Galatians 1:6-9 | Paul’s “Other Gospel”

The Apostle Paul writes to the Church in Galatia defending his apostolic authority.

One of the most perverted forms of Biblical interpretation is that of Galatians 1:8-9. This passage is commonly used by Christian Apologists in their attempt to prove that Mormonism is “another Gospel”.

Therefore, the purpose of this post is to provide understanding as to what the Apostle Paul is discussing within the context of Galatians 1:6-9.

Historically, the epistle was written to Gentile Christians in the Galatian Province. The question here is: was it written to all of Galatia or a particular part of Galatia? This is an interesting question, for, when I had researched into the nature and history of the epistle, there is a dispute as to whether or not the epistle was written to the Northern Province of Galatia or the Southern Province of Galatia. Several sources cite this as a historical background. In one classic commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians by W.M. Ramsey (1851 to 1939) published in 1899, we find this:

The study of this document is encumbered with a great preliminary difficulty. It is not certain who were the persons addressed. While some scholars maintain that the “Churches of Galatia,” to whom the Epistle is addressed, were planted in the four cities of Southern Galatia, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch, others assert that those Churches were situated in North Galatia. These two opposite opinions are conveniently designated as the South Galatian and the North Galatian Theory.

In his work – A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians , published in 1920 –  Ernest De Witt Burton collaborates the nature of the debate as to whether the Epistle was addressed to those Churches in the Northern part of Galatia or the Southern Part of Galatia:

On the basis, therefore, of the Acts narrative, and the evi­dence of the letter that “the churches of Galatia” to which it was addressed constituted one group founded on the same gen­eral occasion, we must exclude any hypothesis that the letter was addressed to churches in both parts of the province, and make our choice between the two hypotheses: (a) that Paul founded churches in northern Galatia on his second missionary journey, and addressed the letter to them and them only, using the term Galatia in its older, ethnographic sense; and (b) that he founded no churches in northern Galatia, and that he ad­dressed his letter to the churches of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and (Pisidian) Antioch, using the term Galatia in the political sense.

The importance in understanding to whom this epistle was written is to understand the actual historical context of how and why the Apostle Paul wrote what he wrote to certain peoples and groups. Thus, we must have a basic foundational understanding as to the historical context of the Epistle before any consideration of the textual context is to be discussed and understood. While, I am not going to delve into the nature as to whom the epistle was written too, suffice it to say that we understand the textual context as being this: …Unto the Churches of Galatia. (see Gal. 1:2). Whether these churches were in the Northern part or Southern Part is up for debate and is only mentioned here as a background of historical understanding.

However, not only is the historical context important to understand, but the importance of the content of the message, nature of the message and purpose of the message must be understood and properly interpreted within this historical context. While there is dispute as to the date of the Epistle itself, the overall historical context of the Epistle is two-fold:

1) It is addressing an attack on the Apostleship of Paul and his doctrines he espouse and teach.

2) It is addressing the false teaching by those Jewish-Christians who were convincing the Galatian Christians that they must adhere to the Jewish rituals of circumcision and keep the strict observations of the feasts and new moons as perscribed within the Old Covenant and Judaic Law.

3) Finally, the evidence of Gal. 1:6 shows forth the historical context of how First Century Christians fell into Apostasy due to false doctrines and teachings that others purport to instill upon others.

It is here that when a person truly studies the historical and doctrinal aspects of the Epistle of Galatians, there is the understanding that the modern Christian Apologetic reasoning to use Gal. 1:6-9 as a proof text to refute Mormonism is invalidated on the more evidentiary reasoning as to the actual historical and doctrinal context of the epistle itself. Therefore, let us look at the first aspect of the Epistle.

The Apostolic Authority of Paul under Attack

As mentioned before, the first aspect of the Epistle is the direct attack upon the apostleship of Paul. Burton, in the same work mentioned above, discusses the nature of the attack upon Paul’s Apostleship:

The letter itself furnishes evidence, which is confirmed by 1 and 2 Corinthians, that the apostolic office or function was clearly recognised as one of great importance in the Chris­tian community, and that the question who could legitimately claim it was one on which there was sharp difference of opinion. An apostle was much more than a local elder or itinerant mis­sionary. He was a divinely commissioned founder of Christian churches, indeed, more, of the Christian church œcumenical. With their effort to keep the Christian movement within the Jewish church, including proselytes from other religions, the judaisers naturally associated the contention that the aposto­late was limited to those who were appointed by Jesus or by those whom he appointed. With their denial of the distinct­ive doctrines of Paul they associated a denial of his right to teach them as an apostle. This denial seems to have taken the form of representing Paul as a renegade follower of the Twelve, a man who knew nothing of Christianity except what he had learned from the Twelve, and preached this in a per­verted form. This appears from the nature of Paul’s defence of his independent authority as an apostle in the first two chap­ters of the letter, and indicates that with their theory of a lim­ited apostolate the judaisers had associated the claim that the apostolic commission must proceed from the circle of the origi­nal Twelve.

