A new book by Eric Johnson
To be released on September 13, 2022 by Harvest House Publishers
Preorder the book at one of these online retailers:
“Introducing Christianity to Mormons is a unique book. Eric has studied and taught Christian beliefs for years, and so he captures the heart of core doctrines with clarity. And yet he has spent his life studying the LDS Church and engaging Mormons, so he presents Christian beliefs in a respectful and understandable fashion. This is the first book I will now recommend for those with an LDS background that want to understand Christian teachings.”
Sean McDowell, Ph.D., Biola University professor
Coauthor of Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Than a Carpenter
For more endorsements, click here.
Read the first 700 words of the book by clicking here.
What if your Mormon friend misunderstands what biblical Christianity is all about?
Too often members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS)—unofficially known as Mormons—have made inaccurate assumptions about what Bible-believing Christians believe. For example, when told that God provides justification (salvation) by grace through faith and not by works (Eph. 2:8-9), some have mistakenly understood this to mean that Christians believe they have a free pass to willfully sin, thus minimizing the need for good works. While this is certainly not what the Bible teaches or what was meant to be conveyed, this lack of communication has caused many Mormons to not seriously consider accurate biblical doctrine.
Over the past few years, many Mormons have left their church for a variety of reasons. When they walk away, where do they go? One survey shows that close to half join the growing ranks of atheists, agnostics, and believers in nothing at all. Only 10 percent end up becoming evangelical Christians. Could it be that many reject Christianity because they don’t know how/where to get answers to their legitimate questions? These include:
- Is the Bible to be trusted? (Or do the “errors” and “contradictions” make it not untrustworthy?)
- Does God really exist? (If so, how can He be found?)
- Does Jesus love me? (Is He who He claimed to be?)
- How can I determine what is spiritually true? (And how can I know for sure?)
If you are a Christian, you need to be prepared to explain the hope provided to you as revealed in the biblical Gospel (1 Pet. 3:15). This means becoming equipped to explain basic teachings in an accurate manner while acknowledging the language barrier that can cause great confusion, as the same theological terms (such as God, scripture, and Jesus) will be misunderstood unless precise definitions are provided.
To equip every believer for this important task, Introducing Christianity to Mormons overviews essential doctrines and described them in ways that can be understood by someone with an LDS background. Each chapter provides a real-life witnessing scenario to help make the information accessible. By grasping these important concepts, the case for Christianity can be presented with confidence. This book is also meant to be read by those who want to learn what Christians believe. The goal, then, is to present a clear case for why Christianity ought to be considered by all seekers after truth.
Eric Johnson gave his life to Jesus Christ in 1972. He has ministered at Mormonism Research Ministry (MRM) since 1989, graduating with a journalism/marketing degree from San Diego State University in 1985 and receiving an M.Div. degree from Bethel Seminary San Diego in 1991. After teaching high school (Bible), college (English), and seminary (post-graduate) classes in Southern California for 17 years, Eric and his family came to Utah in 2010 to work full-time with MRM. He has authored or coauthored five other books. Eric is married to Terri and they live near Salt Lake City, Utah with their golden retriever Copper.
(Click the live links to visit the web page for that particular chapter)
Foreword by Micah Wilder (Adam’s Road) ….. page 9
- Summary: A look at the purpose of this book, dealing with:
- Are Mormons Christian?
- If the (LDS) Church Isn’t True, Then Nothing Else Is?
- Presenting the Case for Christianity to Mormons
- Background on Eric Johnson
According to Mormonism, the Bible is true only “as far as it is translated correctly.” If this claim means that ancient scribes intentionally corrupted the biblical text, then the word “translated” is not the correct term. Rather, “transmitted” would be more accurate. While there are no original texts of any Old Testament books, a by-chance archaeological discovery in 1947 led to the uncovering of 11 caves containing hundreds of documents called the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition, archaeological work undertaken in biblical lands supports the idea that the people, places, and events described in the Bible are historical, not mythological. All in all, the Bible has been properly transmitted and should be considered God’s special revelation to help believers understand correct doctrine and behavior.
There are abundant copies of ancient manuscripts containing the New Testament, including more than 5,000 written in Greek. This is better evidence than for any other ancient text, including works by Homer and Caesar. A popular skeptic says that there are more variants than there are words in the entire New Testament. Regardless of how these variants are counted, no essential doctrines are affected. Meanwhile, it has been shown that modern Bible translators are honest in their work, especially when certain problematic passages are considered. Just having a good translation is not enough, as the reader must understand the words according to what the original author meant, not what the reader interprets them to mean. Finally, some skeptics like to introduce “contradictions” to show the unreliability of the Bible, but these difficulties generally can be explained when the context is taken into consideration.
