Since I began this BBS in January of 1990, Mormons have called and
tried uploading a little file called "17 Points Of The True Church." Now
someone has finally written a rebuttal to it and I post it here. It is
interesting to note, however, that when they upload the file, they never
let you know where they are coming from. They know, of course, a true
Bible Believer would never agree to all their doctrinal beliefs but they
upload the file anyway in hopes the sysop will never notice. This file
addresses the doctrinal errors in that file.
17 POINTS OF THE TRUE CHURCH
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prints a small card
that is normally entitled "Seventeen points of the True Church." At
times the front of the card will read "Does it meet the Test?" Whatever
the form, many Christians have been handed this card. What of its
claims? Are the 17 listed points true? Do the claims made by the LDS
Church stand the test of the Bible?
This information sheet will examine, briefly, the claims made by
this little card. It is not intended to be an in-depth doctrinal
treatise on each point, as the card hardly attempts to be, either.
Instead, it is meant to give the Christian reader more background into
just what the Mormon Church is claiming, and how this does not in any way
reflect the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles as
recorded in the Word of God, the Bible. We will follow the outline of
the card itself. (Some cards list more or fewer points. This card seems
to be the most prevalent).
#1. Christ organized the Church. Ephesians 4:11-14.
This is true. However, we might ask our Mormon friends, since Ephesians
4:11 lists evangelists and pastors, where are these "offices" in the LDS
Church? Since "apostles" in the original Greek language refers simply to
a "sent one," does it not make sense to understand this to refer to
missionaries, the very ones who, like Paul, and Apollos, spread the word
concerning Christ throughout the entire known world? Should we not also
point out that the very same book here quoted (Ephesians) also says in
chapter 3, verse 21, that God would receive glory "in the church by
Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end"? How does this
square with the Mormon teaching that the Church of Jesus Christ
disappeared after only a few years?
#2. The true church must bear the name of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:23.
Exactly how Ephesians 5:23 relates to this is difficult to say. At any
rate, the point normally made by Mormons in regard to this is that the
name on the letterhead of your church must include the phrase "Jesus
Christ." Just how official names are involved in saving someone is again
not clear. Biblically, the Church is called the Church of Christ. It is
also called the Body of Christ. Does that mean we should make sure the
phrase "Body of Christ" is on our letterheads, also? Or is it more
consistent to see that the Church as it is expressed universally is the
Church of Christ, and the local assembly takes the name that would best
describe it - such at the Church at Rome, the Church of the
Thessalonicans, the Church at Philippi? The Bible nowhere commands us to
attach a specific name to our local congregation. Christians are
Christians whether they worship in the same building and in the exact
same manner or not.
#3. The true church must have a foundation of Apostles and Prophets.
This, again, is true, as far as it goes. Unfortunately, the LDS Church
takes it too far. The Mormons takes this to mean that the true church
must have official positions entitled "Apostle" and "Prophet," which, of
course, they have. This is not what Ephesians 2:19-20 teaches. First,
the context includes verses 21 and 22, and these must be read also. The
text actually says that the church is built on a foundation. Stop there.
The word "built" as translated in the King James Version translates the
Greek participle epoikodomethentes, which, properly syntaxed is
translated "having been built." It is an aorist passive participle. It
refers to a past action, one that (in this case) has been completed. To
say that today we must continue to build the foundation of apostles and
prophets is to mis-understand the text.
Next, we would like to point out that the Bible identifies Jesus
Christ as the foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10-11). The Church is built
upon this foundation, and is continually growing unto an "holy temple in
the Lord." The question must be asked, how many times does one lay a
foundation? If one is continually laying a foundation, how will the
house be built? The answer is obvious. The Mormon Church is still
trying to lay a foundation that was laid two thousand years ago. Since
this is so, it is obvious to see that in this passage Paul is referring
to something other than a continuing office of apostle and prophet.
The phrase "of the apostles and prophets" is in a genitive
construction that can easily give the sense that the foundation of the
apostles and prophets is Jesus Christ Himself. This would be completely
consistent with Paul's use of themelios (foundation) in other letters.
Again we see how examining the actual text of the Bible we can avoid
errors such as the kind propogated by the Mormon Church.
One final thing. In the lists of "offices" in the church (e.g., 1
Corinthians 12:28), the "apostles" are placed before the "prophets."
