Mormons Rock

December 9, 2007

Who is Jesus Christ!?!

How many times do we hear this statement…”but Mormons believe in a DIFFERENT Jesus”.  It’s frustrating and very very sad.  My hope is that this post will clear up any confusion, and that those who think this will see that we believe in Jesus Christ, the one and only, the Son of God, the Savior of the world!

This is what I know about Him. 

I know that He is God’s Son.  He was choosen to be the Savior of the world.   He taught us how to live, and He suffered and died for each and every one of us.  He sits at the right hand of the Father, and He will come again, and I look forward to that day! 

 I know the love of Christ.  When I met my missionaries I could see His love shining in their eyes.  I know that, because of Him, I have been forgiven and my sins and my burdens have been lifted from me.  I could never express my love and gratitude towards Him.  He is my Savior and I look forward to the day that I meet Him.  People can say all day long that I do not know Him, but what THEY say means nothing, because HE knows that I know Him.  HE knows that I love Him.  My heart has been healed and it is because of my Heavenly Father and because of His Son Jesus Christ!!!!!!  

And I will end by quoting my favorite verse of my FAVORITE song

“I believe in Christ—my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod.
I’ll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
From Satan’s grasp he sets me free,
And I shall live with joy and love
In his eternal courts above.”

I BELIEVE IN CHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

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278 Comments »

  1. Thanks, Steffie. I’m going to bed, and I have a very busy Sabbath ahead tomorrow, but I will try to comment soon.

    Comment by Ray — December 9, 2007 @ 6:36 am |Reply

  2. This is one area I completely side with the LDS.

    I don’t find anything more ridiculous as the so called Christians coming in here and saying Mormons aren’t.

    To say LDS believe in different Jesus then there are as many different Christs being worshipped as there number of Christian denominations in the world.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 9, 2007 @ 7:45 am |Reply

  3. If u believe in the same Jesus why do u have another holy book (the book of Mormon)?
    In the bible (the only bible) states very clearly that nothing can be added or deleted. That proved sufficiency of the Bible why we still need another book that is by MAN?

    Comment by concerns — December 9, 2007 @ 3:09 pm |Reply

  4. Concerns,

    I had the same question for the missionaries when we had our first discussion! The answer is amazing, and true!

    Bible is a greek word meaning “the books”, the Bible is not one book, but a divine library. The book of Revelation was written by John The Revelator. John is not speaking of the Bible when he wrote Revelation 22:19 because the Bible was not yet compiled. He was speaking only of the book of Revelation. The Bible as we know it was compiled years later (around 325 A.D.)and is NOT in chronological order.

    Also….in Deuteronomy 4:2 it says…. ” Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” So is everything written after Deuteronomy false? No. Why? Because He is speaking of the book of Deuteronomy, not the Bible. Just like John who was speaking only of the book of Revelation.

    No where does the bible itself declare that God will no longer speak directly to his children or add scripture! I know that God has called prophets, in our day, who can receive divine revelation for the entire world! I know I can go to My Heavenly Father in prayer and He will answer! I am SOOOOOOO thankful for this knowledge! I know that I am not alone in this world, and that is So very comforting! 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 9, 2007 @ 4:17 pm |Reply

  5. Dear Steph,
    Your statements about Jesus Christ are to vague… If you study Church history, the nature of Christ and the Trinity and how to articulate it was hotly debated within the early Church. For example, the first creed from the 3rd and 4th centuries, the Apostles Creed worked until it was found that heretical views such as Arianism (The Son was created not eternal), could agree with it. Then the Nicene Creed was formulated to deal with it in 325 AD. However the Arians could still sneak in their doctrine into the sentence “being of one substance with the father” to mean God created the Son in his likeness. Finally the Clacedonian Creeds and Athanasian Creed settled the matter by sorting out what God, the Trinity, and Jesus are and ARE NOT. So in this discussion let’s start with God and who he is. As a Orthodox Biblical based Christian I believe that God is eternal, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, and immutable. What is of particular importance here is immutability and eternality. Immutable is related to the word mutate, meaning God never changes in his essence. However when he is dealing with his mutable creation he does interact with us at our level through the passage of time. God is also eternal meaning since he created time he is outside of time… This essentially means that God has no beginning or ending which is also related to him being infinite. God is also a Trinity meaning that he is ONE in essence, but THREE in personality (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Jesus as the Son of God was fully God and Fully Man and was concieved of by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s Womb. If you are honest, which you seem as you are we obviously have two different God’s and two different Jesuses.

    Let’s start there, I know there will be many objections and questions. We can work through the Bible and demonstrate that the historic Christian view of God is the Biblical one…

    God Bless

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 9, 2007 @ 8:08 pm |Reply

  6. Steffie ,

    Just a bit off subject , you said
    ” I know that God has called prophets, in our day, who can receive divine revelation for the entire world!”

    what is the most recent divine revelation from the Prophet ?

    Comment by elder joseph — December 9, 2007 @ 8:32 pm |Reply

  7. CS: You claim to be an “Orthodox Biblical based Christian”. Fine. What makes your claim to be such any better than mine? If all you’ve got is that you think your logical argument is really superior or that your church has been around longer, then sorry but the logical arguments will continue to be hashed out until the end of time, and age of tradition gives me no reason to believe one belief is more right than another otherwise we’d all be Hindus…or animists for that matter.

    EJ: At what level? There’s revelations everyday on common things like church callings that the Prophets of God receive daily just as there were in Bible times. There’s things like whether and where to build a Temple, also as in Bible times. There’s things like what messages to give at important church meetings and conferences as in Bible times. All this stuff happens on a regular and ongoing basis. If you’re asking when was the last revelation of import to have been canonized into the scriptures, that would be October 3, 1918 if you’re looking for an actual section of the Doctrine and Covenants (138) or 1978 if you want to count the Official Declaration on the Priesthood. As in Biblical times, there are varying levels of writings and revelations by the Prophets of God extant among the Saints and it sometimes is many years before the process that became known as canonization elevates those writings as official “scripture”.

    Comment by Non-Arab Arab — December 9, 2007 @ 10:18 pm |Reply

  8. Shiz makes the observation that the birth of Christ would indeed be a change in essence. Shiz also knows that immutability is an invention of man that is not even backed by scripture.

    How do I know this? Because I am Shiz.

    Comment by Shiz — December 9, 2007 @ 10:46 pm |Reply

  9. 1) Concerns: What Steffie said. Also, there is NOTHING in the Bible that says God will never talk to people after the compilation of the Bible. There is NOTHING in it that says there is no Word of God but what is in the Bible. In fact, the Bible itself has many references to “scriptural records” (including “books”) that are not in our Bible. If you accept the Bible as inerrant, that alone means that all scripture is NOT in the Bible – that there can be other scripture outside the Bible.

    2) Colin: What Non-Arab Arab said. In essence, what you are saying is that the earliest Christians who articulated the creeds screwed up, so others tried again – and screwed up again, so others tried again and finally got it right. The most obvious problem is asserting that those who were closest to the actual events somehow didn’t understand it as well as those who came later. Using that logic, and that logic alone, Mormons must understand it better than orthodox Protestants, since Mormons came later. That’s not what I believe, but it is exactly the logic you used to justify your adherence to the specific creeds you accept and your rejection of the earlier creeds. You claim the later creeds are more accurate; we claim the earlier creeds are more accurate. The most ironic part of your argument is that Protestantism was founded on the idea that the Catholic Church had misconstrued the earlier creeds – and that Protestantism was necessary to return to a more correct version of what the Gospel had meant prior to the changes over time – to “go back” if you will to the earlier, “correct” understanding. You can’t argue both sides of this coin. Pick one and argue it; just make sure the one you pick doesn’t justify the Mormon position.

    3) The idea of the Triune God (one in substance) was HOTLY debated at the creation of the creeds – at each step as those creeds were established. There was bitter and divisive disagreement about establishing the picture of God you put forth. It wasn’t clear-cut then; how in the world can it be clear-cut now? It simply isn’t a given unless you assume it to be a given – circular logic at its best that leaves absolutely no room for discussion or debate. “It is because it is” just isn’t a sound argument – in any discussion, much less one that deals with ancient records that are not available to study in their initial form.

    4) Claiming that there is only one possible interpretation of something like what God is and what God is not within the Bible is simplistic at best and disingenuous at worst. There literally are hundreds (at least) of nuances regarding the nature of God within “orthodox Christianity” alone. The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, evangelical, etc. theologies all contain unique elements of disagreement that contributed to the motivation for their establishment. Some of these differences dealt and deal specifically with the nature of God, His relationship to mankind, and His requirements for us.

    5) If we are going to discuss Christ and the Bible, it has to be grounded in the Bible – in actual passages and themes. Frankly, in that light, “Concerns'” comment, though simplistic, actually referenced an actual Biblical passage – making it more relevant to the post than yours. After all, this thread is about Christ and the Bible – NOT Christ and the Chalcedonian (correct spelling) and Athanasian Creeds.

    Comment by Ray — December 9, 2007 @ 11:25 pm |Reply

  10. My statements may be vague, but they are my beliefs and I hold them dear. The only thing that is important to me is that I have a very personal relationship with my Savior, all the other, he says this, and she says that, about this or that, is SO unimportant.

    He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. This is not a vague statement, it is a simple statement, and it’s really all that matters! 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 9, 2007 @ 11:25 pm |Reply

  11. yah! what Ray said 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 9, 2007 @ 11:27 pm |Reply

  12. ej, “Official Statements” are the most obvious examples outside of canonized scripture. “The Proclamation to the World” was published in 1995; “The Living Christ” was published in 2000.

    Also, every General Conference in recent years has included statements that can be understood to be revelatory in nature. Every temple dedicatory prayer includes revelatory language. I personally have experiences with revelation that are so obvious as to be undeniable – particularly in blessings of the sick and the setting apart of individuals to callings within the Church. Over and over, I have told members things that reference things of which I simply did not know.

    In short, seven years for an “official” publication; today for “simple” revelation. (and I mean today for a personal example)

    Comment by Ray — December 9, 2007 @ 11:36 pm |Reply

  13. So I’m enlightened as to what living revelations are , thanks to Non Arab- Arab and Ray ..

    Steffie you said ” I have a very personal relationship with my Savior,” make sure its not too personal then 🙂

    What do you think about what The ‘Apostle’ ? MConkie taught about not having aa personal relationship with Jesus ?

    (Bruce McConkie, Speech at BYU on March 2 1982).

    Mormons not encouraged to have a personal relationship with Jesus: “(Some “holier-than- thou” students) begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed. In this conception a current and unwise book, which advocates gaining a special relationship with Jesus, contains this sentence – quote: “Because the Saviour is our mediator, our prayers go through Christ to the Father, and the Father answers our prayers through his son. ” Unquote. This is plain sectarian nonsense.

    Comment by elder joseph — December 9, 2007 @ 11:48 pm |Reply

  14. Apparently Mormon author Orson Scott Card published a mock conversation between a Latter-day Saint and a Traditional Christian, which goes as follows:

    Traditional Christian (TC): “The Trinity consists of three parallel lines, which touch each other.

    LDS: If they touch each other, they’re not parallel lines.

    TC: Nevertheless, they are parallel, and they touch. They touch at every point.

    LDS: If they touch at every point, they’re the same line, not three.

    TC: They touch at every point, yet they are three lines.

    LDS: That doesn’t make sense. Lines can’t be different yet the same, parallel yet intersecting. The words stop having any meaning when you say such things.

    TC: That’s because you have a finite, mortal mind, which cannot comprehend the nature of geometry.

    LDS: That’s just crazy. The Trinity is three lines, completely distinct, perfectly parallel, so they go infinitely in the same direction. That’s simple, it’s clear, and it’s true. In fact, we’ve seen the lines.

    TC: That’s blasphemy! You can never see the lines! They’re only imaginary!

    LDS: Your lines are imaginary. The lines we’ve seen are real.

    TC: Then you are not Geometers!”

    Comment by Seth R. — December 9, 2007 @ 11:57 pm |Reply

  15. ej, I agree completely with McConkie on this one. (which doesn’t happen all the time, as you know)

    There is a HUGE difference between feeling a personal connection to / relationship with Jesus as your Savior and Redeemer and using that connection / relationship to place Jesus between you and the Father in prayer. It’s hard to read the Bible and come to the conclusion that we should pray either to or “through” Jesus. Rather, we are to pray in His name – i.e., invoking His grace in allowing us to speak directly with the Father.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 12:11 am |Reply

  16. Shiz can stack 3 strands of spaghetti on top of each other in a way that they are all 3 parallel and all 3 touch at all points, yet they are 3 distinct strands of spaghetti.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 10, 2007 @ 12:17 am |Reply

  17. Shiz observes that praying directly to Jesus is like unto praying to St. Christopher. Shiz believes this borders on worshiping more than one God. Shiz has read scriptures that state, “Thou shalt not worship any other gods before me.” Me being God, not Shiz.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 10, 2007 @ 12:22 am |Reply

  18. Steffie, you gotta admit Shiz is making valid points now that he knows the alternative is getting Shizzed by Coriantumr. *grin*

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 12:41 am |Reply

  19. Sounds to me like you love Jesus and He is your Lord and Saviour. That’s what counts.
    I would just like to say that the Mormon religion is like many other religions out there in that they are founded upon a man.
    I believe we need to get back to Christ and His teachings. We don’t need a name or a religion. We need Christ and we need to believe in Him.
    Lord help us not to divide over teachings that are outside of Christ.
    Amen.

    Comment by rjperalta — December 10, 2007 @ 2:09 am |Reply

  20. I will try to address the many responses that were made…

    First of all I never said that the people who came up with the first creeds “screwed up”. I was trying to back up the claim that Steff was to vague in her decription of “jesus”. The early creeds were good enough to describe the faith until heresies erupted which could fit within those creeds, so more sophisticated (and longer!) creeds were developed to address these issues. Saying “I believe Jesus is the Son of God” is true for a Trinitarian, but it is also true for a Mormon who believes He was the first spirit child that god the father had. It would also go well with a Jehovah’s witness who is a functional Arian, so defining what “Son of God” means on more specific grounds is nessecary and that was what the later creeds did. Sure, the subject was hotly debated but that doesn’t mean we can’t know who was right, that’s intellectually lazy! Here are some Scriptures… “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:1-3,14). Here we have the Word being a seperate entity or personality from God the Father yet being God also, and that Word becoming flesh which was Jesus Christ. We also have countless other statements such as “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). There are countless scriptures that demonstrate this. There are also others which show Jesus’ Divine and Human nature. “Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself” (Philippians 2:6-8). Verses like this illustrate Jesus’ incarnation and overlap well wth scriptures that show him being limited as a man, yet being God (hypostatic union). This was nessecary if He was to truly represent us before God and be the second Adam (Romans 5:16-19). If you study the scriptures diligently the standard Orthodox View of the Trinity and Christ that Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestants affirm appear in scripture. It was troublesome in the early church because you have to remember they didn’t all have Bible’s with all sorts of tools to study all day, and they were being persecuted most of the time. So articulating their beliefs into doctrines took a while, but if you read the earliest Church fathers what they say is essentially the same as Orthodox Christianity today, just not packaged into so neat of a bundle. This continuation and developement of the Church is a fulfillment of when Christ said to Peter and the disciples that on them (the apostles whom Peter was first) he would build his Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against them. However, your church denies this, claiming that for almost 2000 years there was no church on this earth.
    Concerning the fact that Christians have so many denominations and different doctrines let me say this… I am a Protestant (presbyterian) and I basically hold to all the confessions of the reformation. The reformation did NOT occur because the reformers disagreed with the Catholic and Orthodox Creeds on God, Christ, or anything else. It had to do with the way of salvation, it was between works-righteousness (Christ died to make salvation possible, now you have do the work and actually be righteous to get to heaven), verses justification by faith alone (Christ’s finished work is suffecient to propitiate divine wrath and accredit righteousness to you before God, then by God’s grace you physically become more righteous throughout your life but this has no bearing on your acceptance before God). The Catholics affirmed the former and the Protestants the latter. Most schisms within Protestanism had to do with understandings of Church government, baptism, freewill, and other issues almost none of which are nessicarily considered central to the gospel.
    Also that mock conversation between a Mormon and a Christian over the Trinity is a straw man. That is a very poor analogy and terrible Metaphysics on how the Trinity is presented there. He may have shot down that individuals reasoning but the analogies and Logic behind the formation of the Trinity is much more in depth.
    Also God’s immutability is not “man made”, it is foundational in the Old Testament. “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.” (1 Samuel 15:17). “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (Malachi 3:6). Jesus taking on human flesh is not a change in his essence either. He was the eternal second member of the Trinity who took on a human spirit, soul, and body (hypostatic union). This was predestined before the foundations of the world in God’s immutable, perfect wisdom. A change in appearance, accidental properties, or any other form does not constitute a change in “essence”. Your essence is a human and you have changed a lot since you were concieved, but you were a human the whole time…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 10, 2007 @ 2:19 am |Reply

  21. One more thing…
    Before we get tangled into inter-denomination disputes within Christianity I forgot to clearly states this… Any doctrine that alters God’s nature, the nature of Christ, the atonement, or the Gospel (as in how you are saved) from the Biblical text is HERESY. Rome changed the Gospel officially at the Council of Trent, so they were rejected by the reformers as a true Church (although practically all their other doctrines are correct which could lead to a Catholic truly getting saved despite what their Church says). However, the Mormon Church alters pretty much every single fundemental of faith and is therefore considered Heretical by Protestants along with Catholic and Orthodox.
    Once we cut through the issue of God and Christ, and you do admit we have two different ideas I would like to dispute whether the canon is closed, and also what the Gospel is.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 10, 2007 @ 2:35 am |Reply

  22. Colin, I really haven’t seen any traditional Christian explain the trinity in such a way as to make a lick of coherent sense. Unless you want to explain it in terms of modalism. THAT makes a certain logical sense. But, as traditional Christians rightly point out, modalism is entirely non-scriptural.

