Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Ravi Zacharias at the Mormon Tabernacle!
I have just been watching the above video of a sermon that Ravi Zacharias preached at the Mormon Tabernacle a couple of years ago. He has made two big mistakes in his sermon. The first mistake he made was that he thought he could teach Mormons something without learning anything from them. The truth is that there is infinitely more that he could learn from them than he could ever teach them. If he had realized that, he would have been able to preach a more effective sermon. The second mistake he made was that he was more interested in winning the praises and approval of his fellow Evangelical friends and patrons than winning the praises of God. As Jesus repeatedly says in the New Testament, “they have their reward”—but it won’t be from God. For these reasons his sermon has been largely a failure. I can’t think of anything positive to say about it. I don’t intend to analyze his sermon in detail. I will just briefly comment on something that he said towards the end of his sermon. At 56:42 minutes into the video he says the following:
“I close with two simple illustrations: One of the greatest books ever written is that written by John Bunyan called Pilgrim’s Progress. If you have never read it, you have picked your own pockets. Read it! I think it is accurate to say outside the Bible it has been translated into more languages than any other language [sic] in the world.… Bunyan gives a beautiful climactic moment when pilgrim arrives to the hill where his bag is going to fall off … the burden. You see, he was looking for the celestial city, but he got a shock, you will never get to the celestial city without going through Calvary; you will never get to the celestial city without going to the cross. So the burden falls off, and here is what he says: I saw three shining ones; the angel of dawn, the angel of daybreak, and the angel of dusk. It is allegory. The angel of dawn says, “Thy sins be forgiven thee”. The angel of daybreak takes the new robe and the sandals, and puts it on him; and the angel of dusk gives him a scroll and a mark on the forehead, to move on towards the celestial city. The first, the spiritual; the second, the physical; the third is the scroll, the intellectual to guide him all the way to the celestial city. God is complete in what he gives you and me; forgives you, robes you, guides you, and takes you to the celestial city. What a brilliant allegorical description; the angel of dawn, the angel of daybreak, and the angel of dusk to guide you, to give you the wisdom, to lead you into his eternal presence.”
Well, I have got a bit of advice for him too. There is a book that is of infinitely greater value than Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. It is called the Book of Mormon. It is a book of scripture, revealed for out time. If he doesn’t take it seriously enough to read and study it very carefully indeed, and learn from it, he has more than “picked his own pocket”. He could rob himself of eternal salvation. If he wants to get to the “celestial city,” the Book of Mormon tells him how. Here is a quote (punctuation revised):
25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins.
26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come when all the saints shall dwell with God.
This is how the Book of Mormon says you can get to the “celestial city,” as he (or Bunyan) calls it. There is no other way. My advice to him is to bin John Bunyan’s book, and start reading the Book of Mormon.