It is the very same attitude of these Jewish-Christians (or Judiazers) that modern Christian Apologists implement in their arguments to deny the Apostleship of the General Authorities of the Latter-day Saint Christian Faith, limiting it to the Original Twelve apostles of Christ. Discredit the authority of the person, one ultimately discredits the nature and purpose of the message being delivered. A very serious charge to make and buy into – one of which a commentator has taken upon themselves to perform:

eternally condemned; The Holy Spirit speaks this through the Apostle Paul, this means that Joseph Smith is accursed and damned to hell for preaching another gospel. And you can only be saved by receiving the True Gospel as The Holy Spirit and faith are only imparted through the preaching of the true Gospel

However, Burton is not the only one to discuss this. Martin Luther, one of the great reformers and quite possibly the father of the Protestant Reformation, provided the following commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians:

In every way they sought to undermine the authority of St. Paul. They said to the Galatians: “You have no right to think highly of Paul. He was the last to turn to Christ. But we have seen Christ. We heard Him preach. Paul came later and is beneath us. It is possible for us to be in error—we who have received the Holy Ghost? Paul stands alone. He has not seen Christ, nor has he had much contact with the other apostles. Indeed, he persecuted the Church of Christ for a long time.”

Who were these people that Luther refers to?

These Jewish-Christian fanatics who pushed themselves into the Galatian churches after Paul’s departure, boasted that they were the descendants of Abraham, true ministers of Christ, having been trained by the apostles themselves, that they were able to perform miracles.

Why I mention this is because of the tone of the Epistle from the outset. Imagine having seen Christ. Being struck down on your way to arrest believers and you are a Jew who perscribed to the Pharisaic traditions. You encounter the Resurrected Christ, spend time with the original twelve, are separated with another into the apostolic calling and go about preaching the Gosple, setting up churches and submitting letters to keep those believers adherent to true doctrines and teachings. Imagine having been informed that your very own testimony, the very calling you hold to as coming from God and you have been separated into by the original twelve is being discredited. How would one respond? The answer is quite clear. Paul is angry and upset. Angry that those defactors are denying his apostolic calling. Using their reasoning and argumentation of their perverted belief that because they are descendents of Abraham, that they are the only sole heirs of Salvation and that in order to be saved, one has to not only be cirucmcised but have to be adopted into the Judiac religion.

This is where the argument of the Christian Apologist falls apart when using Galatians 1:6-9 as a proof text to prove that Mormonism is “another Gospel” that is false and preaching a different Jesus. In fact, there are two main points where this argument falls apart, when properly examined in historical and textual context: 1) Claiming to be the “Chosen” people of God based upon Ancestrial decent from Abraham as those Jews of the First Century rise of Christianity; And, 2) Teaching that in order to be saved, one has to adhere to the circumcision and be adopted into the lineage of Abraham in order to be considered part of the Chosen people of God.

Mormon’s do not claim any judiac traditions to Abraham. Meaning, members of the faith, nor the leaders go about saying that we are “Abraham’s Seed” and therefore are the sole persons of the True Gospel Message. In fact, if anything, we definitely understand what Christ and Paul truly taught regarding who were of the Seed of Abraham:

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. (John 8:39).

When we look at the context of John 8:39, we find that there is a discussion between the Jews and Christ. In fact, verse 33 says this: They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed…and Christ responding with acknowledgement to their response in verse 37: I know that ye are Abraham’s seed. Yet, sandwiched between 33 and 37, we find that Christ says a very interesting thing: Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. Thus, the context of what Christ says in verse 39 is understood within the context of verses 33-39. What were the works of Abraham? And why is that important to understand in light of Galatians 1?

John Calvin, in his work Commentary on John – Volume 1, discusses the nature of verse 39 and the context of verses 33-39.

39. Abraham is our father. This altercation shows plainly enough how haughtily and fiercely they despised all Christ’s reproofs. What they continually claim and vaunt of is, that they are Abraham’s children; by which they do not simply mean that they are the lineal descendants of Abraham, but that they are a holy race, the heritage of God, and the children of God. And yet they rely on nothing but the confidence of the flesh. But carnal descent, without faith, is nothing more than a false pretense. We now understand what it was that so greatly blinded them, so that they treated Christ with disdain, though armed with deadly thunder. Thus the word of God, which might move stones, is ridiculed in the present day by Papists, as if it were a fable, and fiercely persecuted by fire and sword; and for no other reason but that they rely on their false title of “the Church,” and hope that they will be able to deceive both God and man. In short, as soon as hypocrites have procured some plausible covering, they oppose God with hardened obstinacy, as if he could not penetrate into their hearts.