    But then again, so is the traditional idea of monotheism.

    Really, can you make any explanation of the trinity that doesn’t end up basically saying “well it’s a mystery!”?

    Comment by Seth R. — December 10, 2007 @ 2:41 am |Reply

  23. Oh my, I’ve been spelling Saviour “Savior”, I knew it looked wrong! Thank goodness I can edit! 🙂

    P.s. You CAN correct me people! It’s like being in public with a big piece of food stuck in your teeth, everyone can see it but no one tells you!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 10, 2007 @ 3:46 am |Reply

  24. alright now i’m confused, I just looked it up and it’s spelled both ways…. so which is the correct spelling???????????????????

    Comment by steffielynn — December 10, 2007 @ 3:52 am |Reply

  25. Seth,
    I can but I just got your message tonight and I have to go to bed for finals tomorrow. I will deliver tomorrow.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 10, 2007 @ 4:10 am |Reply

  26. Depending on the translation, different spellings are used. Is there a difference in each one?
    Richard

    Comment by rjperalta — December 10, 2007 @ 4:11 am |Reply

  27. In England and Canada they still use the U in words like colour and Saviour, American English is different. We say Z they say Zed and the list goes on and on. Theater – Theatre

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 10, 2007 @ 4:47 am |Reply

  28. ok, so are you saying I don’t have to feel like an idiot and edit my post!?! 🙂

    And I can forgive everyone for neglecting to tell me I had “food” in my teeth! 🙂

    (thanks Coventry for clearing this up for me!)

    Comment by steffielynn — December 10, 2007 @ 4:51 am |Reply

  29. Colin,

    I find it odd that so many Christians will point the finger at the LDS for “adding to scripture” and then you all claim to believe in this “trinity” idea which is NOT in the bible. Isn’t that adding something that is not there? You say you must believe in this trinity, but I cannot find it in the bible, so therefore it is NOT biblical!

    You said yourself

    “Any doctrine that alters God’s nature, the nature of Christ, the atonement, or the Gospel (as in how you are saved) from the Biblical text is HERESY.”

    So the “trinity” doctrine is heresy also?!?

    Comment by steffielynn — December 10, 2007 @ 5:16 am |Reply

  30. Richard are you “across the pond”? Also thanks for your nice comment above (#19) 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 10, 2007 @ 5:19 am |Reply

  31. Shiz states that the Trinity is not the addition of scripture, but is a concept taken from the Bible through interpretation of existing scripture. Shiz believes it is the interpretation that is up for debate.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 10, 2007 @ 5:32 am |Reply

  32. Colin: Just a piece of advise – Be careful in assuming that you are the overwhelmingly competent Biblical scholar here. Perhaps you are, but I think you are greatly underestimating some of us on “the other side.” (At least that comes across in the general tone of the way you choose to phrase things.) I am no great intellectual, and I do not possess a degree of any kind in Theology or Comparative Religion, but I have studied at a fairly renowned Divinity School – and others here know the Bible at least as well as (and probably better than) I do. I guarantee you will not write anything here that I have not read and thoughtfully considered – and discussed with a few of the leading Catholic and Protestant theologians of this day. I will not name drop, but it is a guarantee I am confident in making.

    Shiz just nailed the central issue when discussing the Trinity. For example:

    The “one in substance / three personalities of the same Being” definition is absolutely impossible to square with John 15:1-10 and the great intercessory prayer of John 17, particularly verses 20-23. I have included them to show what I mean:

    John 15: 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
    2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
    3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
    4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
    5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that bideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
    6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
    7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
    8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
    9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
    10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

    John 17: 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
    21 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.
    22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
    23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

    These passages, which are the most detailed exposition we have in the words of Jesus himself, are unambiguous in their description of the separateness of the Father and the Son. Jesus is praying that the disciples can become one “as we are one” IN THEIR MORTAL LIVES AND MINISTRY (and, PERHAPS, by extension, in the hereafter, but that is interpretation) – and a oneness of substance simply is impossible in that construct.

    The second example of this issue of oneness is illustrated beautifully by the Biblical injunctions regarding marriage. Among the many references are the following two:

    Genesis 2:24 – Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (The symbolism of two separate entities joining together into a union that would be counted as one perfect [“complete” or “whole”] entity runs throughout the Bible, as in the dozens of subsequent passages in the Old Testament that follow the the first marital injunction and commanded Israel to “cleave unto” the Lord. Obviously, the physicality of that union is different, but the central message of being so tightly joined together that a new oneness is created remains the constant theme – echoed in the New Testament with the symbolism of marriage to the bridegroom.)

    Corinthians 1:11 – 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. (Though separate in substance, they are counted as one by the Lord.)

    This is long enough for one comment. My point: Triune oneness of substance is perfectly compatible with Mormon theology IF, and ONLY IF, it is seen in the light of a “oneness” that does not imply the occupation of a single form. I have heard many descriptions from theologians that would be acceptable to Mormons, but I have heard others that simply are not. Interestingly, those that would be acceptable are ALL based on the totality of the Biblical record, while those that are not are ALL based on interpreting the Bible through the initial lens of the later creeds.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 12:26 pm |Reply

  33. “Once we cut through the issue of God and Christ, and you do admit we have two different ideas I would like to dispute whether the canon is closed, and also what the Gospel is.”

    Colin, those are issues for different threads. Be patient and focus on the topic at hand.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 12:32 pm |Reply

  34. Colin: One more simple question that might clear up a lot of misconceptions you seem to have about how Mormons view Jesus, the Christ – since I am in full agreement with your interpretation of the scriptures you quoted to explain how Jesus could be both God and man. (which Mormons believe as the very core of the Gospel)

    What is your perception of how Mormons view / believe in Jesus, the Christ? (I really don’t want to spend large amounts of time and space “debating” things on which we agree, since I have found throughout the years that much of what ticks off others about Mormonism are things that Mormons don’t actually believe.) If you don’t want to answer that question in that way, what if you explain your beliefs regarding Jesus, the Christ, and have us tell you where we agree and disagree? Which would you prefer?

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 12:42 pm |Reply

  35. Colin: Finally, be aware that we also believe in “immutability” in the sense that you articulated when you said, “Your essence is a human and you have changed a lot since you were conceived, but you were a human the whole time…”

    We simply look at the way that mankind is described throughout the Bible (from Genesis to Revelations) and change one word. With us, it would read, “Your essence is OF DIVINITY and you have changed a lot since you were conceived (or substitute “created as a spiritual being prior to being conceived in mortality”), but you were OF DIVINITY the whole time…”

    When describing God, we would say, “God’s essence is DIVINE and Jesus changed a lot in physical form throughout time, but He was DIVINE the whole time…” (Shiz was wrong on that one.)

    BTW, there is an important element of Mormon belief that should be noted here. In “official” Mormonism there is a fairly bright line that exists between the words of prophets canonized into scripture and the words of prophets NOT canonized into scripture. Canonized scripture has been accepted by the body of the Church; non-canonized pronouncements have not. In other words, anything a prophet or apostle has said that has not been ratified by common consent and by the vote of the people is accepted as the words of a prophet or apostle, but it is not automatically binding on all as “scripture”. (It’s our way of keeping the prophets from having to give the types of disclaimers for which Paul is famous.) That leaves a HUGE opening with “unofficial statements” for Mormons to hear “counsel” rather than “command”.

    I mention that in this comment specifically because most people don’t understand that Mormons are NOT required to accept as infallible many of the statements of the modern apostles and prophets – including the famous, “As man is God once was, and as God is man may become.” The latter is supported amply throughout the Bible (and not taught at all in the Book of Mormon); the former is not. I accept the latter completely, since it is central theme of the Bible and modern revelation; I am not convinced at all about the former, since there is nothing in canonical scripture to support it except one reference. (I do that which I have seen my father do.) The idea that God, the Father, was once a man is an interpretation of that verse, and it has never been accepted by common consent as canon. On that question, there is no clear answer, so I personally tend to discount it as, at the very least, not settled – which Mormonism allows me to do.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 1:13 pm |Reply

  36. Colin,

    Valiant effort, and I agree with you, but give up now. You won’t convince them, just as they won’t convince you. Trust me. Save yourself the hours you can’t get back. You and they are each approaching the same topic from the standpoint that each of you are right, and neither will convince the other they’re not.

    Comment by Brad — December 10, 2007 @ 2:30 pm |Reply

  37. Steffie you said to Colin

    ” I find it odd that so many Christians will point the finger at the LDS for “adding to scripture” and then you all claim to believe in this “trinity” idea which is NOT in the bible. ”

    The word ‘ trinity ‘ is not in the bible , but the belief that The Father is God , The Son is God and The Holy Ghost is God and there is only one God is in the bible. The Trinity is just affirming that .

    Your point is a bit ‘simplistic’ , its the same argument JW’s use also .

    Where is The President of the church in the bible ? or what about his 1st and 2nd councillors ?

    Ray

    Its very interesting for me to hear your view on God was once a man … I’m very surprised to hear this actually and also that you say Mormonism allows you to be ‘ open ‘ on this .

    What about God being a Polygamist .Is it possible that he isn’t ?

    Comment by elder joseph — December 10, 2007 @ 2:37 pm |Reply

  38. Brad, while I agree completely with the overall point 🙂 I think it is obvious that part of the “problem” with such discussions is misunderstandings of what the other side believes – and that is just as true about our own misperceptions of what other believe as it is about theirs regarding us. That, at least, is worth pursuing to me.

    If we can get past the “I’m right and you’re wrong” stance and simply share beliefs that can inform the others, I disagree with you. I have learned a LOT from such discussions in the past; I truly mean that. That’s why I asked about making sure we aren’t arguing over different ways to say the same thing – since we tend to agree MUCH more than people think we do, once we get past the semantics involved in using similar terminology to explain different concepts. There are MAJOR differences, but there are far more similarities than most people realize.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 2:48 pm |Reply

  39. ej, “What about God being a Polygamist .Is it possible that he isn’t ?”

    Yes, it is possible. That never comes up in any conversations or lessons in the Church. It’s not taught in any manuals. Personally, I don’t really care either way.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 3:01 pm |Reply

  40. ej, I should add that the general feeling among those who even think about it is that it is a possibility given simple statistics, but it’s not important one way or another. Fundamentalists would disagree vehemently, but it’s simply not an issue in the modern Church.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 3:03 pm |Reply

  41. I just finished taking an exam and I have a little bit of free time so I want to address this Trinity issue. Before that I would like to address one topic that was brought up, and that is immutability… You do not believe that God is immutable because you believe that he was once a Man who came from another god (who came from another god ext), and is therefore also not eternal. Also concerning “oneness”, we cannot take texts like Genesis 2:24 on God’s commands to Adam and Eve to build a doctrine of the Trinity as being merely oneness in “purpose”. We are the CREATION and yes we mirror the Creator, but you cannot impose the laws and behavior of the creation onto the Creator.

    Now onto the Trinity… The first thing we have to realize is that the Logic that is used to defend the Trinity is Aristotelean. Unfortunately, we live in a society where they don’t teach Logic until college and even then it is optional and usually based off of an Epicurean and Skeptical worldview. Aristotle broke down substances, or defining what something is, into two categories; Primary and Secondary Substances. Primary Substance would be an individual like Colin and my Secondary Substance would be Human. Secondary substance is defining the essence of what something is, what Plato called form, and it is broken up into species and genus, species being essence and genus having to do with that objects material properties. In my case my species is Human and my genus is animal. The early church father’s used this logic to define the Trinity. There are three individual personalities within the Trinity, or Three Primary substances. Each primary substance (Father, Son Spirit) is of the same secondary substance (God). However God is immaterial and therefore has no genus and is therefore pure essence (species). So if God is pure essence and there is not material or accidental properties within him how can there be three distinct members? The three different Primary substances are differentiated by their ministries and their relation to one another. One example that the early Church fathers used for this is the concept of Light. The Bible basically outlines that the Father sends, the Son is Begotten, and the Spirit Proceeds. So the Three members of the Trinity eterally send, are begotten, and proceed. The analogy for this is an eternal source of pure light. Let’s imagine that there is a ball of pure light that has never started or will never stop being light. The source of pure light itself is the Father, the light waves coming off of it are the Son, and the emanations out into space are the Holy Spirit. All three of these have the essence of light and are all nessecary to be light (you can’t have a source of light that doesn’t emite light waves). So all three are one (light), all three are nessecary, and yet all three are distinct in their function and relation to one another. So it is with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, unlike the analogy of light God is transcendant over Time and Space and therefore there is no spatial seperation between the members of the Trinity, they interpenetrate.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 10, 2007 @ 3:50 pm |Reply

  42. I find this conversation very interesting as the assumption here is that Christ actually taught that he is the Son of God, and that he is also a God or Diety himself. I have read and seen a lot of evidence that would say that this is where the confusion really comes in about the trinity. That this concept was added in later and not spoken of by Christ. When you start cutting and pasting into a narrative it can be hard to have it make sense.

    Do all of you just reject this view or have you looked into it? Aware of it?

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 10, 2007 @ 3:57 pm |Reply

  43. Just one more thing,
    I should have stated more distinctly that the purpose of presenting the analogy of Light was to demonstrate how three things of the same essence could yet be distinct based on their function and relation to one another. It is not to suggest God is physical light or an eternally emanating ball of something, that analogy doesn’t function that way. That’s why pointed out that God transcends Time and Space and differs from that analogy in that there is no spatial seperation…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 10, 2007 @ 4:11 pm |Reply

  44. <>

    This is probably the most fundamental area in which the LDS part ways with traditional Christians.

    We don’t believe anything was created at all. Matter has always been eternally preexistent. God has been eternally preexistent. So have our identities (at the most basic and fundamental level) always been in existence. God didn’t “create” anything ex nihilo. He only organized things from preexistent material.

    In Mormonism there is no creator-creation dichotomy. Rather, we view our relationship to God as a family relationship.

    <>

    The problem is, this looks an awful lot like subordinating the God the Son to God the Father. As if the Son were His creation. I believe that traditional Christianity rejects the notion that the Son was created by the Father, correct?

    Comment by Seth R. — December 10, 2007 @ 4:39 pm |Reply

  45. Sorry, my quotes vanished. I was responding to:

    “We are the CREATION and yes we mirror the Creator, but you cannot impose the laws and behavior of the creation onto the Creator.”

    and

    “Let’s imagine that there is a ball of pure light that has never started or will never stop being light. The source of pure light itself is the Father, the light waves coming off of it are the Son, and the emanations out into space are the Holy Spirit.”

    Comment by Seth R. — December 10, 2007 @ 4:41 pm |Reply

  46. CoventryRM,
    I have seen that perspective on Christ presented many times, mainly by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The fact is that Jesus proclaimed his Deity many times and the Apostles declared it in their epistles also. Besides, this concept of “well Jesus never said…” is irrelevant. The Gospels were written by the Apostles, it is not like Matthew was writting a narrative and then stepped aside and allowed Jesus to write in where the Gospel relates his sayings and sermons. All the information we have about what Jesus said comes through the Apostles who clearly affirmed his Deity. So if you want to attack this Doctrine you pretty much have to attack the Gospels and the integrity of the New Testament itself to stay consistent. If you read the Bible in Greek, Jesus’s proclamations of Deity appear even stronger through the many times that Jesus says “ego emei” or I AM, which is a reference to the OT name for God. For examples, ‘”I tell you the truth”, Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”‘ (ego emei) (John 8:58). Jesus’ claimed ability to forgive sins was also a claim to his Deity, which is why the Jews wanted to stone him for it because it was considered Blasphemy.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 10, 2007 @ 5:10 pm |Reply

  47. Ray,

    While I do believe you truly believe this, and truly want to discuss things for informational purposes, I disagree that this can “truly” happen. A lot of times, when people (like me) don’t agree with Mormonism, it is often attributed to “you don’t REALLY understand what we believe”, or “well, that’s just your interpretation.” If you ask me, THAT is part of the problem, in that weight isn’t given to the fact that people genuinely disagree with Mormonism, and for good reasons to them (whether the Mormon thinks it’s a good reason or not). To me, there really isn’t a way to “get past” the “I’m right and you’re wrong” stance, b/c I do believe (as do many others), that what I believe is right, and what you believe is wrong. I know you don’t, and I know you don’t believe that to be valid, but I do believe it. So I have no way to discuss, other than to approach it from a base that I’m trying to convince you otherwise. And I DO understand what you believe, b/c I’ve made it a point to study it at length. I don’t personally believe, for a second, that we’re “arguing over different ways to say the same thing.” Based on what I believe, compared to what you believe, I can only come to the conclusion that we believe differently, not just that we are “terming” things differently. In fact, I think we agree much LESS than people think we do, and I don’t think there are any “semantics” involved in using “similar terminology to explain different concepts.” These are really important key areas, that we really do differ on.

    Comment by Brad — December 10, 2007 @ 5:15 pm |Reply

  48. Seth R.,
    I wasn’t being inconsistent. Those analogies are using the created order to help us metaphysically understand the Trinity, but they aren’t air tight… Hence why I put the disclaimer that the analogy only helps us visualize differences in relationship and function, not God’s relationship to space. However with the Genesis reference you were trying to claim it WAS an airtight universal principle that oneness means two seperate individuals coming together in agreement and that God must obey that.

