Thursday, August 4, 2016

What Constitutes an Anti-Christ?

We were sitting in Sunday School last Sunday being instructed on Alma 30-31. I didn't make the comments I wanted to, so I thought I'd share them here.

There are many anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon and each had his own false teachings. But the one teaching I have found they all had in common was that there was no need for repentance. Korihor, for one, said that the idea of a remission of sins was "the effect of a frenzied mind" and "every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature," and "every man prospered according to his genius" and that "whatsoever a man did was no crime," hence no need for repentance, for Christ, for redemption.  This is why he was an anti-Christ. He wasn't just denying the existence of God (which is what was discussed in Sunday School), he was outspokenly denying the concept of sin and Christ as atoning for our sins if we repent, which I believe was the primary falsehood he wanted to spread.And it made him very popular.

Another thought was that the story about the Zoramites is to be applied to us, ourselves. I have found it very instructive to continually examine my heart and my motives to see if I am placing myself above others in any way. Or if I am forgetting God at any time. Or if I am taking glory upon myself instead of giving it all to God. Or if I am relying on managing myself or relying on others instead of relying solely on the Lord. Or if I am belittling my sins or excusing my weaknesses, denying the power of Christ's Atonement in regards to my sins and weaknesses in any way. The list goes on. The Spirit of the Lord sure lets me know where I am deficient here and there.

I am well aware that these kinds of ideas are unpopular in church today, at least where I am sitting. Maybe that is why I don't say much in church anymore. In a world like ours, where the very idea of being a sinner is played down in favor of  self-esteem and respecting all opinions and fear of estranging anybody and puffing up each other, in other words, praise of men (including ourselves), we've turned away from these terribly lovely truths and taken up with the likes of Korihor. We want our ears tickled and our egos boosted. We want to rely on other human beings and be seen of men, climbing social/church ladders rather than relying on the Lord. We'd rather hear the comfortable parts and leave out the disturbing parts of the gospel. Now, when somebody dares to speak the whole truth, it is resisted---even in Sunday School. As George Orwell wrote, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

I share these comments because the above essential points are not being taught, or not being emphasized. If they aren't prioritized they essentially aren't taught. If they aren't taught, people don't know them and live them. If people don't know and live and love the truth, they know and live and love something else, something not fully true if not completely false, something not of God, which makes it demonic. The devil works just that way. He makes anti-Christ ideas sound good and harmless and comfortable and wholesome. He tells people just what they want to hear. Don't forget that mixing up the philosophies of men with scripture is the work of the devil.

Anti-Christism has crept into every aspect of human society. Life is too painful and busy and difficult to worry about the whole gospel. Life is just about finding something distracting to do, friending everybody, and feeling good about yourself. Vaporous temporal platitudes about sentimental human relations are praised and clung to. Some, like the Zoramites, attach the Lord's name to this pablum. This worshiping and managing of the creature by the creature is what is deemed most important, popular, and acceptable. On the other hand, those who make known they actually believe in the fallen human condition, in sin, Christ, and repentance are revolutionaries, or haters, or at least stodgy, annoying, mean, and judgmental.

No wonder they crucified him.

-Janice Graham

1 comment:

Maddie S. said...

I have been thinking a lot about this kind of thing lately. People in the church want to create their own Christ and worship him instead of believing in the harsh and unyielding but beautiful truths of the gospel. Sometimes it's necessary to risk hurting someone's feelings and call them to repentance.