May 7, 2015

“The Shack Up” – Part 1

by Lyndon Unger

The Shack

“The Shack Up”?  Is that the sequel to “The Shack”?

Not quite.

I’m talking about the idea of cohabitation before marriage.

I’m talking about “moving in” with your boyfriend/girlfriend before you actually get married.

I’m talking about the “try before you buy” idea.

Now, I’m not writing for non-Christians here (as if too many will end up here or care what I say), but rather those people who profess Christ and still think that “moving in together” is a legitimate option for professing Christians.  I’m addressing those men and women who attend a church and would call themselves “Christians”.  I’m addressing people out there who at least claim, at some level, to believe the Bible and follow Christ.

I’m also writing this to those of you that feel the cultural/financial/peer pressure to “move in” with your girlfriend/boyfriend and yet have some sort of silent alarm going off in the back of your head that makes you unsure, if even a little bit.  I write this for those of you who have searched for some wisdom but ended up at articles like this floundering mess or this facepalm or this absolute faceplant.

Soccer Faceplant

If you’re like me or grew up in church circles like I did, you’ve probably heard people at church say that “living together before you’re married is wrong” but when you asked for specifics all you got was “the Bible says” without an actual chapter and verse (or an answer with any substance at all).  You were probably told the same thing about the concept of “sex outside of marriage” but when you looked for the verse that says “sex outside of marriage is wrong” and you never found that one either.  You have probably looked in the Bible and recognized that adultery is mentioned, but that clearly didn’t seem to apply since you weren’t married!  You also saw that in Genesis 2:18-25 (and other places like Matthew 19:4-9) talk about how God has instituted marriage and ruled out divorce, but you’re reticent to leap “full bore” into this marriage stuff precisely because you’ve seen the pain of divorce up close and don’t want to get divorced!

If you’re like I was when I was younger, you’ve found yourself looking in the Bible, being confused, and eventually seriously wondering if there actually were any reasons why you should not move in with your current love interest.

I mean, it seems like an okay idea right?

It cuts the bills in half.

A whole lot of people are doing it, right?

You test drive a car before you buy it, right?  Is not a spouse more important than a car?

Maybe you’re wanting to take the “next step” in commitment and let him/her know that you’re serious about your relationship?

Maybe you’re thinking that marriage is just a piece of paper, right?  It doesn’t make you love someone more, so why jump through some arbitrary hoop, right?

Or maybe your folks got divorced (along with the folks of many of your friends) so the “institution” of marriage isn’t something you want to get stuck with before you know what you’re getting into?

Padded Room

And who’s kidding who?

You’re somewhat interested in SEX, right?

I’ve got really good news for you. The Bible gives you a framework for dealing with, and even answering, every one of those questions.  The Bible has answers even if the “spiritual leaders” in your life don’t seem to be able to find them.  I also grew up around a bunch of “spiritual leaders” that were actually fairly clueless about what the Bible said about this stuff, among many other things.  That’s probably why the youth groups (and the Bible College) that I was involved in were plagued with sexually-related problems.

Still, the same God who created the heavens and earth, who rescued Daniel from the lion’s den and resurrected Jesus from the dead is not silent on the issue.  He’s made his thoughts known to mankind.  Let’s take a look at the Bible on the topic, okay?  You might be surprised what God has to say…but first, we need a single foundation:

The Bible is actually the word of God

I’m not talking about some sort of esoteric “it’s a special book” kinda idea.

I mean that the Bible is actually a book where the ultimate source of the content is God himself.  The Bible is the “word of God” in the sense that he’s the ultimate author.  In that book, in a way that no other book can claim, we have the thoughts of God made known to us.  The Bible is quite actually what God has to say about things.  When the Bible speaks, God speaks.

If we have that one foundation, we can deal with the question of cohabitation before marriage.  All we need to figure out is what the Bible says about the issue.

Without that foundation all we have is a bunch of opinions by people who, regardless of how smart they are, are simply guessing.

Without that foundation we have no authoritative position on the subject, let alone issues of morality in general.