    The eternal begotteness of the Son is not the same as saying he didn’t exist and then came into existence… Remember that the analogy was a ball of ETERNAL light, meaning there was never a point in TIME (God is outside of time) where the light BEGAN to proceed from the source but always has been.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 10, 2007 @ 5:15 pm |Reply

  49. Way to stir the pot Steph….

    Comment by totaltransformation — December 10, 2007 @ 5:56 pm |Reply

  50. Shis is never wrong. Only the interpretation of what Shiz states can be wrong.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 10, 2007 @ 7:05 pm |Reply

  51. Shiz understands that the Bible can be used to both prove and disprove the Trinity. This very fact makes proof come under scrutiny.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 10, 2007 @ 7:09 pm |Reply

  52. Colin: I will say this one more time, then throw in the towel if that will end the “you try to convince me and I’ll try to convince you” argument.

    I have studied and discussed everything you have and will write here. I said at the very beginning that I will not debate the creeds – that if we are going to do this, it will have to be discussing what the Bible says. Your comment #41 quotes NOTHING from the Bible; you dismissed out of hand a minor example I have heard used by PROTESTANT THEOLOGIANS in Master’s level Divinity School classes (the usage of oneness in marriage to discuss separate entities in unity is NOT a Mormons invention), while completely ignoring the major example I used that is DIRECTLY relevant to the discussion (Jesus’ words in John) – and, instead, falling back on the statements of the creeds. In doing so, you accused me of ignorance and explained philosophies (which I also have studied) not included in the Bible in order to reject my quotations from the Bible.

    I concede: If we are going to debate the nature of God, the Father, and God, the Son, on the basis of the Chalcedonian and Athanasian Creeds, you win. I won’t even try to have that discussion, since, as you and Brad said, from that foundation we do disagree MUCH more than we agree. From that foundation, you are right and I am wrong. From that foundation, we really do believe in two different Fathers and two different Sons.

    If you want to focus on and discuss the Bible, on the other hand, I am more than willing to have that discussion. Otherwise, post to your heart’s content; I concede defeat.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 9:55 pm |Reply

  53. Ray,
    I was not answering YOUR objections with the philosophical discourse… I was actually answering someone else you stated that there is no logical way to present the Trinity. I am perfectly willing to discuss texts from the Bible, after all I believe those creeds are Biblical. I read over the texts you presented and I didn’t see anything in them that negated the orthodox Trinity. What we need to do when discussing the Bible is make sure we use a correct and consistent hermeneutic. I find that Mormon’s do not do that… Due mainly to the fact that you will use scriptures such as Paul in Corinthians using a practice (baptism for the dead) that some of them obviously took part in to prove their inconsistancy in denying to Trinity, to say that Paul is endorsing Baptism for the dead or that the Bible commands it. Same with the “spirit prison” deal. What did Christ preach, or rather proclaim to them? Who were they, humans? Demons? I would love to discuss Biblical texts so let’s do that, but right now I’m at work so I will get back to you when I can post some scriptures to examine.

    Comment by Colin — December 10, 2007 @ 11:23 pm |Reply

  54. Got it, Colin. Thanks for making that clear.

    Comment by Ray — December 11, 2007 @ 1:50 am |Reply

  55. Ray:
    Just a side not in my last post I meant Paul talking about baptism for the dead to show their inconsistency in denying the ressurection not eh Trinity…
    Anyways here are some scriptures that outline the Trinity

    In the Old Testament, before the mysteries of the Kingdom of God were fully revealed by Jesus and the Apostles (1 Cor. 4:1), the concept of the Trinity is shown in pieces yet not fully put together yet (this is due to progressive revelation). Here are some examples
    “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” Genesis 1:26
    “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Psalm 110:1
    Here in one of the most quoted OT passages in the NT David refers to two personalities that are his God.
    “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit…” Isaiah 63:10
    Here the Holy Spirit is viewed as something distinct
    “And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit.” Isaiah 48:16b
    Here the Spirit is something distinct that is sent whcih also appears in the NT when Jesus says he will send the Spirit from his Father (Athanasius: The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten: but proceeding)
    The word Elohim means God (El) Plurality (Him)
    “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.” (Proverbs 8:22-23)
    Here we have wisdom speaking in in the OT saying that it was brought forth (or often translated as possesed) and appointed by God for creation. This is significant because the Greeks had a similar concept of God being an ordering wisdom principle that they referred to as the Logos. Now look what John says and compare it to Proverbs
    “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word (Logos) was with God, and the Word (Logos) was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1-2

    Yet there are many scriptures that affirm God’s essential oneness”
    “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
    “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.
    I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me,
    so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:5-6
    “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” 1 Timothy 2:5
    “since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” Romans 3:30
    “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30

    All Three members are fully God:
    The Son:
    We already saw John 1:1-2 where the Word was God
    “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
    Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”” John 20:27-28
    “while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:13
    “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:” 2 Peter 1:1
    “Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” Romans 9:5
    The Holy Spirit:
    “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? …You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:3-4
    “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7)
    “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 10b-11)
    God the Father does not need to be proven it is obvious throughout the entire Bible (Jesus prays to the Father as God ext.)

    The Trinity is mentioned all together in scripture:
    “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14
    “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19

    The Trinity is eternal
    “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 17:5
    “”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.” John 17:24
    We also see the Holy Ghost right away at the beginning of the creation
    “and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Gen. 1:2b

    There are plenty more but these are just a few…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 11, 2007 @ 3:40 am |Reply

  56. One more thing that I found was interesting that Seth R. pointed out. I don’t know if you all agree with him but from what I have studied it appears to be LDS doctrine… He said “We don’t believe anything was created at all. Matter has always been eternally preexistent. God has been eternally preexistent. So have our identities (at the most basic and fundamental level) always been in existence. God didn’t “create” anything ex nihilo. He only organized things from preexistent material.”

    This is signifcant because it does demonstrate a major difference in our concepts of God. You believe that there is something other than God that is eternal. So if that is true then you god is not the creator and source of all things. You also have a logical problem from my point of view because you have matter without a source. This could also be an interesting thing to discuss…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 11, 2007 @ 3:52 am |Reply

  57. Why should God be the source of everything? I have no trouble worshiping Him just the same.

    The idea that the most basic part of our identities – intelligence as it is termed – is co-eternal with God and not created, is not just my own personal theory. It’s actual Mormon scripture. Ray, you know the cite off the top of your head?

    As to the logic, it’s no more illogical than creation ex nihilo. If you accept the logic of cause and effect, you have to ask – where did God come from? If nothing caused God, it would seem He too, logically, cannot exist. So I don’t think logic is all that kind to traditional Christian theology either.

    To say nothing of the theodicy problem, which is simply a non-issue for Mormons. God didn’t create evil, it already existed independent of Him. So we’ve pretty much dodged that bullet that traditional Christians have so much trouble with.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 11, 2007 @ 4:38 am |Reply

  58. Seth,
    God isn’t subject to the laws of cause and effect, he created them. Again he is beyond Time and Space because he created both of them (Tit. 1:2). Time and Space are nessecary for matter to exist (when and where would you put it?) and the whole notion of God “coming into existence” or being created becomes irrelevant. Both of those things require time (he BEGAN to exist) and space (somewhere for this activity to occur). Speaking of God creating and sustaining ALL laws, where did the Laws of Mormonism that god followed as a man and his god, and his god’s god come from? Doesn’t that imply some law giver transcedant above all of them? By the way we did preexist before we were created… As forms or ideas in the mind of God (don’t run with this, being an idea in God’s mind is not the same as existing apart from him).
    Concerning the problem of evil, I am actually writing a paper for my philosophy class on Augustine right now. He dealt with this “problem” a lot… Basically he said that evil is not a “thing” but is the absence of good, which comes from God. Moral creatures (Men, angels) become evil when they turn from God towards pursuing created things in his place as Romans 1 tells us. You are basically saying you believe in dualism because Evil is eternal next to God. If that is true we can have no hope of evil be conquered and destroyed, but only look forward to an eternal struggle…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 11, 2007 @ 5:05 am |Reply

  59. “God isn’t subject to the laws of cause and effect, he created them. Again he is beyond Time and Space because he created both of them (Tit. 1:2).”

    “Titus 1:2: In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; ”

    Colin: Titus does not say that. Sorry. It just says that God promised eternal life before the world began. That’s exactly what we believe: he promised it to us as part of his plan, and we rejoiced in it.

    “You are basically saying you believe in dualism because Evil is eternal next to God. If that is true we can have no hope of evil be conquered and destroyed, but only look forward to an eternal struggle…”

    No, we do not say that “evil is eternal next to God.” I believe we would essentially agree with Augustine on this point.

    Seth just said that God didn’t create evil, not that evil is an eternal “thing.” There will be no struggle and no evil where God reigns.

    Comment by MCQ — December 11, 2007 @ 7:53 am |Reply

  60. CS: You make your logical arguments, and they’re fine as logical arguments go. I don’t doubt that you and the other folks here and in many other forums can go at it for years on end. What you’re perhaps missing is that while reasonable logical arguments can be made for your views or LDS views, and while Mormons like to have reasonable arguments behind their belief (indeed, I find LDS beliefs the most logical of any of the religions I have known, by a long shot), ultimately the logic alone is not why we believe what we do. You resort to scriptures, church fathers, philosophy, logical arguments etc. as the final authorities in your position. We take those things and our views of them as a starting position only. We then take those things to God himself and ask Him what is true. Through major revelations (appearances of God and angels to prophets), minor revelations (the Holy Ghost enlightening our minds and hearts), and everything inbetween, our “argument” ultimately is not “see we proved it logically” (even if we absolutely believe in the logic we propound), it is “God told me Himself”. You can argue day in and day out about that this scripture when cross-referenced with that scripture and the writings of saint so and so proves the doctrine of the Trinity. But when the counter-argument coming from Joseph Smith is “actually, I saw God and Jesus, they talked to me, I can tell you from personal experience they are quite distinct” and then my personal testimony is that God confirmed that to me through the Spirit…well, frankly your interpretation of all those scriptures just no longer holds any water to me, I see them in an entirely different light because of what God has told me and His prophets. Arguing til the cows come home isn’t going to change that, the theory – fine as it might appear in isolation – has been shown to be incorrect by actual experience.

    Comment by Non-Arab Arab — December 11, 2007 @ 10:53 am |Reply

  61. MCQ, what are we to make of the prophet Lehi’s pronouncement that all things must have their opposite, or remain meaningless?

    Now, going solely off my OWN view… I see there being a universal order of things to which all things, including God, are subject. I’d draw on scriptures (only LDS I think) that declare that God cannot lie, otherwise He would cease to be God. My read on that is that there is an objective definition of what being God means and it is external to God Himself.

    Colin, I would note that not everyone would share the view that the ultimate destruction of evil and an eternity free of conflict, struggle, or sorrow is necessarily a desirable thing. Meaning is derived from struggle and conflict. I personally would consider a future eternity free of conflict to be not only dull, but ultimately meaningless.

    So no, I do not “look forward” to the destruction of evil. The idea of endless struggle is actually more appealing to me. To me, the ultimate triumph of good and obliteration of evil is the same thing as nihilism. It would consign the universe to non-existence.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 11, 2007 @ 1:21 pm |Reply

  62. Just to clarify:

    I do not “worship” the “universal order of things.” I worship God. I’d like to make that clear (some Christians seem to have this odd idea that if God is subject to something, we must then worship that something instead of God – which I reject as flawed reasoning).

    Comment by Seth R. — December 11, 2007 @ 1:28 pm |Reply

  63. Seth R.
    Wow! It becomes clear here that we definitly do have two different ideas of God. First of all, “God cannot lie” is one of the only times in scripture where it mentions a “limitation” of God. However, this is not because there is some Law for God to obey, but rather it goes against his nature being the ultimate reality and Truth. But for you, you seem to imply that Ultimate reality is in fact Dualism and that God is just a major part of that and would have no meaning without it. Again, it just sounds like you are thinking of god as some sort of subtle matter and evil as an opposing subtle matter that both eternally exist. This is a major problem because now there is no God that is the ultimate source of… well everything… “For by him ALL things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible AND invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL things were created by him and for him. He is before ALL things, and in him ALL things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16,17). Philosophy and Logic aside, now from the Bible it is shown you have a different god…
    I personally am looking forward to the day when evil and sin will be conquered. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4). I can then go on and enjoy the Glory, Majesty, and Wisdom of the Infinite God for all eternity. My personal sins will be gone in my ressurected state and will therefore be emptied of all selfishness to enjoy fellowship with God and the redeemed Saints for ever. I don’t need the antithesis to God to enjoy him! Anyways, Hell will exist for all of eterinity so there will be a contrast, as evil and sin will not be annihilated but confined away from God’s New Heavens and New Earth.

    MCQ: The entire Bible implies that Time had a beginning, the very statement “In the beginning” implies that. Furthermore, it is completely consistent with what we know about Science and Physics… Titus 1:2 does say Time had a beginning, the problem is you used the KJV translation which was based off of poor manuscripts. The NIV which is the best functional equivalent translation states “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2)

    Non-Arab Arab:
    This is one of my main problems with Mormonism, it seems to break down to feelings and subjective experience. Those are all fine and dandy, and are certainly part of my walk with God, but they are merely the natural outcome of being in a relationship with him. I have heard Mormons many times say that you must pray over the book of Mormon and look for a burning in the bosom or other feelings… How can you tell the difference between when God speaks or gives you a feeling, and a deception of your own mind… or even of Satan? I personally use God’s standard which is his Word, in fact he tells us “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1). When I was brought to faith by the Lord God, I knew that it was him and what I was experiencing was real because it was in alignment with his Word and character as revealed in his Word. I had spent years doing drugs, experimenting in the occult (freemasonry, witchcraft), partying, and sleeping around. However, there was a fundemental change in my nature (New Birth John 3) where I went from being a God hater and despiser as all mankind is naturally, towards hating Sin and loathing it. Not in a self righteous way, but realizing that as a fallen human my very core is evil, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15:19). I began to hate my very own life, “and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38,39). I then by God’s grace discovered the cross and placed my faith in Christ and Christ alone for my salvation. I then understood what it means to live a life not for self-worth or “God you make me feel so important”, but of Glorifying God and enjoying HIM forever.
    So when it comes to Mormonism I have a huge problem because Joseph Smith walks into the woods 2,000 years after Christ and claims to meet him and delivers a completely different Gospel with different doctrines, and claims that the Biblical gospel is false. Then I look in the Bible and see references such as 1 John 4:1, and “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15). Joseph Smith claims to encounter Jesus and angels that give him revelations, but the BIble says, “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!” (Galatians 1:8), and “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). The Mormon churches doctrine of salvation is also works-righteousness not grace through faith alone. Paul warns that “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” (2 Corinthians 11:4). These are just some of the problems I have with Mormonism, and its inconsistency with God’s previous revelations.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 11, 2007 @ 2:58 pm |Reply

  64. non Arab Arab

    with reference to Colin you said:

    ” well, frankly your interpretation of all those scriptures just no longer holds any water to me, I see them in an entirely different light because of what God has told me and His prophets.”

    Which prophets have told you what ? Because from the track record it seems to me that the LDS prophets haven’t really known what they are talking about !

    Adam Is God .. Blacks are less valiants … Blacks will only be servants in CK…American Indians are turning white …the other religious denominations are hired directly by Satan ( pre 1990 temple truth) … only polygamists become Gods …. God is a polygamist and so is Jesus etc

    Comment by elder joseph — December 11, 2007 @ 3:23 pm |Reply

  65. Seth, that statement about oppositon being required applies to mortality. It is about our mortal state, where we are learning, by being enticed to do good, by the spirit of God, or enticed to do evil, by the devil. We must choose between these two opposites. There is no devil in the kingdom of God, thus no evil.

    Comment by MCQ — December 11, 2007 @ 3:28 pm |Reply

  66. “I personally use God’s standard which is his Word, in fact he tells us “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1).”

    We’ve been through this before with others, Colin. Brad told us that the Bible was the only way to know whether something was of God as well. Unfortunately, his logic breaks down, as does yours, when none of you can agree on what the Bible actually says.

    Mormonism is not inconsistent with the Bible, Colin. In fact, it is the only faith that can explain the Bible fully. The fact that it is inconsistent with your man-given interpretation of the Bible is no surprise to me. What is a continuing surprise is the persistent notion that one can arrive at all truth by comparing it to the Bible, which has given rise to innumerable interpretations over the course of history. Since we have been down this road before, please pardon me if I bow out of this conversation at this point.

    Comment by MCQ — December 11, 2007 @ 3:52 pm |Reply

  67. MCQ
    You said to Colin

    ” none of you can agree on what the Bible actually says.”

    Why are their so many deminations of Mormonism then ? All claiming Authority ? You can’t all be right ..The LDS is just one of many versions .

    “Mormonism is not inconsistent with the Bible, Colin. In fact, it is the only faith that can explain the Bible fully.”

    This is just like JW’s .They believe only the Watchtower Magazines can explain the bible fully .You are no different .

    Comment by elder joseph — December 11, 2007 @ 4:33 pm |Reply

  68. MCQ,
    The Bible is large book filled with information and not all of it is propositional truth. There is Poetry, Wisdom, Narratives, Law ext… This is why people have come up with various interpretations. It is also due to human fallenness, and the desire to make the Bible not say something we don’t like. Just because there isn’t doctrinal unity withing Christianity doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We could determine it if all the different views could get together and see whose views stand up to scrutiny, but that probably won’t happen anytime soon.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 11, 2007 @ 5:17 pm |Reply

  69. MCQ,

    OK, I can certainly see that scripture being limited to mortality only. But what about Enoch’s vision of God in the Pearl of Great Price, where he beheld God weeping?

    What would God, a perfect being, have to weep about?

