Email from D.L. Barksdale, co-founder of FAIR, Part 1 - 10/04/2004
** CM NOTE: This emailer later identified himself as Darryl Barksdale, one of the founders of FAIR (an LDS apologetics organization). According to Scott Gordon, current president of FAIR, Mr. Barksdale has not been associated with FAIR since 2000, and no longer speaks on their behalf.**
I'm curious where God gave you, by name, specifically, the authority to act on behalf of all of Christianity?
Could you point me to a Bible chapter and verse, please?
Thanks in advance!
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Hi Anonymous. Thanks for writing to us. From your email address, I'm guessing you are LDS. First, before I specifically answer your specific question, let me say that Joseph Smith fired the first shot, so to speak. He founded Mormonism on the pretense that Christianity was apostate (or false), and that all Christian creeds were an abomination to God. Bible-believing Christians must therefore defend ourselves against such attacks, and we have. Your email address also infers that you consider yourself a Mormon apologist. The same question could be posed to you? Where (chapter and verse) did Mormonism give you the authority to speak on her behalf? Where did Mormonism give web-based ministries such as FAIRLDS.org the authority to speak on her behalf?
With that said, let's go to some Bible verses. First of all, Jesus gave His followers the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to spread the gospel. His disciples engaged eagerly in that work. Yet some began to introduce false and heretical teachings. Paul had to counter that frequently. In Galatians 1:6-9, Paul told the Galatian church, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by 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 him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" Notice the past tense on "preached." The true gospel had already been given. Yet some people tried to change that, to introduce teachings (through "revelation" perhaps) that were not true. Paul countered those for the sake of the truth of the gospel. Paul had the same problem with those in Corinth. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 says, "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." Here again, we find people introducing new teachings that are false. It was very distressing. Later in verses 13-15 Paul says of these false teachers, "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." Heresy isn't something for only Paul to fight. Jude told us in verse 3, "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." This verse is near the top of our main page, and is the source for the name of our ministry.
So, in short, the Bible tells us of the nature of God. The Bible tells us the gospel. The Bible tells us there will be false prophets and false teachers that try to subvert the true gospel, and will introduce new gospels. The Bible tells us to contend for the faith with such people. Joseph Smith was a false prophet who introduced a false gospel and subverted the teachings of the true gospel. He introduced new and destructive heresies. Well, polytheism isn't exactly new, but he repackaged it. We get our authority from the Bible -- God's Word. Thanks to God's help, we have seen many people abandoning heresy and false gospels and coming to the true Jesus as presented in His gospel. Personally, I don't really care who gave you or FAIR or FARMS the authority to speak on behalf of a false prophet, but I asked those questions to point out the hypocrisy and double-standard built in to your question. I hope we have answered it to your satisfaction.
Ben and Jennifer Rast