Without that foundation there’s no real reason to believe that anything matters, including doing good deeds.

Without that foundation, there’s no “good deeds”in the first place, except what society dictates…and who really cares what society wants, right?

Without that foundation there’s also no real reason to think that that there’s a life beyond this one, or that you’ll have to answer to anyone for what you do in this life.  You may as well run off and do whatever  you want and use any means to get it…

Cash Guns

…but the fact that you don’t absolutely betrays the fact that, somewhere in your heart, you know better.  God has made you with implicit knowledge of himself as well as good and evil (and passages like Romans 1:18-23 talk about this).  Even though that knowledge is fuzzy, it’s not gone.  Your inability to live as if nothing matters should inform you that, somewhere inside, you know that some things do matter.  Some things are morally right and other things are morally wrong and there is an objective standard by which those two things are differentiated.

If that standard is anything, it is probably related (rather closely) to God: the one who made everything (including all standards), right?

The reality of the matter is that what you do in this life matters to God and he has made his expectations of you clear.  Those expectations are revealed in the 66 books of the Bible.  The Bible is the actual revelation of the thoughts and words of God from the mind and mouth of God, unveiled to mankind.

The Bible is actually the God’s book

The apostle Paul addresses this idea rather strongly in 1 Corinthians 2:1-16.  Remembering that Paul was the guy that God personally selected for taking his message to the non-Jewish world (Acts 13:44-52 – Paul wasn’t just some chump), Paul addresses the church in the ancient Roman city of Corinth and in the second chapter of his first letter to them, Paul says,

– When he came to Corinth, he didn’t talk about God with “lofty speech or wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:1), meaning that he didn’t try to impress them with being wordy or trying to sound smart.  Rather, he proclaimed a simple message of Jesus Christ crucified (1 Cor. 2:2) and left the “convincing” up to God (1 Cor. 2:3-5).

– Paul then says that he still has a wise message, but not wise in the way that the unbelieving world would recognize (1 Cor. 2:6).  The wisdom of Paul’s message is a “hidden wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 2:7) that the unbelieving world didn’t understand because if they did, they would have never killed Jesus (1 Cor. 2:8-9).  In an effort to stop Jesus by killing him, the unbelieving world gave God exactly what he wanted.

– The wisdom of Paul’s message is revealed by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:10), and the Spirit of God is the only person who can ever know God’s secrets (1 Cor. 2:11).  Also, the Spirit of God is the only one who can ever reveal God’s secrets, and that Spirit is exactly who was given to Paul to reveal those secrets (1 Cor. 2:12), secrets that Paul then can pass on to people who are willing to listen to God’s message (1 Cor. 2:13).

– Those secrets revealed to Paul by the Spirit of God aren’t accessible or understandable to everyone, since the person without the Spirit of God in them (namely a non-Christian) cannot possibly understand them.  It takes the Spirit of God to not only reveal them but make sense of them (1 Cor. 2:14).

– That being said, when Paul speaks words from the Spirit of God he doesn’t let the unbelieving world judge him or his words and decide what makes sense since the man with the Spirit isn’t judged by the unbelieving world, nor can he be (1 Cor. 2:15).    The unbelieving world (meaning every non-Christian out there, added together) doesn’t know the secrets of God, nor can it tell God something that he doesn’t already know far better than they do…but the apostle Paul, who has the Spirit of God in him, has access to the very mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).  That “mind of Christ” is also what Paul reveals in his writings, and that mind of Christ that underlies the entire Bible is what gives the Bible its universal and unequivocal authority.

No other book comes close to the Bible with regards to truth or authority, for the simple reason that no other book claims to actually be written by God by means of people who were writing on behalf of, and empowered and guided by, the Spirit of God himself (see 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:16-21).  The book of Mormon doesn’t make that claim, and neither does the Qu’ran.  The Bhagavad Gita doesn’t.  The various writings of Buddhism sure don’t, and neither do all the writings of the lesser religions (Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Zoroastrians, etc.).  The Bible makes a big claim with lots of implications that will probably surface in the comments, but I’ll deal with some those implications there (though it’s not really the point of this post to address every challenge possible that skeptics will bring against the scripture).  Still, if you claim to be a Christian this shouldn’t be new information to you.  This should be stuff you’ve heard before, but I just wanted to restate it to lay a little proper foundation for examining what the Bible says about the issues related to “the shack up”.

