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Mitt Romney Blindsided by 2000-Year-Old Religious Text

A letter written around 50 A.D. to a church in Asia Minor just now reached Mitt Romney. His response? You bigot!

Mitt Romney took to twitter on Sunday night to voice his opposition to Pastor Jeffress’ planned opening prayer for the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. Obviously, the opening ceremony is over and done with, but Romney still has to run for office. While the scenario is not relevant anymore, the substance of the twitter dispute still is.

Jeffress is a religious bigot according to Romney. Romney mentioned several examples to corroborate his claim. Jeffress defended himself in a tweet an hour later. Here is the exchange.

Romney:

   Robert Jeffress says “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,“ and “Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.” He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.

Jeffress:

  Historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone. The fact that I, along with tens of millions of evangelical Christians around the world, continue to espouse that belief, is neither bigoted nor newsworthy.

You can criticize Jeffress for his possible lack of tact and for his possible sycophantic relationship with Trump, but his theology is not wrong in this case.

Let’s look at each item that Romney brings up.

You can’t be saved by being a Jew:

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 3:9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.

Romans 3:21-24 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus

Romans 11:1 Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham.

Romans 11:5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Romans 11:11-12 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

Romans 11:28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs

To say that this is bigoted is just absurd. Paul was a Jew and he was busy writing that Jews and Gentiles alike can only be saved by faith in Christ. But Judaism is in a weird spot in the grand scheme of world religions. As the passage from John clearly states, all other religions lead to damnation, and while Judaism cannot save, God will save a remnant of Jews because of his covenant with the patriarchs. In Varughese’s Discovering the New Testament, the claim of antisemitism in the Gospel of Matthew is addressed. The Gospel of Matthew is very Jewish in substance and authorship. Scholars have suggested that the entire point of the Gospel of Matthew is to say that the correct way to be Jewish is to follow Jesus. Christianity itself is the fulfillment of Jewish law and faith in the promised messiah. Jeffress is not wrong to say that the old system cannot save. Paul says the law brings death!

Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell:

See John 14:6

Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

2nd Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Revelation 22:18-19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

Simply put, Mormonism is a different gospel. It adds to scripture. It denies the sufficiency of scripture. It denies the Trinity. It denies salvation by grace through faith alone. It asserts that Jesus was a created being. It denies creation ex nihilo. It teaches that humans can become gods through religious acts. This different gospel is also evident in the fact that Mormons want to convert Christians. Paul explicitly states that the gospel is fixed. Paul cannot change it. An angel from heaven cannot change it, which is precisely what Mormonism claims.

In this case, I would say that Jeffress is off the mark just a little bit. Mormonism is more than heresy. If something is heretical, it could at least still be classified under Christianity like the Emergent Church or the Prosperity Gospel (although both strain the definition from time to time). Mormonism is along the lines of Baha’i Faith.

Islam is a heresy from the pit of hell:

(NBC provided more context to this claim with a better explanation of what Jeffress said. According to NBC, Jeffress said Islam is a false religion with a false book from a false prophet and that if you sincerely follow Islam, you will go to hell)

There is no need to go into detail here other than to say that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, for the glory of God alone, as revealed by scripture alone. The conclusion drawn from that statement is clear.

The Bible is historically accurate, corroborated by archaeology, intensely proven, again and again, to be morally, theologically, and academically unimpeachable, and the people on this thread (Chris) denying that, denying it and repeating hackneyed lines and theories debunked a million times over, are blind and lost sheep.

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@Cholorob

I know everything will be OK, because I know that Jesus will return for His church and Satan will be defeated.

