QUESTIONS ABOUT CALLED TO BE FREE
What does the video Called to be Free and the Worldwide Church of God have to do with Mormonism?
While there are certainly some fundamental differences between Mormonism and the former teachings of the Worldwide Church of God, there are also some striking similarities. But the fundamental problem--a twisting of the nature of God, Jesus Christ, and a distortion (or rejection) of the gospel of grace--salvation through faith in Him alone--is what lies at the heart of the deception of Mormonism (and many other cults, e.g., Jehovah's Witnesses.) We believe that the story of the Worldwide Church of God is extremely relevant for ministry to Mormons. The presentation of the Gospel contained within the story is a powerful testimony that will speak directly to the false teachings and point to the truth--and present good news and hope to anyone caught in deception.
How is this video relevant for outreach to Mormons?
We believe that it can be an effective tool on a number of different levels, including (but not limited to) the following:
1. It deals thoroughly with the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and how that doctrine can be undermined by cultic teachings such as Mormonism. This serves to encourage the Christian viewer, and shore up his or her understanding of the importance of that doctrine, both for protection against cultic teachings and as a means to reach out to those in cults.
2. It presents the simple essence of the Gospel message in a way that is meaningful to people who have been caught in cultic teachings such as Mormonism.
3. It serves as a portrait of hope for moving beyond the trauma of the discovery of the falsehood of one’s belief system.
Do you really believe that what happened with the Worldwide Church of God will happen with Mormonism?
We did not create the video to somehow suggest that what happened with the WCG is happening or will happen with the LDS Church. Could God do that? Of course, He can do anything. But we don’t presume to make that prediction. Despite similarities, there are some significant differences between The Worldwide Church of God and Mormonism. First, the Worldwide Church of God did not make cosmetic changes based on popular opinion or public relations. They made it based on truth, and they were hard, devastating, and catastrophic changes. Mormonism, on the other hand, is trying to make cosmetic changes to seem more palatable to traditional Christianity; but they have not changed their doctrines or their teachings, they have only obscured them. Would we like to see a genuine transformation happen in Mormonism? Certainly, but what we truly want to see is a genuine transformation in Mormons, one heart at a time, as they turn to the true Jesus Christ.
All we can say is that we believe God led us to this story and to make this video. But we made it as a ministry tool, a means of communicating the Gospel in a way that would challenge and yet make sense to a Mormon viewer. We made the video specifically for ministry to individuals, but any fruit that may come from it is up to the Holy Spirit!
What was wrong with the Worldwide Church of God before the changes?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ says that salvation comes only by faith in Him as the son of God, by his unmerited grace, and not by anything that we do or rules that we keep. A religious system that distorts the nature of God as he is revealed in the Bible, and twists (or rejects) that plain and simple Gospel truth found in the Bible is a false religion. Pure and simple. Previous to its transformation, the Worldwide Church of God clearly distorted the nature of God as revealed in the Bible. Added to this was a heavy legalistic burden of do's and don't's that were, at least in practice, taught as requirements for salvation. This is a clear distortion of the Gospel of Grace. Zeal and passion for God were not lacking among most members of the WCG; but a right understanding of who He is, and the Gospel He brought, was certainly lacking until the transformation began to work its way through the membership.
What do you say to the charge that the changes in the Worldwide Church of God were superficial or cosmetic, and that deep down they haven't made any real changes?
In the course of our producing this video, we were witnesses of transformed individuals, and quite a number of them. The transformation of the organization is simply an offshoot or result of the transformation of many individual hearts--of the leadership and the laypeople alike. Rumors of deception, disingenuity, and even abuse are fodder for tales spread throughout the Internet and other sources, typically from disenfranchised members and former members of the WCG (or its derivative groups). There are still a lot of angry and hurt people out there. And this is not to say that many people haven't suffered a great deal throughout the transformation. It isn't even to say that mistakes weren't made in dealing with the changes. The transformation had a devastating effect on many families, relationships, and congregations. The majority left the organization. It was an extremely rocky time, and many people are still picking up the pieces. But the transformation was genuine. Many of those who most closely embraced the transformation were also among those who suffered the most acutely throughout it.
There will always be those who reject the transformation, or perhaps who simply don't believe it. The objective of the video wasn't so much to try and convince the world that it was true, but rather the objective was to point to the Person of Truth--Jesus Christ.