When the Bible speaks, God speaks and it’s time to listen up.

God speaking

If we agree there, we can get some solid guidance on the issue of “the shack up”.

That’s exactly what we’re going to do in the next post.

We’ll look at what God says about the issue and then gain some clear direction.

Sound good?

Lyndon Unger

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Lyndon is a pastor/teacher who’s currently between ministry work and in the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Witness Protection program. If you think you saw him somewhere...you didn’t.
  • Jason Alligood

    Now waiting for hyper grace folks to tell you how legalistic you are and how Jesus experienced singleness in order for singles to shack up guilt free…

  • What a tease…

    • Lyndon Unger

      Who? Me? I’m under strict orders to not make my posts 4,000 word tirades that are unreadably long. I reserve those sorts of onslaughts for my own blog.

      • pearlbaker

        Any strict orders about choosing outdated photos of our fearless leader for your avatar? I just noticed. 🙂 Oh, those glasses and that tie! He is so much more handsome now at 75! And we could not love him more….

      • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

        I thought your avatar was John Daker! 😀

        • Lyndon Unger

          John Daker is too amazing to make into an avatar. I’m scared that if I did that, I’d melt the Cripplegate.

          • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

            Whep.

        • pearlbaker

          LOL!!

  • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

    My husband and I taught premarital classes for years and it was always so discouraging to see on the roster the number of couples living together. We would urge them to move apart or at least refrain until they were married. Only one couple took us up on refraining and allowed us to keep them accountable. By the end of the course they had committed their lives to Christ. More needs to be done to bring attention to this issue in the church. Thanks, Lyndon.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Man! That’s frustrating! I have encountered the proliferation of cohabitation myself, and I’ve been frustrated at the weak resources that are out there…hence I offer this (and tomorrow’s post).

  • Matthew

    I was ready to say, “well, this is a great post on the absolute authority of Scripture, but “where’s the beef?” Looking forward to the followup.

    • Lyndon Unger

      It will be up tomorrow. You won’t have to wait long!

  • Melissa

    I’m very bothered that my brother just bought a house with his girlfriend. He was baptized in a megachurch and attended a Bible study with me a few times some years ago. At the time I also attended the seeker-sensitive church and I’ve come to the point now where I believe I was a false convert. Seeing that my brother is not seeking to lead a holy life, it is clear that his conversion was most assuredly false as well. He no longer attends any church.

    The reason I decided to post a comment is because I am trying to process why this gets to me so much. At family gatherings there is a lot of talk about their new house–like how they are decorating it–and housewarming gifts have been purchased for them. There is talk of having a family gathering at their new house. Other family members have asked me if I have been out to see the new house.

    I am not excited about the new house. I feel offended by the new house because I feel like when people play house that it takes away from the value of marriage. I find it degrading. I don’t want to talk about the house or celebrate the house. I don’t want to bring my kids over to the house.

    I suppose I am being self-righteous. I don’t understand why this particular thing stirs up such strong emotion in me. I’d like to hear others’ thoughts, maybe even suggestions for how to deal with this. I get grouchy every time I think about it. I should feel love and compassion because the brother and the girlfriend are lost but my annoyance tends to take over instead. Has anyone else been here? How has God helped you?

    Mrs. Grouchypants 🙂

    • Jane McCrory Hildebrand

      Melissa, we have all had these strong emotions when people that we love step out in disobedience to God, especially if everyone else is on board with them. It can be like watching someone driving toward a cliff and everyone else just compliments them on their car.