An atheist is someone who believes that a higher power does not exist while an agnostic is not sure. Unfortunately, many who leave Mormonism become skeptics and abandon their faith in God. Too often, those who have reject God do not feel compelled to produce evidence supporting their view, even though their belief cannot be proven. While many will resist, skeptics ought to be willing to provide reasonable explanations for why they believe the way they do—just as they expect Christians to do. When the evidence is considered, belief in God is more sensible than not believing at all. If nothing else, the nonbeliever should be willing to do further research to see where the evidence leads.
According to the Bible, some of God’s attributes are unique to Him while other characteristics can belong to humans as well. When biblical passages ascribe animal/human characteristics to God, it must be understood that the writers sometimes used symbolic language to make it easier to comprehend the Almighty. As far as His origination, the Bible denies that God was once a sinful human or has a body of flesh and bone. Instead, He existed as God before all things and will remain as the only God throughout eternity. Among His many attributes, God is both just and holy. As far as God’s justice is concerned, humans are unable to enter the presence of the all-holy God unless, somehow, their sins are forgiven. Those who die with unforgiven sin will be separated from God throughout eternity in hell.
Most religions have reserved a special place for Jesus, whether He is considered a prophet, guru, or Messiah. Since divergent views contradict Jesus as He really is, careful consideration must be made. First, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor that Jesus lived on this earth. While never abandoning His deity, Jesus humbled Himself and became a man who ended up experiencing grief, physical pain, and even a tortuous death on a cross. This atoning act provided forgiveness of sins for those who believe in Him. Every person must decide what to do with Jesus: Is He Lord, Liar, Legend, or Lunatic? Even for those who do not call Him “Lord” in this world, there will be a day of reckoning.
Instead of being a distant deity, God involves Himself in the affairs of humanity. Because God is all-powerful, it is possible for him to break natural law and do anything He wills. Unlike a magician’s sleight of hand, then, miracles are real and meant to glorify God. If miracles can happen, then it is possible for a dead man to raise Himself from the dead. Indeed, the evidence shows that the man Jesus died an excruciating death on the cross, as prophesied in the Old Testament, and then rose again from the dead. While a variety of theories have been created to account for what happened to the body of Jesus, none are plausible besides the miraculous resurrection account detailed in the Bible.
The Trinity is an essential doctrine in the historic Christian church. Unfortunately, many people who object have an improper understanding of what it says. Simply put, the Trinity describes one God as revealed in three Persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three Persons are not only one in purpose but also one in essence, as each is fully God. The biblical evidence to support this important teaching provides clarity. Undoubtedly, any rejection of the Trinity is a rejection of God Himself.
Christianity is all about the complete forgiveness of sins, which the Bible says is available only through faith alone in the work accomplished by Jesus on the cross. This is a different concept than having to perform certain works/duties for eternal life. A person’s efforts are not enough to pay any portion of sin’s debt. While adherents of other religions ask what must be done for the forgiveness of sins, the Christian asks, “What did God do for me?” And that makes all the difference in the world.
Sanctification is the continual process in a believer’s life to die to sin and live in righteousness. The Holy Spirit plays an important role in both justification and sanctification. For one, a saved individual has been baptized in the Spirit through saving faith. Those who have the Holy Spirit are commanded to be “filled with the Spirit” and display the “fruit of the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit also provides spiritual gifts so Christians can be equipped to serve. The two ordinances practiced by Christians are baptism in water and participating in communion with the local church body.
Being a Christian is not a passive experience. Instead, it is an active passion. To grow as a Christian, dedication to spiritual disciples is required. For one, finding a healthy Christian church is vital. This allows the Christian individual (collectively called the “body of Christ”) to encourage and equip each other. In addition, believers need to take personal responsibility for their faith by reading and studying the Bible while following its teachings. A consistent prayer life is also important because it is the Christian’s lifeline to God. All in all, living God’s way will lead to a life of fulfillment and joy.
Appendix 1: Glossary ….. Page 243
A variety of theological and historical terms are used throughout this book. This glossary offers concise definitions of unique words. When the term is used differently by Christians and Mormons, both definitions are given. Italicized words in the definitions are defined elsewhere in this glossary.
Scripture Index ….. Page 253
Topical Index ….. Page 261
Notes ….. Page 265