Blogalogue

Blogalogue


Are Any Sincere Christians Expendable?

posted by prothfuss

By Orson Scott Card
There is a sort of comfortableness that can settle in with majoritarians. A complacency that allows one to be picky and exclusive.


I remember getting this feeling when I lived in Utah. I moved to the town of Orem, where Mormons were an estimated 98 percent of the population. That should certainly have made me feel at home!


However, I was also a Democrat, and in Orem, Democrats in 1980 were about as common World Series pennants in the Chicago Cubs clubhouse.


So the local Mormon congregation had no idea what to make of me. I clearly didn’t have a job — freelance writer? Of science fiction? — and I did something so eccentric as joining the Democratic Party, so how could I possibly be a good member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?


My opinion was that the two questions were really unrelated — my identity as a Mormon was, I thought, secure. I kept the commandments. I fulfilled my callings in the Church. And — here’s the clincher — I sang tenor in the choir. Good tenors in church choirs are almost as rare as Democrats. I expected to be embraced with open arms.


Unfortunately, my ward (congregation) did not have a choir at that time.


Nor did they have a single calling that they thought I could fulfill.


Now, this is one of the peculiarities of Mormonism (which is, after all, the subject of this discussion, yes?): Because we have a lay ministry, every single member is expected to serve in some ministerial role. We teach or supervise or perform other services as part of an official “calling” in the Church.


In fact, that’s much of the way that we create our identity — by our callings. No matter where we move in the Mormon Church, our congregation will have a “Relief Society president” and many “Primary teachers” and a “ward clerk” and an “executive secretary,” and so on.


Even if these people are complete strangers to us, we know who they are in the ward — the function they fulfill, and what we can expect of them, and even some information about the kind of person who is usually given such a calling.


But in my ward in Orem, they couldn’t think of a calling that a science-fiction-writing Democrat could possibly fill.


In their minds, because I was such an unfamiliar creature to them, I couldn’t really be counted as “Mormon.”


It happened that my wife (a good Republican) was approached for her fourth — or was it fifth? — calling just as she was getting good and sick with the pregnancy that brought us our second child. So as my wife was turning down the calling — to teach a class of 9-year-olds in which the boys were so rambunctious that they had driven away four teachers in the past few months — I interrupted the conversation and said, “I’m available.”


Well, what could they say? I ended up teaching the class and calming down the boys, and we all had a wonderful time.


And by the time we moved away, the ward had learned something. It was actually possible for a Democrat without a day job who wrote books about space and strange creatures and all — he could also be a good Mormon.


When I moved to a place where Mormons were more rare, however — South Bend, Indiana, and then Greensboro, North Carolina, where I live today — Mormons were much more rare. Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians predominated.


So the leadership of all these wards saw me very differently. Because we were not in the majority, every Mormon who would faithfully fulfill his callings was valued — and nobody much cared about my day job or my politics. In fact, I wasn’t the only Democrat, because we hadn’t got the memo about how all good Mormons had to be Republicans out here in the hinterlands.


The result? They’ve had no problem finding callings for me. I’m still considered rather odd, but I have not felt myself to be an outsider; no one has regarded me as “not a good Mormon” because I don’t fit their preconceptions.


This story may seem overly long to some, but it’s absolutely central to the point I’m making.


It happens that I have exactly the same view as Dr. Mohler — only I apply it differently. I believe that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can save the souls of those who sin. However, I believe that the only Church that has the authority to act in the name of God and speak for him in the world today is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


But I also know that far from being in the majority (except in the nation of Tonga), we Mormons, who (in my belief) do have that authority and that living gospel of Christ, are usually a tiny minority. It makes it all the more important that we teach the gospel — openly, to those who care to listen, and also quietly, by trying to live exemplary lives so that, seeing who we are and how we live, others might be moved to join with us and receive the saving grace of Christ that is offered to all who will believe and obey his commandments.


This is exactly what worries Dr. Mohler about Governor Romney: If elected, he might be such a good man, and such a good president, that people might become confused and think that Mormons are actually good Christians.


So I can’t disagree with him there: There is a real possibility that if Governor Romney became president, people around the world would look at him and his actions and say, If that man is a Mormon, then maybe I should be a Mormon, too.


That wouldn’t be Gov. Romney’s goal — his goal would be to serve his nation as best he could. But it might well be a by-product.


Of course, if people around the world hated him, then the reverse effect could happen, and people would say, If that man’s a Mormon, then keep those missionaries away from my door, I want none of that.” That’s also a risk — and I know Mormons who devoutly wish Gov. Romney were not running for president, because they see it as just one more way to bring negative attention down on the Church.


But let’s look at this as dispassionately as we can. None of us can control the impression Romney makes on the rest of the world, or how they extrapolate from him their attitude toward the Mormon Church. Dr. Mohler fears one possible outcome of a Romney presidency; there are Mormons who fear a different one.


But let’s take Dr. Mohler’s worst-case scenario: that President Romney is so universally loved that people all over the world will be moved to follow his example.


If Dr. Mohler is successful in persuading all those people that an admirable Mitt Romney has nothing at all to do with Christianity, then the logical result is that those who admire him will look, not to Christianity in general, but to Mormonism in particular as the sole source of his virtues.


On the other hand, if people perceive this same admirable Mitt Romney as I wish they would — as a Christian who is trying his best to emulate Christ as he believes the Savior wants him to — then these admirers of his who were already Christians of whatever denomination might show their admiration for Romney by returning to the Christian church they already attend and trying to live more assiduously the Christian life they have already been taught.


In other words, by differentiating Gov. Romney from Christianity, Dr. Mohler fairly guarantees that anyone who admires Gov. Romney will be led away from Christianity in general, because Christianity will have repudiated him. Only the Mormon Church would benefit from any admiration a President Romney might inspire.


Surely this is not what Dr. Mohler intends.


But this is truly a mere speculative argument. If Romney, as president, were despised, then it would be a good thing indeed for Christianity in general if everybody thought of him as a non-Christian!


Of course, I see no evidence that the low popularity of our very openly evangelical president Bush has caused any harm to Christianity. Most people have the wit to realize that the actions of a U.S. president may say nothing about the validity or value of the particular religion he belongs to. Or does Rev. Mohler know of some study that indicates that Pres. Bush’s low popularity throughout the world is harming Christian missionary work?


In all likelihood, Rev. Mohler’s worries about a Romney presidency and its effects on Christianity and the salvation of souls are unfounded or contrary — either Romney would have no influence, or his influence could even be positive toward all Christianity, if only other Christians would let it.
But I think there is a much clearer and more important argument, which does not just involved a particular candidate for the presidency.


It is true that when it comes to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, we Mormons are definitely rivals with the evangelical Christian movement. Baptism in one requires a clear rejection of the other interpretation of Christ’s gospel, just as joining either of our Christian traditions means rejecting the Catholic and Orthodox Christian traditions.


Let’s not forget, after all, that Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians have an even older “mainstream Christian tradition” than any Protestants, and for hundreds of years they were all convinced that Protestants were going to Hell—and causing the damnation of many souls. Since the 1960s, Catholics have been more polite toward Protestants—the word “heretic” is never used anymore (and they long accepted “heretic baptism”)—but the pope recently reaffirmed that while the Orthodox churches are to be regarded as “apostolic” with a defect, Protestant churches simply don’t have the apostolic authority.


And to hard-line Catholics, any distinction between Mormons and Baptists is pretty trivial—we’re all pope-disdaining, saint-ignoring, transubstantiation-denying distractions from the true Christian message.


Have we forgotten, too, that American Protestants have a long tradition of denying Catholics the status of Christians? Magnanimously, for purposes of our discussion here, Dr. Mohler is willing to admit that Catholics are Christians … at least compared to Mormons. He recognizes—no, he asserts—that his movement is part of the ancient Christian tradition, despite the long anti-papist tradition of the Baptist Church.


I submit that tolerance of other views of Christianity is a matter of perspective and situation.


When we Mormons, with the huge sums of money and supplies we raise for welfare work, needed to have help in getting it to the suffering people who needed it in places where our own church had no infrastructure, we turned to Catholic relief agencies and asked them to help us in our Christian mission.


I imagine that this caused some soul-searching among the Catholics involved, but they reached the conclusion that in the Christian goal of helping the poor, regardless of faith, surely our Mormon offerings must be acceptable to Christ, and should not be turned away just because they believe our doctrines about Christ to be horribly wrong-headed.


Because they realized that we did agree, definitely, on the simple truth of this scriptural statement: “Even as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”


So the Catholic relief agencies accepted the offerings of the Mormons and helped us distribute them because they knew it would be unChristlike to refuse to let the poor receive help, just because that help came from Christians with incorrect opinions about God.


There was an era when interdenominational rivalry would have trumped Christianity — but we were happy indeed that when it came to helping the poor, that era has passed, at least between the Catholic and Mormon churches.


There was a time — and not long ago — when we Mormons had a chip on our shoulders and began all our teachings by proclaiming the falseness of all other Christian churches. But we grew up. We realized that in most nations of the world, we aren’t teaching other Christians, we’re teaching people who have never heard the name of Christ.


What do they care whether we have the best Christian church — what they need is to hear of Christ at all. And to begin our teaching by telling them what’s wrong with wrong people is simply…wrong.


Right now, Mormons are as unwelcome among evangelical Christians as I, a science-fiction-writing Democratic Mormon was unwelcome among Republican normal-job-holding Mormons in Utah.


But that’s because evangelicals have a majoritarian attitude that is really not appropriate any more.


America is the most religious Western nation — but surely Dr. Mohler sees that our children can hardly get a college degree without being indoctrinated, not just in atheism, but in hostility to all organized religions, Christianity in particular.


When professors tell our children that all religions are outmoded, that Christianity belongs in the dustbin of history, that all evils in history have been caused by fanatical believers in some religion — do you think it matters to them whether the religion they’re rejecting is Orthodox Judaism, evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, or Mormonism?


And when Islamist terrorists seek the overthrow of all secular governments and the establishment of Sharia and the downfall of all competing religions, do you think they’ll care even a tiny bit whether the church they throw down or the crowd they blow up consists of official, traditional Christians or those weird Mormons?


The message of Christ is today proclaimed into the ears of an increasingly hostile world. Whether from jihadist Islam or jihadist atheism, we are beleaguered on all sides and none of us has the majority.


Instead of “mainstream Christianity” seeking opportunities to shun and exclude and deny the Christianity of Mormons, it might be more helpful for us to admit our irreconcilable differences but then recognize that in this world, today, right now, we can gain more for the cause of Christ by treating each other with respect and honoring each other for the degree to which we do live up to his teachings.


Returning to the example of Gov. Romney, I wonder if there is a Christian denomination on earth that would not be proud to claim as a member of their church a man who is so faithful to his wife and devoted to his children, so abstemious in his personal habits, so consonant to his expressed ideals?


Wouldn’t evangelical Christianity be best served, not by proclaiming, “That man is no Christian!” but rather by proclaiming, “We may not agree with all his beliefs, but Christians should all try to live their understanding of Christ’s teachings as well and thoroughly as he does!”


Shouldn’t all Christians be saying, “Take Governor Romney as an example of effectiveness in the world without sacrifice of faith and religious ideals!”?


It is true that we Mormons do not accept the way the doctrines of Christianity evolved, under the influence of neoplatonic philosophy after the death of the Apostles. We reject that tradition and believe it has been wrongish and getting wronger from about the middle of the second century A.D. onward.


But we accept every word of Christ in the New Testament. We teach our members to live up to the commandments — and we work from pretty much the same list of commandments as the Baptists, with the major exception being that we dance.
When Christianity is once again seen — correctly, I might add — as the nurturing mother of democracy and freedom throughout the world, as the great teacher that made humanism in all its forms not only possible but the ideal that most decent people aspire to — then perhaps we can afford to squabble amongst ourselves about who is really Christian and who is not.


Right now, Dr. Mohler is as uncomfortable with my insistence that we Mormons are Christians as a Vatican theologian would be with Dr. Mohler”s insistence that his denomination is part of the ancient Christian tradition.


But just as the Catholic Church has accepted Mormon help in serving the poor in the name of Christ, and just as ordinary Republican Mormons have found it in their hearts to accept me, a Democrat, as if I might be a real Mormon all the same, I wish Dr. Mohler would take the tiny, tiny step of saying, not that Mormons are right, but that a person can believe as a Mormon does and still do good works in the name of Christ, that would be acceptable to Christ by that clear, bright standard:


Even as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.



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Dallevian

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:26 pm


Did you intend to walk out of the original debate? Because…you did. It’s nice and all that you posted a very qualified (e.g. you catered to your argument to suit your purpose, I’m not posting on your merit or lack of) essay, but it really isn’t that relating to the topic at hand. Please qualify the question ‘Are Mormons Christian’ instead of qualifying your intended agenda.
Cheers.
Dal



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Byron

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:34 pm


I appreciate the graciousness of this conversation; I certainly think that this is an appropriate forum to discuss these questions. What I find myself puzzled by, as an evangelical Christian, is Mr. Card’s penchant for skirting the issue and speaking in generalities, of spending so much time on Mitt Romney, etc. I do concede, of course, that Mitt’s presidential aspirations give rise to the discussion in the first place; I further concede, along with Dr. Mohler, that Mitt lives an exemplary moral lifestyle. I have not decided what to think regarding Mr. Romney’s candidacy, frankly; I think that both Card and Mohler make points worthy of consideration.
That said, the issue is not, “is Mitt Romney a good guy”, or “are Mormons moral, ethical people”, or anything like that; it’s simply, what does the Bible teach, and how does the Mormon church stack up with its teachings? For instance, Mr. Card speaks of those who “receive the saving grace of Christ that is offered to all who will believe and obey his commandments”. That sounds like an orthodox statement on its face, and many evangelicals might be tempted to accept it—but evangelicals do not believe that the “saving grace of Christ” is available to those who a priori “obey His commandments”. I appreciate the fact that this may seem like a fine distinction, but the grace of God is not contingent upon my obedience (else it is not grace at all).
I do not, by the way, begrudge Mormons the use of the title “Christian”; they are free to describe themselves in any manner they choose (it’s America, right?). That said, I put it simply this way, given that our definitions of what constitutes a Christian to be mutually-exclusive: if I, as an evangelical, am a Christian, then those who put their faith in Mormon theology cannot be as well; if Mormons are Christians, then I, who deny the essence of their understanding of the Christian faith, am not a Christian. We can both call ourselves “Christians”, but in the sense which is meaningful to me as an evangelical, we cannot both BE “Christians”.



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tim

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:41 pm


I think Mr Card should be running for the presidency because for the life of me he talks but never says anything relevant to the issue at hand. I agree with Dal—Mr Card—start by saying what it is your Gospel is and where in the Bible it is supported. Humanism and decency and all of that is fine but none of that according to Jesus will leave us in good standing in front of a Holy God. What is it you are trying to say???? tim



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nowandlater

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:57 pm


Oh brother!
Every sect, even Catholics, are distanced in time from Jesus Christ. And all claim their Christianity on their understanding of the Bible. It sounds like God is not arguing here but men.



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Leslie

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:07 pm


Thought you may enjoy this take on this issue from Salon.com. The fact is, we must unite. In the end, we both believe in the same Jesus that was born in a stable over 2,000 years ago, and we have the same values. That should be enough. Here is Camille Paglia’s take on it:
“Many thanks to you and to the other Salon readers who sent detailed, indignant letters about Mormonism. It is true that I am perhaps excessively hypersensitive (given that I’m a professed atheist) to the arrogation to themselves by evangelical Protestants of the term “Christian.”
Whatever the official ruling of the Vatican, however, it is in my view absurd to deny that Mormonism, despite the mythic claims of its founder, is a historical branch of Christianity. Assertions that belief in the divinity of Christ is a priori definitional of Christianity simply replay the theological disputes of the Middle Ages, when losers in the heresy wars were burned at the stake.
In the map of world religions, Mormonism is indisputably a subset of Christianity. It is perhaps futile to appeal to believers to overlook doctrinal differences, so I’m scarcely optimistic about convincing anyone. But my passionate interest in and commitment to religious study (which I have long argued should be integrated into primary and secondary education) is on the record. One example is my essay, “Religion and the Arts in America” (a lecture I gave at Colorado College in February), which has just been published by Arion and should be posted on its Web site by next week.”



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Dallevian

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:39 pm


Alright, stay with me here.
All people originated from Adam and Eve. In the same way, Christianity and Mormonism originated from Jesus Christ (sure, I realize this isn’t wholly accurate).
These days, when we choose to fill in those bubbles on employment forms and what have you, we typically liken ourselves to the historical precedent. Whites are white, blacks are blacks. (This isn’t about racism, friends!) Now, this heritage has long been established and identified. Each culture is dramatically different from the other even though the origin remains the same. I’m from European descent (read: white), so I don’t fill in the Latin-American bubble or anything.
But what if I did? Would me wanting to identify with that culture, because I love chips and salsa, loud colors, and great soccer games validate me as now being an amigo? I’m still just a white dude, no? It doesn’t matter how much I argue and claim a few semblances of that culture, I never embody the entirety of Latin-Americans or African-Americans and therefore I’m not that. I’m not from Latin-American descent.
Why are people trying to assimilate Mormonism into Christianity? Sure, they claim a lot of similarities with the Christian doctrine. Then again, their history even beyond that is vastly different to Christian (and Jewish) doctrine. So…it’s not Christianity, is it? I mean, the historical precedence just doesn’t fit with it. The current doctrinal perspective doesn’t either. So this different names for the same thing (Plans, check into it) just doesn’t work out.
Wanting to identify across an established barrier with obvious differences will not get you very far. It’s not the same. The history isn’t even the same, and it doesn’t make sense. Me claiming to be non-white doesn’t make sense, either, no matter how unfun it might be.
I’m glad we share some common background together. I like Abraham. Jesus ruled (seriously). But we’re not just arguing perspectives here, we’re arguing legitimacy and the validity of involving a foreign religion to masquerade as Christian. I’m white. I’m not gray and neither is this issue. As much as I want to generalize the very last of you into being autonomous borgs with identicle histories, we’re not the same. Celebrating as such only demeans any type of truth.
But we can still be friends.
Dal



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Daniel

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:46 pm


There is no doubt that Governor Romney would make a great neighbor. There is a bit of confusion, however, in Mr. Card’s understanding of Christ-likeness. Good works for good works’ sake is not Christ-likeness. A Hindu could be as morally upstanding as Governor Romney, but would we call him Christ-like? Buddhists also make great neighbors. True Christ-likeness is found in the intentions, the heart. Any good work without the glory of Christ as it’s goal should not be considered Christ-like. Christ had a goal in doing the works he did:
“‘But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ he said to the paralytic-‘I say to you, get up, and pick up your strecher and go home.'” Luke 5:24
Christ did his works on earth to glorify his Father and to show the world that he was God incarnate. Christ-like works would do the same. Perhaps at this point I need to clarify the Christ of which I speak:
-He is the eternal Word become flesh (John 1:1, 1:18)
-He is the one who Thomas called “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28)
-He is “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1)
-He is the one of whom the Pslamist and the author of Hebrews says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” (Hebrews 1:8)
-Luke describes his ministers as those who “shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood.”
-He is called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6)
This must be the Jesus that is emulated and glorified. Not the Jesus created by another gospel (expressly condemned in Galatians 1) If Mormons are to be called Christians and act Christ-like, they must deny the Book of Mormon (in obedience to Gal. 1 and Rev. 22:18-19), and declare Jesus Christ as God overall forever to be praised. Mere good-neighborliness will not cut it.
Romney’s presidency would neither thwart nor expand the gospel of Jesus Christ. God will call his sheep in his time, and they will come. (John 10) The true gospel of Jesus Christ is not threatened.



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Victor

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:46 pm


Byron I would like to ask you: What is the Grace of God contingent upon? Is it not the Evangelical standpoint that the Grace of God is contingent upon our accepting it? How is that not obediance?



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nowandlater

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:56 pm


Sorry, anything good is Christ-like including Budhists or even Aethists. They may recognize it but goodness is Christ-like. If the definition is that one must correctly or fully understand Christ to be Christ-like then none of us will qualify.
No, if the question is whether we will be on the right hand of Jesus when we are judged that is a different story.



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nowandlater

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:00 pm


When Christ says “Come follow me” and “Walk the path he trod”. Did that mean just a heart felt declaration of faith only?
So Paul’s Christianity is all epistles but no missions? All sermons but no prison? All declaration of Faith but no stonings? All commune with the Saints but no lonely imprisonment?



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GB

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:00 pm


Dal:Why are people trying to assimilate Mormonism into Christianity?
GB:Why are you trying to exclude it?



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Brady

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:08 pm


Orson,
You mentioned I don’t know how many times that there was nothing for you to DO in the church. That would be an incredibly difficult situation because the salvation of Mormons is based on the things that you DO…good works or bad works.
This is exactly what Spencer W. Kimball, the former president of your church wrote in his book The Miracle of Forgiveness…”Eternal life hangs in the balance awaiting the works of men. This process toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through the perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us… Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.” (p. 208-209)
It is clear that YOU MUST ACHEIVE PERFECTION AND TRIUMPH OVER SIN IN ORDER TO DO THAT!
That is impossible. The Bible teaches that those who put their faith alone in Christ Will be saved for their sins. It explicitly says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”
Christians depend fully on Jesus Christ for our salvation and the moment that we put our faith in Him we are saved and HAVE eternal life from that moment on. Those who truly put their faith in Christ and don’t just say words have no possibility of losing the eternal life that they have from that moment on.
Below I let the Bible clarify the most common passage in the Bible that is used by Mormons regarding faith and works in James chapter 2.
Any comments/corrections are welcome if you can back up your corrections with the Bible.
I have done a study of what the Bible teaches about the relationship of Faith and Words with regard to salvation. Please do as it says in Acts 17:11-12 and search the Bible to see if the things you have been taught are true. Please do not trust a feeling in your heart (Jeremiah 17:9), but rather trust what the word of God says. I do not want to trust the things my parents, pastors, friends, or anyone else have taught me, but instead I want to trust what is says in the Bible because it is the Word of God and God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). I truly am seeking for truth because if what I believe is not true, I do not want to pay the consequences for my sin and spend eternity in hell (Matthew 25:41, 46). If what the LDS church teaches is not true, I do not want you to spend eternity in hell. If what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches is true about the role faith and works play in regard to my salvation, I am willing to renounce being a Southern Baptist and become a Mormon. If you think I am wrong please show me in the Bible where I am wrong. Thanks!
Romans 3:19-31 – Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
My Observations:
• Verses 19-20 – These verses say that by doing good works (the works of the Law) no flesh will be justified. The purpose of the Law is to make us aware of our sin because it is impossible to fully keep (Romans 3:20).
• Verses 21-22 – These verses state that the righteousness of God is not dependent on the Law (verse 21), but rather the righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ. These verses are clear that our righteousness is not dependent on our good works, but rather by faith alone.
• Verse 26 – This verse says that God demonstrates his righteousness by so that he would be the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. This verse does not say that he is the justifier of the one who has faith, works, and is baptized, etc. It states that faith is what justifies us.
• Verse 27 – This verse declares (in the context of the previous verse) that justification occurs when we have faith in Jesus and not because of any works that we are doing to trying to do. If it were to be because of works that we have done or are doing we could boast and say that I am justified because of the works I have done.
• Verse 28 – Says in a straight forward way that man is justified by faith alone, apart from the works of the Law. Again there is a pattern in these verses that is very clear…Faith alone is what causes our justification in the sight of God and not the works of the Law.
• Verse 30 – states that God will justify both the circumcised and uncircumcised (everyone) by faith. It does not matter if a person has done the work of circumcision or not. If he has faith, he will be justified.
• Verse 31 – Says that just because faith alone saves us does not mean that we do not have to follow the commands of the Law. After we are justified by having true faith in Jesus, we will follow the Law (even though we will sin and mess up at times).
What do these verses say about what justifies us?
What do these verses say about what does not justify us?
Romans 4:1-25 – What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. 8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”
9 ¶ Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. 13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
17 ¶ (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
My Observations:
• Verse 2 – States that IF Abraham was justified by works then he could boast before God because he could boast and say that his works are the reason he is justified.
• Verse 3 – Says that the Bible says that Abraham believed (had faith in) God and that is what made him righteous.
• Verses 4-6 – These verses declare that work (works) are not what matters because even the one who does not work but believes in Jesus through faith God says that that person is righteous. Verse 6 again makes it clear that our righteousness is not dependent on our works.
• Verses 9-11 – make clear when and how Abraham was made righteous. Abraham was righteous before he did the work of the Law and was circumcised. Abraham did get circumcised after he was made righteous by his faith which was a sign to show that he was righteous even before he was circumcised. I think this can be said about the meaning of baptism as well because now in the new covenant baptism takes the place of circumcision, but baptism still remains a public symbol that the person getting baptized has already been justified by faith before the baptism takes place. This is evidence that baptism does not justify you, but rather faith by itself does.
• Verses 12-13 – Say that the promise to Abraham was not made through the Law, but rather through the righteousness of faith.
• Verses 14-15 – State that if only those who perfectly keep the law, which is impossible to do (Romans 7:15-25), receive the promise, then faith has no value. The Law brings about wrath because when we break the Law we must pay for our sins.
• Verse 16 – Says that it is by faith which is in accordance with grace that all Jews, who are under the Law, and all Gentiles, who were not under the Law, will receive the promise. The promise is guaranteed to every Jew or Gentile who has true faith in Jesus Christ.
• Verses 19-22 – These verses say that even though Sarah’s womb was unable to bear children because of her age that Abraham believed through faith the promise of God. God’s promise was that he would allow Sarah to be able to have a child even though she was past the normal child bearing age. Because of Abraham’s faith, and for no other reason, he was righteous.
Romans 5:1-2 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
• These verses clearly state that faith is what justifies and faith is what allows us to be introduced (or take part in) to His grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
• These verses say that our faith is what allows us to be under the grace of God. Our faith is not something that we can take credit for because it is a gift of God. IF we were saved by grace because of our works then we would have something to boast about, but we are saved by faith, which God gives to us, so we cannot boast. It is impossible to say that our faith originated from us because God gave it to us as a gift. We did nothing to deserve his gift of faith.
Titus 3:5-8 – He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
• Verse 5 – declares that Jesus saved us according to his mercy and not because of the good deeds we have done in righteousness.
• Verse 8 – States that those who have (past tense) believed God by faith and therefore have already been justified/saved are to be obedient and do good deeds. It is important to note that the good deeds are to follow being justified and are not a part of what initially justifies you before the Lord.
Galatians 3:21-26 – Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
• Verse 21 – This verse states that laws were not given to give life to people who obey them. If the laws were given so that people could by good works be justified, then righteousness would have been based on whether or not you could follow the law. Righteousness is not based on the law.
• Verse 22 – The Bible silences all sinners so that the promise of God (salvation), which is through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to all who believe.
• Verses 23-24 – This verse declares that the purpose of the Law is to reveal our sins to us which causes us to see that we need to put our faith in Jesus Christ so that he will forgive our sins. The last part of the verse tells us that our sins are forgiven (which means that we are justified) because of our faith alone in Jesus.
• Verses 25-26 – State that we are sons of God (have been justified) because we put our faith in Jesus Christ and nothing else.
Romans 9:30-33 – What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
• Verses 30-31 – State that the Gentiles received righteousness by their faith, but Israel did not because they pursued a law of righteousness by basing their righteousness on their ability to do the works of the law.
• Verse 32 – Says that the reason that Israel did not receive righteousness is because they did not pursue righteousness by faith, but rather by works. These verses are another example that shows that faith alone is what justifies us and therefore makes us righteous before God, not works or baptism or anything else.
Romans 11:6 – But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
• This verse states that if our justification is by grace, it is not on the basis of works. If it were on the basis of works grace would no longer be grace because grace is something that we get even though we do not deserve it. Since every person is a sinner and sins regularly, everyone deserves to pay the penalty for our sin which is death. Another way of saying the same thing is that our bad works make everyone deserve the wrath of God, but if we put our faith in Him, He will show us grace and forgive us our sins. This is something that none of us deserve.
*Galatians 5:4-6 – You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
• Verse 4 – Please read this verse carefully because it says that everyone who seeks to be justified by the works of the law has been separated or cut from Christ and is fallen from Grace. If someone believes that good works are part of what justifies you then you are not a Christian and are separated from Jesus.
• Verses 5-6 – Say that whether you have done the work of circumcision or if you are uncircumcised that does not matter because the only thing that matters is our faith.
Romans 1:16-18 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
• Verse 16 – Is clear that the gospel is what brings salvation to everyone who believes (in Jesus through faith). It does not say that salvation comes to everyone who practices good works and is baptized.
• Verse 17 – states that righteousness is revealed from faith and that the righteous shall live by faith.
• Verse 18 – Is a very strong verse because it says that God’s wrath will be on anyone who suppresses the truth of God. I am worried for Mormons because the teaching of the Mormon Gospel suppresses the clear truth, as I am trying to show by using God’s Word, that justification/salvation IS by faith alone and NOT by faith AND works AND baptism.
Galatians 2:16-21 – nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. 17 “But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! 18 “For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 “For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
• Verse 16 – This verse declares that a person is not justified by works of the Law, but rather through faith in Christ Jesus. Then the verse again says that justification comes by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law because works of the Law will not justify anyone. It is hard to get any more clear than this verse, and it is even more difficult to disregard what this verse clearly declares and believe something else.
• Verse 21 – Says that if righteousness were to come through the Law, then the death of Jesus Christ which atoned for our sins would have not been necessary.
Romans 10:2-10 – For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. 6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
• To be justified by God and be saved one must have true faith which will lead you to confess your sins with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. If you put your faith in Jesus alone and do not base your salvation on works, baptism or anything else (as the previous verses have shown) you will be a Christian who has been justified because of your faith in Jesus.
Note: I am well aware that the passage in James on faith and works is an important part of the discussion of how faith and works relate to our justification. I also am aware from personal experience that this is the first passage that Mormons turn to when the make the argument is made (with all the previous verses) that Christians are justified by faith alone and not works. Before we address James chapter 2, please ask yourself, “What does the Bible teach thus far in the verses I have shown?” As you know by now, I would strongly argue (because of what the Bible, God’s Word, says) that the above verses clearly show that a Christian’s justification must be based on faith alone and not works. Now it is my goal to use the whole context of James chapter two to evaluate this passage.
James 2:1 – My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.
• James chapter 2 begins by showing the group of people that James is addressing. The verse says that James is talking to his brethren (see also James 2:14 and 3:1) who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, in chapter 2 James is speaking to people who already have put their faith in Jesus Christ and have therefore (as the above verses show) already been justified by their faith in Jesus. James is speaking to Christians who have already been justified/saved.
James 2:14-24 – What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
• In verse 14, James asks his brethren, Christians who are already justified, a question. He asks them if someone were to say (or claim) that he has faith but has no works, could their “claim of faith” save them? This is a rhetorical question that has an implied answer of, “No” as the rest of the passage will show.
• Verses 15-19 give an example of someone who claims to have faith, but has no works that are necessary to back up their claim. Verse 19 makes an important point that unless a person believes God, through faith, their belief means nothing because even the demons believe God and shudder. The demons know that God is real, but they are unable to put their faith in God so their belief means nothing. In the same way, if a person were to claim to have faith or be a Christian and not have good works to back up their claim there is good reason to doubt if that person has really put their faith in Jesus Christ.
• Verse 20 again clarifies the meaning of the example that is found in verses 15-19. Verse 20 says that “faith” without works is useless or is not true faith. Again it is important to remember that James is talking to his brethren (true Christians) who have faith in Jesus and therefore are already justified. James is warning his brethren that they must (since they are already justified) have good works that reflect the fact that their faith has justified them.
• In verses 21-24 James gives a very important example that is in several of the above verse that we have already looked at. I have purposely waited to go to the book of Genesis in the Old Testament so that this example can be properly evaluated in its rightful context.
• Before I go to Genesis, I think it is important to define what the word justification means and to determine if there is more than one meaning for the word. I argue that there are 2 different meanings of the word justification. The Greek word dikaioo (justify) can mean either “God’s declaration that you are righteous” or it can mean “to show or demonstrate to be righteous.” A person who is showing themselves to be righteous can either be a true Christian who is already justified (declared to be righteous by God) by faith alone or the person who is “showing themselves to be righteous” could be someone who is NOT a true Christian because they did not put their faith alone in Jesus Christ, and therefore are not righteous. In all the above verses that we looked at before this James passage the word justification clearly means that God is “declaring that the people who put their faith alone in Him are righteous.“
• An example of the other use of the Greek word dikaioo (justify) is found in Luke 16:14-15, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God” (emphasis added).
• The point here is that the Pharisees were always attempting to show others that they were righteous by their outward deeds. I know that we both will agree that the Pharisees were not really righteous even though they attempted to do outward works to try to show themselves to be righteous. The Bible speaks very plainly in many places that the Pharisees were not truly justified (by God) and therefore were not truly righteous (Matt. 5:20, Matt. 23:13, etc.). As the verses before James chapter 2 show, God justifies (declares someone to be righteous) because of their faith alone and not because of their works or anything else. The Pharisees were trying to justify (show themselves to be righteous) by their works which did not justify them because they were basing their justification on their works.
• Now we are ready to go to Genesis so that we can properly evaluate the example that is given in James 2:21-23.
• Genesis 15:2-6 – Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” 4 Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” 5 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 descendants be.” 6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
• In the above Genesis passage, God promises Abraham that He will give Abraham a son by his wife Sarah (in spite of the fact that she was past child bearing age). Abraham had faith that God would do what he promised and therefore God reckoned/declared Abraham to be righteous. It is very important to understand the time in Abrahams life that God reckoned him to be righteous and therefore justified him (declared him to be righteous). Abraham was declared righteous by God (justified) in Genesis 15:6 which was before Isaac, his son that God promised that Sarah would have, was born.
• In James 2:21 it says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God. The question is, What definition of justification is implied in this verse?
• In Genesis 22:8-14, the story is told of how Abraham obeyed God by carrying out God’s command to offer up Isaac his only son on the alter. At the last second God stopped Abraham from killing his son, but God tells Abraham that he showed/demonstrated his righteousness because he had faith in God and was willing to offer up his only son. This story happened many years after Abraham’s promised son, Isaac, was born. It is important to remember that God had already reckoned/declared Abraham to be righteous (Gen. 15:6) before Isaac was even born so the use of the word “justified” in James 2:21 falls under the second meaning of the word justified which is to “show or demonstrate to be righteous.” Abraham had already been justified (declared to be righteous) because he had faith that God would cause his wife Sarah to become pregnant in her old age and give birth to Isaac. Abraham’s obedience to God showed that his righteousness was a true righteousness based on faith alone unlike the Pharisees who attempted to justify (show themselves to be righteous) by their good works.
• Again, the definition of justified that is implied in James 2:21 is that Abraham showed himself to be righteous. This is the proper understanding of the Greek word dikaioo because Abraham had already been declared by God to be righteous in Genesis 15:6 before Isaac was even born.
• Verses 22 and 23 clearly state that Abraham’s faith was working with his works. In the same way, the good works of a Christian should work with their faith in such a way that shows everyone that sees them that they are truly what that claim to be…Christians justified (declared to be righteous by God) by faith alone. This passage never says that good works are what God looks at to declare you to be righteous, but rather good works are supposed to show or be evidence that you have already been declared to be righteous by God.
• The thief on the cross is another example of someone who was justified (declared by God to be righteous) because of his faith alone (Luke 23:39-43). Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” The thief, was justified even though he had no good works and could not be baptized.
• Now after a careful evaluation of James 2:14-23, we are ready to address the most difficult verse which is James 2:24, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” With our careful evaluation of the previous verses does this verse cause a problem for people like me who believe that Christians are justified (declared to be righteous by God) by faith alone apart from works?
• Now that we have been able to gain a proper understanding of the Greek word dikaioo (justify), it is clear that the meaning of the word “justified” as it is used in James 2:24 means that a man shows himself to be righteous by his works because he cannot show his justification to others by faith itself because faith is not something that can be seen by itself. Faith is invisible, but the evidence of true faith, good works, are what can be seen. This evidence of good works that can be seen is what shows that we have been made righteous (justified) by faith alone. As I have tried to show, a proper understanding of the Greek word dikaioo is essential to be able to understand how faith and works relate to each other in regard to their role in our justification. It is critically important to understand what the Bible teaches about what causes God to justify (declare to be righteous) a person, and how those who have been justified (declared to be righteous) by faith alone can show themselves to be righteous by justifying, by their good works or by being baptized.
Acts 15:1-19 – “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. 3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. 4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses. 6 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. 7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” 12 All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. 14 “Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 “With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, 16 ‘AFTER THESE THINGS I will return, AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN, AND I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL RESTORE IT, 17 SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,’ 18 SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO. 19 “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles.”
• This passage in Acts is a very important passage because it is only place in the Bible where both Paul and James are together discussing what the requirement for justification/salvation (God declaring to be righteous) is.
• Verses 1 – states that some men came from Judea and began to teach that unless you are circumcised you cannot be saved/justified. Another way of saying the same thing is that these men were claiming that faith alone is not what justifies/saves, but one must also be circumcised in order to be justified/saved. This verse is saying that some men were teaching that justification/salvation is dependent on the work of being circumcised.
• Verse 2 – says that Paul and Barnabas strongly disagreed with these men who were teaching that the work of circumcision is a requirement for salvation. After an intense debate with the men, Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to further discuss this issue with the other Apostles and elders.
• Verses 4-6 – report that Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem where they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders. Paul and Barnabas shared with all those who welcomed them about the debate that they had had with the men from Judea regarding circumcision. After they had shared, some of the Pharisees stood up and said the same thing that the men from Judea had said. The Pharisees said that it was necessary for anyone who believes to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders came together to further discuss the issue of whether or not the work of circumcision and obedience to the Law of Moses were required to be justified/saved (declared to be righteous by God).
• In verses 7-9 – the Apostle Peter, after much debate, says that God gave his Holy Spirit to the Gentiles in the same way he gave the Holy Spirit to the Jews, by faith alone. Peter is clear when he says that there is no distinction and therefore no requirement of circumcision or perfect obedience to the Mosaic Law, in order to be justified/saved (declared to be righteous by God). The last part of verse 9 is very clear when it says that God cleanses their hearts by faith. The Apostle Peter says that faith is what cleanses our hearts. If the work of circumcision or obedience to the Mosaic Law were to be a requirement for justification/salvation, then Peter would have made that clear when he made this statement.
• In verse 10 – Peter asks the Pharisees why they are putting God to the test by putting a yoke (perfect obedience to the Mosaic Law) upon the necks of the disciples and their fathers. In verse 11 Peter explains that obedience to the Mosaic Law is not what justifies, but rather God’s Grace.
• In verse 11 – Peter declares that we (those who believe in justification by faith alone) are save by the grace of Jesus Christ. Please remember what is says in Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Everyone who puts their faith alone in Jesus Christ will be saved by His Grace and NOT because of any work such as circumcision, baptism, or obedience to the Mosaic Law.
• Verse 13-18 – are essential verses to notice because they say that James, the one who wrote the book of James, was with them and began to speak. James was a part of those who had gathered to discuss whether or not faith alone is what causes God to justify (declare to be righteous) sinners or whether the work of circumcision was a requirement. It is important to notice the response of James because if James had disagreed with Peter when Peter said that God cleanses our hearts (justifies) by faith and not by the work of circumcision, then James surely would have spoken up and said that Peter was wrong.
• James did not speak up against what Peter says, but rather in Verse 19 voices his approval that the Gentiles do not have to do the work of circumcision because they are saved by faith alone just like Jews are. I pray that you can see that Paul, Peter, and James all agree that faith alone is what justifies, not works of the Law. With an understanding of their agreement, it is hopefully even more clear that James 2:14-24 does NOT contradict, but rather affirms the teaching of Paul that faith alone is what justifies/saves.
I Corinthians 1:17 – “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.”
• This verse plainly says that Paul was not sent to Baptize, BUT to preach the gospel. As noted above and below, the gospel is what must be done for a sinful person to be forgiven of their sin and have eternal life. The Bible teaches a person must have Faith alone in the true Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
• The Bible nowhere says that baptism is a requirement to be saved as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches. This verse is a crystal clear example that baptism is not to be seen as a part of the gospel and is therefore not a requirement for someone to do in order to be saved. Baptism must be done after someone is saved by faith alone in the true Jesus Christ in order to be obedient to God’s command to be baptized.
Galatians 1:6-9 – I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
• Before I talk about this passage I want to show how the Mormon Church defines the Gospel.
• In Spencer Kimball’s book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, he defines the Gospel. “The gospel is a program of action – of doing things. Man’s immortality and eternal life are God’s goals. (Moses 1:39). Immortality has been accomplished by the Savior’s sacrifice. Eternal life hangs in the balance awaiting the works of men” (p. 208, emphasis added).
• This quote from his book is clear that the Mormon understanding of eternal life in dependent on the works of men, and therefore the Mormon gospel is not dependent on faith alone in Jesus Christ. As I have shown with the above verses the Mormon gospel is not the true gospel that is found in the Bible.
• Spencer Kimball further defines what is necessary for men to do to follow the Mormon gospel and attain eternal life. “In order to reach the goal of eternal life and exaltation and godhood, one must be initiated into the kingdom by baptism, properly performed; one must receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of authoritative hands; a man must be ordained to the priesthood by authorized priesthood holders; one must be endowed and sealed in the house of God by the prophet who holds the keys or by one of those to whom the keys have been delegated; and one must live a life of righteousness, cleanliness, purity and service. None can enter into eternal life other than by the correct door – Jesus Christ and his commandments” (p. 6 in The Miracle of Forgiveness).
• This quote from Kimball’s book lists many works that must be done in order to reach the goal of eternal life. In this quote faith is never mentioned! I pray that what the former President of your church is saying is clear to you…the Mormon gospel is a works based gospel that you must follow in order to attain eternal life. This clearly contradicts what the Bible teaches about justification by faith alone which guarantees eternal life. (If you want another description of the Mormon gospel that is based on works you can find it in the Mormon book, True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference on page 76).
• The true gospel that is found in the Bible is that a person is justified and therefore guaranteed eternal life if they have true faith in Jesus Christ. Faith alone is the Biblical gospel.
• Now with an understanding of what the gospel of the Mormon Church is, I will discuss what the Bible says are the consequences of teaching and believing a different Gospel. I will be using Galatians 1:6-9 (see above).
• In verse 6, the Apostle Paul says that he is amazed that people are starting to follow a different gospel (a gospel that adds other requirements, such as works and baptism, to having faith in Jesus Christ).
• Verse 7 states that the different gospel is really not another gospel (because there is only one gospel), but some people are trying to distort the one true gospel of Christ.
• In verses 8-9, the Apostle Paul then declares that if he or an angel or anyone else were to preach a different gospel that what he (Paul) had already preached to them, then the person who preaches a different gospel is accursed or condemned. It is important to understand that when Paul says that anyone who preaches a gospel that is different than the one that he had previously preached, he is referring to the gospel that he had preached which is recorded in the other books of the Bible such as Romans, Ephesians, Galatians, and Titus. Every above scripture that I have used to show that the true gospel of Jesus Christ is that faith alone justifies us was authored by Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of course. Therefore, the gospel that Paul says is being distorted is one that Paul himself wrote and explained in the passages that I have used in this evaluation of faith and works.
• In Galatians 1:11-12, Paul tells where he got his understanding of what the gospel is, “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
• This Galatians passage make it clear that any gospel that says a person is not justified by faith alone is not the true gospel. Therefore, the Mormon gospel is not a true gospel and all who follow it are accursed and will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, Hell (25:41, 46).
Matthew 7:13-23 – “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.
• Verses 13-14 state that the narrow gate (which leads to a path that is not easy, but has eternal rewards with Jesus) is the gate that we should enter. The wide gate is an easier gate to enter because it is an easier path, but it is a path that leads to destruction as verse 13 says.
• Verse 15 – warns about trusting false prophets because if you trust and put your faith in the teachings of a false prophet you will be eternally separated from God when you die. A wolf will kill you which is the same thing that will happen to you if you trust a false prophet.
• Verses 16-20 – state that you can get a good idea about whether someone is justified by observing their works because a Christian who has been justified (declared to be righteous by God) should have good works.
• BUT as verses 21-23 illustrate you cannot trust someone just because they have good works. In these verses Jesus says that not everyone who “says” they believe in God and might “say” that they put their faith in God is truly justified (declared to be righteous by God).
• In verses 22-23 Jesus says that many people will come to him, when they are being judged, and say, “Jesus did we not do many good works in your name such as prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles? Jesus’ answer to those who think they are saved because they have done many good works ends the argument about whether or not works will save you. Jesus tells the people who have done good works to depart from Him because He never knew them (they were never justified by their works)! These verses are a great example to show that if someone has works, but does not have true faith in Jesus, their works will NOT justify/save them from their sins!
Deuteronomy 13:1-11 – “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5 “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. 6 “If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end), 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. 9 “But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 “So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11 “Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you.
• Please be careful about following someone who teaches something that is contrary to what the Bible, the Word of God, teaches because the Bible says that any so called prophet that teaches things contrary to the Bible is a false prophet that, during the Old Testament time, would be killed as it says in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (see also Deuteronomy 18:20-22).
• The false prophet that is described in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 even had good works such as signs and wonders, but the passage says that if the things that the “prophet” is teaching go against what the Bible teaches, he is a false prophet deserving of death. The scary thing about this passage is that it defines anyone who purposefully teaches something contrary to God’s word as a false prophet, which includes a brother, sister, father, mother, or anyone else (verses 6-11).
• Please do not put your faith in the teachings of anything or anyone other than the Bible because the Bible is the Word of God. If other books or prophets teach things that are contrary to what the Bible teaches, then those books and prophets do not contain the word of God and should not be trusted, even if they do some good works, or signs, or miracles.
II Peter 3:16-18 – “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
• This passage is not meant to be an insult, but I think it is very relevant to what you have been taught as Mormons. I have told you many times that I do not trust what my parents, professors, friends (mormon missionaries), or anyone else teach me about the Bible without first going to the Bible and searching and studying it to see what it says just like the Bereans did in Acts 17:11-12. The time that I have taken to do this study on Faith and Works is also evidence of the way that I do things. Please do not trust a “feeling” in your heart or a “burning in your bosom” or a prophet, etc. more than you trust what the Word of God clearly says in the Bible because the Bible came from God and is truth (II Timothy 3:16-17, John 17:17).
• Jeremiah 17:9 says why it is dangerous to trust a feeling in your heart…”The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.” Here is an example that might be helpful to understand why it is dangerous to trust a feeling…I got mad at my friend and felt like killing him because he stole something from me. I earnestly prayed to God and asked God if I could kill him. When I got done praying, I still felt like killing my friend. The question is could I kill my friend just because I had prayed and still had the feeling to kill him? I know that we would agree that it would be wrong to kill my friend even though I still felt like it. The question is why would it be wrong to kill him? It would be wrong because the Bible, the Word of God, says Thou shall not kill. When the Word of God says something, it overrides any and every feeling that we, as humans, might have that goes against what the Word of God says. Please do not trust a feeling in your heart or something that a human teacher or prophet says that contradicts the Word of God, but rather trust what the Bible says.
• The verses in II Peter 3:16-18 warn people not to blindly follow the teachings of men who distort the things that the scriptures teach. I beg you to seriously consider whether or not you are right in following the teachings of a man, Joseph Smith, or whether you should follow the teachings of God himself that are found in the Bible. If the Bible is the Word of God, then every Mormon will spend eternity in Hell because they do not believe the true Gospel of Jesus Christ which is that someone is justified by faith alone. Please do not risk being wrong.
• I have spent a lot of time on this because I wanted to find out whether the things that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches about Salvation were true or whether the things that I have been taught from the Bible are true. I am concerned for you because as I have shown that Bible clearly says that people who believe the teachings of the Mormon Church have not been justified by faith alone because they believe that works, baptism, etc. are requirements for salvation. According to the Bible, you have not been justified and therefore you are not Christians because your sins have not been forgiven. I care about where you spend eternity so please consider trusting what the Bible says about how you must be justified (by faith alone) to be a Christian and have your sins forgiven.
• I am confident that you understand the true gospel that is found in the Bible more clearly now. With your new understanding of the gospel you can either choose to do two things, 1. You can ignore what the Bible says about justification by faith alone and continue to be a Mormon, or 2. You can put your faith in Jesus Christ alone, leave the Mormon Church, and stop believing and teaching a false gospel. As you well know, if you leave the Mormon Church and believe and teach the true gospel, you will be rejected and detested by those in your church and probably those in your family. I know that your decision on whether or not to trust the true gospel is an extremely difficult decision, but if you do not leave the Mormon Church then you will spend eternity in hell as it says in Matthew 25:41 and 46, “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” Verse 46 – “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
• I know your decision will be hard, but I can guarantee that whatever difficulties that you might encounter because of your decision to leave the Mormon Church won’t be near as bad as being accursed and spending eternity in the eternal fire of Hell.
• Please do not forget what it says in Galatians 5:4-6 – “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.” Please do not seek to be justified by your works of the law.
• I beg you to make the right choice and I will be praying for you. Romans 10:9-10 says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
Please understand that I have taken the time to do this study to search and believe what the Bible says about faith and works (Acts 17:11-12), and not base the things I believe on a feeling. When I found things in the Bible that show that the teachings of the Mormon religion are not true, I could have kept the things that I have found to myself, but I truly care for you and so I spent the a lot of time preparing this. I love you and am concerned for you and your relationship with Jesus Christ because I do not want you to be deceived and spend eternity in hell because you have trusted the things you have been taught instead of studying the Bible and trusting what it teaches. Please do not put your faith in the words of any man, but rather in the Word of God, the Bible. It is my testimony that I have been justified by God (He has declared me to be righteous) because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ. As a result of my justification by faith alone, I am a Christian and I desire to do good works in order to be obedient to the commands of God and to show others that I am a Christian. The works that I do or do not do in no way affect my justification because my faith in Jesus Christ is what justifies me, apart from my works. Since I have been justified by faith, I must do good works because, if I don’t, I sin because God tells us to do good works.
If God is not with you…your labor is in vain,



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GB

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:09 pm


Daniel:
-He is the eternal Word become flesh (John 1:1, 1:18)
-He is the one who Thomas called “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28)
-He is “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1)
-He is the one of whom the Pslamist and the author of Hebrews says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” (Hebrews 1:8)
-Luke describes his ministers as those who “shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood.”
-He is called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6)
This must be the Jesus that is emulated and glorified. Not the Jesus created by another gospel
GB:Mormons believe all that.
Daniel:If Mormons are to be called Christians and act Christ-like, they must deny the Book of Mormon
GB:You are entitled to your opinion however wrong you may be. The Book of Mormon and “act Christ-like” are not mutually exclusive. I doubt you have even read the book.
Daniel:God will call his sheep in his time, and they will come. (John 10) The true gospel of Jesus Christ is not threatened.
GB: Very true.



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Daniel

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:24 pm


GB: Mormons believe all that
Daniel: Easy to say, hard to back up
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught,
“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.345; also cited in Gospel Principles, p.305).
Doesn’t quite match up with the “forever” and “eternity” language of the Bible.



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GB

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:28 pm


Brady
Your post is soo loonngg aannddd IIII ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ



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Byron

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:31 pm


Victor,
That’s a very fair question, certainly. The answer is this (and again, admittedly, this is a fine point—but it’s a fine point that makes all the difference): Card speaks of “obeying (Christ’s) commandments” in such a way as to make grace contingent upon something other than simple faith acceptance of His gracious offer of salvation. Yes, one could say that believing faith is obedience to God—and I’d agree. But obeying “commandments” (plural) implies something other than the ONLY obedient response that we can make: faith in Christ alone for salvation. Obeying Christ’s commandments (plural) comes as an act of obedience resulting from the desire on the part of a child of God to please His Savior, not in any way, shape, or form to obtain salvation, nor to strike some “bargain”, nor to “pay God back” for grace, but to humbly do what the glory of God calls for, and by so doing, the child of God demonstrates (not pays for nor earns) his faith, that it is genuine.



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Stuart

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:36 pm


As a Mormon, I do not want to be considered a modern-day Christian, nor have I ever attempted to do so. However, I am a Christian in the truest sense because I love my God, His Son and attempt to live my life in such a manner that I might receive Eternal Life and through Christ, I may “be perfect even as [my] Father in Heaven is perfect.”
This blog only demonstrates that modern-day “Orthodox Christians” or whatever you want to call yourselves (a right I will grant you) are similar to Jews during the days of Christ. Their tongues speak of Christ, but their hearts are far from Him. They profess to believe His gospel and written word, yet they have been tainted by the oral traditions of their fathers (or pagan emperors). If the Savior appeared today and taught the things that He taught Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah or Peter, modern-day Christians would disimiss Him even as the Jews of old.
I have commented numerous times on this blog and not one modern-day Christian has answered why they do not believe or practice the things taught by Jesus, His Propets or Apostles?
Ex: Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, eternal marriage, temples, baptism for the dead, the priesthood, priesthood ordinances, Prophets and Apostles, a quorum of Seventy to preach thte gospel, eternal life, godhood (John 10:34 and Psalm 82:6), the truth regarding the Godhood.
Without a living Prophet, the Bible says that God would be doing nothing for man. (Amos 3:7).
God lives, He loves us, He sent His Only Begotten Son to save us, and He does more for man that man credits him.
And because God is the same yesteerday, today and forever, God has continued His plan practiced for thousands of years: Speak to Man through living Prophets.