      It seems however that your brother and his girlfriend have not truly come to faith (yet), so yes, you need to view them as lost. Treat them as anyone else in need of Christ’s love and show them the difference He makes in your life. Perhaps you could privately speak to your brother, asking him where he is in his faith, being gentle, inviting him back to church. Is it possible to invite his girlfriend to a women’s brunch or event at church? Who knows if she may one day come to Christ and lead your brother to faith? Give opportunities for God to move in their hearts and pray that He does. Perhaps a couples Bible might be a nice house-warming gift? 🙂

      • Melissa

        Thank you so much, Jane. Your response was very helpful! Melissa

  • pearlbaker

    Thank you Lyndon, praying you are feeling well.

    This issue is HUGE. And it creeps into so many areas that it boggles the mind. It is most commendable to appeal to the very people involved in this most ungodly decision to “live” together (aka fornicate) before taking the holy vows of matrimony. I am sure you will flesh out (no pun intended) in your next posts all the dangers and pitfalls of sin (death), and in particular sexual sin. I have deep concerns, as well, for all those who stand by and DON’T say anything about what their professed Christian sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and fellow congregants are doing. I am deeply concerned about the churches, many of them are of the mega-type where anonymity is the cover under which the sinner may hide, whose members KNOW (not suspect) that a couple is living together prior to marriage. I personally know of a church (not my own), in a town far from me, where this is happening and no one is saying anything. It is happening all the time everywhere and Bible believing Christians, sometimes the pastor or other leaders, are looking the other way. Who wants to tell another person how to live their lives? Well, I don’t, but I do have a responsibility toward my fellow professed believer to tell them what the Bible says, to gently expose their sin (speaking the truth in love) and to come along side them to help them toward conviction, contrition and repentance. The spotlight is on all of us who KNOW (not suspect) sin in our midst and fail to step up to the spiritual plate to help our brothers and sisters.

    • Lyndon Unger

      True words Pearl. Knowing with clarity that someone is living a life marked out by intentional/habitual sin and remaining silent is often thought of as the “loving” thing to do.

      It IS a loving thing…but a person does it out of love for self, not a love for God or neighbor.

      “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” – 1 John 3:16

      “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” – 1 John 5:2-3

  • tovlogos

    No Christian with conviction could disagree with you, Lyndon.

    “Without that foundation all we have is a bunch of opinions by people who, regardless of how smart they are, are simply guessing.
    Without that foundation we have no authoritative position on the subject, let alone issues of morality in general.”

    Successful Christian living always starts from the foundation. Recently someone told me that the divorce rate among Christians is approaching that of Non-Christians. I wasn’t surprised.
    I have met so many people who believe Jesus is the Messiah; and never read the Bible — they really don’t know that they are out of God’s will. The rationalizations of course are creative, even seem to make sense to a “rational thinker,” Thus:
    “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a disciple of Christ?” Romans 10:14. That’s the job of everyone on this site — Jason, Michael, Jane, you, me, etc., and around the world.

  • Peter Isaia

    I remember talking to a friend a year ago about how God had changed my life. I had only been saved for a month or two. She brought up the fact that I was still living with my girlfriend. I had been attending Grace Community Church for a few months and wanted to become a member. I reached out to Pastor Rich Gregory through email and met up with him for lunch. He gave me some Biblical advice and told me it was best to move out. He brought up “abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thess. 5:22 and how even though we were no longer fornicating, living together would ruin our testimony. I moved out of my girlfriend’s apartment a few weeks after meeting with my Pastor. It took me a few weeks because I had to get my stuff together and also visit a few friends in the area because I was moving about an hour away and I had no means of transportation. I moved back into my girlfriend’s apt. about a month after and she moved into her sister’s house so we could be closer together. We were about to get baptized at Grace Community and we were also planning our wedding. We’ve been married for about 10 months now and my wife is 38 weeks pregnant. We’ve seen the fruit of obedience from pregnancy, to me finding a job after almost a whole year of searching, and there’s many more others. Of course the greatest blessing of all is salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Thanks for writing about this, I hope I can encourage other young believers to do the same thing I did because I’ve seen the blessings that come out of obedience.

