I often ponder the chapter of when I’m finished with the Marines. What will it look like when my time with the Austin Stone comes to an end? What happens at the end of this road called residency? As I grow in my musical capabilities, my pastoral character, and my theology – what will it look like for me as I’m sent out beyond Austin?
I’d like to share with you something I believe the Lord has been intensifying over the past year and a half. My prayer is that God would begin to seal potential ministry in the state of Utah.
Why Utah? I’ve never even been there, nor even considered it a state to visit – so why go?
The answer is so simple – Utahns need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is an incredible need of the Gospel in the state of Utah. Now I know what you’re thinking – “Utah is filled with Mormons!” – which is exactly the reason why I desire to go. Some of my favorite people to engage with are Latter Day Saints. In fact, apart from some of my brothers and sisters in the faith- Mormons are perhaps the sweetest, kindest, and most genuine people that I’ve ever had the opportunity of talking to. I love Mormons.
However, Mormons are -by Biblical conviction- a hell-bound people and I don’t want them to be.
Now, I have no family or friends that are LDS except for a buddy in the Marines (ironically). So why?
It started with two Elder Missionaries by the names of Elder Day & Elder Harriott coming into my home and hearing their discourse regarding “the Gospel.” Unfortunately, this gospel was no gospel at all. What I heard was two Galatians (Galatians 1) sharing another false gospel. It was a presentation of claims that the Church of Jesus Christ needed to be restored from apostasy. However, the Bible teaches that Jesus already said that the gates of hell would not prevail against it! (Matthew 16:18).
In a nut shell, Mormons are not another denomination, but rather a clear “180” of Biblical Christianity. If you were to ask them ‘how to be saved’ they would say “believe unto Christ and be baptized” – which is certainly true. However, once baptized into the ‘church,’ you’re expected to complete ordinances and then by grace you will be saved after all you can do (2 Nephi 25:23 – Book of Mormon). Any Christ-exalting believer should conclude this to be a works based religion. 2 Nephi 25:23 doesn’t line up with Ephesians 2:8-9. Furthermore, if you were to ask them if it’s possible to be near to our Heavenly Father without acknowledging Joseph Smith as a true prophet – most would say no if they can’t avoid the question all together.
Our answer as Christians to the above should be a resounding LUKE 14:6.
Beyond that, historical Mormonism as taught by their previous “prophets” make fairly outlandish claims. These include; we are all literal offspring of Elohim (Hebrew name of God), Jesus being the brother of Lucifer, polygamy being ordained by God, you can become a god if you reach exaltation one day, lord over your own cosmos, and baptizing on behalf of people already dead.
Now I’m not writing this to highlight LDS theology, but rather to show you that these people are image-bearers that will receive nothing from our Savior except the response in Matthew 7:22-23.
Ministry in Utah:
I don’t know whether the Lord will seal my calling there or not. As a worship resident focused on development as a worship pastor, it may look really different for me after residency, or it may not. But until then I suffer the ‘pains of childbirth’ as Paul says in Galatians 4 to see Christ formed in them! In fact, whenever I think of LDS, I think of them as the Galatians of this present day. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” cries Apostle Paul (Galatians 3:1).
The Galatians believed in a twisted gospel of Christ crucified plus the Jewish custom of circumcision (Galatians 2:15-21). So too, the Latter Day Saints believe in this ancient Galatian lie, Christ crucified plus the ordnances of the “church.”
I pray that the Lord God would call me to join the brothers in Utah one day. To fight for image bearers lost in a Christ-less religion. To see the true and only Jesus Christ infect every Utahn.
Side by side,