Other s Views on the Doctrine of God

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1 Other s Views on the Doctrine of God 1 The Roman Catholic View of the Doctrine of God The Roman Catholic Church believes in the triune God as taught in the Bible. However, over a long course of time the church has adopted the unbiblical doctrine of revering Mary to the point of allowing her to receive prayer and worship as well. Officially, the church of Rome denies worshipping Mary. It states that it believes that she is a highly exalted creature, but in no way equal to God. It tries to avoid ascribing equal worship to her as God by dividing worship into three types: (1) Latria: the supreme worship given to God alone, (2) Dulia: A secondary type of veneration given to saints and angels, and (3) Hyperdulia: A higher type of veneration given to Mary. Though officially the church doesn t attribute divinity to Mary, it sends out mixed messages regarding its own beliefs. 1) The titles given to Mary seem to point to comparable status to God. She is called: Mother of God, Queen of the apostles, Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Angels, the Door of Paradise, the Gate of Heaven, Our Life, Mother of Grace, Mother of Mercy, and many other titles which ascribe to her supernatural powers. 2) The church teaches the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception which is the belief that Mary was born without sin. This concept later changed to state that she could not sin. 3) Bishop Liguori, who was one of the greatest devotional writers of the Catholic church wrote a book called The Glories of Mary. In it are found the following quotations: a. And she is truly a mediatress of peace between sinners and God. Sinners receive pardon by Mary alone, (p 82-83). (Contrast I Tim. 2:5; Jn. 14:6; Col. 3:4) b. Many things are asked from God and not granted; they are asked from Mary and are obtained, for She is even Queen of hell, and Sovereign Mistress of the Devils. (pp. 127, 141, 143). c. Mary is called the gate of heaven because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through HER (p. 160). d. The Way of salvation is open to none otherwise than through MARY, and since Our salvation is in the hands of Mary He who is protected by MARY will be saved, he who is not will be lost. (pp ). (Contrast Jn. 10:1, 7, 9; Acts 4:12) e. All power is given to thee in heaven and earth, so that at the command of MARY all obey even God. (pp 180, 181) (Contrast Matt 28:18; Phil 2:9-11; Col. 1:18)

2 2 Liguori more than any other individual in the Catholic church promoted the deification and worship of Mary. Yet instead of excommunicating him for his heresies, the church canonized him and made him a saint as well as published many editions of his book, The Glories of Mary. 4) The widely used prayer book, the Raccolta, which is accepted by Catholics as authoritative has the following prayer: Hail, Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life, Sweetness, and Hope, all Hail! To thee we cry, banished sons of Eve; to thee we sigh, groaning and weeping in this vale of tears. We fly beneath they shelter, O holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessity, and deliver us always from all perils, O glorious and Blessed Virgin. Sweet heart of Mary, be my salvation. leave me not, my Mother, in my own hands, or I am lost; let me but cling to thee. Save me, my Hope; save me from hell. Whatever the theological statement of the church is, it must be recognized that it and the practice of the average Catholic are two different things. In practice few Catholics know of the technical distinctions made by their theologians, and millions of Catholics around the world bow before statues of Mary and pray to her as they should only pray to God. A Response: 1) There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that any departed human being, no matter how good, has any contact with the affairs of earth. Nor is there any human who could possibly hear the prayers of millions at the same time and be able to respond to them as it is assumed of Mary. 2) The biblical objections against the prayers to Mary apply equally to the prayers to the saints. a. According to the NT, all true Christians are saints (Eph. 1:1; Phil 1:1; Ro. 1:7, 16:15; I Cor. 1:2; II Cor. 1:1). There is no instance in the Bible of a living saint trying to contact a departed saint. On the contrary, any attempt to contact the dead is severely condemned (Deut. 18:9-12; Isa. 8:19-20). b. Nowhere in the Bible is there the slightest suggestion that prayer should be offered to Mary of any other human being. i. In the OT the Jews prayed to God, but never to any of the patriarchs, kings, or prophets.