    Consider also, that the LDS believe that the chief aim is to become as God our Father. Should we expect tears in our futures as well? I think it is a false dichotomy to believe that happiness is a mere absence of sorrow. I think true divinity is in the capacity to feel both happiness and sorrow deeply.

    Colin, what is it, deep down that confirms to you that the Bible is true? From your story, it seems that it was an intensely emotional process for you. Which makes me puzzled as to why emotion would be an unreliable guide for Mormons, but a reliable guide for you.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 11, 2007 @ 5:25 pm |Reply

  70. Seth R.,
    It’s because it was in line with the historic revelation from the Bible, and the experience of saints from the apostles up until today. Also I didn’t go looking for God, he came to me which is in line with the character of the sovereign God of the Bible.

    Concerning your argument about God and sorrow, you do realize that the scriptures and doctrines that you use to back it up are contrary to mine? If that is so I think we have established that we have two different ideas of God and two different worldviews. I would be glad to talk about topics regarding what is and isn’t scripture…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 11, 2007 @ 6:57 pm |Reply

  71. Seth R.,
    I’m sorry, I didn’t see that you were talking about MCQ about scripture, my bad.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 11, 2007 @ 6:58 pm |Reply

  72. Seth,God already answered that question, when enoch asked it:

    Moses 7:

    “37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?”

    There is nothing inconsistent about a perfect God weeping for his children when they choose evil. That doesn’t mean evil exists eternally, it just means when God allows evil to exist (so that we will have a choice) he is sorrowful when we choose the wrong path.

    Comment by MCQ — December 11, 2007 @ 8:41 pm |Reply

  73. “I think true divinity is in the capacity to feel both happiness and sorrow deeply.”

    No question about it.

    “Which makes me puzzled as to why emotion would be an unreliable guide for Mormons, but a reliable guide for you.”

    I know you’re talking to Colin here, Seth, but if I may interrupt:
    to me, emotion has nothing to do with it. We are guided by personal revelation, which can be an emotional experience, but is not emotion per se.

    One of the first things we have to learn to do, in gaining a personal testimony of the truth, is to learn to distinguish between emotion and the Spirit of God. They are not the same thing. I can get emotional in a movie (The Little Mermaid particularly gets to me). That doesn’t mean the Spirit of God is testifying to me about Ariel.

    The feeling I have when I read the scriptures, or pray, or bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, may cause me to also get emotional, but it is a different feeling entirely.

    Comment by MCQ — December 11, 2007 @ 8:50 pm |Reply

  74. MCQ, I suppose I can see that being a reading of the scriptures, but I do not think it’s really required of them. It also seems inconsistent with the popular LDS view of the events we see playing out on our world extending into the eternities on other worlds and with other spirits. But then, I don’t really agree with you that “opposition in all things” is a solely mortal construct either. I can sort of see it, but I disagree. Certainly, I don’t think the scriptures require your reading.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 11, 2007 @ 8:55 pm |Reply

  75. Colin:

    “Again, it just sounds like you are thinking of god as some sort of subtle matter and evil as an opposing subtle matter that both eternally exist.”

    No. God is a real person to us. He is our actual Father, in the same way we have earthly fathers. He is the literal Father of our spirits and a real person to whom we can converse and whom we can come to know. We come to him only in and through Jesus Christ, whom he sent (getting back to the orginal topic).

    Jesus Christ redeemed all mankind from the fall. Without that redemption we would be eternally damned, because we can do nothing of ourselves to come back to God. It is only through the grace of God, and the sacrifice of his only begotten in the flesh, that we are able to be saved from physical death and the spiritual death that comes by way of sin. Salvation from physical death is a gift to all and requires nothing from us, salvation from sin requires that we repent, which is why God commands all men to repent, and repentance has been preached by all His prophets since the world began.

    Comment by MCQ — December 11, 2007 @ 9:02 pm |Reply

  76. Seth, if your reading of the scriptures is that evil exists eternally and will be found in God’s kingdom, then I think you are at serious odds with the scriptures. That is not a “popular LDS view” and is contradicted many times in the scriptures.

    I think what you mean to say is that God’s plan is not new, it is eternal, and has been played out before and will be played out again. That is certainly true, but that will be another mortality, for other mortals. It doesn’t mean that evil exists where God is. No unclean thing can enter his presence. He does not tolerate evil, which is why Lucifer and his followers were cast down. They could not dwell in God’s presence, having chosen evil over good.

    I think our disagreement may be more semantic than substantive, but I can’t tell for certain unless you explain further what you mean.

    Comment by MCQ — December 11, 2007 @ 9:10 pm |Reply

  77. OK, I see what you’re getting at. My brain was going in a different direction.

    No, I do not disagree with anything you said in #76.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 11, 2007 @ 11:43 pm |Reply

  78. Shiz wonders how Jesus and the HG can be children of God like the rest of us, yet be part of the Godhead…even to the point of creating the world with which we occupy.

    Shiz also wonders thru which resurrection Moroni received his body since there has not been a resurrection since the resurrection of Jesus.

    Comment by Shiz — December 12, 2007 @ 1:41 am |Reply

  79. Shiz: interesting. I’m not sure I have ever thought about either of those questions before, but the second one, I believe, is easier to answer. To say that no one has been resurrected since Christ is not accurate:

    Christ was “the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20) meaning he was the first person resurrected. He was resurrected almost immediately. Upon his resurrection, other righteous people were also resurrected, and rose from the dead and appeared unto many. (Matt 27:53; 3 Ne. 23:9-13). The resurrection is ongoing, and many of the prophets and other just and righteous individuals have been resurrected and continue to be resurrected as needed and ordered by God, to fulfill His purposes. (Mosiah 15:22).

    As for the first question, we know that the HG is part of the Godhead, but I’m not certain we know much else about it. Certainly Christ is both a member of the Godhead and a child of God, both spiritually and physically. He created the world under God’s authority and pursuant to his instructions and power. My belief is that He would not have been able to do so on his own, he needed the power and authority of his Father to do it. Don’t know if that’s helpful. Good questions, though.

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 2:22 am |Reply

  80. MCQ

    What do you think of the concept I know has been thrown around, that the Holy Ghost could actually be our Mother in Heaven and that is why God seems so protective of HG.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 12, 2007 @ 2:46 am |Reply

  81. MCQ,
    “Jesus Christ redeemed all mankind from the fall.”
    If this is true then why are people still dead in their trespasses and sins. Why will people be spending an eternity in Hell if Christ redeemed them all?
    “Without that redemption we would be eternally damned, because we can do nothing of ourselves to come back to God. It is only through the grace of God, and the sacrifice of his only begotten in the flesh, that we are able to be saved from physical death and the spiritual death that comes by way of sin.”
    This is a problem that I also have with Mormons… The Mormon church doesn’t really teach this, it is just a semantic game. The Roman Catholic Church did the same thing with a document titled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”, they basically affirmed everything that both Catholics and Protestants have always affirmed, in highly “evangelical” terminology. However the real issue (whether righteousness is imputed or must become inherent before one is justified), was never addressed. This is also the case with what you just said here, other key issues related to that statement will effect what you or I really mean by it. Bruce McConkie said, “Salvation in its true and full meaning is sysnonymous with exaltation or eternal life and consists in gaining an inheritance in the highest of the three heavens within the celestial kingdom…. Slavation in the celestial kingdom of God, however, is not salvation by grace alone. Rather, it is salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel”. This is Grace/faith plus works which is not the Biblical Gospel!
    “Salvation from physical death is a gift to all and requires nothing from us, salvation from sin requires that we repent, which is why God commands all men to repent, and repentance has been preached by all His prophets since the world began.”
    Again we have different understandings about what repent means. It seems as if you are saying that the work of Christ is not enough, but it is Christ plus… The plus being repentance. The Bible clearly states that salvation is by Grace through Faith. Repentance is always involved with Salvation, but that is because it is a work of grace on a transformed human heart that now loaths sin. As the scripture states, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
    Also in the New Testament
    “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,” (2 Timothy 2:25)
    “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:18)
    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Acts 11:18)

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 12, 2007 @ 3:20 am |Reply

  82. Shiz wonders if Colin would send any of his kids to a fiery eternal hell simply because they chose curtain #2.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 12, 2007 @ 4:50 am |Reply

  83. Coventry,

    Couple links for you on the Heavenly Mother front:

    Does Elohim Include Heavenly Mother?

    and

    Why I Don’t Want to Believe in Heavenly Mother

    The blog is called “Zelophehad’s Daughters” and is an LDS Feminist blog, kind of after the model of “Feminist Mormon Housewives.” Both posts and the conversations following them are quite interesting. One commentor even suggested (half seriously) that God the Father is simply the executive agent for a council of His wives who are the ones really calling the shots in the universe. Interesting… but completely undoctrinal of course.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 12, 2007 @ 5:33 am |Reply

  84. Bah, the first link doesn’t work. The post was right before or after the other one I listed though…

    Comment by Seth R. — December 12, 2007 @ 5:35 am |Reply

  85. Coventry: Never heard that one. Let’s just say I’m skeptical.

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 6:16 am |Reply

  86. Colin:

    “If this is true then why are people still dead in their trespasses and sins. Why will people be spending an eternity in Hell if Christ redeemed them all?”

    Christ redeemed all from death, giving all immortality as resurrected beings, which is a free gift. Christ also redeemed all from sin, which made repentance possible. We still have to believe in him, repent, be baptized and endure to the end in order to receive eternal life (meaning life with God).

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 6:20 am |Reply

  87. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
    Also in the New Testament
    “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,” (2 Timothy 2:25)
    “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:18)
    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Acts 11:18)

    We believe these things too, Colin. You may call it a semantic game, but that is a very cynical and pejorative way to look at it. We have different beliefs about what salvation means, I agree with that. We tend to emphasize works, partly out of defense against protestant and evangelical churches that completely ignore the concept of works, which is in fact, found in the Bible. You will explain away those verses and we could debate that for several days. I know, because I’ve done it before. Please, spare me the grace vs. works wild goose chase.

    I have already said that we believe salvation comes through the grace of God and I meant it. Without the gift of Christ’s Atonement no repentance, no works, would be any use at all. that is what the Bible means, in my opinion. It does not mean, and no prophet has ever said that repentance is unnecessary. The way you state how repentance fits in to the process sounds a lot less straightforward and a lot less logical to me than the way we say it.

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 6:33 am |Reply

  88. 2 Nephi 2:

    “4 And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory; wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free. And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil.
    5 And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
    6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
    7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.”

    We do, in fact, teach these things, Colin.

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 6:41 am |Reply

  89. 2 Nephi 10:

    “24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.”

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 6:44 am |Reply

  90. Just so the rest of you know I’m not making things up:

    James 2: 14-26:
    14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
    16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
    17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
    19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
    20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without bworks is dead?
    21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
    22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
    23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
    26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    Prov. 24: 12:
    12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

    Matt. 5: 16:
    16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    Matt. 7: 21:
    21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    Now, I know, Colin, that you have explanations for all of these verses. Feel free to expound them, if you wish, for the benefit of the others, but grant me this:

    When you say things like: “This is Grace/faith plus works which is not the Biblical Gospel!”

    That is because of your interpretation of these verses, not because there is objectively no Biblical support for a requirement of some element of works for salvation. Clearly, there is.

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 7:06 am |Reply

  91. One more thing, Colin:

    Your final quote in #81 is Ephesians 2: 8-9, not Acts. Also, the quote you chose from Ezekiel is important. I think it’s talking about the house of Israel as a people in that chapter, not as individuals, but it is instructive, because even if he means it to apply to us individually, that change of heart referred to in those verses is not the end, rather it is just the beginning. Once you have that change of heart, which I believe in completely, you still have your agency. You still have to continue to choose good over evil. You still have to repent, because you are not going to be perfect, you are just going to desire perfection, rather than sin.

    Please pardon the lengthy quote:

    Alma 5:

    “14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
    15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
    16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
    17 Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you?
    18 Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?
    19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
    20 I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?
    21 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
    22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?
    23 Behold will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?
    24 Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?
    25 I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil.
    26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
    27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
    28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
    29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
    30 And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
    31 Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
    32 Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!
    33 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.”

    That is what I believe, Colin, and I submit to you that repentance is required of us, even after our hearts are changed, and that it requires effort on our part. I also believe that this is fully supported by the Bible, notwithstanding the fact that you may have a different interpretation.

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 8:14 am |Reply

  92. MCQ,
    Now we are getting to a very deep subject… That is freewill/election… This is one of the issues that does divide protestants, and even Martin Luther stated that it was the foundation of the Church. The Catholics used to teach it (Augustine/Aquinas) but dropped it several centuries before the reformation. It is an issue that if one gets wrong doesn’t nessecarily make them apostate, but because of it they will most likely begin to twist the Gospel… I personally am a Calvinist, which I’m sure you learned from studying Christianity that I believe in predestination…
    First we must define what “freewill” is. This is an issue that Augustine, Calvin, Luther and many others spent much time on. However, I believe the puritan Jonathan Edwards was correct. Free-will is the ability to follow the desires of your heart. We are not autonomous agents that have an infinite amount of choices to make for no good reason. We choose out of desire, and you really can’t get around it. When many people hear desire, they think emotion or feeling. They will immediatly say, well what about when I want to eat but I don’t because I’m on a diet. Well… your desire to loose weight is stronger than your desire to eat. How long a pattern of behavior lasts above all others is an evidence of how much you desired it. “”You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (Mark 13:13).
    The simple fact is that men are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 1:1) due to original sin and will therefore NEVER choose God on their own. Romans 7-8 actually says that they are enemies of God, and “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even ABLE to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8). There are many othe passages that demonstrate man’s total depravity (not meaning he is as evil as he can be, but every aspect of him including his will is depraved). Here are just a few
    “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)
    “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.” (Psalm 58:3)
    ” Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5
    “the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead.” (Ecclesiastes 9:3b)
    “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (John 8:34)

    This condition applies to all manking:
    ” When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin)” (2 Chronicles 6:36a)
    “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

    Because of this we cannot change on our own:
    “Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
    “Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”?” (Proverbs 20:9)

    Men also cannot understand spiritual truth…
    ” 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.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
    “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.” (John 8:43)

    and therefore do not seek God…
    “as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”” (Romans 3:10-12)

    Due to this man only comes to God after He has “regenerated” his heart
    “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh (remember Romans 8:7 the mind of the flesh), and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:5-7)

    Remember when Jesus rebuked Nicodemus for not knowing this? What was he talking about? He was talking about Ezekiel 36, the passage you said was about Israel. However in it, water and Spirit are mentioned making it the only relevant OT passage to the context. That is how God saved both the NT and OT saints, not just Israel.

    “”No one CAN come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)
    “And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one CAN come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” (John 6:65)

    Furthermore Jesus says ALL those whom the Father chooses will come to him (ie it cannot be frustrated by man’s unwillingness because God overcomes his unwillingness by giving him a new heart so he chooses God)
    “”All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”(John 6:37)

    The Bible also affirms that the CAUSE of ones belief is their election by God.
    “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.” (John 6:26)(Most modern evangelicals affirm that they are not his sheep BECAUSE they do not believe)
    “He who is of God hears the words of God; for THIS reason you do not hear them, BECAUSE you are not of God.” (John 8:47)
    “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)

    So what does this have to do with faith and good works? Everything… look how the Bible describes salvation…
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand SO THAT we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

    This is mentioned right after Paul describes salvation as spiritual ressurection from the dead that God ALONE accomplishes. Because of this, the faith and repentance that comes is due to a new regenerated Heart reacting to the indwelling sin nature (look at Isaiah’s reaction in ch. 6), and is NOT the cause of their regeneration. Faith is simply the instrument that God the Holy Spirit uses to connect us to Christ so that all who are elected can be justified before a Holy God. This is consistently what seperates true beleivers from false professors in the Bible (bad trees, those who say Lord Lord, faith without works is dead ext…). James says that even the demons “believe and yet tremble.” So whats the difference between them and true believers? The affections of their heart… true believers have recieved a new Heart and do not just believe in God and hate everything that goes along with it, but they actually Love God and his Holiness and desire to be conformed to it which manifests in faith and repentance (of course this grows over time, and believers still struggle with the flesh). This is due to God’s Law being “written on their hearts” as Jeremiah states in 31:31-33. Mere belief, as most fluffy modern evangelicals preach it is not enough. Preaching a Jesus who is there to “heal our wounds”, “make our families better”, or “make us feel more fulfilled”, is the result of Christians denying human depravity and therefore preaching a message that dead sinners respond to. Unfortunately they then end up worshipping an idol jesus who cannot save. True conversion is the recognition that God Himself is the greatest gift He can give you, and you will drop everything to follow him.

    This may not sound fair of God to you all, but it is simple Biblical truth. I suggest you read Romans 8 and 9 very carefully, because it answers basically every objection you will come up with to this doctrine. We are all guilty before God due to Adam’s sin and God would be completely just to send us all to hell. Many people think this makes God “unfair”, but fairness is justice, which is eternal punishment for sinning against an infinite God who created us for our pleasure in him. Every beautiful day that goes by where God lavishes his grace upon people and they do not repent is just another sign of their rejection and hatred of him. Every idol that we create that we are more comfortable with (including the mormon “god”), is also a testimony against us. The amazing thing isn’t that anyone is going to go to hell, it is that a large chunk of the human race will get to heaven! There are 10 times as many verses I could expound upon on this subject, however I’ve taken up enough space already.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 12, 2007 @ 3:25 pm |Reply

  93. I have been out of the state and have not had access to the internet – LONG drives. I probably will not be back online until late tonight. I haven’t had a chance to read all of the latest comments, but I will ask for forgiveness for the length of my comment when I do get back online. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — December 12, 2007 @ 3:45 pm |Reply

  94. #80 – CRM, I’ve heard it as pure speculation. I don’t believe it, personally, and I don’t know any other Mormon who does, but I have to run now. I’ll get back to everything later.

