    YOU WROTE
    If it takes me a month or so to respond to your next letter, please don’t think I’m ignoring you.

    RESPONSE
    Candidly Mr. Fullerton, I would be OK if you don’t respond at all. As far as I’m concerned I’m dealing with someone who was lost to Charismania a long, long, long time ago and is now so far gone and so deeply entrenched in it that he can’t see the top of the hole that he’s dug himself into any more. Further, if there was any lingering doubt about the veracity of the points that I made in my article these exchanges have proven them in spades. This wild and weird tangent on the essence of God, to me, is just another case in point.

    However, it’s really up to you Mr. Fullerton. My point was proven, a long time ago.

    SECOND FRED W. ANSON RESPONSE (via email Sat 5/7/2016, 3:41PM Pacific)

    YOU WROTE
    A thought I’d like to add to my last letter is that although you say the teaching of a mysterious essence of God that we cannot know is unimportant to you,

    RESPONSE
    Sir, if it isn’t important enough to God to reveal it to us in the Bible then why should I care? For that matter, why do you care?

    As I said in my last email, I’m content to let God be God – why aren’t you? Again, why are you majoring on minors in true Charismaniac style?

    YOU WROTE
    I’ve met many that seem to come from your camp who use it to condemn the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church, as I’m sure you know,

    RESPONSE
    If you’re referring to fact that the LdS Church teaches that God and human beings are ontologically the same species or genus then those teaches deserve to be condemned. Such a claim is both unbiblical and downright blasphemous sir!

    YOU WROTE
    does not recognize any mysterious essence of God that we believers in Jesus are fenced off from.

    RESPONSE
    Well I’m not quite sure I understand what, “mysterious essence of God that we believers in Jesus are fenced off from” means. As I stated in my last email Mr. Fullerton, clear articulation doesn’t seem to be one of your strengths.

    So instead, let’s talk about what the LdS Church DOES teach shall we? From official, correlated LdS Church sources:

    “The Trinity of traditional Christianity is referred to as the Godhead by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Like other Christians, Latter-day Saints believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost). Yet, Church teachings about the Godhead differ from those of traditional Christianity. For example, while some believe the three members of the Trinity are of one substance, Latter-day Saints believe they are three physically separate beings, but fully one in love, purpose and will.

    God the Father
    God is often referred to in the Church as Heavenly Father, because He is the Father of all human spirits and they are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). It is an appropriate term for a God who is kind and just, all wise and all powerful. Mormons believe He has a human-like body but is immortal and perfected…”
    (“Godhead”, http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/godhead)

    “From the Prophet’s account of the First Vision and from his other teachings, we know that the members of the Godhead are three separate beings. The Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bones, and the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.”
    (Godhead”, https://www.lds.org/topics/godhead?lang=eng)

    Mr. Fullerton, the teaching that God’s essence varies from member. person, and being of the Godhead to member, person, and being of the Godhead is blasphemy. The Bible teaches that there is ONE God (not three) and He is Spirit (see John 4:24). Therefore, ontologically speaking, God’s essence is spiritual NOT physical. In the case of Christ His divine nature is wholly spiritual, his human nature is not.

    But it gets worse from there since Mormonism not ONLY teaches that God’s essence is physical, it teaches that we. God, and the angels are all the same species. Again, all from official, correlated LdS Church sources:

    “In one point of view, man appears very poor, weak, . . . In another point of view, we look at him as emanating from the Gods—as a God in embryo—as an eternal being who had an existence before he came here, . . . He [man] is a God in embryo, and possesses within him a spark of that eternal flame which was struck from the blaze of God’s eternal fire in the eternal world, and is placed here upon the earth . . .