Aside from the fact that there were obviously many "prophets" in the
Church (rather than the one of the LDS Church), it is clear that the
Mormon heirarchy of Prophet then Apostles is backwards, at least
Biblically speaking. It is also plain to see that "apostles" (literally,
"sent ones") and "prophets" functioned quite differently than the LDS
Church believes they did.
#4. The true church must have the same organization as Christ's Church.
This point overlaps with the discussion given above. We have already
pointed out that the organization the Mormon Church has forced upon the
Bible is not an accurate understanding of just how the ancient church was
organized. As examples of this have already been brought up, we will
move on to the next point.
#5. The true church must claim divine authority. Hebrews 5:4-10.
The Christian Church does claim divine authority, for each and every
believer, male or female, is a king and priest unto God (Revelation 1:6).
However, again the LDS Church has forced its own theology upon the
Scriptures instead of allowing the Bible to be the guide. Mormon leaders
claim to have divine authority in that they have the "Melchizedek
Priesthood." Younger men are called to the "Aaronic Priesthood," and at
age 18 they can received the Melchizedek Priesthood. Though space does
not allow a complete discussion of the topic of the priesthoods, it
should be pointed out that the Mormon doctrine falls short of the truth
at a number of points: 1) It ignores the fact that there is no
distinction made between male and female in their relationship with
Christ. This is not to say that in the home God does not ordain a
certain order, as He obviously does. However, to claim the stupendous
things that the Mormon Church does for its "priesthood" and yet deny
those privileges to women (and blacks for 148 years) is certainly outside
2) It ignores the fact that the Aaronic priesthood was fulfilled
and done away with at the cross of Calvary. When Christ died, the veil
in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The function of
Aaronic priests, that of making animal sacrifices and, once a year, going
through the veil to offer the atonement for the nation, was finished for
all time. The intermediacy of a priesthood was done away with because of
the immediate access each believer has to the throne of grace through the
shed blood of Jesus Christ. To re-establish an organized, intermediate
priesthood as the LDS Church has done, when God has done away with it at
the cross, is nothing short of blasphemous! Though it is truly amazing
to anyone who has studied the New Testament book of Hebrews, Joseph Smith
once wrote, "...it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done
away when the Great Sacrifice [i.e., the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus] was
offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of
sacrifice in the future: but those who assert this are certainly not
acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the
priesthood...These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to
the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the
sons of Levi purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their
powers, ramifications, and blessings." (Documentary History of the
Church, volume 4 page 211). Again we see the depth of error that can be
attained by ignoring the Biblical teachings on a subject.
3) It ignores the Biblical fact that there is but one High Priest
(the Mormon Church has many), and only one worthy to hold the Melchizedek
Priesthood, that being Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:24-25). To claim to hold
that priesthood is an affront to the person of the Son of God.
#6. The true church must have no paid ministry. Isaiah 45:13, 1 Peter
The reader is asked to examine the two references given to gain yet
another example of out-of-context reading. Neither passage has anything
to do with paid or unpaid ministers. One has to do with Cyrus, king of
Persia, and the other with the motivation of the heart of the minister.
Also note that the sections of the New Testament that directly address
this issue are ignored. Paul clearly taught that a minister had the
right to pay in return for his work (1 Corinthians 9:1-14). Paul calls
it a "right" of the minister to reap material benefit from those who
receive spiritual leadership. It might be pointed out that the
leadership of the LDS Church in Salt Lake certainly do not live
unrewarded. How does this square with their teaching?
#7. The true church must baptize by immersion. Matthew 3:13-16.
We agree. Again, however, the LDS Church goes beyond what is written and
adds to this the ideas that 1) baptism is for remission of sins (when
Jesus was baptized, was it for remission of sins? We are forgiven of our
sins because of the blood of Christ, not the water of a baptistry, 1
Peter 1:18-21), and 2) that the only persons "authorized" to baptize are
those who hold the "Aaronic" priesthood. This error has already been
discussed in #5 above.
#8. The true church must bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying
on of hands. Acts 8:14-17.
Aside from the fact that it is Holy Spirit, not Holy Ghost, it must be
pointed out that again the LDS Church is ignoring the majority witness of
Scripture. Laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Spirit
occurs only three times in the New Testament: Acts 8:17 as a sign of
unity between the Jewish and Gentile believers, Acts 9:17 as an
identification of Saul, and Acts 19:6 where the baptism they had
undergone was not Christian baptism but the baptism of John. In the vast
majority of cases no mention is made of any special ceremony of laying on
of hands being necessary for the Holy Spirit to come upon someone.