3 3 ii. The NT directly repudiates saint worship. There are specific examples of Peter, Paul, and even an angel refusing worship (Acts 10: 25-26; 14:11-15; Rev. 22:8, 9). c. Prayer offered to Mary obscures the glory and work of Christ (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12; Heb. 9:15; I Jn. 2:1; Ro. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). d. Many Catholics believe that Mary has authority and influence over Jesus. They believe that she can persuade Him to act when going to Him directly avails no results. Jesus attitude toward Mary is particularly instructive on this matter. i. In John 2:1-5 Mary attempts to exercise parental authority over Jesus. Two things should be noticed in Jesus response to her. First, it should be noted that He addresses Mary as woman. This was a polite, but not an endearing term, nor the form of an address one would expect from a son to his much-loved mother. Rather it was His usual way of addressing women (Matt. 15:28; Lk. 13:12; Jn. 4:21, 8:10, 19:26, 20:13). By speaking this way, Jesus distanced Himself from His mother and demonstrated that even family ties were subordinate to the divine will of the Father. Secondly, the expression what do I have to do with you indicates some divergence of thought which is often quite strong (in the LXX Judg. 11:12; II Sam. 16:10; I Ki. 17:18; II Ki 3:13; II Chr. 35:21, and in the NT Mk. 1:24, 5:7; Matt. 8:29, 27:19; Lk. 8:28). Mary asked for Jesus help; Jesus refused any participation in what she had asked. It quickly becomes evident that Mary s requests on behalf of others had no influence in Jesus decision making process. He has utter freedom from any kind of human advice, agenda, or manipulation. Jesus, in His public ministry, was not primarily the son of Mary but the son of man. ii. Matthew 12:46-50 describes an occasion when Mary and Jesus brothers were looking for him. Jesus responded, Who is my mother and who are my brothers? And he stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. Jesus identifies his true family as those who do the will of God. iii. Luke 11: is also instructive. There, a woman in the crowd praised Mary for conceiving Christ. It is written that the woman raised her voice and said to Jesus, Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you! But Jesus said, More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it! (11:28). Again, Jesus downplays Mary s relationship with him and emphasizes the importance of the spiritual relationship.

4 4 Conclusion: Though not directly related to the doctrine of the trinity, the adoration and worship of Mary is a practice that places Mary in the position that Christ alone deserves. It is idolatry and should be condemned as blasphemous. The Mormon View of the Doctrine of God The Mormon church is thoroughly polytheistic and therefore denies biblical Trinitarian monotheism. 1) Direct assertions of polytheism The Mormon church openly states that there are many gods. In The Journal of Discourses, Volume VI page 3 it says, In the beginning the heads of the Gods called a council of the Gods and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people in it. (Also see Abraham 4 and 5) 2) Indirect assertions of polytheism The Mormon church believes that All men and women are literally the sons and daughters of Deity Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body Because we are the spiritual children of our heavenly parents, we have the potential to develop their divine qualities. If we choose to do so we can become perfect just as they are. (Gospel Principles, 9 an LDS publication). In short, through a type of moral progression they believe humans can become gods. In Gospel Principles on page 302, it states rather bluntly that He [God] is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. Later, on the same page it lists some of the blessings given to exalted people. It says, They will become gods They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge. This is the same progression that they believe even God went through. Journal of Discourses, Volume I states, Remember that God our Heavenly Father was perhaps once a child and moral like we are and rose step by step in the scale of progress,

5 5 in the school of advancement: has moved forward and overcome until he has arrived at the point where He is now. A Response: Scripture clearly teaches that there is only one God. There never ere any gods before him nor will there be any after him. The OT says there is only one God. Deuteronomy 4:35 to you it as shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God: there is none other besides Him. Deuteronomy 4:39 Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Because heaven and earth encompass all that exists, there is no other God ANYWHERE. Isaiah 45: 5-6 I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. (also note verse 8) Isaiah 43:10 You are my witnesses, says the LORD, And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. The NT also says there is only one God. John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. In this verse, eternal life is dependent upon knowing the one and only true God. I Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!

6 6 Conclusion: The Bible bears overwhelming testimony against the Mormon s heresies. The Bible speaks of only one true God. This rules out any other God being formed whether through creation or progression. One cannot help but see the parallel between Mormon theology and the words of Satan in Isaiah 14:14. There Satan said, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. To him God responded, Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit (Isaiah 14:15). The Jehovah s Witnesses View of the Doctrine of God Jehovah s witnesses vigorously attack the doctrine of the trinity. They believe that Satan is its author which comes from ancient Babylonian paganism c B.C. brought into the defected Christian church about the second century, being especially established in the Nicence Creed, A.D (Make sure of All Things, p. 386). In their book, Let God Be True, there is a chapter called Is There a Trinity? There they define the trinity as a belief that there are three gods in one. Then based on this faulty definition they conclude that the doctrine is very confusing. From the word confusing they feel justified in applying I Cor. 14:33, For God is not the author of confusion. Then the conclusion is drawn: it is at once seen that such a doctrine is not from God. In their scheme of things, Christ is thought to be Michael the archangel, a created being, who became a man through the incarnation. He was born again at his baptism at which time he came the Messiah. The Holy Spirit is thought to be an active impersonal force, not God. Response: The attack on the trinity is focused on an attempt to demonstrate that Jesus is less than God and that the Holy Spirit is not personal or called God. Refutation of their claims will be handled under the appropriate sections that follow. One of the greatest difficulties in demonstrating the deity of Christ or deity and personality of the Holy Spirit to Witnesses is the manner in which they interpret scripture. They are infamous for using proof texts or texts torn from their contexts which seem to support their opinion. After their proof text is established they attempt to logically refute anything that is contradictory to it.

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