    If we take man, he is said to have been made in the image of God, for the simple reason that he is a son of God,. . . He did not originate from a chaotic mass of matter, moving or inert, but came forth possessing in an embryonic state, all the faculties and powers of a God. And when he shall be perfected, and have progressed to maturity, he will be like his Father—a God, being indeed His offspring. As the horse, the ox, the sheep, and every living creature, including man, propagates its own species and perpetuates its own kind, so does God perpetuate his.”
    (“Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor”, pp. 2-3; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-john-taylor/chapter-1?lang=eng)

    “It is for the exaltation of man to this state of superior intelligence and Godhead that the mediation and atonement of Jesus Christ is instituted; and that noble being, man, made in the image of God, is rendered capable not only of being a son of man, but also a son of God, . . . and is rendered capable of becoming a God, possessing the power, the majesty, the exaltation and the position of a God.” (“Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor”, p.5; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-john-taylor/chapter-1?lang=eng)

    “All men and women are literally the sons and daughters of God. “Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body”
    (“Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith”, p.335; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-28?lang=eng)

    “. . . Because we are the spiritual children of God, we have inherited the potential to develop His divine qualities.”
    (“Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith”, p.9; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/the-life-and-ministry-of-joseph-smith?lang=eng)

    “We were not all alike in heaven. We know, for example, that we were sons and daughters of heavenly parents–males and females . . .”
    (“Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith”, p.10; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/the-life-and-ministry-of-joseph-smith?lang=eng)

    “We learned that if we followed His plan, we would become like Him. We would be resurrected; we would have all power in heaven and on earth; we would become heavenly parents and have spirit children just as He does (see D&C 132:19-20).”
    (“Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith”, p.11; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/the-life-and-ministry-of-joseph-smith?lang=eng)

    YOU WROTE
    On this point, they are more biblical.

    RESPONSE
    No sir, on this point they are unbiblical. heretical and blasphemous. The fact that you can’t see this is telling Mr. Fullerton. You are in grave error here sir!

    (please note the above interchange has been lightly edited to remove typos that occurred in the original emails)

    Like

  4. CAL FULLERTON REPLIES (via email 5/8/2016, 9:58AM Pacific)
    Hi Fred,

    I have not read your last two letters yet. I will.

    However, God was speaking to me in church this morning. Our conversation isn’t helping you, I don’t think; and it’s not lifting me into God presence.

    So I need to repent and cease engaging in it.

    May the Lord keep you and shine on you, etc.

    Take care,

    Cal

    FRED W. ANSON RESPONDS (via email 5/8/2016, 10:35AM Pacific)
    With all due respect Mr. Fullerton, since I’m not the one in demonstrable error here I don’t think that I’m the one who needs help.

    And I only hope to lift you into God’s presence in the same sense that Jeremiah and Ezekiel did the with the errant, syncretistic, idol worshiping children of Israel: To show you that you ARE in error and call you to repentance before Yahweh Elohim.

    Now I doubt Mr. Fullerton that either Jeremiah or Ezekiel’s audience got too many “warm fuzzies” or “blessings” from having their error publicly exposed either. Quite the opposite I suspect.

    In the end, I am just here to warn you, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel did the errant of their day, nothing more.

    So respectfully sir, I challenge that prompting or impression in Jesus’ Name and by the authority of God’s word, the Bible, just as certainly as I challenge the false prophecy from that false prophetess who told you and the Christians assembled in that room to, “lay down your stones” in regard to Mormonism. It was a deceiving spirit then, and I believe, it’s a deceiving spirit now. Sir, somehow, someway, it appears that you have picked up the habit of mistaking the voices of deceiving spirits as the word of the Lord – I would ask you to think about that. They’re not doing you any favors brother!

    So, yes, I agree Mr. Fullerton, you DO need to repent. However, not from hearing challenges to your false teachings and doctrines. Rather, you need to repent OF those false teachings and doctrines for all the reasons outlined in the article and subsequent exchange.

    And, as always, in Jesus’ and holy Name and by the power of His precious blood, I remain, your servant and, more importantly, His.

    Fred W. Anson

    (please note the above interchange has been lightly edited to remove typos that occurred in the original emails)

    Like

  5. Q: WAS THERE A RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE ARTICLE FROM PAUL RICHARDSON?
    Given the lengthy response this article received from Cal Fullerton, the reader may be wondering if we received a similar response from Paul Richardson. We did indeed receive a response via email and it was as follows:

    From: Dr. Paul Richardson
    Sent: Monday, May 02, 2016 2:04 PM (Pacific)
    To: Fred W. Anson

    DEAR FRED

    IS THIS A ONE SIDED COMMUNICATUION

    OR A 2 WAY STREET?

    aRE YOU WILLING TO HEAR AND CONSIDER ANY THING I SAY OR DO YOU JUST WANT TO LET WHAT YOU SAY STAND WITH OUT ANY CHALLENGE