    Comment by Ray — December 12, 2007 @ 3:50 pm |Reply

  95. Started my own blog so you can come beat up on me there if you like 🙂

    Comment by coventryrm — December 12, 2007 @ 7:33 pm |Reply

  96. Well You have to give us a link!!!!!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 12, 2007 @ 7:35 pm |Reply

  97. Okay help me out here when I click on your name here it links to your blog how do I make mine do the same?

    Comment by coventryrm — December 12, 2007 @ 7:44 pm |Reply

  98. When you make a comment I think you have to type in your http/ whatever your site is… and it will show up on your comment. I tried to click on your name in the recent comment section, but it comes up, “page can not be displayed”

    Comment by steffielynn — December 12, 2007 @ 7:49 pm |Reply

  99. Fixed it, I had an extra /

    Comment by coventryrm — December 12, 2007 @ 7:55 pm |Reply

  100. #78 – Shiz, there is nothing of which I am aware in Mormon scripture asserting that the Holy Ghost is a child of God. We believe he is a member of the Godhead and a being of spirit (and some of his duties / functions / responsibilities), but we know essentially nothing of his relative place in the family of God, the Father. (He being the generic scriptural usage. I’m not convinced of gender either way.)

    I have a few minutes at this computer, so I’ll try to post a few short comments.

    Comment by Ray — December 12, 2007 @ 8:43 pm |Reply

  101. Brad, I jsut want to make sure I am categorizing your belief correctly, as outlined in #92, since there are multiple interpretations of “Calvinism” and “predestination” – and you seem to be taking the extreme position.

    First, however, let me say that Mormonism teaches precisely what you described as to the fallen nature of man and the general effects of the Fall on the spiritual status of mankind.

    For example, Mosiah 3:19 says, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (I believe that is an accurate quote. If not, it is very close.)

    We believe that the Fall brought a truly fallen spiritual state – one of depravity and the tendency to sin to which all succumb. We believe it is only through the Atonement of Christ that this state is overcome. (as has been demonstrated by everyone in the passages they quoted) We believe that the promised Atonement allowed mankind to be freed from the stain of “original sin” and be judged according to their own, individual acceptance or rejection of God – their own attempt to repent of (“change”) their naturally fallen state by relying on His grace given through His sacrifice. With that promised Atonement, the righteous could be promised salvation even prior to the actual death and resurrection of Christ based on their faith exhibited by their works (Hebrews 11 goes into great detail about many individuals as examples of this principle.); without that promised Atonement, Abraham himself would not have been saved. We agree with absolutely everything you said in #92 – UNTIL you start describing a hardcore Calvinism that, I believe, means you think God chose those to be saved and those to be damned prior to their birth.

    Our problem with this conception of God is not that “He couldn’t do that,” but rather three-fold (at least):

    1) There are dozens (at least) of verses that talk of God’s love for ALL His children, and challenges galore similar to “If ye love me, keep my commandments” – essentially saying, “If you say you love me, prove it by doing what I have told you to do.” You could translate it to be, “If you really do love me, it will be evident because you will keep my commandments” – but the central message is still, “The ball’s in your court to do more than just give me lip service. You need to go beyond that and do what I ask of you.” (MCQ cited some of these verses previously.) This leads to:

    2) If God really has chosen the saved and damned prior to our earthly existence, what is the purpose of this existence? If it’s not to gain a physical body, or to choose freely and independently to love and serve God, or to “accept” the “offering” of the Atonement (even the word “offer” explicitly implies the ability to reject or accept that “offer”), then what is it? If the result is predetermined, why is it necessary for us? If we really have no choice in the matter, we really are puppets on a string – and “free will” is a completely meaningless phrase.

    3) Evangelicals scream that God is not responsible for the evil that exists in this world, and yet this interpretation or predestination means that God explicitly chose to create evil people – or at least people who were chosen to do evil (Hitler, Herod, Jezebel, etc.) who had absolutely no control over their evil actions – that God created them so. That’s MUCH more “God is the author of evil” than any other construction imaginable. Also, this construct means that God created spiritual beings with the express intent to make them suffer eternal damnation – with no chance to escape it. If you really believe that mankind has a spiritual element that lives on after death and truly continues to “feel” . . . then God created “sensitive” beings for the express purpose to torture them.

    At least, that’s the logical result of the extreme Calvinist camp that you seem to propound. If so, we really do worship different Gods – and the charge that Mormons think they are the only ones who will make it to Heaven is both disingenuous and hypocritical, since it is Calvinists who believe most firmly that they are the only ones who will make it to Heaven.

    Comment by Ray — December 12, 2007 @ 9:49 pm |Reply

  102. I can’t believe I typed “explicitly implies” – instead of “explicitly includes.”

    Comment by Ray — December 12, 2007 @ 10:54 pm |Reply

  103. I can’t believe you called Colin, Brad! What an insult! Colin is not nearly so troll-like as all that, he’s just a poor victim of John Calvin. Sort of like Coventry is a captive of John Stuart Mill, and EJ is …well there’s really no explanation for EJ, is there?

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 11:09 pm |Reply

  104. ??? captive of who?

    Comment by coventryrm — December 12, 2007 @ 11:20 pm |Reply

  105. Here’s the part I have the biggest problem with:

    “This may not sound fair of God to you all, but it is simple Biblical truth.”

    How is it exactly that this “simple Biblical truth” seems to have been missed or rejected by the vast majority of Biblical scholars, even those who come from the same faith tradition? Your extreme reading is accepted by only a tiny minority—compared with the total of all Christian faiths (even if you exclude Mormons from that total).

    There are so many problems that this interpretation brings up in the Biblical text, that it is hard to fathom how you can call it “simple.” You may be able to argue for it rationally, but there’s nothing simple about it. It requires massive contextual reinterpretation.

    Then there’s this:

    “Every idol that we create that we are more comfortable with (including the mormon “god”), is also a testimony against us. The amazing thing isn’t that anyone is going to go to hell, it is that a large chunk of the human race will get to heaven!”

    I don’t get how people have the nerve to come on someone else’s blog and say things like this. It just really astounds me. How about, at a minimum, just out of simple courtesy, leaving the “idol” label to inanimate objects. I have already said that the God we worship is our Father, a real person. There is no basis for using the scare quotes and labeling our God an idol, unless of course you are just trying to be a complete jerk.

    As for the rest of that paragraph, I admire your glass-half-full optimism, but what about the poor slobs who just happen to be going to endless torment through the luck of the draw, in your philosophy. It’s a little harder for them to capture the vision of this rosy outlook. It also makes me wonder why you bother discussing it. If our election or non-election is predestined, then what do we have to discuss? I’m either elected or not and there’s nothing you or I can do about it, so we might as well spend our time on something that actualy matters. Though in your world view, I can’t imagine what that would be.

    As Mormons, we believe in free will almost to the exclusion of all else. Free will is the reason why the universe was created, why the fall had to happen the way it did, why we don’t remember our pre-earth life, why mortality is necessary, why the devil exists, why a third of the host of heaven followed Lucifer, why the atonement is necessary, why Christ came to earth as a mortal, why we have baptism for the dead…

    Our view of things contradicts the idea of predestination in every particular. And thank goodness for that.

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 11:40 pm |Reply

  106. That was a joke Coventry. Mill is the proponent of Utilitarianism, which I was saying you were advocating on your blog.

    If any of you haven’t checked out Coventry’s blog yet, you should do so, all the cool kids will be hanging out there.

    Comment by MCQ — December 12, 2007 @ 11:43 pm |Reply

  107. Wow, I typed Brad instead of Colin. Just, “Wow” – and, “Sorry.”

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 12:27 am |Reply

  108. #107 – That, Colin, is also my biggest philosophical problem with predestination. If you are right, then who cares? What difference does it make to discuss it? It boils down to a name-calling contest (“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha – God saved me and he damned you – but He loves you anyway. Let me prove to you that you are going to spend eternity in Hell if you don’t change your beliefs – or even if you do. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!)

    (My biggest practical, emotional problem is a God who would create someone and call that person a “child of God” [and, in some cases, encourage him or her to “keep my commandments” in order to gain a great reward] for the express purpose of casting them into a tortuous existence for eternity. “God is love” rings hollow to the billions of souls burning in Hell forever just because they were given no chance for anything else by a “loving” God.)

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 12:36 am |Reply

  109. BTW, John Stuart Mill’s writings are fascinating. For those of you not named Colin, since he’s predestined to salvation and doesn’t need to learn from others with different opinions, Mill is a good example of a deep thinker from whom you can learn a lot – even though I don’t agree with everything he said.

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 12:40 am |Reply

  110. Ray! Breakin’ out the snark, aren’t you?

    Comment by MCQ — December 13, 2007 @ 1:38 am |Reply

  111. Yeah, I should have added a 🙂 so Colin would recognize my twisted sense of humor – but since I didn’t I will apologize officially now if the humor didn’t translate well.

    Colin, I was smiling when I typed that. Sorry if it came out sounding offensive.

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 1:46 am |Reply

  112. “Without the gift of Christ’s Atonement no repentance, no works, would be any use at all.”
    Yep, that’s my thoughts in a nutshell.
    Before it got all “can’t see the forest through the trees” here I was reminded of what I have learned of Christ. The definitions I am familiar with include: “light of the world,good shepherd,exemplar,deliverer,the Anointed, Creator,Lamb of God, judge, and king”. THAT is the Christ with whom I am familiar, and whom I love deeply.
    And just in case you wondered, those descriptions are found in the OT, the NT AND the BoM.

    Wow Steph, you sure have a way of bringing people out to debate, er, discuss! You are a strong, strong, loving woman.

    Comment by lurker — December 13, 2007 @ 2:04 am |Reply

  113. Shiz wonders if Colin has predestination confused with foreordination.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 13, 2007 @ 2:22 am |Reply

  114. I highly doubt it, Shiz. Colin’s description is classic predestination, as far as I can tell. There’s a simple way to tell:

    Colin, do you believe it is possible at all for someone who has been predestined to either salvation or damnation to receive the opposite result – to change their predestined end?

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 2:57 am |Reply

  115. Harking all the way back to the concept of the Trinity, I have read extensive treatises, but the following is as good a concise synopsis as I have read (from bnielson on Times and Seasons):

    “Contrary to popular belief, there are actually three views of Trinity represented at Nicea. 1) the Athanasius position of “one of substance”, 2) the Arian position of Jesus being a created from nothing being just like everyone else and thus less divine than the Father, 3) the middle ground position (later unkindly called “Semi-Arian”) of Eusebius and others that believed Jesus and the Father were of the “same kind of substance” with Jesus being separate from the Father but fully divine.

    #1 is the modern christian view
    #2 is roughtly the Jehovah’s Witnesses view
    #3 is roughly the Mormon view

    So, no, Mormons are [neither Athanasians nor] Arians. We could be called Semi-Arians [or Semi-Athanasians], but that is a label that is “retro” in my opinion and somewhat offensive. ***For starters, #3 was the majority opinion.*** Secondly, they “signed” the Nicean creed (admittedly under some threat of deportation) precisely because the term translated “one of substance” could technically also be understand as “one in essense” and thus didn’t actually go against their beliefs because it didn’t suggest modalism.

    Even most Mormons don’t realize that something fairly close to our view of Trinity was represented [***as the majority opinion***] at the Nicean council. (There were, I admit, some significant differences in other areas, but I would have to spend a full essay describing these.)”

    Back to my own comment:

    What Colin fails to disclose (or possibly understand) is that the movement to exclusive acceptance of the Athanasian and Chalcedonian Creeds was NOT a movement of the majority to “weed out” heretical perversions, but rather a movement of the MINORITY to reject the opinion of the majority – that had been compromised already in the multiple interpretation wording of the original Nicean Creed that was, in itself, a compromise away from the greater majority inclusiveness of the Apostles Creed. The creeds that Colin sites are the result of the minority eventually winning the majority and actually changing what the earlier majorities had recorded. Colin calls that clarification and enlightened consensus; it is neither, but rather is change and eventual rejection over time. Colin sees what we call “The Great Apostasy” as progress. That is the central issue of our differences, not the ancillary issues we have discussed thus far.

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 3:43 am |Reply

  116. Very interesting comment Ray. In terms of the history of these doctrines, when and where did we get the doctrine of exclusive focus on grace to the exclusion of works? Augustine?

    Comment by MCQ — December 13, 2007 @ 5:31 am |Reply

  117. Ray,
    First of all since your comments on the Trinity are right above this comment I want to address them first. I find it amazing that you actually suggested that the Athanasian view of the Trinity is wrong simply because it was the minority view at the time of the controversy. I just have never heard this before, I normally hear that the Trinity was some sort of conspiracy to hide the real view. Actually Athanasias was, in my opinion, a man dedicated to the truth who stood for the truth in the face of ridicule, being sent into exile many times and many other hardships. The reason why the majority view moved towards Arianism is A) it was more “simple” B) Christianity had gotten lazy due to the fact they were now mainstream and C) Christianity was being used at the political level to give the Roman empire one last hope of political unity, and “nit-picky” arguments were seen as unnessecarily divisive. Anyways, I ended up using scripture and no one answered it yet…

    Now concerning “predestination”… in your first post responding to it you recognized that there are various views on Calvinism. You would be correct partly… Calvinism is broken up into 5 points, which actually were developed as counter-points to the Arminians 5 pointed protest of the Dutch Church. They form the acronym TULIP, and all “Calvinists” hold to them. There is an extreme form of it that is considered heretical called “hyper-Calvinism”. This is basically what you set up as a straw man against my views. This is the believe in 1) God has NO love for the non-elect 2) God does not ordain a means to an end (ie we don’t need to evangelize), I will address this topic in more depth 3) Live in as much sin as you want because God will make you more holy when he wants to 4) You must be a Calvinist to be saved.

    I have not “fallen prey to John Calvin”. Martin Luther actually wrote more on this subject than Calvin did, especially in his book “The Bondage of the Will”. It just became known as “Calvinism” because it was his immediate predecessors who answered the Arminians in 5 points. I would also like to point out I never quoted anything but scripture, so you’re problem is with God and not me (and you thought it was audacious that I suggested you’ve created an idol that you’re more comfortable with?)

    My views do not make “Free will meaningless”. My view is the same as Augustines, “It was by the evil use of his free-will that man destroyed both it and himself.” Adam certainly had the choice to disobey God, and did, which caused an immediate change in his spiritual state. After all he was told the day that he ate the fruit he would die. We see the immediate symptoms of this (ie hiding from God, blaming others for our actions…), however Adam and Eve are shown grace individually and are saved. However it is the consistent teaching of the Bible that we inheret Adam’s corruption and guilt (this is why we all die), because in aspiritual sense we were all in Adam when he sinned and have the same heart or inward disposition in our souls. I know this would run contrary to your views of individual pre-existence before becoming human, but this is the historic teaching of the Bible and the Church. This does not in any way make freewill meaningless or pointless at all. Man in his original state had a heart that was pure and perfectly in the image of God, therefore he had a heart that was capable of making an infinite amount of choices inclined toward a beautiful, wise, and infinite, perfect God for all of eternity. However now his heart is corrupt and therefore his will always choos that which is impure apart from God’s grace. Jesus said that we are now slaves to sin, which probably is the reason why humanity can never come up with anything new (history repeats itself, the same sins appear in everyone…) Here is what the Westminster Confessions (presbyterian) states concerning the Biblical view.

    “God hath endued the will of man with the natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, destermined to good, or evil. Man in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God; but yet, mutably so that he might fall form it. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He freeth him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, not only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.”

    You also said that if all of this is true then God must be responsible for evil… Well yes an no… I could describe it but the confession does it better

    “God from all eternity, did by the most wise and holy counself of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neitheris God the author or sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established”

    In other words God has obviously ordain evil to exist because it does exist, and if it were truly here completely against his will (we are talking about his will for history not his moral will), then he would not be all powerful. Evil comes as a result of men and angels turning from him and becoming deprived of goodness. So God doesn’t “do” evil in the sense it that comes from his direct actions, but rather he allows it and uses it for his purposes.

    You also stated that the Bible consistantly teaches that God loves all of his children. Well I agree he loves all of his children, but who are his children? Jesus calls people who do not follow him in John 8:44 “children of the devil”. All humans are God’s creation, but only those who are adopted through Jesus Christ become his children. However, evangelicals often quote John 3:16 as some ultimate proof against Calvinism, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” The only problem with this, is this verse isn’t talking about every single individual, neither are most verses that mention the “world” or “all people”. Rather if we do some historical context into the background of the New Testament we realize that the biggest controversy that appears in the book of Acts is how gentiles are now being grafted into the covenant. Many of the epistles address this topic directly. If you look at the verses right before John 3:16, it is talking about Israel and the atonement that God provided through the brazen serpent. It then says God SO (So not as in SO MUCH, but as “in this way”, check the Greek) loved the world that he gave his Son. The world is contrasted with Israel, that is, the world being every nation. The same goes with the word all, it predominatly means “all kinds” not every single individual. Aside from that anyways, I do believe God shows his love towards everybody, through the sun shining and the rain falling on the just and the unjust. He just loves his Church, which is described matephorically as his bride, in a saving way. I am not expected to love every woman the same way I love my wife, and neither should God.