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P. Nielsen

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:43 pm


Why are so many of you assuming that Card is making grace contingent upon good works? I don’t see that at all. In fact, I don’t see anywhere that Card is talking about the philosophical implications of the interaction between grace and works. Further, I think he would eschew such talk as beside the point. He will serve Christ, whether God’s grace is contingent upon them or not (and I’d wager he’d say it is not).



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GB

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:44 pm


Daniel since you are getting nit picky
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Sorry but the word “eternal” doesn’t appear there. So your supposed conflict doesn’t exist.



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VoiceCryingOut

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:46 pm


Mr. Card says: “Wouldn’t evangelical Christianity be best served, not by proclaiming, “That man is no Christian!” but rather by proclaiming, ‘We may not agree with all his beliefs, but Christians should all try to live their understanding of Christ’s teachings as well and thoroughly as he does!'”
No. Evangelical Christianity is best served when looking to Jesus Christ as the example of how to live; how to love God first, then love others. Mitt Romney is not my example; Jesus alone is.
Having said this, I appreciate the fact that Catholics and Mormons worked together to feed the poor, free of religious bias. I’m touched by the spirit of cooperation on behalf of those in true need. And I’m sure those who were hungry appreciated it, as well.



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Eric Withers

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:50 pm


So instead of talking about the issue, Mr. Card pulls out his Rodney King theology…”Can’t we all just get along?” This is not meant to be a conversation about Mitt Romney. It is not meant to be a discussion on nice people, or family values, or humanitarian aid. It is not meant to be a conversation about how the Mormons and Catholics held hands, gave hugs, and spent money together. This is meant to be a discussion on whether or not Mormonism is Christian based upon the clear teachings of the Bible.
Mr. Card states in his conclusion, “I wish Dr. Mohler would take the tiny, tiny step of saying, not that Mormons are right, but that a person can believe as a Mormon does and still do good works in the name of Christ, that would be acceptable to Christ by that clear, bright standard” Dr. Mohler has no obligation to concede anything to the Mormons. He has no obligation to give any validity whatsoever to the false righteousness of a false faith. His job, as a man called by God to preach the gospel, and in this forum, is to give an honest representation of the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ and to compare it alongside Mormon religion.
And besides, for all your talk about the nice things Mormons do, so-called “good” people die and go to Hell every day. Just because Mormons are nice, helpful, family oriented, or anything else doesnt qualify them as Christian. Salvation is found only through Jesus Christ as represented in the Bible.



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Joy

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:52 pm


Many thanks to Professor Card!
You taught my daughter at SVU :) and I greatly respect your intellect and opinions (after all my daughter received an A in your class!) I’m sorry that your experience in Utah wasn’t better, but as you know, Mormons are not immune to imperfections! I think you are right that we can become complacent in our beliefs and fail to be as frequently self-examining as we should. As a former Methodist who converted to the church and was raised in the East, I may have a slightly more open-minded view of what it means to be a “true” Mormon than some of the Utah folks you mentioned. However, my middle daughter attends BYU and I felt quite at home among the Saints out West when we visited there. Her experiences at school couldn’t have been more positive, so I guess it’s up to us to make the difference and change attitudes. As Mormons and…ahem… dare I say Christians (my working definition is “follower of Christ and his teachings”) we should be Christ-like and fellowship and befriend other people. Wouldn’t the world be dull or worse if we were all exactly the same? I believe it was Lucifer himself who wanted to take away free will from us in the pre-existence.
This is a previous comment that I think applies here in the conversation about defining Christianity:
One thing I really like about my church is that I have always been taught NOT to disrespect other religions. Our 11th Article of Faith states, ”We claim the privilege of worshiping the Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
Historically, we are a faith that has been persecuted quite a lot, so this belief is particularly meaningful to us.
I am a Mormon and I know that we do not claim that other faiths hold no true doctrines. As for the definition of “Christianity” – as I stated in a previous day’s blog- I don’t believe we should argue semantics. I believe that Satan would like us to contend among ourselves over such things. This spirit of contention among religions that OSC alludes to is devisive and will only lead people away from Christ. Kind, open dialogue – yes! Contention – no! We should live as Christ taught us to live; therefore, we can be what he would have us be: Christ-like.
What do Mormons say when we are together in our church meetings? We say that many people (members of our church or not) are Christian and they do follow gospel teachings as Christ himself taught. If this is simplistic, then I confess to being a simple – and happy – woman.
We differ from most other Christian churches in our belief that God hasn’t stopped communicating with His children. We believe in continuing revelation; therefore, more scripture and a living Prophet. We believe that God answers our sincere prayers. How do we know what we receive is from God? That is a very important question!
Whether someone believes in the Bible alone or in the Book of Mormon as well, if a revelation (given to Joseph Smith or to you or me) is from God, then the Holy Spirit must be involved. How do you know that you are feeling the promptings of the Holy Spirit? According to scripture, you feel the promptings of the “still, small voice” within you or you experience a feeling of comfort, overwhelming love and peace. Yes, it’s hard to describe or explain because it’s something you must personally experience. It’s like trying to describe a taste to someone who has never eaten that particular food. Just give them a bite and – ahhhhh! There it is!
I’m so grateful for my friends, most of who are not members of my church because I don’t live in Utah (ha ha), who enrich my life and help bring me closer to my Savior. I accept the fact that this world is complex and only God knows our hearts.
“Joy” :)



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Tyler W

posted July 11, 2007 at 6:56 pm


Mr. Card, you do a great deal of neglecting the logos of your argument. None of us are convinced, nor is the discussion advanced, by mere anecdotes and appeals to pathos.
You believe in Muhammad, no? But you do not believe in the same Muhammad that a Sunni Muslim does. You could tell a Muslim that you both believe in the same Muhammad and that you both agree on who he is, but you would be lying. You do not believe he was the seal of the prophets, nor do you believe he was even a prophet to begin with (I’m making an assumption here). So your appeals to Muslims that you both believe in the same person would sound empty and hollow.
That is how your appeals to evangelicals sound when you speak of Christ. You do it and every single LDS “elder” I’ve ever met does it. It’s insincere. You do not hold the same view of Jesus Christ as a Christian who holds to the “traditional Christian orthodox” view of the person of Christ.
Mr. Card, please confront the issue without all the faff. This thesis is imbalanced and rides completely on the hopes that peope are not looking for any substantive debate.



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Stuart

posted July 11, 2007 at 7:05 pm


It was Dr. Mohler who brought up the Romney issue, not Mr. Card. The only reason why this blog debate is occurring is because Romeny may have a chance at the Presidency. If the Christian Right want to sabotage such a presidency, they may! However, they may seem hypcortical when they criticize men like Mccain who made nasty comments about them. The Christian Right is beginning to look more like the Liberal Democrats…one rules for ourselves and another rule for everyone else. Democratic Example: Free speech is important until it goes against our liberal views! Christian right: Freedom of Religion, except if it goes against our views.
Finally…I think it is odd that a majority of the doctrine of orthodox christianity comes from men (not called as Apostles or Prophets) who lived after the NT was written. HYPOCRITES?



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nowandlater

posted July 11, 2007 at 7:28 pm


“It was Dr. Mohler who brought up the Romney issue, not Mr. Card. The only reason why this blog debate is occurring is because Romeny may have a chance at the Presidency. ”
No, it was Card. Sorry. :(



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P. Nielsen

posted July 11, 2007 at 7:34 pm


Tyler W,
We believe Jesus of Nazareth died for our sins and rose the third day. We worship Him. We try to do what He commanded.
I am interested in an honest dialogue and if you are interested here is my first question. If I met you on the street, you didn’t know I was Mormon, and I asked “According to your beliefs, what must I do to be saved?” what would be your response? If you knew I was Mormon would your answer change?
Thanks,
P. Nielsen



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Raymond Takashi Swenson

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:05 pm


Apparently many of the people commenting would exclude not only Mormons from “Christianity”, but also Catholics, Orthodox, and any Protestant who comes from a more Arminian tradition of belief in the need for the Christian to engage his free will and express his or her faith through attempting to live righteously. There are a lot of Evangelical Christians who don’t believe in what they call “cheap grace”, James Dobson among them. Are they also excludced from being “Christians”?
In pure historical terms, the relationship between Protestant churches and the Catholic Church is the same as that between the LDS Church and the various Protestant churches of the American frontier in 1830 Upstate New York. Martin Luther and John Calvin rejected the dominant Cahtolic views of their day on many issues, including who had authority to interpret the Bible, and formed what were really new churches, but which nevertheless attracted people like themselves who had formerly been official members of the Catholic church and its priesthood. There were both discontinuities and continuities, but the discontinuities that made them “not Catholic” did not make them less Christian. They themselves clearly believed that the discontinuities made them MORE Christian than they had been before as Catholics.
Just so for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most of the members of the LDS Church were previously “Christians” in a sense generally accepted at the time. Many were affiliated with specific Protestant denominations of the day, while others were “seekers” who studied the Bible, believed what it said, and prayed to God, but did not think that any contemporary church had either authority or a sufficiently clear understanding of scripture that made it a necessary conduit to receiving grace and salvation. Even though there were discontinuities from existing Christian churches and their doctrines, there were also many continuities, including belief in the truth of the Bible and the reality of what it teaches about Christ as the only savior of mankind. In the life story of individual “Mormons”, there were those threads of continuity with Christianity as then taught and practiced. And like Luther and Calvin, the Latter-day Saints believed that their version of Christianity, with both its continuities with Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregationalist, and Baptist beliefs, and its discontinuity with some of them, was in fact MORE Christian than what they had experienced before as members of those churches or as unaffiliated Christian “seekers”.
To say that the discontinuities between Mormons and Methodists demarcate a threshold between “Christians” and “non-Christians” is just as silly as claiming that the discontinuities between Catholics and Lutherans rendered the Lutherans “non-Christians”. In pure historical terms, Mormons clearly had roots in the existing Protestant Christianity of the the 19th Century. They grew up nurtured in those various Protestant traditions, reading the same bible used by those churches, believing in baptism and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, believing in prayer, sermons, and missionary teaching.
If only the differences and changes count in classifying religious movements, then no one other than Catholics or certain Orthodox churches, which have historical claims to continuity with the original apostles, has a right to claim the title of “Christian”. that specifically excludes all Protestants, including Baptists.
If, however, a Protestant can claim to be Christian despite the discontinuities of his beliefs with those of Catholics, then Mormons have just as much right to the title on purely historical grounds. The break between Protestantism and Catholicism was just as definitive as the break between Protestantism and Mormonism. Dr. Mohler seems tho think he can look to the continuities between Protestants and Catholics to make his church “Christian”, but he can ignore the continuities between Protestantism and Mormonism in trying to exclude Mormons from the historical tree of Christianity, which has grown hundreds of branches upon branches.
Mohler focuses on the early creeds of the Catholic Church as being touchstones for the definition of Christianity, but he does not address the rejection of later creeds and Catholic doctrines as a distinction. With respect to Catholics, Mohler has “defined Christianity down” to not need things that many Catholics (apparently including Benedict XVI, according to today’s news) believe are essential elements of Christianity. Mohler doesn’t think they are essential. He has conveniently defined what Baptists share with Catholics as defining Christianity, even though a Catholic might disagree.
On the other hand, Mormons like Orson Scott Card define what THEY share with Baptists AND Catholics as defining Christianity!. That includes the Bible as being true in a very literal way (more than many Episcopalians might admit), in the nature of Christ as the literal Son of God, who performed miracles, and suffered to atone for mankind’s sins, and after dying on the cross, was resurrected, and ascended to the Father, from which He will return to judge the world. Whether other people believe that is the core of Christianity or not, it is a simply arbitrary choice when they claim that the core ALSO has to include SOME catholic doctrine, but NOT too much of it (like the importance of works in salvation).
The truth is that any honest history of religion shows that many of the so-called “core” doctrines of many people in modern Evangelical Christianity (especially what others call “cheap grace”) are innovations of the last two hundred years, and have NO continuity with prior Christian beliefs, Catholic or Protestant! Up until twenty years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention had official diversity on many of the points which they now claim are essential Christian beliefs. The definition of Christianity that Mohler uses is a moving target that has shifted historically as his own denomination has changed and evolved over two centuries.
As to the centrality of the Hellenic content of the creeds, there are modern Evangelical theologians who specifically reject them precisely because they are inconsistent with and have no root in the Bible itself. The Apostles Creed did not carry them, but the Nicene Creed did. These theologians believe the Nicene Creed went down the wrong path and only the Apostles Creed is legitimate and biblical.
And that is exactly what Mormons believe on the subject. They think it is strange that so many Protestants insist on the Bible as the sole authority in religion, but then elevate post-Biblical creeds that do not even claim to be inspired on the same level as the Bible as being primary OVER the Bible in defining the nature of God.
Mormons also believe it is strange that so many Southern Baptists will insist that the prerequisites to salvation are simply to accept Christ as one’s savior and (maybe) be baptized by anybody, without any requirement for study of the Bible or living any of the commandments of the Old or New Testaments (e.g. the Sermon on the Mount), and yet claim that Mormons, who do all of that AND MORE, are somehow outside the zone of salvation. When you insist the threshold for entering heaven is so low, HOW can you claim to exclude other people from heaven based on the very things that you proclaim are NOT essential to salvation? No person who insists on “cheap grace” (absolutely no role for works in salvation) has any right to exclude ANYONE who claims to have accepted Christ.
As to Dr. Mohler’s sdtatement that the Book of Mormon does not teach Christ–I have no idea how he can say he has studied the Book of Mormons and not found Christ there. Anyone can go to http://www.lds.org, open the Book of Mormon to Mosiah Chapter 3, and find there a beautiful sermon about the identity of Christ and how we come to Him and become His children. Then read 3 Nephi Chapter 11 describing Christ’s visit to the New World after his resurrection and ascension, and see if this is not recognizably the glorified Christ of the New Testament witness. If Dr. Mohler cannot recognize Christ in the Book of Mormon, I have to seriously question his ability to see Christ in the Bible. I can understand the imperative that he feels to steer people away from the LDS Church, but he should not allow it to lead him to misrepresent the simple truth about what the Book of Mormon says. The writers of the Book of Mormon preached Christ and salvation through faith in Him for a thousand years. If you love Christ, you will recognize His voice there.
The Book of Mormon does not say that all Protestants are the Church of the Devil. What it does say is that, prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, there would be both true Christians and false Christians on the earth, and that the true Christians would be reading the Bible and trying to live by its precepts. What makes you a Christian in the eyes of the Book of Mormon is your sincerity in worshipping Christ and trying to follow his teachings. NO one else can tell you where you stand, only yourself and God.
It is ironic that the insistence of some Christians on the omnipresence and omnipotence of God does not allow them to contemplate that maybe God has a few things to say to mankind that were not written before 100 AD. God in their eyes is infinite, except he is mute. He is omnipresent, but cannot call a prophet. He is omniscient, but does not know how to communicate directly as He did for a thousand years to Abraham and John. Anyone who rejects the possibility of new prophets and new words from God does not really believe in the infiinite God of the Nicene Creed.



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Ila Jane

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:07 pm


We are all Gods children. When he looks at us, he does not look at our ‘brand’ of Religion, he looks at our heart and our ability to love the community around us… our extended family.
Say what you want, advocate what you like…. it’s quite simple really.
If you love God with all your heart, mind and soul, you will naturally love others and yourself.
This is what God and Jesus really want, and if you look amongst the essence of all Religion teaching, you will find this same thread amongst them all.
Jesus gave up his life for us, held nothing back…. that is True Love in its purest form.
That love comes from our Heavenly Father, and that is what he wants to see existing in the world in which we live.
At the end of the day, those who live and love truly as our Heavenly Father loves and lives for us, are the True ‘Christians’, whoever they may be, and from whatever Religion.
Religion is supposed to help us to understand True Love, and True Living…. not for us to hit each other over the head with, but to enable us to become what we were supposed to be before we separated from the love of our Heavenly Parent.
Jesus came for all people, regardless of whatever Religion.
Labels come from people. I regard the teaching of the church that I go to as a message that Heavenly Father has given for this generation, and for this time.
I have seen that teaching give people renewed life and love, and such direction and faith that would move mountains.
Teaching comes from God, to whomever will listen and share with his children.
It does not belong to any one religion but to all people, as we are all his children, and we all need to learn.
If you don’t believe me, ask him.
All this fighting amongst Religion is a waste of time, and brings suffering to God. We need to work together, share with each other, and help each other to discover ways of healing ourselves and our world.
You may think that sounds easy, but in a world of such suffering and complication, we are all asked… what will we do to make it better?
Can you become Jesus to the people, as he was for you? That’s what Heavenly Father wants.
He lived a simple life, and used every opportunity to connect in heart with the people around him, teaching them and showing them Gods love.



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Byron

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:31 pm


Sorry, Ila Jane, that’s a nice, warm sentiment, but I’m afraid falls well short of God’s desire for us. Truth matters, if we are to “worship in spirit and in truth”, if “the truth will set us free”, if we are to be “lovers of truth”, if “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” God surely does not want us to turn our minds off and “all get along”…that’s Rodney King, not Jesus.
Yes, we treat every person with respect!!! But respect and truth are not mutually exclusive, and in fact, I respect our Mormon friends who, though I am not prepared to call them “Christian” in the same sense I understand “Christian” to mean, believe that truth matters; we just honestly disagree on what that truth entails. It’s about more, much more, than “love”…it’s about truth, holiness, and God’s glory (and those who talk about God’s love, but never about His glory and His holiness, have mistaken the gospel for some self-help psychological fix or something). I want to show people God’s love in the worst kind of way—but only after, and predicated upon, the Bible’s continual, beginning-to-end emphasis upon God’s glory, His sovereignty, and His holiness.



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Stuart

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:35 pm


Byron why don’t you attempt to answer my questions posted earlier above…if you seek truth, then why not take the challenge?



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Byron

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:43 pm


Stuart,
I’ll consider it if a.) you’ll tell me which challenge particularly you’re referring to (one of our friends left a post the size of a novel, and it takes 5 minutes to scroll thru!), b.) you’ll agree to discuss in a spirit in which you don’t feel it necessary to call names, and c.) you allow appropriate time for the exchange to play out (since I’m not going to sit by the computer for hours going back and forth).
With those “ground rules” in place, perhaps we can have a conversation. I do think that there’s value in some good give-and-take, in an atmosphere of respect, instead of a game of “gotcha”, as so many folks on these type sites seem to want to play.



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Stuart

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:58 pm


Sounds good… the post was 6:36 PM. Neither will I be at the comp.



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Tyler W

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:05 pm


P. Nielson,
At the root of your question, no room is left for the major points of departure between Mormonism and Evangelicalism. If we’re discussing mere semantics, then we might both agree that salvation comes through faith alone in our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, the only son of God, whose death on the cross paid the price for our sin in whole and subsequent resurrection defeated death.
However if two people are discussing apples and one of them fancies baseballs to be apples, then they’re not really discussing the same thing are they?
When I’m talking about mankind, I’m talking about a creature that can never become like God – the lie that Satan used in Genesis. I’m talking about a creature fully depraved and rotten with a sinful nature. When I’m talking about Jesus Christ, I’m talking about – and only about – the Jesus Christ portrayed by the entirety of the Bible. That Jesus was fully God and fully man. I’m talking about one part of the holy Trinity. I’m talking about a different Jesus. But this merely scratches the surface because many of these key words are defined differently by the LDS church.
Two men may hold what appears to be the same box, but one has a gift and the other is empty. You can’t tell the difference until you open them up.
Let’s not amuse ourselves by staring at the boxes Mr. Nielson.
Respectfully,
Tyler



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Tyler W

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:14 pm


“It is ironic that the insistence of some Christians on the omnipresence and omnipotence of God does not allow them to contemplate that maybe God has a few things to say to mankind that were not written before 100 AD. God in their eyes is infinite, except he is mute. He is omnipresent, but cannot call a prophet. He is omniscient, but does not know how to communicate directly as He did for a thousand years to Abraham and John. Anyone who rejects the possibility of new prophets and new words from God does not really believe in the infiinite God of the Nicene Creed.”
No, we believe that after Christ’s atoning work on the cross and the faithful witness of the apostles, believers are left with something infinitely better than “new prophets” and “new words from God.” We now have the Word and the Holy Spirit. Because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in believers and the complete revelation of Scripture, we no longer require new prophets.
There are cultural, historical, and theological reasons why both Islam and Mormonism found the idea of a new prophet and new revelation so appealing.
It is not irony on our behalf, but misunderstanding on yours. Pick up a solid systematic theology or biblical theology by a well-repected evangelical and read for yourself. Try “Systematic Theology” by Wayne Grudem or “According to Plan” by Graeme Goldsworthy. Read these two books and see if you honestly believe that the Book of Mormon coheres with Scripture.



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Byron

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:49 pm


Stuart,
Thanks. Reading your list, I find, if I count correctly, 12 items that you believe were “taught by Jesus, His prophets, (and) apostles”. I understand, of course, that you are using them in a representative way, that in fact you consider there to be other things that “orthodox Christians” have left behind, effectively. I will speak only of evangelical Christians; there are others who would wear that name, but whose beliefs would differ significantly enough from mine that I wouldn’t presume to speak for them.
Here is the short answer (which for the moment will have to suffice; working through 12 separate issues would take considerable time): you have concluded, via your Mormon understanding of faith, that these practices are the things taught by Christ for our obedience, binding upon us as His followers. We do not understand that to be the case. I will briefly mention one, and perhaps we can tackle others if you can be so kind as to give me Scripture references for them (some I can find easily; others you’d have to help me with, candidly): baptism for the dead. This is mentioned once in Scripture, I Corinthians 15:29. The Book of Mormon, of course, doesn’t mention it. There is no other record in the New Testament of this practice.
In the I Corinthians verse, baptism for the dead is mentioned; it evidently was something that somebody was doing. Interestingly enough, it is not taught, though, as something that we are to do. Nothing in the rest of I Corinthians, nor the rest of the Bible, commends this practice as something which we should follow, nor for that matter does it develop it in any way. The other references to baptism in I Corinthians (and in the rest of the Bible) make no mention at all of this. The immediate context of the reference here is the resurrection of Christ; it is not “baptism”, per se. Further, Paul is referencing false teachers in this passage (“some among you” were denying the resurrection of Christ). Paul says that there exists a “they” (not “we” or “you”, but “they”) who are involved in this practice, and in no way commends it, but states it as a matter of fact that it was going on by some “they”. That’s interesting, given the fact that he immediately reverts to “we” language—one would think that he’d use “we” language were he interested in supporting this practice. Rather, it seems possible, and perhaps likely, that he is using the “they” to refer to this group that he considers false teachers within the Corinthian church (a messed-up church if ever there was one, right?).
I could go further, but I use this to illustrate this point: though you might consider evangelical Christians to be just downright leaving out some of the teaching of the Bible, maybe selectively picking parts we like and leaving off the ones we don’t, I assure you that that isn’t the case (I’ll qualify that, by the way, by saying that we ALL are by nature sinners, and regardless of our faith choice, we’re prone to the temptation to pick and choose, wouldn’t you agree? It’s one we need to fight.). We consider the evidence for a doctrine of “baptism for the dead” to be Scripturally uncompelling at best, and the practice of false teachers at worst.
Now, I’ve tackled one of the twelve, hopefully gaining your respect as at least one Christ-follower who is willing to respectfully have an interchange.
Your friend,
Byron



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Secretprayer

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:25 pm


“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles & Prophets concerning Jesus Christ; that he died, was burried, and rose again on the third day, and ascended into Heaven. And all other things which pertain to our religionare only appendages to it.”
Joseph Smith, JR.



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Brady

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:44 pm


IF ANYONE WANTS TO SEE SOME SHORT VIDEOS THAT COMPARE THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST TO THE TEACHINGS OF JOSEPH SMITH YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT SOME OF THE VIDEOS FOUND HERE. OFFICIAL LDS SOURCES ARE USED AS WELL AS THE BIBLE.
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jesus+christ%2F+joseph+smith&search=Search



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Brady

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:05 pm


Someone above asked for an answer about the ordinance of eternal marriage that is a required part of the gospel in order to reach the celestial kingdom. The following is my response to a Mormon Bishop that I have been speaking to. He used Isaiah 24:5 to support that eternal marriage is found in the Bible. He used this verse because I asked him why NEITHER the Bible or the Book of Mormon every even mention anything about eternal marriage if (according to the introduction to the Book of Mormon) both the Bible and the Book of Mormon contain the FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL. I challenge anyone to read the following and show me ONE place where the Bible or the Book of Mormon mentions the New and Everlasting Covenant that D&C 132 mentions which refers to the gospel ordinance of eternal marriage. If no one can answer the questions of the following then you really need to reevaluate what you believe…THE RESPONSE TO THE MORMON BISHOP FOLLOWS
Hello *****,
I have finally had a chance look at one of the verses that you said my answer to was insufficient or weak, etc. In Isaiah 24:5 it says, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” You used this verse to support the Mormon doctrine spoken of as the New and Everlasting Covenant. First of all the fact that the New and Everlasting Covenant has a completely different name “NEW and Everlasting Covenant” would mean that it is referring to a new covenant. I stated that if the New and everlasting covenant was an essential part of the gospel and both the Bible and the Book of Mormon contain the fullness of the gospel (according to the intro to the Book of Mormon). And don’t forget what Joseph Fielding Smith himself said, which defines the fullness of the gospel…”By the fullness of the gospel it is meant all the ordinances and principles that pertain to the exaltation in the celestial kingdom…” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, pg 160). Therefore, it (the new and everlasting covenant) must be mentioned in them both because they both according to the intro to the B of M and Doctrines of Salvation contain the fullness of the gospel. I said and I still strongly say that NEITHER the Bible or the book of Mormon say or even mention the NEW and Everlasting covenant or anything about eternal marriage/temple marriage! This should really worry you according to what Milton R. Hunter (LDS) says in his book The Gospel Through the Ages, “He states The crowning gospel ordinance requisite for Godhood is Celestial Marriage. The doctrine of celestial marriage as taught and practiced in the Church of Jesus Christ today, means temple marriage… This blessed Gospel doctrine was lost by mankind during the period of the Apostasy following the Apostolic Age, and in its place a man-made system of marriage—‘until death do ye part’ – was established… However, as part of the restoration of the Gospel to the Prophet Joseph Smith, God…rerevealed the true doctrine of sacredness and eternal nature of the marriage covenant. This revelation is found in Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants… Obedience to this law is absolutely necessary in order to obtain the highest exaltation in the Kingdom of God.” (pg. 118-119).
This man even admits that it was rerevealed NOT in the Book of Mormon (which contains the fullness of the gospel) but rather is the D&C! If the Bible or the book of Mormon had this covenant in it he would definitely point that out…but he did not because “the crowning gospel ordinance” is not found in either the Bible or the Book of Mormon which must contain the fullness of the Gospel or the Mormon Church is not being truthful. I am praying that God will remove the blinders from your eyes because this crucial contradiction in Mormon Doctrine is crystal clear. And please remember what the Bible explicitly says in Matt. 22:23-29 about there being no marriage in heaven!
You both said that the Bible DOES mention the covenant that is referred to by the New and everlasting covenant in D&C 132. You pointed me to Isaiah 24:5 as I mentioned before. If you remember I said that this covenant is referring to the nation of Israel and their everlasting covenant with God of land, seed, and blessing. A quick search in the Bible has confirmed what I tried to show the night we talked…the Bible clearly defines what the everlasting covenant (the one in the Bible) is. Gen 17:7-11 says, “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” 9 God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. (See also Gen 17:13, 19; I Chron. 16:15, 17; Psalms 105:8, 10; 111:5, 9).
Please carefully read over this passage. The everlasting covenant that you mentioned in Isaiah 24:5 is clearly defined what the people of Israel must do to follow the covenant that the Lord established. In verse 10 it says that the ordinance that the people of Israel had to follow was that of circumcision on the eight day. This clearly contradicts what you said about the everlasting covenant of the Bible referring to the New and everlasting covenant of mormon doctrine that is NEVER found in the Bible or the Book of Mormon. This passage does NOT say that the ordinance of the everlasting covenant is eternal marriage in the temple! Again it is disturbing to me that so much of LDS doctrine such as the New and everlasting covenant of eternal marriage is either completely fabricated or is clearly a distortion of taking a single verse out of the Bible and out of its canonical context and distorting it to fit the teachings of the LDS church/doctrine.
In summary…Things that should cause you concern…
1. According to LDS doctrine in the intro to the Book of Mormon the Bible AND B of M do (it does not say might, maybe, or should) contain the fullness of the gospel (please recall that Joseph Smith himself defined the fullness of the gospel on page 160 of Doctrines of Salvation Vol. 1).
2. The crowning ordinance of the gospel (eternal/temple marriage) is NOT found in either the Bible or Book of Mormon.
3. Therefore this doctrine of your church is proven wrong by your own prophet/scriptures.
4. You are teaching to your “flock” that the Bible does teach the New and everlasting covenant (eternal marriage) as you “taught” me. Your teaching is based on an attempt to find some mention of the New and everlasting covenant in the Bible…I think it is safe to say that you attempt to do this because you know that neither book that contains “the fullness of the [LDS] gospel” even mentions the New and everlasting covenant.
5. The Bible clearly contradicts what you are teaching in Matt 22:23-29 and in Gen 17:13, 19; I Chron. 16:15, 17; Psalms 105:8, 10; 111:5, 9).
6. James 3:1 “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”
7. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
8. Mark 9:42-49 – “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. 43 “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44 [[where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.]] 45 “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, 46 [[where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.]] 47 “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, 48 where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. 49 “For everyone will be salted with fire.”
9. It is my prayer that God will remove the blinders from your eyes and open your eyes to see the truth of his Word (the Bible)…and that the gospel of the Bible would not be foolishness to you… 1Co 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (See also I Cor. 1:21 and I Cor. 1:18).
I ask that you fully answer this one question and show me where I am wrong about what the Bible says and please answer the assertions that I have made about the error in the LDS doctrine about the fullness of the gospel (which is in its entirety (according to LDS doctrine) found in the Bible and Book of Mormon) being contradicted by the teaching that eternal marriage is an essential part of it (which is found in NEITHER the Bible or Book of Momron)…and all the other things that I addressed above. Thank you and I will continue to pray for you, your family, and Mormons as a whole.
Your Friend,
-Brady



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P. Nielsen

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:10 pm


Dear Tyler W,
I have no wish to argue semantics. But I am intrigued when you say “At the root of your question, no room is left for the major points of departure between Mormonism and Evangelicalism.” I asked what you believe would be necessary for me to do to be saved (i.e. be a true Christian, as some seem to use the term) so that I might cut to the heart of this exact issue. I apologize if you thought otherwise.
It seems to me you believe there is quite a lot to be said about the major points of departure between our doctrines in answering my questions. If I am not mistaken, in fact, you deny that Mormons (in general) are saved because we believe (according to you and others) in a different Jesus (or as I would put it, so as not to confuse readers about the fact that we do in fact worship Jesus of Nazareth, Mormons believe in a different Christology).
So let me try again, and please feel free to point out the “major points of departure” if you feel they add to the discussion.
Please answer the following questions: If you met someone on the street who asked “In your understanding, if I am not already saved what must I do to be saved?” how would you respond? I am asking this in sincerity, no trickery on my part. This is only a place to start.
Second question: if you found out this person was Mormon, expand on what you feel that person must do to be saved.
Best,
P. Nielsen
P.S. Not that it is important, but it’s Nielsen with an ‘e’ at the end–I have Danish descent. :)



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nowandlater

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:13 pm


And here is a link for Brady! Don’t read if you want to be fair. :(
http://fairwiki.org/index.php/Search_for_the_Truth_DVD



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nowandlater

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:36 pm


Read these and then tell us how do they relate to Marriage sanctioned by God’s promise?
Gal. 3: 7-9, 26-29
Gen. 26: 1-4, 24
Gen. 35: 9-13
Gen. 22: 15-18
Gen. 17: 2, 21
Gen. 48: 3-4
John 8: 33, 39
1 Ne. 15: 14, 18
2 Ne. 29: 1, 14
3 Ne. 20: 25, 27
Gen. 12: 3
Gen. 15: 18
Gen. 18: 18
Gen. 21: 12
Gen. 28: 14
Ex. 19: 5
Deut. 14: 2
Judg. 2: 1
Isa. 49: 6
Isa. 50: 1
Isa. 54: 5
Jer. 3: 14
Jer. 31: 31
Hosea 2: 19
Matt. 3: 9
Luke 3: 8
Acts 3: 25
Rom. 9: 4
Rom. 11: 27
Heb. 6: 14
Heb. 11: 18
1 Ne. 17: 40
1 Ne. 19: 15
1 Ne. 22: 9
2 Ne. 6: 12
2 Ne. 9: 1
2 Ne. 10: 7
2 Ne. 11: 5
2 Ne. 30: 2
3 Ne. 21: 4
Morm. 5: 20
Ether 3: 11
Ether 13: 11



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Norman Doering

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:39 pm

Nathan

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:55 pm


Does anyone else get the feeling that Creedal Evangelicals treat Mormons the same way that the Jews treated the Samaritans? They both claimed to be covenant people, but the different beliefs of the Samaritans made them as pariahs to the Jews.
It is interesting, then, to see how Christ treated Samaritans (the woman at the well), and even used an outcast Samaritan in the Bible’s most poignant parable of Christian service.
Let us do as Christ did, and treat everyone with acceptance, love, and respect, and recognize the contribution that even a non-traditional follower can make.



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Silly Interloper

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:39 am


“If God is not with you…your labor is in vain,…”
Rhetoric like this really appalls me. The statement is, in fact, true. (Assuming I’m interpreting it right.) The use of the statement to make judgments on the good works of others is false. Only God knows which labor he is “with,” and which laber he isn’t “with”.



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Mike

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:50 am


Need to correct an error posted at the top of the thread by Orson Scott. Mr. Scott said:
“Let’s not forget, after all, that Catholics have an even older “mainstream Christian tradition” than any Protestants, and good Catholics are convinced that all those Protestants are going to Hell. And to Catholics, any distinction between Mormons and Baptists is pretty trivial — we’re all Pope-disdaining, saint-ignoring, transubstantiation-denying menaces to the salvation of souls.”
As a Catholic, I can assure you that our church does not teach that “all those Protestants are going to Hell”. The Catholic Church describes non-Catholic Christians as “our seperated bretheren”. We accept most Christian baptisms and most Christian marriages as valid. We do believe that the salvation of Christ flows through the Catholic Church, but God’s saving grace does not stop at the door of the Catholic Church. It continues to flow into other believers in other denominations. In other words, Catholics claim Christains as brothers in Christ. Not in full communion, but certainly their salvation is not in question.
By the way, I will have no problems voting for Mitt Romney if he is nominated. I agree with Mr. Scott that a successful Romney presidency will bring many nominal Christians back to their own denominations.



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:50 am


There is more relevant debate on the question posed to Dr. Mohler and Mr. Card in the comments section than in the actual body of the debate–and that only because Mr. Card was either handed a different question or is unwilling to stay on point. Dr. Mohle, on the other hand, has stayed on point.
Mr. Card: Sure this debate on whether or not Mormons are Christians has been spot lighted because of Mitt Romney’s candidacy. But the question is not about Romney. In fact, remember that you, not Dr. Mohler, were the one who brought into this discussion Mitt Romney. You have full license to bring him into this debate if it serves to answer the main question. But, so far, I don’t see how Mitt Romney plays into this discussion from a theological perspective.
I agree with Dal and Byron, the first two comments posted, that you seem to be avoiding the real issue being discussed. As a reader of this debate, it seems to me that you have no answers to Dr. Mohler’s main point that Mormonism in its inception was a rejection of historic Christianity. Yet now Mormonism wants to be considered a part of that which it once rejected. What is your answer to this?
Please, in your next post (in your first paragraph!), just provide an answer to Dr. Mohler’s main point that Mormonism in its inception rejected Christianity. It’s really a very simple request from this reader and might serve to get you back on track. Otherwise, it just appears to the general reading public that you have no answers.



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Nathan

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:06 am


Matt and the rest:
Mormons “do not” want to be considered as “traditional” Christians. We do not accept the artifacts of the Ecumenical Councils as completely valid positions. We do not hold the Nicene Creed as an acceptable statement of our beliefs. We are neither Catholic nor Protestant.
Mormons “do” want to be considered as disciples of Christ as presented in the Bible. We accept Christ as our God and Savior, and strive to follow His teachings, commandments, and example. We believe that Jesus is the Great God Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah, and Redeemer of mankind. We believe that He will come again in power and glory at His Second Coming. We believe that He died for the sins and afflictions of every person who has or will live on this earth, and that everyone, regardless of their faith is blessed by the grace of Christ.
Does that mean we are Christians? I think so.



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mooney

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:24 am


dude, I’m a Mormon and i don’t appreciate you putting our religion down… our religion has nothing to do with politics and never has, just because you see it as a political issue in the church, it is nothing more than an false statement, and before you criticize a religion, you should get your facts straight… so just make sure you do a little more research before you insult a religion, we are Christians, just as any baptist, or whatever, we worship god… and no one else… so i would appreciate it if you would stop misleading our church, and frankly i think mitt would make a great president… not because of religion but because he seems to be a good candidate, and frankly politics is supposed to be separation of religion and state… so back off of our religion, and i appreciate you listening to my comment… thanks mooney



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SEB

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:25 am


There is a fundamental flaw with the many posts which say, “the Bible says this” or “the Bible says that”. That is because even though those who wrote the Bible were unquestionably recording the pure word of God, it is not possible, with any written document, for all those who read it to come away with a pure or exact understanding of its original meaning. This is because of the fallibility of language in general, the imperfections of translations, the changing context of society, and mostly, the myriad biases and paradigms of readers.
The framers of the Constitution of the United States of America were so aware of this fact that they formed an entire branch of government to deal with it. It was clear to them that even though the authors of a particular document (like the Constitution) may have a crystal clear image of their message, it is impossible for all readers in all settings to uniformly and accurately grasp all facets of that image. Hence the need for the Judicial branch of our government which exists, by definition, to interpret or define the Constitution, etc.
Unfortunately, for most of the Christian world, there is no “interpretive” system. The result is that after many centuries and much discourse, there are thousands of different denominations and theologies which all point to the Bible as “the source”. Some are quite similar and others are far apart but even the Mormon church can be included here as its adherants find support for their theology in its pages.
The distinction however, is that the LDS church lays claim to having access to accurate interpretation through a modern-day prophet who, they believe, receives communication directly from God. For them, revelation trumps scripture (including their additional canon) and brings the obtaining of truth full circle back to where the great meanings of the Bible originated in the first place; namely God.
Even though Protestants may reject the LDS church as being the restored original church of Jesus Christ or even being a “Christian” church, they must accept that, as manifest by the numerous and diverse opinions expressed here, referencing the Bible or any written volume as the “gold standard,” will always fall short.



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Brady

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:58 am


Nowandlater,
I am disappointed because you totally disregarded and did not answer any of the questions in my posting about the fact that the Mormon doctrine of the New and everlasting covenant (regarding eternal marriage) is NEVER mentioned in the Bible or the Book of Mormon. You did utilize a smart debating technique by trying to distract me and others by trying to get me to answer your question. I will NOT answer your question until you answer mine by either admitting what I said was correct or by correcting me by showing where either the Bible or the Book of Mormon directly refer to the New and Everlasting Covenant (the ordinance of eternal marriage in the temple).
And by the way, NONE of the verses you posted directly or indirectly refer to the New and everlasting covenant (which says that the gospel ordinance of eternal marriage is essential for exaltation in the celestial kingdom). Please Read Matthew 22:23-29 which explicitly says that there is NO marriage in heaven.
If I am right about what I cited in my earlier posting (at 11:05 pm), then introduction to the book of Mormon is deceptive and inaccurate when it says that the fulness of the [Mormon] gospel is in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. If I am correct, it is not book that what Mormons claim to be the most accurate word of God (the Book of Mormon) starts off in the introduction being wrong about an essential issue for Mormons…
If you continue to try and sidetrack me and refuse to try and answer the questions that I posed…it will be clear to me that you either cannot answer the questions that I posed or else that you realize that the introduction to the Book of Mormon is deceptive and incorrect when it says that the fullness of the [Mormon] gospel is in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Please refer to my previous posting again if you need to.
-Brady



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Brady

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:07 am


Nowandlater,
One more thing…I have previously been to the website that you posted in response to my posting and it is NOT an LDS website and the things on the website are NOT supported or endorsed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!
The videos on the following link use sources that are official LDS sources and the videos show (using official LDS sources) some of the many deceptions and inaccuracies that are taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jesus+christ%2F+joseph+smith&search=Search
Sincerely,
-Brady



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Bryan Stout

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:18 am


I am disappointed with this entry, since it largely strays from the main topic. It’s a fine topic, but it should have been used for one of Mr. Card’s semi-regular columns.
This overall debate need not take long. I expect it should end with people agreeing to disagree. The problem — and the real promise in this exchange — is finding where the misunderstandings lay, so we understand what the true disagreements are.
The biggest problem in any discussion about who is Christian is that the term “Christian” is overloaded. It has several meanings assigned to it. This by itself is OK, since most words have more than one meaning. But in discussions like this one, there are two common problems: A) different parties may be using different definitions, often without even realizing it, obviously leading to confusion; B) people may link different meanings together for no better reason than that they are linked to the same word.
Getting to brass tacks, here are 3 meanings of “Christian” (not the only ones, but the ones most important to this discussion):
I. [Historical] A Christian is one who accepts the historical Christian traditions, as decided by the Ecumenical Councils. This is the simplest one to agree about.
II. [Doctrinal] A Christian is one who believes certain core Christian doctrines. This is the most commonly used one, but it is not a single definition — it depends on what you think are the core doctrines.
III. [Salvific] A Christian is one who is saved by Christ. This is the most important one in the eternal sense, but the least practical one during mortal life, since it relies on one’s dogma about standards of salvation, and noone can penetrate the mind of God or the state of others’ souls.
Many mainstream Christians use a combination historical/doctrinal meaning of “Christian”. Therefore to hear Mormons claim “We are Christian” sounds baffling: how can say that while they simultaneously claim additional scripture and unusual doctrine? They may suspect Mormons are being disingenuous. Mormons may better understand this reaction if they think of the splinter groups, such as the polygamist fundamentalists. Just as we do not consider them Mormon, so many Christians do not consider us Christians.
Mormons use a broader doctrinal meaning of “Christian”, namely one who believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior. Therefore to hear people say “You are not Christian” sounds ignorant or mean-spirited: why do they let our doctrinal differences lead them to claim we do not even believe in Christ? Mainstream Christians can understand this better if they empathize with the early Christians, who were often considered superstitious or even atheist by their Roman contemporaries. Just as that must have been frustrating for them to have their joyous faith so belittled and dismissed, it is similarly frustrating to Mormons today.
In order to avoid these confusions, people can avoid the simple labels and use more precise language. E.g. instead of “Mormons are Christian”, try “Mormons believe in Jesus Christ”; instead of “Mormons are not Christian”, try “Mormons believe false doctrines”. This would help people know where the precise disagreements lay, rather than arguing around or past each other.
I have more to say, later.
Bryan



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Josh

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:17 am


I took the Belief-O-Matic test found elsewhere on Beliefnet a few days ago. In light of the fevered debate the results were ironic.
Latter-Day Saint 100%.
Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant 98%.
Eastern Orthodox 83%
Roman Catholic 83%
Orthodox Judaism 77%
Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants 74%
According to the “test” my beliefs line up more closely with Mainline Conservative Protestant Christians than any other religion besides my own.
This captures the essence of why this debate is so vexing. Its as if people were denying that the sun was shining at full noon.
My witness to the world as a Christian is that:
Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior (2 Ne. 25: 19-20)*See below
Jesus suffered and died for my sins–and yours too (Alma 42: 15)**
Without His grace everyone would be sent to hell for eternity (2 Ne. 33: 6, 2 Ne. 25: 23)***
He died and rose again on the third day (Mosiah 3: 8-10)****
He is capable of any Miracle, including taking me, an imperfect man, and making it possible to become perfect, as He commanded in the Sermon on the Mount “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) It’s going to take a miracle, a miracle of forgiveness–but if at the end of this life I’m not a better person than when I started then I must not have really had faith in him. If this means that some people are going to accuse me in believing that I am saved by works then they have missed the point.
After all, as Jesus made clear in the Sermon on the Mount, doing that greatest of all miracles — and making fallen, imperfect, sinful humans into righteous perfect beings — is the entire point of his mortal life, suffering on the cross and resurection. (Matt 5: 20-48) It is the greatest of all miracles, and it is within his power. By grace we are saved FROM sin and hell and death. The Sermon on the Mount tells us what we are saved FOR. Remember the parable of the talents.
That said, Jesus Christ is the judge and jury on this issue, and at the end of the day, His opinion is the only one that matters as to whether or not I’m a Christian.
Footnotes:
(I’ve used elipses to shorten what would otherwise be long quotes. Those seeking the full text can look it up based on references above.)
*
19 For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh…his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
20 …And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt…there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.
**
15 …therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice…
***
33:6 …I glory in my Jesus, for he hath credeemed my soul from hell.
25:23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
****
8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
9 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
10 And he shall arise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:29 am


Byron— Thanks for the candid response.
The 1 Corinthians quote does refer also to the resurrection. Paul uses the practice to prove that there is a resurrection, otherwise why would we do this practice (baptism for the dead) if the dead do not rise. You are correct in that this is the only reference; however, you would agree that there are some aspects of the Gospel of Chirst in the NT that was not mentioned before in the OT? I do not see how people can dismiss a biblical comment simply for a single reference. The Jews I believe tempted to do similar acts with Christ and His Apostles.
The principle of baptism for the dead must be looked in context with the entire gospel. Do you feel that baptism is essential for salvation? I do and I could give some biblical support for my belief if you disagree. If baptism is essential then one must look to 1 Peter 4:6 where is states that the gospel was preached to the dead so (paraphrasing, I don’t have it right in front of me)that the dead might be similarly judged with those in the flesh, despite being in spirit. Because the gospel is taught to the dead, there must be a way that the dead may be baptized. I do not agree with unearthing the dead and baptizing them (Ex: Padre Pio, for those who have heard of him), but we may act as proxies and perform baptisms for the dead.
Here is another of the 12…eternal marriage. BRADY you may want to read this part too. Genesis teaches that what God puts together, man should not put asunder. God performed the first marriage: Adam and Eve. The two became one flesh. If God, who is Eternal, performed the marriage and the marriage can only end by God’s power, then the marriage between Adam and Eve was eternal. Why not the same for us, especially when that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
People need to understand Mormon theology, we do not have a single doctrine: Ex. Salvation varies from Eternal Life. Another one is that the Book of Mormon contains everything necessary to enter into glory of God (faith, repentence, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of Holy Ghost). Please do not try to insist that Mormons hold that the BOM is the only necessary book, if that were true, Mormons would be guilty of the same act as orthodox christians. God may speak when He wants, to who He wants and about what He wants. Example: God felt it necessary to continue to have prophets despite the law being established by Moses, and then wanted to restore the gospel that existed prior to the days of Moses by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hope to hear back!



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David Chiu

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:51 am


I once encountered an elderly fellow in Taipei, Taiwan — he asked this question of me (an ordained ministered of the Lord Jesus Christ):
“How can you claim that ‘God so loved the world’ when you deny everlasting life to those who fail to ‘believeth in Him'”.
He really thought it was a telling point that there seemed to be a contradiction between universal love and conditional salvation!!
God really does love all of us perfectly, and no matter when or where we may have been born, He will grant us a full and fair opportunity to earn salvation as defined by the Lord in John 3:15.
No matter how much we do, it is ultimately grace that saves — I thank God that He invites all.
Some may doubt God’s omnipotence, thinking that grace will not cover those who (as Mormons) accept Jesus as their personal Savior, the promised Messiah, and Lord.
I’m thankful to trust that He is not so limited.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:37 am


Brady’s comment followed by a very lengthy doctrinal tour do force:
You mentioned I don’t know how many times that there was nothing for you to DO in the church. That would be an incredibly difficult situation because the salvation of Mormons is based on the things that you DO…good works or bad works.
See Mikes respnse of about 4:15 am July 12 for an also lengthy reply to one of Brady’s lengthy quotes.
By the Way Brady, If you read the whole Book of Mormon you would get more context, but thanks for quoting from it as much as you did. That’s more than most of the posters here and on these other threads have done.
Mike



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:38 am


That was over on the “Church of the Devil” thread.
Mike



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:49 am


Bradys comments on “Fulness of the Gospel” In the Introduction of the Book of Mormon:
I am disappointed because you totally disregarded and did not answer any of the questions in my posting about the fact that the Mormon doctrine of the New and everlasting covenant (regarding eternal marriage) is NEVER mentioned in the Bible or the Book of Mormon. You did utilize a smart debating technique by trying to distract me and others by trying to get me to answer your question. I will NOT answer your question until you answer mine by either admitting what I said was correct or by correcting me by showing where either the Bible or the Book of Mormon directly refer to the New and Everlasting Covenant (the ordinance of eternal marriage in the temple).
If I am right about what I cited in my earlier posting (at 11:05 pm), then introduction to the book of Mormon is deceptive and inaccurate when it says that the fulness of the [Mormon] gospel is in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. If I am correct, it is not book that what Mormons claim to be the most accurate word of God (the Book of Mormon) starts off in the introduction being wrong about an essential issue for Mormons…
If you continue to try and sidetrack me and refuse to try and answer the questions that I posed…it will be clear to me that you either cannot answer the questions that I posed or else that you realize that the introduction to the Book of Mormon is deceptive and incorrect when it says that the fullness of the [Mormon] gospel is in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Please refer to my previous posting again if you need to.
Mike’s response:
If we are to consider what the “fulness of the everlasting gospel” means, we must define it as Joseph Smith would define it. since he was the instrument through which the Book of Mormon came.
In the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church, Section 42 we find these explanatory verses:
“12 And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall TEACH THE PRINCIPLES OF MY GOSPEL, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL.
13 And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.
14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.
15 And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the FULNESS OF MY SCRIPTURES is given.
16 And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;
17 For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son.”
From the reference above we glean the following understanding about what Joseph Smith understood the meaning of the “fulness of the gospel to be.
1. The PRINCIPLES of the gospel contain the fulness of that Gospel.
2. “The fulness of the Gospel” is not the same thing as the “fulness
of my scriptures”.
So Joseph Smith would tell you that using the term “fulness of the scriptures” would not restrict God from adding scripture, according to D&C 42.
so what are the principles of the Gospel?
The 4th Article of Faith, found in the Pearl of Great Price, gives a definition of the first principles:
“4 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.”
In several places these principles and ordinances are referred to as the “DOCTRINE OF CHRIST”
Two treatments of this doctrine are in the Book of Mormon:
First, Nephi’s teaching in @nd Nephi 31 and 32:
2 “Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I amust speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying.
3 For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.
4 Wherefore, I would that ye should remember that I have spoken unto you concerning that prophet which the Lord showed unto me, that should baptize the Lamb of God, which should take away the sins of the world.
5 And now, if the Lamb of God, he being aholy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
6 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?
7 Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
8 Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.
9 And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the agate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.
10 And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
11 And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.
12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.
15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the cend, the same shall be saved.
16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.
17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow apath, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of bhope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eeternal life.
21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the away; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.”
Second, Christ’s teachings during his appearance to the Nephites:
3rd Nephi 11
32 “And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.”
37 “And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.”
The “fulness of the gospel”, then consists of the “doctrine of Christ”
1. Faith in Jesus Christ
2. Repentence
3. Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins
4. Receipt of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands
5. Endurance to the end in righteousness
By doing these things a person is cleansed and becomes “perfect in Christ” and is thus able to receive all other revelation and ordinances necessary to lay hold on Eternal life, given by the grace of Jesus Christ.
Now Brady: Please explain how any of this is not in accord with the Bible.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:58 am


As to Brady’s assertion that there is no giving in marriage in heaven.
Mormons agree. Marriage, and Baptism and The gift of the Holy Ghost, and Priesthood ordinations are all physical ordincances that must be performed ON THIS EARTH. That is why Mormons accept the principle of vicarious work for the dead. In line with the concept of the vicarious sacrifice of the Son of God for our sins.
1st Peter 3:18-21 For Christ also hath once asuffered for sins, the just for the bunjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to cdeath in the flesh, but quickened by the dSpirit:
19 By which also he went and apreached unto the bspirits in cprison;
20 aWhich sometime were bdisobedient, when once the clongsuffering of God waited in the days of dNoah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were esaved by fwater.
21 The like figure whereunto even abaptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1st Peter 4:6 6 aFor for this cause was the bgospel cpreached also to them that are ddead, that they might be ejudged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
1st Corinthians 15:29 29 Else what shall they do which are abaptized bfor the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the ddead?
And since the first Marriage was performed by God, who is eternal, Marriage is menat to last eternally.
Genesis 2:18, 20-24 18 ¶ And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be aalone; I will make him ban help meet for him.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a awoman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and aflesh of my flesh: she shall be called bWoman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a aman leave his bfather and his mother, and shall ccleave unto his dwife: and they shall be eone flesh.
Mike



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Erich Mohler

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:36 am


I’m sure this will be one of the last read posts but I hope that some of the evangalist will get a chance to read it.
My point is who asked the question. DR. MOHLER – I stumbled over this article as I looked for Mohlers who had done good in thier lives. I messed up here I suppose.
There seems to be this defensive reactions and petty attacks being made about what Mormons are. The fact is: A CHRISTIAN ASKED IF MORMONS COUNT AS CHRISTIANS-WOW LAST TIME I CHECKED …… YUP I WAS RIGHT….
THE PROPHET GORDON B. HINKLEY NEVER ASKED FOR A CLUB CARD TO THE CHRISTIAN COALITION YOU ALL STARTED HERE
FACT IS YOU FIND ONE PIECE OF CHURCH MATERIAL THAT COUNTERS THE FACT THAT WE BELIEVE IN THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST OR HIS SAVING POWER IT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST BLANKET PULLED OVER A GROUP OF MILLIONS I’VE EVER HEARD OF.
I’LL TELL YOU NOW THATS NOT POSSIBLE. JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME JESUS CHRIST TAUGHT OF IN THE BIBLE. WHYELSE DO WE TEACH AND LEARN FROM THE BIBLE AND BOOK OF MORMON. THEY ARE COMPANIONS TEACHING THE SAME THING- GOD IS REAL-JESUS DIED SO THAT WE MIGHT LIVE-THE HOLY GHOST CONFIRMS OUR INNER THOUGHTS-ADAM AND EVE ALLOWED US THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE.
YOU CAN NOT DENY ANY OF THE GOSPEL TRUTHS IN THE MORMON CHURCH. JUST TRY READING OUR ARTICLES OF FAITH. THIS IS WHAT EVERY MEMBER IS INSTRUCTED TO BASE THIER BELIEFS OFF OF.
THERE ARE QUESTIONS YOU ALL HAVE ASKED THAT SEEM INTRIGUING YET CONFUSING. IN CUNFUSION THERE ARE LIES. IF YOU ARE CONFUSED ABOUT MORMONS THEN YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO SOMEHOW. MOST LIKELY YOU KNOW AND INTERACT WITH LDS MEMBERS, AND WHEN YOU HEAR OFF THE WALL REMARKS OR THAT THEY AREN’T CHRISTIANS YOU BECOME CONFUSED. YOUR BEING TOLD TO NOT BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE. YES ALL MORMONS HAVE PROBLEMS AND ARE SOMEWHAT HIPOCRITICAL BUT WHO ISN’T. HAVE YOU EVER BELEVED IN SOMETHING THEN STUMBLED IN THE SAME AREA YOU SO GREATLY BELIEVED IN. WELL UNDERSTAND THAT MORMONS ARE HUMAN AND MAKE GREAT MISTAKES TO-THATS CALLED FREE AGENCY.