    I KNOW I CAN REPLY TO EVERYTHIG YOU HAVE SAID NOT BECAUSE I AM SMARTER THAN YOU

    BUT BECAUSE I AM ON THE SIDE OF THE TRUTH

    MAY gOD HELP YOU

    IN cHRIST

    The Full Gospel of Christ Fellowship, Inc.
    Drs.Paul & Faye Richardson

    Mr. Richardson’s email was in response to the following email sent immediately after the above article was published:

    From: Fred Anson
    Date: Sunday, May 1, 2016 4:34 PM (Pacific)
    To: Paul Richardson

    Mr. Richardson, I promised you that I would send you the link to the article in which I analyze your stance in regard to the Book of Mormon.
    https://beggarsbread.org/2016/05/01/pentecostal-charismaniacs-mormons-gone-bad/

    Please feel free to comment, however, please read and adhere to the moderation guidelines in your response so I can quickly moderate approve it. Here they are:
    https://beggarsbread.org/moderation-policy/

    Thank you.

    Fred W. Anson

    That gives the reader the full context for my response to Mr. Richardson’s email on 5/2/2016 2:16 PM (Pacific) which was as follows:

    “As I stated plainly in my last email:

    ‘Please feel free to comment, however, please read and adhere to the moderation guidelines in your response so I can quickly moderate approve it. Here they are:
    https://beggarsbread.org/moderation-policy/

    I’m not sure what was unclear about that. And here’s a direct link to leave a response to the article.
    https://beggarsbread.org/2016/05/01/pentecostal-charismaniacs-mormons-gone-bad/#respond

    Please proceed.

    Thank you.”

    To date we have received no further communication of any kind from Paul Richardson. Please note that all emails have been left unedited with the exception of deleting header and footer contact information (such as street and email addresses) not relevant to their message and content.

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  6. PAUL RICHARDSON RESPONDS (via email 5/13/2016 3:20PM Pacific)
    The following was received from Paul Richardson via email. After inquiring, he informed me that it is his public response to above article. It appears here unedited and unmodified from the original in accordance with his wishes.

    WHY CAN’T SOME CHURCH FOLKS
    RECEIVE A WITNESS FROM THE HOLY
    SPIRIT THAT SOME WONDERFUL FRESH
    REVELATION IS OF GOD?

    First, “Because the carnal (natural) mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Rom. 8:7

    In other words, the fallen intellect is in a state of antagonism against the things of God.

    This is why Pro. 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

    We cannot depend upon our own human intellect for spiritual guidance.

    Moreover we are warned that “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Pro. 14:12

    People ought to be able to logically understand that the God of the Bible is all He says He is for all things witness to the fact and He will do everything He says He will do, but Paul said that people can also find God by feeling after Him:

    “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from every one of us:” Acts 17:27

    Christians who humbly pray and sweetly yield their self unto the Spirit of the Lord can feel His precious presence, whereas those who harden their heart through self-centered pride and sear their conscience by lack of love have lost their sensitivity and can feel nothing.

    Jesus was both angry and grieved for the hardness of the hearts of the Jews in the synagogue when he wanted to heal a man with a withered hand… Mk. 3: 5

    Those who ate of the miraculous fish and loves “considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. Mk. 6:52

    Jesus had to deal with this problem repeatedly in His day as well as today…

    Also:
    Spiritually blind eyes
    Spiritually deaf ears,
    Unbelief and
    Sin in general.

    Obviously there are heart – Christians and there are head- Christians, and they see things differently.

    The head folks say that us heart – Christians make an “emotional” decision about a Book, but the word emotion is not even in the Bible.

    Some folks are just self-appointed critics, who do more fruit inspecting than they do fruit bearing.

    Their main ministry seems to be smiting their fellow-servants, who disagree with them, rather than producing something to help, bless, and encourage others.

    WHAT IS THE DEFINATION OF THE
    WORD “SCRIPTURE”?

    Sadly, many church folks do not seem to understand the difference between the “Logos” and the “Rhema”:

    Both are the living Word of God.

    But whereas the Rhema is the spoken Word of God in the present, the Logos is the written Word of God in the past.

    All the Bible was the living Rhema when it was first spoken to the prophets.

    But then it was written down and became the Logos that we may learn with our mind.

    The Rhema is experienced with our heart.

    But we learn the Logos by reading it.

