MORMONISM, CAMPBELLISM AND DECISIONISM -
HOW ARE THEY ALIKE?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Evening, April 17, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24).


These are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. In this passage of Scripture He foretold "false Christs and false prophets." Does this apply to Mormonism? Yes, it most certainly does. It applies to any religion that presents "false Christs and false prophets."

I. First, Mormonism teaches a false Christ and a false god.

A short study of Mormonism reveals that they present one of the "false Christs" spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:24. The Jesus Christ of the Bible is not the same "Jesus Christ" of Mormonism. The Mormon church teaches that Adam is God and that Jesus was his son by natural generation. In other words, the Mormon church teaches that Adam (whom they claim is God) had a physical relationship with Mary - and Jesus was their son.

The Christian Bible says no such thing! The New Testament never once tells us that Adam was God. Ridiculous! Adam was driven away from God by his original sin of rebellion. And Jesus Christ was not the Son of Adam. He was born of a virgin through the Holy Spirit, not through any "Adam-god." Please turn to Luke 1:35. Let's stand and read it aloud.

"And the angel answered and said unto her [Mary], The Holy Ghost [the Holy Spirit] shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).

You may be seated. Luke 1:35 proves that Jesus was generated in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, not by relations with any "Adam-god." Therefore, the Jesus spoken of in Mormonism is not the same Jesus as the one spoken of in the Bible. Simple. Easy to understand. The Jesus of Mormonism is one of the "false Christs" predicted by the Saviour in Matthew 24:24. This also shows that the Mormons believe in a false god. Brigham Young, one of the founders of Mormonism, said,

When our father Adam came to the Garden of Eden, he came with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken - HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom we have to do (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, page 50).

Again, Brigham Young said, "God revealed unto me - that Adam is our father and our God" (Deseret News, June 18, 1873, p. 308). Thus, this founder of Mormonism taught that Adam was the god and father of our Lord Jesus Christ. But that is wrong. The Bible teaches that Adam was a created being (Genesis 2:7). Adam was created by the real God (Genesis 1:27). Adam was certainly not God - but only a fallen sinner (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 5:12, 19). Thus, Mormonism not only teaches a false Christ, but also a false god. Adam is not my God! Jesus Christ was not born from the physical union of Adam and the Virgin Mary! Jesus said,

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24).

II. Second, Mormonism does not consider the Bible
to be God's final revelation.

Mormonism has added to the Bible the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Book of Mormon. Mormonism has added these books to the Bible, as "further revelation." This is similar to Islam, which adds the Koran to the Bible, as "further revelation."

Dr. John R. Rice gave the following description of how the Book of Mormon was written:

Joseph Smith was supposed to have had a vision; an angel, Moroni, had revealed to him where some golden plates were hidden; he was given some spectacles [reading glasses] enabling him to miraculously read these golden plates and to translate them into what is now the Book of Mormon!...He pretended that he had been selected to receive a revelation from God; that some golden plates were found giving the story of how some Israelites having a new supposed revelation of God came to America before Columbus. He said that an angel revealed to him these golden plates upon which the story was written in "reformed Egyptian" language. Actuallyhe got the story from the manuscript of a novel which he largely copied (John R. Rice, D.D., Some Serious, Popular False Doctrines Answered From the Scriptures, Sword of the Lord, 1970, pp. 367-368).

What are we to say to Muslims when they tell us that an "angel" gave the Koran to Mohammed as "further revelation," to explain the Bible? What are we to say when Mormons tell us the same basic idea, that an "angel" gave Joseph Smith "new revelation" through the Book of Mormon? Dr. John R. Rice gave the following answer:

The claim of the Mormon church to be a restoration of New Testament Christianity is utterly false. There are many evidences of this. The Book of Mormon is itself a proof of the falsity of their claimThe Bible clearly and expressly teaches that the canon of Scripture closed with the book of Revelation. So any religion which has any source of teaching which is regarded as a revelation from God like the Bible or equal to the Bible, therefore brands itself as a false religionAny religion is a false religion, a false cult, which claims any basis of authority besides the Bible itself. So Mormonism brands itself as false (ibid., pp. 368-369).

Please turn in your Bible to Revelation 22:18. Let us stand and read this verse aloud.

"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18).

You may be seated. Dr. Rice said, "In Revelation 22:18, we are plainly warned that there should be no added revelation of God to the present canon of Scripture" (ibid., page 368). The canon of Scripture closed forever with the book of Revelation. God plainly told us that no one should "add unto these things" in the Bible (Revelation 22:18). Horrible judgment is pronounced in that verse on those who add anything to the Bible. Islam adds the Koran. Mormonism adds the Book of Mormon. But true Christians never add anything to the Bible, which is our only source of revelation.