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Bill Kilpatrick

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:03 am


What a luxury it is for Christians to throw rocks at each other over which of them has the best version of what Jesus must have taught and meant.
To the rest of this, it is sheer silliness on stilts.
Jesus contrasted those who believe with those who didn’t.
He told his disciples, if they loved him, to keep his commandments.
He said that not everyone who cries, “Lord, Lord” would enter into the Kingdom but those who did the will of his father, and even threatened that if his hearers’ righteousness didn’t surpass that of the Scribes and the Pharisees, they wouldn’t make it.
Jesus said a lot about action, as opposed to mere belief. Yet these fanatics want to argue about who has signed on to the best rendition of the message.
In the meantime, the Catholic Church denounces all Protestants, officially dis-acknowledging their churches as “communities” not “churches.”
If you can’t trace yourself back, through the line of bishops, you’re nothing. On that basis, the Catholics only recognize the Orthodox Church – meaning the Greek Orthodox and its progeny. The Reformed Churches – including the Baptists – are rootless heretics.
So much for Dr. Mohr, standing in front of his own glass house, admiring his collection of rocks.
It used to be the Mormons who were criticized for being elitist, telling themselves that theirs was “the one true church of Jesus Christ.” Who’d have imagined Protestants would show up and use that same lame line on them?
And for what? Is there nothing pettier than a Christian imagining his sect is okay while someone else’s is garbage?



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Danny

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:18 am


I think a distinction needs to be made between two things:
1) What is LDS doctrine on salvation?
2) What does JoeSchmoe Mormon believe about salvation?
Just bescause a church teaches a certain way doesn’t mean all of its followers believe it or even know about such teachings.



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Danny

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:21 am


Also, does Card or anyone on the comment section really care to share with us other “Christians” how we are in the “Church of the Devil” yet you all want to be lumped in with us. As a serious follower, I try to flee from things of the devil whilst thinking only of Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement.



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Byron

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:50 am


Stuart,
Meeting your challenge entails, as I understood it, giving an explanation for some of those things that you listed. I don’t want to get into a back-and-forth on any one point; ergo, I’ll leave my baptism for the dead comments to stand as my explanation for that one. I will voice my agreement with you that one Bible passage clearly teaching a particular doctrine is sufficient to believe that doctrine; as I explained, we don’t understand I Cor. 15:29 to be advocating the practice.
Now, as for baptism in general, no, I don’t believe it to be essential for salvation, and by far, that is the evangelical position. Yes, there are a slim number of Scripture passages that can be taken to teach that. There are, as well, many others that speak of salvation without mentioning baptism. We are left with a conundrum: either the Bible contradicts itself, which of course we believe it does not, or we need to arrive at a satisfactory explanation for the the passages that do seem to teach the necessity of baptism.
Briefly (and of course, this is a huge subject!!!), several thoughts: one, the many times when Scripture speaks of salvation with no mention of baptism (but with mention of “faith” or “belief”). Some are John 3, Romans 10, Ephesians 2, Titus 3, and others (I’ll not resort to the dubious tactic of making as long a list of Bible passages as I can muster…). Cornelius and his household, in Acts 10, receive the Holy Spirit—which we believe to be evidential of salvation—prior to being baptized. Paul says that he’s glad that he didn’t baptize anyone (save for the household of Stephanas), a curious statement indeed if baptism is necessary for salvation. The thief on the cross would be in paradise with Christ that very day absent baptism.
Now, again, this is a huge subject, I realize, and so much more could be said; I again simply give some perspective from “our side”, again to stress that it’s not that we try to pick and choose what we want to believe/practice, but that we genuinely understand these things differently from the Mormon understanding.
I will say, parenthetically, that I believe that many evangelicals make too little of baptism, that while it is not essential for salvation, the practice of the early church was clear: those that believed were baptized; this was their “profession of faith”; there wasn’t this months/years-long gap between placing faith in Christ and following Him in baptism.
Your friend,
Byron



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Donny

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:51 am


It’s hard to believe that the person writing this blog is an educated – or well read – individual.
Note the following from the blog:
Right now, Mormons are as unwelcome among evangelical Christians as I, a science-fiction-writing Democratic Mormon was unwelcome among Republican normal-job-holding Mormons in Utah.
But that’s because evangelicals have a majoritarian attitude that is really not appropriate any more.
America is the most religious Western nation — but surely Dr. Mohler sees that our children can hardly get a college degree without being indoctrinated, not just in atheism, but in hostility to all organized religions, Christianity in particular.
\\\
Interesting.
Not only was Joseph Smith (THE Founder of Mormon faith) going his own way on religion, HE WAS HOSTILE towards ALL “Christian” denominations and wrote as much in his preamble to his new religion. He was told by some angel not to join ANY denominations because they ALL have been led astray. C’mon Mormons stand stronmg in your hostile denouncement of “Evangelical Christianity.” Which of course is “what” the Gospel is all about. That at least IS understood by the missionary stance of Mormonism.
Mormons started the hate debate when Joseph Smith attacked every Christian in every Denomination on earth..
Mormons are not Christians.
Why not be proud about that Mormons? Your doctrines and writings are wierd and heretical in just about the most bizaare way found in the history since the beginning of the Apostles Church of Christ Jesus.
It is Mormons that use “indoctrination” techniques to assure that the brains of their youth are firmly rooted in Mormon ideology and theology.
No matter what attempts are made by the Mormons to cast doubt about the veracity of the Biblical writings, Mormom “ism” is teaching such incompatible beliefs with ANY form of Bible-based faith systems as to show what it is to any person with the ability to still think for themself.
A simple or in-depth reading of Doctrine and Covenance, or the Pearl of Great Price will show any honest person the immutable seperation between Mormon “ism” and the “Faith delivered ONLY ONCE to the Saints.” And those “Saints” were the Apostles and NOT Joseph Smith followers.
You are nice people Mr. and Ms. Mormon, for the most part. When you clean the immensly huge logs out of your OWN eyes . . . then you can reject the false teachings of Joseph Smith and the men leading you astray in Mormon “ism” and see what is and what isn’t being a Christian.



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Bryan Stout

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:13 am


Here’s the promised other half of my comments.
I suspect that one other major factor in the Mormon/Christian discussion is the assumption about salvation that may go with the word “Christian”. When others say that some group is or is not Christian, is or is not apostate, are they claiming something about that group’s status before God? Rather than letting this run as emotional undercurrent, let’s bring it out in the open so we know what people are really saying.
First, the Mormon point of view. Mormon theology is a mixture of exclusivity and universality: the way to God is strictly defined, but it is accessible to everyone. More specifically, the way to salvation is only through Jesus Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church with authority to speak and act in his name (refering to prophetic revelation and priesthood authority). However, God judges us relative to our understanding, based on how much we seek truth and how well we live the truth we know. “All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, … who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom [“the celestial kingdom of God”]; For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.” D&C 137:7-9.
(This is why we baptize for the dead in our temples, so that in case people do accept the gospel in the spirit world before resurrection, this required ordinance is done for them. I also should point out that we have a different concept of heaven and hell. We believe that the sufferings of hell are of finite duration, and we believe heaven has “three degrees of glory”: the Telestial kingdom, for the unrepentant; the Terrestrial, for the honorable; and the Celestial, for the valiant.)
So while we believe that the LDS church is the “only true and living church”, we do not believe non-Mormons are necessarily damned. While we claim that there was an apostacy, we mean that the early Christian church lost its revealed guidance with the death of the apostles; we do not mean that members of other churches are considered rebels. Each individual will be judged by the Lord for him or herself. Each life a person has lived counts before God.
Secondly, the mainstream Christian point of view. I cannot summarize this because it is so diverse, but I can make a request: When you are making arguments about the meaning of “Christian” and who fits that label, can you also state whether you are implying something about people’s salvation? More importantly, can you clarify your thoughts for us about the relation between different meanings of “Christian”?
I get the impression that some people reason like this: “Because Mormons reject orthodox doctrines E, F and G, or because they believe heretical doctrines P, Q and R, they are not Christian. And since they aren’t Christian, they are damned.” But such reasoning switches meanings of the word “Christian” in midstream. I don’t think most people actually think that the standards for Christian historicity or orthodoxy are exactly the same as the scriptural standards for salvation. If you do think so, I’d like to understand your reasoning. If you don’t, I’d like to hear you say so, so we know what you are and are not implying.
Regards,
Bryan



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Byron

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:23 am


Bill,
I’m afraid you miss the point. What you say would be wonderful—if truth didn’t matter. But it does matter. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” If He’d said, “you shall know some stuff, it might be true or it might not, it really doesn’t matter, and once you know this stuff, you might be free, sorta, more or less”, then I’d agree with you.
But the fact is, one isn’t a Christian merely by believing just any old thing about Jesus; the Bible itself says that the demons believe and tremble. Is there no such thing, in your framework, as heresy? For if there is no heresy, then there can be no “truth”. That is what this discussion (not necessarily “rock-throwing”, though some seem to have to stoop to that level, on both sides) is about; what constitutes the framework of orthodoxy, and what is heresy; what falls outside the pale of essential truth?
The understanding that Mormons have about the nature of Christ, the nature of God, and what God requires of man, differ fundamentally from what evangelicals understand, so much so that the different understandings are mutually exclusive. If one is right, the other is wrong, and vice-versa (and, of course, humility dictates that I mention that we could both be wrong). The truth is worth defending (and my Mormon friends, with whom I differ significantly, surely agree). It does no one any good to pretend otherwise.
I’m trying to follow Jesus, not Rodney King.



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:22 am


Nathan:
You make my point for me: there is better discussion happening in the comments than in the debate. Mr. Card should take some lessons from you and provide succinct, distilled, and on-point responses as you have.
Interestingly enough, though, you also make Dr. Mohler’s point for him: he has argued that Mormonism has rejected historic Christianity, “traditional Christian orthodoxy”. You state that Mormonism rejects these historic creeds:
You wrote: “We do not accept the artifacts of the Ecumenical Councils as completely valid positions. We do not hold the Nicene Creed as an acceptable statement of our beliefs.”
Dr. Mohler in his last post had to restate the question as put to him:
He wrote: “The first matter of concern is to clarify the question. When I asked, “Are Mormons ‘Christians’ as defined by traditional Christian orthodoxy?,” I was stating the question exactly as it was put to me. The words “as defined by traditional Christian orthodoxy” were part of my assignment, not my imposition.”
So you see, given what you wrote, it appears that you would agree with Dr. Mohler, that, no, Mormons are not to be considered Christian as defined by traditional Christian orthodoxy (e.g. Nicene Creed, etc). I am not an expert on these historic creeds, but I think it is safe to say that these documents served to help clarify what the Bible teaches regarding salvation, Christ, sin, etc. precisely in response to wrong teachings that were being propagated at that time. I understand that Mormons reject these creeds (whether in whole or in part, I don’t know) and believe themselves to be the only true Church. Therefore, intellectual honesty would require you to say that all who are not Mormon are not Christian as redefined by the Mormon church.
I leave you with a quote from Byron, the second comment on this post who made this point earlier:
“I do not, by the way, begrudge Mormons the use of the title “Christian”; they are free to describe themselves in any manner they choose (it’s America, right?). That said, I put it simply this way, given that our definitions of what constitutes a Christian to be mutually-exclusive: if I, as an evangelical, am a Christian, then those who put their faith in Mormon theology cannot be as well; if Mormons are Christians, then I, who deny the essence of their understanding of the Christian faith, am not a Christian. We can both call ourselves “Christians”, but in the sense which is meaningful to me as an evangelical, we cannot both BE “Christians”.”



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Nathan

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:40 am


If you define “Christian” using the artifacts of the Ecumenical Councils instead of using the doctrines explained in the Bible, are you not doing the same thing that you accuse Mormons of doing–adding to the Bible to define our faith?



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P. Nielsen

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:49 am


Matt,
You said: “Therefore, intellectual honesty would require you to say that all who are not Mormon are not Christian as redefined by the Mormon church.”
Not at all. We don’t define `Christian’ in terms of “traditional Christian orthodoxy.” In fact, except when people are trying to be exclusionary, very few use this weird definition of Christian. We define it, as does the dictionary, as do most people on the street, as one who claims to follow Jesus Christ. By using the non-standard definition of via traditional Christian orthodoxy, one plays a game of exclusion and confusion.
I actually appreciate Br. Card’s post because he cuts right to the heart of the real question. Can Dr. Mohler take the small step Br. Card suggested, but admitting our service to Jesus Christ pleases Him?
Best,
P. Nielsen
P.S. We reject the path Christianity took after the apostles died, but that doesn’t mean we reject original Christianity. (Just as the Protestants rejected the path the Catholic church took.)



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Nathan

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:52 am


Matt:
My last comment was made before I read your new post. You are right. If the only definition of Christian is that you hold to the Creed, then Mormons are not. We believe that the definition of Christian is one who is a disciple of Christ, and tries to live their lives as such.
Accordingly, Mormons believe that Evangelicals, and Catholics, and Mormons are Christian. We do not believe that you are the “church of the devil”. The church of the devil is anyone who fights against Christ, and we can find those individuals in any denomination (or non-denomination) including amongst the Mormons.
I believe that while we have different interpretations, and have doctrines that the other believe are not completely true, by this definition of accepting Christ as our Savior, and trying to live according to His teachings, we CAN both be Christians.
“And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. (1 Corinthians 12:5-6)”
I believe, because I have many evangelical friends that prove this, that we can believe in the same Lord, living lives of charity and goodness, praying together, and rejoicing in Christ, and still maintain our differing beliefs. Let us unite in Christ, and glory in the power for good that we can be in this country because it is Him that unites us.



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:05 am


P. Nielsen:
Fine! If you want to loosely define Christian as anyone who claims to follow Jesus Christ as Christian and use Webster’s as your source, then a lot of people are Christian.
But I think that this is the point of this debate: Mormons and Christians (please excuse this distinction for the moment) disagree on what it means to be a true Christian! It’s not simply a matter of “You say ‘potato’ and I say ‘potahtoh’!”
There are some clear theological disagreements between Christians and Mormons (see earlier parenthetical statement) that makes them mutually exclusive. So again, I leave you with Byron’s quote:
“I do not, by the way, begrudge Mormons the use of the title “Christian”; they are free to describe themselves in any manner they choose (it’s America, right?). That said, I put it simply this way, given that our definitions of what constitutes a Christian to be mutually-exclusive: if I, as an evangelical, am a Christian, then those who put their faith in Mormon theology cannot be as well; if Mormons are Christians, then I, who deny the essence of their understanding of the Christian faith, am not a Christian. We can both call ourselves “Christians”, but in the sense which is meaningful to me as an evangelical, we cannot both BE “Christians”.”



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:10 am


Nathan:
Thanks for your response. I think if you would provide an answer to the following question, it might help to clarify our differences. Please excuse the elementary nature of this question:
“When you stand before God on judgment day and he asks why he should let you into heaven, how will you answer Him?”



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:11 am


Brady,
Again please read these references. My point is that the Abrahamic Covenant is pretty interesting. One element that is overlooked is that God promises that his people will have the same blessings as Abraham. Abraham was promised that his posterity will be as numerous as the stars or without end, and life with him. Eternal marriage and family without end is a very Biblical idea.
Gal. 3: 7-9, 26-29
Gen. 26: 1-4, 24
Gen. 35: 9-13
Gen. 22: 15-18
Gen. 17: 2, 21
Gen. 48: 3-4
John 8: 33, 39
1 Ne. 15: 14, 18
2 Ne. 29: 1, 14
3 Ne. 20: 25, 27
Gen. 12: 3
Gen. 15: 18
Gen. 18: 18
Gen. 21: 12
Gen. 28: 14
Ex. 19: 5
Deut. 14: 2
Judg. 2: 1
Isa. 49: 6
Isa. 50: 1
Isa. 54: 5
Jer. 3: 14
Jer. 31: 31
Hosea 2: 19
Matt. 3: 9
Luke 3: 8
Acts 3: 25
Rom. 9: 4
Rom. 11: 27
Heb. 6: 14
Heb. 11: 18
1 Ne. 17: 40
1 Ne. 19: 15
1 Ne. 22: 9
2 Ne. 6: 12
2 Ne. 9: 1
2 Ne. 10: 7
2 Ne. 11: 5
2 Ne. 30: 2
3 Ne. 21: 4
Morm. 5: 20
Ether 3: 11
Ether 13: 11



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Nathan

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:22 am


Matt:
My response to God will be one that also happens to be found in the Book of Mormon: “Oh have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that I may receive forgiveness of my sins.”
If I, or any other Mormon claim to be able to face God, and say “my works have been sufficient to save me”, then we are wrong.
Thanks for the question.



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:36 am


Nathan:
Can you please explain to me what “apply the atoning blood of Christ” means. What did Christ atone for? What does it mean to “atone”. For the sake of helping to clarify things, assume that I know nothing about this.
Thanks.



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Nathan

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:47 am


Matt:
According to the LDS Bible Dictionary, atonement: “describes the setting ‘at one’ of those who have been estranged, and denotes the reconcilliation of man to God.” By my own definition, to atone is to pay a price, or make a sacrifice to lift a creature from a low state to a higher one–one that the creature could not otherwise attain. Again from the Book of Mormon, we believe that “there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit.”



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:01 pm


Nathan:
What is being paid for?
Why does man need reconciliation?
Also, what do you mean by “low-state” and “higher-one”?
Matt
P.S. This is good stuff! So please keep answering, and feel free to ask me questions as well.



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:21 pm


Byron…I appreciate someone who can discuss theology without the names. Thank you.
My biggest difficulty lies with the concept that if something is not always stated, then it is not required. Using similar logic, then Faith is not essential to be saved because when Chirst spoke of repentence (or any other doctrine), He did not also add the caveat that Faith was essential. One must remember that the scriptures were written generally to those who were members of Christ’s church and knew of the doctrines.
Instead of attempting to discuss each point you made, I would like to address only two. First, the comment by Paul. If you continue to read beyond that scripture, you will gain the context of Paul’s comments. As predicted by the prophets, there was already the beginningsof the apostacy. People had begun to represent themselves as followers of Paul or of other teachers. Paul was happy that he had only baptized a single family so that they wouldn’t place him above the Savior. Remember the Savior didn’t baptize anyone himself.
Second concerns the thief. Paradise is not heaven. That is supported by the fact that Christ himself did not go to heaven that day. Remember Christ told Mary Magdalene after his ressurrection that he had not yet ascended to his father. If you want to know where Christ went then you should look to 1 Peter 3:19 and 1 Peter 4:6.
And just to end, if baptism was not essential to get into heaven, why did Christ do it? also, why did Chirst tell John the Baptist, who initially refused to baptize him, say that it was to be done to fulfill all righteousness. There must be more to baptism then remission of sins because Christ did it and he was sinless. Also, in Acts, Peter (who I hope you agree was the leder of the church after the resurrection) says it is essential to have faith, repentence, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:37 pm


The book of James calls the Savior the mediator..who is He the mediator between? What does He mediate?



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Carey

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:40 pm


Suppose a man just finished 20 years of a life term for murder and was released on parole. Would you let him come into your church? Could he be Mormon or Evangelical? Could he be saved?
What about a prostitute? Or a young woman who had a child but isn’t married and doesn’t know what to do?



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Nathan

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:59 pm


Matt:
We recognize the state that we are in. Mankind is fallen, and in a situation where we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom 3:23)”. This is the low state. The higher state is in God’s presence. In the very next verse: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”.
We believe this! I know that you believe this too. When Mormons talk of the “works” (commandments, ordinances, etc.) that we “perform” it is never in denying the grace of God. It is because of we are redeemed through His name, that we feel committed to the Lord, and want to keep His commandments. We do not believe that we can get there on our own. When Christ said that “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)”, we take that seriously, because we are born of Him. Because we are His disciples, if He says to be baptized, then we will.
You may interpret this verse differently, but here is how we base what we do (from our 4th article of faith) “We believe the 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”.
You see that for us (and I believe for you too), the faith in Christ comes first. Then we call on His name (only) to receive a forgiveness of our sins. Once we feel the joy that comes from this miraculous grace, then, and only then do we feel a commitment and desire to keep the commandment to be born of water and the Spirit.
To me, this is Christianity. This is what it means to be born of Christ. We may have a different view of “what” it means to be born of water and of the Spirit, but we both believe that it is only in Christ that the miracle occurs.



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Brady

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:03 pm


Nowandlater,
You have still NOT answered any of the questions I presented. I again ask that you answer the questions that I posed in my posting.
In your last Posting you said,
“Again please read these references. My point is that the Abrahamic Covenant is pretty interesting. One element that is overlooked is that God promises that his people will have the same blessings as Abraham. Abraham was promised that his posterity will be as numerous as the stars or without end, and life with him. Eternal marriage and family without end is a very Biblical idea.”
You did NOT answer my questions in what you wrote, but rather referred to the Abrahamic Covenant, which IS in the Bible. Please do not try to incoporate your preconceived notions into what the text of the Bible clearly says. The correction to your above claim regarding Abraham is that the Bible clearly says that Abrahams descendants will be so numerous that they cannot be counted. It never once mentions anything about eternal marriage. See the below passages…
Ge 22:17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
Ge 32:12 “For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’”
Since you cannot answer my question and show me where the Bible or the Book of Mormon mentions the New and Everlasting Covenant (which refers to the required gospel ordinance of eternal marriage) I will take your inability to answer the question to mean that Mormon doctrine is in error and should not be trusted.
Sincerely,
-Brady



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P. Nielsen

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:03 pm


Dear Matt,
You said: “Fine! If you want to loosely define Christian as anyone who claims to follow Jesus Christ as Christian and use Webster’s as your source, then a lot of people are Christian.” I am glad we can at least agree on this small point. That is a start! Mormons see this as crucial because *most people* use this definition. In fact, that is why the dictionary defines it that way! If you told someone on the street “Mormons are not Christian” that bothers us because the person will (likely) walk away with the idea that we not only don’t believe in Jesus, but we also don’t try to live Christian principles of righteousness. So, for us, it is important that others not leave wrong impressions. We are more than happy for you to explain that we are unorthodox Christians, or that we hold (what you believe to be) false notions about God and Jesus but that we try to live righteous lives.
That said, let me try to address your other points. You said: “But I think that this is the point of this debate: Mormons and Christians (please excuse this distinction for the moment) disagree on what it means to be a true Christian! It’s not simply a matter of “You say ‘potato’ and I say ‘potahtoh’!” There are some clear theological disagreements between Christians and Mormons (see earlier parenthetical statement) that makes them mutually exclusive.”
I agree that (some) orthodox Christians and (some) Mormons disagree on what it means to be a true Christian. Sometimes they don’t, as evidenced in some of the posts here. I also agree that there are clear theological disagreements between traditional Christianity and Mormonism. Both Dr. Mohler and Br. Card have agreed on these points.
So, to move the argument forward, let me ask you the following. How do you normally define ‘Christian’? Do most Christians you know define it this way? Must one accept the creeds of traditional, orthodox Christianity? Must one have the correct philosophical notions of God (i.e. must one correctly understand the creeds, or only accept them with limited understanding)?
I would also ask, “According to your understanding, what must one do to be saved.” I ask these questions in sincerity, and while I cannot promise that others won’t try to twist your answers, I truly want to understand exactly where our disagreement lies.
Best,
P. Nielsen



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Brady

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:12 pm


Nowandlater,
I forgot to add this that you have not explained yet either.
Matthew 22:23-30
On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him,
24 asking, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘IF A MAN DIES HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER AS NEXT OF KIN SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP CHILDREN FOR HIS BROTHER.’
25 “Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother;
26 so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh.
27 “Last of all, the woman died.
28 “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.”
29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.
30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
AFTER YOU HAVE ANSWERED THE OTHER QUESTIONS I POSED…PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THIS PASSAGE SAYS ABOUT MARRIAGE IN HEAVEN.



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Ryan

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:23 pm


Matt,
As a Catholic, I must say that I cannot refer to you as a Christian. From this point forward I must refer to you as a Protestant since there are clearly some “theological disagreements” between Protestants and Catholics “that makes them mutually exclusive.”
By the way, since you said that you were opened to questions, I have one that I have always wanted an answer to. What is the difference between Baptists, Southern Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Episcopals, Unitarians, and the folks from the Church of Christ?
Thanks for your answer in advance.



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Brady

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:23 pm


Mike,
Please read (if you haven’t) or reread my posting last night at 11:05 pm. What you said in your response contradicts the definition that Joseph Fielding Smith gave of the fulness of the gospel. There are several other points in what I wrote that might be helpful to read as well. I hope this helps.
-Brady



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:32 pm


Brady… your question regarding eternal marriage is pretty easy. You need only read the scripture you cited in Matthew. The LDS church does not profess to perform eternal marriages in or after the Resurrection. Therefore, your argument using Matthew is unfounded and only shows that LDS doctrine is once again consistent with the BIBLE.
You haven’t yet responded to the Genesis scripture in that God performed the first marraige between Adam and Eve, making it an eternal marriage. LDS doctrine further teaches that when a marriage is performed by one who has God’s authority and performed in God’s house (his temple) then one may receive the same gift that God gave to our first parents..an eternal marriage!



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Trish

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm


Bryan said:
“I also should point out that we have a different concept of heaven and hell. We believe that the sufferings of hell are of finite duration, and we believe heaven has “three degrees of glory”: the Telestial kingdom, for the unrepentant; the Terrestrial, for the honorable; and the Celestial, for the valiant.”
I would like to expand on this in the spirit of fostering understanding.
In it’s most basic concept the Plan of Salvation is thus: There was a Creation. Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit resulting in death (physical death and a separation from God). Jesus Christ overcame death and hell (the separation from God) by his suffering, death and resurrection, thus opening the gates whereby we also may overcome death and hell (as judged by Jesus Christ), not of our own accord, because none of us could do it, but only through the grace of Jesus Christ. All of us who were born on this earth will be resurrected. Almost all of us will attain heaven. The only people who won’t and instead will be cast out are those who deny Jesus Christ while knowing full who he is and what he has done. Like looking full into the sun and saying it does not exist. Now heaven has different levels or divisions(the scriptures sometimes call these houses or mansions). There are many, many levels just as there a myriad different kinds of people, but there are three main levels, compared to the glory of the sun, moon and stars. This is where the judgment of Jesus Christ comes in. It is only He who can decide where in heaven you belong, because it is only He who knows us infinitely by virtue of the atonement. He knows our limitations, He knows our hearts, He knows how we have applied His teachings and commands. Baptism is one of His commandments, and in order to reach the glory of the sun (Celestial), one must enter into the baptismal covenant (that does not mean that just because a person is baptized, he is guaranteed a place there, it is Jesus Christ who will judge if that person has kept their covenants). Likewise with the covenant of Eternal Marriage (since it was brought up), which is a requirement for a level within the Celestial Glory.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it is not enough to know that everybody we know will go to Heaven. We desire everybody to achieve the highest glory in Heaven that they can, as judged by Jesus Christ. That is why we emphasize living the best we know how, that is why we emphasize baptism through the authority of Jesus Christ for those ready to make and keep that covenant with Him. Certainly we do not desire anybody to make covenants they cannot or will not keep. It is also why we worship Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer and focus on what we can do to be judged better by Him.
We cannot show you convincingly all of our beliefs in the Old and New Testaments. We rely on many forms of Scripture: our Standard Works and Revelation given by a living prophet. Maybe you can’t prove that our version of the Gospel is true from the Holy Bible, but we can prove the truth of the Holy Bible from the Book of Mormon! If the Book of Mormon is true (and I testify it is, as the Holy Spirit has born witness to my Soul), it holds that all of the scriptures are God’s word and is truth, as the Book of Mormon testifies of the Holy Bible and the Divinity of Jesus Christ.



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:57 pm


Brady,
I thought you only had one question. The rest looks like a lecture.
The story told to Jesus by the Sadducees was about a specific woman and her seven husbands. They wanted to know “in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven?” (Matt. 22:28) The Savior’s reply is extremely interesting and merits a great deal of thought. He said that they erred in denying the resurrection on the basis of this story for two reasons. First, they did not know the scriptures. Second, they did not know the power of God. That is interesting, because these were supposedly the scripture experts of that day — yet he said they did not know them.
He went on to say “For in the resurrection THEY neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. Let me make the following points regarding the Savior’s reply.
1) The word “they” refers specifically to the 8 people in the story, and not necessarily to all other people. Who were these people? In verse 25, the Sadducees say “there were WITH US seven brethren,” suggesting that the seven men in this specific case study were Sadducees also. Sadducees were a rather worldly group that denied the resurrection and generally rejected Christ. They aren’t likely to be in the kingdom of heaven, so their marriages on earth are irrelevant. Yet, most Christians believe that this verse means that nobody is married in heaven. That is wrong – and fact made even more clear by the next point below.
2) If you read verse 30 carefully, Jesus clearly speaks of two groups in heaven: a) people who are married in heaven and b) angels.
2 Pet. 3:7, Peter speaks of the man and woman being “heirs together” of the grace of life. Another suggestion of eternal marriage comes from the word of Christ about the sealing power he gave to Peter (Matt. 16:19 and Matt. 18:18): whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound (sealed) in heaven. And of marriage, Christ said “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6). Also, in the Lord (meaning in heaven or in the eternities), the man is not without the woman and vice versa, according to 1 Cor. 11:11.
Add this, plus the references to the Abrahamic covenant (see scriptures above) and it is apparent that the LDS view on eternal marriages and families is very consistent with Biblical teachings.



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:07 pm


BRADY…
Using your logic, then the trinity is not a true doctrine because the word Trinity is never found in the BIBLE. And I think many people who have read the Bible would further state that the heavy majority of scriptures in the Bible do not support the trinity, but rather contradict it.



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:17 pm


Off Topic: It’s pretty humorous, but Donny why? why? People already think we are weird enough.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=XbVtbc_XzrI



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:20 pm


P. Nielson:
How do you normally define ‘Christian’?
One who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Now, before you say that we agree on this, let me also say that our understanding of what it means to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior needs to be fleshed out. For instance, what does it mean that He is Lord? Lord of what? What does it mean to confess Him as Savior? What is a savior? What does he save us from? Etc. We can discuss this if you would like, but for now, let me answer the rest of your questions.
Do most Christians you know define it this way?
Most Christians I KNOW do. Do most people who call themselves Christian define it this way? Maybe yes, but again, we would need to flesh out the details of what they mean by what they say in order to see if it reflects accurately what the Bible says about Jesus. Because that is what is important: What does the Bible say about Christ. And to the extent that I accurately “confess” and believe what the Bible says about Christ, to that extent I am confessing (to agree with) Christ.
Must one accept the creeds of traditional, orthodox Christianity?
No, one must not accept traditional creeds of traditional orthodoxy to be saved. That said, however, one must accept what the Bible teaches (and a true Christian will). And, as long as the creeds are in keeping with Scripture, one is free to accept them.
Let’s remember, though, creeds are only a tool. They are used to summarize central themes and doctrines taught throughout the entire Bible. And so, as long as the creeds are in keeping with the Bible, I can and should accept them. However, whether or not I end up accepting them has no bearing on my salvation.
I could argue that what you and others have written about Mormonism is a form of a “creed”. Must I accept what you write as authority? No. But if it is in keeping with your church’s understanding of what is true and what the Book of Mormon teaches, then I would be foolish not to.
Must one have the correct philosophical notions of God (i.e. must one correctly understand the creeds, or only accept them with limited understanding)?
See above.
I would also ask, “According to your understanding, what must one do to be saved.”
One must repent from sin and plead for mercy from God.
It is God whom we have offended with our sin. We ALREADY stand condemned before Him. Our only hope of being saved from His wrath against our sin is to confess Jesus as our substitute and only hope of forgiveness. We can’t obey God because by nature we are sinful. We are unrighteous before God.
Yet, for God so loved the world, that he sent his son, not just to die in our place for our sin, but to live the righteous life we can’t live. When we believe in Him, not only do we receive forgiveness of sin, we receive the righteousness (perfect life) of Christ and adoption as sons. God now sees us as righteous (perfect) not because we possess that righteousness (perfection) in ourselves, but because we have been give Christ’s righteousness (perfection). That is why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. God no longer sees us as unrighteous (imperfect) because He sees Christ’s righteousness.
Rom 8:3-4 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 an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
And, once you believe, you are sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise who is given as a pledge of our inheritance. (Eph 1).



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:28 pm


Matt…
A few comments that I would like you to respond to.
One. Christ is the Lord of Lords, correct? Well who are those other Lords?
Two. Didn’t Christ teach this in Mark 16:15-16?
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved
Seems that salvation is dependent on beleiving (faith) AND being baptized.



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Nathan

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:30 pm


To my Mormon and non-Mormon friends posting here…I think that we are getting off track. If we are trying to debate particular points of doctrine and using our interpretations of scripture to prove each other wrong, neither will succeed, and the debate will go on fruitlessly for ever.
The point we are trying to decide is if Mormons should be considered Christian.
To distill the debate, the answer depends on the definition of “Christian”.
1. If being a Christian means one must agree with the results of the various Ecumenical Councils, and hold, particularly to the Nicene Creed, then the answer is “No”, Mormons are not Christian.
2. If being a Christian means that one accepts Jesus of Nazareth as their Savior, and admit that without His mercy and grace we would be lost forever, then the answer is “Yes”, Mormons are Christians.
Perhaps we cannot come to consensus in this forum on which definition is appropriate; but at least in each person’s heart, they can decide on the definition that fits their own feelings. I feel like the second definition allows Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons all to claim discipleship of Christ, even if our particular modes of worship vary from each other.



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Nathan

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:33 pm


Well said, Matt.



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BobWoodbury

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:33 pm


Let me state at the beginning I’m a committed, convinced member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (I know I’ve prejudiced many of the readers with that statement), I’ve been reading this blog on and off now over the past several days. Dr. Mohler and Mr. Card have both written thoughtful commentary addressing the subject; I think Dr. Mohler has been more focused directly on the subject, “Are Mormons Orthodox Christians?,” (even though the blog heading is “Are Mormons Christians?”—I think there’s an important distinction to be found there). Mr. Card has taken the broader subject and its application to Mitt Romney’s candidacy, so the essays have not always appeared to address one another. It’s apparent that both agree on this, that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) are not orthodox Christians, and that they disagree whether, practically speaking, Mormons are Christians at all. Dr. Mohler with an emphatic, no!, Mr. Card with, of course Mormons are Christian.
The many, many responses have typically been just as interesting and engaging and it appears that everyone is in agreement that Mormons are not orthodox Christians, if that orthodoxy is based on the creeds as written, debated and, finally, accepted by those present some centuries following Christ’s death. Many have argued the creeds are based on truths found in the scriptures and so are scriptural, others argue that the creedal statements can be disputed by scripture and in fact, are an outgrowth of Greek philosophy and its profound influence on Christian doctrine.
It’s interesting to me that the scriptures can be interpreted to apparently support both views, the triune view of God, as well as God, Christ and the Holy Ghost being distinctly individual, but unified as one. It seems the LDS recognize and accept the idea of one-ness as taught in certain Bible passages, but the evangelicals appear to ignore those scriptures suggesting separate and distinct members of the Godhead found in other Bible scriptures.
What’s a person to think? It appears by all accounts there are doctrines and ideas taught without perfect clarity in the Bible and so are interpreted according to our own paradigm. I believe the idea of one-ness can easily co-exist with separate and distinct entities, particularly after reading John 17, but that the triune concept begins to unravel when reading the scriptures indicating God and Christ are distinct personages. And so the debate goes on, with both sides staying firmly in their camps without capitulation to the other. I believe the answer to this, “who’s Christian” question may be found in the simple declaration made by Christ at the end of the Sermon on the Mount (the Christian primer for behavior) as found in Matthew,
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
I know many Christians, from different denominations, who I respect for their daily living, the way they treat their spouses and children, neighbors and co-workers, the language they use and their friendly, inclusive natures, along with a hundred other small, seemingly insignificant actions. A Christian is not known by professing his faith, who hears it? Maybe know one but himself, a Christian is known by the day-to-day acts that show he indeed has faith in Christ who taught that we follow Him. Following Christ means we do the things that Christ did, comfort the afflicted, feed the poor, love our enemies, go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, give to those in need, clothe the naked, care for the widow and fatherless, etc. etc. Those are fruits of faith. Like the vine used in allegories and parables, we can’t see what nourishes the vine, we can only see the results of the nourishment, the fruit.
Now I already now the response to this post: Nice sentiments, but what about the doctrines? Those who would answer me thus—you stand on your doctrine and hold to it dearly—I’ll continue trying to do the things God and Christ asked me to do, submit my will to God knowing that He will provide the best kind of life for me through His tender mercies and the wonderful grace that comes through Christ. That is my faith, Christ atoned, died on the cross and was raised to life eternal, for me and all God’s children, my role in the plan is to show my faith in Christ by my obedience, then rely on His grace for eternal life.
I think the faith vs. works debate has become so territorial, and “I’m right, you’re wrong” as to defy resolution. We don’t listen to one another, of course it takes faith—in fact, it first and foremost takes faith, but works, or acts, or service, or whatever term you want to use, are extremely important as well, James taught that clearly. One can’t accept the Bible without accepting all of it. We will be judged according to our works, Christ admonished us to do good, one has to act on their faith in order for faith to be legitimate. Accepting Christ takes action, it requires a desire, and the faith in the promises made by Christ requires one to step forward, kneel down or cry out. And after that the very act of praying, reading the scriptures, going to a Bible class, Sunday church meetings, service to others, really all our good acts, are works based on faith. For the true believer, the practical application of faith is to do something of our own free will. Mortals have control over just one thing, it’s the only thing we can give to God, our will, the choices we make to act in accordance to our belief. He is creator, there is nothing that is not His, except the individual will of man—that’s the test of life—will we, or won’t we, give up our own will to God? And submitting our will can only be shown by our actions, whether we decide on obedience or not is up to us. God or Christ won’t, can’t, make our decisions, “…choose you this day whom ye will serve,” declared Aaron, “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
There is no way around works for one who believes in Christ. And so the only criteria for whether one believes in Christ, regardless of denomination, doctrine or creed, is the standard Christ himself gave, “…by their fruits ye shall know them.”
I would suggest that we all quit these blogs, stop the contending over Christ’s name (how’s that for hypocritical anyway?) and go find someone who needs our care and succor, I believe that’s what Christ would have us do.
Regards,
BW



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:38 pm


Ryan:
I’m catchn’ what you’re thrown’.
It’s unfortunate though, that these distinctions have to be made. “Catholics”, “Protestants”, “Mormons”. But the reason for this is clear. Most of these distinctions have been made usually in response to wrong teachings about the Bible. There no longer exists a single definition for what it means to be Christian. So, distinctions are made in order not to help differentiate between true and false ideas of what it means to be Christian (or some other theological issue).
Where at one time I might consider myself “catholic” (lower case ‘c’), I would now refer to myself as “Protestant” but only relative to Catholicism, since Protestants “protested” the Catholic church. Mormons call themselves Mormons because they reject Catholics and Protestants. etc, etc.
Look, we know that when Christ comes He will separate the wheat from the chaff. He will not be looking at what title we gave ourselves. He will be looking for those who have been worshiping him in spirit and in truth! His sheep hear his voice and follow Him.
“What is the difference between Baptists, Southern Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Episcopals, Unitarians, and the folks from the Church of Christ?”
Beats me…anyone else?



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:55 pm


“Perhaps we cannot come to consensus in this forum on which definition is appropriate; but at least in each person’s heart, they can decide on the definition that fits their own feelings. I feel like the second definition allows Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons all to claim discipleship of Christ, even if our particular modes of worship vary from each other.”
Nathan, Nathan, Nathan. Please don’t fall into a “whatever feels good for you is true” trap. That is not how we resolve this. I agree that we will probably not come to a consensus on who is a true Christian on this comment board. But that doesn’t mean we have to throw out reason.
We can, however, agree to disagree!
Sure, if you want to define Christian in the most simplest of terms in order to be inclusive of all, that’s your prerogative.
But if you want to define a Christian by what the Bible says…



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:08 pm


Lazarus Lives ( again from LivingScriptures, my family (we are all LDS) just adore these cartoons. They are wonderful! The ones which Orson Card worked are great too! )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iPhC7rqqyk



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:12 pm


Brady,
I just quoted the scriptures.
And it is clear that the “fulness of the gospe;” and the “fulness of my scripture” are mutually exclusive terms according to the Doctrine & Covenants.
Also, Since both the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach us to “ask God” when questions arise, the answers can become additional concepts and truth that we did not previously have, thus the seed planted in the injunction to “ask God” can bear the fruit of the “fulness of the Gospel, without every word, teaching or concept being originally listed in toto.



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Brady

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:30 pm


Nowandlater and Stuart,
The challenge is still on the table…Please show me one passage from either the Book of Mormon or the Bible the either directly OR indirectly to the New and Everlasting Covenant that speaks of Eternal Marriage.
You have showed me zero passages that support the Mormon Doctrine of Eternal Marriage from the Bible or Book of Mormon.
Stuart, you made a comment about the Trinity above…notice that I have said in this posting and in an earlier one that no where in the Bible or the Book of Mormon is eternal marriage referred to directly OR INDIRECTLY. The Word Trinity is not found in the Bible, but the teachings that there is one and only one God that has existed and now exists from all eternity past and that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God (NOT three separate Gods) is found all over the Bible. We can discuss this later though.
I don’t want you to get distracted on the topic of the Trinity yet though because…My first question has NOT been answered.
-Brady



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:40 pm


I have given ample citations about family and marriage. If you can’t see what is there then I can not help.
:(



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Curious

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm


Why do Mormons worship and sing praises to Joseph Smith, Jr. Istead of only worshipping the God of the Bible? Isn’t that Idolatry?
One of the songs that I am referring to that is sung in Mormon churches is “Praise to the Man.” The Lyrics are below…
Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Jesus annointed that Prophet and Seer.
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.
Chorus
Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.
Praise to his mem’ry, he died as a martyr;
Honored and blest be his ever great name!
Long shall his blood, which was shed by assasins,
Plead unto heav’n while the earth lauds his fame.
Chorus
Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.
Chorus
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;
Earth must atone for the blood of that man.
Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.
Millions shall know “Brother Joseph” again.
I will let that idolatrous song speak for itself!
I WILL NEVER SING PRAISES TO AND THEREFORE WORSHIP ANYTHING…BUT THE ONE GOD OF THE BIBLE!
THIS IS YET ANOTHER REASON WHY MORMONS ARE NOT CHRISTIANS!



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm


“You mentioned I don’t know how many times that there was nothing for you to DO in the church. That would be an incredibly difficult situation because the salvation of Mormons is based on the things that you DO…good works or bad works. ”
That’s not true, and that’s a flat misrepresentation of what Card said. Card was talking about how Mormons assimilate into their own communities, and that is by action.
You on the other hand wish to excommunicate us from Christ based on what you pretend that we believe.
Jesus said that you would know our beliefs, through our works. “By this shall men know, ye are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” That’s not about whether God will save us. That’s about how Christians should recognize each other.
How about you stop playing God, and follow Jesus’ actual directions, to determine who is Christian?



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P. Nielsen

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:00 pm


Dear Matt,
You said:
>>How do you normally define ‘Christian’?
>>One who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
>>Now, before you say that we agree on this, let me also say that our understanding of what it means to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior needs to be fleshed out. For instance, what does it mean that He is Lord? Lord of what? What does it mean to confess Him as Savior? What is a savior? What does he save us from? Etc. We can discuss this if you would like, but for now, let me answer the rest of your questions.
—-
Matt, your definition sounds good. And we do agree on it. And we could discuss what it means for Christ to be a “Savior” and “Lord”. But let’s talk a little bit about that issue. I imagine that you would be willing to say that it is true that Jesus’ original disciples were Christians. They didn’t have the Bible. Most of them couldn’t read anyway, and were not familiar with Greek philosophical thought. I would even go a step further and say that many of them thought of Jesus as their Savior in very simple terms–He saved them from sin and death. Yet, I am 99.9999% sure that you would say they were Christians, in the truest sense of the word.
So, if you are willing to let these people, who have a very rudimentary (and in many cases, possibly incorrect) understanding of Jesus as Lord, but who nonetheless continued in the faith and were often killed for their beliefs, have the appelation “Christian” then why not Mormons?
But, if you still have problems applying the term to us, here is my challenge: Present to me what you believe to be a doctrine of our church which disqualifies our understanding of Jesus as Lord and Savior, but which does not exclude either the early Christians or some current Protestants. Just make sure no early Christians believed it, and that you truly and honestly feel that it is so heretical that it disqualifies us completely.
You also said:
>>I would also ask, “According to your understanding, what must one do to be saved.”
>>One must repent from sin and plead for mercy from God.
It is God whom we have offended with our sin. We ALREADY stand condemned before Him. Our only hope of being saved from His wrath against our sin is to confess Jesus as our substitute and only hope of forgiveness. We can’t obey God because by nature we are sinful. We are unrighteous before God.
>>Yet, for God so loved the world, that he sent his son, not just to die in our place for our sin, but to live the righteous life we can’t live. When we believe in Him, not only do we receive forgiveness of sin, we receive the righteousness (perfect life) of Christ and adoption as sons. God now sees us as righteous (perfect) not because we possess that righteousness (perfection) in ourselves, but because we have been give Christ’s righteousness (perfection). That is why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. God no longer sees us as unrighteous (imperfect) because He sees Christ’s righteousness.
Rom 8:3-4 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 an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
And, once you believe, you are sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise who is given as a pledge of our inheritance. (Eph 1).
——
I actually agree with this. I also believe that Christ’s atonement is what made it possible for all mankind to attempt to participate with Christ in the salvation process.
I would go further, and say that salvation from sin and death is not the end of the journey, but that we should work to become more Christlike in our daily walk, and retain a remission of our sins. That we come “to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” that we may “know as we are known” and be “joint-heirs with Christ.” We must endure to the end, run the race, etc… (to take symbolism from Paul). We must “do [good] to the least of these my brethren”, relying on Christ to give us the strength and ability to do so. Eternal life consists in knowing God (John 17:3), and “hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:3).
You might disagree with my understanding of these things; but I think you can admit that they are not foreign to Christian thought.
Best,
P. Nielsen



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Doug

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:39 pm


You kept all the commandments??? Wow I don’t know anyone that can do that, except Jesus. You never told a lie during that time, not even one?
Just found that statement to be amazing.



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:41 pm


P. Nielsen:
In the interest of waning time, I will just respond to your last comment. But so as not to give the appearance that I am avoiding your questions, let me briefly answer your challenge by saying this: Our differences would be clarified if we were to spend the time to flesh out what we mean by Lord and Savior.
Now, to your comment:
“I also believe that Christ’s atonement is what made it possible for all mankind to attempt to participate with Christ in the salvation process.”
This comment reveals to me that you do not understand what salvation really means, at least in a Biblical sense. Let me put it this way:
We are separated from God because of our sin. Right? We sin because we have sinful natures. We cannot be reconciled to God by ourselves. We are already estranged from Him due to our sin. We can’t pay for our own sin AND go to heaven. If we pay for our own sin, we will be in Hell for an eternity–forever! That’s how much God hates sin.
Yet, God!, in His great mercy has offered up His son as a substitute, to pay for my sin and to give me His righteousness!
When Christ “atoned” for my sin, He satisfied God’s wrath against my sin. In other words, God took his wrath for my sin out on Jesus Christ, who willingly laid down His life for me (what amazing love Jesus Christ has for His sheep!!!! How precious it is indeed!!!)
Now that God’s wrath for my sin has been satisfied, atoned for, in Christ, I have full and free access to God to enjoy Him for all eternity. God is satisfied!
Anyone who has been truly saved has been given a new nature. That’s what it means to be reborn. God makes what was once dead in sin, alive! Even when we were dead in our trespasses and sin, God made us alive together with Him! Eph 2.
So, back to your comment:
God doesn’t just make it POSSIBLE to “participate with Christ in the salvation process”. No!!! He actually DOES SAVE people. And guess what He saves us from? His own wrath. You see, God’s justice and mercy converge at the cross. His justice is satisfied because Christ absorbs the wrath of God (His hatred for sin)! God’s mercy is put on display at the cross precisely because He provides a substitute.



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:41 pm


Ummmm….
Shall we list all traditional hymns which sing about prophets? What a desperate accussation!



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P. Nielsen

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:44 pm


Doug,
Where did I say that? Why is it that when I only quoted the scriptures you immediately assumed I was making some impossible claim? Are you interested in understanding my position, or are you interested in winning an argument?



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:46 pm


“God doesn’t just make it POSSIBLE to “participate with Christ in the salvation process”. No!!! He actually DOES SAVE people. And guess what He saves us from? His own wrath. You see, God’s justice and mercy converge at the cross. His justice is satisfied because Christ absorbs the wrath of God (His hatred for sin)! God’s mercy is put on display at the cross precisely because He provides a substitute.”
Ok, so when Christ says “Come follow me”, you advocate not following him, but to standstill and declare how mighty Christ is to save. That’s fine for you to believe, but I believe in active faith in actually following Jesus Christ.



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GB

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:48 pm


Brady:You have showed me zero passages that support the Mormon Doctrine of Eternal Marriage from the Bible or Book of Mormon.
Stuart, you made a comment about the Trinity above…notice that I have said in this posting and in an earlier one that no where in the Bible or the Book of Mormon is eternal marriage referred to directly OR INDIRECTLY. The Word Trinity is not found in the Bible, but the teachings that there is one and only one God that has existed and now exists from all eternity past and that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God (NOT three separate Gods) is found all over the Bible. We can discuss this later though.
GB:Can you say DOUBLE STANDARD?



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P. Nielsen

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:00 pm


Matt,
You seem to be taking a Calvinistic view, whereby the saved were already saved at the moment Christ atoned for sin. In this view, man doesn’t participate in salvation at all, it is only the work of the Son.
I take a universalistic position, that Christ payed the price for all sin to His Father, buying *all* mankind (if you will). But I also believe that we must then covenant with Christ to do His will, and repent when we fall short, otherwise Christ will not own us (i.e. we will not “abide in Him” 1 John 2) and He will allow all the effects of justice to rest upon us. Christ’s atonement and resurrection save all mankind from the effects of Adam’s fall (physical and spiritual death). At the same time, Christ’s atonement makes it *possible* for all mankind to repent and be saved from their own sins, and receive eternal life, if they do what Christ asks (have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end).
Your view, while common among many Protestant denominations, is not universal. Do you really think it separates true Christians from non-Christians? Many denominations reject Calvinism and his TULIP doctrines.
Best,
P. Nielsen



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Curious

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:00 pm


You mentioned that there were traditional (which I am assuming means nonMomron) hymns that sing about prophets. A prophet of the Bible might be mentioned in a Christian (nonMormon) hymn, but I ask that you show me one instance that a Christian (nonMormon) hymn is sung praising/worshipping a man.
The only purpose of singing praises is to Worship the one God of the Bible…Why do Mormons explicitly sing praise to and therefore Worship Joseph Smith and therefore openly practice Idolatry in Church regularly?



