“Ye shall know the Truth Ministry”

2 Nephi 25:23

Anti-Mormon Folly
Based on False Statements Made by the So-Called

Mormon Research Ministry’s
Abraham Shafovaloff

Bill McKeever
Copyright © 29012 – Ye Shall Know the Truth Ministries To Anti-Mormons

Father – teach them the truth

2 Nephi 25:23 & Anti-Mormon Folly
By Ronnie Bray

I have visited MRM's webpage addressing 2 Nephi 25:23 and find them like old geysers, blowing lots of steam, spray, and spume out of their blowhole in no particular direction. Their difficulties, all of their own making are linked to the phrase ‘after all we can do.’ The following is the root of their difficulty. When anyone undertakes to pin down a precise and unequivocal interpretation to that phrase by means of a single activity or to a series of activities linked together they are, in my opinion, stepping outside the remit of the passage. Let us look at the verse in question: For we labour 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 grace1 that we are saved, after all we can do.2 Aaron Shafovaloff, speaking for the MRM opines: “2 Nephi 25:23 is a key text by which Mormons identify and distinguish their view of grace, repentance, works, and merit. It has consistently functioned in Mormonism as a text speaking of the prerequisite conditions for receiving forgiveness, eternal life, and exaltation, although some neo1

Ps. 130:4 (3–4); Rom. 3:20 (20–24); 7:5; 2 Ne. 2:5 (4–10); Mosiah 13:32; Alma 42:14 (12–16); D&C 20:30; 138:4. 2 James 2:24 (14–26)

orthodox Mormon revisionists are attempting to recast it as being about receiving grace in spite of all the conditions that we can't fulfil.” Unless Mr Shafovaloff is open to allow Mormons to determine how that verse has functioned for them he will have to abandon his pretence of knowing how Mormons read and view it, and what contribution it makes to their understanding of what God requires of the faithful as preconditions for salvation and whether it is a key text for them, or not. If we adopt Shafovaloff’s obvious view that God imposes no prerequisites to candidates for salvation, then we have to abandon the scriptures in favour of the writings of minimalist theologians whose philosophies of Christianity have suffered from too wide an attention to a narrowing and diminishing number of biblical verses at the expense of many more verses that directly controvert their conclusions. The challenge before us and them, that is before Latter-day Saints and Anti-Mormon Christian minimalists, is whether we accept that the Bible is a guide to faith, and that what Jesus and the prophets say have any binding power on the beliefs of those that claim to be disciples of Jesus, to whether the passages within the Holy Bible are no more than optional suggestions that may be laid aside if they get in the way of someone’s pet theological position. Mr Shafovaloff continues:

“From General Conference talks that reference this verse, we glean that “all we can do” means “our own merits”, “all we can do to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right our wrongs”, “[exert] every ounce of energy”, “[t]rue and complete repentance”, “repent to fully pay our part of the debt”, “giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance”, and “maximum effort”. I can see him stamping his little feet, quite breathless at his ‘gleanings.’ He continues, “According to LDS authorities [Which and When?] and church-published literature [Which and Where?], these conditions are necessary prerequisites “to receive the fullness of the Lord's grace and be made worthy to dwell with him”, “to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation”, to “go into the celestial kingdom”, to have “the Saviour’s magnificent Atonement [pay] the rest of [our] debt”, to have God “take away our stain”, and “to get God to take [sins] away from our hearts”. The gentleman has now met himself coming back. For if he argues, and he does argue most forcibly, that this verse is interpreted by Latter-day Saint authorities to mean that a Mormon must earn his or her salvation by their continuous and untiring actions, that he lists as: 1. 2. 3. [Earning salvation by dint of] our own merits, all we can do to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right our wrongs [exerting] every ounce of energy

4. 5. 6. 7.

True and complete repentance, Repenting to fully pay our part of the debt of sin we owe to God Giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance, And putting forth maximum effort,

Then I condemn his conclusions as false, crass, and deliberately misleading. It is hardly surprising, considering the gentleman’s background that he fails to find anything in Mormonism that argues against his extremism and distortion. It is, however, wholly surprising that he seems unaware of any requirements imposed on Christians by Jesus Christ, his prophets, and apostles that resembles the spirit of 2 Nephi 25:23 within the boards of his Holy Bible. I presume he has a Bible. Let us take Shafovaloff’s objections one by one and correct his misinterpretations by shedding the light of truth on Mormon belief. 1. [Earning salvation by dint of] our own merits

Do Mormons believe that salvation is dependent on their own efforts, and is something that they must either earn of do without? Of course they do, not, and neither does Jesus. How then does Mr Shafovaloff insist that a person is saved by doing nothing more than resting on divine Grace?