    • Melissa

      Wow, Peter, that brings tears to my eyes! Enjoy your sweet new baby! Your testimony of obedience is powerful! How wonderful that you get to attend that church. My sister lives in LA and I was like, “How awesome that you live 20 minutes from John MacArthur’s church!” She went once, must have heard a lady singing a hymn and ran out screaming in the other direction back to her seeker-sensitive church. In His timing. 🙂 Melissa

    • Lyndon Unger

      Good words Peter. Obedience is never easy, nor fun, but it is ultimately joyful.

  • Pingback: “The Shack Up” – Part 2 | The Cripplegate()

  • LaserWolf

    I might interject here that the Book of Mormon does claim “to actually be written by God by means of people who were writing on behalf of, and empowered and guided by, the Spirit of God himself.” A few of the books in the Bible, on the other hand, don’t make such a claim.

    • Lyndon Unger

      Do tell. Where does the Book of Mormon internally claim to be divine revelation “written by God by means of people who were writing on behalf of, and empowered and guided by, the Spirit of God himself”?

      I’d love to be straightened out on that point if I’m wrong. I know there are claims in Doctrines and Covenants, but I don’t believe there are any self-referential claims of inspiration in the book of Mormon itself.

      Also, internal and self-referential claims regarding inspiration as pertaining to each specific book within the entire corpus of Scripture aren’t necessary since specific prophets inscripturated prophecies regarding the entire corpus of “the writings”.

      • LaserWolf

        Certainly, happy to help:

        https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/10?lang=eng
        https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/4?lang=eng
        https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/morm/7?lang=eng
        3 Nephi chapters 11-28 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne?lang=eng
        In particular: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/23.7-13?lang=eng#6
        In general: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/search?lang=eng&query=%22thus+saith%22&testament=bofm

        Those are just a few I’ve search-engined up. Internally, those who have contributed to the Book of Mormon explain it as both a written record of their history as well as of the words of God to their people. I agree that this self-referential claim is important to a written work, but of course you have also pointed out that simply claiming such a thing does not automatically make it true. This leads to the next part of my response to your post:

        “internal and self-referential claims regarding inspiration as pertaining to each specific book within the entire corpus of Scripture aren’t necessary since specific prophets inscripturated prophecies regarding the entire corpus of “the writings”.”

        This is a very interesting point to bring up. Consider the fact that the Bible as we have it today is actually a collection of separate books (“biblia”). Back when each book was written, it was not considered an appendage to a single book.

        Consider, then, in Deuteronomy, the warning: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” ( http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/4-2.htm )

        Did the people who “added” Joshua, Judges, Proverbs, or the entire New Testament violate this commandment? Wait… What were they adding it to? To the book of Deuteronomy? Hardly. To the Bible? It didn’t exist as such back then.

        More likely, a group of men gathered at Nicaea one day to argue about which books were “scripture” and which weren’t. Books in the Apocrypha, for example, were considered scripture by many — and considered heresy by others. At what point did God have any input to that process? How do we know whether excluding the Apocrypha from the Bible was the right move, for example? How was it determined that the Song of Solomon needed to be included as a revelatory guide for doctrine?

        When Paul says to Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” was he referring to the Bible as we have it today? Or the books he had available at the time? Or when he says “all scripture,” could he possibly be referring to all things God had revealed or would later reveal, whether people knew about them or not?

        Thus, you’ve opened the can of worms consisting of the task of identifying which writings constitute “the entire corpus of ‘the writings.'” Who actually has the authority to say whether one book (Habakkuk, for example, or 3 Nephi) is or is not “written by God by means of people who were writing on behalf of, and empowered and guided by, the Spirit of God himself”?

        Better yet, and this is a good challenge to strengthen any Christian, “How do you know the books in the Bible contain words from God?” Is it just because it says so? Is it because you’ve found some scientific evidence that marginally supports some of the statements made? Or is it because you have asked God about such issues in prayer, and God has answered your prayers?

        I’ve met many people who have great reasons for believing in the Bible, and people who have horrible reasons. As a pastor, you would do well to encourage your flock to find the strongest reason: God answers prayers.