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:12 pm


Nowandlater:
I do not advocate not following Him. In fact Christ commands ALL men to follow Him. And I also believe in active faith. In fact, as James wrote, faith without works is dead. Right! So to say you have faith and NOT act is really not faith at all.
But ask yourself this: Who are those who follow Christ? Who are the one’s who respond to God in faith and follow Him?
Why does person “A”, who is dead in his sins, one day decide to follow Jesus and person “B”, equally dead in his sins, not follow Jesus?
(BTW: I recognize this is WAY off topic, and I know I am partly to blame. But I hope others see these discussions providing some definitions to terms both Mormons and Christians use.)
The Bible clearly states that, even when we were dead in our sins, God made us alive together with Him. So my answer to my own question above is: those who truly respond to the call to follow him are one’s whom God has made alive in Him! (Ephesians 2). First God makes alive, then we respond in faith. Dead men can’t walk neither can they express faith in God until they have been made alive!



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:21 pm


Brady says:
The challenge is still on the table…Please show me one passage from either the Book of Mormon or the Bible the either directly OR indirectly to the New and Everlasting Covenant that speaks of Eternal Marriage.
Mike says: Since revelation has been received in our day expa\laining the concept of marriage more fully, and since the Bbile says that we may learn the truth by asking God, you show us where in the Bible further revelation is forbidden.
And I am ready to discuss the Revelation scripture that talks about not “adding to or taking from the word of God”, and the “accursed for presching another gospel” scripture, so I hope you have somthing better than that.
Mike



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:37 pm


BRADY: I did giv you a scripture, its called genesis where God makes Adam and Eve one in marriage for eternity (what God [the Eternal] puts together let not man put asunder)
I give you a scripture and you continue to not deal with it.
Regarding the trinity: Was Jesus crazy in that he prayed to Himself? Does Jesus know how to throw his voice so that it appears to come from the heavens, while he is physically in the water? Same thing regarding on the Mount of Transfiguration? Does that mean that Peter is also part of God, why limit it to the Trinity, Christ told the Apsotles that they could become one with Him as He is with the Father. Ohh an d by the way, there is only one God to whom LDS people worship, that is the Eternal Father.
Come on guys…give me a better explanation other than the Father and I are one scripture…
And by the way, BRADY, had you been a Jew at the time of Christ, are you sure you would have followed Him, He did teach things that were NEW and expounded on things that Isaiah and other prophets had only alluded too. The JEWS too said give me a scripture.



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Matt

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:47 pm


Stuart:
You wrote: “I did giv you a scripture, its called genesis where God makes Adam and Eve one in marriage for eternity (what God [the Eternal] puts together let not man put asunder)”
It says, let not MAN seperate>. Here is what Jesus said:
Mat 22:24-32 asking, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘IF A MAN DIES HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER AS NEXT OF KIN SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP CHILDREN FOR HIS BROTHER.’ (25) “Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; (26) so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. (27) “Last of all, the woman died. (28) “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.” (29) But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.
(30) “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.



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GB

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:49 pm


LDS Boy
You are obviously NOT a Mormon. But an Anti-Mormon trying to deceive people about what we believe as is their trade craft. But your ignorance of real Mormon Doctrine gives you away.



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GB

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:54 pm


Matt:(30) “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
GB: Obviously no marriage ceremonies will occur “in the resurrection”. That doesn’t mean that marriages preformed by the sealing power of the Priesthood given to Peter on earth will be dissolved “in the resurrection”.



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:01 pm


BRADY…do you know how to read. I responded to that question earlier, but let me do it again just in case.
The scripture in matthew is correct! For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage. LDS people do not believe in performing eternal marriages after the resurrection, the same goes with any of the ordinances (baptism, laying on of hands for gift of holy ghost, etc.)
Why do you think Jesus was asked the question by those who did not follow or believe in Jesus? It was an attempt to get Jesus to contradict His teachings with those of the OT.



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Stuart

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:02 pm


Well LDS BOY, consider you mention a Mormon Pastor, it is obvious you are not LDS!



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:03 pm


Curious,
I suspect you think Catholics aren’t Christians because of their hymns about Mary. Hmmm…I can go to many other denominations; there is a lot more. This could get interesting.
——————————–
Daily Daily Sing to Mary
Sing my soul her praises due
All her feasts her actions worship
With the heart’s devotion true
Lost in wond’ring contemplation
Be her Majesty confess’d
Call her Mother, call her Virgin
Happy Mother Virgin Blest
She is mighty to deliver
Call her trust her lovingly
When the tempest rages round thee
She will calm the troubled sea
Gifts of heaven she has given
Noble Lady to our race
She the Queen who decks her subject
With the light of God’s own grace.



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GB

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:15 pm


Isn’t is sad that some so called “christians” are willing to lie and falsely impersonate to deceive other Christians about the true doctrines of the LDS church?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:19 pm


LDSboy said:
Mormons, I invite all of you to state what we believe in before all these people:
Mike: The tone of your post makes it clear that you are not currently LDS. So don’t be disingenuous about it. Maybe you are a disgruntled ex-Mormon or claim to be one, but you are not a current active Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So you are a liar. So why should I believe your statements about what Mormons believe. And I really admire your courage in not stating your real name, as I have here.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that ALL churches founded between 100 AD and 1820 AD were corrupt and abominations to God. We believe that Joseph Smith, our prophet, restored the true church of the God of Mormon.
Mike: We believe that there was an apostasy from the truth and that many plain and precious things were lsot including the ordinances of the gospel. Isaiah 24:5 “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the eeverlasting fcovenant.”
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that God was once a man. We believe that we have to learn how to be Gods ourselves as all Gods have done before us.
Mike: John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he aseeth the bFather do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise
John 17:20-24 20 Neither apray I for these alone, but for them also which shall bbelieve on me through their word;
21 That they all may be aone; as thou, bFather, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be cone in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be aone, even as we are bone:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made aperfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast bloved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Romans 8, 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the cchildren of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Revelations 3:20-22 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will bcome in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
We believe that Jesus followed God the Father’s example by taking upon him a mortal body, and since you mostly believe in the trinity and thus cannot separate the three personages, God in the form of Christ became a man and we can become like him. We can be one with him as he is one with the Father, be joint heirs with him and sit down with him on Father’s throne. The Bible says so.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that our purpose is to join the Mormon Church and to earn our way to Godhood by following Mormon rights and privileges.
Mike: We believe Jesus when he says that Baptism and other ordinances are necessary, and overcome to be like him and be one with him and be joint heirs with him and sit on his throne by keeping His commandments.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that the God of Mormon is procreating with his retinue of wives in heaven and is sending down spirit babies, which are us.
Mike: Be believe that we are children of God. See Romans 8.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that Jesus was the first spirit baby and that his brother, Lucifer, the devil, was the second spirit baby.
We do believe that Jesus was the firstborn in the Spirit and the only begotten in the flesh.
There is no doctrine in the LDS church that Lucifer was the “second spirit baby” I dare you to show me a direct quote anywhere in LDS sources on this. This is an untruth. If you were really LDS you would know this.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that there are three heavens. A lower heaven for unbelievers. A middle heaven for unworthy Mormons. And finally, a celestial heaven where Mormon men are given a planet just like our God of Mormon.
Mike: Apparently so did the Apostle Paul:
1st Corinthians 15:40-42 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the asun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
2nd Cor 12:1-4 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third dheaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
We believe that the telestial kingdom is mainly for those who actively do evil mommon and non-mormon alike.
The terrestrial is mainly for those who failed to do good, mormon and non-mormon alike
The celestial is for those who ebntered into sacred covenants with God and kept them, the gateway is baptism as the Bible teaches in Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that the highest calling for a Mormon woman is to be eternally pregnant so she can populate a planet with spirit babies.
Mike: Since God’s highest calling is to bring us into being and save us, and since Jesus said “come follw me” and since we are to become like him and be prefected in him, We would naturally want to do what he does and what his Father does. There is no specific way revealed about how this creative process works in heaven. I dare you to show me a passage in canonized LDS doctrine that says otherwise.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that NO ONE can go to heaven without the consent of Jospeh Smith, who reigns supreme.
We believe that Jesus is the keeper of the gate, that no man comes to the father but by Him. We believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet like Moses or Isaiah and an apostle like Peter or John, but he never claimed perfection and He likewise will not enter Heaven except through Christ. Again if you were really LDS you would know this.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that we can baptise in the name of the dead.
And so does the Bible teach:
1st Cor 15:29 Else what shall they do which are abaptized bfor the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the ddead?
1st Peter 3:18-21 18 For Christ also hath once asuffered for sins, the just for the bunjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to cdeath in the flesh, but quickened by the dSpirit:
19 By which also he went and apreached unto the bspirits in cprison;
20 aWhich sometime were bdisobedient, when once the clongsuffering of God waited in the days of dNoah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were esaved by fwater.
21 The like figure whereunto even abaptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1st Peter 4:6 6 aFor for this cause was the bgospel cpreached also to them that are ddead, that they might be ejudged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that the Bible to be the word of God, BUT that a correct translation of the Bible is impossible to acquire. Therefore…
Mike: I have been quoting to you out of the Bible. I use both the KJV and the NIV, but I challenge you to discuss any of these doctrines and prove that they are not so from the scriptures.
We have no original text of the Bible, even the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest extant texts of portions of the Bible are only copies or copies of copies, and there are thousands of translations containing millions of variations
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that the Book of Mormon is the true word of the God of Mormon.
Mike: We believe that the Book of Mormon is another true testament of Jesus Christ as is the Bible. These are the words of the God of the Bible and the God of the New Testament, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We co not use the term “God of Mormon” If you were really LDS you would know that.
So calledLDSboy: We believe that, according to our prophet Joseph Smith, the Jews will not return to their land until they have all received Christ.
Mike: We believe no such doctrine. Document your allegation.
So calledLDSboy: We believe that the Jewish temple will be rebuilt not in Jerusalem but in Jackson Country, Missouri.
Mike: We believe that the Jewish Temple will be built in Jerusalem.
We also believe that a temple will be built in Jackson County Missouri.
We currently have over 120 operating temples, one currently in Missouri. If you were really LDS you would know this.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that Mormon President Spencer Kimball received a new revelation in 1978 that allows blacks to join the Mormon Church.
Mike: Yes we do. We also believe that Peter received a revelation allowing the gospel to be taught to the gentiles in New Testament times: See Acts 10:1-31
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that Joseph Smith shot and killed at least two men when he was attacked in Illinois in 1836.
Mike: We know that Joseph acted in self defense against a mob that had already killed his brother. A mob numbering in the hundreds.
Does not SocalledLDSboy believe in self defense?
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that Joseph Smith was arrested in 1826 and convicted of fraud for glass-looking and fraud.
We believe what is written at this link:
http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2002_1826_Trial_of_Joseph_Smith.html
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that any non-Mormon church is an abomination to the God of Mormon.
Mike: We believe that God will give all men and women an opportunity to accept the true gospel of Jesus Christ in this life or in the Spirit world. Show me what organization, doctrine or mechanism any other Christian church has that will save those who never even heard of Christ. show me a church that has a specific, organized missionary program to teach as many people as can be reached.
Article of Faith #11 We claim the aprivilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the bdictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may
SocalledLDSboy: Let’s show everyone what we REALLY believe in, Mormons!
Mike: Yes. Let’s. But let us tell the truth and not try to foist a pack of lies upon the uninformed public. and let us own up to who we really are.
Mike



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:23 pm


The New and Everlasting Covenant in LDS Theology means all the ordninances of the Gospel mediated through Jesus Christ culminating with marriage. It is Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by immersion, The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying of hands, Temple ordinances, and marriage. Same blessings of all the Patriachs are promised to us as mediated through Jesus Christ, the Great Jehovah.
——————-
Gen. 9: 16
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
Gen. 17: 7
7 And 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.
Num. 25: 13
13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was dzealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
Isa. 24: 5
5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the cordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Isa. 55: 3
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Jer. 31: 31
31 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer. 32: 40
40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Ezek. 37: 26
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting ccovenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
Heb. 8: 13
13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth bold is ready to vanish away.
Heb. 12: 24
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh ebetter things than that of Abel.
Heb. 13: 20
20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting ccovenant,



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GB

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:35 pm


LDS Boy
See Mikes post of 6:19 pm
Although there is a minor correction to his post.
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that Mormon President Spencer Kimball received a new revelation in 1978 that allows blacks to join the Mormon Church.
GB: “blacks” have always been able to “join the Mormon Church”. But yes we believe that the 1978 revelation allowed “blacks” access to the Priesthood. We also believe that Peter received a revelation allowing the gospel to be taught to the gentiles in New Testament times: See Acts 10:1-31



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:45 pm


One addition
I did not read closely enough one of SocalledLDSboy’s alleged beliefs:
SocalledLDSboy:
SocalledLDSboy: We believe that Mormon President Spencer Kimball received a new revelation in 1978 that allows blacks to join the Mormon Church.
Mike: blacks could be members of the church from the day it was orgianized. The 1978 revelation gave Blacks access to the priesthood and the temple ordinances. If SocalledLDSboy were really a Mormon he would know this as well. Another untruth from so-calledLDSboy.
Mike



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:50 pm


Thanks GB you caught it before I did.
And if LDSboy is really a Mormon then i’m Napoleon.



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 7:04 pm


Margaret Barker, “What Did Josiah Reform? The Earlier Religion of Israel,” BYU Speeches (6 May 2003) Non-LDS Cambridge scholar, Margaret Barker, discusses some of the interesting aspects of ancient Israel (and the Israelite temple). LDS scholars recognize some uniquely LDS traits in the things noted by Barker.
http://speeches.byu.edu/freefiles/provider2/type2/Barker_Margaret_2003.mp3
This is just too good!



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Ziom Miller

posted July 12, 2007 at 7:22 pm


I am a Converted Mormon and have been in this Church for some years and the reason’s why I baptized in this Church is because I Pray and search for a Church that would fill my life and Soul. However, it is sad that someone would say that because it was a Democrat vice a Republican no callings were given,etc.
If you are a true religious person, the reason why you attend a church us to worship Our Heavenly Father and not to critize or post emails that would hurt others. If we are religious or not, we should at least have the love to towards others even if they don’t love us. If not then take a look at Jesus Example and see if he return a slap with a slap.
Yes we at The Church of Latter Saints of Jesus Christ consider to be Christians since we follow the teachings of Christ and for our youth there is a wonderful support system. Let’s teach our kids to love and be kind and avoid to point fingers at anyone.
I feel sad to read only critics on a report, we already have enought hate in other places around the world, we do not need to write things to hurt others.
I am very sorry and apologize to the Brother who was not treated properly, but remember we need to go to Church for God and not just for the people. We are humans and make mistakes and at the End we will individually pay for our own sins.
Love,
Zio



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 7:39 pm


ANOTHER GOSPEL?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As members of that church we are often taken to task by the ministers and members of other churches who are critical of that claim. They say that we worship a “different Jesus” than they worship. They say that our doctrine is not “Biblical Christianity”. They often quote the following Bible passage as support.
Galatians 1:6-8 NIV 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Galations 1:6-8 KJV 6 I marvel that ye are so soon aremoved from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another bgospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the cgospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Now when this scripture is quoted, the critics of the LDS church, use it to maintain that Mormons are accursed, and are “going to hell”. (Lon Solomon, Pastor of the McClean Va. Bible Church makes such a claim)
This post is written to examine the “gospel” preached by Jesus, his Apostles, and other Prophets in the Bible to determine what doctrines were originally taught that may be missing today. As we do this it should become clear what the gospel contains and what is missing from doctrine now.
1. GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, MALE AND FEMALE
Genesis 1:26-27 NIV 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
2. GOD HAS A BODY
Genesis 32:30 NIV 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, [f] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
Exodus 24:9-11 NIV 9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, [b] clear as the sky itself. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Luke 24:36-42 NIV 36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.
3. MEN CAN BECOME LIKE JESUS AND BE ONE WITH HIM AND THE FATHER
Jesus Prays for All Believers
John 17:20-24 NIV 20″My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Philippians 3:20-21 NIV 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1st John 3:1-2 NIV 1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,[a]we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Romans 8:16-17 NIV 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Revelation 3:20-22 NIV 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
LET US SUMMARIZE POINTS 1,2 & 3: A BIBLE CHURCH WILL TEACH THAT GOD HAS A BODY, THAT MAN AND WOMAN ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF THAT BODY AND THAT THOSE WHO OVERCOME WILL BE LIKE GOD, WILL BE ONE WITH GOD, WILL BE HEIRS OF GOD, WILL SIT WITH HIM ON HIS THRONE.
What else does the Bible teach?
4. FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST MANIFESTED BY KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS
John 14:15 NIV “If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John14:21 NIV Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
John 15:14 NIV You are my friends if you do what I command.
Hebrews 11:4-40 NIV 4 BY FAITH ABEL OFFERED GOD A BETTER SACRIFICE than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 BY FAITH ENOCH was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 BY FAITH NOAH, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear BUILT AN ARK to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, OBEYED AND WENT, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to BECOME A FATHER because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, when God tested him, OFFERED ISAAC as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned.”[c] 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 BY FAITH JACOB BLESSED ISAAC AND ESAU in regard to their future.
21 BY FAITH JACOB, when he was dying, BLESSED EACH OF JOSEPH’S SONS, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 BY FAITH JOSEPH, when his end was near, SPOKE ABOUT THE EXODUS of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.
23 BY FAITH MOSES’ PARENTS HID HIM for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 BY FAITH MOSES, when he had grown up, REFUSED to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 HE CHOSE TO BE MISTREATED along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 BY FAITH HE LEFT EGYPT, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 BY FAITH HE KEPT THE PASSOVER and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 BY FAITH THE PEOPLE PASSED THROUGH THE RED SEA[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 BY FAITH the walls of Jericho fell, after the PEOPLE HAD MARCHED around them for seven days.
31 BY FAITH THE PROSTITUTE RAHAB, because she WELCOMED THE SPIES, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[e]
32 AND WHAT MORE SHALL I SAY I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who THROUGH FAITH CONQUERED KINGDOMS, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 THESE WERE ALL COMMENDED FOR THEIR FAITH, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
James2:14-19 NIV 14 WHAT GOOD IS IT, my brothers, IF A MAN CLAIMS TO HAVE FAITH BUT HAS NO DEEDS? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! EVEN THE DEMONS BELIEVE that—and shudder.
5. REPENTENCE BY THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH
Matt 3:8 NIV Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Mark 1:4 NIV And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 13:2-3 NIV 2Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
Acts 17:30 NIV In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
Acts 26:20 NIV First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their REPENTENCE BY THEIR DEEDS.
6. BAPTISM NECESSARY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS BY THOSE WHO BELIEVE TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Matt 3:13-15 NIV 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Matt 28:19-20 NIV 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. . .
Mark 16:16 NIV Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Luke 7:30 NIV But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John)
John 3:5 NIV Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Acts 2:37-38 NIV 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:48 NIV 48 So he (Peter) ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 22:13-15 NIV 13 He (Ananias) stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, (Paul) receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
14″Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
1st Peter 3:21 NIV and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge[e] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
7. GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST BY THE LAYING ON OF HANDS BY THOSE WITH AUTHORITY
Acts 8:17-17 NIV 14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into[c] the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
LET US SUMMARIZE POINTS 4-7. A BIBLE CHURCH WILL TEACH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST MANIFESTED BY WORKS OF REPENTENCE, BAPTISM AS A NECESSARY ORDINANCE TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND LAYING ON OF HANDS BY THOSE IN AUTHORITY FOR THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
DOES YOUR CHURCH TEACH THESE DOCTRINES AS PLAINLY EXPRESSED IN THE BIBLE? IF NOT, DOES THE CONDEMNATION EXPRESSED BY THE BIBLE IN GALATIANS APPLY TO THOSE WHO TEACH IN THAT CHURCH?



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Katie

posted July 12, 2007 at 7:42 pm


Why did Joseph Smith practice Polygamy before he “got a revelation from God” that it was alright?
Why was the later “revelation from God” for Mormons to stop polygamy right after the United States made it officially illegal?
Why did Joseph Smith marry women who were still married to their living husbands?
Why did Joseph Smith marry several 14 and 16 year old girls?
Why did Joseph Smith have approximately 30 wives?
ETC,
ETC.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 7:56 pm


Response to Above Polygamy questions?
Why did Abraham the “Father of the Faithful” have plural wives?
Why did Jacob, the Father of the House of Israel have plural wives?
Why did Peter receive revelation to allow Gentiles to be taught the Gospel?
Why did God command adherence to the Law of Moses?
Why did God later rescind the Law of Moses?
Why did God command Abraham to kill Isaac?
The answer to all these and all the polygamy questions:
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.



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KR Grindley

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:04 pm


One thing that I would like to see in this debate is textual examples. Both men are very eloquent; however, concrete examples of what they are talking about are sparse. Also it doesn’t matter what each person thinks will happen if Romney is elected president. Yes that will have an effect on the world, but it does not change the question at hand: is Mormonism compatible with Christianity as taught by Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament.
Dr. Mohler:
You made the following statements regarding Mormonism:
“The Mormon doctrine of God does not correspond to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Mormonism rejects the central logic of this doctrine (one God in three eternal persons) and develops its own doctrine of God – a doctrine that bears practically no resemblance to Trinitarian theology. The Mormon doctrine of God includes many gods, not one. Furthermore, Mormonism teaches that we are what God once was and are becoming what He now is. That is in direct conflict with Christian orthodoxy.”
Can you point to the Mormon literature that leads you to believe these things?
Mr. Card:
Similar question, are Dr. Mohler’s statements false and if not then why would that not disqualify Mormonism from inclusion under the banner of legitimate Christianity?
I am looking forward to reading future essays by both of you.



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Katie

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:21 pm


Mike, No where in the Bible does it ever say that polygamy is alright for anyone to practice…no where. Please show me one place where it says that polygamy was something that was accepted or approved by God. There were those in the Bible who did practice polygamy and they were wrong and sinful. The Lord refers to polygamy as an abomination…that is a pretty serious no, no! Then please look at all the places in the Bible that speak negatively about polygamy.



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Thomas

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:23 pm


I have thoroughly enjoyed my LDS friends. It is refreshing to be around people who live their convictions. So, it is not with malice, but with deep love and respect that I point out a few of the numerous scientific problems in the Book of Mormon.
LANGUAGE PROBLEMS
1 Nephi 1:2 and Mosiah 1:4 assert that the native language of the Hebrews in 600-91 BC was Egyptian. Mormon 9:32 differs in saying that it was Reformed Egyptian around 400 AD. However, it is well established that in 600 BC the Hebrews spoke Hebrew. As a result of the Babylonian Captivity (560-538 BC) Hebrew was reduced to the language of the scribes, priests and rabbis. Aramaic became the language of the Hebrews. Then, in 70 AD, Titus forced the Hebrews out of Palestine, and they acquired the languages of the nations to which they were scattered. The Hebrews had not spoken Egyptian since Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt many centuries earlier.
In consulting with professors of Semitic languages at the University of California and elsewhere, I could find no evidence of the existence of “Reformed Egyptian”, nor for the claim that the following words are Egyptian or Semitic at all: Shazar (1 Nephi 16:13-14), Irreantum (1 Nephi 17:5), deseret (for “bee’ in Ether 2:3), Liahona (Alma 37:38), or other names that are unique to the Book of Mormon.
GEOGRAPHICAL PROBLEMS
2 Nephi 5:15:16 is self-contradictory about the presence of minerals.
1 Nephi 17:5 is a description of Arabia which is “called Bountiful because of its much fruit and also wild honey.” Arabia is bountiful in sunshine, petroleum, sand, heat and fresh air, but certainly not in “much fruit and also wild honey”, nor has it been since creation times. 1 Nephi 18:1 indicates that the Jews made a ship from ample timber of Arabia. The same objection above applies here.
1 Nephi 2:6-9 speaks of an Arabian river named Laman that flows continually into the Red Sea! There has been no river whatever in Arabia in recorded history!
The numerous descriptions of the Nephite’s new land cannot be correlated with any distinct geographic features of Meso-America such as lakes or rivers.
BOTANICAL PROBLEMS
In 1 Nephi 18:24 (591 BC) we read that upon arrival, the Nephi and his followers planted the numerous seeds they had brought, and that the seeds “did grow exceedingly, wherefore we were blessed in abundance.”
As is well known, the dominant crops of the Near East were grapes, olives, wheat, barley, figs, dates, flax, onions, leeks, garlic, beans, pomegranates, and sycamore figs, certain melons, various oranges, lemons and peaches. American crops such as potatoes, tobacco, blueberries, cranberries, eggplants and maize (our “corn”) were unknown in the Old World until modern times.
There is no evidence whatever that the Near Eastern crops ever “did grow exceedingly … in abundance” until modern Europeans brought them to the Americas. Admittedly, while modern European colonists did find grapes in the Americas, they are an entirely distinct species from that of the Old World.
Other problems are when 3 Nephi 18:18 speaks of wheat in the Americas in 34 AD. 1 Nephi 13:7, Alma 1:29, and 4:6, Helaman 6:13 and Ether 10:4 speak of linen (flax cloth). Barley is mentioned in Mosiah 9:9, figs in 3 Nephi 14:16 and olives in Jacob 5, 1 Nephi l7: 14, 15:7-16. None of these existed here at that time. “Neas” and “sheum” are mentioned in Mosiah 9:9 as two prominent and abundant plants. Yet, if they were so prominent and important, why are there no references to them in Old World literature, and why have they not survived?
Plant grafting is mentioned in 1 Nephi 15:16 and Jacob 5, yet there is no evidence that the Indians practiced this in 600 BC – 421 AD. Pruning is mentioned in 2 Nephi 15:6 and faces a similar problem. To describe seed and plant growth as “swelling” (Alma 32:28-34 and 33:23) is naive and grossly inaccurate. It reflects the error of preformationism (a discredited scientific hypothesis which held that the entire totality of the mature organism is contained in miniature in the seed).
ZOOLOGICAL PROBLEMS
Contrary to what 1 Nephi 18:25 asserts, North America had no cows, oxen, asses, horses or goats “for the use of man” between 600 BC and the time European colonists brought them.
2 Nephi 21:6-8 plagiarizes the KJV of Isaiah 11:6-8 and applies it to North America (see also 2 Nephi 30:12-14). But North America had no sheep, lions, leopards, or the two snakes (asps and cockatrices) mentioned at that time.
Ether 2:2-3 and 5:4 explain that Jared and his family captured the birds, fish and bees, and gathered seeds with which they populated North America. But American birds and fish are distinctly different from Old World species. Honeybees were first introduced by Europeans. Ether 6:1 claims that Jared and his small family kept alive all of the species of fish that now inhabit the Americas for 344 days in their aquaria!
Ether 9:18-19 contains several problems:
• First, it lists domestic cattle, oxen and cows as separate species!
• Second, these did not exist in the Americas at that time.
• Third, domestic swine did not exist here then.
• Fourth, horses, asses and elephants did not exist in America at that time. Prehistoric forms became extinct centuries earlier and were not “useful to man.”
• Fifth, “cureloms” and “cumons!’ are not identified by LIDS scholars. Yet, it would be most unlikely for such supposedly useful and common domestic animals to go extinct.
There are serious problems in the description of the behavior of poisonous snakes, etc. in Ether 9:30-34:
• First, the notion that snakes increase as a drought increases is contradicted by the fact that reptiles are particularly sensitive to heat and lack of water, and would die off faster than other animals.
• Second, even with the large population of modem America, only about twenty people die yearly by snakebite. It is certainly not realistic for Ether to claim that numerous people and animals were exterminated by snakes.
• Third, it is totally unlike sheep for all of them to flee in one direction.
• Fourth, it would not be realistic for sheep to be driven to the south by poisonous snakes, as there are many fewer snakes in the north.
• Fifth, snakes have never cooperated with one another in driving animals in any direction.
• Sixth, it would have been impossible for people to have eaten in such few days the countless animals that had been killed by the snakes.
• Seventh, Ether 10:21ff tells us that the land was densely covered with people, while Ether 10: 19 says that “the land was covered with animals of the forests.” Ether 10: 12 speaks of raising much grain. All of this simply does not square with the idea of an epidemic of poisonous snakes. People, farming, and predatory animals will not allow snakes to become numerous.
Satyrs (2 Nephi 23:21) and dragons (2 Nephi 23:22,8:9) are mentioned as literal creatures. Chickens (3 Nephi 10:4-6) and dogs (Alma 16:10, Mosiah 12:2, and 3 Nephi 7:8) were non-existent here at the time. In 3 Nephi 20:16 and 21:12, lions are described as ‘beasts of the forests.” Contrary to popular opinion and the Book of Mormon, lions do not live in forests or jungles. They live in savannas and veldts (few scattered trees) and lions never inhabited the Americas.
Silk is erroneously mentioned as being produced in the Americas at that time (1 Nephi 13:7, Alma 4:6 and Ether 9:1 7 and 10:24). But silkworm moths had not yet been introduced from Asia. Clothes moths are mentioned in 3 Nephi 13:19-20 and 27:32, yet there were no woolen garments for moths to attack, as sheep had not yet been introduced. Needless to say, clothes moths had not yet been introduced to North America.
2 Nephi 17:15 lists two foods at that time; butter and honey. But Indians had no milk animals nor honeybees. Candies are made either of beeswax, beef tallow or paraffin, so that a reference to candies in 3 Nephi 8:21 is unacceptable.
MICRO-BIOLOGICAL PROBLEMS
Alma 46:40 attributes “the cause of disease to … the nature of the climate,” instead of to fifth, poor diet, or germs. Alma 16:1 tells us that the stench of those killed in one battle was so strong that “the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah for many years … and their lands remained desolate.” Action of bacteria, fungi, worms, insects, vultures etc., would require no more than a few weeks at the very most to disposes of these carcasses and their odors-not “many years!” 3 Nephi 17:7 mentions leprosy in 34 AD, yet the first known case in the Americas was in 1758.
PHYSIOLOGICAL PROBLEMS
Ether 15:30:31 says that Shiz was beheaded and that “Shiz raised upon his hands and fell, and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.” Obviously, without the brain to control the arms, legs, and breathing, all of this was totally impossible. Ether 14:2 specifically says that “every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand,” and yet a distinct minority of Indians, and people in general, for that matter, are left-handed. Alma 57:25 asserts that all in an army of 2,060 received many wounds, yet none died.
The implied reproduction rate in the Book of Mormon is astronomical! The story starts in 600 BC and ends in 421 AD. It involves a handful of people who travel from “the land of Jerusalem” [sic] to the Promised Land of America. Every four or five years or so there are devastating wars that kill many thousands of people (Alma 28:2, etc.), or as Ether 15:2 says, “nearly two millions of mighty men” in addition to their wives and children. For this to be so, it would be necessary for each couple to have scores of children, and for them to reach maturity in three or so years throughout the supposed period between 600 BC and 421 AD.
The description of the resurrection body in Alma 40:23 is astounding to say the least. It says that nothing shall be lost, not even a hair. In light of the fact that we shed a few score body and head hairs every week, and we “decommission” countless blood, skin, and other cells weekly, it is unrealistic to assert that all of these lost parts will be restored to us.
PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL PROBLEMS
Ether 2:20 says that the Lord instructed Jared to make a hole in the top and one “in the bottom” of each barge. What was the hole “in the bottom” for-to let water and wastes out? Ether 2:23 explains that if windows were put in the barges, the barges would be dashed to pieces.
In describing Christ’s crucifixion, 3 Nephi 8:20-23 says that the darkness was so great for three days that candles and torches could not give off light. Why not?
Alma 24:16 speaks of burying swords in the earth to keep them bright. On the contrary, this would speed their rusting. Even stainless steel would rust eventually under those conditions. Steel was unknown in the Americas prior to its being introduced by the Europeans, contrary to 1 Nephi 4:9; 16:18; 2 Nephi 5:15; Ether 7:9.
TECHNOLOGICAL PROBLEMS
It is erroneous for a book supposedly written in North America at that time to mention bellows (1 Nephi 17:11), fine steel bow, (1 Nephi 16:18) swords (2 Nephi 1:1 8, etc.), scimitars (Alma 2:12), sackcloth (2 Nephi 13:24, carts (2 Nephi 15:18,28) chariots (Alma 18:12; 20:6; 3 Nephi 21:14), numerous large buildings (Ether 10:5, etc.), many highways (Helaman 14:24), cement (Helaman 3:7-9), forts (Alma 48:8), a javelin (Alma 51:34), bushel (3 Nephi 12:15), breastplates (Mosiah 8:10), head plate and armor for the loins (Alma 46:13), compass (Alma 37:38, 44), spindles and spinning (Alma 37:40), sickles (Alma 26:5), yoke (1 Nephi 13:5), strong cords (Alma 26:29) a trumpet (3 Nephi 13:2), street corners (3 Nephi 13:5), chains (2 Nephi 1: 13, etc.), hoe (Ether 10:25), harp, tabret and viol (2 Nephi 15:12), plow (Ether 10:25), fuller’s soap (3 Nephi 24:2), barns (3 Nephi 13:26) and candles (3 Nephi 8:21).
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PROBLEMS
The Book of Mormon was supposedly written during the period in question, but there is no evidence that the Indians had anything other than simply pictorial writing at that time. They wrote no books. It is not appropriate to find references to many official records (Helaman 3:15), jot and tittle (3 Nephi 12:18), scrolls (Mormon 5:23, 9:2) and Alpha and Omega (3 Nephi 9:18); especially since Joseph Smith declared that there was no Greek in the Book of Mormon!
Other cultural problems include references to mammon (a Greek god of wealth3 Nephi 13:24), lawyers and judges (Alma 10: 14-15 and 3 Nephi 6: 1), acre (an Anglo-Saxon word-2 Nephi 15:10), “south-southeast direction” (1 Nephi 16:13), synagogues (a Greek word not in use until during and after the Babylonian exile in 586 BC, twenty years too late to be in the Nephite writings-3 Nephi 24:2), Gentiles (a term also unknown until after 538 BC- 1 Nephi 13:19), etc.
The Book of Mormon consistently refers to the “heart’ in the sense of soul, yet Indians varied in their terminology from lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines, to heart.
The Book of Mormon divides humanity into “black and white” and “Jew and Gentile” -most unrealistic for the Americas at the time-especially since the term “Jew” was never used of the Israelite people until after the Babylonian captivity (cf. Ezra 4:12 in the Old Testament, c.538 BC) about 63 years after Lehi’s family hopped the boat to the New World. The Mongoloid race is totally ignored, even though there were no black people in America until the coming of the European slave trade and the Indian people are Mongoloid!
The Book of Mormon teaches that Indians originated from Hebrew settlers in the Americas that wandered away from the Lord. 1 Nephi 12:11 says that as they wandered away in unbelief, “they became a dark, loathsome and filthy people.” 1 Nephi 13:15 praises future Americans as being “white, exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.” But Palestinian Semites do not have pale skin like the Anglo-Saxon settlers of America. 1 Nephi 5:21, Jacob 3:3-9, and Mormon 5:15-17 say that God cursed the Indians with a dark skin. 2 Nephi 5:23 and Alma 3:6-10 say that anyone who marries an Indian “shall be cursed with the same cursing.” If this were true, why do people who are only part Indian not look full Indian?
2 Nephi 30:5-7 predicts that when Indians accept the LDS gospel that they will again become a “white and delightsome people.” 3 Nephi 2:15 gives supposed examples of this. 2 Nephi 13:4 says that punishment from sin shall include “instead of well set hair, baldness,” yet baldness is much more common among Caucasians. In 1981, the LDS altered the Book of Mormon to read that the Indians will become “pure and delightsome.” However, in its many contexts, the Book of Mormon is highly explicit about the curse of a dark skin.
Instead of Semitic origin, Indians are distinctly Mongoloid, having straight and black hair, brown eyes, little facial or body hair among men, high cheekbones, skin pigmentation, occasional Mongoloid blue spot, certain blood traits, etc. Most of these racial traits are utterly unlike the characteristics of Semitic people, who do not possess the Mongoloid blue spot or features, and who have copious facial hair among the men and wavy head hair. Dark skin, instead of being a curse, is a protection against skin cancer. And Indians are certainly not innately more filthy, loathsome, or ugly than any other people!
OTHER PROBLEMS
Numerous historical and archaeological problems exist. The first edition of the Book of Mormon contained numerous grammatical and spelling errors. There are many contradictions between the Book of Mormon and other Mormon writings. And the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible in many places. Lack of space prohibits a listing of examples of the above problems.
CONCLUSION
It is hoped that this paper will help my LDS friends and other seekers after truth, for as Moroni 10:4 well says:
“And when ye shall receive these things I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT SALVATION
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death; but the Gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
– John 3:16
“And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,
and thy house.” – Acts 1 6:31



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:59 pm


“Ether 14:2 specifically says that “every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand,” and yet a distinct minority of Indians, and people in general, for that matter, are left-handed.
LoL!!! That bit of analysis sits at the intersection of absolute literalism and virtual illiteracy.
If a witness says that he saw a car crash at sunrise, do you call him a liar because we all know that the sun’s position is fixed relative to the earth’s?
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT SALVATION
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death; but the Gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
– John 3:16
“And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,
and thy house.” – Acts 1 6:31

Rather than just cut and pasting antimormon dribble, why don’t you think about it, and try to show any verse in the Book of Mormon that contradicts those biblical scriptures that you just cited?



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:02 pm


John E. Clark, “Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief,” BYU Speeches (5 May 2004) Dr. John Clark, director of the New World Archaeological Foundation, discusses some of the evidences that place the Book of Mormon into the real world context of ancient Mesoamerica. (MP3)
http://speeches-files.byu.edu/freefiles/provider2/type2/Clark_John_052004.mp3



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Daniel C. Peterson, “A Scholar Looks at Evidences for the Book of Mormon,” (Provo, Utah: FARMS) In this audio presentation, Dr. Peterson examines some of the many evidences that favor Joseph’s prophetic abilities in translating an authentic ancient text.
http://www.farmsresearch.com/multimedia/viewaudio.php?id=4



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:07 pm


“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
We believe that too.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
We believe that too.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
– John 3:16
We believe that too.
“And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” – Acts 1 6:31
We believe that too.



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:37 pm


A young Hugh Nibley talks! I double dog dare the Orthodox (2nd/3rd Century thinkers)camp to listen.
Hugh W. Nibley, “Forty Day Ministry: Part I,” BYU Speeches (12 February 1964) Dr. Nibley looks at non-canonical literature that purports to reveal information about Christ’s forty day ministry. Nibley demonstrates that some of the details in this ancient literature has interesting parallels to unique LDS beliefs. Part 1 of 2. (MP3 file)
http://speeches-files.byu.edu/freefiles/provider2/type2/Nibley_HughW_021964-2.mp3
Hugh W. Nibley, “Forty Day Ministry: Part II,” BYU Speeches (12 February 1964) Dr. Nibley looks at non-canonical literature that purports to reveal information about Christ’s forty day ministry. Nibley demonstrates that some of the details in this ancient literature has interesting parallels to unique LDS beliefs. Part 2 of 2. (MP3 file)
http://speeches-files.byu.edu/freefiles/provider2/type2/Nibley_HughW_021964-1.mp3



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Mary

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:06 pm


Wow! So many people with soo much to say … soo much to comment on.
A. Card mentioned the fact that Mormons follow the New Testament.
Which tells a whole lot about what Mormons believe & why they are Christian. He did not avoid the question , although there are many other points he could have made as to why they are.
B. I liked the comment that was posted as to why Mormons want to be called Christians or lumped in with them when they are the church of the Devil. That made me laugh. Good point.
C. Mormons might also be called Christians because of the name of their church. “The church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S.” it’s not Lutheran’s church or anyone else’s (Although Mormons are most grateful to Martin Luther for his faithfulness & sacrifices in making the scriptures accessible to everyone & in their own tongue.)
Mormons are also Christians because as listed previously by someone else they are the ONLY church set up as Christ originally set up his church with Apostles and Prophets , 70’s , proselyting , baptism ,etc.
D. Mormons serve a more just God than other Christians because we don’t believe that a sincere person of any faith who is trying to live to the best of their understanding of what is right will “go to hell.”
There are MANY places prepared for God’s children & he will bless them to the greatest degree they are able to stand based on how valient they were for his truth. Like that girl at columbine who would not deny her belief in the savior even when a gun was placed to her head. She was valient . People are not simply EVIL or RIGHTEOUS but are a whole varying range of places in between. Therefore there is not simply a heaven or a hell. But a loving God makes appropriate groupings for his children where they will be most happy & comfortable.
1 Corinthians Chap. 15 vs.40-42 also earlier in this chapter vs.29 speaks of baptism for the dead which is something that the Jews practiced in the Temple , & is another Biblical reason why Mormons are Christian. The Russian Orthodox church also continues to perform baptisms for the dead today , albeit selectively.
E. As to that whole faith/works stuff: 1 Corinthians chap. 13 the whole thing! most particularly vs. 2 “though I have all faith , so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
**** If ONE who possessed ALL FAITH , would be NOTHING without Charity how then can we be saved by FAITH alone?****
Let me explain to you how Mormons understand the whole faith/works thing: Christ brought forth the ressurrection of the dead for ALL mankind. The wicked as well as the righteous , it is a free gift to ALL. All will be ressurrected & live again in their bodies, to stand before their God to be judged of their WORKS. As mentioned above with the varying degrees of glory , there are MANY places prepared based on our individual works. However ALL are saved : that is ressurrected & receive a degree of glory whatever it may be.
It is by Grace that we are saved AFTER , ALL that WE can do.
That’s about all that I can chew for now. This was an interesting rant though . Mary



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:23 pm


Matt,
Amen!



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:41 pm


Eggzactly!
“**** If ONE who possessed ALL FAITH , would be NOTHING without Charity how then can we be saved by FAITH alone?****”
Oooh! I found another version of this!
Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux2jJubwQew



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Shane

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:48 pm


We don’t hear anything from God for roughly 1800 years after his ascension and then a fourteen-year-old farm boy claims that God showed up in answer to his prayer to find out which church he should join.
In the meantime, learned men, scholars, priests, and otherwise concerned people have made no such claim. (Some nice people have claimed that Mary showed up and left her mark a couple of times, but that’s nothing compared to this.)
Now, I appreciate that so many people have taken time to copy and paste their papers on their doctrines of salvation on this discussion board, but they really are beside the point.
As Mormons, we are not looking for ways to jockey into position among the other interpretations of Christian sacred texts. We are now the authoritative source for explaining what those texts mean. An accurate exegesis of scriptural text probably merits an 8 or 9 on the 100-point “Experience with Divinity” scale. But actually having a face to face with the resurrected Lord! A very real living breathing and far bigger elephant is standing in the room and you choose to find discrepancies between its trunk and the trunk of the stuffed plush toy elephant you hold in your hands.
Come back when you’ve had an interview with the creator of the universe, finished writing a 580-page book and gotten thirteen respectable men to sign off that an angel of God appeared and declared to them that the book was divine and then we’ll talk about your claims to Christianity or having a divine sanction on your efforts to interpret scripture.
Orthodox Christianity has brought nothing to the table of that scale; not Aquinas, not Augustine, not Luther, not Calvin, not Wesley, not C.S. Lewis, nobody has come close to matching it.
Shane



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:57 pm


I will be thoroughly interested when this conversation turns to 1st and 2nd century Christian beliefs. :)



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Georgi

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:04 pm


The problem with many major faiths, is that their adherents often don’t read their own doctrine; and that is truly blind faith…dangerous faith. Because upon their belief foundation is built the framework of their salavation. If those foundation stones are false, contradicted by the ultimate source…i.e., the Bible, then they are in serious trouble. However, the social institution of your local faith convince you to stay with this…a dilemma to anyone intellectual enough to study this discord. Too many people have only the thinnest veneer of understanding of their own faith, doctrine, and they accept without question all the artifices of their lay ministers, their church leaders, their priests, bishops, cardinals, and the pope…even when it patently contradicts Christian fundamental precepts. Mormonism does this by supplanting the Bible with the Pearl of Great Price, Doctrines and Covenants, the BoM, and any other writings from their modern day “Apostles.” The Catholic’s do this with ever papal bull which comes forth from the Vatican, or extant in their writings over centuries. Many other ‘christian’ faiths do this too, but they are far less institutionalized. The basic salvation message is perfectly witnessed in the New Testament…and the satanic influence is bent upon splitting the believer from the Word of God. Catholics, Mormons and most organized bodies do more to obscure the word and form divisions than they do to provide the proper salavation insight. In that game, they are much alike…and simply calling themselves christian is little evidence that either of them truly are christian.



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:21 pm


Robert L. Millet, “What We Believe,” BYU Speeches (3 February 1998) Robert Millet examines some of the uniquely LDS beliefs that seem to cause concern among other Christians. (PDF files; also available in PDF format.)
http://speeches-files.byu.edu/freefiles/provider2/type2/Millet_Robert_021998.mp3



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:24 pm


LDS Boy,
Since you claim to be of our faith, please explain the role of Simone Peter, Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, Elijah, Noah, and many others in relationship to their generation and to Jesus Christ, Jehovah.
Waiting for your fascinating insight! /sarcarsm off



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:37 pm


SocalledLDSboy:
Thank you for reiterating my point that ALL Christian churches erected between 100 AD and 1820 AD were abominations to God. Whether they were Catholic, Presbyterian, Bapist, Unitarian, Methodist, etc. It doesn’t matter. NO ONE was saved during that period of apostasy.
Mike: I know that you aren’t Mormon so why the pretense?
As usual, for those of your ilk, you pouce on items that you think you “scored points” on.
Unfortunately for you, since Mormon theology, through baptism for the Dead, As documented in the Bible in my first response to you. 1st Cor 15:28, 1st Peter 3:10-22, 1st Peter 4:6, allows that all men may be saved if they choose it. So there you go again lying about LDS doctrine.
Now how are you going to account for those people who never heard of Christ again?



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nowandlater

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:42 pm


David L. Paulsen, “Joseph Smith and the Problem of Evil,” BYU Speeches (21 September 1999) Dr. Paulsen examines how Joseph Smith’s revelations solve the philosophical problem of evil in a God-created world. (Real Audio; also available in PDF.)
http://byubroadcasting.org/devotionals/audio/real/092199.ram
Enjoy!



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:46 pm


Dear Mike Bennion, you, my friend, seem to disregard the infallible word of Brigham Young, our succesor to Joseph Smith.
“SocalledLDSboy: We believe that NO ONE can go to heaven without the consent of Jospeh Smith, who reigns supreme.
Mike: We believe that Jesus is the keeper of the gate, that no man comes to the father but by Him. We believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet like Moses or Isaiah and an apostle like Peter or John, but he never claimed perfection and He likewise will not enter Heaven except through Christ. Again if you were really LDS you would know this.”
READ:
“No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith… He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity and calling, as God does in Heaven” – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7
Mike’s Three observations:
1. “In his sphere”
2. If you were really a Mormon you would know that the Journal of Discourses is not canonized scripture.
3. I noticed that you gave an incomplete citation only listing volume 7 so that people will have a difficult time tracing the statement to read for context, since there are 58 separate discourses recorded in vol 7, (23 attributed to Brigham Young) So if you really want to discuss this quote I require The speech date and page number.
Boy, you need to do better than that.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:59 pm


Katie’s comment: Mike, No where in the Bible does it ever say that polygamy is alright for anyone to practice…no where. Please show me one place where it says that polygamy was something that was accepted or approved by God. There were those in the Bible who did practice polygamy and they were wrong and sinful. The Lord refers to polygamy as an abomination…that is a pretty serious no, no! Then please look at all the places in the Bible that speak negatively about polygamy.
Posted by: Katie | July 12, 2007 8:21 PM
Mike’s Response:
http://www.fairwiki.org/index.php/Polygamy_not_Biblical
Critics take an extremely limited survey of the Bible with this claim. It is true that David and Solomon were condemned for some of their marriage practices. This problem was mentioned in Deuteronomy:
15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother…17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away… (Deuteronomy 17:15,17
Critics ignore the fact that only FOUR CHAPTERS LATER, the Lord gives instructions on how to treat equitably plural wives and children. (See Deuteronomy 21:15-17.) Why does He not simply forbid plural marriage, if that is the intent of chapter 17? Why does He instruct the Israelites on how to conduct themselves in plural households, if all such households are forbidden?
So, rather than opposing plural marriage, the command to kings is that they:
not multiply wives to themselves (i.e., only those who hold proper priesthood keys may approve plural marriage—see 2 Samuel 12:8, Jacob 2:30, DC 132:38-39);
that these wives not be those who turn his heart away from God (1 Kings 11:3-4);
not take excessive numbers of wives (see Jacob 2:24).
David and Solomon are excellent examples of violating one or more of these Biblical principles, as described below.
[edit]David
David is well-known for his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah (see 2 Samuel 11:1-27. Nathan the prophet arrived to condemn David’s behavior, and told the king:
7 ¶ And Nathan said to David…Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I GAVE THEE thy master’s house, and THY MASTER’S WIVES into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. (2 Samuel 12:7-10)
Nathan here tells David that the Lord “GAVE THEE…THY MASTER’S WIVES.” And, the Lord says, through His prophet, that He would have given even more than He has already given of political power, wives, and wealth.
But, David sinned and did evil in the matter of Uriah. If plural marriage is always a sin to God, then why did Nathan not take the opportunity to condemn David for it now? Or, why did the prophet not come earlier?
[edit]Solomon
Solomon’s problem is described:
1 BUT king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love…
7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. (1 Kings 11:1-8
Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from, as Deuteronomy cautioned. Nothing is said against the plurality of wives, but merely of wives taken without authority that turn his heart away from the Lord.
[edit]Other Biblical examples
David and Solomon do not prove the critics’ point, but in fact demonstrate that plural marriage may, on occasion, be sanctioned (as in David’s case certainly).
But, we need not rely on these examples only to demonstrate that plural marriage was practiced by righteous followers of God in the Bible. Other cases include:
ABRAHAM married Hagar (Genesis 16:3), Keturah (Genesis 25:1) and other unnamed concubines (Genesis 25:6).
JACOB (Genesis 29:21-30, Genesis 30:3-4, Genesis 30:9)
ABIJAH had fourteen wives (2 Chronicles 13:21) and yet he is described as a RIGHTEOUS KING of Judah who honored the Lord (2 Chronicles 13:8-12) and prosper in battle because of the Lord’s blessing (2 Chronicles 13:16-18)
JEHOIDAH, priest under king Joash had two wives (2 Chronicles 3:{{{4}}}) and is described at his death as one who “had done good in Israel, both toward God and toward his house. [i.e. family]” ({s|2|Chronicles|24|16}}).
and also possibly:
MOSES [married Zipporah (Exodus 2:22 and an “Ethiopian” (Cushite) woman Numbers 12:1 which may or may not be the same person.[1]]
[edit]The Law of Moses
As noted above, Deuteronomy 21:15 provides rules governing Israelites who have plural wives. Further instructions are also given in Exodus 21:10. Why did God not ban plural marriage through Moses if it is always an immoral act?
[edit]Conclusion
The Bible does not forbid plural marriage. In fact, many of the most noble Biblical figures (e.g. Abraham) had more than one wife. Furthermore, Biblical laws quoted by critics forbid kings from being led astray by plural spouses, or entering relationships not sanctioned by God’s authority. However, the same Biblical laws provide guidelines for legitimate plural relationships.
[edit]Endnotes
[back] Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 2:10. off-site



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:06 am


To the person fraudulently calling himself “LDS Boy,” and to anyone listening to him.
The church has never said that Brigham Young was “infallible.”
Was Moses “infallible” when he took credit for God’s miracle? Was the apostle Peter “infallible” when he denied Christ, or when he refused to eat with Gentiles even after God commanded him to not treat them as unclean?
Brigham Young was wrong about a number of things. D&C 50 gives us the process for approving doctrine through common consent, before it rises to the level of “scripture.” The process is not that different in essence from how the books now unified as the “New Testament” were identified. Not every word that the prophet speaks is prophesy, but God manifests the truthfulness to the listeners.



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nowandlater

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:08 am


LDShomeBoy,
Oh that is such a thought provoking answer! Please tell me more! I don’t believe in absolute Prophet Infallibility, sorry. I do believe in Accountability and the Lord’s Empowerment of his prophets. But certainly not infallibility.
But back to the point. Why don’t you explain our beliefs in relationship to Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Elijah, and Simone Peter in relationship to Jesus Christ? Do you that we believe affirming truth? In the witness of two or more is the truth established? Doesn’t that sound familiar?