Is he aware that when the crowd assembled on the day of Pentecost asked the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do? Peter did not say, “You don’t have to do one single thing. All you have to do now is to sit back and take it easy and God will do the rest for you through Jesus.” Instead of granting them a ‘do-nothing’ licence, Peter said: “Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” “What!” gasps Mr Shafovaloff, eagerly thumbing through his pristine Bible to find where this verse was hidden. “He told them do DO something?” [Acts 2:37-38] Here was a crowd of about three thousand men of Israel, convicted by Peter’s preaching that Jesus was the Christ, their Messiah, and recognising their mistakes about Jesus, they were cut to their hearts and needed with all their beings to make themselves right before God. Hence their appeal to the Apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we DO?” Peter and the other Apostles knew the answer to their question, and without hesitating to consult with the minimalist theologians that were, even then, troubling the

fledgling Church of Jesus Christ, he spoke with authority and told them what Jesus had divinely directed him and his companions to say with the commission and power given to him at his ordination, under the hands of the Saviour of the world: “Repent and be baptised, every one of you. And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost Bill McKeever, a confederate of Shafovaloff on MRM, itemises the folly of believing what is written in Acts by listing it as ‘a new and peculiar heretical teaching of Alexander Campbell, and one that was not any part of Historical Christianity.’ Campbellites are heretics, McKeever writes, because of their: “Dependence on Acts 2:38 for the sequence of saving actions, which include faith, repentance, baptism, forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and appropriate good works to demonstrate persevering to the end, upon which eternal life can be assured.” Little wonder that my spellchecker wanted to change McKeever into ‘Makeover!’ because McKeever castigates Christians that rely on the sacred scriptures and the words of Jesus Christ and of the apostles of Jesus Christ, and arrogantly tags them as heretical beliefs. To Bible believing Christians, and that includes Mormons, it is evident that the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ directed

and approved of their actions and we note that it is the LORD that added to the Church those that would be saved. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this untoward generation.’ Then they that gladly received his word were baptised: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” This fascinating series of events were driven by the Risen Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost at the Feast of Pentecost! What MRM sees as an imposition, is actually the word of God to those that would be Christians that the LORD would save. We ought not to be surprised – although we are! – that those that represent themselves as ‘ministers’ would turn their back on the divine word, on the Apostles, and on the activities of the Holy Spirit of God, and turn their hands to other distortions besides criticising and finding fault with Historical Christianity. Dare I suggest that these gentlemen are underemployed and stuck for something important to say, and so they fit the mopuld of those against whom the Bible gives us warning when it tells us that, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” [Acts 20:30]. This day is this scripture fulfilled in thy sight by Shafovaloff and McKeever. It is unavoidable that we recognise that those that ‘should be saved,’ were engaged in a series of activities recognised as appropriate and essential for other Christians to imitate.

These are listed by Saint Luke as: 1. 2. 3.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Repentance Baptism by Immersion for the Remission of sins Receipt of the gift of the Holy Ghost by the imposition of the hands of the Apostles They were also instructed to ‘Save [themselves] from this untoward generation,’ a further demand that they become positive actors in their own salvation after fulfilling the first fours Apostolic requirements of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost, including: Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine Enjoying Christian fellowship Breaking bread together in communal meals Prayers – ‘the Christian’s native breath’ And all that believed were together Having all things common Selling their surplus possessions and goods Giving charitable gifts to all men according to need. Continuing daily with one accord in the temple breaking bread from house to house eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart Praising God Having favour with all the people. Being added to the church of God because they would be saved.