        • LaserWolf

          Holy heck, I’m sorry for the wall of text. I didn’t realize I actually had so much to say. I hope it’s not a pain to wade through it all.

        • Lyndon Unger

          Well, I’ve been gone for a few days and this thread has gotten active!

          This thread is going to shut down in 2 days, so I’ll be quick and pointed.

          Moroni 10 (assuming you were aiming at 10:4-5?) is not a claim to inspiration, but rather a claim about divine testimony in recognizing that the Book of Mormon is divine.

          Ether 4 (assuming you were aiming at 4:4-5?) again is not a claim to inspiration, but rather only recounts a divine command to write what was seen.

          Mormon 7 (assuming you were aiming at 7:8-9?) again is not a claim to inspiration, but rather only a claim that the “gospel of Christ” is in the Bible and also in the book of Mormon.

          3 Nephi 23:7-13 is not a claim to inspiration either, but only the “recounting” of how Jesus commanded Nephi to write other “other scriptures I would that ye should write.”

          I’m not going to try to even figure out what you were getting at in citing 17 chapters of 3 Nephi.

          And going through a search engine and typing in “thus saith” isn’t how Christians build doctrine.

          You might be used to dealing with ding dong Christians on Facebook where that sort of thing might be convincing, but this isn’t Facebook. All the contributing authors on here have significant graduate-level theological education and see through hollow verbiage.

          Claims about prophetic revelation aren’t claims of inscripturation; spoken prophecy is categorically different than written prophecy. Christians (who know what they’re talking about) don’t quote “thus saith the Lord” passages and consider that as proof for inspiration.

          2 Tim. 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21 are two key texts that explicitly deal with the nature of written, not spoken, revelation from God: the source, process of writing, and authority of scripture.

          As for the rest of your post, I was going to respond at length, but it ended up becoming a post in and of itself. I’ll toss it in the queque and I’ll put it on here in a few days.

  • Zachary

    By promoting the Book of Mormon, you are espousing a false gospel. The Bibles “lack of claims” is negated by the abundance of claims that only by grace, through faith in The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will you be saved. That sentiment can only be expressed through inspiration of The Holy Ghost. Repent and believe!

    • LaserWolf

      While I wasn’t actually promoting the Book of Mormon earlier, you’ve prompted me to do so at this point.

      “The Bibles “lack of claims” is negated by the abundance of claims that only by grace, through faith in The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will you be saved. That sentiment can only be expressed through inspiration of The Holy Ghost.”

      In other words, if a book says that the only way to be saved is by obtaining grace through faith in Jesus Christ, that proves the book to be inspired of God?

      You may be interested in knowing that the Book of Mormon also teaches the same principles of grace as found in the Bible. As I posted earlier, the gospel found in the Book of Mormon acts as a second witness of the gospel found in the Bible — they are the same principles. The only way promoting the Book of Mormon could be seen as espousing a false gospel would be if promoting the Bible were also seen as espousing a false gospel. Any reasonable basis by which a person believes the Bible can be applied to the Book of Mormon as well.

      Thank you for encouraging the attitude of repentance. It is a good reminder. I hope you also find peace and happiness through the power of repentance.

      • Zachary

        The Gospel needs no second witness. The Bible is complete. Mormonism absolutely has nothing to do with The Gospel, as it proclaims a false God or God’s rather, and a false understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

        • LaserWolf

          “The Gospel needs no second witness”? That’s very different from the way God has operated since Genesis. I am sure the Apostle Paul disagrees with that unfounded opinion. In fact, I challenge you to find anything in the Bible that says the Gospel needs no more than a single witness, or that God will never reveal scripture to mankind again.

          “The Bible is complete”? I would ask you, at what point did it become “complete?” When the writer of Deuteronomy declared, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it”? When the book collectors finally got rid of the Apocrypha? When the men in Nicaea finally convinced each other which books were acceptable? When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and gave us new insights about the changes made to books we already had? When God stopped working miracles and began giving us the silent treatment?

          “Mormonism absolutely has nothing to do with The Gospel, as it proclaims a false God or God’s rather, and a false understanding of who Jesus Christ is.”