Whether or not Christianity needs to be toxic, depends on what you consider to be toxic. If you mean that we don't have to be mean spirited, then I agree with you. We are in fact commanded to be gentile, respectful, and loving when we speak the truth to people. (Ephesians 4:15, 1 Peter 3:15-16) But if you mean that we should change the truth of scripture to fit with the world, then I'm going to disagree with you vehemently. Disagreement with the world should be expected by anyone who calls them self a Christian. Jesus said that the world will hate us because it first hated Him and Paul said that the world will view the wisdom of God as foolish. (John 15:18-25 & 1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

Living a good life isn't a basic tenet of our faith, but rather a result of the Holy Spirit living in us and guiding us in following Christ faithfully. The basic tenets of the Christian Faith are that our sin separates us from God and that the sacrificial death of Jesus makes it possible for us to be brought back into God's family.

Also regarding friends vs. slaves, I think both are appropriate and correct descriptions of believers. While I don't think there'll be a lot of disagreement on anyone saying that we're friend of Christ, I want to point out that there are multiple instances in scripture where believers are referred to as slaves of God/Christ Moses is referred to as the servant/slave (same word in Greek, that is unfortunately often rendered both ways in the same translation causing confusion) of God and Paul refers to himself as a slave of Christ Jesus in his introduction to the Book of Romans. Paul also tells the Corinthian believers, "You are not your own, for you were bought at a price." (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a).

See Also:

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I'll also add that just because we're slaves of Christ doesn't mean that we're being violently and ruthlessly subjugated by him. As Jesus himself said,

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
-Matthew 11:28-30

He isn't a cruel master and is our friend, when he demands things of us that seem to be cruel to us, they are often the things that are actually for our benefit, in the same way that my son hated it and cried when he got shots at his 6 month check up on Monday, not knowing that the temporary pain was meant to keep him from greater pain later on in his life. Christ doesn't demand the impossible from us, He is slow to anger and quick to forgive us when we fail to live up to His standard of perfection, but in accepting His gift of salvation, we've placed ourselves into his service for the purpose of bringing as many people as possible with us out of the fire and into his Grace.

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Jake, and how does one get saved? Do you think it suffices to preach the Bible? That is the golden ticket? God judges us by our actions on this earth and what is in our heart. He doesn’t care if you can recite the New Testament backwards. In fact, I don’t think he cares if you even read it. I’m not looking to convert anybody to my line of thought but the rigidity of some fellow Christians that there can be only one way to worship or be a good Christian is simply wrong. Worse yet to think non-Christians are heretics destined to burn.

Why be a Christian? Because it provides a guiding light. I feel sorry for you filled with such venom towards those who think differently. I’ll pray for you to receive solace from your anger.

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Jake,
You seem to me to be like Saul, who in his eagerness to follow God, procured letters so that he could persecute the Christians even in other cities.

Mormon’s, as you refer to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, do not claim to have a different gospel. What is the word used? RESTORATION! They believe that the true faith, as delivered by the Savior to his Apostles and thru them to the world was lost and has been restored in its purity.
This was prophesied to occur, as can be seen by Acts 3: 19- 21 “ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

You say “Simply put, Mormonism is a different gospel. It adds to scripture. It denies the sufficiency of scripture. It denies the Trinity. It denies salvation by grace through faith alone. It asserts that Jesus was a created being. It denies creation ex nihilo. It teaches that humans can become gods through religious acts.”
”It denies the sufficiency of scripture.” – Not exactly sure what you are indicating here. The Church does teach “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” God is perfect, His Son is perfect, man is not.
“It denies the Trinity.” – This is a half-truth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has as its first article of faith “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” The Church does not adhere to the false doctrine of an unknowable God that is everywhere and nowhere. This non biblical (non-rational) creed was created centuries later. Rather, the Church teaches what the Bible does in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
“It denies salvation by grace through faith alone.” – This is utterly false. No man can work his way to Heaven. The Church teaches and absolutely believes Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
“It asserts that Jesus was a created being.” – False. Unless you are talking about Christ being physically created by God and Mary. The Church teaches and absolutely believes John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
“It denies creation ex nihilo.” – This is correct, Ex nihilo, meaning ‘out of nothing’, this is a non-biblical teaching that was added centuries later.
“ It teaches that humans can become gods through religious acts.” – It teaches what the bible teaches on this too, that we are the children of God. What does a puppy grow up to be? A dog. What does a child of God grow up to be?
Romans 8: 16-18 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