Laying on of hands does show unity and support of an individual, and as
such there is nothing wrong with it. But the Scriptures teach that the
Holy Spirit comes into a person's life at the point of conversion (Romans
8:9, Acts 10:44-48), not at some secondary time later on. If this were
not so, then Romans 8:9 would be false, as it identifies the Holy Spirit
as that which makes a person Christ's. (see also Ephesians 1:10-14).
#9. The true church must practice divine healing. Mark 3:14-15.
One of the gifts of the Spirit is that of healing (1 Corinthians 12:28).
Of course, not all have this gift (v. 29). The actual operation of the
gift is seen to be a corollary to prayer, as the special gift of touching
someone was of apostolic authority, not present today. We have seen many
people healed through the power of prayer in the Christian church, as God
still is the great physician, and He still works miracles. However, to
claim to have God on a string, and have Him in your control so as to be
able to heal anyone, is not Biblical. Even the great apostle Paul had to
pray that a close friend would not die, as his gift was for particular
uses, not personal gain (Philippians 2:25-30, 2 Timothy 4:20).
#10. The true church must teach that God and Jesus Christ are separate
and distinct individuals. John 17:11 and John 20:17.
The true church must first teach that there is one true God. The number
of passages that teach this is astounding. Just for an example see
Deuteronomy 4:35, 39, 6:4, 32:39, 1 Chronicles 16:25-26, 2 Samuel 7:22 (1
Chron. 17:20), Psalm 86:10, Isaiah 43:10, 44:6-8, 44:24, 45:5-6, 46:9,
John 17:3, 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 and so on and so on. Mormonism teaches
that there are many, many Gods, while God denies any such thing (Isaiah
44:8). Hence, Mormonism is off track right from the start. This is the
most basic revelation of God, and when one misses it, nothing after that
will make any sense. It is true that the Father is not the Son nor is
the Son the Father. As far as the above statement reflects this, it is
true. However, the Mormon viewpoint is that the Father and Son are two
separate and distinct individuals, and hence two separate and distinct
gods! (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 370). This is
completely contradicted by the Bible, and is based upon the error of
polytheism. Mormons cannot understand the Christian doctrine of the
Trinity because they reject the Bible's teaching of monotheism (one God).
#11. The true church must teach that God and Jesus Christ have bodies of
flesh and bone. Luke 24:36-39 and Acts 1:9-11.
Here the Mormons take two references to the fact that Jesus Christ became
flesh (John 1:14) and infer from them that God the Father also has a body
of flesh and bone. What does God say about this? "You thought that I
was just like you; I will reprove you, and state the case in order before
your eyes" (Psalm 50:21, NASB). "...for I am God, and not man, the Holy
One in the midst of thee..." (Hosea 11:9). "God is not a man, that he
should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent." (Numbers
23:19). Instead, Jesus taught that God was spirit (John 4:24). God is
not limited to time and space as we are, but rather is eternal (Psalm
90:2), unchanging (Malachi 3:6), and omnipresent (Jeremiah 23:24, 2
Chronicles 6:18). What Mormons need to realize is that the gospel is not
that man can become God, but that God became a man.
#12. The officers must be called by God. Hebrews 5:4, Exodus 28:1,
As the Old Testament passages here quoted have little to do with the New
Testament Church, we will look at Hebrews 5:4 (which also has little to
do with the subject at hand, but its closer than the others!). First, we
agree that the leaders of the church should be called by God, and, in the
Christian church, they are. However, again the Latter-day Saints are
seen to be adding to what is written. The Mormons interpret this within
their framework of "priesthood authority," again leading to error. It
might be asked whether their Aaronic priests are called in the same way
as was Aaron? A quick look at Exodus chapter 29 and Leviticus chapter 8
will reveal that they certainly are not!
#13. The true church must claim revelation from God. Amos 3:7.
This position can only be maintained by ignoring what comes after Amos
3:7. Luke 16:16 says "The law and the prophets were until John; since
that time the kingdom of God is preached..." The New Testament presents
a very different picture. Jesus Christ, the final and complete
revelation of God (Hebrews 1:1-3) has made "further revelation" obsolete
and unnecessary. To claim to have such a "revelation" is to say that
Jesus really wasn't what and who He said He was, and who the Bible
describes Him as being. In actuality, it is the simple fact that
Mormonism's teachings cannot be supported from the Bible that drives the
leadership to find another source of authority. Everything that has ever
claimed to be "further revelation" has failed the test of Scripture,
including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of
#14. The true church must be a missionary church. Matthew 28:19-20.