If you were the children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham. Christ now distinguishes more plainly between the bastard and degenerate children of Abraham, and the true and lawful children; (“Entre les enfans d’Abraham qui sont bastars et forlignans, et le vrais et legitimes.”) for he refuses to give the very name to all who do not resemble Abraham True, it frequently happens that children do not resemble, in their conduct, the parents from whom they are sprung; but here Christ does not argue about carnal descent, but only affirms that they who do not retain by faith the grace of adoption are not reckoned among the children of Abraham before God. For since God promised to the seed of Abraham that he would be their God, saying,

I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, (Genesis 17:7,)

all unbelievers, by rejecting this promise, excluded themselves from the family of Abraham.

The state of the question therefore is this: Ought they to be accounted Abraham’s children who reject the blessing offered to them in the word, so that, notwithstanding of this, they shall be a holy nation, the heritage of God, and a royal priesthood? (Exodus 19:6Joel 3:2.) Christ denies this, and justly; for they who are the children of the promise must be born again by the Spirit, and all who desire to obtain a place in the kingdom of God ought to be new creatures. Carnal descent from Abraham was not indeed useless, and of no value, provided that the truth were added to it. For election dwells in the seed of Abraham, but it is free, so that all whom God sanctifies by his Spirit are accounted heirs of life.

What I find strikingly similiar (when I had devoted some time to studying the historical aspect of the Epistle to the Galatains) is that the similar arguments proposed by the Judiazers as to their direct lineage of Abraham is that of those Jews who confronted Christ while he served his earthly ministry and stated the same argument and were proven false. Yet, the question had not been answered – what were the works of Abraham and why did Christ mention to these people that if Abraham were truly their father, they would do the work of Abraham? The answer is very simple and quite obvious. Faith. The work of Abraham was that of faith in the redemptive power of Christ and the salvation of man. This is evident in verse 56: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day.

Paul says this in Romans 4:3 – For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. What scripture is Paul referring to?

While many interpreters would say that this is evidence of salvation of grace within the Old Testament, a true and more careful reading of the scripture Paul refers to does not talk about works of righteousness, but talks about believing in the promises of God and the covenants God makes with those who choose to enter into a righteous relationship with the Divine:

…the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” And Abram said, “O Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the Lord caem to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your decsendants be.” Then he blieved in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:1-6, NASB)

Regarding how Genesis 15:1-6 is referring to Faith as a Work, we look only to James 2: 21 – Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?

We understand that the nature of God calling up Abram to sacrifice his only begotten son was to test his “faith” in God. Because of Abram’s faith, he believed that there was a purpose and reason for such a command. This is where the argument of the Salvation by Grace alone and Salvation of Grace and Sanctification come into conflict. It is this very reason that some Christian Apologists rely so heavily upon the idea and understanding that because Galatians 1:6-9 talk about a Gospel of Works as being another gospel and therefore cursed by God is reason to condemn Mormonism.

However, the reality and truth is, that when we look at the nature of the Gospel of Grace, we see that we are not only called into repentance and embrace the reality of Christ, but that we are to no longer live as we had lived prior to our conversion. Our faith is not just a belief but a life long change to conform our will to following Christ. Thus, when we look at Abraham, we see that God made a promise to Abraham in providing an heir and that Abraham would be the father of an innumerable amount of people. Christ, declared to the false Jewish belief that because they were of the lineage of Abraham, they were therefore Chosen of God as a holy and distinct people, stated that if these Jews were truly the Seed of Abraham, then they would believe in Christ just as Abraham believed in him – Christ being the Lord in the Old Testament. It is the reason Paul, the Apostle, stated in Romans that because Abram believed on the word of God, that he was declared righteous.

What all this means is that when we look at all of the Apostle Paul’s teaching, he taught two fundamental things:

1) Salvation does not come from lineage and ancestrial descent.

2) Salvation is not produced from performance of any type of “Works of Righteousness” as a means to gain Christ’s acceptance. On the contrary, because of Christ’s redemption and saving grace bestowed upon us, we manifest our appreciation and devotion in following after him and because of our faith in Christ, the evidence is the very works produced as a result of that faith and devotion – Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. is the opposite of if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. The Apostle Paul stated it simply, by their fruits, ye shall know them. Christ declared that a good tree does not bring forth evil fruit and a bad tree does not bring forth good fruit. Works are the fruit of our faith.