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:17 am


“If those foundation stones are false, contradicted by the ultimate source…i.e., the Bible, then they are in serious trouble.”
That’s a very strange thing to say. You think that the Bible is the ultimate source of truth?
The Bible an anthology of God’s word. Jehovah, also known as Jesus Christ our Savior and our God, is the ultimate source of the Bible. John’s statement that “in the beginning was the Word” was not intented to give license to bibliolatry. The Bible is the Good Book — an anthology of Good Books, to be precise, but it is not God; it is not the “Ultimate Source.”
We revere the Bible, but brethren, let’s not let that reference lead us to bibliolatry.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:27 am


For instance, Mr. Card speaks of those who “receive the saving grace of Christ that is offered to all who will believe and obey his commandments”. That sounds like an orthodox statement on its face, and many evangelicals might be tempted to accept it—but evangelicals do not believe that the “saving grace of Christ” is available to those who a priori “obey His commandments”. I appreciate the fact that this may seem like a fine distinction, but the grace of God is not contingent upon my obedience (else it is not grace at all).
I appreciate your fine distinction, and I agree with you that grace is not grace if contingent on your obedience, but I submit that you have missed a finer distinction. Brother Card did not say:
“receive the saving grace of Christ that is offered to all who believe and obey his commandments.”
He said:
“receive the saving grace of Christ that is offered to all who WILL believe and obey his commandments.”
That statement does not make obedience a priori requirement for grace.
Since faith without works is dead, we know that those who truly believe, being saved, will repent and obey God’s commandments.
And how can you say you truly believe unless you are *willing* to repent and obey God’s commandments? Yes, the flesh may be weak, yes, you might be unable, without God’s grace, to keep his commandments. I don’t understand how it all works, and I don’t know that I need to understand. Why would desiring to repent and obey Jesus Christ hinder my salvation? It seems to me that the desire to repent and obey Jesus Christ’s commandments would be part of my faith in him.
If I am damned for this understanding, please show me, from the Bible, why this is so. I love my savior and I want my beliefs to be in line with what he taught.



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Katie

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:27 am


Mike,
I am sorry but all that work you did to answer my question did not answer it. I commend the effort, but you did not show any place where God commands, condones, or approves of polygamy.



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Katie

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:30 am


LDS Boy,
I want to commend you for being honest about some of the things your church teaches! It looks like you are one of the few who actually knows and embraces the things that your church teaches.



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:32 am


Hey LDS Boy, what was Jospeh’s Smith’s testimony, how about you read the beginning of D&C 76. Thanks buddy!



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:34 am


BoyWhoFraudulentlyCallsHimselfLDS asked:
“Do you even own a copy?”
No. I have never owned a copy of “Mormon Doctrine” or “Doctrines of Salvation,” and when I was a missionary, were were specifically forbidden to own those books, because they are the private interpretations of church leaders, and contain incorrect statements of LDS doctrine. No, I don’t consider myself “greater than Bruce R. McConkie,” who was a great scriptorian, but like all men, made mistakes. Unlike many great men, Elder McConkie had the courage to admit many of his mistakes, and denounced some of his own earlier teachings later in life, stating that he and others had “misunderstood the scriptures.” There’s no mortal sin in that. As Paul said, we all see through the glass darkly, even though one day, with God’s grace, we will see face to face, and “know as we are known.”



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nowandlater

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:36 am


LDS Boy, honest? Katie, um, hate to tell you this but….whisper…whisper…whisper…. Um, yep it is true LDS Boy is definetly NOT LDS BOY!
He is actually LDS GAY VEGAN COMMUNIST TRANGENDERED. Sorry, I had to break it to you, but it is the truth. {Snicker}



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:39 am


Katie, shame on you for aiding and abetting a fraud. Or if you actually believe what you just said, shame on the one who taught you these falsehoods about our beliefs. Think about what you just said, and ask yourself, if our church really “teaches” these things, then who is it teaching them to, if no one in the church knows them?



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Susan

posted July 13, 2007 at 1:40 am


One of the basic teachings of the LDS faith is, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may someday be.”
Now, I don’t know how mormons define God, but my definition of God prohibits me (or my husband) from ever being gods to anyone because there is only one God, and He doesn’t need me being a sub-god for Him. He’s got it all under control.
A second issue for me is the idea that we must be “sealed” to each other for all eternity in a temple ceremony. What? God’s not smart enough to know that Steve and I want to be together in the afterlife? We need some secret code word to identify each other in the beyond? Steve could choose to not “pull me through” and gets to decide my afterlife? He could pull our daughter through and leave me on the other side to spend all of eternity without my only child? I don’t think so. As a Christian, I will trust God, and God alone, to decide my afterlife. My current life, too, by the way.
But the real kicker is that I believe that Jesus the Christ has the power to remit my sins, no matter the political or social situation. There is no sin, no matter what, that will not be forgiven in The Christ’s name, regardless of the imposition of an LDS theocracy. No blood need be spilled to send up a pleasing odor to God. Just true repentence and the Grace and Mercy of Jesus the Christ. (Mormon Doctrine, McConkie, p?? somwhere in the 90s in my edition).
Mormons can be, and frequently are, great people (my brother’s one, so I ought to know), but until they accept that ONLY the Grace and Mercy of Jesus the Christ is their salvation and all the works and ceremonies and restrictions are just window dressing, they cannot really be Christians, regardless of what they call themselves – just as I will always be a human, no matter how insistently I tell you I am a wombat.
Susan



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 1:51 am


“One of the basic teachings of the LDS faith is, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may someday be.”
Actually, no, Susan, that’s not a “basic teaching.” I’m not entirely sure what it means, and I don’t think that you do either. I do know that Anasthasius, architect of the Nicene Creed, said something very similar: “God became man so that man might become God.”
Was Anasthasius a Christian?
“I don’t know how mormons define God,”
No, you’ve certainly made your ignorance about our beliefs clear enough. And I don’t think that any of us knows enough about God to “define” him. I don’t think that salvation depends on passing a standardized test on the nature of God administered by Dr. Molher.
“until they accept that ONLY the Grace and Mercy of Jesus the Christ is their salvation and all the works and ceremonies and restrictions are just window dressing, they cannot really be Christians”
Fair enough. But if we believe that these works and ceremonies and restrictions are the window-dressing that God has asked of us, those that love God will honor them. Not for our salvation, but because we love and wish to serve the author of our salvation.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 1:58 am


what kind of deviant LDS Church are you part of? You reject the D&C?
Of course I do not reject the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C). The D&C is scripture. “Mormon Doctrine” and “Doctrines of Salvation” are not part of the D&C. I carried the D&C everywhere as a missionary, along with the Bible and the Book of Mormon. As a missionary in the 1980s, I was specifically forbidden to own a copy of “Mormon Doctrine.” That’s the difference between modern scripture, and the private interpretation of church leaders.



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GB

posted July 13, 2007 at 10:50 am


WOW!! The anti-mormons are out in force.
LDS Boy (so called) Has exposed himself as the LIAR and DECEIVER that anti-mormons are.
BTW Thomas, what anti-mormon source did you cut and paste that from?



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Liz

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:34 am


To all my fellow christians, being defined as followers of Christ and his teachings as defined in the Bible with the understanding that God is the final judge of all mankind, not “Brady” or “Nathan” or “Billy Bob”…
I am not a lawyer. And this grows tiresome.
I’m heading out to Kansas tomorrow to help clean up the flood victims.
I’m not doing it so that God will save me.
I’m doing it because I want to help.
However, I do care what God thinks of me.
I want him to be proud of me.
He is my father in heaven.
And although I fall far short of being perfect, he loves me anyway.
He loves me so much that he sent his perfect son, Jesus Christ, who came willingly and traded his life for mine.
Why would he do that?
And He came anyway, knowing many would reject his teachings, throwing mud at his gift of atonement and go on to do horrible things to their fellow human beings.
He would have come if the only person he could have saved was me.
He is MY Lord and Savior.
Say what you want.
I stand before you as the blind man who can now see.
My heart is full.
My heart…the same organ that burst with joy as my children were brought into the world.
The same organ that overflowed with joy when I married my husband.
The same organ that nearly broke when one of my children was taken back home, but was comforted with peace as I prayed for understanding.
The same organ that glows when I speak of my Savior.
Someone quoted a scripture earlier trying to prove that the heart cannot be trusted.
I am no stranger to joy. I trust my heart because I gave it long ago to my Savior. I listen and I am patient when I pray for understanding and He has never let me down. He always hears and answers my prayers. He requires me to humble myself and stay close so that I will hear His will, not someone else’s will masquerading as His.
I raise my voice with all others who love Christ and rejoice in His Atonement and Resurrection.
I love the Savior Jesus Christ with all my heart!
And I am a mormon.
For some, that proclamation is the death nell of my salvation.
And perhaps one day you and I will stand together at my judgment and will wish to put in your two cents worth on where I should go.
I highly suspect the Lord’s response will be, “I didn’t ask you”.
– Liz
P.S. I agree with the previous writer-let’s all disbar the Sanhedrin council of circular, un-Christlike debates and go do something productive. My time is precious.



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:18 pm


Question: What parent here on earth would not want his/her child to have everything they have and more?
If so, with an imperfect mortal parent, then why not with a Perfect, Loving Eternal Father.
Who does not believe Christ when he commands us to be perfect as our Eternal Father and why should we deny who we are, true children of an Eternal God and potential joint-heirs with the Savior of the World?
If you so-called Christians want to deny who you are, fine! But don’t criticize people who believe in the scriptures and the especially the Savior who said through HIM ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
Here is a better definition of Christians…those who believe the Lord and do not attempt to limit His Power and Abilities.



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Ethan Skarstedt

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:26 pm


I only read the first couple of comments after the article itself, so forgive me if this is redundant.
The debate was over long ago. The question posed was a bad one. Mohler defines himself as an “Orthodox” Christian and therefore, according to the text of the question, whatever he says goes, because it is him saying it. So Mormons are not Christians according to Orthodox Christianity, simply because Orthodox Christians say they are not. Silly.
Better questions would have been, “Are Mormons Christians?” or “Do Mormons follow Christ?” or “Are Mormon beliefs about Christ orthodox?” even “Do Mormons believe in Christ?”
Mohler and Card would have disagreed just as fundamentally on the answers to all those questions without the unfortunate presupposition in the question itself that one party was the final indisputable authority.



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:33 pm


People ask why the world needs the BOM or other additional scriptures. I will give you a few reasons.
1. The Bible only speaks of the Jewish people, God is the God of all people! Is it impossible with a PERFECT God that he wanted to speak to all of his children?
2. The world has changed since 100 A.D. and scriptures are suppose to help people through their life on earth. I imagine that the Apostles had to answer similar questions after they began writing “new scripture” beyond those taught in the OT, and why did they? Because the times changed.
3. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. For thousands of years, God has spoken through His chosen prophets to procalim His word, why would he suddenly change His methods?
As a mormon, and a descendent of some of the men that so-called Christians have criticized, there will more scriptures that will come forth and I am eager to learn more baout my Eternal Father and His Only Begotten Son and My Savior Jesus Christ.
For those who have “faith,” yet have never even read the BIBLE, I can understand why you wouldn’t want the responsibility of actually learning about the God you claim to follow. Without scriptures we do not know God or the Christ, and it was Christ who said how can man serve him they do not know!



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Ender

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:33 pm


OSC is the greatest living fiction author and a real hero of mine in that realm.
Al Mohler is a champion of the actual Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mormonism is an invented (and inventive) American religion that has no basis in truth other than it’s rejected, ill-fitting, chords that loosely tie it to the shredded orthodoxy of biblical truth.
And the last post from OSC was incredible. Not credible.



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:42 pm


Ender…well spoken! Those are the same comments that the Jewish leaders and the world said of Christianity when it “started”



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GB

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:53 pm


Ender:Mormonism is an invented (and inventive) American religion that has no basis in truth other than it’s rejected, ill-fitting, chords that loosely tie it to the shredded orthodoxy of biblical truth.
GB:Can you say “naked assertion”?



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GB

posted July 13, 2007 at 1:51 pm


LDS Boy (so called) AGAIN exposes himself as the LIAR and DECEIVER that anti-mormons are.



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Matt

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:21 pm


Stuart:
>>1. The Bible only speaks of the Jewish people, God is the God of all people! Is it impossible with a PERFECT God that he wanted to speak to all of his children?
False: Paul was commissioned to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews. Read Galatians for a case-in-point.
>>2. The world has changed since 100 A.D. and scriptures are suppose to help people through their life on earth. I imagine that the Apostles had to answer similar questions after they began writing “new scripture” beyond those taught in the OT, and why did they? Because the times changed.
Sure, times change, but man’s problem has never changed. He is and always will be born into sin, a slave to sin, until he is saved!
2Ti 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (17) so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
>>3. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. For thousands of years, God has spoken through His chosen prophets to procalim His word, why would he suddenly change His methods?
You are confusing the character of God with the means God uses. His character never changes, but His means do. Christ was the final “prophet”:
Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, (2) in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
Where once God used prophet, in these last days He has spoken through His son! That’s a change, isn’t it?



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nowandlater

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:21 pm


LDS Boy,
I must say you are doing yourself a disservice to your cause.
When you act serious, respectful, and declare your identity, then I will respond seriously. No more comments from me until that happens. But just like, spitballs or throwing rocks, I reserve the right however to respond anything overtly offensive.



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Matt

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:44 pm


It appears that Orson Scott Card is reading this, because he just changed the title of his post from” Other Mormon’s Didn’t Accept Me either” to “Are Any Sincere Christians Expendable?”
What’s your point, Mr Card?



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Matt

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:48 pm


Are there any other changes you made to your original post?



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Eric Withers

posted July 13, 2007 at 3:47 pm


Quoted from Carey: “Suppose a man just finished 20 years of a life term for murder and was released on parole. Would you let him come into your church? Could he be Mormon or Evangelical? Could he be saved? What about a prostitute? Or a young woman who had a child but isn’t married and doesn’t know what to do?”
Absolutely! Send them my way! They will absolutely be welcome in my church, my home, and my life! Can they be saved??? The Bible makes it clear that all who are drawn by the Holy Spirit and who trust in Christ alone for salvation will be saved, regardless of the things they have done! Love covers a multitude of sins!
The Mormon/Evangelical question is a tricky one. Of course, anyone can associate with a group. There are lots of so-called mormons, so-called evangelicals, so-called catholics, or so-called whatever else you want people out there, who do not actually conform to the teachings of their faith.
Salvation is much different than religion. Religion is dead works. Salvation is a changed life through the sacrifice of Christ that is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Look to the truth of Jesus Christ as found in the Holy Bible alone…no false documents from false prophets required.



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Demosthenes

posted July 13, 2007 at 3:54 pm


Eric,
Would you put the Nicene Creed in the category of extra-Biblical documents, and thus a false document from a false prophet?



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 4:04 pm


MATT…
Again you miss the point…Why was there a need for additional scriptures after the first few books of the OT, written down by Moses?? If the scriptures are to resolve the similar problems, why did we need more? Isaiah speaks of these problems more than any other man in the Bible, otehr than the Savior himself.
Why did God continue to call Prophets after Moses, who did not preach a new law, but rather were inspired by God to preach the principles.
The NT is exactly that…a NEW TESTAMENT. Christ restored the gospel that had been taught from Adam until Moses. If you have read the BIBLE you will see that the ten commandments and the Mosaic law were given on Moses second trip to the mountain, what was written on the tablets the first time?? HUH?
If Jesus Christ is the last prophet, why do you cite the words of His Apostles, especially those books that do not attempt to speak of Christ’s life. Why is the book of revelations concern itself with the prophecies of a latter day? Why does Peter speak of a restoration of all things? Why would we need one, if everything was taught?
If God’s means change then the Bible must be wrong, see Amos 3:7.
Wasn’t it Christ who said it was not His calling to preach to the Gentiles, but that He was commanded by the Father to only preach to the house of Israel? Or is the NT wrong about that?
Who are the “other sheep” that will hear Christ’s voice? They can’t be the Gentiles for the previous reason. So who are they? Maybe it was other members of the House of Israel that had been scattered, you can read the OT to find out that the House of Israel was scattered!



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Matt

posted July 13, 2007 at 4:45 pm


Stuart:
I guess the difference between your belief and mine, which puts us in somewhat of a stalemate, is that you believe that God is still speaking through prophets today, whereas I do not. Would that be a correct statement?
I am not questioning the clear reality that God used different prophets time and again to continue to unfold His plan. Why different prophets?
One possible answer is that the unfolding of God’s plan was going to take longer than just one generation of prophet. In other words, they died.! So he raised up other men to speak for him, but His plan was always the same and moving forward.
Secondly, you obviously agree that God does not change. Therefore, there should be a clear consistency between the message of the Bible and the message of the BOM, right? Meaning, they shouldn’t contradict each other, right? Do they contradict each other?
How Amos 3:7 addresses the issue of God’s immutability, I do not know. Please explain.
What support do you have that the “other sheep” must needs refer to sheep in the “Americas”? (I know you did not specifically state that, but I understand that this verse is used by Mormons to support this idea).
Look, I appreciate your responses. But throwing at me a bunch of questions to make a point really doesn’t move the conversation forward.
Do you really expect me to answer every single question? I hope not. So, why don’t we just work on one topic. You pick!



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Brandon

posted July 13, 2007 at 4:59 pm


Mr. Card’s defense of Mormonism as part of Christianity is terrible and is only based on relevance to other religions, politics, countries, people groups, etc.



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Adam Pettry

posted July 13, 2007 at 4:59 pm


I find this entire thing very humorous. Christians are supposed to be loving, and non-judgmental. Arguing religious differences achieves nothing, because NONE of us were there when the crucifixtion happened. All that it produces is hatred and religious bigotry.
Basing the validity of a religion against the Nicean Creed is pointless. It was a document that had been voted upon by MEN [who are prone to error], and has been revised many times. There is quite a good chance that these men were wrong on something.
All that we can do, is love the sinner, not the sin. Even if it means that one person believes a certain religious belief, and another believes it evil, we must follow Christ’s example and love one another. If one believes in Jesus Christ, and that he died to save us from our sins, REGARDLESS of ANY subsidiary beliefs or opinions, they are a brother or sister in Christ. Because we were not there when all of this happened, as human beings, we cannot prove anything, rendering denominational labels and the validity thereof useless.
We are all God’s children. He does not care about our labels, but rather our faith in him, and his son. To exclude individuals from your “christian Family” because they do not believe exactly as you do, is un-Christ like. This debate is folly. We should not be arguing whether or not someone is Christian, but accept the fact that they believe in Christ, serve and follow him as best as they can, and use this common bond to better the world.



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Matt

posted July 13, 2007 at 5:26 pm


Adam,
Is arguing religious differences really pointless?
Would you say that the Apostle Paul was achieving nothing when he wrote say, the letter to the Galatians? This entire letter was written in defense of the Gospel he had taught the Gentile believers. Others were perverting the Gospel he had taught the Gentiles, which was leading them away from the purity of the Gospel! So he starts off by saying that if anyone is teaching a Gospel other than what he had taught the Gentiles, let them be accursed! Read:
“Gal 1:8-9 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (9) As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
Paul also warned the elders of the churches in Ephesus of false teachers when he wrote to them:
Act 20:28-31 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (29) “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (30) and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (31) “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
Paul was obviously concerned and wanted to make sure that men would not just sit back and let false teaching go unchallenged.
The call by Paul to be on guard for false teaching and false teachers presumes that we have the means and ability to identify them.
So if even Christ warns of this when he said: (Mat 24:24) “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect…
then these conversations are not pointless! We are called to be on guard and fight for the truth. I know not all will take up that call. But don’t look down on those who do and call it folly. It only shows that you haven’t realized the seriousness of some of these things.
Blessings to you.



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 5:28 pm


Well first off…if you read the Bible, you will see that the VARIOUS prophets preached the same principles, so it wasn’t to unfold the Mosaic Law. It was to help put things in perspective with those current times.
If you beleive Amos 3:7 then you God would be doing nothing if there were no prophets. Correct? I believe that God is involved with our lives because he is Perfectly Loving Father; therefore, he continues to call living prophets.
The Bible and the BOM do teach the same principles: faith, repentence, baptism by imeersion for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost, priesthood, etc. etc. etc.
The “other sheep” is not only the Americas as contained in the BOM because those members of the House of Israel in the Americas are not the only ones in the world. Christ, Himself, said that the americas were the some of the “other sheep.”
Ok here is the single question! If you believe in the BIBLE, why don’t you beleive and practice the things taught within it?



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 5:32 pm


I think this is a great scripture, that goes along with those spoken of by MATT.
2. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, aor be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by bletter as from us, as that the cday of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: afor that day shall not come, except there come a bfalling away first, and that cman of dsin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who aopposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know awhat withholdeth that he might be brevealed in his time.
7 aFor the bmystery of ciniquity doth already work: only dhe who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that aWicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his bcoming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all apower and bsigns and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be adamned who bbelieved not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.



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Joel Cannon

posted July 13, 2007 at 5:35 pm


Matt, you directed your response to Stuart, so I hope you don’t mind me sharing my own thoughts and opinions.
I agree that God’s plan does not change – but how he presents it might be different depending on the audience. Take for example, the Law of Moses compared to the Gospel of the New Testament. They do not contradict each other and if they appear to contradict, then that is just a limitation of the written word. So, I do not see the Bible and the Book of Mormon contradicting each other either (but I suspect you might be preparing to copy/paste a list of apparent contradictions….)
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets
I think we all agree that we do not know everything that God knows – and that he has gradually reveled his Truth since the beginning of time. The writings of the prophets in the Bible are an example of how he has taught us line upon line, precept upon precept. I think that Stuart meant that if God suddenly decides to stop this process (especially without explanation), then it would imply that he had changed his mind about using prophets.
Unless God decides to stamp “The End” on the last page of Scripture, then I would expect him to continue revealing his secrets unto his servants the prophets as promised.
“Other sheep” in the Bible mean other branches of the House of Israel. Since they are lost, I don’t know exactly who or where they all were. The account of Jesus visiting those in the America’s as documented in the Book of Mormon is just one account, but there were also others which we do not have a detailed record.
3 Nephi 15
21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
3 Nephi 16
1 And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
As for Stuart’s questions – I assume they are rhetorical, and that you might not have give them previous consideration. I am certain he will answer them if you ask for his opinion ;-)



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 5:37 pm


MATT.. nice post. I agree, and you may want to read this scripture which compliments those you posted. 2 Thes. 2:3
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know awhat withholdeth that he might be brevealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all apower and bsigns and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The “falling away” or apostacy was already beginning during the times of the Apostles. Yet, I love how some are attempting to attribute such comments to the LDS Church. Verse 11 is really nice!
The LDS Church is the restoration of Christ’s church after the falling away, as proclaimed by Peter that in the latter days there would need be a restoration of all things.



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PrideBeforeHeFell

posted July 13, 2007 at 5:55 pm


I just want to share a quote that should cause concern about the heart of Joseph Smit, Jr.
This is taken from the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Vol. 6, pgs 408-409…
This is Joseph Smith, Jr. speaking. It was taken from his last sermon.
“I have more to boast of than every any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, or Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-Day Saints never ran away from me yet.” -Joseph Smith, Jr.
This is a perfect example of how Joseph Smith, Jr. pridefully boasted about his “accomplishment” and pridefully spoke of himself as acheiving more that Jesus did.
I ask that any Mormon who reads this to check out what the Bible says about pride and about man boasting in the things that he has supposedly accomplished.
Remember that this was Joseph Smith’s last sermon recorded…
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.



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Stuart

posted July 13, 2007 at 6:17 pm


Well Pride…. I hope you never say you are proud of your children or anyone! I love when people take things out of context! How does this one discourse go with all of his other comments.
And the truth is…that Joseph was right!



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GB

posted July 13, 2007 at 6:26 pm


PrideBeforeHeFell:Remember that this was Joseph Smith’s last sermon recorded…
GB:Do you have the audio of that sermon? Was in audible enough to get an accurate transcription? Was that the whole sermon? Are you sure your context is accurate?
Just wondering.



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GB

posted July 13, 2007 at 6:28 pm


Sorry it should read “Was it audible enough to get an accurate transcription?”



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 6:33 pm


This is a perfect example of how Joseph Smith, Jr. pridefully boasted about his “accomplishment” and pridefully spoke of himself as [misrepresentation].
I ask that any Mormon who reads this to check out what the Bible says about pride and about man boasting in the things that he has supposedly accomplished.
Remember that this was Joseph Smith’s last sermon recorded…

I’ll agree that what Joseph actually said sounds prideful, although it wasn’t quite what you said he said. But if you read the Bible with any degree of attention, you’ll note that Moses also sinned in pride, in one of his last public appearances. So all you’ve done is prove the Book of Mormon statement that Joseph was a prophet “like unto Moses” — for bad as well as for good.
If you knew or cared about the Bible, you would not base arguments on the proposition that a real prophet cannot also be a sinner.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 6:41 pm


“Mormonism is an invented (and inventive) American religion that has no basis in truth other than it’s rejected, ill-fitting, chords that loosely tie it to the shredded orthodoxy of biblical truth.”
We aren’t interested in tying ourselves to what you call your shredded orthodoxy. We’re only interested in Christianity, and the Biblical truths. You have no right to go redefining words such as “Christian,” which are terms from the Bible, or turning the savior’s name into your own personal country club.
Keep your shredded Orthodoxy. The opposite of “orthodox” is “heretical.” That’s the traditional term for people who reject the traditions and philosophies of men.



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Matt

posted July 13, 2007 at 7:19 pm


Stuart:
I’m not sure if this is meant to be sarcasm or a genuine question:
“If you believe in the BIBLE, why don’t you beleive and practice the things taught within it?”
If it’s a genuine question, please provide some examples of how you perceive me not believing and practicing what is taught in the Bible? Please provide Scripture along with my apparent failings.
If it was sarcasm, never mind responding.



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LH

posted July 13, 2007 at 8:32 pm


Thank you all for your comments
There have been



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Ross

posted July 13, 2007 at 9:42 pm


I understood Mr. Card’s argument when he FINALLY got off the Romney bandwagon and TRIED to answer the REAL question. However, it took FOREVER!!! Good grief. OK…you’re a smart science fistion writer and obviously you can write a lot. I don’t need to read all that crap when you really say NOTHING. The fact still remains that If Christians and Mormons differ on theology as you say they do then we can’t just say, “Well, no big deal…let’s just be friends.” It’s just not that simple. Doctrine is SO important. And the reason that so many christians today believe that mormons qualify as Christians is because of a lack of importance place on doctrine. Dr. Mohler knows doctrine and for that reason he knows that just believing in a man named Jesus does not make him the Lord of your life any more than saying that Allah and God are both the same God makes it true. It’s not and it’s important to talk about your differences in doctrine. I hope you eventually will!



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Mary

posted July 13, 2007 at 10:50 pm


I’m still waiting for a legitimate response to my answer on the faith /works issue. 1 Corinthians Chap.13 vs 2
***If ONE who possesses ALL faith is NOTHING without charity how then can we be saved by faith ALONE?***
If among faith, hope & charity the greatest of these is CHARITY , the argument may be made that we can make it on Charity alone (because it encompases ALL 3) But faith alone is nothing . We can’t be saved by nothing.
Mike & Katie,
Mike’s going to be frustrated with me & think that I’m giving ammunition to the enemy here , but I’m just honestly sorting through my own questions & frustrations here.
I agree with Mike that polygamy was a commonly accepted practice in the old testament. Not only that but MANY other things that are NOT acceptable today , were also a O.K. then. Like concubines & handmaids & even prostitution was not frowned upon.
It goes without question that it was common practice to give children to your deceased brother’s wife (or other close relative as was the case with Ruth and Boaz. There was a debate as to which man was the closest relative to her , to do that for her. This was normally not a hardship to the men who performed this service , because they were not required to give up their own wife or love , or hope of future wife in order to do so. Polygamy was acceptable.
In the case of Judah’s son. The Lord destroyed him because he spilled his seed on the ground & would not give a child to his brother’s wife. Then when her father in law (Judah )also would not do it , she pretended to be a prostitute & tricked him into giving her a child. Judah was not condemned for going to a prostitute to comfort himself after the death of his wife , however when he had heard what she had done he was going to have her BURNED because she was the daughter of a priest. Double standard? Her up bringing holds the answer.
The Jews had the Temple & ALL the ordinances that are performed therein , including sealings. However the lay person did not commonly receive them. In Leviticus or Deuteronomy where they talk at legnth about the Temple , they go into a specific description of the type of woman a PRIEST was supposed to marry. Only the priests were held to that level of excellence (apparantly the daughters of priests as well)
Today ALL members have the opportunity to become priests , the higher standards are expected of ALL. Sealings are available to ALL.
I have a really hard time reading the Old Testament & believing that God even likes women. It is clear however that at different times God requires a different set of standards to a different group of people , based on their individual abilities & levels of progression. There are higher & lower laws.
Peter led the saints in the New Testament to practice the law of consecration. In early modern church history that law was also temporarily required. Today we are only expected to pay a tithe. Today we follow the Word of Wisdom where we are to “eat meat sparingly & only in times of WINTER & FAMINE” When the Lord returns & the Lamb & the Lion lie down together EVERYONE will be vegetarians even the animals just like they were back before the flood when “meat” meant fruit & herbs. (The meat offering in the Temple for the Jews was grain.)
The Lord changes the rules from time to time. prior to the flood there was no capitol punishment. Cain was allowed to roam free after he slew able although anyone who found him knew who he was & what he did.
The Lord was extremely tolerant & patient. However under such benevolence the people became soo terribly wicked & violent that all but 8 were fully ripe for destruction. (Well 8 & however many went up with the city of Enoch..) After the flood God said “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” and the death penalty was instituted.
certain rules are for certain people at certain times. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary for there to ALWAYS be a living prophet & continual revelation. If you look to the Bible for absolutes you will be disopointed. For you will find what appears to be contradictions through out.
There is absolutely NO condemnation of polygamy in the Bible. It was quite acceptable.
If you want to find condemnation for polygamy you must look in the book of Mormon! That’s right . Now all you anti- mormons out there , I will tell you the scenario but not the reference . If you want it for your own future twisted purposes , you’ll have to search it out yourself. However other Mormons will know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. The chapter was referenced several times in recent conferences when discussing the evils of pornography. In this chapter the prophet of the time was chastising the men for breaking the tender hearts of their wives & children by desiring many wives & concubines like David of old. The chapter states that if the Lord wants to increase the population of his followers rapidly (I’m para phrasing) He will command it , but that in this particular instance he wants to raise up a “righteous branch ” , therefore they will not commit whoredoms like them of old.
Here we see that just because something was done “by them of old” does not make it acceptable for us to follow all of their examples just because a patient God did not strike them down instantly for there actions but permitted it to go on for a time.
The Lord shows us that polygamy will certainly increase the numbers of his people more rapidly , but when he wants to raise up RIGHTEOUS children , one wife only will they have & concubines NONE.
Personally I’m still struggling with how this all ties together. I also find myself offended that God chose both through Judah’s prostitution & David’s adultery to make that the line that our Lord & Savior is born through. What a slap in the face to David’s legitimate wives. My husband commits adultery & then the Lord sends the mistress Solomon the Wise for a son & makes HER the great great etc. grandmother of the Savior of all mankind. Why God chose to do that I do not understand.
Side Note : If Joseph Smith made up the Book of Mormon (Ha Ha HA Rihgt….) Why would he put all that in there about a righteous branch & only one wife & then reinstate polygamy , knowing that he would then be under scrutiny.
Something to think about.
Mary



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:03 pm


Ross: “And the reason that so many christians today believe that mormons qualify as Christians is because of a lack of importance place on doctrine.”
That’s not true, Ross. The majority of arguments against the LDS church being Christian, both on this forum and off, have been based on falsehoods and gross exaggerations about the LDS teachings, practice, and history. The next-largest group is those like Dr. Mohler, who toss aside doctrine and the Bible and appeal to “tradition” to exclude us.
This has nothing to do with doctrine.
The HYMNS that Nowandlater posted here are what is taught in church. You say they aren’t relevant, but the hymns are LDS doctrine. Much more so than anything written in private interpretation writings like “mormon doctrine” or “doctrines of salvation.” If you want any grasp of the beating heart of LDS doctrine, read the hymns. Read the Book of Mormon. Read the articles of faith. Read the general conference talks by Gordon B. Hinckley.
If you believe in the Bible, then why are you all so glib and content about looking to the traditons and philosophies of men for the “definition” of Christianity, rather than looking to the Bible?
What happened to “Sola Scritura”?
This astonishing equivocation of “tradition” to Christianity dishonors the actual tradition of Luther and Wycliffe. It’s a betrayal of the entire reformation. Not to mentioning trodding the name and words of Jesus Christ under the feet of men.
You offer the Nicene Creed, but I challenge you to show me that there was any pre-1820s consensus that the Nicene Creed was the definition of CHRISTIANITY, rather than merely the definition of Orthodoxy, i.e. what the scholars and priests had determined was correct way to interpret the Bible. Show me a pre-1820s “definition of Christianity” that actually called itself that. Show me historical statements proving that traditional Orthodox Christians referred to Origen as a “non-Christian,” rather than as an “heretic.”
The entire debate here is built on a false equivocation of Orthodoxy to Christianity, and a false construction of “tradition.” This is fundamentalism in a nutshell — a misrepresentation and modern politically motivated reconstruction of history and tradition.
If you want to judge us against your “new tradition,” then admit that’s what you’re doing. Stop projecting this so-called definition of Christianity into the past, because not even the Inquisition denied that its heretic victims were Christians.



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Eric Withers

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Quote: “Eric, Would you put the Nicene Creed in the category of extra-Biblical documents, and thus a false document from a false prophet?” ~ Posted by: Demosthenes | July 13, 2007 3:54 PM
Demosthenes,
I see what you’re trying to accomplish here. However, I cannot respect your arguement because it is fundamentally flawed. You have truly missed the point of what I have to say.
First, it would do you good to consider the fact that the Nicene Creed makes no claim whatsoever to be the inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word of God. It in no way equates itself with Scripture. Those who wrote it did not claim to be prophets of God. It is simply a doctrinal statement, designed to state in a clear and concise manner, some of the fundamentals of the faith. Nothing less, nothing more.
Second, everything that is not the Bible itself is considered an extra-biblical document. For example, I just finished a book on personal finance written by a guy named Dave Ramsey. It is an incredible book, and I would recommend it to anyone. It offers great common-sense advice on how to handle your money! Now, this is definitely an extra-biblical document, something to which I am sure you would agree. Why do I not condemn it as false revelation from a false prophet? Well, the answer is simple. Dave Ramsey does not claim to be a prophet of God, and he does not equate his book with the Bible.
On the other hand, texts such as the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price do make that claim! They claim to be the revelation of God, and they were written by men who claim to be his prophets!
The problem with this is that the Bible makes clear that nothing is to be added to or taken from it. Hebrews 1 also makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the ultimate and final revelation of God. That is why as someone who is devoted to the Bible alone as the authoritative Word of God, I must proclaim the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Koran, Veda, Tao-te-ching, Bhagavad Gita, or any other book that claims to contain the revelation of God as a false text from a false prophet.
I do not do this because I hate you. I do not do this because I get a kick from judging others. I do not do this because I am a close-minded jerk! I do this simply because if I am to be true to the Holy Bible, I can do nothing else! I must be honest about what it says!
Just in case you are wondering, I do not base my life upon the Nicene Creed. It was a wonderful document that served its place in history and I respect those who wrote it, but today it is of little consequence to me. When I want to know what God says, I do not look to church councils or any other source. I simply open my Bible, and the full revelation of God to man is before me!
I hope this brings some clarity to where I stand.



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nowandlater

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:11 pm


Speaking of other documents…Enjoy.
FARMS, “LDS Perspectives of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” (Provo, UT: FARMS) MP3: 48 minutes.
http://farms.byu.edu/multimedia/viewaudio.php?id=6



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Mary

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:28 pm


To the person who wants Mormons to renounce the Book of Mormon before they can be called Christians (Which book testifies of him & confirms that the Bible is true.) Susan , I think was her name.
Why doesn’t anyone ever call upon the Catholics to renounce the apocrypha? or those of ALL Christian denominations to renounce the Dead Sea Scrolls? Or certain Baptists to renounce Josephus , or the Book of Jasher & the Book of Enoch?
What about the other books that COULD’VE easily gone into the Bible except that they wanted to save on printing costs?
Why limit yourselves to have less info & huge gaps in content?



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Eric Withers

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:40 pm


“Brigham Young was wrong about a number of things. D&C 50 gives us the process for approving doctrine through common consent, before it rises to the level of “scripture.” The process is not that different in essence from how the books now unified as the “New Testament” were identified. Not every word that the prophet speaks is prophesy, but God manifests the truthfulness to the listeners.” ~ Posted by: Peter Christian Nuttall | July 13, 2007 12:06 AM
“I don’t believe in absolute Prophet Infallibility, sorry. I do believe in Accountability and the Lord’s Empowerment of his prophets. But certainly not infallibility.” ~ Posted by: nowandlater | July 13, 2007 12:08 AM
I find these posts interesting considering what the Old Testament has to say about this kind of thing. In the Old Testament, a prophet was either right 100% of the time or he was a false prophet. In fact, anyone who claimed to speak for God but spoke something that was not the truth was to be put to death! Consider Deuteronomny 18:20-22 (KJV):
“20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
So according to this passage, the one who claims to speak from God but does not speak the truth is to be disregarded as a false prophet and put to death. Yet your so-called prophets such as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and all the way to present day are constantly creating, changing, and removing Mormon doctrine. Apparently yesterday’s word from the Lord to his great Mormon prophet is tomorrows Mormon mistake! How can this not bother you? Why are you not upset, furious even, that those men who call themselves prophets, seers, and revalators tell you things that are not true, or that the doctrines of old were a mistake!
A prophet in the Bible was either a true prophet or a false prophet. He either told the truth, or he did not! There is no middle ground. Every true prophet of God is infallible when speaking the words of God!
I urge you to examine closely those who claim to by your so-called prophets. Consider whether or not they pass the Biblical test.



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Jean

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:41 pm


Did not men write the Bible??? I don’t thing God wrote it. Mark, John, Luke etc. were inspired by God and wrote about Jesus’ teachings.
The fact that Mormans believe in some of the ordinances and temple etc. is no more wierd the other denominations believing in the virgin birth or the resurection. OF COURSE THEY BELIEVE IN THIS TOO. How can you judge what they believe when the Bible says not to judge lest you be judged! Come on people I do believe they are Christians just as I am and I do not belong to the LDS church. Do some reading and don’t just repeat the conventional wisdom of people who are so narrow in their judgement because of their tunnel vision. What are they afraid of????T think they do protest to much!



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:57 pm


“Brigham Young was wrong about a number of things. D&C 50 gives us the process for approving doctrine through common consent, before it rises to the level of “scripture.” The process is not that different in essence from how the books now unified as the “New Testament” were identified. Not every word that the prophet speaks is prophesy, but God manifests the truthfulness to the listeners.” ~ Posted by: Peter Christian Nuttall | July 13, 2007 12:06 AM
“I don’t believe in absolute Prophet Infallibility, sorry. I do believe in Accountability and the Lord’s Empowerment of his prophets. But certainly not infallibility.” ~ Posted by: nowandlater | July 13, 2007 12:08 AM
I find these posts interesting considering what the Old Testament has to say about this kind of thing. In the Old Testament, a prophet was either right 100% of the time or he was a false prophet. In fact, anyone who claimed to speak for God but spoke something that was not the truth was to be put to death!

No, not according to the Bible. I’m familliar with what Deuteronomy *says* on the matter. But that’s not consistent with what actually *happened* in the Bible, was it? Jonah prophesied that Nineveh would be destroyed, but the people repented, and God spared them. And some King was told he was about to die, but he prayed, and God granted his prayer, and contrary to the prophesy, gave him more years of life. I don’t recall anything about Jonah or the other true prophets being put to death when their prophesies failed to materialize.
And those are examples of prophets testifying IN THE NAME OF THE LORD! Brigham Young said some stuff that was flat out wrong, but I don’t recall him saying any of it was a revelation from God. You’re leaving out that part of the scripture in the application, and I think Deuteronomy and Revelations have scary things to say about people who chop bits out of scripture ;)
If you can show me Brigham Young actually PROPHESYING something falsely, in the name of the Lord, then let’s talk and see if Deuteronomny 18:20-22 applies, OK?
A few words of wisdom from the great theologian ;) AA Milne:
http://www.anglik.net/aaMilne.htm
LINES AND SQUARES by A.A. Milne
Whenever I walk in a London street,
I’m ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, “Bears,
Just look how I’m walking in all the squares!”
And the little bears growl to each other, “He’s mine,
As soon as he’s silly and steps on a line.”
And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
And they try to pretend that nobody cares
Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
But only the sillies believe their talk;
It’s ever so portant how you walk.
And it’s ever so jolly to call out, “Bears,
Just watch me walking in all the squares!”



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 12:14 am


The challenge is still on the table…Please show me one passage from either the Book of Mormon or the Bible the either directly OR indirectly to the New and Everlasting Covenant that speaks of Eternal Marriage. You have showed me zero passages that support the Mormon Doctrine of Eternal Marriage from the Bible or Book of Mormon.
Come, it’s completely obvious that the Hebrew tradition of marriage described in the Bible, particularly in the story of Tamar and Judah’s sons, and in the book of Ruth, illustrates the assumption that marriage was eternal. The widow acquired the *right* for the husband’s nearest male kin to impregnate her and otherwise act as a husband, but she remained in name and in legal fact, the wife of the deceased, and her children were treated legally and in name as the children of the deceased husband, regardless of to whom they were physically conceived.
Ruth doesn’t go to Boaz and ask him to marry her. She crawls into his bed and sits on his feet. Unless you understand the Hebrew tradition and underlying assumptions that Boaz was designated as the proxy for her deceased husband, that’s not the behavior of a woman whom a book of scripture is named after.
And because they fail to understand or refuse to contemplate that Hebrew assumption and tradition, orthodox theologians have over the centuries misconstrued Jesus answer to the Sadducees about the women and her husband’s brothers to mean that the marriage relationship ceases to exist in heaven. Jesus said there is no more marrying or giving in marriage in heaven. Those are references to the act of marrying, not to the relationship of marriage. The woman of the Sadducee hypothetical was only “given in marriage” *once*, despite the number of brothers that acted as proxy husbands.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 12:26 am


A prophet in the Bible was either a true prophet or a false prophet. He either told the truth, or he did not! There is no middle ground. Every true prophet of God is infallible when speaking the words of God!
With all due respect, that’s Wahabbi fundamentalist talk. Your false reconstruction and smig oversimplification creates a dangerous dualistic picture of the world, and denies the rich story of the Bible. Moses took credit from taking water from the rock. Peter denied that he knew Christ, but he was also a prophet, who saw the vision admitting the gentiles into the church — and yet according to Paul, disobeyed the teaching of his own vision and refused to eat with the Gentile Christians whom God had commanded him to not call “unclean.” Jonah prophesied in the name of the Lord that Nineveh would be destroyed, and yet it was not destroyed.
Only Jesus Christ is infallible. Do not put your trust in the strength of men, brother, even the prophets, because the Bible makes clear that all of them, every one except for Jesus Christ, were fallible sinners. And that is as true of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young as of Moses and Noah.
Yes there are mormons out there that won’t admit that Brigham Young or Joseph Smith had their faults, and they are as wrong as you are about the Bible, and in as much spiritual danger of idolatry.
Why is it so hard for some folks to remember that Jesus Christ is the center of Christianity?



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nowandlater

posted July 14, 2007 at 12:36 am


This is beautiful speech about Jesus Christ. This Jesus is the real Jesus. This is the one we worship.
Truman G. Madsen, “The Olive Press,” BYU Speeches (9 May 1982) Truman Madsen looks at the symbolism of the olive press as related to Christ’s suffering at Gethsemane. (MP3; also available in PDF)
http://speeches-files.byu.edu/freefiles/provider2/type2/Madsen_Truman_051982.mp3



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Bryan Wiley

posted July 14, 2007 at 1:23 am


I got tired of Card’s poor writing and reasoning. Be succinct, writer.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 2:09 am


Succinct? How can he succinctly address a non-argument? Dr. Mohler repeats his conclusory unsupported assertion that Mormons don’t meet the supposed “definition” of Christianity, but has yet to state what this definition is, or where and when traditonal Orthodox Christians sat down and defined Christianity.
First provide the that definition of Christianity that you claim that Traditional Orthdox Christianity has provided, ideally something written before 1820 so no one thinks that it’s part of an intellectually dishonest exercise to exclude certain religious groups. And only then, once you have a definition laid out that you’re not embarrassed to acknowledge as “THE DEFINITION OF CHRISTIANITY,” let’s look at actual LDS doctrine, measure and see if it fits that definition.
Enough with the preliminaries. Where’s this supposed “definition” we keep hearing about?
So far the closest thing to a definition of “Christianity” that Dr. Mohler has provided us is that it’s not “Mormonism.” But surely we can do better than that. Paul, Anasthasius, Augustine, Martin Luther, Wycliffe, picture them all looking down from heaven to see what “definition of Christianity” that you’re going to use here. If you’re going to take the debate seriously, shouldn’t you offer a defnition that takes Christianity as seriously as you evidently take Mormonism? If someone who had never heard of Christianity before were to read this site, would he walk away knowing anything pertinent to his salvation?
Or has Christianity stopped being about salvation from sin?



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nowandlater

posted July 14, 2007 at 2:32 am


http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=1478400
I cried, this is a news story about a girl with brian cancer, and what the Mormon Tabernacle Choir did for her.



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Doug from AZ

posted July 14, 2007 at 3:02 am


According to Mormon theology, what happens to Christians if the Mormons are right? Don’t the Christians just get sent to a lower heaven?
What happens to the Mormons if the Christians are correct?



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 3:50 am


“According to Mormon theology, what happens to Christians if the Mormons are right? Don’t the Christians just get sent to a lower heaven?”
According to Mormon theology, you’ve asked a null question, because Mormon theology says that Mormons are Christians. Christ’s atonement saves us all from sin and hell, except for who deny the holy spirit wherein they shed innocent blood. Meaning those who know God and yet reject him, like Cain, who killed his brother Abel, in order to spite God.
No, Mormons don’t all go to the “highest heaven” and not all non-LDS Christians go to “lower heavens.” That’s what our temple work is about. But within Heaven, God does judge us and reward us according to our works, as promised in the parable of the talents and many others.
Surely the LDS aren’t the only Christian church that recognize the Bible teaching that we are saved from death and hell through the grace of Jesus Christ, and but also judged and rewarded for our works.
We don’t do good works in order to be saved from sin. That comes through God’s grace.
Or do you Orthodox Traditonal Christians deny that saved persons have free will to follow Christ and do good works, once they are through that narrow gate? I thought that was just the TULIP Calvinists that deny those clear Bible doctrines.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 4:28 am


“What happens to the Mormons if the Christians are correct?”
That depends on which Christians you talk to. There are a lot of non-LDS Christians who recognize that the LDS church is Christian, and a lot that don’t think that belonging to any particular sect makes you Christian or not — e.g. some mormons are Christians and some are not; some Baptists are Christian and some are not. Personally I think that’s a lot more consistent with what Jesus taught in Matthew 25. And it wasn’t a mormon who penned the song “oh I want to be in that number, when the Saints come marching in.” Meaning that you don’t know who’s a Christian and who isn’t — but you want to be in that number!
A lot of folks that I always thought were traditonal, orthodox Christians always told me that they thought that being a Christian has to do with your testimony of and relationship with Jesus Christ, than it had to do with being “traditional” and “Orthodox,” or with passing some standardized test on the Nicene Creed.
Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice and follow him. I don’t think that sounds like distinguishing for between the folks that believe that there’s One God with three persons, as opposed to three persons in One God. I’ve got a son that bless his heart, can’t even count to three. Does that mean he’s damned?



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Danny

posted July 14, 2007 at 7:29 am


I have to defend my “TULIP” friends and merely quote Martin Luther on works. “Your works are not for God. They are for your neighbor.” Therefore, your assessment about Calvinists is somewhat accurate. If God is God and was not once a man as we are he has no need for ANYTHING not even our “good” works. BTW, we are kidding ourselves if we think that any of our motives in life are totally pure.



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nowandlater

posted July 14, 2007 at 10:47 am


As demonstrated by this song. It’s the heart which ultimately counts. “Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.” If a Orthodox Christian or an uncreedal Christian, like a Mormon or a Stonewall, loves Jesus with all their hearts then in my opinion all other things will ultimately work out and a place in the heavens would be one for the sincere and good of heart.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og2PPbWt_1k
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.



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nowandlater

posted July 14, 2007 at 11:12 am


Martin Luther on works. “Your works are not for God. They are for your neighbor.”
But Jesus says, “Even as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Based on the words of Jesus, I think there is a big correlation between doing good to your neighbor and serving the Lord.
This reminds of a famous song for us Mormons. This song was sung by Joseph Smith just before a mob of 300 rushed his jail cell firing weapons. It does show what was on the heart of the early leaders of the church so it is relevant to this discussion.
A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O8apETbhtE
A poor wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not power to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.
Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.
I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o’er;
I drank and never thirsted more.
’Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest;
Then made the earth my bed, and seemed
In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.
Stripped, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment—he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.
In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ’mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”
Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in His hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name He named,
“Of Me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto Me.”



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Rebecca Winters

posted July 14, 2007 at 11:21 am


er…. this post totally repeats itself. Several paragraphs near the beginning are duplicated. Not sure if that is intended for emphasis or if it’s an error…. but it doesn’t read particularly well.



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Doug from AZ

posted July 14, 2007 at 12:43 pm


Peter,
With all due respect, quit playing games. You and everyone else on this thread know the difference between Mormon and Christian in context of this discussion. I’m sure that a Jehovah’s Witness would consider hiself or herself “Christian” as well.
I asked the question to see if anyone would answer honestly that according to Mormon teaching, if Mormonism right and Biblical Christianity is wrong, no big deal! The person who believes the Bible is correct and the Mormon faith is false, well that person just goes to a lower heaven. Belief doesn’t really matter.
On the other hand, if the followers of Mormonism have a false Christ (Matt 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”) then their end will not be a “lower heaven”.
Oh, and for the “TULIP” comment, notice the word “elect” at the end of the verse. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
Romans 9:17-24
“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory– 24even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”
God is sovereign. Praise His name.



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Howard

posted July 14, 2007 at 1:05 pm


I. [Historical] A Christian is one who accepts the historical Christian traditions, as decided by the Ecumenical Councils. This is the simplest one to agree about.
II. [Doctrinal] A Christian is one who believes certain core Christian doctrines. This is the most commonly used one, but it is not a single definition — it depends on what you think are the core doctrines.
III. [Salvific] A Christian is one who is saved by Christ. This is the most important one in the eternal sense, but the least practical one during mortal life, since it relies on one’s dogma about standards of salvation, and noone can penetrate the mind of God or the state of others’ souls.
Section I excludes Christ and the Apostles.



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mona

posted July 14, 2007 at 1:16 pm


I have been a member of both Mormon and evangelical churches and enjoy attending services at both churches. I love the music and the Bible classes and the talks and the sermons but I hate when peope try to tell you one chuch is the only one. I wonder how Jesus would react if he heard the comments of some people.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 2:10 pm


Danny: “Your works are not for God. They are for your neighbor.”
That quote from Martin Luther in no way contradicts the biblical doctrine that God will judge us for, and reward us for, our works. Yes, our motives for charitable works should be out of love for our neighbor, or else they are not charitable works. And yet the Bible is clear that God will judge and reward. My understanding is that this judgment and reward is separate from the issue of salvation from sin, since salvation comes to us through the grace of Jesus Christ through faith in his name.
Do you disagree?
Howard said:
I. [Historical] A Christian is one who accepts the historical Christian traditions, as decided by the Ecumenical Councils. This is the simplest one to agree about. [Howard adds a footnote saying that “Section I excludes Christ and the Apostles.” :D ]
Howard, correct me if I’m mistaken, but I believe that you are NOT quoting any statement written prior to 1820.
That’s not a “traditional definition.” That’s a modern definition, constructed out of appeals to tradition. Just as the first people to call themselves “feminists” called themselves “second wave” femininists and labeled the suffragettes as the first wave. Just as the “third reich” claimed to continue from the earlier “first reich” of Julius Caesar” and “second reich” of the holy Roman empire. What you’ve offered isn’t a traditional definition, but a fundamentalist definition, i.e. a modern splicing together of traditions, presented out of context. Religious fundamentalism is simply a type of New Age mysticism, a creative romanticized retelling of old stories, new wine in old bottles.
I repeat, I challenge any of you to show me documents prior to 1820 showing that traditional Orthodox Christians have thought of the Nicene Creed as the definition of “Christianity,” rather than merely the definition of “Orthodoxy.”
When you call Mormons “non-Christians,” this is a new fad. The traditional orthodox way to describe persons who believed in the resurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ, but didn’t agree with the trinitarian construction, is “HERETIC.” Not “non-Christian.”
I also find it unsatisfying that your definitions I and II leave out everything relevant about what Christianity is. “Certain core doctrines?” Again, why can’t anyone present me with a definition that is intended to describe Christianity? What I’m seeing here is definitions that seem constructed to exclude certain groups, without even addressing what Christianity is. The failure to iterate the “certain doctrines” to which all Christians must adhere to, suggests that perhaps these doctrines aren’t as agreed on as some folks are implying here.
If the whole point of excluding mormons really is to protect the meaning of Christianity with respect to doctrine, then why, in all these pages of debate, does no one articulate what that doctrine is?
And if this definition is “traditional,” then please show me where this definition was written as a definition of Christianity. Because when you pass off a definition of Orthodoxy as a definition of “Christianity,” you might as well be offering us a traditional recipe for cold turtle soup. If they meant it to be a definition of Christianity, then that’s what they would have called it.
If these orthodox traditions really mean anything to you, then why are you insisting on changing the traditional term for what we are?