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I feel an absolutely vital need to re-post my comment from yesterday. It's so easy to get into a debate about how God behaves and which religion or denomination comes closest to understanding God's standpoint. The enemy loves when these debates go nowhere like this. Try backing up and looking at the reason for why we're in the crazy situation we find ourselves in. Needing to rectify the evil intent by fallen angels to destroy His creation of mankind (read Genesis 6) is behind everything God does. Throughout the whole Old Testament, God was working to wipe out the hybrid entities spawned by angel/human co-mingling (the Nephilim) before our DNA was corrupted beyond repair. Mankind was on the brink of annihilation because of that. Satan spent eons trying to corrupt human DNA in an attempt to "intercept" the redeemer he knew was coming. Read it again with that theme in mind and every page will come to life for you. God annihilated the Nephilim, before, during and after Goliath, so that his creation could continue on. That's also why it could only have been God Himself coming to earth as a man to sacrifice Himself for our redemption. THAT was the last thing Satan expected to be the plan. If Jesus wasn't God manifested as man, we are among all men most deceived. But He was, and that shows how much He loves each and every one of us, no matter what we believe
!

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If one believes there is nothing stronger than God's love, if one believes that God passionately wants all to be saved, and if one believes that God is sovereign, then it is not so far-fetched to believe in universal reconciliation. There are evangelical universalists out there who wholeheartedly embrace the power and the necessity of the cross of Christ in saving mankind.

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@Onlylivingboy Yes, it is. Christ is either a liar or the only way to salvation. The Gospel is expressly clear on that. On top of that, you add in all the other passages about the narrow gate, wheat and tares, being hated by the world. If everyone goes to heaven, every one of those passages is a lie.

@thewordgirl Most of the posts on here (with some exceptions regarding Mormonism) are discussing the fundamental ways of God and salvation. Nothing is more important than that. If that discussion were of Satan, then most of the Apostle Paul's writing would be pleasing to Satan. One of Paul's biggest messages was adherence to sound theology, which he either reinforces or corrects in almost every letter written. The Word of God was complete with the New Testament, but the need to preach sound doctrine never ends. Universalist ideas are a really efficient way for Satan to ensure everyone holds hands on their way to hell.

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One of the biggest errors I see is that people start from this idea that a person deserves heaven. Then only a mean, hateful, demanding God would send those people to hell. Scripture teaches the exact opposite. We all deserve hell. Left to our own devices, we will get our just reward. God gave his own Son to die for our sins, so that through his sacrifice, we might be saved. As several of you stated above, it is not hard to understand why many will go to hell, but why any would be saved.

It is a loving God that gives Himself to die for our sins, so that we can abide forever with Him. Man is totally depraved, born into sin and content to stay there without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

We are drowning in a sea of sin. Through faith, we accept God's life raft. Is it hate for him to allow those that reject that life raft to drown? No. It is love to offer it in the first place. If everyone entered heaven, then what would be the point? Would we want to be loved if people were forced to do so? So then why would God? Sure, He could make everyone, but that isn't how He choose to do it.

And who do I think I am to tell God what He should or shouldn't do? As He asked Job, were you there when I made the earth and everything in it?

@etbass. We are not suggesting Christ is a liar. You are putting words in our mouths.

Christians can be liars. Christians can be wrong just like any other person. You already agree that religious texts are not written by Jesus or God. They are written by Christians. When one puts absolute faith in Christian fundamentalist interpretations of religious texts and makes it "truth", then one IS PUTTING FAITH IN PEOPLE NOT IN GOD!

It is wrong for fundamentalists Muslims to do it and it is wrong for fundamentalist Christians as well. At least Muslims and Mormons claim that their specific texts are the direct word of God and not the interpretations of people generations after Christ died.