Hence, it is this very reason that those Jewish-Christians who claimed that because they were descendants of Abraham, they were the “promised and chosen” seed of Abraham. Thereby, perverting the Gospel of Christ and teaching the Galatian believers that in order for them to be saved, they had to not do the works of righteousness, but had to embrace the traditions and rituals of the Judiac rights of circumcision and be adopted into the “family lineage” of Abraham in order to be considered the chosen of God.  Something that the Mormon Faith, Joseph Smith,  the Book of Mormon, and the Prophets and apostles of the Church have never; nor, will ever teach and embrace.

Another thing to note, regarding this, and how it all correlates with the nature of disputing the authority of Paul, is that when these Judiazers taught the Galatians, they were effectively disproving Paul’s teaching and denied Paul as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. They had convinced the Galatian Christians not to accept Paul’s teaching on the basis that Paul’s doctrine was “another gospel”. Something which we will discuss next.

False Teaching of the Jewish-Christians

Previously, I discussed the nature of what these Jewish-Christians were teaching the Galatian Christians as to what they believed to be a “true gospel” as opposed to what Paul, the Apostle taught. And, the more I think about this, the more I am starting to realize the similiarities between these Jewish-Christians and some of the Evangelical Christians that I dialogue with in regards to Mormonism and the doctrines of the LDS Faith.

The first thing we noticed, and one of the later things I had discussed in the prior section, is that the “works” these Jewish-Christians were teaching were the circumcision and adoption into the Abrahamic line. To these people, the belief in the Abrahamic covenant still had a hold upon their mindset and belief system. While embracing this, they assimiliated the ideals of the the Older covenant with that of the newer Covenant of Grace. To this, we look to the original twelve that Christ had called into discipleship and later became known as the Apostles.

All twelve men were Jews. There were no Gentile Apostles that Christ had called to follow after. In fact, the gospel of Grace was first preached in contrast to the long held traditions of the various schools of religious thought within Jerusalem. The Pharisees, Sadduccees and the Zealots.

These twelve men were from the surrounding area of Judea and Jerusalem. Thus, from this Jewish idealism, the Jewish-Christians believed that the Gospel were preached unto them and them alone because of their ideal understanding that the Nation of Israel is God’s Chosen People, and, likewise, because Abraham was promised to have numerous children surpassing the stars in heaven. Therefore, it would be natural that these people would intigrate their Jewish idealisms within the New found gospel of Christ. And, as a result, preached “a different gospel” of Jesus Christ.

Burton expounds upon this thought of how and what doctrine these Judiaziers would use to influence the Gentile Christians, the difference between Peter and Paul and how the original 12 Apostles accepted Paul’s missionary efforts and preaching to the Gentiles:

On the one hand, there were added to the Christian community in Judæa certain men of strongly conservative tendencies who were convinced that Christianity ought to be built strictly on the basis of the Abrahamic covenant, and that the Christian sect ought to differ from other Jewish sects, in particular from the Pharisaic sect, only by the addition of the doctrine of the Messiahship of Jesus, and in no case by any subtraction from the doctrines or requirements of the Old Testament religion as currently inter­preted. On the other hand, as the effects of the evangelistic activity of Paul became more manifest and better known to the church at Jerusalem, the real extent and serious nature of his departure from the views and practices now becoming cur­rent in the mother church doubtless became more evident. As a result of these two influences the question of the obligation of the Gentile Christians to be circumcised came to an issue in the incident narrated by Paul in Gal. 21-10. The debate which took place on that occasion was apparently limited to this one ques­tion of the circumcision of Gentile Christians. The Jerusalem apostles at first urging Paul to conform, at least in the case of Titus, to the views of the ultraconservative element, were at length persuaded to throw their influence on the side of Paul’s view, to give their approval to his way of winning the Gentiles to faith in Christ, and not to insist upon circumcision.

Not only does Burton accept the notion that these Jewish Christians integrated their understanding of the Jewish customs and doctrines, but that they admittedly required and retained the idea of salvation through circumcision. Thus, this brings about the truer understanding of what the Apostle Paul states in Romans 2:24 – 3:1 –

For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written, For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?

We know that the understanding of what Paul was relating here is within the context of Romans 2:2-10 where the Apostle Paul discusses those who do the works of Righteousness and how they are blessed because of this and how those who do the works of unrighteousness are in anguish, tribulation, and that these two faucets of human experience are not just among the Jews, but also of the Gentiles. It is here, that teh Apostle Paul says that man will be judged by their works – not their faith. This is not to diminish the Gospel of Grace and the salvation that Christ had brought about, but it is to realize that one can’t say that they confess Christ as their Lord and Savior in word alone, but must confess that Christ is their Lord and Savior in word and deed. Christ saves us from death – both physical and spiritual, however we are held accountable to the things we do in our life that result in either having a blessed life or a cursed life.