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Danny

posted July 14, 2007 at 2:22 pm


The purpose of the law is to shut the human mouth. I should convict us that we cannot follow it completely or perfectly. If you think you can you have vastly underestimated the holiness of God.
I agree works for our neighbors and salvation are two different issues. However, when doing enough good works moves you into a position to rule a planet(there is but one God)you have undeified a holy God. He is far more than an earthly father. He is most glorified when we are satisfied in Him.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 2:22 pm


Howard, while I think that your definition I and II are incomplete and beg the question at issue, I do appreciate your three part breakdown, which I think is an excellent approach. I also agree with your definition III, and with what you said about it not providing an answer to the question at issue. But I think that simply addressing that point would have put this debate into much useful and less acrimonious perspective.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 2:32 pm


“I should convict us that we cannot follow it completely or perfectly.”
I agree.
If you think you can you have vastly underestimated the holiness of God.
I don’t think I can, but I have doubtlessly vastly underestimated God’s holiness, since my mortal mind cannot apprehend God in his full glory.
“I agree works for our neighbors and salvation are two different issues.”
Looks like we agree on a number of things.
“However, when doing enough good works moves you into a position to rule a planet(there is but one God)you have undeified a holy God.”
I don’t know about ruling planets, which like I said, is speculation based on the Bible. But the parable of the talents does talk about ruling “cities,” and not so much as a reward for good deeds but as a stewardship based on past accomplishments.
“He is far more than an earthly father. He is most glorified when we are satisfied in Him.”
I agree. And if He judges your works and your heart, and decides to place you, like the first servant in the talents story, in charge of ten cities or ten planets, that would not be in order to “satisfy” you, but to accomplish HIS will. Because He has found you a good and faithful servant.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 14, 2007 at 3:20 pm


“III. [Salvific] A Christian is one who is saved by Christ. This is the most important one in the eternal sense, but the least practical one during mortal life, since it relies on one’s dogma about standards of salvation, and noone can penetrate the mind of God or the state of others’ souls.”
I agree that no one can penetrate the mind of God, or the state of others’ souls, but Jesus did tell us how HE wanted us to identify his disciples.
John 13: 34-35
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

You can’t see into someone’s faith, but if that faith is true and alive, it should be manifest in their works, as taught in the book of James. Works themselves do not save us, but the scriptures do teach us that works are a manifestation of true faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s true that Jesus Christ will look beyond our works at our hearts, to determine who are his true disciples. But since we are not omniscient, the New Testament teaches us to look at love and good works to determine who is a disciple of Christ.
Why should Christians second-guess Jesus Christ about the method by which we are to know which people are his disciples?
Traditional Orthodox Christians were never so arrogant. They identified people as “heretics,” meaning “wrong-thinkers” but they never questioned whether the heretic was actually a *Christian.*



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Adam Pettry

posted July 14, 2007 at 5:30 pm


Matt,
Alright…. follow me here. Let’s use logic.
Part of your statement hinged on this quote:
(Mat 24:24) “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect…
What I find interesting is the wording. It discusses False Christs and False Prophets. For there to be False ones, there have to be True ones. Otherwise, it would have said something along the lines of All Christs and All prophets will arise…
That is a detail that most forget when reading that scripture. In order for an array of things to be counterfeit, there has to be an array of authentic counterparts.
If God were to send a prophet to the earth, he would not part the heavens, and announce the person’s existance with a fanfare of trumpets. He would do the way he has always done. Quietly, and discreetly.
So, J.S. could very well have been a prophet, and he very well could not have been. I am not one [nor anyone else] who is qualified to judge that. God and God alone can judge that.
I also dont put much into using biblical quotes into defending your reasons to bicker about religious differences. You were not there, and you did not pen the text. The text has been translated thousands of times, and none of those individuals were ordained of God to do so, but rather paid. Besides, text is subject to interpretation. To DISCUSS differences is fine. To discuss is to be calm and respectful without trying to deflate the other person’s opinion. But to ARGUE is unacceptable. To ARGUE much like this thread appears, is un-Christ-like.
My opinion, is that these labels of denomination are entirely useless. When we were born, we only had the label of gender, name and race. Of those three, two of them [name and race] are creations of man [skin color doesnt matter afterall…]. We shouldnt be labelling each other, and trying to exclude other people. If someone believes in Christ and his works, and the fact that he died to save us, then that is all we need to consider important. Yes, they may have different opinions, but they should be embraced in the arms of the family of Christianity regardless of their denominational MAN MADE label.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 15, 2007 at 12:05 am


This was an interesting exchange on truthrestored,townhall.com under the article “Mormons Are Christian”:
Va Daddy: Interesting read, and from Catholics!
Problems with the Book of Mormon
From: http://www.catholic.com/library/Problems_with_the_Book_of_Mormon.asp
DADDY O: FUNNY YOU SHOULD HAVE TO RESORT TO THE CATHOLICS TO DEFEND YOUR PROTESTANT POSITION.
Cath: In these “latter days,” there are few people who haven’t been visited at least once by Mormon missionaries. At some point in your doorstep dialogue, these earnest young men will ask you to accept a copy of the Book of Mormon, read it, and pray about it, asking the Lord to “send the Holy Ghost to witness that it is true.” Then, very solemnly, they’ll “testify” to you that they know the Book of Mormon is true, that it’s God’s inspired word, and that it contains the “fullness of the everlasting gospel.”
They’ll assure you that if you read their text in a spirit of prayerful inquiry, you, too, will receive the testimony of the Holy Ghost. That testimony supposedly will convince you beyond doubt that the Book of Mormon is exactly what they claim it to be.
Keep in mind that the missionaries want you to have a feeling about the Book of Mormon after reading it. They’ll tell you that you’ll receive the witness of the Holy Ghost in the form of a “burning in the bosom”—a warm, fuzzy feeling—after reading and praying about it. This feeling is the clincher for them. It’s the real “proof” that the Book of Mormon is inspired Scripture, and everything else follows from that conclusion.
But think about it. How often have you felt strongly about something or someone, only to learn your feelings were misguided? Feelings, although a part of our human makeup, can’t be a yardstick in matters like this.
After all, some people might get a good feeling after reading anything from the Communist Manifesto or the Yellow Pages. They could pray about such a feeling, and they could take the lingering of the feeling as some kind of divine approbation, but no such sensation will prove the inspiration of Marx’s or Ma Bell’s writings.
When you tell the missionaries you don’t need to pray about the Book of Mormon, they’ll think you’re copping out, that you’re afraid to learn the truth. Admittedly, you’ll seem like a cad if you simply refuse and leave it at that. You need to provide them with an explanation for refusing.
DADDY O:
Matt. 21: 22 (Mark 11: 24) whatsoever ye shall ASK IN PRAYER, believing.
1 Tim. 2: 8 I WILL THEREFORE THAT MEN PRAY every where.
James1:5-6 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ASK OF GOD, that giveth to all men liberally, and dupbraideth not; and IT SHALL BE GIVEN HIM.
6 But LET HIM ASK IN FAITH, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/tg/a/172
IT IS INSTRUCTIVE THAT VA DADDY AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BOTH REJECT THE PLAIN TEACHING OF THE BIBLE TO PRAY FOR KNOWLEDGE THAT GOD WILL GRANT. NO WONDER THERE WAS AN APOSTASY WHEN MEN NO LONGER SEEK TO ASK GOD BUT RELY ON THEIR OWN INTERPRETATIONS.
Cath: The devout Mormon believes this text is inspired because Joseph Smith said it is. He believes Smith had the authority to claim divine inspiration for the Book of Mormon because the book itself says Smith was a prophet and had such authority.
DADDY O: “THE DEVOUT MORMON” HAS ASKED FOR HIMSELF AND THEREFORE NEEDS NO ONE ELSE TO TELL HIM FOR GOD ALREADY DID. NO WONDER VA DADDY LIKES THIS ARTICLE. IT IS FULL OF “CAUSE I SAID SO” KINDS OF ARGUMENTS.
Cath: Jesus Visited America?
DADDY O: YES HE DID.
Cath: Let’s take a closer look at the text the missionaries offer. At first glance the Book of Mormon appears to be biblical in heft and style. It’s couched in tedious “King James” English, and it features color renderings of Mormon scenes made to look like Bible illustrations.
DADDY O: IT APPEARS BIBLICAL BECAUSE IT’S AUTHOR IS GOD. THE CATHOLICS AND VA DADDY ALIKE HAVE FOUND THE OLD SCRIPTURES “TEDIOUS” (TRANSLATION: THEY DON’T AGREE WITH OUR PRECONCIEVED NOTIONS). IF IT IS A PROBLEM THAT GRAMMAR WAS CLEANED UP IN THE BOOK OF MORMON WHAT CAN WE SAY ABOUT THE HUNDRED OF BIBLE TRANSLATIONS AND THE THOUSANDS OF VARIENT TEXTUAL READING THERE. TALK ABOUT THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK!
Cath: The introduction tells you that the “Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel.” There it is again, the “fullness of the everlasting gospel.” Naturally, you ask yourself just what that phrase means.
DADDY O:
http://fairwiki.org/index.php/Book_of_Mormon_and_the_fulness_of_the_gospel
According to the Mormon church, authentic Christianity can’t be found in any of the so-called Christian churches only, of course, in the Mormon church.
DADDY O: IF THERE WAS AN APOSTASY THAT IS TRUE.
Mormons teach that, after Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles taught the true doctrines of Christ and administered his sacred ordinances (roughly the equivalent of Catholic sacraments). After the death of the apostles, their successors continued the work of the gospel, but with rapidly declining success. Within a few generations, the great apostasy foretold in the Bible had destroyed Christ’s Church (contrary to Jesus’ own promise in Matthew 16:18).
The Mormon church asserts that the Church Christ founded became increasingly corrupted by pagan ideas introduced by nefarious members. (Sound familiar?) Over a period of years, the Church lost all relationship with the Church Christ established. Consequently, the keys of authority of the holy priesthood were withdrawn from the earth, and no man any longer had authorization to act in God’s name.
From that time onward there were no valid baptisms, no laying on of hands for the receipt of the Holy Ghost, no blessings of any kind, and no administration of sacred ordinances. Confusions and heretical doctrines increased and led to the plethora of Christian sects seen today.
Mormons claim that to restore the true Church and true gospel to the earth, in 1820 God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in a grove of trees near his home. They told him that all professing Christians on the face of the earth were abominable and corrupt and that the true Church, having died out completely shortly after it began, was to be restored by Smith.
DADDY O:
http://www.fairlds.org/Restoring_the_Ancient_Church/
Cath: Mormons run into no small difficulty in reconciling the great apostasy theory with Chris’s promise in Matthew 16:18: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”
DADDY O: NO DIFFICULTY AT ALL
http://www.shire.net/mormon/defending/forum5.html
Cath: How could it be that Christ, who should have known better, would promise that his Church wouldn’t be overcome if he knew full well a great apostasy would make short shrift of it in a matter of decades? Was Christ lying? Obviously not. Was he mistaken? No. Did he miscalculate things? No, again. Christ’s divinity precluded such things.
What are we left with then? Could it be that Mormons are mistaken in their interpretation of such a crucial passage? This is the only tenable conclusion. If there were no great apostasy, then there could have been no need for a restoration of religious authority on the earth. There would be no “restored gospel,” and the entire premise of the Mormon church would be undercut.
The fact is that the only church with an unbroken historical line to apostolic days is the Catholic Church. Even many Protestants acknowledge this, though they argue that there was a need for the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century.
As non-Catholic historians admit, it can be demonstrated easily that early Church writers, such as Ignatius of Antioch, Eusebius, Clement of Rome, and Polycarp, had no conception of Mormon doctrine, and they knew nothing of a “great apostasy.”
DADDY O: http://www.fairlds.org/Mormonism_201/m20106.html
Nowhere in their writings can one find references to Christians embracing any of the peculiarly Mormon doctrines, such as polytheism, polygamy, celestial marriage, and temple ceremonies. If the Church of the apostolic age was the prototype of today’s Mormon church, it must have had all these beliefs and practices. But why is there no evidence of them in the early centuries, before the alleged apostasy began?
DADDY O: OH, BUT THERE IS!
http://www.fairlds.org/Restoring_the_Ancient_Church/chap02.html
Cath: Church History Is Catholic
DADDY O: VA DADDY WOULD ARGUE JUST AS STRENUOUSLY AGAINST THIS STATEMENT AS WE WOULD. IF HE AGREES WITH IT THEN THERE IS NO VIALBE REASON FOR THE REFORMATION.
Cath: The fact is that there is no historical or archaeological indication of any kind that the early Church was other than the Catholic Church. When dealing with Mormon missionaries, remember that all the evidence is in favor of the claims of the Catholic Church. If you want to watch their sails go slack quickly, ask the missionaries to produce any historical proof to support their claim that in the early centuries the Church was Mormon. They can’t do it because there is no such evidence.
DADDY O: THIS HAS TO BE THE OVERSTATEMETN OF THE CENTURY. AND IF YOU WANT TO WATCH THE CATHOLIC SAILS GO SLACK QUICKLY JUST ASK THEM TO DOCUMENT THE DESCENT OF PRIESTHOOD AUTHORITY FROM PETER THROUGH THE LINE OF PONTIFFS TO THE CURRENT DAY. HAVE THEM SHOW THE ACTUA; ORDINANCES PERFORMED ALL THE WAY DOWN.
ALSO SEE:
http://www.fairlds.org/Restoring_the_Ancient_Church/chap07.html
Cath: The Book of Mormon itself suffers the same fate when it comes to its own historical support. In a word, it hasn’t got any.
The Book of Mormon describes a vast pre-Columbian culture that supposedly existed for centuries in North and South America. It goes into amazingly specific detail describing the civilizations erected by the “Nephites” and “Lamanites,” who were Jews that fled Palestine in three installments, built massive cities in the New World, farmed the land, produced works of art, and fought large-scale wars which culminated in the utter destruction of the Nephites in A.D. 421. The Latter-Day Saints revere the Book of Mormon as the divinely-inspired record of those people and of Christ’s appearance to them shortly after his crucifixion in Jerusalem.
The awkward part for the Mormon church is the total lack of historical and archaeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon. For example, after the cataclysmic last battle fought between the Nephites and Lamanites, there was no one left to clean up the mess. Hundreds of thousands of men and beasts allegedly perished in that battle, and the ground was strewn with weapons and armor.
Keep in mind that A.D. 421 is just yesterday in archaeological terms. It should be easy to locate and retrieve copious evidence of such a battle, and there hasn’t been enough time for the weapons and armor to turn to dust. The Bible tells of similar battles that have been documented by archaeology, battles which took place long before A.D. 421.
The embarrassing truth for Mormons, that is that no scientist, Mormon or otherwise, has been able to find anything to substantiate that such a great battle took place.
DADDY O: ANOTHER CATHOLIC WHOPPER SWALLOWED HOOK LINE AND SINKER BY VA DADDY.
http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/Archaeological_Evidence_and_the_Book_of_Mormon.html
Cath: “Lifting” from the King James Bible
There are other problems with the Book of Mormon. For example, critics of Mormonism have shown convincing proof that the Book of Mormon is a synthesis of earlier works (written by other men), of the vivid imaginings of Joseph Smith, and of simple plagiarisms of the King James Bible.
The only Bible that Joseph Smith relied on was the King James Version. This translation was based on a good but imperfect set of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible.
Scholars now know the Textus Receptus contains errors, which means the King James Version contains errors. The problem for Mormons is that these exact same errors show up in the Book of Mormon.
It seems reasonable to assume that since Smith was a prophet of God and was translating the Book of Mormon under divine inspiration, he would have known about the errors found in the King James Version and would have corrected them for when passages from the King James Version appeared in the Book of Mormon. But the errors went in.
DADDY O: I THINK SOMEONE SHOULD TAKE JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES TO TASK FOR PLAGARIZING THE OLD TESTAMENT.
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND THE NAG HAMMADI MANUSCRIPTS, DISCOVERED SINCE JOSEPH SMITH’S DAY DEMONSTRATE THAT MANY OF THE THEMES AND EXPRESSION THOUGHT TO BE ORIGINAL WITH THE NEW TESTAMENT ARE COPIED FROM MORE ANCIENT MANUSCRIPT RECORDS, SUCH AS PAUL’S “FAITH HOPE AND CHARITY MOTIF. IT COMES FROM A MUCH OLDER RECORD AND WOULD HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE TO THE BOOK OF MORMON WRITERS THROUGH THE BRASS PLATES.
SORRY, THIS LINE OF ARGUMENT DOESN’T WASH.
Cath: The “Fullness” of the Gospel?
According to a standard Mormon theological work, Doctrines of Salvation, one finds this definition: “By fullness of the gospel is meant all the ordinances and principles that pertain to the exaltation of the celestial kingdom” (vol. 1, p. 160). That’s an official Mormon statement on the subject. But there’s a problem.
If the Book of Mormon contains all the ordinances and principles that pertain to the gospel, why don’t Mormonism’s esoteric doctrines show up in it? The doctrine that God is nothing more than an “exalted man with a body of flesh and bones” appears nowhere in the Book of Mormon. Nor does the doctrine of Jesus Christ being the “spirit brother” of Lucifer. Nor do the doctrines that men can become gods and that God the Father has a god above him, who has a god above him, ad infinitum.
DADDY O: WE ALREADY COVERED THIS ABOVE ON THE “FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL LINK. BUT IN ADDITION SINCE THE “40 DAY LITERATURE” HAS COME OUT, MANY PARALLELS TO TEMPLE WORK HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED.
Cath: The Book of Mormon is Anti-Mormon
DADDY O: POPPYCOCK!
These heterodox teachings, and many others like them, appear nowhere in the Book of Mormon. In fact, pivotal Mormon doctrines are flatly refuted by the Book of Mormon.
DADDY O: ALREADY COVERED THIS.
For instance, the most pointed refutation of the Mormon doctrine that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are actually three separate gods is found in Alma 11:28-31: “Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?” and [Amulek] answered, “No.” And Zeezrom said unto him again, How knowest thou these things?” And he said: An angel hath made them known unto me.”
DADDY O: ANYONE WHO HAS SPOKEN WITH US VERY LONG WILL HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED TO OUR USE OF JOHN 17 AS DEFINING THE ONENESS IN THE GODHEAD. THERE IS SIMPLY PUT, NO CONTRADICTION AT ALL. SEE MY BLOG ARTICLE ON JOHN CHAPETER 14-17
Cath: The Bottom Line
The Book of Mormon fails on three main counts. First, it utterly lacks historical or archaeological support, and there is an overwhelming body of empirical evidence that refutes it.
DADDY O: WE HAVE TOTALLY REFUTED THIS ASSERTION ABOVE.
Cath: Second, the Book of Mormon contains none of the key Mormon doctrines. This is important to note because the Latter-Day Saints make such a ballyhoo about it containing the “fullness of the everlasting gospel.” (It would be more accurate to say it contains almost none of their “everlasting gospel” at all.)
DADDY O: REFUTED BY THE “FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL” LINK.
Cath: Third, the Book of Mormon abounds in textual errors, factual errors, and outright plagiarisms from other works.
DADDY O: VA DADDY AND THE CATHOLICS HAVE THE GALL TO MAKE THIS CLAIM WHILE USING A HUNDRED BIBLES WITH THOUSANDS OF TEXTUAL VARIATIONS. UNBELIEVEABLE!
Cath: If you’re asked by Mormon missionaries to point out examples of such errors, here are two you can use.
We read that Jesus “shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem, which is in the land of our forefathers” (Alma 7:10). But Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem (Matt. 2:1).
DADDY O: THE PROPER HEBREW USAGE IN THE TIME OF LEHI (600 BC) INCLUDED PLACING SMALLER CITIES WITHIN THE GREATER SPHERE OF THE METROPOLITAN AREA ADJACENT TO IT. THIS IS REALLY SOPHOMORISH.
http://fairwiki.org/index.php/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms:Jerusalem_vs_Bethlehem
Cath: If you mention this to a Mormon missionary, he might say Jerusalem and Bethlehem are only a few miles apart and that Alma could have been referring to the general area around Jerusalem. But Bethany is even closer to Jerusalem than is Bethlehem, yet the Gospels make frequent reference to Bethany as a separate town.
DADDY O: SEE LINK ABOVE
Cath: Another problem: Scientists have demonstrated that honey bees were first brought to the New World by Spanish explorers in the fifteenth century, but the Book of Mormon, in Ether 2:3, claims they were introduced around 2000 B.C.
The problem was that Joseph Smith wasn’t a naturalist; he didn’t know anything about bees and where and when they might be found. He saw bees in America and threw them in the Book of Mormon as a little local color. He didn’t realize he’d get stung by them.
DADDY O: Bees
Among the supposed Book of Mormon anachronisms is the mention of bees (Ether 2:3)…It should be noted firstly that the Book of Mormons use of the term “bees” occurs in an Old World (Jaredite) setting, it is never used in connection with the New World, therefore the argument could simply end here. Did the Jaredites bring bees to the New World? We may never know. Some studies suggest, however, that bees were known in the ancient New World. Bruce Warren, for instance notes that there are many references in the Maya region to honey bees in ancient times, and these references occur in ritual contexts, i.e., are of native or pre-Spanish origin.” Other New World scholars have observed that not only was the domesticated bee in ancient America but that there were gods of bees and beekeepers . . . Honey was considered a real treat for the Indians. Equally important was black wax taken from the hives which was often traded for other commodities.”[7]
Further information on New World bees in a domestic context can be found in F. Padilla, F. Puerta, J. M. Flores and M. Bustos, “Bees, Apiculture and the New World,” in Archivos de zootcnica, 41/154 (1992-extra): 563567. PDF link
USING THE SAME LINK AS ABOVE YOU CAN SEE A LIST OF “ANACHRONISMS” THAT PEOPLE LAUGHED AT JOSEPH SMITH FOR, THAT HAVE TURNED OUT TO BE ACCURATE AFTER THE COMING FORTH OF THE BOOK OF MORMON. THIS STRENGTHENS RATHER THAN WEAKEN THE ARGUMENT FOR THE BOOK OF MORMON.
Cath: Tell the Mormon missionaries: “Look, it is foolish to pray about things you know are not God’s will. It would be wrong of me to pray about whether adultery is right, when the Bible clearly says it is not. Similarly, it would be wrong of me to pray about the Book of Mormon when one can so easily demonstrate that it is not the word of God.”
DADDY O: SINCE THE LINKS HERE DEMONSTRATE THAT IT IS NOT SO EASY TO DISMISS THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE THINKS, THE ARGUMENT IS REFUTED, LEAVING US WITH THE PLAIN BIBLE SCRIPTURES THAT TELL US TO ASK GOD.
I NOTICE THAT THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE USED ONLY ONE BIBLE SCRIPTURE. WHAT IS IT WITH CHRISTIANS THAT SHY AWAY FORM USING THE BOOK IN WHICH THEY CLAIM EVERYTHING CAN BE FOUND?
Cath: NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004
IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004
DADDY O: ALL DUE RESPECT TO BISHOP BROM, THERE ARE NUMEROUS DOCTRINAL AND MORAL ERRORS IN THIS ARTICLE, AND THE CATHOLICS SHOULD REALLY DO THIER HOMEWORK BETTER, AND SO SHOULD YOU VA DADDY.



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Caitlin

posted July 15, 2007 at 12:15 am


Dear Mr. Nielson,
Did i get the name right?
If you were walking down the street and I have just met you and did not know you, and you asked me, “What am I to do to be saved?” My answer would be simple. “Go to church whenever you can, read the Bible, and most importantly, PRAY EVERYDAY AND TRY TO LOVE GOD!!!”
Now, if you told me you were Mormon and asked me the same question my answer would still be the same: “Go to church, read the Bible, PRAY And LOVE GOD with ALL YOUR HEART AND SOUL.” I get the feeling you already do this.
Now, if you have met me, and you knew I was a devout Roman Catholic, I would ask you the same thing: “According to your religion, what must I do to be saved?”
God bless,
Caitlin
P.S. I don’t think we are saved till we get to Heaven, I think we have to work on it. :)



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nowandlater

posted July 15, 2007 at 2:06 am


He is Bruce R. McConkie’s last talk just days before he died. I think this is very relevant to this discussion. If you are in the Orthodox camp, I double dog dare you to listen!
The Purifying Power of Gethsemane – Part I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTqeJ2d3DwY



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Kama

posted July 15, 2007 at 3:28 am


anyone, or group collectively, who thinks they have the corner on who and what God is, is crazy.



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Kimberly

posted July 15, 2007 at 1:55 pm


God said it all in this verse John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whomever shall believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
I am a born-again Christian, I don’t claim a religion I claim a relationship with my Lord Jesus who was born son of God and died on the cross for our sins, and then 3-days later rose again. Now he is alive as our Holy spirit. I have a relationship with him and my faith in him is what will get me to heaven. It is not works that gets you to heaven it is faith. Webster Dictionary: Definition of christian: a person who believes in Jesus Christ, adherent of Christianity.
Kimberly



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nowandlater

posted July 15, 2007 at 3:46 pm


I believe in Jesus Christ.



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Donny

posted July 15, 2007 at 4:15 pm


If, “By their fruits you will know them,” is a good indication of who is a Christian, then Romney is no one to look at.
Massachusetts is the sickest den of perversion in the US. Romney led not one degenerate away from their debauchery. Instead, we have a State that legalized homosexual marriage and is teaching to children in kindergarten that if they have “funny feelings” they are a transexual, bisexual or homosexual. And that that is just fine with their “teachers.”.
I wouldn’t vote for Romney if he handed me some of the tens of millions of dollars he possesses.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 15, 2007 at 4:43 pm


Donny, what you said is very misleading. The laws on marriage in the state of MA does not reflect Romney’s governorship, nor does it reflect the people of Massachussetts. MA legislators fought to prevent the people from voting on the recent attempt to amend the MA constitution to restore the true definition of Marriage. Why would the legislators cut back room deals with the new governor (not Romney) and shut down the referendum to restore marriage, unless they knew that the people would support that referendum? Think about it.
Romney paid a big political cost for fighting and limiting the Goodridge decision. There’s no living polititian in the United States that has done more than Mitt Romney to try to protect the definition of marriage as the union of man and woman for life.
And I’ll bet that there are some mormon-bashers on this forum whose “traditional Christianity” is phoney as “LDS Boy”‘s mormonism. The reason that Romney and the mormon church are getting worked over in the media has nothing to do with our doctrine or history — it’s because Romney is the only candidate running for office that openly supports the FMA. Unless the US constitution is amended to recognize that marriage means the union of one man and one woman for life, we’re eventually going to see a US Supreme Court that will do to our whole coutry what Justice Margaret Marshall did to Massachussetts, all at one stroke.
Posting false information about Romney’s work on the marriage issue is exactly the sort of propatanda that we can expect to see from those who want to neuter marriage in our law, language, and society. Divide and conquer, eh Donny?



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JC22

posted July 15, 2007 at 5:35 pm


Card, dude, stop messing around with this crap and write some damn books. And knock it off with the anti-atheist propoganda too. The ‘poor oppressed us’ routine is getting really realy old considering the loud, rich, powerful and largely unscrupulous majority you belong to. It’s about as intellectually honest as ‘white rage’.



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Karen Reeves

posted July 15, 2007 at 5:46 pm


Do you feel that Morman’s should be exclusive? As you mention, you, as Democrat (and science fiction writer) were not readily accepted into your own religion, how does one “break in” to the Morman faith? I am not Morman, but I have friends who are. The teachings of morality are admirable and are certainly good traits for any Christian.
I believe the Bible is the divine Word of God and I do not believe that it teaches that you must be a Morman, Catholic, or Baptist to be a Christian. One’s belief in Jesus Christ as their Saviour is the only way to become a Christian and it is available to ALL who accept Him as their Saviour. However, I do believe that it is important for our nation’s leaders to have morality, family values, good ethics, etc. regardless of their religious persuasion. After the Clinton administration and the immorality that came with it, I would welcome someone with strong moral values.



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nowandlater

posted July 15, 2007 at 6:08 pm


Some of the most beautiful lyrics written praising Christ I have heard
were written by a committed Mormon. In the Orthodox Christianity Group, is there something comparable?
I heard him come
I saw his very face
I wondered who
Would come into this place
Where dead men walk
And where the dying talk
Of life before
The curse upon them came.
He looked on me;
He must have felt my gaze
He came toward me,
Through the crowded maze,
And I a leper in shame, hid my head
Till someone said, “Jesus, is his name”
And he said,
Nations fall behind him
The rivers crawl to find him.
Mountains move
Just to let him through.
Come and never leave him
Just let your heart believe him.
And never let his light go
(Echo) Never let his light go
Never let your love grow dim.
He fed a thousand
With one loaf of bread
I saw him raise
A child from the dead
He healed the sick
The blind man saw his eyes
The lame man stood
And joyous were his cries
And he said:
Nations fall behind him
The rivers crawl to find him
Mountains move
Just to let him through
Come and never leave him
Just let your heart believe him
And never let his light go
(Echo) never let his light go
Never let your love grow dim
I saw his pain
As they nailed him to a cross
Wish that we
Could understand the cause
He looked on me
As he had once before
Saying, “Teach my word
To all forever more”
And I’ll say:
Nations fall behind him
The river crawl to find him
Mountains move
Just to let him through
Come and never him
Just believe
And never let his light go
(Echo) never let his light go
Never let your light grow dim



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LDS Boy

posted July 15, 2007 at 6:54 pm


What Mormons believe (from a Mormon.)
We believe that ALL churches founded between 100 AD and 1820 AD were corrupt and abominations to God.
We believe that Joseph Smith, our prophet, restored the true church of the God of Mormon.
We believe that God was once a man. We believe that we have to learn
how to be Gods ourselves as all Gods have done before us.
We believe that our purpose is to join the Mormon Church and to earn our way to Godhood by following Mormon rights and privileges.
We believe that the God of Mormon is procreating with his retinue of wives in heaven and is sending down spirit babies, which are us.
We believe that Jesus was the first spirit baby and that his brother, Lucifer, the devil, was the second spirit baby.
We believe that there are three heavens. A lower heaven for unbelievers. A middle heaven for unworthy Mormons. And finally, a celestial heaven where Mormon men are given a planet just like our God of Mormon.
We believe that the highest calling for a Mormon woman is to be eternally pregnant so she can populate a planet with spirit babies.
We believe that NO ONE can go to heaven without the consent of Jospeh Smith, who reigns supreme.
We believe that unless a Mormon males serves for two years as a Mormon missionary, he CANNOT go to heaven.
We believe that we can baptise in the name of the dead.
We believe the Bible to be the word of God, BUT that a correct translation of the Bible is impossible to acquire. Therefore…
We believe that the Book of Mormon is the true word of the God of Mormon.
We believe that, according to our prophet Joseph Smith, the Jews will not return to their land until they have all received Christ.
We believe that the Jewish temple will be rebuilt not in Jerusalem but in Jackson Country, Missouri.
We believe in the infallible word of the Mormon President, who is constantly receiving revelations from God that become unchallengable truths for all Mormons.
We believe that Mormon President Spencer Kimball received a new revelation in 1978 that allows blacks to join the Mormon Church.
We believe that this revelation repeals the previous infallible revelation, which barred blacks from becoming Mormons.
We believe that Joseph Smith shot and killed at least two men when he was attacked in Illinois in 1836.
We believe that Joseph Smith was arrested in 1826 and convicted of fraud for glass-looking and fraud.
We believe that any non-Mormon church is an abomination to the God of Mormon.



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Matt

posted July 15, 2007 at 7:21 pm


P. Nielsen (if you are still reading),
I just ran across your response to me dated July 12th in which you labeled my position as Calvinistic. It is an appropriate label you have assigned to me. I would say that one’s view on this DOES NOT separate a true Christian from a false Christian. Yet this view is unmistakably Biblical, this coming from one who once hated this doctrine!
Let me begin by saying that I know this topic will not be relevant to the main point of this debate.
That said, let me ask you just one thing (with some comments): What does it mean for Christ to atone for our sin?
You have stated: “I take a universalistic position, that Christ payed the price for all sin to His Father, buying *all* mankind (if you will). ”
Now, I am going to make some assumptions about your positions as a Mormon. My argument will be in part based on these assumptions, so if I need correcting, please do.
But, as I understand it, Mormons do not believe in Hell, at least in the classical sense. I understand that there is such a thing as an Outer Darkness in Mormon theology, reserved for only the most heinous of sinners. All but the most heinous of sinners are going to enter into at least the lowest of the three heavens. Is that correct?
If this is correct, I want to say two things: First, Mormon theology is not Universalistic, because there are some who will end up outside of “heaven” called the outer darkness. Second, this view (if I have stated it correctly) grades sin on a scale of not-so-bad to worst. And I am afraid it minimizes the holiness of God and His universal hatred of sin.
You must realize that to a Holy God, steeling a penny will land you into the “outer darkness” just as much as killing millions of Jews. In other words, if you have even so much as stolen a penny, you might as well kill millions of Jews because you are hell-bound. You are already guilty of breaking the whole law if you break it at just one point! (BTW: I am not advocating killing Jews, I am making a point here!) So whether one person stole a penny and another killed many people, each person is separated from God and will pay for his own sin, unless there is a substitute.
How does this play into your understanding of the payment for sin Christ accomplished? Well, if Christ paid for the sins of all of mankind, then all would indeed be saved, because that which separated us from Christ (steeling a penny or killing many Jews) has been (past tense) paid for by Christ. In this case, if God were to send anyone to hell (outer darkness or lower heaven, in your case) then God would be punishing sin twice! Once at the cross and once again when the sinner goes to hell to pay for his own sin. Is God just? Yes! So one punishment will suffice. Two are not needed. Remember Christ said, “It is finished!”.
In the interest of time and space, I will stop here. I hope you can see where I am going with this. In short, (I know you won’t like this) Christ paid for the sins of only those who would believe. Who are those who will believe? Those you have been predestined according to His purpose who works out all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph. 1)
If Christ did pay for the sins of all, then none would go to the Outer Darkness or Hell, because that which once separated us from God (sin) has been taken care of. So even Mormonism is truly not universalistic because they do reserve the right to have a place called Outer Darkness, reserved for those for whom apparently Christ did not die for.
I don’t expect you to agree with me, but that is basically because your view of the atonement (never mind the holiness of God and your understanding of what sin is) is, may I be so bold to say, unbiblical (if indeed I have characterize your position accurately-not trying to set up a straw man here.)
Regards,
Matt



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nowandlater

posted July 15, 2007 at 7:25 pm


I recommend this talk to the previous poster.
Robert L. Millet, “What We Believe,” BYU Speeches (3 February 1998) Robert Millet examines some of the uniquely LDS beliefs that seem to cause concern among other Christians.
http://speeches.byu.edu/freefiles/provider2/type2/Millet_Robert_021998.mp3



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GB

posted July 15, 2007 at 7:48 pm


LDS Boy (so called) you posted this a few days ago. It was deleted I suspect because you broke the rules. You are a LIAR and a DECEIVER. Nothing but an anti-mormon hack. You are NOT a mormon.
See Mike Bennion’s post of July 12, 2007 6:19 PM and 6:45 PM on this thread.
SocalledLDSboy, You have put a little lipstick on this anti-mormon pig but it is still an anti-mormon pig.



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Mylo W. Forsyth

posted July 15, 2007 at 8:05 pm


I am an 79 year member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints baptized at 8 years of age However I have ,in my few travels,
participated in Services of 11 other denominations . Two of them even asked mde to teach Sunday School for them for a period of time. All these discussions and comments ( I have read only a few ) are very
interesting However to me Jesus intercessory prayer in John 17 sums it all up .Verse 11 ” Holy Father ,keep through thine own name these whom thou hast given me,THAT THEY MAY BE ONE ,AS WE ARE ” and verses 20-21 ” Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall
believe me through their word ;THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE ;
AS THOU FATHER ,ART IN ME , AND I IN THEE , THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US:THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME ”
History indicates to me that such unity ended even before all the Original 12 were martyred and kept deteriorating .
In my travels visiting both LDS and other Churches in Canada,United States and Africa the only Congregations I have attended where I could be sure of how Services would be conducted have been LDS .
I cannot picture ANY DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN JESUS AND HIS FATHER ON EVEN THE MINUTEST POINT OF DOCTRINE OR CONDUCT . I do not know how often I have heard ” those are secondary Doctrines we can debate but we must be sure we ” AGREE ON BASIC , FUNDAMENTALS ” . DOSE THAT SOUND LIKE UNITY CHRIST PRAYED FOR ?? So the POPE has now stated that the Roman Catholic Church is the ONLY TRUE CHRISTIAN CHURCH !!
The LDS Church has been designated by JESUS CHRIST “D&C 1 verse 30
the whole verse is worth reading but this is part “THE ONLY TRUE AND LIVING CHURCH UPON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH ” bold YES BUT IF BY ” THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM ” CHECK IT OUT !!
From my experience and in answer to prayer !! I testify it is true.



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Jon

posted July 15, 2007 at 9:52 pm


Hi Matt,
If you haven’t read Richard Bushman’s book Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, I’d really recommend it – especially if you’re interested in this early history of the LDS church and the evolution of the different doctrines. Bushman, in this book, gives a great summary of the LDS Plan of Salvation. If you can get a hold of the book, read starting with page 196 for more information on the background of the revelation (which actually came from Joseph Smith praying to understand 1 Cor 7:14 and John 5:29).
Bushman wrote:
“The doctrine recast life after death. The traditional division of heaven and hell made religious life arbitrary. One recieved grace or one went to hell. In Joseph’s afterlife, the issue was degrees of glory. A permanent hell threatened very few. The question was not escape from hell but closeness to God. God scaled the rewards to each person’s capacity. Even the telestial glory, the lowest of the three, ‘surpasses all understanding.’

Where was Joseph Smith coming down on the question of universal salvation? Contradictory as they sound, the universalist tendencies of the revelation and the anti-universalism of the Book of Mormon defined a middle ground where there were graded rewards in the afterlife, but few were damned. “The Vision” did not actually endorse universal salvation any more than the Book of Mormon did. It imposed permanent penalties for sinning, rewarded righteousness with higher degrees of glory, and assigned the sons of perdition permanent out darkness. But “The Vision” also eliminated the injustices of the heaven-and-hell theology. The three degrees of glory doctrine lay somewhere between the two extremes.”
As for the LDS doctrine of the after life “grading sin” (as you put it), I don’t believe that is the case. If you seriously study the scriptures and teachings surrounding the doctrine, it has much more to do with when, why, and if you accept Christ than it does with what types of sin you commit. In any case, even protestantism “grades” sin in some ways – don’t you have something called the “unpardonable sin?”



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nowandlater

posted July 15, 2007 at 9:54 pm


I mentioned earlier something about Sacrament.
Well, I found this nice short presentation from Apostle Dallin H. Oaks about the Sacrament:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NhbBQSsfVU



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P. Nielsen

posted July 15, 2007 at 10:02 pm


Dear Matt,
I am indeed still here, and I’m glad I categorized your beliefs appropriately. I also appreciate that you said “that one’s view on this DOES NOT separate a true Christian from a false Christian.” I think this is probably the most important thing either of us will say, but I’ll still attempt to answer your questions.
I agree that your view is certainly biblical, in the sense that the doctrines were arrived at via interpreting the Bible. (I image you might argue they are the only set of coherent doctrines that can be arrived at from studying the Bible. I’ll let you argue that with your non-Calvinist Protestant friends.) While I personally see other ways of interpreting the same scriptures in a non-Calvinistic way, I certainly do recognize that your beliefs are biblically based, sincerely held, and well-thought-out. In fact, I see Calvinism as very logical and appealing. I just don’t believe in it.
Now, on to some clarifications. You said, “as I understand it, Mormons do not believe in Hell, at least in the classical sense.” On that you are partly right. We believe that only those who commit the unpardonable sin (denying the Holy Ghost) will be cast into “outer darkness” or “the lake of fire” or “suffer the second death”, but all other sins will be forgiven (eventually) (see Mark 3:28-29). God will judge the degree of faithfulness of everyone, and all those who have not committed the unpardonable sin will receive some degree of glory. (I should clarify that our understanding of “denying the Holy Ghost” may differ from what you believe it to be.)
Mormon theology is universalistic in its application of the atonement to all men *in redeeming them from the affects of Adam’s fall* (i.e. from physical death, and the first death). In other words, everyone will be resurrected (good or bad) and everyone will be brought back into God’s presence (for judgement). It isn’t universal in its application to our own personal sins. (One must exercise faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end, to receive all the Father has in store.)
Second, Mormons do not believe all sins are equally bad *in some ways*. Yes, without Christ’s atonement, any old sin (e.g. stealing a penny) would keep us forever out of the presence of God. Period. On that we agree. And all men sin, we agree on that too. So, without Christ, all mankind would be doomed to hell/outer-darkness/the-second-death. Justice demands it! We agree on that too. But Mormons believe (or at least this one does) that through Christ’s atonement, and God’s plan, this earth life has been made into a probationary state, and we are given time to repent, make a covenant with Christ, and accept Him as our Redeemer/Deliverer. And at the end of life we will all bow the knee, sin will be conquered, and all will be judged. With Christ’s help we can replace our sinful nature with a holy one. And when we fail, we can repent. But some sins are harder to repent of than others. Some sins require punishments, such as being cast off from the body of Christ for a time (i.e. no fellowship with the saints). And one sin is simply unpardonable by God. So in that sense, not all sins are equally bad in my view (even if they would equally keep us out of heaven).
The Calvinist position, as I understand it, is that certain people were chosen by God to be saved, and Christ saved them. Nothing anyone does can change that. Their sins are paid for, and they are clean because they are one with Christ, and Christ is clean. God’s grace is irresistable, and no one can remove the saved from His hands.
My position is that Christ’s atonement made it possible for *all* mankind to be saved, if they so choose, not just a select few chosen by God before/at creation. I believe man has agency to choose. God desires all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). I believe that this is a process, and we can owned by Christ, who will plead our case before the Father (i.e. be our Advocate). By covenanting with Him, He makes us holy (on this we agree) but we must still “work out our own salvation”, “repent”, and “endure to the end” or Christ will stop owning us (we will not “abide in Him” 1 John 2). In other words, I believe we must live up to our end of the covenant (whereas, I imagine you believe in irresistable grace–so none can break the covenant who truly are called into it by God).
These certainly are fundamental differences in belief. Many of my beliefs can be argued from the Bible, and in that sense, I would say they are biblical. But, as you know, Mormons do not limit themselves to the Bible. Nor did the early Christians, since they didn’t even have the Bible yet (and some of the books of scripture they used are not all in our current Bible!)–nor could many of them read.
Anyway, I hope this clarifies my take on these issues. I have had many discussions with ardent Calvinists, and I appreciate their faith in Christ, and I understand their position. It just is that my understanding of God is different than that. And don’t worry, they have shown me all of the Bible verses which seem to support their view and negate mine, and I have done the same, and we never came to an agreement. But I do appreciate you explaining your beliefs, sincerely attempting to explain what you see lacking in mine, and conversing.
Best,
P. Nielsen
P.S. Did we ever get to the heart of why you don’t think Mormons are Christians? I can see where you think our doctrine is fundamentally wrong. But what separates us from other non-Calvinistic Christians, in your view?



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Debbie Kinsinger

posted July 15, 2007 at 10:17 pm


If all faiths had to agree upon religious doctrine in order to receive salvation, there would be neither salvation nor religion. By the same token, if we had to deserve love in order to receive it, no child or person would be loved. That is Christ’s message, to love one another, there is no greater commandment.



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nowandlater

posted July 15, 2007 at 10:52 pm


I found a talk relevant to the phrase, “Even as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Check it out!
Howard W. Hunter– A More Excellent Way (part 1 of 2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqLaxtWHs5k
Howard W. Hunter– A More Excellent Way (part 2 of 2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMvXHkni_hw



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Matt

posted July 15, 2007 at 11:01 pm


P. Nielsen:
Thank you for your clarifying response. I appreciate the fact that you have for the most part accurately portrayed my beliefs although at least by the words you used, that is, I think we are operating to some extent from different meanings of the same words.
I say this as a result of having spent, but four days ago, almost 2 hours with some Mormon missionaries at my friends home. I realized early on that, although we use the same words, the meanings we ascribe to them are different. As an example, I understand that Mormons often say that the atonement took place or began in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus sweat drops of blood. This is not how historic, Christian theology has viewed the atonement and it is also foreign to the Bible. The Bible portrays the atonement taking place only at the cross. I bring this up not to now engage in this argument but rather to provide evidence for my claim that we use the same words, but have different meanings for them. So it might appear that we agree, but it might take some fleshing out of definitions to shed light on the fact that we probably don’t.
Also, since you have already expressed that you have had many conversations with ardent Calvinists, I will not further argue these points.
That said, though, we must agree that we both can’t be right, right? We can certainly both be wrong, but in this case, since we have different views on say the atonement and election, we MUST say that one of us is wrong or we are both wrong on these points we have been discussing.
I am not saying this to turn it into a “who’s right and who’s wrong” battle. I make this point only to say that intellectual honesty and logic requires us to say this. Wouldn’t you agree? In this day of “whatever is true for you is true”, we of most people must hold firm to the reality that mutually exclusive ideas can’t both be equally correct.
So now to your P.S. I hope my above comments will help make it clear why I do not believe Mormons are Christians. Let me begin by defining a Mormon as one who holds to traditional Mormon theology and a Christian as one who holds to traditional, historic Christian theology (hey, isn’t this the whole point of the debate between Mohler and Card?!?)
Basically put, the Jesus Christ of Mormon theology is other than the Jesus Christ of Christian theology. (I hope we agree on that. If not, we have to start over.) And since Jesus Christ is central to everything we believe–it is He in whom we put our faith for salvation–we must make sure we believe in the correct Jesus. Obviously I believe not in the Jesus of Mormonism, but of Christianity. Therefore, it follows that Mormons can’t be Christians. You must say the same in reverse, that I am not a Christian because I do not believe in the Jesus of Mormonism.
What we must not say is that we are both Christian, even though we believe in different Christs. That is foolishness.
Regards,
Matt



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P. Nielsen

posted July 15, 2007 at 11:40 pm


Caitlin,
I didn’t see your post until just now. I agree with everything you said, and would just add that along with prayer, we should do all that God tells us to do, to the best of our ability.
Cheers!
—————-
Matt,
I certainly agree that either one of us is fundamentally wrong or both of us. (I’d wager that we are both wrong on at least a few small things!) I don’t agree that the “Jesus Christ of Mormon theology is other than the Jesus Christ of Christian theology.” In what meaningful way is this true in your opinion? Do you mean that we don’t view Jesus through the lens of the Nicene creed? Neither did the first Christians (they didn’t even have the creed), nor do other Christian sects which deny the Nicene creed. Why do you think the Mormon Jesus is meaningfully different than the Jesus worshipped by the first Christians?
Also, I do not agree historic Christian theology has universally stated that the atonement took place “only on the cross.” But, assuming for the moment I am completely wrong on this, would you deny Mormon Christianness because we believe Christ’s suffering started before the nails were driven through His hands? Consider: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonement It seems to me that there are much bigger differences than *when* the atonement began, categorized there, and yet you would consider all of those sects Christian, would you not?
Best,
P. Nielsen



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 16, 2007 at 12:14 am


But Mormons believe (or at least this one does) that through Christ’s atonement, and God’s plan, this earth life has been made into a probationary state, and we are given time to repent, make a covenant with Christ, and accept Him as our Redeemer/Deliverer.
But that’s the wrong order, and putting them in that order creates a very misleading picture of the doctrine. Order them as we do, i.e. faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy spirit, and then following Christ where he leads us, until the end … and your construction of the LDS church as “not Christian” unravels.
We emphasize that faith in Christ is the first step of the gospel. Through faith you accept Jesus Christ as your Redeemer/Deliverer. Read Alma 36, or Enos, and you’ll see that the Book of Mormon teaches that salvation from sin comes through that exercise of faith.
Once you have made that leap of faith and accepted Christ as your savior, the “firsfruit of faith is Repentance.” You desire to do good works, and to reject sin.
“And at the end of life we will all bow the knee, sin will be conquered, and all will be judged. With Christ’s help we can replace our sinful nature with a holy one. And when we fail, we can repent. But some sins are harder to repent of than others. Some sins require punishments, such as being cast off from the body of Christ for a time.” That’s not punishment, and it’s taught in the New Testament — warning people to not take communion unworthily.
“(i.e. no fellowship with the saints)”
That’s what excommunication means to other churches but not to us. Both the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants FORBID denying an excommunicant fellowship. Excommunication means you can’t *serve* in the church, or partake in or administer sacred rites, and the church will not accept your tithing. We have a lay clergy, and it would be inappropriate to have an adulterous Bishop leading the congregation, don’t you think?
Yes, we’ve adopted some of the terminology inappropriately, like “disfellowshipping” (a lesser short term version of excommunication) but in our church it’s a misnomer, since literal disfellowshipping is prohibited by scripture. Yes there are some self-righteous jerks that are rude to people who have been disfellowshipped or exed, but it is forbidden.
“And one sin is simply unpardonable by God.”
Yes, there is something that we call the “unpardonable sin,” which is to look God in the face and reject him. As far as we know, only one man — Cain, has ever done that, since Cain knew God before he slew Abel, specifically in order to spite God. But that’s so remote that it’s hardly a belief that shapes our lives, and it seems silly to make a determination of whether a whole church is “Christian” based on our belief that God has no particular plans to forgive Cain. Isn’t that kind of like going back to whether angels dance on the head of a pin or whether the gates of heaven swing or roll? You believe in free will, and all the “unpardonable sin” means is that it’s possible for a saved person to choose to reject God’s grace. And as far as we know, it’s only happened once.



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nowandlater

posted July 16, 2007 at 1:05 am


Let’s look at unique LDS scripture and see what it discusses about the crucifixion. Here are few of them:
2 Nephi 2:13 “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”
1 Ne. 10: 11
11 And it came to pass after my father had spoken these words he spake unto my brethren concerning the gospel which should be preached among the Jews, and also concerning the dwindling of the Jews in unbelief. And after they had slain the Messiah, who should come, and after he had been slain he should rise from the dead, and should make himself manifest, by the Holy Ghost, unto the Gentiles.
1 Ne. 11: 33
33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.
1 Ne. 19: 10
10 And the God of our fathers, who were bled out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yielded himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel.
2 Ne. 6: 9
9 Nevertheless, the Lord has shown unto me that they should return again. And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me.
2 Ne. 10: 5
5 But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.
2 Ne. 25: 13
13 Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Wherefore, my soul delighteth to prophesy concerning him, for I have seen his day, and my heart doth magnify his holy name.
Mosiah 3: 9
9 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
Mosiah 15: 7
7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.
D&C 6: 37
37 Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
D&C 20: 23
23 He was crucified, died, and rose again the third day;
D&C 21: 9
9 For, behold, I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard with a mighty blessing, and they shall believe on his words, which are given him through me by the Comforter, which manifesteth that Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world, yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart.
D&C 35: 2
2 I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.
D&C 45: 52
52 Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the son of God.
D&C 46: 13
13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
D&C 53: 2
2 Behold, I, the Lord, who was crucified for the sins of the world, give unto you a commandment that you shall forsake the world.
D&C 54: 1
1 BEHOLD, thus saith the Lord, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, even he who was crucified for the sins of the world—
D&C 76: 41
41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;
Moses 7: 55
55 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Look, and he looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men;



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nowandlater

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:07 am


In regards to Mormons emphasis on the Garden of Gesthemane. We view that Christ died spiritually and physically for us. Both we necessary to reconcile us with God. The atonement was a process. Please consider the famous scripture, Isaiah 53:5. By the account of this scripture we are healed by the stripes which Christ suffered.
Isa. 53: 5
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
But when did he suffer stripes? Was it not by the Roman solidiers even before Pontus Pilate offered him to the Jews to be freed?
Did he not say he would tread the winepress alone? That implies a process over time.
Isa. 63: 3
3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematidrosis
According to Dr. Frederick Zugibe (Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York) it is well-known, and there have been many cases of it. The clinical term is hematohidrosis. “Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form. Under the pressure of great stress the vessels constrict. Then as the anxiety passes the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture. The blood goes into the sweat glands. As the sweat glands are producing a lot of sweat, it pushes the blood to the surface – coming out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat.”[citation needed]
In a lecture, Dr. Zugibe stated: “The severe mental anxiety…activated the sympathetic nervous system to invoke the stress-fight or flight reaction to such a degree causing hemorrhage of the vessels supplying the sweat glands into the ducts of the sweat glands and extruding out onto the skin. While hematidrosis has been reported to occur from other rare medical entities, the presence of profound fear accounted for a significant number of reported cases including six cases in men condemned to execution, a case occurring during the London blitz, a case involving a fear of being raped, a fear of a storm while sailing, etc. The effects on the body is that of weakness and mild to moderate dehydration from the severe anxiety and both the blood and sweat loss.”