    Now pertaining to the question on why come in here an witness if I believe in election… Well God ordains means to an end, and in the Bible he specifically mentions one of those means as his Word. He doesn’t just regenerate somebodies heart while reading the funnies on a Saturday morning. He always puts something physical or tangible before his created beings to grasp (what else can they understand). In salvation it is his Word, and the Gospel which the regenerated heart thirsts after and grasps at. The other reason is because I love God and he has commanded me to to this, and whether you respond or not, this brings him glory. Secondly I love you, although you probably don’t believe that. I guess it’s all about how you define love. We tend in our modern society to define love as making much of someone, whereas I define it as laboring to help them see what will only make them eternally happy and joyful (the knowledge of God). Of course this includes helping those in need also as God has commanded that. Remember he who loves you the most will tell you the most truth…

    Again this all breaks down into our original debate, is it grace through faith in Christ plus nothing, or is it grace through faith plus works? Everything you all have said so far has confirmed the latter, and your sciptures seem to indicate that as well (2 Nephi 25:23).

    Finally I want to address why all evangelical scholars do not accept this… I personally blame much of the false teachings that American religion in the 19th century was subjected to. People come into Christianity hearing all these mantras, “God SOOO Loved the WORLD”, “God loves you as you are”, and “Ask Jesus into your heart thats all you need to do”. They are then blinded of what scripture clearly teaches an invent lame ways to get around it. I personally have never seen an Arminian beat a well informed Calvinist in a debate.

    Just remember, God does NOT have a MAN shaped whole in his heart. He doesn’t need you, he existed in eternity being completely perfect and suffecient without you. Your life and existence itself is a GIFT of his grace demonstrating his benevolence, and we abuse the HECK out of it. I will leave you with this scripture passage which is undeniable. Goodnight.

    “But it is not as though the word of God has failed For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.” And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”
    So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.” Romans 9:6-24

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 13, 2007 @ 5:51 am |Reply

  118. I figured it was a joke I just had not heard of this John Stuart. I will have to go and check out what he has to say.

    Comment by coventryrm — December 13, 2007 @ 6:04 am |Reply

  119. Fascinating, Colin. It’s good to learn more about your beliefs, and especially to learn that you are not the hyper-calvinist that we originally thought. I have to admit though, that I don’t find what you say much better. The ideas you espouse take all the purpose and joy out of life, and out of the gospel. I used to be frustrated with evangelicals, who would constantly tell me that “gospel” means “good news” and that the only way that the gospel could be “good news” was if nothing were required of us except the profession of belief and we are all saved forever. I found that a little too good to be true (as do you, apparently), but your ideas about the gospel have not much in the way of good news at all, unless of course you happen to be one of the lucky elected ones. I don’t believe that God would create a world for his children that operated this way. It sounds much closer to satan’s plan

    “I would also like to point out I never quoted anything but scripture, so you’re problem is with God and not me (and you thought it was audacious that I suggested you’ve created an idol that you’re more comfortable with?)”

    Not audacious, Colin, just rude. But anyone can make the same claim you do. In fact, we have quoted nothing but scripture as well. You say your interpretation of scripture is the correct one. Well, of course, we have heard that before, from Christians of a slightly different stripe. If comparing your ideas to the Bible text and debating about which is the more correct interpretation is the only way for you to arrive at what is true, then I think you’re missing something. God is available to settle these disputes, if you bother to ask.

    You say your quote from Romans is “undeniable.” Well it is certainly undeniable that it comes from Romans, but you left out the part that really matters:

    “I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
    26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
    27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
    28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
    29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
    30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
    31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
    32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
    33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

    It is Christ that is the stumblingstone and rock of offence, of course, and the Jews, his chosen people, stumbled by rejecting him and choosing instead the law of Moses, which was given for the sole purpose of preparing them to receive Christ. So now, [at the time Paul wrote to the Romans] the gospel will be preached to the gentiles, and they will become God’s people, and will be grafted into the house of Israel, as his children, if they will believe in Christ.

    The previous example, which you quoted, was not given to show that Jacob was saved and Esau damned, but only that Jacob received the birthright. He was chosen, rather than Esau, despite the fact that Esau was older. This is a symbol of what is happening with the Jews and the Gentiles in the time of Paul.

    This is fully consistent with many other prophecies of the house of Israel, Colin, and so it is, of course, undeniable. Good night.

    Comment by MCQ — December 13, 2007 @ 6:44 am |Reply

  120. Colin, my problem is very simple.

    1) Each “side” in this discussion has demonstrated that the Bible can be used to explain or defend both positions being taken. It is flat-out ludicrous to say that we have not quoted scripture or answered your scriptural citations. We have. In fact, way back in #21, I referenced the foundational scripture on the oneness of the Trinity from Jesus himself – which you ignored completely by referring instead back to the creeds. I said, in essence, that if are going to discuss this topic we need to start with the actual source – Jesus, the Christ, Himself. Nearly 100 comments later, you still have not addressed those passages directly.

    2) You seem completely incapable of granting that Mormons agree with you on much of what you have said. I pointed out in #103 that we agree with most of your #92 – that it is only in the predestination of Calvin that we disagree. I then asked a very specific question in #116 in order to clarify – to make sure I was not misreading what you had said. I did not set up a straw-man: I described a valid expression of Calvinism (“hyper-Calvinism”), since that is what your previous comments led me to believe you were describing, and asked you directly if that if what you meant in your comments. It was a sincere question, since I didn’t want to misinterpret what you were saying.

    3) In the first paragraph of your last comment, you completely ignored the Mormon position (at the time called “Semi-Arian”) – unless you implied it was a bastardization of the other two extremes, which I believe you did. I, and many others outside Mormonism, see this position as the original majority view that was opposed by the opposite Athanasian and Arian “extremes”. As dnielson stated so succinctly, because the majority mid-ground was able to find a way to craft a compromise language that was acceptable to them (substance or essence), they (correctly, imo) sided with the Athanasian extreme over the “heretical” Arian extreme in order to reject it from the official pronouncement. Given their writings, if they had believed for a second that the Athanasian interpretation eventually would overcome and reject their own view, I doubt seriously they would have agreed to the language – even given the extreme pressure to get the statement ratified.

    4) You keep painting these issues as “simple” and easily understood, and yet they are what has divided Christianity for well over a thousand years. I have said more than once that I agree with a lot of what you have said; you have not said the same about what I have said once (Or even acknowledged those points where I have said we agree) – even though it is partly the result of my interactions and discussions and studies with world-renowned Protestant and Catholic theologians. I am not speaking from an ignorant bubble of insulated Mormonism, and yet you continually speak as if you are talking to the religious equivalent of a second-grader. Perhaps you are young still and full of the unbridled passion of youthful ignorance. I hope so, at least.

    5) You continually say things like, “you’re problem is with God and not me” when my problem is not with God but with you – and “I know this would run contrary to your views of individual pre-existence before becoming human” when, in fact, what you say is essentially a restatement of what I have said previously [for example, your discussion of the existence of the existence of evil could have been quoted from a Mormon Sunday School class, apart from the reference to the Westminster Confession] – and “Secondly I love you, although you probably don’t believe that” when there is absolutely no evidence that would suggest I don’t think you love me (or its counterpart that you seem to believe that I don’t love you) – and “Of course this includes helping those in need also as God has commanded that. Remember he who loves you the most will tell you the most truth…” when you don’t grant me the same motivation and the same desire and the same concept of why I am willing to wade through stuff I have heard for decades in order to converse with you – and “your scriptures seem to indicate that as well (2 Nephi 25:23)” when MCQ quoted multiple BIBLICAL verses to support it and only one of “our scriptures” – and I could go on and on and on. In your eyes, it seems that everything you say is God’s own word (even when you are not quoting the Bible but rather the creeds) and everything we say is not God’s word (even when we do quote the Bible).

    6) It is OBVIOUS that you believe you understand what Mormons believe, but it also is OBVIOUS that you don’t understand nearly as much as you think you do. It also is OBVIOUS that you are not reading our comments carefully and thoughtfully. Too many times you have taken great pains to “convince us” of something we already believe, and too many times you have said something to the effect of “I know you don’t believe . . .” when, in fact, we do believe it. Too many times we have explained a belief only to have you accuse of not believing what we already said we believe. The best example of this is your constant ignoring of what we have said regarding the role of our works in our salvation. Jesus said, “BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM.” Our works do NOT save us in any way, shape or form – but they ARE the visible witness that our faith is genuine. Over and over and over again, the Bible tells us that if we love the Lord, we must keep His commandments – NOT in order to earn salvation, but rather as a sign that we really do love Him enough to do what He asked us to do. We have said repeatedly that we are not saved by our works, but you keep trying to convince us to give up that non-existent belief. We are asking you to quit assuming you know what we believe and actually listen to what we are telling you we believe.

    7) Let me ask again: Explain the passages I quoted in #21 in terms of “one in substance”. Explain the verses MCQ quoted in #90 in terms of faith and works, especially the ones from James and Matthew. Explain Hebrews 11 in terms of faith and works. (Again, realizing that we do NOT believe we can “earn” salvation, but rather that our works are an important sign of our faith that we are required by God to perform – that true, full faith cannot be separate from works.) Explain John 7: 17, as well. (“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”) Explain I Corinthians 15 dealing with the resurrection – especially verse 22 (“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”) – and don’t quote it out of context. Interpret it only in the context of the entire chapter in which it was given. Iow, answer the specific passages we have provided, instead of just throwing others at us. REMEMBER, we are not trying to prove that you are wrong in everything you claim; we simply are saying that there are plenty of scriptures in the Bible to justify our beliefs – that they are not heretical to the text itself, since we admit they are heretical to the Athanasian and Chalcedonian Creeds. I already said that I will concede that point.

    8) Do us the courtesy of admitting that we are quoting extensively from the Gospels – from the words purported to have been said by Jesus Himself. Frankly, the quotes you have ignored have come as often as not from Jesus.

    Answer these points first; then we can discuss anything else that fits the topic. As you said, “Good night.”

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 7:34 am |Reply

  121. Fascinating: I started to address the fact that Colin mis-applied Romans 9 by leaving out the end of the chapter, but I felt compelled to erase that from my response – not knowing MCQ was addressing it in his comment. In fact, MCQ explained it much better than I would have, given the length of my own comment, so I’m pleased I felt prompted to skip it.

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 7:48 am |Reply

  122. Shiz declares that man does not die because Adam sinned. Man lives because Adam sinned, and man dies because man lives.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 13, 2007 @ 8:42 am |Reply

  123. Whoa, I haven’t been here in awhile — way too much stuff to wade through. Looks like everyone’s hashing out arguments, so I don’t see too much I can add. Frankly, going back and talking about stuff like immutability and substance gives me a headache — especially when I’m studying for a final. Just two quick notes I’d like to throw out there that aren’t wholly spiritual in nature —

    As far as whether everything was created or not, and had or did not have an ultimate beginning, here’s one perspective from the world of physics, in an extremely watered-down manner. One of the solutions to the existence of matter and everything is that everything has always existed — it agrees with the (currently accepted) mathematical model of the universe, wave propagation, et cetera.

    Also, it was mentioned once by Colin Samuel that according to science there was a place where time “started,” and that time is also something created by God. I don’t know if it was ever brought up, but Mormons believe the exact same thing, as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. It is recorded that in the end of the world, God will declare that time will be no longer. This is also evident in the fact that we believe in marriage for “time and all eternity” and not just “time only.” Of course, the exact definition of the end of “time” has not been set forth — I have my own ideas, but I’ll refrain from stating them now. Suffice it to say that they are less metaphysical and more practical.

    Amazing how a girl’s testimony can stir such controversy. Anyways. Back to studying cell biology.

    Comment by Ashui — December 13, 2007 @ 10:50 am |Reply

  124. Colin, at the most basic level, human free will seems inconsistent with the idea of creation ex nihilo.

    Creation ex nihilo is based on a metaphysical construct of monotheism adopted by traditional Christianity. It basically divides everything in the universe into two classes – 1) the created and 2) the creator. Obviously the creator is God, and everything else is created. Taking the logic forward, it becomes apparent that under this view, only the creator/God has “existence” as an inherent attribute of his character or being. He is the only thing in the universe that cannot fail to exist. Everything else in the universe has the possibility of either existing or not existing, but not God.

    To spell it out, since I was created from nothing by God, I, at one point, did not exist. So non-existence is a possibility for me. Just as it is for a rock or a tree. Only God does not have this possibility of non-existence. So, at any given moment in time, I have a possibility of not existing, under the traditional Christian view. This means that my continued existence is SOLELY a function of God’s will. I exist at this moment because God wills that it be so. I exist five minutes from now only if God wills it to be so – as it is with all God’s creations.

    What this means is that I am, at every moment of my life, solely a creation of God. I exist because He has decided that I will exist. Not only that, but God has decided in what form I am going to exist from moment to moment. God could recreate me tomorrow as a nun in a convent, or a Vegas performer, or as an alcoholic, or as a dog even. The only reason I have continuity in my life is because God wills that tomorrow I shall continue to be “Seth R.” Furthermore, God could recreate me from day to day, moment to moment, in any emotional state He wished – happy, sad, indifferent, whatever. And He could created me with whatever moral character He wished.

    Truly, under the traditional Christian idea of creation ex nihilo, I have nothing to call my own. Nothing that I do is of myself – as a consequence of what I am. Everything I do is chosen for me by God, who is deliberately deciding from moment to moment whether I shall exist or not, and in WHAT FORM I shall continue to exist or not.

    Under such a view, free will is entirely illusion. It’s some sort of strange Star Trek holodeck scenario. I have nothing to give God, nothing to offer God, because all of it is predetermined by Him. Free will does not exist for anything in the universe, except for God.

    This makes evil a really insurmountable problem for the creation ex nihilo crowd. The universe is the way it is solely because God wanted it that way. Saddam Hussein was the way he was because God wanted it to be that way – He chose that Saddam should exist in that form from moment-to-moment.

    This raises the specter of a God who deliberately creates things so that He can damn them to hell.

    To answer that God gave it all to you, so He can take away whatever He darn well pleases is no answer to the question at all. If God just created me so that He can damn me, I might well ask – well why did you bother in the first place? Why not just leave me uncreated? Is this some sort of game for you? Is God the bored child who throws a grasshopper in his ant farm to watch the ensuing carnage for amusement value?

    Colin, not only will I not worship such a being, I find such a being morally reprehensible. Personally, I consider creation ex nihilo to be an utterly insulting slander on the character of God. I also find it to be quite nonsensical from a purely logical point of view. The sort of God I’ve outlined above isn’t anything remotely resembling a perfect being.

    In Mormonism, the greatest aim is to learn to love, and enter into loving relationships. That requires free will. It requires real choice, not just make-believe choice. It requires that each and every one of us have something inherent that we can offer to God that He does not already have – our own free allegiance and agency.

    Sorry, your God just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 13, 2007 @ 1:04 pm |Reply

  125. MCQ,
    First of all, on what basis does the Reformed view of scripture sound more like “satan’s plan”? Are you judging who satan is by scripture (God’s standards), or doing what we all tend to do which is to call things “evil” or satanic” that we personally don’t like or are uncomfortable with. According to scripture the phrase “As man is God once was, and as God is man can become” sounds pretty satanic according to Genesis 3…

    Concerning my “mean” comments, I also wanted to say this. I WISH, really I WISH Mormons would be honest with us and I would love if they would approach Christians (through blogs or anywhere else) with what they really believe instead of footsying around the issues and saying we have the same Jesus and God (if that’s so why do you witness to Christians?). I wish Joseph Smiths insistence that the historic Christian church is an abomination and satanic would be presented up front. The Mormon church was the one that said WE were apostate and WE had fallen away, so please do not sdie with the present day “tyranny of tolerance” and lable me as intolerant and bigoted. Disagreeing and debating is OK, even saying someone is FLAT OUT WRONG is OK!

    Yes you have only quoted scripture and I am going to deal with those which you have quoted, but keep in mind you have also quoted the book of Mormon, which I do not consider scripture.

    Concerning your interpretation of Romans 9, I would like to point out it is extremely flawed. I personally focused on this text in my last semester of Biblical Interpretation. I have looked at every view, and found all except the Reformed view to be in error. The simple fact is that Romans 9 is talking about individuals. All of chapter 8 and the entire book before has been about individuals (and of course how individuals fit into the big picture), and Romans 9 is a continued apology for the doctrine of predestination concerning individuals that has already been presented at the end of chapter 8. Notice that verse Six which I started the passage with said this… “But it is not as though the word of God has failed For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;”(9:6). This sets the theme for this passage… It cannot be talking about Nations because this verse (and many others in the NT) reveal that not all of the Israelites were saved, and it was never His plan to save all of them. Rather he elected people within Israel (the remnant) in the Old Testament up until that time. Of course there were gentiles who were elect in the OT (Rahab, the Ninevites ext..), but Israel was his “Church” in the OT times. After God judged Jerusalem and destroyed Israel it was official that the global Church would be his new instrument in the world, which is made up of “all kinds” of people from the whole “world” (John 3:16). Hence when the passage ends he states “even us, whom He also called(individuals/the elect), not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.” (Romans 9:24). Then he quotes Old Testament prophets to prove that this was always God’s plan. Let’s look at a few more verses from this text.

    “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” (9:16-18)

    “Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
    What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,” (9:21-23)

    Do you really think Pharoah, and it “not depending on human will”, and the “vessels” is really talking about God just choosing nations for material blessings and favor and has nothing to do with salvation? Do you really think Paul is anticipated such emotionally charged objects for that?

    Ray,
    First of all I want to apologize for saying you created a “straw man” out of my beliefs… I am used to debating this with other protestants who are well informed about Calvinism and therefore know they are making a straw man when they debate me. So I sincerely apologize… Also I apologize for my self-righteousness talking about how I’m here to Love you, again I was a little frustrate because someone asked what’s the point of me doing this if it has all just been predestined… I was trying to answer that and I did not answer it with the correct attitude. I am only here because of God’s grace and I feel he wants me to continue dialoguing with you all… Having a sinful nature I of course have aspects of my attitude that are not pure (anger, frustration, pride) that come into play in these debates… Anyways, I would like to address the scriptures you brought up.

