Joel Osteen is wrong, period. Why is that every time Joel Osteen is asked how he handles a topic of sin, he ALWAYS states it is not his place to “judge”, no one is asking him to judge, as all Christians know only God the Father is to judge, but as true children of God; Christians, we are to “correct” our misinformed brethren, but we are also to do so with Grace! I am so blessed to have a wonderful educated Pastor who is not afraid to stand up and preach the gospel, and correct those whom need to be corrected. I am always greatful for correction.
How to Witness to Mormons
There are at least two approaches to use in witnessing to Mormons. We can either debate the doctrines of Mormonism (baptism for the dead, “burning” in the bosom, Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, the validity of the Book of Mormon, the Trinity, “God was once a man,” “protective” underwear, etc.), or we can present the gospel biblically. One creates an atmosphere of contention and often leaves the Christian feeling frustrated, while the other creates an atmosphere of concern for the eternal welfare of the Mormon. Our goal should be to win a soul to Christ rather than merely win a doctrinal argument.
One point of frustration for the Christian is that Mormons often agree when they hear words such as “salvation,” or Jesus as “Savior.” The problem is that their understanding of the words differs from the biblical revelation of the words. “Salvation” for a Mormon can mean the salvation of all humanity—when the “Savior” will eventually raise everyone from the dead. Rather than speak of “going to heaven,” the Christian should ask what the Mormon has to do to be at peace with the “heavenly Father.” This is language they can understand, and will reveal the basis for their salvation. Are they trusting in self-righteousness, or solely in the righteousness of Christ?
Mark J. Cares writes: “Although Mormons commonly appear self-assured and self-righteous, many are undergoing great stress. This is because Mormonism holds up perfection as an attainable goal. The one Bible passage the Mormon church constantly holds up before its membership is Matthew 5:48: ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ They then expound on it with numerous exhortations to strive for perfection. Spencer W. Kimball, for example, wrote: ‘Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal’ (Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
“This emphasis on perfection permeates every aspect of a Mormon’s life. Its most common form is the unending demand on them to be ‘worthy.’ Every privilege in Mormonism is conditioned on a person’s worthiness. Kimball wrote: ‘All blessings are conditional. I know of none that are not’ (Remember Me, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
“Christians need to recognize that this constant striving for perfection—and the resultant stress it produces—offers an excellent opening to talk to Mormons about Jesus and the imputed perfection we receive through Him.
“Reinforce their predicament. Average hard-working Mormons view this striving for perfection as a heavy but manageable burden. They can cultivate illusions of perfection because the Mormon church has greatly watered down the concept of sin. Consequently, the Christian witness needs to show Mormons both the severity of their predicament and the impossibility of their becoming perfect. In other words, they need to have a face-to-face confrontation with the stern message of God’s Law, because ‘through the Law we become conscious of sin’ (Romans 3:21).
“The Law must first convince Mormons of the severity of their predicament. The best way to accomplish this is to tell them, lovingly but firmly, that they are going to ‘outer darkness.’ (Outer darkness is the closest concept in Mormonism to an eternal hell.) Most Mormons have never been told this, nor have they ever considered that possibility for themselves, since Mormonism teaches that nearly everyone will enter one of Mormonism’s three kingdoms of heaven. Therefore, until you introduce the thought of eternal suffering, they will not feel any real urgency to take your witness to heart. On the contrary, most, if they are willing to talk at all, will view any religious conversation as nothing more than an interesting intellectual discussion.
“Christians often hesitate to be this blunt. They feel that if anything will turn Mormons off, telling them that they are going to outer darkness surely will. I shared that fear when I began using this approach. To my amazement, however, rejection wasn’t the reaction I received. Most have been shocked, but they were also eager to know why I would say such a thing. The key is to speak this truth with love, in such a way that our concern for their souls is readily apparent.
“Alerting Mormons to the very real danger of their going to outer darkness opens the door to telling them the basis for that judgment —which is, they are not meeting God’s requirement for living with Him (they are not presently perfect). The key to explaining this is the present imperative, be perfect, in Matthew 5:48.” See Luke 18:20 footnote for how to go through the Law, and 1 Corinthians 15:58 footnote on how not to be discouraged in witnessing.