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B

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:24 am


Doesn’t the Bible say “Repent and be baptized, every one of you” ?
It doesn’t say “have faith and be baptized” and it doesn’t say “be baptized, those who feel the need”.
Think about it.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:25 am


Some thoughts about the translation of the Book of Mormon.
In almost every one of our posts there are several “typos” often when I copy and paste I will corect my spelling or other’s spelling and grammar for clarity.
Joseph would sit down every day and start dictating. The manuscript of the translation was literally one long paragraph with little of no punctuation and capitalization. Remember, Joseph Smith is not a learned man in terms of earthly education. It is fascinating to see that roughness come through in the original manuscript. And this actually increases my respect for the prodigious thing that the Book of Mormon is.
John H. Gilbert, one of E.B. Grandin’s pressmen did most of the punctuation. The following is part of his account concerning the state of the manuscript that became the Book of Mormon:
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display.php?table=transcripts&id=22

“The Book of Mormon “was printed on a ‘Smith’ Press, single pull, and old fashioned ‘Balls’ were used” (Gilbert, “Memorandurn” 3). Small printing offices generally did not have composition rollers. Using a hand press required more time. Also “the type of one form had to be distributed before another could be set up” accounting for much of the nearly eight months required for printing the volume (P. Tucker 56). Case, Abbey, & Co., of Shortsville, New York, was said to have manufactured the paper used in printing the first edition (Milliken, A History 1:415).”
“When the printer was ready to begin the typesetting, about the middle of August, Martin Harris was notified. Hyrum Smith then brought the first installment of the “printer’s manuscript” numbering 24 pages. He had them buttoned under his vest and coat for security. The pages were closely written and legible, but Gilbert said that every chapter was virtually one solid paragraph as there was not a punctuation mark from beginning to end” (Letter to Cobb; also see “Memorandum” 2–3).3 John Gilbert described the make up of the text:”
“Names of persons and places were generally capitalized, but sentences had no end. The character or short & was used almost invariably where the word and occurred, except at the [beginning] of a chapter. I punctuated it to make it read as I supposed the Author intended, and but very little punctuation was altered in proof-reading. The Bible was printed 16 pages at a time, so that one sheet of paper made two copies of 16 pages each, requiring 2500 sheets of paper for each form of 16 pages. There were 37 forms of 16 pages each, 570 pages in all [the printed volume totaled 588 pages]. (Gilbert, “Memorandum” 3)”
“Gilbert requested that the manuscript be left with him so he could take it home at night and go over the sheets for punctuation. The printing process was slowed by frequently having “‘to stop and read half a page to find out how to punctuate it”‘ (“Memorandum” 2). Hyrum’s reply was, “‘We are commanded not to leave it.'” However, a few days later Hyrum handed him the copy and stated, “‘If you will give me your word that this manuscript shall be returned to us when you are through with it, I will leave it with you”‘ (Ibid). Gilbert gratefully took the manuscript home and in two or three nights had punctuated it using mostly a lead pencil with only a few marks in ink. When he found that some extended portions of the manuscript appeared to have been taken verbatim from the Bible, he kept a copy of it on his typecase to help him in deciphering the handwritten text and putting in the proper punctuation marks (“The Book of Mormon” 4:618). Although Pomeroy Tucker recalled that Gilbert “was given limited discretion in correcting, which was exercised in the particulars of syntax, orthography, punctuation, capitalizing, paragraphing, etc.” (53), Professor Skousen noted in a 13 July 1992 interview that Gilbert was not permitted to make corrections in syntax and that any such corrections “did not occur except by accident.”
“John Gilbert asserted that, “Oliver Cowdery was not engaged [hired] as compositor on the work—was not a printer. He was a frequent visitor to the office, and did several times take up a ‘stick’ and set a part of a page—he may have set 10 or 12 pages, all told” (Letter to Cobb). Gilbert further stated:”
“Cowdery held and looked over the manuscript when most of the proofs were read. Martin Harris once or twice, and Hyrum Smith once, Grandin supposing these men could read their own writing as well, if not better, than anyone else; and if there are any discrepancies between the Palmyra edition and the manuscript these men should be held responsible.”
The following comments are by Stephen D. Ricks
a linguist and translator and teacher at Brigham Young University.
http:maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/pdf.php?filename=OTAxMTMxMDg5LTItMi5wZGY=&type=amJtcw==
“But what kind of effort was involved? (In Joseph’s translation of the Book of Mormon) It must have been in rendering the ideas on the plates into English. But how would Joseph Smith have known those ideas? Part of the divine process by which Joseph worked may have allowed him to think, as it were, in that language, to understand, by inspiration, the ideas of the language. The effort in translating may have taken the form of expressing the ideas on the plates in felicitous English. Such effort can sometimes be daunting. I am currently engaged in the translation of two books, one in German and one in Hebrew, the former rather longer than the Book of Mormon, the latter somewhat shorter. I have found that it is one thing to grasp in my
mind the ideas of the original without translating those ideas into English but that it is quite a different matter to find the most
felicitous expression for those ideas in English. There is also very considerable effort involved in continuing the process of
translation hour after hour. I would consider my day an unalloyed success if I were to complete a translation of five to seven pages. This is roughly the rate at which Joseph Smith labored
on the translation of the Book of Mormon.”
“The accounts of the Three Witnesses speak of words appearing on the seerstone or “translators.” But at what point in the translation process did they appear? I believe that it was after Joseph had formulated in his mind a translation that represented with sufficient accuracy the ideas found on the original. Was there only one correct translation for the ideas found on the plates? I do not believe so. Could a “correct” translation be improved upon in word choice or in some other manner, or could these ideas have been rendered into different words? Yes. I regularly teach a graduate course in ancient Hebrew, where we read
parts of the Old Testament or the Dead Sea Scrolls in Hebrew. Were I to give my students a translation examination from Hebrew into English, it is possible—indeed, likely—that I would receive from them several different renderings of the same verse in English but still consider them all essentially “correct,” since each reflected with acceptable accuracy the ideas found on the original.”
“Joseph himself seems to have felt no particular
compunctions about revising the Book of Mormon, as witnessthe numerous changes (mostly of a grammatical nature) made by him in 1837 in the second edition of the Book of Mormon. If he
had considered only one rendering acceptable, then he would certainly have refrained from making any changes in it (unless the changes resulted from errors in transcription or printing).”
This is Emma Smith’s testimony of her time as scribe for Joseph’s trnaslation of the Book of Mormon:
“I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.”
“Last Testimony of Sister Emma” by Joseph Smith III p. 290
The following are selections from the article,
“By the Gift and Power of God” by Neal a. Maxwell:
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/bookschapter.php?bookid=&chapid=45
“One marvel is the very rapidity with which Joseph was translating—at an estimated average rate of eight of our printed pages per day! The total translation time was about sixty-five working days.8 By comparison, one able LDS translator in Japan, surrounded by reference books, language dictionaries, and translator colleagues ready to help if needed, indicated that he considered an output of one careful, final page a day to be productive. And he is retranslating from earlier Japanese to modern Japanese! More than fifty able English scholars labored for seven years, using previous translations, to produce the King James Version of the Bible, averaging about one precious page per day. The Prophet Joseph Smith would sometimes produce ten pages per day!9″
“A second marvel of the Book of Mormon translation process is that from what we know, rarely would Joseph go back, review, or revise what had already been done. There was a steady flow in the translation. The Prophet’s dictating resulted—just as the compositor, John H. Gilbert, remembered—in no paragraphing.”
“Emma Smith said of the inspired process: “After meals, or after interruptions, [Joseph] would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him.”10 One who has dictated and been interrupted must usually resume by inquiring, “Now, where were we?” Not so with the Prophet!”
“If one were manufacturing a text, he would constantly need to cross-check himself, to edit, and to revise for consistency. Had the Prophet dictated and revised extensively, there would be more evidence of it. But there was no need to revise divinely supplied text. Whatever the details of the translation process, we are discussing a process that was truly astonishing!”
“A third marvel of the translation process is that although he was intensely involved in translating an ancient record, the Prophet Joseph himself was clearly unschooled in things ancient. For example, early in the work he came across words concerning a wall around Jerusalem and asked Emma if the city indeed had walls. She affirmed what Joseph simply hadn’t known.14″
“He knew nothing, either, of the literary form called chiasmus, which appears in the Bible at various places and, significantly, also appears in the Book of Mormon.”
“Emma does mention, however, and so does David Whitmer, the Prophet’s spelling out of unfamiliar names, letter by letter, especially if asked by the scribe. For instance, Oliver Cowdery first wrote the name Coriantumr phonetically. He then immediately crossed out his phonetic spelling and spelled the name as we now have it in the Book of Mormon. Coriantumr with its “-mr” ending clearly would have required a letter-by-letter spelling out by the Prophet.”
“Fourth, we marvel that the Prophet Joseph Smith worked completely without referring to any other sources. None of the twelve people who either participated or merely observed mentioned Joseph’s having any reference materials present. (The twelve people were Emma Smith, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, Elizabeth Ann Whitmer Cowdery, David Whitmer, William Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, Michael Morse, Sarah Hellor Conrad, Isaac Hale, Reuben Hale, and Joseph Knight Sr.) Since the Prophet dictated openly, these individuals would have been aware of any suspicious behavior or procedures. Emma was emphatic on this very point: “He had neither manuscript nor book to read from, [and] if he had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.”15″
“Thus the Book of Mormon came through, but not from, Joseph Smith!”
No, this Book that some think is so easy to refute and dismiss is truly a “Marvelous Work and a Wonder”.



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P. Nielsen

posted July 16, 2007 at 9:07 am


Peter Christian Nuttall,
I think you seriously misunderstood my post. I am Mormon. You seemed to think I was saying things in an attempt to cast us as non-Christians. I wasn’t.
First, I was using “disfellowshipped” in the sense we Mormons do. If you thought I was taking it further, you misunderstood my post and read to much into what I said.
Second, when you had a problem with the “ordering” I apologize I didn’t make it clear I *wasn’t* ordering. I was only listing steps, not necessarily in chronological order. Sorry to give the wrong impression.



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P. Nielsen

posted July 16, 2007 at 9:14 am


P.S. I think I see now where your confusion came about my “no fellowship with the saints” comment. You were right that what I was describing is closer to “excommunication” (which includes the penalties of “disfellowship”). And I wasn’t clear that I was limiting the lack of fellowship to *church related activities* such as saying prayers, partaking of the sacrament, temple worship, and so forth. We certainly should continue loving all men. Thanks for the clarification.



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Matt

posted July 16, 2007 at 10:33 am


P. Nielsen,
Answer me this question: Who is Jesus?
Is He the third person in the Trinity; in His incarnation fully God and fully man. Not just a god who is one “in purpose” with the Father, but actually fully God. Not just the God of this world (a name Biblically reserved for Satan) but God over all creation.
Is He just the first born son of God the Father and subordinate to the Father, or is He equal to the Father in every way?
Was He once as we are, a man? Or is he God from eternity past and will be to eternity future, etc.
If I have accurately portrayed these distinctions correctly, we are talking about two different Jesus’ here.
I am not accusing you of failing to use the Nicene Creed as your basis of belief or as a lens through which you should view Scripture. Rather, I am saying that on the testimony of Scripture itself we are talking about two different Jesus’.
If using the Nicene Creed as a tool helps to distinguish between what Christians and Mormons believe about Jesus, then it is a good tool–given that the Nicene Creed accurately summarizes what Scripture teaches concerning Christ. Where the Nicene Creed departs from Scripture, it is useless! Scripture always and everywhere stands in judgment upon man and the things of man, not man or his documents upon Scripture. Personally, I am not too familiar with the Nicene Creed in the first place. So let’s not even bother with it.
But I leave you with what I started: Who is Jesus – specifically in Mormon theology?
Matt



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Matt

posted July 16, 2007 at 10:49 am


P. Nielsen,
Regarding our views of the atonement: I agree that one’s view of when the atonement takes place may not have been the best example for the point I was trying to make. Nevertheless, our views of what the atonement accomplished are very much different. You say it only made it possible for people to be saved (even the word ‘saved’ has different meanings for us). Whereas Scripture claims that the atonement actually did save those who would believe–those who will believe are those who have been predestined unto salvation (Eph 1).
Therefore, it still stands that our definitions for atonement are different. So even though in casual conversation with Mormon missionaries it may appear that we are talking about the same thing, we are not. The fact that we are even debating the meaning of the atonement is evidence enough!
Matt



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 16, 2007 at 11:01 am


Hi P. Nielsen,
I’ve enjoyed your other posts, remember who you are and apologize for mentally misattributing some of your statements to Matt.
I appreciate your recognizing that the clarification was needful, even though I obviously misunderstood the intent of the statements. I’ve seen church leaders revisit this topic repeatedly in various church meetings, clarifying over and over again that “shunning” of excommunicated and so-called “disfellowshipped” members is forbidden, and that church actions are not “punishment.” (Unfortunately the uninspired terms “church discipline” and “disfellowshipping” subvert that message and add to the confusion of both members and nonmembers on this subject). Fortunately many members do get the message — when my uncle was excommunicated, his ward continued to welcome him and show him kindness, and he eventually was rebaptized. But the continual emphasis by church leaders on this point suggests that there are some members that don’t understand what these church actions are about.
As for the ordering of steps, I think that the way that the Book of Mormon orders them, and the way we order them in the articles of faith and other church teachings, i.e. faith, then repentance, then baptism, etc. helps clarify that we really are talking about the same gospel and the same Jesus Christ as our non-LDS brothers in Christ on this forum. There’s a wonderful talk by Elder Dallin Oaks on how the church members use the word “salvation” to refer to several distinct concepts, and how this leads to confusion over the faith/works issue. That salvation from sin and hell really does come through faith in Jesus Christ alone, through grace and without works.
Likewise, there are many Christian groups that like the LDS church, also emphasize the other parts of the gospel, and don’t stop at salvation by faith in Christ. An evangelical friend of mine who had previously been certain that a Mormon could never be a Christian, accepted my challenge to read Elder Oak’s talk and the description of the gospel at the end of 2 Nephi, and completely changed his opinion. While he’d previously been appalled when he heard LDS testimony meeting that there was so little talk of their salvation from sin and hell, but after reading that information, his analysis changed, because he understood that these LDS members were giving their testimony of what his church refers to our “walk with God.” He even said he wished that his church put more emphasis on that part of the gospel, since that’s the part we deal with day to day. For our part, I think I and many other LDS could put more emphasis on our gratitude to Jesus Christ for saving us from sin and spiritual death. That would put the other stuff into proper perspective, and avoid giving people — including some other LDS people — the false impression that the LDS church teaches that we are saved from sin through ordinances or through works, rather than through Christ’s grace.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 16, 2007 at 11:42 am


“…Scripture claims that the atonement actually did save those who would believe–those who will believe are those who have been predestined unto salvation (Eph 1). Therefore, it still stands that our definitions for atonement are different.”
Matt, are you sure that you want to insert your beliefs about to *whom* the atonement applies into “the definition” of the atonement. If so, your use of terms like “we” and “our”, on a board of populated mostly by nonCalvinists, needs a little explaining. You just claimed that I think that’s an questionable proposition, but let’s assume for sake of argument that this is true. If it’s true, then you Calvinists and those who your fellow-Calvinists describe as “semi-Pelegians” (those who believe in some degree of free will), including LDS and most Protestants and Catholics today, and probably most people on this board have a different “definition” of the atonement than you do.



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P. Nielsen

posted July 16, 2007 at 12:06 pm


Dear Matt,
Regarding the atonement: I agree that we understand it differently. But, I think many other Christian sects also understand it quite differently, as evidenced in that link I provided to wikipedia. If you reject us as a Christian denomination because of our understanding, why don’t you reject other Christian denominations?
Regarding what I believe about Jesus, you asked:
>>Is He the third person in the Trinity; in His incarnation fully God and fully man. Not just a god who is one “in purpose” with the Father, but actually fully God. Not just the God of this world (a name Biblically reserved for Satan) but God over all creation.
>>Is He just the first born son of God the Father and subordinate to the Father, or is He equal to the Father in every way?
>>Was He once as we are, a man? Or is he God from eternity past and will be to eternity future, etc.
My answer is, firstly, if you asked these questions to Christians in the first century, what would their answer be? What if you asked other Christian sects? Do they understand the “trinity” like you do? Ever heard of “social-trinitarianism”?
But to go through them. 1) No, I don’t believe Jesus is the *third* person of the Godhead. He is the second, not the third! (Okay, okay, picky, picky! My humor is showing!) My understanding of the trinity may differ from yours, *but* it isn’t too far from social trinitarianism, which is accepted by some Christian sects.
2) I honestly don’t know what “fully man and fully God” mean. I think they are throwbacks of Greek philosophy as applied to the gospel, and are not found in the scriptures. Furthermore, as I’ve pointed out on other issues, other Christian denominations have not universally accepted this part of the creeds.
I believe Jesus was as much a man as you or I, and I believe Jesus was as much a God during His mortality as before and after. Does that answer your question? Does it disqualify me from Christianity?
3) I don’t know what you mean by: “Not just a god who is one “in purpose” with the Father, but actually fully God.” But I’d guess my answer would be no; as would other social trinitarians’ answer.
4) Yes, I believe Christ is God over all creation.
5) Is Christ subordinate to the Father? Well, He said the Father is greater, in the Bible. Again, *other* Christian sects believed this (as did many of the first Christians).
6) “Was He once as we are, a man? Or is he God from eternity past and will be to eternity future, etc.” I belive both. And again, other Christian sects have believed this. Some Christian sects have even denied that Christ was God from eternity past.
Best,
P. Nielsen
————
Dear Peter,
My mom was also excommunicated and rebaptized, so I know what you are talking about. Cheers.



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Matt

posted July 16, 2007 at 1:02 pm


P. Nielsen,
So would you agree that our views of Jesus Christ are different and therefore we believe in a different Jesus? (I’m not necessarily asking who has the right understanding of Jesus right now.)
Also, I really don’t care what any sect might believe about any given doctrine. Christ is always and everywhere interested in individuals, not labels. However, labels usually serve the purpose of summarizing in general terms one’s view on any given topic, such as the label Calvinist in my case. This term tells you much about what I believe, but would still require some explanation on my part to make sure that your ideas of Calvinism align themselves with what I might affirm.
Regarding “why don’t you reject other Christian denominations?”: First, who said I don’t. Second: there are things that Christians can disagree on that would not disqualify one as a Christian and there are things that do. For instance, we may have an in-house debate on the appropriate means of baptism (full immersion, sprinkling, forwards, backwards, etc.). But one’s position on this is not essential to one’s salvation.
If, however, I come to you and say Christ was a dog who ran in front of a car to pay for my car loan debt and claim myself to be a Christian, I would be wrong! And therefore not a Christian.
Ok, I know, that is an extreme example. But Satan (and the lies he devises) doesn’t usually masquerade around as a dog, but as an angel of light! Meaning, false hoods, lies, are usually garbed in apparent truths.
So we must be ever so accurate with our assertions–accurate defined as that which the Bible teaches. My authority is not in the number of men or sects that agree or disagree with me. My authority is Scripture. ‘You don’t find truth by counting noses.’ And if my position is unpopular on this comment board even among evangelicals (as Nutall asserts) so be it.
I am convinced by Scripture, not by man!
If you would recall, I really didn’t want to get into a debate about the atonement. I wanted to discuss who Christ is! We obviously agree that we have different views on who Christ is. And the simple conclusion is that we are both wrong or one of us is wrong. If we get Christ wrong, who He is, we are not truly saved. If we believe in a Christ other that who the Bible portrays Him to be, we are believing in one of those false Christs Christ warned about.
It’s really that simple.
Might I also add that you regularly appeal to what other Christian sects accept to apparently strengthen your argument. Again, truth is not in the number of people who happen to believe something is true. Truth is in Scripture–in Christ, truth incarnate.
Matt



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 16, 2007 at 1:42 pm


Matt, Origen taught that Christ was subordinate to the father. Would you say that Origen was a “non-Christian”?
“: there are things that Christians can disagree on that would not disqualify one as a Christian and there are things that do. For instance, we may have an in-house debate on the appropriate means of baptism (full immersion, sprinkling, forwards, backwards, etc.). But one’s position on this is not essential to one’s salvation.”
I’m glad that we agree on that, Matt. That not every difference in doctrine or practice speaks to whether someone is a Christian.
“My authority is not in the number of men or sects that agree or disagree with me. My authority is Scripture. ‘You don’t find truth by counting noses.'”
So you say now, Matt, but your previous argument that I cited, the one contrasting “our” beliefs with LDS beliefs, read like an appeal to nose-count authority.
“And if my position is unpopular on this comment board even among evangelicals (as Nutall asserts) so be it.”
That misses “Nutall”‘s point, though, Matt. You were offering your (Calvinist) position as the definition of *Christianity,* which is something that I haven’t even seen Calvinists do here. If that’s part of your definition of Christianity to exclude mormons, then aren’t you kind of dancing around the fact that your definition also excludes evangelicals from “Christianity?”
Since the Bible states unambiguously that even “the elect” can be deceived, can you make no room in your mind for the thought that a Christian could be mistaken about a doctrinal issue, and yet remain a Christian? Certainly Christ is the truth, and to be a Christian would require one to embrace certain truths.
In John 17, Jesus prays that his disciples will be one, in the same way that Jesus and the Father are one. If you are persuaded by scripture rather than nose-counts, then how do you reconcile that great prayer with your doctrine? Using your reasoning, I could say that the Christ that you worship is not the Christ of John chapter 17.
If understanding the full nature of God right now, was necessary for our salvation from sin and our ability to be Christians, then surely God would have made things a little more clear in the Bible. But Paul suggests that it’s OK for things to be a little fuzzy right now, and promises that we will one day see “face to face,” and know God “as we are known.”
I think that a Christian is someone
1) who believes the gospel report that Jesus was raised from the dead,
2) Believes that Jesus suffered and died to pay the price of our sins.
3) has faith in Jesus Christ unto salvation (since just the devil meets element 1 and 2, and yet is not a Christian, obviously).
It also seems to me that a Christian would make an honest effort to know God, through study of the scriptures and prayer, but this isn’t something we can see through the outward appearance.



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Matt

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:39 pm


Peter and P. Nielsen,
It seems that we are in an endless circle of going-no-where discussions. It is obvious that neither I nor you two are going to budge on any of our beliefs at this point.
Is that a fair statement?
So let’s just agree to disagree, await the next installment from Dr. Mohler (if one is pending) and continue our discussions based on what Dr. Mohler writes.
I leave you with this:
“Mat 7:13-15 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (14) “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (15) “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
AND
“Pro 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
Obviously I could be the one on the broad way. At least we know that Jesus warns us to make sure we are in the correct faith, that we have correct beliefs, that we are on the right path. This also assumes that these beliefs can be understood and known.
We are clearly on different paths. Sure they may both be the broad way, but they can’t both be the narrow way.
At least that much we can agree on.
Thank you both for your kind and well thought out responses and interactions. I would hope that Mr. Card will take some lessons from you two on how to stay on topic.
Blessings,
Matt



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 16, 2007 at 3:14 pm


“It seems that we are in an endless circle of going-no-where discussions. It is obvious that neither I nor you two are going to budge on any of our beliefs at this point.
Is that a fair statement?”
Not for my part, and if you meant what you said about being convinced by scripture rather than other reasons, it seems it wouldn’t be so for you either. I’ve often found in discussions that I’d misunderstood a scripture, or had perceived ambiguity when in fact a scripture was clear in context, or had assumed that a matter was unambiguous when in fact the scripture left multiple interpretations open.
“We are clearly on different paths. Sure they may both be the broad way, but they can’t both be the narrow way.”
While you’re exhausting the logical possibilities, another possibility is that the things that we’re arguing about are irrelevant to what Jesus was speaking of as the broad way and the narrow way. Jesus said that *HE* was the way. Not the Mormon church, not Calvinist dogma, not the Nicene Creed. I’m not persuaded that a human interpretation of God’s word is any more relevant to Jesus’ narrow way, than it’s relevant to say that Saul of Tarsus found Jesus on the road to Damascus.
But if you do believe that you are in what Jesus called the narrow way, and that I am off it, don’t you have some sort of duty to more precisely articulate what that way is?
“So let’s just agree to disagree”
That’s just the trouble — I’m not sure what we disagree on, since some of your statements have been vague, a few of your statements contradict each other, and the rest of your statements — most of them actually, cite doctrinal interpretations that I agree with, but that you assume incorrectly that I should disagree with. I’ve offered you a plain, simple, and (most important) precise definition of Christianity, but I have yet to hear how you are defining this term. I’ve asked you some questions about the meaning of your terms, and whether they apply, but you have not replied.



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Matt

posted July 16, 2007 at 4:05 pm


Peter,
First off, I have really been in conversation with P. Nielsen. You offered some comments to me in response to some of the comments I have made to P. Nielsen. Yet, I have not responded to any of your posts directly, although I did refer to one of your posts in one response to P. Nielsen.
Yes, I did direct my last comment to both you and P. Nielsen, which may have been a mistake only in that we haven’t been debating directly, so why would I feel a need to respond to you? I don’t know. I just did, thinking that you two were coming from the same perspective.
Secondly, I am willing to discuss these issues further. It just appeared to me that we were indeed going nowhere. Clearly P.Nielsen and I disagree on who Christ is. I made the point earlier:
“If we get Christ wrong, who He is, we are not truly saved. If we believe in a Christ other that who the Bible portrays Him to be, we are believing in one of those false Christs Christ warned about.”
My simple point is that P. Nielsen and I have mutually exclusive views on who Christ is. Sure there may be some overlap, but the overall pictures we paint are different. That is why I wanted to focus on who Christ is as the Bible declares Him to be. Once we can agree with Scripture on this, then we can begin to define who a true Christian is. Is not a Christian a follower of Christ? Therefore, we must make certain that we are speaking of the same Christ before we attempt to define who a Christian is. I could agree with your definition of a Christian:
“I think that a Christian is someone
1) who believes the gospel report that Jesus was raised from the dead,
2) Believes that Jesus suffered and died to pay the price of our sins.
3) has faith in Jesus Christ unto salvation (since just the devil meets element 1 and 2, and yet is not a Christian, obviously).”
But even this definition is loaded with terminology that we need to flesh out. What is the gospel report? What does it mean that he died to pay the price of our sins? For whom did he pay the price? All or some? What did that payment accomplish? Why did Christ come in the first place? Was he just a man or was he God. So you see, there are many terms even in your definition whose meaning will change depending on our view of Christ.
So, Peter, who is Jesus Christ?



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Christopher (Christ Bearer)

posted July 16, 2007 at 7:08 pm


Brady,
It’s hard for me to reply to such a post because I don’t want to seem insensitive nor do I want to come accross as someone who doesn’t think the Bible is the Word of God.
It’s interesting to note that when the faith/works debate comes up 99% of scriptures used are after the gospels. That’s not to say that the gospels are contradictory to the rest of the books in the New Testiment but the basis behind the faith/works doctrine is dervived from the latter books.
It’s interesting to note that a good Christian friend of mine who is not LDS also believes that works don’t save but on the flip side seems to believe that they will definately damn someone. You can’t work yourself to heaven but you sure can do evil enough works to get you to hell.
I am LDS. I do not believe that mowing an old ladies lawn will elicit salvation, nor will serving food to the needy will get me to a closer seat next to God in the next life. “works” and ordinances of the gospel are different (in my eyes). Does one need baptism for salvation? The Bible teaches me, Yes. Do I need to follow the commandments of God to live with him again? My interpretation of Bible verses teach me, yes. It’s not that I’m ignoring all of your study and quotes from the Bible because I do believe that baptism would benefit me nothing if it weren’t for Christ and his grace. If Christ did not exist, getting baptised, following his teachings and commandments, receiving my endowments in his house would benefit me nothing. That is why Mormons believe 100% in following Christ and his teachings (works) and 100% in Grace (accepting that we can do nor accomplish anything pertaining to salvation without him).
Somewhere you knocked “feelings” and a “burning in the boosom”. The secular world is picking the Bible apart every day. Denying Christ. Denying Adam & Eve, the flood, the stories of Moses, etc. They have “proof” that the Bible is full of folk stories from a tiny region of the world. They ponder wether a Christ existed at all. With scientific “proof”, DNA reasearch, archeaology claiming contrary conclusions that originate in the Bible how are we supposed to know it to be the “Word of God”? Study, Study, Study? Haven’t they studied? Who are we to say they are wrong when they’ve studied as hard or even harder (it’s there profession) than you have? Who do we ask? God? James 1:5 says so. How does God answer? Over a beer at the pub? Not usually. He talks to our hearts, to our minds and to some gives a burning in the boosom, or the chills, or a feeling of peace and calm. If you don’t agree then you’ve put a gag order upon God which you have no authority to do! You’ve intstructed people to trust a book before talking to your Father. Nice advice.
“Christianity” has proved that your answer that “we don’t need feelings or a burning in the boosom, because we have the Word of God” and all we need to do is study, study, study, is wrong. How many deaths, contentions, wars, etc. have resulted in interpreting (studying) the Bible incorrectly? How many Christian denominations are there in the world reading the same verse but giving it different interpretation and meaning? Before Mormonism came it was easier to see you fight amongst yourselves. The best thing that happened to Protestantism was Mormonism so you could have a rest from one another and the wolves could feast on new flesh. How about we read, pray and listen to what God tells us is the interpretation? Or better yet, how about we follow Gods way of doing things as he’s done from the beginning and listen to prophets that have the authority to speak in his name?
I believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Do I believe that it was written by God? No. Did the finger of God touch it and cause all the words to have a shimmering of gold? No. If we study the history of the Bible it’s obviouse to anything smarter than a monkey that we are lucky to have what we do. Monks preserved what they could, and books were voted on (without Gods input) at to what writings were in and what were left out.
Christian religions will (or should) at their root always try to do there best to be an example of Christ. I know that the Baptists, Lutherans, Seventh Days, Calvanists, Episcipals, etc.. follow Christ the best way they can using the Bible, athough they don’t agree on a lot of things.
The world will never have the peace and stability of the LDS community because of their contetions and use of only one book that was published and used for false purposes unintentionally.
We have Christ (who we have not issued a gag order upon).
We have a prophet (God will always work through one).
We have the Bible.
We have the Book of Mormon (supporting 100% of Bible teacings).
We have other scripture clarifying Gods purposes for us and obolishing the need for contention.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught through his Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) is the only thing that can unite people accross the globe and eventaully bring eternal peace to those who bow their knee and confess that Jesus is the Christ, our God.
Amen



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 16, 2007 at 10:50 pm


Matt, I am delighted that you haven’t given up on me here, and I’m impressed with the way that your last post has reframed our discussion.
With respect to the first element of my attempt to define the word Christian, “1) who believes the gospel report that Jesus was raised from the dead,” you ask “What is the gospel report?” I agree that’s something that you and I should address, but not with respect to the first element, which only pertains to one very specific part of the gospel report, i.e. that Jesus had risen from the dead. This was the gospel report, the first “good news” after the crucifixion: “our Lord has risen.” The synoptic gospels were not written until decades after the word “Christian” was first used at Antioch, where the word it had to identify those who believed the report of the apostles that Jesus the Christ had risen. Rome had to sense a threat to its power, which it held through terror. Crucifixion wasn’t just execution – it was humiliation, a public display of state power over the body. To say that a person who had been crucified had returned from the dead, and was still regarded as a leader, was an unprecedented threat to the Roman state. It took courage to believe, and even more courage to say that you believed, so I think we should remember the resurrection as a key fact that every Christian believes. I agree that Christian has come to mean something more specific than just one who believes that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but I think belief in the fact of the resurrection is a specific element that we need to preserve as part of the definition. John the Beloved did not write what we know as the Gospel of John (which adds so much key doctrine to the earlier synoptic gospel accounts) for a very long time after the synoptic gospels, so for at least a generation, the first “good news” of Christianity was that the Lord had risen.
Element #2 involves key doctrinal beliefs of Christianity, and if you think some are missing, we can add more elements, or expand the 2nd part of the definition. What I would like to avoid is putting anything into the definition that isn’t pertinent to a person’s salvation. If someone is persuaded that Christ was black or white or bald, we might think that such a belief was jarring and strange, but it wouldn’t be grounds for saying that they believe in a “different Christ.” That’s just a question of fact about Christ, and not a fact that is pertinent to our salvation.
In addition to the fact of the resurrection, the gospel report tells us that Jesus Christ has taken our sins upon himself, broken the bands of death and hell for all those that place their faith in him.
I personally believe that Jesus suffered the pains and sin of every human being that ever lived, even for those who will reject his grace. But I’m not certain that this belief is necessary for me to be saved. It seems to me that in order to be saved, I simply need to believe that he suffered died for *me*, and accept that grace, having faith that he’s extended it to me. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems to me that salvation is personal. Jesus told his disciples to cast in the net to find persons to teach the gospel to, but when it comes to salvation, I believe that it’s a personal relationship. Of course he would remember us. Each of us is engraven into his hands and feet. He suffered for each of us, personally, because of his endless love for us.
Who is Jesus Christ?
(Like the KJV translators, I’ll use italics to set off the stuff I’m not sure of. If you see something not italicized that’s wrong, please make a particular point to correct me, since I hate to be “sure” of something that’s wrong.)
I don’t think that “Before Abraham was, I AM.” leaves any room for interpretation. Jesus is JHVH, Jehovah, Jahweh, the creator of the world, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He chose to come to earth, and was born of the virgin Mary, in Bethlehem, as prophesied by the prophets of the Old Testament. Angels sang at his birth. In his thirties, he fasted for many days, and the Devil tested him by subjecting him to temptation just as all men are tempted – but Jesus never succumbed to temptation in act, word, or thought; he lived and died sinless. John the Baptist was astonished when Jesus came to be baptized – the Baptist seems to be the person in the New Testament who best understood who Jesus was. Although sinless, Jesus submitted himself to baptism so that he might fulfill all of the commandments, and to give us a perfect path to follow, to lead by example as well as by word. At his baptism, the Holy Ghost descended on him in form of a dove, and a voice proclaimed from heaven “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased.” At first many seemed to see Jesus as one of many great Rabbis like his contemporary Gamaliel of the Talmud, offering insights into the Law of Moses. For example, Jesus taught people how to pray (with simple words, sincerely, without repetition), to whom to pray (to Our Father in Heaven), why to pray, when to pray, where to pray (privately for our most personal and fervent prayers, and communally as a group, to be “One”), and how to NOT pray (to be seen of men). But Jesus’ authority clearly exceeded that of the Rabbis: he healed the sick and proclaimed that he had the power to forgive sin. Jesus organized a ministry, and one group of twelve apostles and a greater group of seventy went out into the world to teach his words, and yet, as best I can tell, none of them really understood who he was or why he had came until after the resurrection. He often taught in parables to the people at large, but taught his disciples in clearer language. Peter once, under the power of the Holy Ghost, declared that Jesus was the promised Messiah*, the only son of the living God – and yet at other times, the gospel accounts portray Peter as fairly clueless about who Jesus is and what his purpose was. Jesus entered Jerusalem as a symbolic king, and yet within a week had been betrayed and crucified, and yet he was the only one not surprised by this development. In Gethsemane he prayed that his Father find some other way of saving mankind, but it seems that there was no other way, except by offering up His own life, and taking upon himself the sin and pain of those that He wished to redeem. When His work was done on the cross, his heart broke, the earth shook, and the veil of the temple was torn, exposing the holiest room in the temple to the view of others. We know that his heart ruptured, because when the centurion, to ensure that Jesus was dead, thrust a spear into his side, and witnesses saw “blood and water,” which is the appearance of the separated fluids that form in a ruptured heart. The God of heaven and earth gave up his mortal body, and according to Peter, spent three days ministering to the spirits in prison, Sheol, probably also speaking to the spirit of the thief as he had promised on the Cross. Some might argue that Jesus’ promise to be with the thief in paradise is inconsistent with Peter’s statement that Jesus visited the spirits in sheol during that time, but it seems to me that any place in the presence of the Lord’s spirit would have been paradise, and that bringing relief to sheol’s captives would fulfill the scripture of breaking the bonds of death and hell. It may be during those three days that Jesus also fulfilled David’s prophesy in the psalms that he would not leave David’s soul in hell. The same psalm also prophesied that Jesus’ body would never see corruption, and it didn’t, because three days after the crucifixion, the tomb was empty. The Lord had risen. He showed himself first to Mary, and then told her that he had not yet shown himself to His Father. Presumably after meeting His Father, He showed himself briefly to various groups of apostles and disciples, and then spent 40 days teaching a much larger group of disciples. For some reason unexplained in the scriptures, the teachings of the resurrected Lord are not presented in detail like the Sermon on the Mount, and other teachings that occurred while the Lord dwelt in a mortal body. I believe, but cannot be certain, that it was during this time that Jesus taught those who would soon be called “Christians” who he was, why he had come, the meaning of the resurrection, etc. I believe but cannot prove that many of the epistles contain the doctrines, if not some of the exact words, that Jesus taught during his 40 day ministry. Since the ancient world did not quote or cite as we do, it would be difficult to tell, for example, what parts of 1 Corinthians 13 were quoted or paraphrased from the sermons of the resurrected Christ, and which were composed by Paul under the influence of the Holy Ghost. Why does it matter? Because Jesus’ sermons recorded in the four gospels say very little about the atonement, the key doctrine of Christianity. And I have a hard to believing that One God would spend forty days in his immortal resurrected body, teaching a large group of disciples, and not say anything important.
* The account in the gospels says “thou art the Christ,” but Peter was probably speaking in Aramaic, not Greek. The Jews for some time had taken the greek word “Christ” to signify the Jewish messiah promised in by prophets since Moses, although the word had been used for other purposes in Greek and some other indo-European cultures.
Whew. That was *not* a cut and paste. I harbor no illusions that I’ve answered your question satisfactorily, but I’ve done the best I could in the time I had. There is so much more to say, so much more that I would like to know, and yet I do not think that everything that I said is necessary to someone having faith in Christ unto salvation. I’m almost certain that the stuff that I didn’t set off in italics isn’t pertinent to salvation, since I wrote a lot of it just to avoid saying something factually misleading (e.g. about how the word “Christ” referred to the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, and not to earlier uses of that Greek word which did not refer to the religion of the God of Abraham). How much of what I said – and how much more that I failed to say during this whirlwind tour of the gospel – does a person need to know in order to be saved?
I have a disabled son who lost his ability to speak and understand when he was four years old after a devastating illness, and I don’t know how much of what I’ve said that my son is even physically capable of understanding.
Consider also how the gospel report grew and continued to grow after Christ’s death, through the epistles, the synoptic gospels, and then the amazing knowledge conveyed in the Gospel of John – much of which wasn’t available to the average Christian until hundreds of years after Christ’s death.
Jesus says that his sheep hear his voice. Is that pertinent? Jesus said that eternal life is to know him. Maybe salvation consists of latching on to whatever part of the gospel report that we receive, with all our heart. Or maybe only Jesus knows how much we have to know, for Him to seal us His, and make us hunger and thirst after his righteousness, and after more of his word. For my son’s sake, I hope it’s something like that. Or that Jesus will make his grace known to my son in His own time and way.
You’ve posed challenging but useful questions. I look forward to your corrections and insights.
-Peter



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Harry McDougall

posted July 17, 2007 at 12:32 am


Mr. Card’s verbosity is a sad semantic shell game. Changing the subject is an unfortunate attempt to not deal with what is being addressed and making inferences of bigotry is an unfortunate attempt to cow someone who will not be intimidated. Oh, well.
C’mon, Orson. Jesus is God. That is orthodoxy. Your position is indefensible. Look, you have your group, and it a morally upstanding group which can be trusted in everything except God’s glory and the gospel. You don’t have to be so defensive.
Just say it and stop going on and on.
Who is Jesus in Mormon theology? What is that great commision all about, with all those other guys tagged on at the end, and what planet are they from?
What is with the plural/singular flippy-floppy in the Pentateuch?
For crying out loud, stop dodging and start answering.
Harry



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:24 am


“Jesus is God. That is orthodoxy.”
It’s also LDS theology.
“Who is Jesus in Mormon theology?”
Mormons don’t really do “theology.” We just read the scriptures; we don’t interpret them through Greek Philosophy. Here’s what we believe:
The stated purpose of the Book of Mormon, as written on the Title Page, is “to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL God”
– See Title Page of the Book of Mormon
Jesus is also:
“The father of heaven and of earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning”
-Hel. 14: 12; see also 3 Ne. 9: 15.
“The Son of God”
-3 Ne. 5: 13; 3 Ne. 5: 26; 2 Ne. 25: 19
“The Redeemer”
-3 Ne. 5: 26
“The only name under heaven whereby man may be saved”
-2 Ne. 25: 20; see also Alma 36: 17-18.
Jesus said that his sheep know his voice. Tell me, Harry, does the following statement sound like the words of anyone you know?

“I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.”

-3 Ne. 9: 15



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irene Mathieson

posted July 17, 2007 at 8:03 am


Ive read all the comments…hmm very tiring and confusing sometimes…would it not be simple to JUST BELIEVE, leaving it all in Gods hands, have faith in your own feelings and listen for the answers from the spirit of God.Listen to what your heart tells you that Jesus is the Christ and all we have to do is have faith in him and have trust.When you say your prayers ask your heavenly father up above if all these things are true……..go about your daily work and wait for the answer to come, in the meantime pray and enjoy your life and enjoy the blessings which are yours…family health etc. I hope that you all have the desire to find the truth….God bless you every day of your lifes….
Irene Mathieson.



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Matt

posted July 17, 2007 at 12:04 pm


Peter,
I’m still here. It’s just going to take me a while to read through your last post…
Matt



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Courtney

posted July 17, 2007 at 3:00 pm


Ahh! Why did it have to be a debate between two of my favorite authors! So torn. . .
One quick comment on Cards response: He seems to be banking on the fact that Mormon’s lead “good” lives, and that’s what counts with God:
“I wish Dr. Mohler would take the tiny, tiny step of saying, not that Mormons are right, but that a person can believe as a Mormon does and still do good works in the name of Christ, that would be acceptable to Christ by that clear, bright standard.”
Might that be where Christians and Mormans differ? Christianity is not merit based, but rather grace based. I am not accepted by God because I do good things, but because God views me in Christ, and sees Christ’s righteousness instead of my sin. That’s the crux of being a Christian, not where we fit in to our community or church, or whatever.
And it’s not about fitting in to the orthodox view, or being the minority. It’s about truth. Pure and simple.



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Heather Smith

posted July 17, 2007 at 4:35 pm


I’m Christian and don’t understand why Mormanism is thought of as Christian. They have some of the same teachings, but most are different and don’t follow the same doctrines as the Christian faith.
President Mr. Hinkley, even said himself that Christianity and Mormanism are different. See Church News, June 20, 1998, p.7 When you don’t believe in the same Christ, in which the Bible teaches. To me it is cut and dry, especially when you do your research.
If you don’t follow the same Christ and don’t follow the same doctrine that Jesus and the 12 apostles put in place, how can you call that Christian?
I’m tired of the debate. If people researched this and asked Christ to show them the truth, than we wouldn’t be having these discussions. It’s easier just to say Joseph Smith is right, than finding out the truth for ourselves.
I challange those who think they have the truth, by studying God’s Word the Bible, and seeing the doctrine set down my God’s prophets and disciples and seeing the huge difference that is found in the doctrine found in the Mormom faith.
Love and God Bless! I love Mormons as well as Christians. Just wish everybody, would do some deep research.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 17, 2007 at 4:35 pm


“One quick comment on Cards response: He seems to be banking on the fact that Mormon’s lead “good” lives, and that’s what counts with God: “
Not at all. Orson Scott Card is banking on the vain hope that more people here will follow Jesus’ teaching that we will know the true prophets from the false prophets by their works. Card thinks that “good” lives will count for you, since Jesus told you that you should count them. What Card is not counting on is that some folks here would rather play God.
Have you mistaken yourself or Dr. Mohler for God?
Orson Scott Card is not debating God on this forum. He’s debating Dr. Mohler. And Dr. Mohler has made abundantly clear that this debate is not about what God thinks, but about what “Traditional Orthodox Christians” think.
“Might that be where Christians and Mormans differ?”
Null question and circular logic. You cannot assume that Christians and “Mormans” differ, in order to prove that Mormons aren’t Christians.
“Christianity is not merit based, but rather grace based. I am not accepted by God because I do good things, but because God views me in Christ, and sees Christ’s righteousness instead of my sin.”
Dr. Mohler has not addressed the question of whether God accepts us. He has limited this discussion exclusively to the question of whether you “Orthodox Traditional Christians” will accept us. You’ve ignored Jesus’ instructions that we should assess this question by works, and you’ve declined to extend grace.
You really should stop taking the name of Christ in vain when you make these arbitrary determinations that we don’t fit into your little orthodox club.
Take your time, Matt; I look forward to your answer.
Harry, I’m dissapointed that you didn’t reply. But what did you mean by “plural/singular flippy-floppy in the Pentateuch”?



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 17, 2007 at 4:53 pm


Nice try, Heather.

“President Mr. Hinkley, even said himself that Christianity and Mormanism are different. See Church News, June 20, 1998, p.7.”

Heather, I can’t help but notice that you failed to quote the statement from “President Mr. Hinkley,” that according to you, stated that “Christianity and Mormanism [sic]” are different. Most LDS folks don’t even have access to the church news, and as far as I know, it’s not available online anywhere. Tell the truth, Heather — did you actually see that supposed statement in the church news, or is this just what you call “research,” i.e. cutting and pasting the stuff that antimormons have fed you, without verifying sources or thinking for yourself?



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nowandlater

posted July 18, 2007 at 3:41 am


Mitt Romney Presidential Agenda
http://youtube.com/watch?v=pHSlWorAP4o
This makes fun of the idea of a Mormon Theocracy.



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Leo

posted July 18, 2007 at 5:12 am


Why can’t people just be honest? Mormons believe that there are many planets each with its own God. On this planet-earth-God the Father came down to earth and had sex with Mary and so produced Jesus. If people believe in Mormonism they too can become gods and rule over their own planets. In contrast, Christians (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) believe that this is only one God who is eternal. No one can become a god. This God used supernatural powers to make Mary pregnant with His son Jesus. This Jesus is made of the same substance (whatever that is) that God is made of. Jesus, therefore, is both God and man. Mormonism cannot be defined as Christian, and likewise, Christians cannot call themselves Mormons or even Muslims. Words, you see, do have meaning.



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wxman

posted July 18, 2007 at 9:49 am


Mr. Card,
A few observations:
1) Unless the basic rules of writing have changed since I’ve been in school, paragraphs are expected to contain at least 3 sentences. Your habit of treating each sentence of your writing as a paragraph causes what is already a rambling response to Dr. Mohler’s first rebuttal to be even more difficult to follow.
2) “This story may seem overly long to some…”. This is probably the understatement of the decade.
3) Please stick with the resolution of this discussion: Are the basic tenets of Mormonism consistent with the basic tenets of orthodox Christianity.
Regards,
Michael



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Melissa Heck

posted July 18, 2007 at 10:45 am


I think of Mormons as Christians that have made themselves godlike. I’ve learned that they believe the higher they are in the church the closer you are to God (and more important). Mark 16:14-19
The Bible says to spread the word, no where does it say you have to be a Mormon to do this. That’s like the Jews back in the time of Jesus when they thought the gospel was only for them and then Jesus comes and changes everything.
No one person is any more important in God’s eyes no matter what “position” you have in life. That is the humble grace and mercy of God.
We had Mormon neighbors and they were wonderful loving people.



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BV

posted July 18, 2007 at 12:09 pm


I believe the answer to this discussion lies with the words of Paul.
Galatians 1:6-9
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
There are so many teachings from the book of Mormon that do NOT fall in line with the gospel. I would extend this statement to many “Christian churches” as well. Those that claim that a person has to do anything to gain salvation is perverting the gospel just as those among the Galatians were. There were those among them who said that the Gentiles (most of the members of the churches of Galatia) had to be circumcised Paul was telling them here with very strong language that they were distorting the gospel.
The gospel says that there is nothing we can do to make God love us or cause us to deserve salvation. Any church that preaches that there are things that you must do or must not do to be a Christian are false churches, whether it is you must be baptized, be a good husband/wife/child, go to church, etc. Any church that requires any of these things is not a church professing the gospel of the Bible. Don’t take my word for it READ THE BOOK! It is all there. Likewise there is nothing we can do once we are saved that will take us from the hand of God (that is in the Book as well). Whether I lie, cheat, steal, murder, commit suicide, think of the worst sin you can and insert a heart that has truly been redeemed cannot be taken from the had of God. God does not scratch our name out of the Book of Life, it is there for eternity. If I get mad at my husband and act on my anger by saying things that I shouldn’t (which I have done and so has the whole of the human popluation read James) Christ says that that is no different in the eyes of God than me killing him. Now, that doesn’t give me the freedom to do so because there are definitely different consequences for the two sins, but it makes me just as sinful as the murderers in prison are sinful. Any church that has rules and restrictions and a list of things that you must do (or not do) to be saved is not a church that teaches the gospel. Churches that teach that we can be good or decent or “honorable” (to take a word from the Mormon teaching of the terrestrial kingdom) apart from Christ having reign in our lives do not teach the Truth of the Gospel! Jesus says in Mark that no one is good but God alone! So, yes, I believe that the Mormons teach a gospel contrary to the one taught by Christ. The Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible and does not compliment it. And as Paul says above that even if he or an angel from Heaven were to preach a gospel contrary to the one we have received through Christ we are to reject it. I believe that a false gospel is much more dangerous than atheists or even other religions who reject Christ completely. And no we should not applaud their actions and theology because that is not what Christ did. He called the Jewish leaders out on their false teaching. Paul and Peter and other disciples did the same!



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Charles R.L. Power

posted July 18, 2007 at 12:47 pm


Admiration for Romney will probably lead to as many conversions to Mormonism as the (easily attestable) admiration O.S. Card enjoys in the science fiction and fantasy community has lead to such conversions. I don’t think the Presbyterians or the Lutherans or the Catholics need to get too concerned.



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Matt

posted July 18, 2007 at 1:04 pm


Peter,
Thanks for your patience. I was a bit sidetracked yesterday with other responsibilities but am now ready to respond to your last post to me.
Some general comments:
First, I am glad to here you say that there are elements of the Gospel that one must believe—that are pertinent to one’s salvation—in order to be saved. You stated this in the negative by saying: “What I would like to avoid is putting anything into the definition [of Christian] that isn’t pertinent to a person’s salvation”.
Second, today we have the entire Bible whereas in the early days they did not (a point I think you have made). We are responsible to believe in God’s word as we have it today, not based on what the early Christians had then. The early Christians were responsible to believe in what they had then. (Even Adam and Eve were commanded only to be fruitful and multiply, rule over the earth, and avoid the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and were held responsible for this!)
Third, I also believe that salvation is personal. It is our personal sin that separates us from God, and he will deal with us in an individual, personal way. God will not be dealing with us as groups or denominations or as members of certain churches. Our personal sin is what separates us, not what church we belong to!
—-
Well, there was very little I could disagree with you in what you wrote in your ‘whirlwind tour’ about the life of Christ and what he did. You gave a rather factual report of what occurred.
When you state that “’I don’t think that Before Abraham was, I AM.’ leaves any room for interpretation” are you saying that Jesus is God as much as God the Father is God? Meaning, are you affirming the historical understanding of the Trinity, not the Trinity of Mormon theology? It seems like you are.
You also wrote:
“Jesus Christ has taken our sins upon himself….[and] the pains and sin of every human being that ever lived, even those who will reject his grace”.
Later on you also wrote: “…except by offering up His own life, and taking upon himself the sin and pain of those that He wished to redeem.”
I’d like to take some time to talk about this:
What did it mean for Christ to take upon himself the sins and pain of man? What did that accomplish in God’s plan?
We agree that sin is what separated us from God. “ for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
We also know that:
“For the wages of sin is death…”– (Rom 6:23 )
Going back to the Garden of Eden we read:
“The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; (17) but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17 )
We understand this “death” to be both physical and spiritual. That is, our bodies will die, but more importantly, we will be (are) separated from God for all eternity precisely because of our sin.
But what is sin? What are we talking about when we talk about sin. Sure, sin is manifest in many ways: lying, stealing, adultery, coveting, evil thoughts, lust, etc. ad. infinitum.
But might there be one thing common to all sin? I mean, if you think about it, Adam and Eve didn’t have the 10 commandments to guide them. They had “do not eat…”.
So, is there something common to all sin? I think there is. Sin, in its essence, is failing to take God at His word! Whenever we sin, not matter what form it takes, we are ultimately calling God a liar! We are saying, “God, I know what you said, but I don’t believe you and am going to do otherwise; I know better!”
We say to the God who made us and formed us, who upholds our very life (we do not posses the ability to exist on our own), who sustains our life even in our sin, who gives us the very ability to even debate on this blog, we say to Him, “Hey, I am my own master and will do as I please, not as you would have me to do!”
(What arrogance sin is! Who are we to attempt to assert our independence from God on whom our very next breath depends?!?)
And the law of God, the Ten Commandments, only exposes the fact that we do sin! In fact, Paul says that this is the purpose of the law:
“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” (8) But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead.” Rom 7:7-8
In other words, the laws purpose was never seen ultimately as a means to salvation, but rather as a means of exposing our sin! That’s the purpose the Law serves—to expose the reality of our sin. If you try to live by the law, you are already dead! But again, our desire to assert our independence shows up in the form of trying to live up to the law in hopes of being able to offer something worthy for God to take notice of! But it’s all filthy rags! We are still saying, “I am worthy to be received by you!” when we try to live by the Law. “Look, God, I have lived up to the Law (not really), now you owe me heaven!”
What rubbish! Remember James 2:10? “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. “
That’s why I can say, if you have so much as a hatred thought of someone, you might as well kill a million people because nothing you do is going to save you now! You are already guilty of breaking the law! No amount of Law keeping is going to save you! You are already dead.
We know that the wages of sin is death, both physical and eternal separation from God. We also know that no one has not sinned. Everyone is separated from God.
Ok, so why all this talk about sin? Please, hang in there; I’m getting to my point!
What did Christ do, what did he accomplish when he died on the cross? We have already read this passage in part, but here it is in whole:
”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. “
Death is our wage unless we have the free gift of God! Right?
But what is this free gift? What did he accomplish?
What Christ accomplished was satisfying God’s just wrath against our sin. He paid our penalty for sin (death). He took away that which once separated us from God, our sin, and paid our penalty for us.
“having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
Does it not mean that that which once separated us from God has been taken care of in Christ? So much so that now nothing can separate from the love of Christ! We are His eternally.
Furthermore, when we place our faith in Christ, not only is our sin paid for (not only are our sins imputed to Christ) we receive the righteousness of Christ (his righteousness is imputed to us). What does that mean? That means that God, from whom we were once separated because of our sin, now sees us as righteous, perfect, without sin. For eternity!
Why?
“Rom 8:3-4 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 an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
The requirements of the Law have been fulfilled in us not on the basis of our own works (pre- or post-salvation, I might add) but because Christ Himself obeyed the Law fully and this is now ‘imputed’ to us. It’s a great exchange: my sinfulness for His righteousness!
Ok, I know you are saying to yourself, “What does this have to do with what I wrote?”
Well, you wrote, “It seems to me that in order to be saved, I simply need to believe that he suffered [and] died for me, and accept that grace, having faith that he’s extended it to me.”
I agree with this IF, you mean what I have just spent the bulk of this essay declaring what Scripture declares about the work of Christ.
God’s wrath is satisfied if you are truly in Christ and relying upon His righteousness and His payment for your sin!
That’s what it means to be saved; we are saved from God Himself.
If you reject this Christ and His work, you are still dead in your trespasses and sins. You have not been made alive in Christ. And if you are in rejection of this upon your death, you will end up in Hell, because you have not believed what God has demanded of us, namely to believe in this Jesus Christ.
Wouldn’t you agree?
There is so much more to say…..