    Concerning the quote from John 15 I would like to say this. I am assuming you are saying that since Jesus “obeyed” the Father’s commandments he must be a seperate indepent god who is “one” with the father in purpose… Remember, Jesus was fully God and fully man, he had to be inorder to be without sin. He had to be without sin if he was to be the new federal head (2nd Adam, Rom. 5) of the redeemed. I don’t find this verse contradicting my theology because this is a reference to Jesus on EARTH, where he DID have to obey God perfectly in order to have true righteousness as a man to accredit to our account.
    The fact that he DID obey God the Father’s commandments to the T is evidence (although not airtight proof in and of itself) that Jesus is of one substance/essence as God the father, but yet a different personality in that he relates to the Father and has a different function (ie the Father didn’t incarnate). Concerning your reference to John 17, I think the point of that text is to show how human relationships are to REFLECT those of the Trinity. But because we are created we do not share every single aspect. For example, my wife and I have BECOME one because of the fact we aren’t eternal. We had to be concieved, grow up, meet each other, get engaged, and get married before we could become one. It would be impossible for a created beings to be eternally one in substance/essence, and seperate only in personality because they are created and finite. So I do not think that Christ’s prayer (which is aimed at created a doctrine of the Church more than it is the Trinity), is evidence for your view. I would just continue to refer to the many references to there being only ONE God in scripture as evidence that only the view I come from can account for what all of scripture says. I think we are also side stepping some major issues because what about you’re churches doctrine of infinite regression? You can’t clearly have an eternal God if he was created by another god. Isn’t that how your theology works? That basically all three members of the Trinity were created seperate and then became one?

    Concerning the faith and works issue I will just say this… What you summed up in #122 is essentially how I put all those scriptures together. I don’t know if you just missed that post, but I did answer those objections. Thats how we got into the entire predestination debate, I was pointing out that faith and repentance (works) are gifts that come from a soveriengly regenerated heart and therefore salvation is grace and not works… It is important to understand that my soteriology works like this; God elects, then at the appointed time in that individuals life they are regenerated. They then produce faith from that new heart which is what connects them to the substitutionary death and righteousness of Christ justifying them before God. Because of this they then produce a life of growth in holiness for the rest of their lives. It’s not like you muster up faith by your own fallen will, and then to prove it you also muster up works. If that was the case both of those things would be me saving myself… If that is the case then ultimately I am the cause of my own salvation, and I have a reason to boast above the rest of humanity who will not be saved (ie I was smart, more spiritual, strong ext…). Sure God provided some means but it was up to me in the end to do it… Also, if I understand correctly, you agreeing with me on this topic would go against your churches doctrines… If I have misunderstood the many verses of your scripture and doctrinal statements that I have read, then I wish your church could be more clear because the number one complaint I hear from mormons is they are misunderstood… And also, if we are essentially both Christians why do I need to become a Mormon, whats the difference if we are practically identical. I mean I don’t go around trying to convert soundly saved Lutherans…

    Also concerning Jesus saying “Be ye perfect as your father is perfect” and other verses, I also just wanted to explain something real quick. Man failed in the garden of eden and is now justly condemned and totally fallen in nature. What Jesus is doing in the sermon on the mount is reforming the Law (10 commandments) to it’s original intent. The Pharisees had twisted it to say it was a means to salvation, and that if you just physically didn’t commit adultery you were “righteous”. They came up with many additional rules to make the Law feesible to keep. However Jesus opens up expounded the Law by saying “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) He then goes in and expounds the law by saying that even if we just lust in our HEARTS we have commited adultery. He is showing the Law is meant to show that we are sinners and are completely hopeless and therefore can only depend on God for our salvation. As Romans 3:19 says “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.” This was always the purpose of the Law. No one was saved in the OT by keeping it… look what God says…
    ” Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart (regeneration) and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)
    “The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 30:12)

    I will address that verse from Corinthians later concerning ressurection..

    Seth R.,
    You are definitly logically grasping where I am coming from, but it appears as if you still don’t understand the freewill issue and how it relates to election… Maybe I can clarify when I have more time. But you were right about the the ex-nihilo question, I wish more Christians who say they claim they believe in ex-nihilo creation would grasp it as well as you do. The Bible does say ‘In HIM we move and have our being”. Also don’t think predestination makes you not responsible for your actions… You are fallen like Adam just as the rest of us have been and are consciously choosing to reject God, and if you go to hell it will be due to your own conscious objections. Just because God didn’t extend overcoming grace to recreate you anew in His Son doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for being fallen. I am glad you admitted though that that isn’t your God and that you revile him…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 13, 2007 @ 5:15 pm |Reply

  126. Shiz offers that time began with the big bang, but not your traditional big bang. A big bang in the sense of a multi-verse where 2 universes collide creating a third new universe (from scattered material) made from materials that pre-existed the new universe (making the matter “eternal” in nature). Shiz does not want to think about the end of time.

    Comment by Shiz — December 13, 2007 @ 5:23 pm |Reply

  127. Colin

    I just want to applaud you for your example and how you have handled yourself throughout this discussion. I really don’t have any thing to offer in regards to the discussion at hand. I just wanted to say that I think you have made some very valid points, and have been very respectful. I can see where a few times this discussion could have gone off track. I am a process guy I am intrigued with how people process and debate and interact with each other. I just want to say again, I think you have handled yourself and set a great example.

    Comment by coventryrm — December 13, 2007 @ 5:30 pm |Reply

  128. Shiz believes that predestination that does not determine one’s fate is just foreordination in disguise.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 13, 2007 @ 5:43 pm |Reply

  129. Amen to #130.

    Colin, thanks for the clarification. WAY too often, discussions like this get conflated by previous discussions with other people – or descriptions given by non-believers of the religion in question – etc. I want to narrow the discussion so we can avoid long and multi-issue comments by focusing on three narrow points and asking for clarification.

    1) Again, I go back to my frustration over assumptions. There truly are areas where we disagree strongly, but the “predestination” discussion is a good one to illustrate the problem with semantics. If you are not a hyper-Calvinist, and if you do believe that one who is predestined for salvation can reject that predestination by not accepting the regenerated heart, then you basically are arguing the exact same position that Mormons accept as “foreordination” – i.e., God having a responsibility (election) for you but leaving the acceptance or rejection of that responsibility (election) up to you to exercise your will to accept or reject. Is that a fair summary of what predestination means to you?

    2) Where did you get the idea that we believe only Mormons will be saved – that you “have to become Mormon”? We don’t teach that. We believe in our perspective, but we also believe that all mankind will be judged based on their own acceptance of and obedience to God. We believe that (nearly) all people will be resurrected as a free gift of grace through Christ (We believe that I Corinthians 15 couldn’t be clearer on that point.), that many non-Mormons will be saved to receive the greatest glories of God and that many baptized Mormons will not receive that same “degree of glory” – since it’s the condition of the heart (who we become) that matters to God, NOT what we do. We believe in Corinthians 13 passionately – that we can do all the best works imaginable but, if we have not charity (are filled with the love of God) those works profit us nothing. We believe baptism is essential, but we do not belief it guarantees salvation, and we also believe it is a “technicality”, if you will, that will be taken care of at some point for all who qualify for eternal life.

    3) I came into this discussion on this thread because YOU requested it, NOT because I am trying to convert you. If you step back and look objectively at how this conversation started and the actual words each of us who are participating has used, it is crystal clear that you are the one trying to “convert” us – and I respect that tremendously. I truly do. Would I like to have someone as smart and dedicated and sincere as you obviously are in my religion? Of course. However, at the end of the day, since I believe in agency and accountability, I want you to live whatever you believe to the best of your ability – trusting that how I read the scriptural injunctions is accurate and you and I will sit down together in the presence of God through eternity even if we disagree on theological points of doctrine. If anything, I and the actual Mormon theology can be accused of being too “universalist” in how we apply the Atonement of Christ; it is patently incorrect to accuse us of being more restrictive of salvation and grace than most Christian denominations. Do you understand what I mean by that, or do you see it as just another dishonesty we lying Mormons use to ensnare? (I mean that last question sincerely, based off of your last comment: “I WISH, really I WISH Mormons would be honest with us and I would love if they would approach Christians (through blogs or anywhere else) with what they really believe instead of footsying around the issues and saying we have the same Jesus and God (if that’s so why do you witness to Christians?)” (BTW, the answer is that we are told IN THE BIBLE to witness to all – and we have absolutely no way of telling who is truly Christian in their heart and who isn’t. Why do you witness to us? I believe it’s because, not so deep down, you don’t accept us as Christians. Honestly, at this point I am NOT “witnessing” to you, since I believe you are firmly grounded as a sincerely believing Christian. I am coming at this as a discussion of beliefs, NOT as an attempt to convert. I mean that truly and humbly and sincerely. I’m not trying to save you from damnation; I’m trying to explain why I believe what I believe.)

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 6:45 pm |Reply

  130. I wanted to have you all look at one thing before I go to work and get to me on it. Watch the following video and let me know what you think of it. Because I personally believe it to be one of the best presentations of the Biblical gospel that has been given in modern times

    If this doesn’t work for you, go to any online video database and type in “Paul Washer a Shocking Message” and it will for sure pop up

    Let me know how this lines up with Mormonism

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 13, 2007 @ 7:18 pm |Reply

  131. It’s an hour long, dude! I’ll try to get to it, but, honestly, an hour is going to be hard to carve out any time soon.

    Comment by Ray — December 13, 2007 @ 8:17 pm |Reply

  132. Watched the first half of it to me he was about a 1/2 step from being a Fred Phelps so I had to stop watching, couldnt quite stomach it.

    Comment by coventryrm — December 13, 2007 @ 9:05 pm |Reply

  133. I Agree, Coventry. It’s the contrived demeanor that gets to me. There are Mormon people who act the same way. Doesn’t matter the religion, people like this are hard to take.

    Comment by MCQ — December 13, 2007 @ 9:46 pm |Reply

  134. Shizizzle observes tizzle pray’n directly ta Jesus is like unto pray’n ta St. Hustla ya dig?. Shizizzle believes this brotha on worship’n more thizzan one God so jus’ chill. Shiz has read scriptures that state, “Thou shalt not worship any dawg gods before me.” Me being God, not Shizizzle dogg. Boo ya!

    I am Shizizzle.

    Comment by Shizizzle — December 13, 2007 @ 10:07 pm |Reply

  135. Colin, the localized illusion that my will is my own, is not “free will” at all.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 13, 2007 @ 10:18 pm |Reply

  136. #131, “We believe that (nearly) all people will be resurrected as a free gift of grace through Christ ”

    I just wanted to get your meaning clarified on this, because I’m pretty sure it doesn’t represent LDS theology — I mean the (nearly) part. Everyone will be resurrected — the end of Alma 40, among others, makes that clear. Even sons of Perdition. I guess that (nearly) works if you mean Jesus Christ himself, because He didn’t get it as a free gift; he sure had to suffer for that one!

    Just wanted to see what you meant — and perhaps more fully understand the topic myself!

    All this academic stuff about what scripture must mean what isn’t something I can stomach during finals. We all know a good lawyer can indite a ham sandwich; people can spin the gospel whichever way they want to “prove” whatever they want. In the end, the only true witness of truth is from God. And if someone says that that’s just a subjective experience, and God can’t impart truth — that’s something I can’t believe because it requires relying on man and his reasoning (the “arm of the flesh”) to understand everything, and not God.

    Don’t even think that I mean we ought to pursue blind emotion. As is written in the Doctrine and Covenants, God will witness the truth to you in both your mind and your heart — it will make sense (though perhaps only on a basic level at present), and it will feel right (even if you don’t exactly know why).

    As far as I know, this is the only path to God’s truth: ask Him, and ponder the topic in your mind and feel for His Spirit in your heart.

    Comment by Ashui — December 13, 2007 @ 10:40 pm |Reply

  137. Besides, I think we can all agree that the mysteries of God are great, and no one can understand all of his ways (Job 5:9; Psalm 145:3, etc) — and prideful is the one that assumes he can! Even as the ancients looked up at the night sky and knew only of star positioning and nothing of the composition of the galaxies, even so we may only be capable of understanding the most basic of God’s truths — and were He to reveal all to us now, we would likely not understand, and some things might even seem contradictory to our rudimentary minds. The best part is, He knows we are limited beings, and understands best how to help us in our weakness.

    In the end, God looks upon the heart, and will judge all men according to what is therein. I encourage everyone to follow that light which God has given him or her — and if we follow that light, with a mind open to accept whatever further light, knowledge, revelation, or whatever we call it, that He is willing to give you as you follow — we’ll be okay. We’ll have to go line for line and precept for precept (2 Nephi 28:30; Isaiah 28:9-13), even if our hopes of understanding all in the now feel like those of an elementary school student who has accidentally stumbled across a text of advanced calculus and partial differential equations. I often feel like we are merely children, debating each other about the meanings of the cryptic symbols in a tome of advanced mathematics.

    This is not to say the students should not gaze with wonder over the ancient tome and talk amongst themselves of its meaning; nor does it mean they should not importune the math professor for some help. Even so, God will enlighten our understanding as we ask and are ready to receive it — yet the wisdom and learning of men fails when approaching the sacred (Isaiah 29:14).

    Comment by Ashui — December 13, 2007 @ 11:09 pm |Reply

  138. Oh, and Steffie, way back in #4, I thought I’d mention:

    In those scriptures it also doesn’t say that God cannot add to the sacred cannon — it only prohibits men. What mortal man would exalt himself above his Creator, to put a limit on an omnipotent God, saying that He can no longer give us more of His words?

    Comment by Ashui — December 13, 2007 @ 11:16 pm |Reply

  139. Shiz declares that although shiz is a derivative of shizzle, that Shiz is not Shizizzle.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 14, 2007 @ 12:38 am |Reply

  140. Ashui, you took the words right out of my mouth (but you said it better). Ultimately, the question is not how we interpret the scriptures, but how we decide which interpretation is correct. Colin and other creedal Christians are always saying that you decide that by more study of the Bible and more debate. But those debates have been going on for centuries and we are no closer to a final decision. God is the only possibility of arriving at a conclusion, and he has said repeatedly that he is there for us and will respond. (Matt 7-11). Why should we not appeal to him? Not for an emotional response but for a spiritual one. I believe those who deny that God can or will speak to us on these issues are blind guides.

    Comment by MCQ — December 14, 2007 @ 2:06 am |Reply

  141. Shiz, it figures. Remenber that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Comment by MCQ — December 14, 2007 @ 2:08 am |Reply

  142. #143- Amen, MCQ. Shiz, you are the first to be imitated so openly. You, therefore, are da (wo)man.

    Ashui, that is exactly why I have not tried to treat these discussions as an attempt to convert. That is next to impossible in a forum like this, since conversion requires a transmission of the Spirit. That is possible electronically, but it requires a contrite heart and a broken spirit – and that is in short supply in most blog discussions. (Having said that, I regularly tear up while reading some posts and comments at Times and Seasons – especially when reading Wilfried’s posts – and when I read Steffie’s sweet sentiments before all of us jump in and make it an academic debate.) Also, #140 is spot on. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Colin, I can’t comment on the video, since I still haven’t had an uninterrupted hour to devote to it.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 3:12 am |Reply

  143. Dear MCQ,
    First of all I would like to address what you all said about Paul Washer. His demeanor is not contrived at all. The guy went off to Peru in the middle of a war when he was 18 to preach in the jungles. He lived there for years and lived often in shelters he built and lived off of what he could scrounge together. He now runs a missionary organization called Heart Cry Missionary Society, it supports native missionaries (missionaries who are from their native countries). He goes off of George Mullers philosopher, who was a 19th century pastor who ran orphanages and never asked and begged for donations but only relied on God (it is estimated he ended up raising 150 million in his lifetime). Paul Washer is the same way, I think if you will get past the cultural stereotypes (fred phelps) you will find his sermon profound even if you disagree with it.

    Next I would like to finish off this topic of freewill, and its limitations. Here is a good analogy… If you throw a shark a piece of lettuce and a steak which one will it go for? It has the capability to eat both of them if it WANTS to, but it’s nature dictates that it will always go for the steak. The same goes with you, it is not as if you are stripped of some sort of physical or organic ability due to the fall (just like how the shark COULD eat the lettuce) and God is just a big meany for expecting some ability out of you that is impossible. Rather you choose not to, because due to your wicked heart you are at war with God and despise and hate him (as was demonstrated by Seth R.’s rejection of any God that sounds like that of the Bible). Until God overcomes your fallen nature, you will always choose against him and every one of those choices (robbing a bank, lying, killing, raping) is actually your choice. Just as when God gives man a new nature (regeneration), every choice he makes in line with that nature is his choice. So why doesn’t God extend this grace to everyone, isn’t that unjust? That is what Seth R. basically said, when he said that my God was immoral… Again if we are talking about Justice then all human beings deserve to go to hell… however, there is something called mercy which is where God freely chooses to not execute justice… Now, if God is OBLIGATED to extend mercy to everyone to the point where he is “unjust” if he doesn’t, then THATS NOT MERCY! You can say God saved me because he was obligated to, but you cannot say God saved me because he had a special love for me and extended mercy to me. People will often compare God to a fire man concerning this issue. They will say yes, a fireman who saved 5 people out of 10 who were burning to death in a building is better than nothing, but if he had the ability to save all 10 (which God does) but doesn’t then he is a monster. However, this is a flawed analogy because all of those people in that analogy were innocent. A Biblical example of this scenario would be this. 10 people were living under a perfectly benevolent king, they then rebelled against him, destroyed his kingdom, expressed every kind of hatred towards him, and killed his son. They are then burning to death in a building that they lit on fire, and would rather die in the fire then face the king, but YET the king steps in a saves some. Most people would judge that king to be extremely merciful, however with God the standards are different because man just has too much pride in himself to see God, reality, and eternity in a perspective that goes beyond themselves.

    also MCQ, concerning one of your most recent comments on debating and determining what the Bible says… You said that debates have been going on for centuries and there is still no resolution. In your mind would resolution mean a majority agreement or opinion? Because if that so, I feel that is putting way to much faith in man.