Thus, what we discover is the specific doctrine that Paul is contending against, and that of being circumcised in order to receive salvation and redemption. Yet, Burton is not alone in this understanding of what it was Paul was calling the Galatian believers to turn away from. An understanding of the doctrine that was literally causing the Galatian Christians to apostasize from the gospel Paul preached. The Jaimeson, Fausset and Brown Critical Commentary discusses it in this way:

Judaizing teachers had persuaded the Galatians that Paul had taught them the new religion imperfectly, and at second hand; that the founder of their church himself possessed only a deputed commission, the seal of truth and authority being in the apostles at Jerusalem: moreover, that whatever he might profess among them, he had himself at other times, and in other places, given way to the doctrine of circumcision. To refute this, he appeals to the history of his conversion, and to the manner of his conferring with the apostles when he met them at Jerusalem; that so far was his doctrine from being derived from them, or they from exercising any superiority over him, that they had simply assented to what he had already preached among the Gentiles, which preaching was communicated, not by them to him, but by himself to them {Paley}.

Turning to Martin Luther’s Commentary, we further read his comments as follows:

Their objection to Paul’s Gospel is identical to that recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Acts to the effect that it was not enough for the Galatians to believe in Christ, or to be baptized, but that it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses, for “except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” As though Christ were a workman who had begun a building and left it for Moses to finish.

The more one studies this epistle, one begins to understand that the context (both historically and contextually) is not about the denial of accountability and being obedient to the Gospel of Christ, but it is about the denial of promoting and preaching the nature and custom of Circumcision as being the ordinance to secure one’s salvation. In other words, it is specifically against the doctrine of circumcision that the Apostle Paul refers to as being “another Gospel”. In this light, the accusation that Mormonism is “Another Gospel” according to Galatians 1:6-9 is a fallacious argument having no foundational support on this. It further exposes the error of the critic who uses Galatians 1:6-9 as a proof text against Mormonism and against the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. In short, Galatians 1:6-9 actually supports the Latter-day Saint position more so than the modern Evangelical Christian would presume it to support their own position. The observation on this latter statement is self-evident.

1) Judiazer claims that in order to secure one’s salvation in Christ is to become adopted into the Abrahamic Covenant and be Circumcised according to the manner in which Moses was commanded to be circumcised.

Christian believers today say something to the effect: In order to be saved, one only need to make a confessionary statement through prayer and accept Christ in their heart and life. Anything added to this; baptism, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, obedience to Christ and the commandments of Christ – are but another gospel. On the contrary, even Satan and the demons believe in Christ, does this mean they are saved? Some athiests are adherents to good works of human service and devotion, does this mean they are saved? The reality is that Salvation is first and foremost by and through Jesus Christ. Man can’t in anyway redeem himself from the fall. Yet, once redeemed from his sins, man has an obligation to turn from his natural tendencies, former beliefs and subjugate them to follow after Christ and live in a manner where the power of redemption is manifested through them. Christ, Paul and the scriptures are consistently clear that men will be judged, not on their faith, but upon their deeds in this life. Something Christians (when it comes to the differences between Mormonism and modern Evangelical Christian teaching and dogmatics) scoff at, yet turn and teach as evidence of one’s faith and reason for the hope of Salvation that lies within the follower of Christ.

Evidence of Apostasy:

The Epistle to the Galatians is strong evidence for doctrinal apostasy. Something that Christian Apologists disagree with when it comes to the Latter-day Saint statement and belief that Early Christianity had gone into a state of apostasy, the power of the Priesthood having become corrupt and ultimately removed from the earth.

Not only was Paul contending for his reason and calling as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, combating the false doctrine of Circumcision, but that he recognized the reality and severity of the false doctrine having come into the belief of the Galatian Christians and caused them to turn from the Gospel of Christ.

While some would agree that this is specific to the reference of those Churches in Galatia, the reality is that we do not have any reference or source as to whether or not the Christians in Galatia turned back to the true Gospel of Christ or if they had completely abandoned the gospel of Christ for the more Judiac perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter, the fact is, Paul recognized that these believers were falling away from the pure gospel of Christ.

This apostasy was due to three factors: First, the doubt as to Paul’s authority as an Apostle (Which we discussed first); Second, declaring the Gospel that Paul preached as being contradictory to that which the Jewish-Christians believed and accepted as the true Gospel, declaring that their doctrines come from the original Twelve whom were Jews as well and Paul, only being an emmissary of the Original Twelve; and Thirdly, influence of the Galatian’s own cultural, ethnic and previous paganistic belief system.