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Nathan

posted July 18, 2007 at 2:01 pm


Matt, and the rest:
I have been away for a few days, but have found the dialog in my absense compelling and interesting.
Matt, let me say that your “essay” was wonderful. It was inspiring to me, and made me ponder things more deeply. Sometimes when you hear someone else express things in a way that you do not normally express them yourself, it can open paths of thought that may have otherwise gone unexplored.
So I have a question for you, Matt…if I say that I believe what you are saying (and I do), does that qualify me to be a Christian? If the answer is ‘yes’, can I maintain that belief, and still believe in certain different tenets (for example, that the canon of scripture is not closed) and still be considered a Christian?
If so, then I think we are at an accord.



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Matt

posted July 18, 2007 at 4:30 pm


Nathan:
My general answer is this: I have argued, (and have hopefully been faithful to Scripture), that sin is in essence calling God a liar. Or it is at least saying, God, I don’t believe you and will do things my way. It’s a failure to acknowledge God’s rightful rule over us and attempting to assert our own rule.
That said, I also believe what marks a true believer is one who has a desire to submit to the Word of God. (Isn’t that what we are ultimately doing when we confess Christ as Lord–we are agreeing with Scripture what Scripture says of Jesus. Also, isn’t that what it means to confess sin–that is, saying the same thing about our sin that God has said.) That means that as we are faced with thoughts or ideas about God or what He has declared in His word that have not been in concert with Scripture, a true believer will seek to conform his thoughts to Scripture.
Sin has not only corrupted our actions, it has corrupted our thoughts so that we don’t think accurately all the time. But a true believer admits to this and is also willing to change in order to conform to the testimony of Scripture.
Now I write all this in answer to your question to say that there are certainly areas of doctrine or theology that are not essential for salvation. But when our entire faith is based on the testimony of words–the Bible–we want to make certain that we have the entirety of Scripture. If indeed there is more revelation (i.e the canon is not closed) I would want to know. One sure test would be: does it conform to the rest of revelation.
I don’t want to get into a discussion of whether or not the canon is closed (I believe it is) You , as a Mormon (if you indeed are one) believe that God is still using prophets today, that Scripture is not closed. Well, test what they say with the rest of Scripture. If you find that they contradict the Word, to whom will your final allegiance be? God or your church’s ‘prophets’.
Look, Nathan, you are ultimately accountable to God, not men, whether they be kings or prophets. Therefore, make certain you are listening to the voice of God as revealed in the Bible, make certain you clearly understand what the Bible teaches, knowing that God does not speak with a forked tongue. Then begin to test anyone else’s teaching with it.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (17) so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
What a great promise that is! Study the Bible first. Make certain you know its message first, so that you can then determine the validity of the messages of others–even of the comments I have posted!



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 18, 2007 at 4:41 pm


I’m concerned and dissapointed that the “read all comments” link seems to be dysfunctional, and hope that our wonderful discussion is not sliding into the void, and that the forum will restore the function to allow all comments to be read.
Matt: “When you state that “’I don’t think that Before Abraham was, I AM.’ leaves any room for interpretation” are you saying that Jesus is God as much as God the Father is God?”
What I’m saying is that Jesus Christ and Jehovah, creator of heaven and earth, are different names for the same person.
“Meaning, are you affirming the historical understanding of the Trinity, not the Trinity of Mormon theology? It seems like you are.”
It sounds to me like you’d be as surprised at what the Book of Mormon teaches about Jesus Christ, separately, surprised at the actual LDS teachings about the Godhead.
(“Trinity” refers to the Nicene theory of the Godhead, but the word “Godhead” is not theory-specific — simply refers to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, without specifying their … ontology? Is that the right word?)
For my own part, I confess that if your statements are representative of Calvinism, than I am as misinformed about Calvinism as you are about LDS teachings.
“God’s wrath is satisfied if you are truly in Christ and relying upon His righteousness and His payment for your sin! That’s what it means to be saved; we are saved from God Himself.
If you reject this Christ and His work, you are still dead in your trespasses and sins. You have not been made alive in Christ. And if you are in rejection of this upon your death, you will end up in Hell, because you have not believed what God has demanded of us, namely to believe in this Jesus Christ.
Wouldn’t you agree?”
Yes, I would, because you’ve phrased it, “if you are in rejection of this upon your death,” rather than “unless you accept this before dying.” What you said is consistent with the Book of Mormon as well as with the Bible. Your statement construes God’s grace more broadly than I’ve seen it construed by most other traditional (i.e. non-LDS) Christians, and therefore I agree.
I strongly agree with your characterization of sin as pride and distrust of God.
I disagree with your intepretation of Paul’s statement in Romans, if by “the purpose of the law” you mean the *sole* purpose of the law. Yes, Paul is saying that the law tells us that we fall short, and so we cannot use the law for spiritual salvation. Only grace can accomplish that. But I think that you overstate Paul’s meaning and look beyond the mark when you say:
“If you try to live by the law, you are already dead!”
If you try to live by the full law, you are already dead. If you try to live by the law in order to be acceptable to God, in order to earn salvation through your works, then you are like those who built a tower to get into heaven. The pinncacle of arrogance.
But if you try to live by the law, because you trust God, and believe that he has given you commandments to warn you of actions that would cause you and your loved ones harm, then you are not dead.
If you try to live by the law, out of love for God, then you are alive in Christ.
“What rubbish! Remember James 2:10? “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. “
That’s talking about salvation from sin and hell. Spiritual salvation. But keeping God’s law, even in part, does lead to a measure of temporal salvation. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” has saved many marriages from divorce and cruelty, and has saved many children. God’s concern for our temporal salvation appears in many commandments, such as “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days be long upon the earth.
“We know that the wages of sin is death, both physical and eternal separation from God.”
Yes, that’s the *eternal* wage of sin. It’s also pain and harsh consequences in this life, for ourselves and for our loved ones.
Why would we worry about this life when eternity is so much more lasting and important? Because if we are saved, then Jesus Christ’s atonement takes care of eternity. That leaves plenty of time for a true and undefiled religion to focus most of its time on leading its members to good works. Not because we think it’s more important than salvation, but because the most important thing, salvation from sin, is taken care of with that initial act of faith.
“Furthermore, when we place our faith in Christ, not only is our sin paid for (not only are our sins imputed to Christ) we receive the righteousness of Christ (his righteousness is imputed to us).”
Christ’s sinlessness is imputed to us through our accepting his atoning sacrifice, and by remembering it. But righteousness also involves good works, and I don’t think that scripture supports the theory that Christ’s good works, healing the sick, comforting the afflicted, and sacrificing himself for others are imputed to us.
By good works, I mean that which exceeds the requirements of the law. That which we do not out of fear of God’s wrath, but out of love, and out of desire to follow Jesus. And that which we do because God’s spirit has awoken in us the desire to do God. These are the works of Christ in us:

Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.
For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.
Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.
For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
-



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Nathan

posted July 18, 2007 at 5:01 pm


Matt:
I could not agree with you more! I have interspersed some comments below…
>My general answer is this: I have argued, (and have hopefully been faithful to Scripture),
>that sin is in essence calling God a liar. Or it is at least saying, God, I don’t believe you
>and will do things my way. It’s a failure to acknowledge God’s rightful rule over us and
>attempting to assert our own rule.
I agree with you.
>That said, I also believe what marks a true believer is one who has a desire to submit to
>the Word of God. (Isn’t that what we are ultimately doing when we confess Christ as Lord
>–we are agreeing with Scripture what Scripture says of Jesus. Also, isn’t that what it
>means to confess sin–that is, saying the same thing about our sin that God has said.)
>That means that as we are faced with thoughts or ideas about God or what He has declared
>in His word that have not been in concert with Scripture, a true believer will seek to conform
>his thoughts to Scripture.
I agree with this as well.
>Sin has not only corrupted our actions, it has corrupted our thoughts so that we don’t
>think accurately all the time. But a true believer admits to this and is also willing to change
>in order to conform to the testimony of Scripture.
I agree.
>Now I write all this in answer to your question to say that there are certainly areas of
>doctrine or theology that are not essential for salvation. But when our entire faith is based
>on the testimony of words–the Bible–we want to make certain that we have the entirety
>of Scripture. If indeed there is more revelation (i.e the canon is not closed) I would want to
>know. One sure test would be: does it conform to the rest of revelation.
I would want to know too. And moreover, since mankind can (obviously) interpret things according to their own whims and fancies (hence our discussion here), I would want God to confirm that conformity to me in the manner He chooses so to do (He told me to ask (James 1:5), and said He would answer, so the Word itself gives means outside of the book itself to help determine conformity).
>I don’t want to get into a discussion of whether or not the canon is closed (I believe it is)
>You , as a Mormon (if you indeed are one)
Yes.
>…believe that God is still using prophets today, that Scripture is not closed. Well, test
>what they say with the rest of Scripture. If you find that they contradict the Word, to
>whom will your final allegiance be? God or your church’s ‘prophets’.
My allegiance is to God. If I believe in a prophet, and he claims to speak the word of God, then I believe I still have an obligation to confirm that with God in the manner previously discussed.
>Look, Nathan, you are ultimately accountable to God, not men, whether they be
>kings or prophets. Therefore, make certain you are listening to the voice of God as
>revealed in the Bible, make certain you clearly understand what the Bible teaches,
>knowing that God does not speak with a forked tongue. Then begin to test anyone
>else’s teaching with it.
Wise advice. Thank you.
>”All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
>correction, for training in righteousness; (17) so that the man of God may be
>adequate, equipped for every good work.”
>What a great promise that is! Study the Bible first. Make certain you know its message
>first, so that you can then determine the validity of the messages of others–even
>of the comments I have posted!
I agree. I have done that, and believe God, and take Him at His word.
Thanks for your words.



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GB

posted July 18, 2007 at 5:49 pm


Matt, you said something that caught my attention. So I am just making a comment. I do not intend to butt into your exchanges with Peter and Nathan.
Matt: That said, I also believe what marks a true believer is one who has a desire to submit to the Word of God. . . . That means that as we are faced with thoughts or ideas about God or what He has declared in His word that have not been in concert with Scripture, a true believer will seek to conform his thoughts to Scripture.
GB: I think a more accurate and more scripturally based statement would read something like this.
I believe what marks a true believer is one who has a desire to submit to the will of God. That means that as we are faced with thoughts or ideas about God or what He has declared in His word that have not been in concert with His will, a true believer will seek to conform his will to God’s will.
Part of the mission of Jesus Christ was to set the example. (Mark 8:34, 10:21, John 10:27, 13:15, 21:22, 1 Pet 2:21)
And what did he do? He submitted His will to the will of the Father and we are to do the same. (Matt 7:21, 12:50, 26:39 & 42, Mark 14:36, John 4:34, 5:30, 6:38 & 39, 7:17 Act 22:14, Rom 12:2, Eph 6:6, Col 4:12, Heb 10:36, 13:21, 1 Pet 2:15, 4:2, 1 Jn 2:17, & Rev 17:17



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GB

posted July 18, 2007 at 5:53 pm


Matt, Nathan, Peter,
Since this place is now only offering a limited view of past posts. I invite you to move your conversation to http://truthrestored.townhall.com/
The thread of the latest post there is as good as place as any.
GB



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Arthur Sido

posted July 18, 2007 at 11:01 pm


Mr. Card asks the questions: Is any sincere Christian expendable?
Sincerity or zealousness is not a sign of truth. The crowd that sought to kill Paul in Acts 21-22 was full of zealous believers (“…being zealous for God as all of you are this day” Acts 22:3), but they lacked the truth. Paul didn’t tell them that it was OK that they had incorrect views of God because they were just so darn sincere and zealous. He declared the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them through his testimony.
Mr. Card is avoiding the issue. No one questions whether mormons perform acts of kindness and good works, whether mormons are good neighbors or solid citizens. The issue of debate here is whether or not mormons are Christians, and what separates mormon doctrine and Christianity are not merely semantics or differing interpretations of minutiae of theology. Mormonism proclaims a very different god and a Gospel that is no Gospel at all. No matter how industrious or civic minded mormons are, they lack the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” It is neither loving nor Christ-like to withhold proclaiming the Gospel to mormons and calling on them to repent and turn in faith to Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible.



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Nathan

posted July 18, 2007 at 11:09 pm


GB:
I appreciate the sentiment, but I, for one, like the forum here, and the association with the discussion between Dr. Mohler, and Mr. Card. I submitted a request (as others likely have) to the technical support of this site to see about addressing the disappearing comments.
Unless others feel otherwise, I would opt for keeping this here.
Nathan



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Greg

posted July 19, 2007 at 10:54 am


A: I am a Christian – Assembly of God
B: I am constantly hearing how certain groups of believers are not Christians but what I don’t hear is the EXACT why. Help us out here, what is it that makes the LDS a cult?
It is hard not to avoid the subject when the subject is not laid out in advance, asking the question “Are Mormons Christians?” without a background on where the question is coming from is like asking “Are human beings animals?”.
Although I may not agree with the LDS or the JW’s for that matter I must say they lead by a greater example than most Evangelicals. When was the last time you went door to door to spread the word? How often do you see paid advertisements from the Baptists, Presbytarians, Pentecostals or any other Christain Group inviting non-believers to call and learn about Christ and in the process receive a Bible to learn by?
This is a heavy subject, all I ask is we are specific as to why we are claiming another group is not a true Christian Group.
For Example:
Although Islam started with the basic beliefs of the Bible up to Abraham, a Muslum is NOT a Christian because they believe Jesus Christ was a great prophet and not the Son of God. If our Bible teaches correctly (as I believe it does), that would make Jesus Christ a liar as he claimed to be the Son of God. Therefore, by no means can we call a Muslum a Christain.



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Nathan

posted July 19, 2007 at 11:53 am


It looks like all of the comments are back. There seem to be two different links. Here is the one that works for me:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/blogalogue/2007/07/by-orson-scott-card-there.html.comments.html#156919



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Randy

posted July 19, 2007 at 12:14 pm


May I submit that the true definition of Christian is one who believes that Jesus Christ was the literal Son of God, and one that will embrace and follow his teachings.
Since Mormons believe that Jesus Christ stands at the head of their Church, and that their leader is an Apostle of Christ, that alone should make them Christians.
Then when you add that their basic scripture is the King James version of the Bible, that their Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants are companions to, and not replacements of the Bible, it further cements the fact that they are, undeniably, Christians.
Any so-called “Christian” that doesn’t believe in a living God, and that God still speaks to his people through his prophets and by direct personal revelation, is not recognizing the complete truth of the nature of God. And therein lies the crux – the nature of God. . . disembodied spirit being that is so large he fills the universe, but so small that he can dwell in your heart; or perhaps since we as humans are made in his image, a divine being with an eternal and perfected body of flesh and bone?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 19, 2007 at 2:19 pm


Arthur Sido says:
Mormonism proclaims a very different god and a Gospel that is no Gospel at all. No matter how industrious or civic minded mormons are, they lack the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”
Mike’s Response:
this original blog article is at http://www.truthrestored.townhall.com
ANOTHER GOSPEL?
by Mike Bennion
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As members of that church we are often taken to task by the ministers and members of other churches who are critical of that claim. They say that we worship a “different Jesus” than they worship. They say that our doctrine is not “Biblical Christianity”. They often quote the following Bible passage as support, (Note: I am going to quote from both the New Inspired Version and the King James Version of the Bible to avoid the accusation that it is only the KJV that says what the Mormons say it does):
Galatians 1:6-8 NIV 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Galations 1:6-8 6 I marvel that ye are so soon aremoved from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another bgospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that atrouble you, and would bpervert the cgospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an aangel from heaven, preach any bother cgospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be daccursed.
Now when this scripture is quoted, the critics of the LDS church, use it to maintain that Mormons are accursed, and are “going to hell”. (Lon Solomon, Pastor of the McClean Va. Bible Church makes such a claim)
This blog article is written to examine the “gospel” preached by Jesus, his Apostles, and other Prophets in the Bible to determine what doctrines were originally taught that may be missing today. As we do this it should become clear what the gospel contains and what is missing from doctrine now.
1. GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, MALE AND FEMALE
Genesis 1:26-27 NIV 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
2. GOD HAS A BODY
Genesis 32:30 NIV 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, [f] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
Exodus 24:9-11 NIV 9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, [b] clear as the sky itself. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Luke 24:36-42 NIV 36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.
3. MEN CAN BECOME LIKE JESUS AND BE ONE WITH HIM AND THE FATHER
Jesus Prays for All Believers
John 17:20-24 NIV 20″My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Philippians 3:20-21 NIV 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1st John 3:1-2 NIV 1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,[a]we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Romans 8:16-17 NIV 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Revelation 3:20-22 NIV 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
LET US SUMMARIZE POINTS 1,2 & 3: A BIBLE CHURCH WILL TEACH THAT GOD HAS A BODY, THAT MAN AND WOMAN ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF THAT BODY AND THAT THOSE WHO OVERCOME WILL BE LIKE GOD, WILL BE ONE WITH GOD, WILL BE HEIRS OF GOD, WILL SIT WITH HIM ON HIS THRONE.
What else does the Bible teach?
4. FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST MANIFESTED BY KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS
John 14:15 NIV “If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John14:21 NIV Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
John 15:14 NIV You are my friends if you do what I command.
Hebres 11:4-40 NIV 4 BY FAITH ABEL OFFERED GOD A BETTER SACRIFICE than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 BY FAITH ENOCH was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 BY FAITH NOAH, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear BUILT AN ARK to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, OBEYED AND WENT, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to BECOME A FATHER because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, when God tested him, OFFERED ISAAC as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned.”[c] 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 BY FAITH JACOB BLESSED ISAAC AND ESAU in regard to their future.
21 BY FAITH JACOB, when he was dying, BLESSED EACH OF JOSEPH’S SONS, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 BY FAITH JOSEPH, when his end was near, SPOKE ABOUT THE EXODUS of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.
23 BY FAITH MOSES’ PARENTS HID HIM for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 BY FAITH MOSES, when he had grown up, REFUSED to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 HE CHOSE TO BE MISTREATED along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 BY FAITH HE LEFT EGYPT, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 BY FAITH HE KEPT THE PASSOVER and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 BY FAITH THE PEOPLE PASSED THROUGH THE RED SEA[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 BY FAITH the walls of Jericho fell, after the PEOPLE HAD MARCHED around them for seven days.
31 BY FAITH THE PROSTITUTE RAHAB, because she WELCOMED THE SPIES, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[e]
32 AND WHAT MORE SHALL I SAY I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who THROUGH FAITH CONQUERED KINGDOMS, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 THESE WERE ALL COMMENDED FOR THEIR FAITH, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
James2:14-19 NIV 14 WHAT GOOD IS IT, my brothers, IF A MAN CLAIMS TO HAVE FAITH BUT HAS NO DEEDS? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! EVEN THE DEMONS BELIEVE that—and shudder.
5. REPENTENCE BY THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH
Matt 3:8 NIV Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Mark 1:4 NIV And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 13:2-3 NIV 2Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
Acts 17:30 NIV In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
Acts 26:20 NIV First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their REPENTENCE BY THEIR DEEDS.
6. BAPTISM NECESSARY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS BY THOSE WHO BELIEVE TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Matt 3:13-15 NIV 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Matt 28:19-20 NIV 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. . .
Mark 16:16 NIV Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Luke 7:30 NIV But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John)
John 3:5 NIV Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Acts 2:37-38 NIV 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:48 NIV 48 So he (Peter) ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 22:13-15 NIV 13 He (Ananias) stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, (Paul) receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
14″Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
1st Peter 3:21 NIV and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge[e] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
7. GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST BY THE LAYING ON OF HANDS BY THOSE WITH AUTHORITY
Acts 8:17-17 NIV 14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into[c] the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
LET US SUMMARIZE POINTS 4-7. A BIBLE CHURCH WILL TEACH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST MANIFESTED BY WORKS OF REPENTENCE, BAPTISM AS A NECESSARY ORDINANCE TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND LAYING ON OF HANDS BY THOSE IN AUTHORITY FOR THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
DOES YOUR CHURCH TEACH THESE DOCTRINES AS PLAINLY EXPRESSED IN THE BIBLE? IF NOT, DOES THE CONDEMNATION EXPRESSED BY THE BIBLE IN GALATIANS APPLY TO THOSE WHO TEACH IN THAT CHURCH?



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 19, 2007 at 2:28 pm


But what if I did? Would me wanting to identify with that culture, because I love chips and salsa, loud colors, and great soccer games validate me as now being an amigo? I’m still just a white dude, no? It doesn’t matter how much I argue and claim a few semblances of that culture, I never embody the entirety of Latin-Americans or African-Americans and therefore I’m not that. I’m not from Latin-American descent.
Dal, Mormons believe
(1) that Jesus Christ is literally Jehovah of the Old Testament, creator of heaven and earth
(2) that Jesus was crucified and paid the price of our sins
(3) that those who believe in Jesus and accept his sacrifice are saved from sin and an endless hell.
(4) that Jesus rose physically from the dead and showed himself to his followers before returning to heaven.
I’m surprised that someone who calls himself a “Christian” would characterize these beliefs as a merely superficial resemblance to Christianity, and compare them to “chips and salsa.”
BTW, I’m not of latin-american descent either, but I grew up in Mexico, and I assure you that your characterization of skin color as the essence of what it means to be Latino is nearly as ignorant as your inferences about Christianity.
The only element you listed with any relevance to what it means to be Latino was the bit about appreciation for “Loud colors.” :D And you have yet to address anything specific about what it means to be a Christian, other than saying that a Christian can’t be LDS.



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Anonymous

posted July 19, 2007 at 4:15 pm


When can we expect the next installment from Dr. Mohler or is the debate between Card and Mohler over. Can any moderators please comment. Just wondering…



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Layne Cook

posted July 19, 2007 at 5:06 pm


For questions like these I’ve always liked the clear-cut criteria that Jesus himself declared in Matthew 25:31-46. Wouldn’t that make a good foundation on which to at least unite as “Christians”?



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Salitica

posted July 20, 2007 at 2:43 am


Tritheism
Tritheism is the teaching that the Godhead is really three separate beings forming three separate gods. This erring view is often misplaced by the cults for the doctrine of the Trinity which states that there is but one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the trinity is, by definition, monothestic. That is, it is a doctrine that affirms that there is only one God in all the universe.
Tritheism has taken different forms throughout the centuries. In the early church the Christians were accused of being tritheists by those who either refused to understand or could not understand the doctrine of the Trinity. In the late 11th century a Catholic monk of Compiègne in France, Roscelin considered the three Divine Persons as three independent beings and that it could be said they were three gods. He maintained that God the Father and God the Holy Ghost would have become incarnate with God the Son unless there were three gods.
Present day Mormonism is tritheistic — but with a twist. Mormonism teaches that there are many God’s in the universe but they serve and worship only one of them. The godhead for earth is to them really three separate gods: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Father used to be a man on another world who brought one of his wives with him to this world – they both have bodies of flesh and bones. The son is a second god who was literally begotten between god the father and his goddess wife. The holy ghost is a third god. Therefore, in reality, Mormonism is polytheistic with a tritheistic emphasis.
Of course, tritheism clearly contradicts the teaching of the Bible regarding monotheism



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horan

posted July 20, 2007 at 5:27 pm


I think Mr. Card made a good point about “conventional” Christianity (i.e., it has neoplatonic influences). It’s possible that God worked outside of the Jewish faith tradition shortly before and after the historical Jesus.
I think one side can spin religion, doctrine, and history all they want. It’s just like people proving weird theories. It’s all perspective. More, it’s a matter of faith.
People can be pretty awful to each other. I’m not really concerned with somebody’s church.
Jesus says that if you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength… and your neighbor as yourself, you’re following all the commandments.



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Salitica

posted July 20, 2007 at 9:58 pm


We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.



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Kemo

posted July 20, 2007 at 10:46 pm


I am going to preface my comments by explaining that I am a born again Christian who was raised in a Protestant household while attending a fairly charismatic Protestant denomination church. I was indoctrinated with the rather bigoted belief that Mormons, while really nice people, were a cult whose members were all destined to go to hell for their faith in wholly misguided tenets.
And then I grew up.
There is not a single living mortal who we can trust to know complete truth. Faith is all we have to go on. We have to believe in something. It goes without saying that the authors of the Bible were divinely inspired. In the end, we can debate doctrine until we’re blue in the face, the cows come home, and Armageddon is upon us. But if anyone ever claims to know what the whole truth is, and what the absolutely correct beliefs should be, that individual would need serious psychological help.
Do you believe in God? Are you doing everything you can to live out your life as you believe God would want you to? Is your guideline the Ten Commandments? Your goal your pursuit of perfection with respects to those commandments? Can you honestly say that your heart is turned towards the way you feel God is leading you?
Whether you are Protestant, Baptist, Catholic, Mormon, Mennonite, or whatever, as long as your faith is in God and you are striving as best you know how to live your life in a way that is pleasing and right in His eyes, all the theology in the world is just so much noise.
I am so disappointed in the attitude of intolerance so many [so called] spiritual leaders are displaying these days. What’s worse is that they couch this attitude in one of “seeming” tolerance. Can we not just agree that if you believe in God and commit yourself to His ways that this is what it means to be Christian? Yes, the typical Christian belief is such that you must say the “sinner’s prayer”. Honestly, though, if you are humbling yourself before God in your heart, isn’t that exactly what the sinner’s prayer is designed to portray? Are you not making it a public declaration by living your life as an example of Christ?
Love. Give. Help. Prosper. Do what is right. Put God first. It doesn’t really get any simpler. We cannot help being hypocrites to a certain extent, but when we publicly tear down those who are simply trying to live their life as they believe God wants them to, and then claim we are living righteously and we know best, I’m afraid that is one giant step over the line. If you do not have something good to say about someone, either say nothing at all, or if asked, just respond that you don’t agree that individual. Once you start publicly criticizing somebody for their beliefs, or making personal attacks, you just diminish yourself.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 21, 2007 at 3:29 am


Salitica said:
Present day Mormonism is tritheistic — but with a twist.
Mike’s response:
http://ldsfaq.byu.edu/emmain.asp?number=92
Joseph Smith taught:
Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow—three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization anyhow. “Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for those that thou hast given me…that they may be one as we are.”…I want to read the text to you myself—”I am agreed with the Father and the Father is agreed with me, and we are agreed as one.” The Greek shows that it should be agreed. “Father, I pray for them which thou hast given me out of the world,…that they all may be agreed,” and all come to dwell in unity [TPJS, p. 372; cf. John 17:9–11, 20–21; also cf. WJS, p. 380].
The unity prayed for in John 17 provides a model for the LDS understanding of the unity of the Godhead—one that is achieved among distinct individuals by unity of purpose, through faith, and by divine will and action. Joseph Smith taught that the Godhead was united by an “everlasting covenant [that] was made between [these] three personages before the organization of this earth” relevant to their administration to its inhabitants (TPJS, p. 190). The prime purpose of the Godhead and of all those united with them is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39; Hinckley, p. 49–51).
Each member of the Godhead fulfills particular functions in relation to each of the others and to mankind. God the Father presides over the Godhead. He is the Father of all human spirits and of the physical body of Jesus Christ. The human body was formed in his image.
Jesus Christ, the Firstborn son of God the Father in the spirit and the Only Begotten son in the flesh, is the creative agent of the Godhead and the redeeming mediator between the Father and mankind. By him God created all things, and through him God revealed the laws of salvation. In him shall all be made alive, and through his Atonement all mankind may be reconciled with the Father.
The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit who bears witness to truth. The Father and the Holy Ghost bear witness of the Son, and the Son and the Holy Ghost bear witness of the Father (3 Ne. 11:32; cf. John 8:18). Through the Holy Ghost, revelations of the Father and of the Son are given.
The LDS doctrine of the Godhead differs from the various concepts of the Trinity. Several postbiblical trinitarian doctrines emerged in Christianity. This “dogmatic development took place gradually, against the background of the emanationist philosophy of Stoicism and Neoplatonism (including the mystical theology of the latter), and within the context of strict Jewish monotheism” (ER 15:54). Trinitarian doctrines sought to elevate God´s oneness or unity, ultimately in some cases describing Jesus as homoousious (of the same substance) with the Father in order to preclude any claim that Jesus was not fully divine. LDS understanding, formulated by latter-day revelation through Joseph Smith, rejects the idea that Jesus or any other personage loses individuality by attaining Godhood or by standing in divine and eternal relationships with other exalted beings.
[See also Christology; Deification.]
PAUL E. DAHL
Salitica said: Mormonism teaches that there are many God’s in the universe but they serve and worship only one of them.
Mike’s response: Actually the Bible teaches it:
1st Corinthians 8:5-6 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one aGod, the bFather, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one cLord Jesus Christ, by whom are dall things, and we by him.
Salitica says: The godhead for earth is to them really three separate gods: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
So does the Bible:
God the Father –
Gen. 14: 19 Blessed be Abram of the most high God.
Num. 16: 22 (Num. 27: 16) God of the spirits of all flesh.
Mal. 2: 10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created.
Matt. 3: 17 voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son.
Matt. 5: 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father.
Matt. 6: 9 (Luke 11: 2; 3 Ne. 13: 9) Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Matt. 16: 17 flesh and blood hath not revealed it . . . but my Father.
Matt. 17: 5 voice . . . said, This is my beloved Son.
Matt. 26: 39 O my Father . . . let this cup pass from me.
Luke 2: 49 wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business.
John 3: 16 God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.
John 8: 18 Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
John 14:12 because I go unto my Father.
John 17: 21 That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me.
John 20: 17 I am not yet ascended to my Father.
Acts 7: 56 Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
1 Cor. 8: 6 to us there is but one God, the Father.
1 Cor. 11: 13 that a woman pray unto God uncovered.
Eph. 4: 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all.
Heb. 12: 9 subjection unto the Father of spirits.
Jesus Christ
[SUMMARY]
His birth is foretold, Luke 1: 26-38.
Is born, Matt. 1: 18-25 (Luke 2: 1-7).
Is circumcised, Luke 2: 21.
Is presented in the temple, Luke 2: 22-38.
Is visited by the wise men, Matt. 2: 1-12.
Flees to Egypt, Matt. 2: 13-18.
Is brought to Nazareth, Matt. 2: 19-23 (Luke 2: 39).
Visits Jerusalem, Luke 2: 41-50.
Brothers and sisters of, Matt. 13: 55-56 (Mark 6: 3).
Is baptized, Matt. 3: 13-17 (Mark 1: 9-11; Luke 3: 21-23).
Is tempted by the devil, Matt. 4: 1-11 (Mark 1: 12-13; Luke 4: 1-13).
Calls his disciples, Matt. 4: 18-22 (Matt. 9: 9; Mark 1: 16-20; Mark 2: 13-14; Luke 5: 1-11, 27-28; Luke 6: 12-16; John 1: 35-51).
Commissions the twelve, Matt. 10: 1-4 (Mark 3: 13-19; Luke 6: 12-16).
Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5-7.
Sends disciples forth by twos, Matt. 9: 35 – 11: 1 (Mark 6: 7-13; Luke 9: 1-6).
Foretells his death and resurrection, Matt. 16: 21-26 (Matt. 17: 22-23; Matt. 20: 17-28; Mark 8: 31-37; Mark 9: 30-32; Mark 10: 32-45; Luke 9: 22-25; Luke 9: 43-45; Luke 18: 31-34).
Is transfigured, Matt. 17: 1-8 (Mark 9: 2-8; Luke 9: 28-36).
Sends forth the seventy, Luke 10: 1-24.
Triumphal entry of, into Jerusalem, Matt. 21: 1-11 (Mark 11: 1-11; Luke 19: 29-44; John 12: 12-19).
Institutes the Lord’s Supper, Matt. 26: 26-29 (Mark 14: 22-25; Luke 22: 17-20; 1 Cor. 11: 23-26).
Is betrayed, arrested, and forsaken, Matt. 26: 47-57 (Mark 14: 43-53; Luke 22: 47-54; John 18: 2-13).
Is crucified, Matt. 27: 31-56 (Mark 15: 20-41; Luke 23: 26-49; John 19: 16-30).
Appears after his resurrection, Matt. 28: 9-20 (Mark 16: 9-18; Luke 24: 13-50; John 20: 11-31; Acts 1: 3-8; 1 Cor. 15: 5-7).
Ascends to heaven Mark 16: 19-20 (Luke 24: 50-53; Acts 1: 9-12).
Appears to the Nephites, 3 Ne. 11: 1-17 (3 Ne. 11 – 26).
See also Bread of Life; Cornerstone; God, Creator; God the Father – Jehovah; Godhead; Jesus Christ, Advocate; Jesus Christ, Antemortal Existence of; Jesus Christ, Appearances, Antemortal; Jesus Christ, Appearances, Postmortal; Jesus Christ, Ascension of; Jesus Christ, Atonement through; Jesus Christ, Authority of; Jesus Christ, Baptism of; Jesus Christ, Betrayal of; Jesus Christ, Birth of; Jesus Christ, Condescension of; Jesus Christ, Creator; Jesus Christ, Crucifixion of; Jesus Christ, Davidic Descent of; Jesus Christ, Death of; Jesus Christ, Divine Sonship; Jesus Christ, Exemplar; Jesus Christ, Family of; Jesus Christ, Firstborn; Jesus Christ, Foreordained; Jesus Christ, Glory of; Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd; Jesus Christ, Head of the Church; Jesus Christ – Jehovah; Jesus Christ, Judge; Jesus Christ, King; Jesus Christ, Lamb of God; Jesus Christ, Light of the World; Jesus Christ, Lord; Jesus Christ, Mediator; Jesus Christ, Messenger of the Covenant; Jesus Christ, Messiah; Jesus Christ, Millennial Reign; Jesus Christ, Mission of; Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son; Jesus Christ, Power of; Jesus Christ, Prophecies about; Jesus Christ, Redeemer; Jesus Christ, Relationships with the Father; Jesus Christ, Resurrection; Jesus Christ, Rock; Jesus Christ, Savior; Jesus Christ, Second Comforter; Jesus Christ, Second Coming; Jesus Christ, Son of Man; Jesus Christ, Spirit of; Jesus Christ, Taking the Name of; Jesus Christ, Teaching Mode of; Jesus Christ, Temptation of; Jesus Christ, Trials of; Jesus Christ, Types of, in Anticipation; Jesus Christ, Types of, in Memory; BD Jesus
Acts 7: 55 saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.
Acts 9: 5 (Acts 22: 8; Acts 26: 15) I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
Acts 10: 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth.
Acts 13: 23 hath God . . . raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus.
Acts 18: 5 testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
Acts 19: 15 evil spirit . . . said, Jesus I know, and Paul.
Rom. 6: 3 so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 2: 2 any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1 Cor. 12: 3 no man can say that Jesus is the Lord.
Eph. 2: 20 Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
Philip. 2: 10 at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.
Philip. 2: 11 every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
2 Tim. 2: 8 Jesus Christ of the seed of David.
Heb. 2: 9 Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.
Heb. 4: 14 great high priest . . . Jesus the Son of God.
Heb. 12: 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Holy Ghost
See also Comforter; God, Spirit of; Holy Ghost, Baptism of; Holy Ghost, Comforter; Holy Ghost, Dove, Sign of; Holy Ghost, Gift of; Holy Ghost, Gifts of; Holy Ghost, Loss of; Holy Ghost, Mission of; Holy Ghost, Source of Testimony; Holy Ghost, Unpardonable Sin against; Holy Spirit; Lord, Spirit of; Spirit; BD Holy Ghost
Matt. 1: 18 Mary . . . was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Matt. 28: 19 baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Mark 12: 36 David himself said by the Holy Ghost.
Luke 1: 35 said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee.
Luke 1: 41 babe leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.
John 7: 39 Holy Ghost was not yet given.
Acts 1: 8 receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come.
Acts 2: 33 having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 4: 8 Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 5: 3 Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost.
Acts 6: 3 seven men . . . full of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 7: 51 ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.
Acts 8: 15 prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.
Acts 10: 38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 13: 2 Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul.
Acts 13: 52 filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 16: 6 forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach.
Acts 19: 2 Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed.
Acts 20: 28 Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.
Rom. 14: 17 peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Rom. 15: 13 abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
1 Cor. 6: 19 your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.
2 Cor. 13: 14 communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you.
1 Thes. 1: 5 gospel came . . . in power, and in the Holy Ghost.
1 Thes. 1: 6 much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.
Heb. 6: 4 partakers of the Holy Ghost.
1 Pet. 1: 12 with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.
Jude 1: 20 most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.
Rev. 2: 7 hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Salitica says: The Father used to be a man on another world who brought one of his wives with him to this world – they both have bodies of flesh and bones.
Mike’s response:
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but WHAT HE SEETH THE FATHER DO: for what things soever he doeth, THESE ALSO DOETH THE SON LIKEWISE.
If we believe Jesus he would not have taken upon him a body if the Father had not taken a body before him. “The son can do nothing of himself”.
Mormon doctrine says nothing about God bringing a wife to this world.
Mormon doctrine is silent about a wife for God. Salatica has mistated Mormon doctrine here. There is no canonized doctrine that says these things.
Salatica says: The son is a second god who was literally begotten between god the father and his goddess wife.
Mike’s response: Mormon doctrine is silent on the manner of Jesus origin except to teach that he is co-eternal with God, and is the Son of God. Frist born in the Spirit and only begotten in the flesh.
He is one with the Father and we can be one with him. See John 17.
Salatica says: The holy ghost is a third god.
Mike’s response: The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. He is one with the Father and the Son as are those who worship God in spirit and truth. See John 17.
Salatica says: Therefore, in reality, Mormonism is polytheistic with a tritheistic emphasis.
Mike’s response:
Mormon’s believe in three personages who are one as in John 17 just as the Bible teaches.
Salatica says: Of course, tritheism clearly contradicts the teaching of the Bible regarding monotheism.
Mike’s response:
John 17 teaches a unity of love, power, purpose, thought, and will.
John 17 does not teach a unity of substance. Salatica cannot show me any Bible scripture that confirms the extra-Biblical creedal teaching that the unity of the Godhead is of “substance”. If what the Mormons believe is “tritheism” then the Bible teaches it also. the monotheism taught by the Bible is the unity of John 17.
20 Neither apray I for these alone, but for them also which shall bbelieve on me through their word;
21 That they all may be aone; as thou, bFather, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be cone in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be aone, even as we are bone:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made aperfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast bloved them, as thou hast loved me.



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elahamla

posted July 21, 2007 at 11:05 am


“Of course, I see no evidence that the low popularity of our very openly evangelical president Bush has caused any harm to Christianity. Most people have the wit to realize that the actions of a U.S. president may say nothing about the validity or value of the particular religion he belongs to. Or does Rev. Mohler know of some study that indicates that Pres. Bush’s low popularity throughout the world is harming Christian missionary work?”
I am not aware of any study showing this, but my son recently returned from a mission to Spain where he did have some trouble with talking to people because he was American. I don’t think it had anything to do with President Bush’s religion, but rather a political disagreement that affected the missionary work there. In that case, all American missionaries, regardless of faith, would be affected.
I find a fascinating account in the New Testament that really changed my whole understanding of the relationship between different Christian churches. It’s found in Mark 9, starting at verse 33 (KJV). For me, and for this discussion, the important verses are 38-40.
“38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
“39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
“40 For he that is not against us is on our part.”
And I really like the wording for this account as stated in Luke 9:50. “And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.”
A couple of interesting points that come to mind:
1. It sounds like even while Christ was in His earthly ministry there may have been different “denominations” of Christians. Otherwise, why would someone attempt to cast out devils in the name of Christ and yet not follow Christ and His apostles? It never before occured to me that there would be different “sects” of Christians, even while Christ, the source of Christian doctrine, was still on earth to settle any disagreements with His pure teachings. But, I suppose people then are like people now, able to accept some things, like His miracles, and not other things, like some of his teachings. So they might be inclined to invoke His name to cast out devils, even if they couldn’t agree with everything He taught.
2. That seemed to be an issue with John, but not so much with Jesus. He seems much less concerned that those who invoke His name to do miracles actually follow Him and the apostles, even though He obviously is the source of true Christianity. Did some people follow these other denominations rather than the “true” Christians? Probably, but I think Christ was confident enough in His position to not be too concerned about that. Their intentions seem to be more important than which church they belonged to.
That, I think, is the critical point to make in this discussion. If both Mormons, Catholics, and Evangelical Christians have good, Christian itentions, isn’t that more important than who has the correct nuance of understanding the nature of God? To say that we Mormons worship a “different Jesus” than “real” Christians just seems silly to me. We both claim to worship Christ, so neither group is against Christ. According to the scriptures above, that means that we are all for Him.
Shouldn’t we all be on the same team? We can do that without compromising our core beliefs at all. In matters of faith, who’s to say one is right and another is wrong. That is God’s call; the rest of us are living on faith that we made the right choice. Just like certain aspects of Mormonism are weird to non-Mormons, there are things about their beliefs that I find weird. The nature of God is just one example of that. So we can all agree that we are different. And in the end, we’ll find out who is really right and wrong. Until then, we live by faith, and seem weird to people of other faiths. I reserve the right to be weird in others’ eyes without losing credibility in areas not directly related to my faith, such as politics.



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Matt

posted July 21, 2007 at 12:45 pm


I was listening to our local Christian radio station and came across a two day discussion concerning Mormonism.
Full Disclosure: This is not a debate, so it is a one-sided discussion. However, I think Mormons call in to the show to offer their side, so in a small way, both sides are represented. Also, during the show, there are some advertisements for some DVDs on Mormonism which to a Mormon might sound a bit over the top. But I would still ask you to at least listen to the content of the discussion before you make a final judgment. At least hear them out.
The discussions can be found here:
http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/Bible_Answer_Man/
There are two days of discussion: July 19th and 20th.



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Del Benson

posted July 22, 2007 at 5:10 pm


If there is a religious test for Romney as a Mormon, will there be one for an evangelical by the secularist?



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Dana

posted July 23, 2007 at 12:59 am


This is a good discussion. Unfortunately we are not debating wether or not Mormons are Christians. There is no debate there. The very first of the Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints says, “We believe in God the Eternal Father, in His son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost”. How can that be seen any other way? A Christian, by definition, is one who believes in the divinity of Christ. One who follows His teachings.
Also, in the original argument it was stated that Mormons don’t believe that Jesus Christ was the only begotten of the Father. That’s probably going to be news to a lot of LDS people out there. Jesus Christ is the only begotten in the flesh, but we are all sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father…else how would he be out Father?



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GB

posted July 23, 2007 at 1:38 pm


Matt,
Listened to a good portion of the “Bible Answer Man”. Just two people who are ignorant about Mormon Doctrine discussing Mormon Doctrine.
Not very enlightening.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 23, 2007 at 2:44 pm


Dana said: “There is no debate there. The very first of the Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints says, “We believe in God the Eternal Father, in His son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost”. How can that be seen any other way? A Christian, by definition, is one who believes in the divinity of Christ. One who follows His teachings.”
By that illiterate literalistic reading, Dana the following statement from the Nicene Creed would also supposedly deny that Christ was divine:
“We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father, ”
So please set aside your sophistry, prejudice and bad faith, stop reading words one way if written by a Mormon and a differently if written by someone who is part of your clack.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 24, 2007 at 12:57 am


Matt Said:
I was listening to our local Christian radio station and came across a two day discussion concerning Mormonism.
Full Disclosure: This is not a debate, so it is a one-sided discussion. However, I think Mormons call in to the show to offer their side, so in a small way, both sides are represented. Also, during the show, there are some advertisements for some DVDs on Mormonism which to a Mormon might sound a bit over the top. But I would still ask you to at least listen to the content of the discussion before you make a final judgment. At least hear them out.
The discussions can be found here:
http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/Bible_Answer_Man/
There are two days of discussion: July 19th and 20th.
Mike’s response:
These radio shows are from Hank Hanegraff
Hank took over WALTER MARTIN’S role as the Bible Answer Man for Christian Research Institute.
Walter Martin is deceased. Founder of CRI (Christian Research Institute). Claimed to have earned a PhD (doctorate degree) but upon investigation, it was discovered that he received his degree from a diploma mill.
Published Works: Kingdom of the Cults- Rebutted by Louis Midgley in FARMS Review of Books v12:1 (Provo: FARMS, 2000); John K. Wise in The Journal of Mormon Apologetics v1 (Felton, CA: FAIR, 1999); Maze of Mormonism- Rebutted by Louis Midgley in FARMS Review of Books v12:1 (Provo: FARMS, 2000); Richard L. Anderson in BYU Studies v 6:1.
Back to TOP
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=345
We have, I believe, in Martin’s list of what he called “Pitfalls to be Avoided” an appropriate standard by which to judge his performance as an anti-Mormon. Did Martin follow his own advice?
“Do not,” Martin advised at that time, “attack directly the founders of any particular cult, either on moral or intellectual grounds.”35 Did Martin ever attack (ridicule, mock, belittle, or deride) Joseph Smith or other leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? If he did, then he obviously neglected to follow his own advice. In addition, “do not,” he insisted, “pretend to understand the doctrines of a cult unless you have first looked them up and studied them from primary sources.” To fail to understand what the “cultist” actually believes is, according to Martin, to invite being “embarrassed beyond words.” Instead, one ought to know “what his [that is, the cultist’s] literature teaches.”36 Presumably this would not involve trying to tell the “cultist” what he believes, but it would demand that he be allowed to set forth his own understanding of his beliefs.
Therefore Martin felt that countercultists ought to make “every effort to understand the doctrinal, historical and psychological components” of the “cultist.”37 We may ask, did Martin make a genuine effort to understand the beliefs of Latter-day Saints from their own perspective? Or was his understanding filtered through the contorted and distorting lens of anti Mormonism?
Martin insisted that no matter “how ‘dense’ a cultist may appear to be,” it is a mistake to “become antagonistic or impatient.” To do so is to become one’s “own worst enemy.” He also insisted that the evangelical should “avoid a hostile or suspicious attitude or one which radiates superiority of either belief or accomplishment.” And “do not,” Martin insisted, “attempt to ‘overpower’ the cultist with Biblical quotations or trite evangelical clichés.”38 Martin seems to rule out proof texting and slogan thinking. Did he violate these rules? Do Martin’s writings have any “trite evangelical clichés”?
“Do not cast aspersions or doubt upon the sincerity or motives of the cultist.” “Do not humiliate a cultist,” no matter what his “background, education, intellectual ineptness, or knowledge of the Scripture.” “Do not dodge questions for which you do not have an answer.” And the kindly evangelical should also allow “a cultist to ‘save face’ . . . , especially if you both know he has lost the point.” (And remember, to countercultists, winning “points” in debates is what witnessing is all about.) Martin also insisted that evangelicals should radiate “true Christian love” as they “approach every cultist as an ambassador for Christ.” The countercultist should always move with “great tact and a careful choice of words and expressions.”39 We will soon see if Martin practiced what he preached.
Encountering Martin’s Early “Scholarship”
In 1962, I purchased a copy of Martin’s The Maze of Mormonism. It was simply atrocious and also, even at $2.95, overpriced. It was poorly written and did not contain the fruit of serious research. Its author was obviously not well-informed. The book made no original contribution to the study of Mormon things. I was both amused and disgusted by the book.
Now, returning to The Maze of Mormonism after thirty-eight years, I am even less impressed with it. Why? It is just packed with falsehoods and errors. For example, in 1962 Martin claimed that an LDS “ward is composed of districts known as ‘blocks’ presided over by a bishop with two teachers as assistants.”40 Obviously this claim is simply wrong. In 1965 the statement still read: “Each ward is composed of districts known as ‘blocks’ presided over by a bishop with two teachers as assistants.”41 In 1978 it was changed to the following: “Every ward is composed of districts, known as ‘blocks,’ presided over by a bishop with two counselors as assistants.”42 Finally in 1985 this passage was again modified: “Each ward is presided over by a bishop and his two counselors.”43 It took Martin and his associates twenty-three years to get just this tiny bit of information right.
Subsequent printings and editions of Martin’s essays often underwent massive changes designed to remove or correct such misinformation. Hence the later versions of his anti-Mormon writings are better than the originals, but only marginally. In nearly fifty years neither Martin nor his many assistants and editors have been able to get all the inaccuracies out of his essays. By 1978, Martin seems not to have been involved in making corrections or in modifying his essays. He was far too busy making speeches for admiring audiences. His associates seem to have taken on the task of correcting, editing, and perhaps even writing his essays. His output seems to have benefited from having what amounted to ghostwriters, but the host of corrections and additions made over the years to his essays were made by only somewhat better informed editors or assistants.
Who exactly researched, corrected, or even wrote Martin’s anti-Mormon essays? If Jill Martin Rische, who is the executor for her father’s papers, would make them available for scholarly inquiries, assuming that they have not already been trashed or culled, then it might be possible to nail down these details. Without Martin’s papers I have only clues from his writings to suggest who might have worked on them.
Like myself, other Latter-day Saints have lacked enthusiasm for Martin’s work. Hence I was amused when I discovered that Robert and Rosemary Brown had offered solid evidence that Martin lacked probity in many of the claims he made about himself and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.44 Neither Martin nor his disciples have addressed the substantive issues raised by the Browns. Instead of dealing directly with their evidence, apologists for Martin have been content to attack the Browns personally. The best that can be said for Martin’s apologists is that some have attempted to do a bit of damage control, but their efforts have been feeble.45
After I read what the Browns had discovered about Martin’s divorces and then eventually noticed that he once claimed that one wife is enough, it occurred to me that, rather ironically, it was not the case for him. But I am not really interested in Martin’s divorces, other than to point out that he seems to have been, ironically, a kind of serial polygamist. And I grant that an unaccredited correspondence school in California that calls itself a “university” bestowed a doctoral degree on Martin in 1976. But it appears that he never wrote a dissertation nor was involved in any of the usual examinations that go with earning a genuine Ph.D.46″
And we Mormons are syupposed to take Hanks word for everything?
I don’t think so.



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Erinn

posted July 24, 2007 at 1:27 pm


I wonder if this guy has some self esteem problems. I am a convert to the LDS church. I have peircings and tatoos. Nobody has ever made me feel bad about who I am or where I came from. In fact people have told me not to worry about what others think. If I am worried about having tatoos then I should pray to Heavenly Father to see what he thinks I should do about it. No good, loving, honest, person should ever make another person feel inadequate for who they are. All we are asked to do is to try our best. If someone else tells you that you are not good enough, then that is their problem, not yours.



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Matt

posted July 24, 2007 at 3:33 pm


Mike:
So did you actually listen to the shows? Nobody but you brought up Martin. This is what is commonly called a Strawman: You set the argument to your liking and then knock it down. How about addressing the issues brought up in the discussion.
GB:
Are they wrong about what they state? I mean this genuinely. See, you didn’t address the actual comments either. You just called the speakers ignorant. This is what is commonly referred to as an ad hominem attack. Rather than addressing the points brought up, you decide to attack the people. Not very convincing.
Mike and GB:
If Mormonism is true and these guys are so wrong, you should have no problem addressing the actual issues brought up. Now you both may well be able to do so, but thus far, you haven’t proven anyone wrong and have show yourselves to be unwilling to address the issues.
Look, none of us is perfect in arguing our cases and may make mistakes along the way. But that is why actually discussing these things is better rather than just dismissing them.



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GB

posted July 24, 2007 at 5:39 pm