Of this event John Wesley wrote:

“So their [early Christians] daily Church communion consisted in these four particulars: 1. Hearing the word; 2. Having all things common; 3. Receiving the Lord's Supper; 4. Prayer. “Ye diff'rent sects, who all declare, Lo here is Christ, and Christ is there; Your stronger proofs divinely give, And show me where the Christians live!”
[John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on Acts 2]

Obviously they are not found within the confines of the Mormon Research ‘Ministry’ We should not doubt that primitive Anti-Christians accused Early Christians of being a weird cult that followed a charismatic leader, and were transformed from what they had been, faithful Jews, into something novel: for so they were! But that into which they were changed was that which was commanded by God and Jesus Christ. Shafovaloff and McKeever would have you believe that God and Jesus are absolutely wrong or else they are misunderstood. To the Law and Testimony! The call to discipleship extended to all by Jesus and his representatives to all mankind is not a call to idleness.

Christianity is no pipe dream, no pathological affectation of the mind, but a faith that required all of a man or woman that there was to them. Jesus gave more than broad hints when he preached his Gospel of Salvation, and he did not say, “Just leave everything to me. You sit back and enjoy yourselves, Watch the parade go by and I’ll take care of you when the time comes!” That kind of religiose minimalist nonsensical theology has nothing to do with God or Jesus. What, exactly, did Jesus say he expected from Christians. Those that preach that all Jesus said about our eternal salvation was “Only believe and do nothing else!” “Confess me as your LORD and then you can go to sleep!” Jesus gave a stark warning. Matthew 7:21-23: Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ [the Confession of Jesus as LORD] shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Paul agreed: "It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." Romans 2:13 Jesus commends almsgiving, marking that which is done in the right spirit as leading to a reward from God. Matthew 6.1-4: Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Jesus did not forbid Christians to give alms. He encouraged almsgiving when it was done in the proper spirit. In 1 Peter 1:3-6, the head of the College of Apostles gives a call to action redolent of those given by the master.

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind [ACTION!], be sober [ACTION!], and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ [ACTION!]; as obedient children [ACTION!], not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [ACTION!]; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Here, Christians are directed to imitate Almighty God. Of course, Peter, one of the most human of the apostles, knew that perfection in toto was impossible in this life. Nonetheless he directs Christians to strive to become perfect, just as Jesus did in Matthew 5:39, when he charged Christians, “Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Is this an example of a commandment that cannot be kept? Does Almighty God make commandments knowing that frail humanity cannot keep them, or is it merely divine torment as the Olympian gods employed to sport with humanity for amusement? If that is what these Minimalist Anti-Mormon gentlemen believe, do they also believe that Saint Paul is in on the joke and that he directly and deliberately set out to mislead Christians when he wrote,

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [withstand] it”? [1 Corinthians 10:13] ~~~ 2. ‘all we can do’ [means that Mormons believe we have] to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right our wrongs. Oops! Not even a complete idiot could make that mistake, and being a professional Anti-Mormon is no excuse for building a straw man out of fog and mist. I suppose that makes it a ‘fog and mist man!’ Mormons accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Redeemer, and are conscious of the fact that someone that has no debt for a Redeemer to settle has no need of a Redeemer. ~~~ 3. [exerting] every ounce of energy

Latter-day Saints are the first to acknowledge that even if it were possible to outlive the superhuman effort it would take to constantly exert ‘every ounce of energy’ in worshipping and serving God, no human being could do enough to save him or herself.

This is acknowledged by Latter-day Saints in a key scripture from the second chapter of Mosiah in Book of Mormon: 20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another— 21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. Being an unprofitable servant means that no matter what we do we could not extricate ourselves from the debt we owe to the LORD for his gift of eternal life. There is not sense of having to pay the ‘uttermost farthing,’ or ‘right all our personal wrongs.’ If we could do that, then we would have no need for a Saviour. I have yet to meet a Mormon that believes they can save themselves except by the Grace of God and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In gratitude for these gifts, Mormons worship God and do all they can to be obedient to the LORD Jesus Christ. That Shafovaloff and McKeever find cause for derision at our doing so speaks

volumes about their characters. Nevertheless, nothing they can invent will ever beat the truth. The fate of the ‘unprofitable servant’ in the parable of the talents is said by Jesus to be consignment, “ … into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 25:30] The title, ‘unprofitable servant,’ is identified in the parable and in the outstanding commentary, ‘Barnes' Notes on the Bible,’ thus: ============== “The spiritual meaning of the parable may be thus summed up: 1. The servants of God are not all endowed with equal gifts and talents. 2. All, whatever may be their ability, are bound to employ their talents in promoting his honour, and in a proper improvement of them. 3. By employing their talents in a proper manner, they improve and strengthen them. 4. They will be judged according to the improvements which they have made.