    But the big issue is: Did God stop speaking His Word around AD 100 or could He still speak after the Roman Catholic Church closed the cannon? And why do some Christians think that we have all the Scripture there is and there can never be any more?

    Is that not limiting God? Ps. 78:41 Is He not the same now as then? Heb. 13:8

    The way to know which way to go is:

    Consult the written Word of God, as He will never contradict Himself.
    Pray and listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him guide you.

    I have a wonderful fresh book of Scripture and I will mail you a FREE copy, if you promise to read it with an open mind. Just let me know: 804 -276-4709

    The Full Gospel of Christ Fellowship, Inc.
    Drs.Paul & Faye Richardson
    2800 Blendwell Rd.
    Richmond,Va. 23224
    804-276-4709
    drpaulrich@juno.com

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  7. REJOINDER TO PAUL RICHARDSON’S PUBLIC STATEMENT BY FRED W. ANSON
    First Mr. Richardson I would like to thank you for your response. Since Mr. Fullerton had already done so I was hoping to see a public respond from you as well. That said, I’m frankly surprised at most of your response since the majority of the issues that you’ve raised were already addressed in the article itself. For example, you state, “Obviously there are heart – Christians and there are head- Christians, and they see things differently. The head folks say that us (sic) heart – Christians make an “emotional” decision about a Book, but the word emotion is not even in the Bible.”

    False Dichotomies and Straw Men
    Sir, this is a both a false dichotomy and a straw man argument. Did you not see the citation from Lutheran Pastor, Don Matzat (a man with past involvement with the Charismatic Movement) which clearly stated:

    “There is nothing wrong with Christians desiring feelings, emotions, and experience. In fact, the lack of any experience is in itself an experience. The lack of feeling is a feeling. The lack of emotion is an emotion. Any cursory reading of the New Testament demonstrates that love, joy, peace, hope, contentment are to be the Christian’s experience, feeling, and emotion…

    Rather than coming against a feel-good faith, we should clearly teach that true Christian feelings, emotions, and Holy Spirit experience are the product of sound theology. Rather than confronting imbalance in the church by promoting the alternative and pushing the pendulum to the other side, we should begin with a balanced perspective which means recognizing that feelings will follow a faith that clings to the objective promises of God in Scripture. The person who believes and confesses that his sins are forgiven because Jesus died on the cross should feel guilt-free and experience the joy of having a cleansed conscience. Feelings and emotions. while not the cause of our faith, are the expression of our faith. Martin Luther writes, “We can mark our lack of faith by our lack of joy; for our joy must necessarily be as great as our faith.” Again he writes, “You have as much laughter as you have faith.” (Ewald Plass, What Luther Says, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), Vol. 2, p. 692.)…

    Hopefully the present conflict between sound doctrine and feel-good experience will lead to a balanced perspective on both sides. Those who minimize sound doctrine and promote feelings and experience must recognize that they are plotting a course for deception and disaster. Those who focus on sound doctrine must begin teaching people to apply those great truths of Scripture to their daily living so that the experience of God’s people matches what the Word of God commands.”
    (Don Matzat, “Feelings, Emotions and Christian Truth”)

    So your argument is made of straw. Nowhere in the article did I set mind over feeling or emotions. Nor did I set them against each other. This is false dichotomy of your making not mine. For example, elsewhere you state, “We cannot depend upon our own human intellect for spiritual guidance”, and then go on to abuse Proverb 3:5 (“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding”) interpreting it as an anti-intellectual verse when that’s since not the case – rather, it simply stating that God is metaphysical and beyond human understanding. In a similar manner, you quote Acts 17:27 (“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from every one of us”) out of context in an odd attempt to make it a “seek God through feelings not intellect” verse. In actual fact Paul appeals to empirical evidence at the end of the passage making his logical, rational, appeal to the intellect argument using the same holisitic epistemological methods that were advocated in my article. Let’s consider that verse in it’s complete context shall we?

    “Therefore, the One [the unknown God] whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”’
    (Acts 17:23-31, NKJV, bracketed text for clarification, bolded text to show verse in context)

    Simply put sir, that argument when viewed in context is an appeal to BOTH mind and heart, not one or the other. Further, his closing argument – an assertion of the historicity and empirical reality of the resurrection – can hardly be considered an emotional appeal.