A serious inquiry of the Epistle to the Churches of Galatia shows forth that the reality of doctrinal apostasy was very real. Why would Paul contend for his authority of Apostleship, defend his teaching and declaring that it is the same gospel as that of the original Twelve in Jerusalem and call the Christian believers in Galatia to repentence and back into the true gospel of Christ?

Final Thoughts and Testimony

The overall historical and textual context of the Epistle to the Galatians shows that the reference to “Another Gospel” is not a reference to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is a reference to the false doctrinal teaching that in order for a Gentile Christian to be saved, they had to accept the custom of circumcision and be adopted into the false ideal of the “Chosen” lineage of the Abrahamic Covenant. There is no evidence, in light of this investigatory study, supporting the modern Christian interpretation of Galatians 1:6-9 as to Paul referring to Mormonism, Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the Restoration of the Gospel. It is actually on the contrary that Galatians 1:6-9 is in support of the Latter-day Saint position of how and why there needed to be a restored gospel of Christ. The epistle is a call to repentence of following after false doctrines and traditions and embracing the true gospel of Jesus Christ. What is the true gospel of Jesus Christ?

  • We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.
  • We believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
  • We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Whether you want to agree with me or disagree with me is up to you. I am only responsible to share what I believe to be true, how it is true and the substantial evidence for that truth.

I, personally, testify to you that Jesus Christ truly is the sole source for our redemption. That by and through Christ, we are saved and have our hope and purpose. That becasue of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, men can truly come to understand the reality of God’s divine plan: A plan to bring about the purpose and reason for our existence. I testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about confessing Christ as our Lord and Savior, but it is about putting to death the old things and walking in a newness of life. That it is about how we live our life as much as it is about our belief in Christ, Jesus.

I truly have come to a knowledge as to the reality and truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That it is truly the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in these last days. That Joseph Smith was truly called of God, and those who declare otherwise, denying him his divine appointment as a Prophet in these last days are much like those Judiazers who denied Paul’s divine Apostleship.

I do testify that the Book of Mormon, and the Church is not “Another Gospel” but The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon truly another testimony as to the reality and purpose to Christ’s mission, redemption and the call to repentence.

I say this because it is true, I say it, not because I have a false hope, or have been misled by the General Authorities, I say this because I have tasted the reality of Christ’s atonement, I have tasted the reality of being Born Again. I have tasted the bitterness of giving into false doctrines and presenting them as true doctrines. I have tasted the bitterness of attacking the doctrines of Christ in light of these false teachings that bind men to philosophical meanderings and improper interpretations of sacred scriptures.

I testify that there is a real living Prophet that leads the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that men are truly held accountable in either rejecting or accepting a True Prophet of God.

I say this with authority and truth and I say it in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

2 thoughts on “Galatians 1:6-9 | Paul’s “Other Gospel”

  1. Dear Tim,

    Unfortunately, you have missed the point of the epistle, by more than a mile, and the real meaning of circumcision.

    When one accepts circumcision, that person is obligated to keep the entire Law (all 613 commandments) given to Moses in the wilderness. Paul mentions this in this epistle (Gal.5:3). This is what LDS members do in the Temple and when they get baptized, they make a covenant to keep all of the commandments of God, which they cannot keep. So what you have done here is embraced idea of “circumcision” in effect, and then dismissed the physical act of the knife, and thereby claim that you have not accepted circumcision. This is known as hypocrisy. Mormons are still trying to become righteous based upon their performance (Gal.3:12). The Law is a performance based system of righteousness. When Paul says that no flesh will be justified in His sight by deeds of the Law, he struck down every system of man which attempts to reconcile man to God by works (performance), since the Law of God is the perfect way–you just have to be perfect, no sin at all, ever! But men are corrupt, defiled, and depraved, and helpless, and dead, and unable to save themselves. As Paul said, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us…” Rom.8:3,4,

    He also said,”Now that no one is justified by the Law(works, performance) before God is evident, for, ‘the righteous man shall live by faith'”(Gal.3:11). Ask the average Mormon if they can become righteous by keeping Gods laws and commandments, and they will tell you “yes we can!”. They do not realize that the Law was given to bring us in before God as guilty, as helpless, and condemned to eternal punishment, and rightfully so. This is the condition needed before faith can function or be realized. Without realizing our predicament of being judged and condemned before God, we cannot be justified and saved and given eternal life.