5. All sinners look on God as a hard master, and as unreasonable and tyrannical. 6. People will be judged not merely for "doing wrong, but for neglecting to do right." 7. If the servant who kept the talent entire without injuring it, and who returned it to his master as he received it, was nevertheless judged, condemned, and cast away, what must they expect who abuse their talents, destroy by drunkenness and lust the noble faculties conferred on them, and squander the property that might be employed in advancing the interests of morals and religion! ============== Clearly, the Reverend Dr Barnes is at odds with MRM’s Anti-Mormon Ministry in its understanding of the Sacred Scripture, to which, they allege, they look to establish what they must do to be saved. Shall we follow the noble Bible scholar whose life was spent teaching Christians how to be better Christians. Or shall we follow Shafovaloff and McKeever into the ditch? ~~~ 4. True and complete repentance,

What is ‘true and complete repentance’? Is it that course which, when followed assiduously leads a person out of his sins and enables him or her to stand purified and righteous

before God? The use of the word ‘true’ is an identifier that someone is using dishonest thinking. Either repentance is ‘true’ or else it is not repentance. When Jesus calls his people to repentance, as he frequently does, does he call them to ‘true’ repentance or to an inferior, sub-standard imitation of repentance? Is a repentance that is not complete really repentance? Should Latter-day Saints and other Christians try to use a non-genuine, moth-eaten repentance that is an attempt to pull a fast one on Jesus? That suggestion from the Brothers Grim is reminiscent of the pagan Omar Khayyam’s ‘Rubaiyat’ in which he excuses his insincere contrition: Indeed, repentance oft before I swore. But, was I sober when I swore? And by and by comes Spring with rose in hand And my threadbare penitence apieces tore! The words of Christ concerning repentance ring in the ears of Christians that are not seeking for paltry excuses to do nothing after they have come to Christ. We look at a few examples. If we find that they are given to us by an Insincere Saviour who does not mean what he says, then we will be right to ignore them and follow Shafovaloff and McKeever. Otherwise, we should trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy with Jesus than to trust

and obey. That hymn has been sung by Christians for more than a century. Hymn No. 467. Trust and Obey Text: John H. Sammis, 1846-1919 Music: Daniel B. Towner, 1850-1919 1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way! While we do his good will, he abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Refrain: Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 2. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil he doth richly repay; not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross, but is blest if we trust and obey. (Refrain) 3. But we never can prove the delights of his love until all on the altar we lay;

for the favour he shows, for the joy he bestows, are for them who will trust and obey. (Refrain) 4. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at his feet, or we'll walk by his side in the way; what he says we will do, where he sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey. (Refrain)
Latter-day Saints join in wholeheartedly with Mr Sammis, and believe Jesus when he said it takes more than calling on the name of the Lord to be saved: Jesus told us it also took obedience to the ‘will of the Father.’ “Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [Matthew 7:]

One of the things Jesus said was the will of his Father for Christians is that they should repent. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. [Revelation 2:5]

“I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.” .[Revelation 2:21] "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!".[Mark 1:15] “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” [Matthew 3:2] “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. [Revelation 3:3] “Repent therefore! Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” [Revelation 2:16] So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. .[ Mark 6:12].. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. [Acts 17:30]. //bible.cc/acts/17-30.htm - 16k Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out [Acts 3:19] Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Acts 8:22

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you .shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [Acts 2:38] From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near ... Matthew 4:17 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." [Luke 13:5] Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. [Revelation 3:19] Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:6 [They] cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. They did not repent of their deeds. [Revelation 16:11] Who will argue against repentance before and after becoming a Christian when Jesus speaks so often and so fittingly of repentance as a principle that all full-hearted Christians must obey? Will you follow Jesus, or will you follow false teachers? ~~~


Repenting to fully pay our part of the debt of sin we owe to God

Again crooked thinking invites us to believe that a debt that is not paid ‘fully’ is paid. Crafty use of semantic traps are the hallmark of the dishonest. God does not require ‘full’ payment. 6. Giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance, And putting forth maximum effort.


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