    Finally, I found it rather amusing that in your tirade AGAINST the use of the mind and intellect you appeal to the mind and intellect throughout. Surely you can see the irony here can’t you?

    Ad-Hominems and Other Fun Fallacies
    And I certainly wasn’t quite sure what to do with your use of unfounded accusations and baseless judgments like these:

    “Christians who humbly pray and sweetly yield their self unto the Spirit of the Lord can feel His precious presence, whereas those who harden their heart through self-centered pride and sear their conscience by lack of love have lost their sensitivity and can feel nothing.”

    “Spiritually blind eyes
    Spiritually deaf ears,
    Unbelief and
    Sin in general.”

    Candidly, these arguments remind me of the arguments of Mormons who in the absence of any substantial countering evidence simply start blindly attacking the character and person of their debate opponent instead. However, as the saying goes: “Ad hominem attacks are the sign that reason has triumphed over irrationality.”

    So in the end, I thank you for those ad-hominems – it appears that reason has triumphed over irrationality yet again!

    Regarding Judgment
    Which leads us to this passive aggressive “gem”: “Some folks are just self-appointed critics, who do more fruit inspecting than they do fruit bearing. Their main ministry seems to be smiting their fellow-servants, who disagree with them, rather than producing something to help, bless, and encourage others.”

    Well sir, you would surely hate the Apostles who commanded us in the Bible:

    1 Corinthians 5:12 (ESV)
    Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

    1 Corinthians 6:4 (KJV)
    If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

    John 7:24 (ESV)
    Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

    The Bible says to judge righteously and not hypocritically – it doesn’t say to never judge. And it stated EXPICITLY that we are to judge those who are in the church – especially those who are teaching false doctrine. And this is the case here Mr. Richardson just as I stated at the close of the article:

    “By embracing false scripture from a False Prophet – and even worse, encouraging others to do the same – these men have become false teachers themselves. And the Bible was quite clear what God’s people are to do when we encounter a false teacher, false prophet, false apostle, or false anything for that matter:

    You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.’
    (Deuteronomy 13:3&4, NKJV) bolding added for emphasis”

    And I’m sorry Mr. Richardson but someone who is teaching false doctrine isn’t a “fellow-servant”, he’s a wolf in the sheep fold.

    “Logos” v. “Rhema”
    You wrote:

    Sadly, many church folks do not seem to understand the difference between the “Logos” and the “Rhema”:

    Both are the living Word of God.

    But whereas the Rhema is the spoken Word of God in the present, the Logos is the written Word of God in the past.

    All the Bible was the living Rhema when it was first spoken to the prophets.

    But then it was written down and became the Logos that we may learn with our mind.

    The Rhema is experienced with our heart.

    But we learn the Logos by reading it.

    Respectfully sir, I’m not the one who’s confused here. The matter simply isn’t as you’ve presented it here. A simple example should suffice here: In John 1:1 where it says (NKJV), “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” the Greek word for “Word” is “logos” and that Greek word is clearly referring to Christ. Are we to believe that we’re to “read” Christ? So the matter isn’t nearly as cut and dry as many Pentecostals and Charismatics would have us to believe – it’s far more complex and nuanced than that. As the always excellent GotQuestions website explains:

    There are two primary Greek words that describe Scripture which are translated “word” in the New Testament. The first, logos, refers principally to the total inspired Word of God and to Jesus, who is the living Word. Logos is found in John 1:1; Luke 8:11; Philippians 2:16; Hebrews 4:12; and other verses. The second Greek word translated “word” is rhema, which refers to the spoken word. Rhema literally means an utterance (individually, collectively or specifically). Examples are found in Luke 1:38; 3:2; 5:5; and Acts 11:16.

    Charismatic and non-charismatic Christians have different views regarding rhema and how it should be understood. Some charismatics view rhema as the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to them at the present moment. They believe they should be guided by the Holy Spirit through inner feelings, impressions and experiences. Some believe that the direct words of God to the individual can also be imparted through the words of others, such as a preacher in a worship service or a friend who counsels them. Through these avenues, the Christian experiences God’s direct leading. There is also the belief that the spoken word has more power than the written word, but there is no biblical basis for such a belief.

