11 Golden Questions for Brassy Objectives
By Truman G. Madsen
The Master often faced questioners whose intent was to entangle Him in His own words, by returning a question. When, for example, they said, “Who gave thee this authority to do these things?” He replied: “The baptism of John was it from heaven, or of man? answer me.” They reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people (that they would anger the people who believed), so they said, “We cannot tell.” Jesus replied, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (See Mark 11:30-31)
This ended the discussion, spared Him vain dispute, and left them no ground for attack. But questions can also be used to begin a discussion. Leading to the heart of an issue, they can be so framed that regardless of one’s answer, he is awakened to the frailty of his own position.
When such questions are presented in the spirit of love, with the Spirit of the Lord, they are effective. But if you use them as battering rams you will fail. Remember. What you truly want is for people (your children, your friends, a neighbor who might be interested in the Church) to pray about their stumbling blocks. The answer or, better, the solution, to all “tough questions” is an earnest upward reach from the knees. When you can inspire in your friend a promise to “really pray about it” you are far along. Here, then, are queries that sometimes aid. We will call them “11 Golden Questions for Brassy Objections.”
1. My concern is to live a good life. I am against formal or organized religion.
Can you speak without using a language, or be taught without knowing one? Can you, then, be religious without expressing it in a particular way? (And how do you know your way is God’s way?)
2. In religion, sincerity is all that matters. If you live up to your religion, whatever it is, that is enough.
I religiously believe that sincerity is not enough. Does my sincerity make me right?
3. Men are saved by belief alone, by grace, not by works “lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9).
Did Jesus become our Redeemer by His belief and the grace of God alone? Or did he have to do something for us? (Incidentally, if God does not bless us for good works, should He condemn us for evil works, like, say “boasting?” Has there been any prophet or saint of whom God has not required more than belief? Point: We are saved by grace through works, Christ’s grace and works being our prime example.)
Would it convince you of the Church’s divine origin if a minority of its members were born into it? (The majority of the present membership of the Church were born in other religions. In the first generation, all of its members, and all of its leaders, were born and indoctrinated in other religions.)
5. There are as many ways to God as there are ways of solving a problem in arithmetic. We are all seeking the same thing. All roads lead to Rome.
There are different ways of adding. But is there more than one true sum? Does two plus two sometimes equal five? Are some circles really square? (The churches radically disagree both on means and ends.) Anciently all roads led to Rome. The same roads led away from Rome. Once there, whatever Caesar’s power, you could not enter the Imperial Palace without going up the steps and through the door, could you?
Today, again, all roads lead to Rome. There the Ecumenical Council (including authorities within the same churches) disagrees on every issue basic to Christianity. Could Christ solve all this simply by appearing before the Council? “Verily, verily I say unto you. Everything you say is true. My joy is full in your disagreement (except those who think I should have joy in your agreement). None of you are mistaken. I bless you for moving in all directions at once. All that you say about my nature, my will, my power, and my authority, and all the opposites, are correct. Your only mistake is meeting together to discuss these things as if the truth is one. Now dismiss the Council. My peace be with you.”
Is that the solution?
6. We need no more Bible. The Bible is enough. It is sufficient.
The Bible says, does it not, that knowing Christ is essential to salvation? Did Christ ever say that knowing the Bible is the same as knowing Him? (Both Christ and the Bible say clearly that knowing the past written word of God is not equal to knowing the present spoken word of God.)
7. God is a mystery. The finite cannot know the infinite. Man cannot comprehend God.
Has God revealed to you that God cannot reveal more of Himself? Then you depend on the word of others? Is it wise to study those who have failed to find Him, and ignore those who have claimed He has revealed Himself?
8. There are no grounds for accepting the Book of Mormon as the word of God since you don’t have the original plates.
Why do you and I accept the Bible as the word of God when we don’t have the original manuscripts?
9. Church-goers bother me. Too many hypocrites, too many people saying one thing and doing another.
Millions make a mockery of marriage, home and family. Does that lead you to prize your own less? Or more? Are we to refuse the banquet because others only pretend to swallow it?
10. I cannot believe that what a person eats or drinks is a religious matter. Tobacco, tea, coffee, etc. These are little things.
Do you think God is less concerned with the care of your body than your family doctor? These things are not important enough to bring you into the Lord’s Church. Are they, then, important enough to keep you out?
11. But the God I believe in won’t condemn a man whose heart is right and who does what he thinks is right.
God cannot justly condemn the ignorant. But can He justly save him until he knows the truth both in heart and head?