    You also missed the point about Abraham offering up Isaac. Abraham is demonstrating to the world that his faith is completely in God alone, and not in himself, his abilities, his efforts, nor does his deficiencies (sins) diminish God’s ability to keep His promise to Abraham. Abraham’s act is publicly stating that it does not depend upon Abraham for God to keep his promise. That even if Abraham were to kill his son (the one that God promised and through whom the Promise would come) God would still keep His Word. As Paul said, “It therefore does not depend upon the man who wills (man’s volition), or the man who runs(man’s effort), but on God who has mercy” (Rom.9:16)

    Furthermore, if the LDS gospel is just like Paul’s gospel, why does Paul’s gospel sound so different, and why doesn’t the LDS church use Paul’s epistles (especially Galatians and Romans) as the basis for the Gospel. But instead, they continually rebuff Paul’s message and teaching, even though his apostleship was established by Christ Himself. So who is rejecting apostolic authority here?
    The LDS gospel is more in step with Judiazers than with Paul.

    Paul and John taught that Christ Himself lives in the believer (Gal.2:20, Col.1:27, 1Jn:5:12, 2Jn.9). LDS scriptures and apostles teach that this is an old sectarian idea which is false (D&C 130:2)

    The Judiazers were teaching that it was not enough to just have faith in Christ, you needed to do something, circumcision–>Keep the whole Law (works, performance based righteousness). Those that use this method are under a curse (Gal.3:10:11)
    Paul, taught that faith in Christ alone, make one righteous before God (Gal.3:6-9). That this righteousness comes by faith, not works, through grace(not of mans works or efforts, but by God’s work) — Gal.2:21.

    Jesus taught that work of God is this, “that you believe in the one whom He sent”. But I do not give LDS members credit for having faith in Christ in the Biblical sense, since their faith is in themselves, their church authority, their teaching, and a different Jesus. Thus they are not able to please God because, without faith it is impossible to please Him.

    The additional problem here is that you have another Jesus, just as Gordon B. Hinckley admitted.

    The LDS Jesus, is another God, he was pro-created by the Father and the virgin Mary, he is the spirit brother of Lucifer, and thus not the only begotten of the Father, and He was not always God, and not the Creator of everything, because he was created by someone else, and not eternally God.

    The Biblical Jesus is God, has always been God, always will be God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, is both fully man and fully God (Hypo-static Union Doctrine), and the only begotten of the Father(unique–only one like Him), not the spirit brother of Lucifer, and He is the Creator of everything, and is uncreated Himself, self existent, eternal.

    Joseph Smith redefined every theological term and idea: God, Jesus, salvation, faith, grace, sin, atonement, marriage, eternal life, etc. etc. So this makes it very difficult to communicate with LDS since they use the same vocabulary, but every word and idea has a different construct and concept. And when you redefine every term, you have something which is very different. It cannot be the original idea or concept.

    Allow me to rephrase one verse from this epistle of Paul.

    “Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision (i.e. make a covenant to keep all of God’s Laws), Christ will be of no benefit to you. (Gal.5:2)

    As long as LDS members think that they can be Co-Redeemers with Christ, they will never be justified by grace and forgiven by the Father, because they have not understood why the Law was given in the first place.

    When men have another Jesus, another gospel, and another spirit, and claim they are apostles of Christ, they are false apostles. 1Cor11.

    Bob

    1. Evangelical Bob says: Unfortunately, you have missed the point of the epistle, by more than a mile, and the real meaning of circumcision.

      My response: If I truly had missed the point of the epistle, I am hoping you can provide and substantiate this claim. Therefore, we shall see if one of us missed the point of the epistle and what Paul was teaching here. As for Circumcision, it was commanded of Abraham as a covenant between Abraham, his household, and God. It later became adopted into the House of Israel as another form of identifying Israel from other Gentile Nations, and that also symbolic of Israel’s Covenant relationship to YHWH. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul speaks of the “circumcision of the heart” where we covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Christ, whereby men are saved through the atonement of Christ.

      Evangelical Bob says: When one accepts circumcision, that person is obligated to keep the entire Law (all 613 commandments) given to Moses in the wilderness. Paul mentions this in this epistle (Gal.5:3). This is what LDS members do in the Temple and when they get baptized, they make a covenant to keep all of the commandments of God, which they cannot keep. So what you have done here is embraced idea of “circumcision” in effect, and then dismissed the physical act of the knife, and thereby claim that you have not accepted circumcision. This is known as hypocrisy. Mormons are still trying to become righteous based upon their performance (Gal.3:12). The Law is a performance based system of righteousness. When Paul says that no flesh will be justified in His sight by deeds of the Law, he struck down every system of man which attempts to reconcile man to God by works (performance), since the Law of God is the perfect way–you just have to be perfect, no sin at all, ever! But men are corrupt, defiled, and depraved, and helpless, and dead, and unable to save themselves. As Paul said, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us…” Rom.8:3,4,