    Evangelical Christians, however, have a much different understanding of rhema, believing that it is essentially synonymous with logos. In other words, the specific guidance we receive from the Holy Spirit at any given time can only be discerned by the general principles laid down in the Bible. Where the Bible is silent on specifics—such as where a young person should go to college—then the Christian applies biblical principles (good stewardship of God-given resources, protecting one’s heart and mind from godless influences, etc.) to the situation and thereby arrives at a decision.

    The test of the authenticity of a rhema from God is how it compares to the whole of Scripture. Orthodoxy says that God will not speak a word that contradicts His written Word, the Scriptures, so there is a built-in safeguard to prevent misinterpretation. The obvious danger is that one who is not familiar with the logos can misinterpret or misunderstand what he or she perceives to be a rhema.
    (see http://www.gotquestions.org/rhema-word.html)

    In the end sir, this is just another false dichotomy.

    Regarding the Closed Canon
    Your arguments regarding the canon of scripture are “interesting” to say the least. In fact, they’re nearly identical to those that I see from Mormons. Let’s consider them point by point:

    YOU WROTE
    “But the big issue is: Did God stop speaking His Word around AD 100 or could He still speak after the Roman Catholic Church closed the cannon? And why do some Christians think that we have all the Scripture there is and there can never be any more?”

    RESPONSE
    The ignorance of Church History being demonstrated here is staggering! Suffice to say, this is fiction and revisionist history. For a start, the canon was well established LONG before the advent of the Roman Catholic Church so that point is wrong. Further the process was FAR more complex that the caricatured version that you’ve presented. Here’s a quick primer:

    “The development of the New Testament canon was, like that of the Old Testament, a gradual process.

    Irenaeus (died c.202) quotes and cites 21 books that would end up as part of the New Testament, but does not use Philemon, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 3 John and Jude. By the early 3rd century Origen of Alexandria may have been using the same 27 books as in the modern New Testament, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation, see also Antilegomena. Likewise by 200 the Muratorian fragment shows that there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the New Testament, which included four gospels and argued against objections to them. Thus, while there was plenty of discussion in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the “major” writings were accepted by almost all Christian authorities by the middle of the second century.

    The next two hundred years followed a similar process of continual discussion throughout the entire Church, and localized refinements of acceptance. As the Church worked to become of one mind, the approximate completeness of agreement merged gradually closer to unity. This process was not yet complete at the time of the First Council of Nicaea in 325, though substantial progress had been made by then. Though a list was clearly necessary to fulfill Constantine’s commission in 331 of fifty copies of the Bible for the Church at Constantinople, no concrete evidence exists to indicate that it was considered to be a formal canon. In the absence of a canonical list, the resolution of questions would normally have been directed through the see of Constantinople, in consultation with Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (who was given the commission), and perhaps other bishops who were available locally.

    In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books that would formally become the New Testament canon,[6] and he used the word “canonized” (kanonizomena) in regard to them. The first council that accepted the present Catholic canon (the Canon of Trent) may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa (393); the acts of this council, however, are lost. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419.[8] These councils took place under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed.[9] Pope Damasus I’s Council of Rome in 382, if the Decretum Gelasianum is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above,[6] or if not the list is at least a 6th-century compilation claiming a 4th-century imprimatur. Likewise, Damasus’s commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West. In 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead “were ratifying what had already become the mind of the church.” Thus, from the 5th century onward, the Western Church was unanimous concerning the New Testament canon.

    The last book to be accepted universally was the Book of Revelation, though with time all the Eastern Church also agreed. Thus, by the 5th century, both the Western and Eastern churches had come into agreement on the matter of the New Testament canon.”
    (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_of_the_Christian_biblical_canon#Development_of_the_New_Testament_canon)

    YOU WROTE
    “Is that not limiting God?”

    RESPONSE
    Who’s limiting God sir? The Biblical canon is THEORETICALLY open, but PRACTICALLY closed. I would refer you to Michael C. Patton’s superb article on this subject, here’s an excerpt:

    “When communicating the doctrine of canonicity, we can say it seems that the Scriptures are complete for two reasons: 1) God has not added to it through an authenticated spokesperson in two thousand years, and 2) the purpose of Scripture is completed with the advent of Christ and the communication of the Gospel.