We heartily agree at this point, and are forced to ask why it is that the
Mormon Church has thrived on taking people from other churches rather
than trailblazing into unknown areas, as the Christian church has done
for hundreds of years?
#15. The true church must be a restored church. Acts 3:19-20.
An examination of the text chosen to represent this claim will show just
how weak this argument is. Acts chapter 3 is not in any way discussing
the Church. This is seen in two ways. First, verse 21 says that the
"restitution of all things" was "spoken by the mouth of all his holy
prophets since the world began." As Paul points out in Colossians 1:25-
27, the mystery of the church was not made known to the past ages and
generations (see also 1 Peter 1:10-12), hence this certainly is not
talking about the church. Second, the prophets spoke of the restoration
of Israel to its own land, and the restoration of the theocracy under
David's Son. This is what Peter is discussing in Acts 3. Besides all of
this, we must ask when it was that Christ returned, as verse 19 says this
would happen at the "restitution of all things." As we pointed out, the
true church founded by Christ did not fail (see #2-4 above).
#16. The true church must practice baptism for the dead. 1 Corinthians
15-16 and 29.
The Christian church had never practiced baptism for the dead in the
sense that the LDS Church wants us to believe. They are forced to take 1
Corinthians 15:29 out of its context and force their own peculiar meaning
on it. First, the Bible does not teach that baptism saves anyone (even 1
Peter 3:21, upon close examination, does not do so), hence it certainly
would not be needed to "redeem the dead" as Mormons put it. 1
Corinthians 15:29 is found in the "resurrection chapter." The needed
clue to its meaning is found in the language in which it was originally
written, that being Greek. The word "for" is the Greek term huper. It
refers to the taking of someone's place, or to substitution. Baptism
"for" the dead is not baptism of a living person in behalf of or for the
benefit of a dead person, but rather the immersion of a living person in
the place of or into the former position of a now deceased person. It is
the baptism of a new convert who takes the place in the church of one who
has died. The baptism of a young child, for example, the day after an
elderly saint of the Lord has passed away could be viewed as the younger
person coming to "fill" the position of the person who has gone home to
be with the Lord. This vein of thinking is carried on in the context
when Paul says in the next verse, "Why are we also in danger every hour?"
(NASB). Being a Christian in those days was a dangerous business.
Paul's whole point in the entire passage has to do with the fact that if
the dead are not raised (v. 12) there is absolutely no point in bringing
new converts into this dangerous position through baptism when there is
no future life to promise them, no reward in the future for their
faithfulness. Why not just let everyone die off without filling their
positions in the church, since, if there is no resurrection, "we are of
all men most to be pitied" (v. 19). Belief in baptizing the living to
somehow help in saving the dead demonstrates a complete misunderstanding
of the New Testament teaching concerning the nature, extent, and purpose
#17. By their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:20.
Indeed, but that is not the only test we are given, thankfully. We know
people of many religions, and many of them are kind, decent, moral,
loving people. Does this mean that they are all right? Of course not.
At the same time, we know people of many different religions that are
mean, nasty, unloving, hateful, dishonest, etc. and etc. Does that mean
those religions are false? No, it doesn't. We know Mormons that fit in
both the above categories. Does this prove Mormonism true or false?
Neither. Instead, we are given other tests to utilize. The main one is,
what do you teach concerning Jesus Christ (e.g., Colossians 2:8-9)? The
Mormon Church teaches that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer (see,
for example, Ensign, June 1986, page 25). This is completely untrue, as
the Bible says Jesus created all things (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16-17),
which would include Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:13-15). Hence, how can the
Creator be the spirit-brother of his creation? Such is nonsense. The
fruit of this teaching is falsehood concerning the person of Jesus
Christ. Again, even using the test prescribed by the LDS Church, we find
This little card ends with, "Why are these things important?
HEBREWS 13:8." Yes, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and
forever. How different from the Mormon teaching that God was once a man
who evolved (or progressed) to Godhood! Much more important than this is
the dire warning of the Bible: "But though we, or an angel from heaven,
preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto
you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any
man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him
be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9). Those are serious words indeed, and
the LDS people would do well to heed them.
Alpha and Omega Ministries
P.O. Box 47041,
Phoenix, AZ 85068
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