          This claim can only be uttered seriously by a person who has no idea what is actually in the Book of Mormon. You will not be able to find a passage in it extolling any false god, or gods for that matter.

          If “a false understanding of who Jesus Christ is” could be gained despite the availability of some scripture, it would only be because of choosing to ignore that scripture, not by accepting it. Would you fully understand Jesus Christ without the Book of John? I mean, the other books give a good amount of detail, right? We don’t need another witness, right? The redundancy of the synoptic Gospels must be embarrassing to you.

          Your defensive reaction to this information is understandable; the Jews must have felt very much the same way when the Apostles added new scripture to their beloved Tanakh. The Apostles must also have been accused of worshiping a false god, the Jews (for example) citing scriptures about God’s use of the Mosaic Law and stating that a god who doesn’t require circumcision is different from the one the Apostles worshiped.

          In light of this, I must ask you: Under what circumstances does God expect people to believe that something new has been revealed?

          • Zachary

            Mormonism does proclaim a false god as evidenced in your reference to Nephi 29:8-9. YOUR god says his “work is not finished”. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob proclaims “It is finished”..John 19:30, Genesis 2:1, Hebrews 4:3-11. Please my friend, I am begging you, repent of the heresy of mormonism. God’s work is finished, enter into His rest!!! You also claim that God needs a second witness, really? Hebrews 6:9-20… God’s Holy scriptures where completed when John penned Revelations. If the Gospel is revealed perfectly in the Holy Bible, and it is, why the need for another, a book that makes contradictory claims to the nature of His person, and finished works?

          • LaserWolf

            Wait a minute. Was God’s work finished in Genesis, or in the book of John? In either case, how do you justify the continued writing of scripture after Jesus’ supposed pronouncement of the cessation of revelation?

            And, how can you tell that the “it” Jesus was referring to was specifically His work among humanity? Do you really believe that He does not answer prayers? Or that miracles have ceased? Or that anyone who will ever be saved is already saved? If such is the case, why even bother with spiritual truths at all?

          • Zachary

            “why bother with spiritual truths at all?” Because we love you!!! So whose god do you believe? The One whose work is finished, compelling us to enter into His rest, or the ones who say that their work is not done and your salvation is earned?
            2 CORINTHIANS 11:12-15

          • LaserWolf

            So, you’re saying that salvation cannot be granted based on the actions of the person who is to be saved?

          • Zachary

            The only actions that can save, are the actions of Jesus Christ. His finished work on the cross, and the power of His resurrection. Romans 4:13-24… As to the rest of your questions which really lack in importance compared to understanding The Gospel, the scriptures contained within the Holy Bible are entirely sufficient. Please search them, and cast away the Book of Mormon. We love you. May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

  • 4Commencefiring4

    I mentioned this under Part 2, but I reiterate here: The reason (I believe) that, as christians, we condemn the practice of “cohabitation” is because we assume it’s little more than two randy people who are only semi-serious (or are serious for now, but may not be in a few years) about becoming a life-long couple and who just want the fun without the family commitment. And so we nix it as merely lust and rebellion against God.

    And, while I don’t advocate it and didn’t practice it myself (having had a formal wedding), I’m not sure there’s a case to be made that two people cannot, in God’s sight, decide they are going to form a new family and proceed to establish themselves as a real household, present themselves to everyone as husband and wife, and go about living no differently than those who paid for a minister to say “You may kiss the bride.”

    Jesus condemned those who paid lip service to God, but whose heart was far from Him, so I wonder: Is it more acceptable, more “christian”, to go through a formal ceremony before establishing a new family, and then divorcing later when someone “better” appears; or staying together until death, but having had no formalities at the start? Which, in other words, is the better “marriage” in God’s eyes?

    In western culture (and beyond), we expect weddings with cakes and flowers and ministers and Bach processionals and tossing of the bouquet. But common law marriages–wherein a couple takes up with each other and presents themselves as a married couple by their actions and intents–are just as legal.

    Are they just as moral–especially if they work long term?

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