III. Third, Mormonism teaches that salvation depends on man's decisions.

As the nineteenth century unfolded, many people turned away from the Biblical teachings of salvation by grace. This was particularly true in America. Three distinct movements arose, which denied that salvation is by grace alone. All three of these movements claimed that they were "restoring" Christianity to its original teachings. The first of these so-called "restoration" movements was Campbellism, which taught salvation through baptism. The second of these "restoration" movements was Finney's "Decisionism" which taught that man could be saved by making "a decision for Christ." The third "restoration" movement was Mormonism, which, in its view of salvation (soteriology), is very much the same as "Decisionism" and Campbellism.

Satan used a three-pronged pitchfork to kill evangelical revival and destroy much of living Christianity in our nation. Thousands of people were ensnared in the false notion of "baptismal regeneration" presented by the Campbellites. The very foundation of Protestant and Baptist religion was "pitchforked" by Satan through Finney's "Decisionism." And thousands more were ensnared by Mormonism. All three of these movements claimed that they were "restoring" Christianity. But, in fact, they were destroying it. The Campbellites and Decisionists were more orthodox than the Mormons on the Scriptures and the Trinity, but all three groups denied the total depravity of man and the monergistic nature of salvation. The Campbellites broke from the Baptists in 1830. Joseph Smith had his first vision in 1820. Charles G. Finney, the main promoter of Decisionism, began his attack on Biblical Christianity in 1821. Thus, all three of these movements began in the same ten-year period, and were led by men of the "Transcendentalist Generation." Like Thoreau, they were intensely interested in transcendental religion, and rejected the orthodoxy of the Reformation and the historic Baptist and Protestant creeds and theology.  The same man who helped Alexander Campbell form the essential doctrines of Campbellism defected to Mormonism and helped Joseph Smith form the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  His name was Sidney Rigdon (cf. William  H. Witsitt, Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism, unpublished manuscript, 1908 click here to read it).

The main points on which these three seemingly different groups agreed were

(1)  Man is not totally depraved.

(2) Salvation does not depend solely on the work of God (synergism).

The rejection of the Scriptural position that man is totally depraved can be seen in this quotation from the Book of Mormon:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that you would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things be true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:4, emphasis mine).

This verse is central in Mormon "evangelism." The person who is led by the "Holy Ghost," according to Mormonism, will receive an experience which authenticates the Book of Mormon.

But notice how Moroni 10:4 rejects the Biblical doctrine of total depravity. It says, "if ye shall ask with a sincere heart." How can a totally depraved human being "ask with a sincere heart"? Please turn in your Bible to Jeremiah 17:9. Let us stand and read this verse aloud.

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

You may be seated. So much for Mormonism's "sincere heart"! There is no such thing as a "sincere heart" in any lost human being!

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).

Now turn to the words of Christ in Matthew 15:19. Let us read this verse aloud.

"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies"
    (Matthew 15:19).

So much for Mormonism's "sincere heart." There is no such thing as a "sincere" heart in any unregenerated person! That is why a lost human being cannot find the true Christ by any form of religion, speculation, or experience. Again, look at the words of Christ in John 6:44. Let us read this verse aloud.

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44).

No one can find Christ without being drawn to Him by God. No one has a "sincere heart." Thus, the only way any human being can find Christ is by the work of God, in drawing him to Christ. Baptism, religious ritual, even prayer, are all human works. None of these things that human beings do can help them in the slightest to find Christ.

Now turn to Titus 3:5 in the New Testament. Stand and read this verse aloud.

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost"
    (Titus 3:5).

You may be seated. The Mormon church "demands baptism for salvation, and good works for salvation. It knows nothing about the new birth" said Dr. John R. Rice (ibid., p. 369). This is also true of Campbellism and Finney's Decisionism.

To be saved, you must realize that you are a ruined sinner, incapable of pleasing God. You must throw yourself on the mercy of Jesus and be washed clean from your sins by His precious Blood. The Bible says,

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
    (I John 1:7).

It says "all sin." All of your sins must be cleansed by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ. There is no other way to be saved.


(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I Peter 1:18-21.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"Amazing Grace" (by John Newton, 1725-1807)/
"Give Me That Old-Time Religion" (Traditional Spiritual).



THE OUTLINE OF

MORMONISM, CAMPBELLISM AND DECISIONISM -
HOW ARE THEY ALIKE?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24).

I.   Mormonism teaches a false Christ and a false god, Luke 1:35;
cf. Genesis 2:7; 1:27; 3:16-19; Romans 5:12, 19.

II.  Mormonism does not consider the Bible to be God's final revelation,
Revelation 22:18.

III. Mormonism teaches that salvation depends on man's decisions,
Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19; John 6:44; Titus 3:5; I John 1:7.