    I know that the idea of a theoretically open canon will not sit well with many people, especially Christian apologists who combat Mormonism as well as cessationists who combat modern-day prophets. Yet there is really no issue with either. We understand that Mormonism falls due to its inability to authenticate Joseph Smith as a prophet and its contradiction with previous revelation. Concerning modern-day prophets, I don’t have an issue. I don’t believe we have seen a prophet since the time of the apostles, but this does not mean that God cannot send one. As well, even if he does, there is no reason why his pronouncements should be added to the canon. In their inspired roles, prophets and apostles said plenty that was never written down. The canon is not every inspired word ever written. It is a collection of inspired and authoritative words that were part of redemptive history.

    In short, God can do whatever He desires. Our theological constructs and definitions of a “closed canon” do not lock Him out of our room. If He wants to add to the canon or speak through a prophet, He can do so. Neither you, nor I, nor a church council, nor a Pope can put a “do not enter” on the door of canonical revelation.

    I don’t mind saying the canon is closed so long as we qualify it. The canon is “closed” to the degree that God is no longer adding to it.

    To be fair, this proposition is not quite as provocative as it might seem. While this might irk Roman Catholics who believe that the Church itself closed the canon, Protestants have historically believed that the church simply recognizes the canon, but does not have the authority to close it.”
    (Michael C. Patton, “Why I Believe the Canon is Theoretically Open (and Am Fine With It)”)

    YOU WROTE
    “Ps. 78:41”

    RESPONSE
    Which says in context:

    Psalm 78 (NKJV, bolding added for emphasis)
    40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,
    And grieved Him in the desert!
    41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
    And limited the Holy One of Israel.

    42 They did not remember His power:
    The day when He redeemed them from the enemy,

    YOU WROTE
    Is He not the same now as then?

    RESPONSE
    Yes, but that verse has NOTHING to do with Biblical canonicity. This is a non-sequitur.

    YOU WROTE
    “Heb. 13:8”

    RESPONSE
    Which is EASILY the Bible verse most consistenly misinterpreted and abused by Pentecostals and Charismatics the world over. This verse is referring to the eternality of Jesus Christ, nothing. This is clear from the context:

    Hebrews 13:7-9 (NKJV, bolding added for emphasis)
    Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.

    Furthermore, the verse is given within the context of recognizing the authority of those who have spoken the word of God to us – which clearly includes the Bible. And it then WARNS us not to “be carried about with various and strange doctrines – you know like the strange, unbiblical doctrines in the Book of Mormon. As John MacArthur points out, Hebrews 13:8 is NOT saying that God will always do things the same throughout every historical period:

    “Hebrews 13:8 refers to the person and character of Jesus Christ, not to His chosen methods of working. The Lord has worked in different ways at different times in history according to His wisdom and sovereign will. For instance, God did not immediately take Israel to be His chosen people but waited several thousands of years after creation. The Mosaic Law was introduced shortly after that and it was in effect for hundreds of years, but now the ceremonial laws have been set aside. The Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell believers before the inauguration of the church at Pentecost, but now all believers are indwelt by Him at the time of their conversion. While these examples demonstrate that God sometimes changes how He works in the world to accomplish His purposes, clearly the character and being of Jesus Christ never change.”
    (John MacArthur, “Study the Issues: Bible Q&A”)

    YOU WROTE
    “The way to know which way to go is: Consult the written Word of God, as He will never contradict Himself.”

    RESPONSE
    Yet you want us to believe that a book that teaches another Jesus and an Apostolically anathematized gospel is divinely inspired scripture. This is an odd thing Mr. Richardson.

    YOU WROTE
    Pray and listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him guide you.

    RESPONSE
    Sir, if that guiding spirit is leading one to believe that said false scripture is true scripture then that spirit is NOT the Holy Spirit, it’s a deceiving spirit. This is just as Paul warned us:

    1 Corinthians 11 (NKJV)
    3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

    13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

    YOU WROTE
    “I have a wonderful fresh book of Scripture and I will mail you a FREE copy, if you promise to read it with an open mind.”

    RESPONSE
    And that “wonderful fresh book of Scripture”, of course, is the Book of Mormon, right? I rest my case.

    Mr. Richardson as long as you continue to present this false scripture from a false prophet as true scripture from a true (albeit later fallen) prophet we have no choice but to continue to declare you a false teacher. To do otherwise wouldn’t be in obedience to our Lord, His Apostles, and His Word.

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