      My response: It is sad that you misunderstand two forms of covenants a member of the Church makes. First, concerns baptism and its efficacy whereby a person makes a covenant with Heavenly Father to take upon the name of Christ. Second is the sacred covenants and ordinances one makes in the Temple. However, before we begin here, we must differentiate from the Law of Moses and the Law of Grace. Second, you are equating circumcision within the Law of Moses when it came before the Law of Moses. Let us first deal with understanding what the Gospel is:

      13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. 14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil— 15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. 16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. 17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father. 18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words. 19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. 20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; 22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

      This is contained in 3 Nephi 27:13-22. Now, before you object by saying this is in the Book of Mormon and therefore you can’t accept what this teaches, consider the following passages of the New Testament alone that substantiate this passage in the Book of Mormon:

      Paul, the Apostle, speaking to Timothy:

      6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

      The Apostle Paul speaking about how an individual is no longer the servant of sin, but a person of righteousness:

      12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:12-23).

      Notice here that Paul mentions that the person is no longer under the Law of Moses, but under the Law of Grace. He also mentions the term “obey” (see v. 16) in this passage. Obey is ὑπακούω -> hypakouō and pronounced as hüp-ä-kü’-ō. It means: To listen, to harken – of one who on the knock at the door comes to listen who it is, (the duty of a porter); To harken to a command, to obey, be obedient to, submit to. Thus, we have Paul himself refer to individuals who are “servants to obey” from the heart because they are “free from sin”. How are they free from sin? What importance does Paul place on this? The context tells us that a person is free from sin because of the covenant they made through baptism:

      1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:1-11).

      Baptism is a necessary ordinance, for even the Apostle Peter, upon being asked “What shall we do?” by those who were “pricked in their hearts” stated this:

      37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

      Remission of sins here in this passage refers to receiving a pardon. What is it that man receives a pardon from? The effects of the fall of Adam (see Romans 5:8-21). Hence, the Greek rendering of “remission” in Acts 2:38, we have ἄφεσις -> aphesis. Along with referring to liberation from bondage, it also refers to forgiveness from.

      Christ himself, giving the great commission to the Apostles, said this:

      19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

      What does it mean to observe all things Christ commanded the disciples?

      In addition to this, there are numerous passages that we can turn to in the New Testament alone where Christ said that he did not come of his own accord, but came to do the will of the one who sent him. Christ showed us the true meaning of obedience. He did not just come to save mankind, but also came to show mankind that they are saved and that upon their part, if they endure, they will be lifted up and receive their inheritance. This is captured in Revelation 3:21 where Christ says that we will even be granted permission to sit on the throne with Christ as Christ sits on the throne with the Father. 1 John discusses the meaning and purpose behind obedience. The Epistle of James describes the difference between true religious piety and false religious piety. Thus, your particular cherry picking strategy of “scripture proof texting” that obedience is not a necessary factor in the believers life, that baptism is not a necessary factor and important ordinance a person participants in shows your lack of understanding of the Bible.

      Now, as for the claim that in order to walk in obedience, one has to fulfill all 613 laws of the Old Covenant, again, shows a lack of understanding of the scriptures and difference between the Old covenant and the New Covenant. We are no longer bound by the Law of Moses because we now have the efficacy of the Atonement. Since we are no longer bound by the Old Law and covenant, we are still needful and mindful to walk in obedience. This is what the Latter-day Saint Christians practice:

      12 And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord (4 Nephi 1:12)

      Therefore, we do not believe we are no longer under, or subject to the Law of Moses, for it had been fulfilled in the Atonement of Christ. However, it does not negate the fact that we are required to walk in obedience (as is already established with proper contextual reading of Paul, Peter, and other New Testament passages). Thus, your claim that Mormonism is a Legalistic religious cult that is “Another Gospel” is invalid because a true reading and understanding of the passages do provide support that what is established and expounded unto you (and all others) is based on the Divine word of God. Argue against it all you want, attempt to reason against it all you want, but the reality is that within the confines of the New Testament, the early saints were taught to walk in obedience, and today, we are taught to walk in obedience.

      As for the remainder of your commentary, you not once addressed the historical context of Galatians. Instead, you went off the typical and false rhetoric of what you perceive to be true. What I have established here, goes to show exactly what the Gospel of Christ is. To preach another Gospel, according to Paul, means to deny the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Latter-day Saints do not deny the efficacy and purpose of the Atonement. Actually, we have a much better grasp and understanding of the efficacy of the atonement than most evangelical Christians (like yourself) give us credit for understanding. We also do not deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is scripture, and testified by modern day prophets and apostles. The message of the Gospel is a call to repentance, and to come to know Christ, and to receive the pardon of our sins through the proper ordinance of Baptism. This is the basic teaching of the Church – and it is the basic teaching of the New Testament. Therefore, your claim is invalid.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s