@Chris.shmo The problem with your arguments is that you're basing the ideas on "how can Christianity get the most people to like it?" Which as a pursuit has no value whatsoever. Having a billion people sitting in church who are going to hell and don't know it because their pastor refuses to teach them biblical truth is NOT progress. Jesus would often end a difficult teaching with "those who have ears, let him hear". The gospel is going to offend a lot of people. That's unfortunate, but it's also promised repeatedly as what will happen by Jesus himself. If a person doesn't want to adhere to Christianity, or doesn't believe it to be true, that's their personal prerogative. However, taking extraordinary clear scripture and twisting it to fit your feelings is sort of silly. Whatever God you choose to believe in, picking and choosing their principles as you see fit is astonishingly arrogant.

Chris: liberal theology assumes that christ is a liar. Not intentionally, but its disregard or its low view of scripture leads to that conclusion. If scripture is not the infalliable word of god, I have no reason to follow jesus becase he would be a liar.

We know a lot about the historicity of Paul’s letters. But “scholars” widely view much of the Old Testament and the gospels to be pseudonymous and possibly fabricated.

I don’t agree with liberal biblical criticism because it has too many errors, but that’s the prevailing “scholarly” view. And that view leads one to believe Christ is a liar because he cites the Old Testament. Why would he cite historical falsehoods? But why should we trust the authors of the gospels if it’s just man’s words?

@JonH

I am not basing an argument on getting people to like Christianity. Obviously fundamentalist Christianity is not and will never be likable. If one is a fundamentalist and one cares about people who do not believe the exact same then it is depressing and fearful. If one is not a fundamentalist then it just looks evil and coercive like a hostage situation and nobody wants to be a hostage. It is a real dark psychological mind game.

Also I am arguing that no one knows the truth about any of this supernatural stuff and that your beliefs are no more true then anyone else's beliefs and it is intolerant and bigoted. The Amish and other Christians think/have thought other Christians are going to Hell for using technology or for wearing two different kinds of cloths. Some think Christians with tattoos of Christ are going to Hell. Everyone has different interpretations of everything and all of it is has the same chance of being true. I have truth OCD!

I also am basing my argument that fundamentalist beliefs drives, even scares, people away from Christ. Maybe you don't know what it is like to be driven from Christ but I do and I know what brings me and others back and why new people convert in the free modern world and information age. It sure as heck isn't the damnation of ourselves, many we love, and 99% of humanity. Fundamentalists would rather feel Heavenly exclusive and separate from 99% of humanity, reinforce own beliefs, and preach to the choir then bring people to and keep people with Jesus. The more driven away from Christ, like me, the more special and exclusive they can be.

The Christian Amish think we are going to Hell for using tech and wearing two kinds of cloth and all that other stuff. We have no more reason to believe them as we do to believe any other fundamentalist dogma. In another generation people will view fundamentalists the same way we view the Amish and the Puritans today.

Fundamentalists quoting religious texts to non-fundamentalists is ineffective for obvious reasons. This is circular logic, reinforcing one's own beliefs, preaching to the choir, etc.

@etbass

Sure. A Christian Universalist would affirm that Jesus is the only way to salvation and would never say Christ is a liar. As for the narrow gate, in context Jesus is talking about right living and making right choices. So the way of righteousness is the narrow way that leads to a good life, whereas the way of making bad choices and living unrighteously leads to destruction. But the passage isn't necessarily talking about eternal destinations. And Jesus doesn't say that he himself is the narrow gate.

There are many verses that speak of all being reconciled or all being saved. Or of God saving the world. (like 1 Corinthians 15 "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." Christians typically put restrictions on these verses saying that the Bible only means those who believe. But a Christian Universalist would say that no, the Bible is being literal here and that ultimately, finally, all will be saved. Because it is God's will to reconcile the World to himself, and his Will can't be thwarted.

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There seems to be a lot of proof-texting as argument here. What has't appeared yet is that many are called but few are chosen.

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