    Again when I get time to do a study on the Corinthians verse I will get back to you all on it… Goodnight…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 14, 2007 @ 5:02 am |Reply

  144. “due to your wicked heart you are at war with God and despise and hate him, as was demonstrated by Seth R.’s rejection of any God that sounds like that of the Bible.”

    GIVE IT A REST, Colin. Can’t you understand how ridiculous comments like this are? The God of the Bible has been interpreted in so many ways that it is impossible to make a statement like that with an open mind. Seth doesn’t despise and hate and reject the God of the Bible; he said a God who does not give true choice – truly free will – doesn’t appeal to him – based, to a large degree, on how he reads the BIBLE. That is a FAR cry from what you charge.

    I have tried very hard to read what you write and understand what you mean and carry on a productive discussion. I really have tried to do that. I have asked for clarification; I have read every word you wrote carefully and with thought; I have searched for where we agree so I can focus on where we disagree; and on and on and on. You have not reciprocated once. In each comment, you have dropped a subtle hint or a blatant bomb about our motives – in two instances, by calling all Mormons liars and God-haters. You chastised MCQ (and rightly so) for dismissing Paul Washer because of his presentation style – but you have dismissed each and every one of us in MUCH more harsh terms than that.

    GIVE IT A REST. I would love to continue this discussion, but it has to be a discussion – not just an exercise in name-calling. I am trying very hard to exercise the long-suffering and patience extolled by Paul, but it’s getting harder and harder to do.

    Steffie, this is why I admire you SO much.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 5:39 am |Reply

  145. One more: “That is what Seth R. basically said, when he said that my God was immoral.”

    He didn’t say that, Colin. He said, “This raises the specter of a God who deliberately creates things so that He can damn them to hell. If God just created me so that He can damn me, I might well ask – well why did you bother in the first place? Why not just leave me uncreated? Is this some sort of game for you? Is God the bored child who throws a grasshopper in his ant farm to watch the ensuing carnage for amusement value?” He said that a God who would do that (create beings who can feel pain simply to inflict eternally horrific pain upon them through no fault of their own) is morally reprehensible. I agree. Can you really argue against that phrasing?

    After reading the rest of your last comment, it appears that you still think Mormons believe we “earn” or “deserve” salvation. We have said over and over and over again that such is not our belief. Even after all we can do, we believe it is the grace of Christ that saves us – that allows us to overcome our “natural (fallen) man” and “come unto Christ.” Without that grace and atonement, we are damned no matter what we do. I said so VERY clearly in an earlier comment – that being a Mormon does not guarantee Heaven and not being a Mormon does not exclude one from Heaven. Why do you keep screaming at us to accept something we already accept? Did you even read what I wrote?

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 5:55 am |Reply

  146. Ray,
    Now you sound post-modern… So there is no absolute truth that we can know, especially when it comes to the chief of all absolutes God’s Word? I repeatedly demonstrated that every Bible quote you gave me to support your doctrines and theology was out of context and poor exegesis. I even defended my own exegesis of scripture when it was criticized. I am using harsh words, because this is a harsh reality. When you see a friend or family member about to swallow poison unknowingly you don’t go in a sweet voice “honey, I think that what you are about to do might be dangerous, I mean I don’t want you to feel dumb, so whatever seems right to you, but I personally disagree with it”. No you would say “PUT IT DOWN!”. The plain testimony of scripture is that the 2nd commandment which exposes the chain of sin is that we create gods that we are more comfortable with. I logically demonstrated that the God of mormonism as articulated (especially by Seth R) in this blog, is clearly not the supreme source of everything and therefore not the creator. He therefore is not God, but a being who assists us in our own journey to godhood. Romans 1 clearly states that due to the fall into sin man turns from the Glory of the IMMORTAL God to images RESEMBLING MORTAL MAN and animals and anthing else in the created order. You said that we have the same gospel, but I put a sermon out there by a man that is being used mightly by God that clearly articulates the Biblical gospel with passion (is passion offensive?) and you couldn’t stomach it. But yet I can meet true Christians who demonstrate fruit that they have been saved and when they encounter Paul Washer they absolutely love his message. It seems as if there is two different spirits here, and it goes much deeper then agreeing on some vague similarities.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 14, 2007 @ 5:58 am |Reply

  147. Sorry; one last example: I asked three focused questions in #131. Please try to answer at least one of them directly.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 6:02 am |Reply

  148. “I repeatedly demonstrated that every Bible quote you gave me to support your doctrines and theology was out of context and poor exegesis.”

    “I logically demonstrated that the God of mormonism as articulated (especially by Seth R) in this blog, is clearly not the supreme source of everything and therefore not the creator.”

    No, you didn’t. I’m really tired of this.

    “You said that we have the same gospel”

    No, I didn’t.

    “but I put a sermon out there by a man that is being used mightly by God that clearly articulates the Biblical gospel with passion”

    I wouldn’t know; I haven’t had time to view it.

    (is passion offensive?)

    Of course not.

    and you couldn’t stomach it.”

    Wrong again; I haven’t even watched it – and I agreed with you when you chastised MCQ for dismissing it.

    “It seems as if there is two different spirits here, and it goes much deeper then agreeing on some vague similarities.”

    You are right there. I am trying desperately to understand what you are saying, and you are not.

    Colin, I will NOT get into a name-calling contest. I will not call you a liar and a God-hater. We disagree on many things; we agree on more things than you will admit. I have been insulted far more harshly than what you have done thus far, including having a room “freed from the spirit of the serpent that is among us” simply for answering questions I was asked in a calm and loving manner. If this is the tone that you want to take in the name of Christ, I simply will submit that it is not in harmony with the teachings of Jesus himself – or of Paul’s admonitions in I Corinthians 13. I agree that witnessing is vital, but nowhere does the Bible tell us to do so through insults and ignoring what someone is trying to say. I will not engage in that, even if it leaves you thinking you have won.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 6:13 am |Reply

  149. Sorry; one more: “So there is no absolute truth that we can know, especially when it comes to the chief of all absolutes God’s Word?”

    Of course not. I never said nor intimated that. The BIBLE gives the way to know the truth of all things – through the gift of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the 3rd member of the Godhead, He who was given to us in the Savior’s absence to be our link to Him and His Father. He will reveal the truth of all things to us and give us comfort and peace in this life until we are able to return to the presence of the Lord, fall at His feet and praise Him for His tender mercy that allows us to come nigh unto the throne of God. I rely on Him as I read and ponder and pray, since that is what my Lord and Savior graciously commanded me to do.

    You ask, at least implicitly, Colin, why I believe what I believe. It is because I have studied just about every religious teaching available and what I have come to accept is what I believe the Holy Ghost has confirmed to my heart as the source of ultimate joy, peace, love and unity with my God, my Father, and His Son, Jesus, the Christ. It’s what I feel to the depths of my soul, and it has brought insight and understanding and assurance and miraculous inspiration that I cannot begin to describe adequately here. I literally have seen the physical elements abated; I have participated in healing the sick and binding up the broken heart; I have seen the wonderful fruit of sweet repentance; I have felt to sing the song of redeeming love; I have experiences a mighty change of heart and a desire to praise my God for His loveing grace; I have seen lives change and souls shine forth out of previous darkness – all because of the atoning sacrifice of a God who condescended to give His life for those who accept Him.

    These discussions are important to me, but it is FAR more important to me to continue the actual ministerial work that I do each day – strengthening the feeble knee and raising the failing spirit and visiting the sick and lonely and widowed in their affliction. I love God and try my hardest to love Him and my neighbor as He has asked me to do. My intellectual understanding of Him is important to me, but my spiritual relationship with Him is more important – and my faith has brought that relationship. What’s in my head can change as I strive to study and learn; what’s in my heart never will.

    To call me a liar and a God-hater is the most vile and offensive thing you could do. All else aside, I simply would ask that you re-visit Matthew 7:1-5. I am not arrogant enough to assume I know your heart, and I will not venture a guess in ignorance. Rather, I will take you at your word and assume that God has touched you and inspired you – and wish you all the happiness that God will give you. I mean that sincerely.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 6:34 am |Reply

  150. Colin

    I was the one that said I couldn’t stomach Washer, Not MCQ or Ray.

    I am sorry but I just find it disgusting when someone uses God to point their finger and justify hate. I stopped watching the video after I heard God and Hate used in the same sentence more than twice. But then again I am just a Godless Atheist so what do I care. Makes sense to me get a bunch of youth together and knock em down and make em feel like crap. Now if you say to me in the last half of his speech he gives them hope and builds them up. Who cares he had to knock em down first. My experience of raising 4 kids is that to much self esteem never seems to be the problem.

    Comment by coventryrm — December 14, 2007 @ 6:59 am |Reply

  151. 11 minutes into the video, and he has just said that repentance is vital to salvation – that Christians should be different than the world and that not everyone who professes to be Christian will be saved.

    Sounds Mormon so far. Update later.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 7:50 am |Reply

  152. “American Christianity is almost totally wrong.”

    Sounds Mormon to me. Colin, you condemned us for saying the same thing in an earlier comment.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 7:52 am |Reply

  153. 17 minutes in, and so far all that he has said about hate is that the natural man hates God (“is an enemy to God” in Mormon speak) and that God hates evil things.

    Sounds Mormon so far.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 7:59 am |Reply

  154. “Spend the rest of your life repenting of your sins and believing in me.”

    Mormonism so far.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 8:03 am |Reply

  155. “The genuine sign of being a Christian is that you walk in the narrow way.” Iow, it’s what you do.

    Sounds Mormon so far.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 8:13 am |Reply

  156. No clapping and emotionalism and revivalism but rather teaching of the word.

    Sounds Mormon to me.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 8:17 am |Reply

  157. “You know you are saved when your life changes and you walk in the way of God.”

    Sound Mormon to me.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 8:19 am |Reply

  158. “By their fruits – different than the world (including most “Christians”), hate sin, focus on Jesus every day, act as He demands that you act, etc.”

    Mormon

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 8:22 am |Reply

  159. I am 35 minutes into the video, and I have to go to bed. So far, Colin, I have not heard anything on the video that condemns me or my religion. Everything I have heard, although sometimes phrased slightly differently than I would do so, is EXACTLY in line doctrinally with what I hear each week in my Mormon church.

    The last 20 minutes might take a sudden turn, but I doubt it, and I have to go to sleep. This will sound sarcastic, but I mean it sincerely. Thank you for justifying my faith by posting this video. He is preaching to apostate Christianity (in his OWN words, to a Christian people who have rejected the true Gospel) by preaching what Mormons call the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s good to see this message, even if it is blunt in its presentation, and I wish him the best – based on what I have seen in the first 35 minutes.

    Coverntry, I know it does not appeal to you as an atheist, but MCQ, I would not judge it by the style. What he said in what I saw validates the need for a restoration of the original but lost Gospel and the need to believe in true repentance – not lip service repentance. In his own words, he is restating JSH 1:19 – especially the part where the Lord says that “they draw near unto me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” I’m not sure Colin will accept this, but Washer is teaching the heart of the Restored Gospel to evangelicals who have forgotten it. Frankly, I think his phraseology sounds harsh to us, because he is not preaching primarily to us. It’s like being told to stop getting drunk every night when you never drink. You think, “What’s this crazy man talking about?” He’s not wrong in what I saw; it just doesn’t ring as true on the surface because of the accusatory tone when we agree with him.

    The regeneration he describes is no different than the mighty change of heart that the Book of Mormon describes – the change that leaves us with no more desire to sin – that makes us look upon sin with abhorrence – that changes our very nature and brings us to Christ. Really, thanks, Colin, for confirming my faith and the teachings of my church. Much more gently than before, good night.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 8:38 am |Reply

  160. Just beautiful, Ray. Your testament of Christ has strengthened me.

    I especially like what you said about the admonition of Paul — a good reminder to me in both participating in such discussion and in living the gospel to be fervent in the Lord’s work but not overbearing. The overarching, central principle of the gospel is love, and without it, all is but sounding brass and tinkling cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).

    Indeed, in order to win souls for Christ, one must love a people — even love them enough to understand them and become like them. If one wants to preach to the Jews, he must become like a Jew. If he wants to preach to the Mormons, he must become like a Mormon. “I became all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22). Love and understanding, and not accusations and contentions, will bring people to Jesus. “Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor the Gentiles, nor the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32).

    Comment by Ashui — December 14, 2007 @ 9:13 am |Reply

  161. Ray,
    First of all I would just like to apologize, I thought that you were basically agreeing with CoventRM about Paul Washer and I found that very troubling… ” You chastised MCQ (and rightly so) for dismissing Paul Washer because of his presentation style” I got a little dislectsic (right spelling) and red this to say MCQ chastising Paul Washer was justified. Opps… 😦 I want you to understand I am not calling people “God-haters” in a self-righteous way as if I am on my own better. I am a God hater too in my flesh and constantly rebell against him and/or have thoughts against him. It is only by the grace of God that I have overcome the flesh, and me sounding harsh was only because I wanted to remove the mote from my brothers eye (Matthew 6). Concerning calling you a liar, when did I ever accuse of that for a specific thing you said. Besides we are all liars so I do not understand why that is offensive. In my flesh I am a God-hater, Liar, Adulterer, Murderer, Coveter, Boaster, Rebellious, Blasphemer. Also you must understand that Paul, Jesus, and John were VERY harsh with their words towards false religious teachers and prophets. Everything I have read or heard from Mormons indicates that that is what they are. I have had a Mormon I was witnessing to once be very deceptive until the conversation went into a very bad direction after he FINALLY admitted what they really believed. The origins of mormonism also concern me in this respect (Joseph Smith being a 33rd degree masonry, which is evidenced in Temple Rituals, aprons ext…), even though I know the mormonism is different than the mormonism of back then, but that is still it’s origins. Basically what I’m trying to say is that when it comes to the content of the gospel and God’s character there is plenty of room to get harsh (in love) as is demonstrated in the Bible (Jesus with the Pharisees, Galatians, Elijah on Mount Carmel). And Ray do not try and say you didn’t get short tempered in question #146.

    Concerning Paul Washer he IS NOT preaching mormonism (at least not the official LDS form) and he definitly would disagree with that. Him saying that American Christianity is almost totally wrong is in the context of daily piety, evangelism, and shallowness of theology. He is not saying “all their creeds are an abomination” like Joseph Smith said. Also he was referring to repentance and continuing on in repentace and faith the rest of your life as a soveriegn work of God in the human heart that isn’t merited (Calvinism). He wasn’t talking about people mustering up the strenth to persevere on their own and help God save themselves…

    Concerning #147 you said…
    “(create beings who can feel pain simply to inflict eternally horrific pain upon them through no fault of their own) is morally reprehensible. I agree. Can you really argue against that phrasing?”
    Yes I can and I did in question #145, man is not innocent… Besides I’m guesing you believe that God is all-knowing, and knows the future. If that is the case he created beings that he knew would rebell and end up in hell, so why did he create them? Just because I place ALL of SALVATION in God’s hands doesn’t mean that i have more of a “problem” then you do. I argue this with Ariminians all the time and they will say, well it was worth it to give men “freewill”. But that sounds to me like worship of the human will if you will argue from the same stance.

    “Even after all we can do, we believe it is the grace of Christ that saves us – that allows us to overcome our “natural (fallen) man” and “come unto Christ.” The key phrase here is “all we can do”…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 14, 2007 @ 1:44 pm |Reply

  162. In recent years some Christians have insisted that the Mormon Church has been slowly abandoning its heretical roots and coming closer to embracing a more biblical soteriology. While we would like nothing more than to see this actually happen, we have been reluctant to engage in similar optimism. A speech given by Seventy Bruce Hafen in General Conference in April 2004 confirms our doubts.

    In his talk titled “The Atonement: All for All,” Hafen made it very clear to his listeners that the LDS Church is not moving towards a Protestant view of grace and works. Hafen commented on how “some of our friends can’t see how our Atonement beliefs relate to our beliefs about becoming more like our Heavenly Father.” He went on to say, “Others mistakenly think our Church is moving toward an understanding of the relationship between grace and works that draws on Protestant teachings.” Such “misconceptions,” he said, prompted him to address this topic in his conference message (Ensign magazine, May 2004, p.97).

    Hafen insisted that it was not enough simply to believe in Christ. Using the story of the Pearl of Great Price as his proof text, he insisted that for Mormons to qualify for “such exquisite treasure,” they must “give the way Christ gave — every drop He had.” While such language sounds pious, the fact of the matter is I don’t know too many people who “give every drop” on a consistent basis like Christ did.

    He continued by stating, “If we must give all that we have, then our giving almost everything is not enough. If we almost keep the commandments, we almost receive the blessings.” (p.98, emphasis his).

    If Hafen was discussing personal sanctification, I wouldn’t protest so much. However, to insist that personal effort and the ability to keep commandments are the necessary requirement for eternal life is anathema to the biblical message of grace.

    I personally found Hafen’s talk intriguing and couldn’t but wonder if Hafen’s speech was meant to clarify the LDS Church’s position in light of many comments made by popular BYU professor Robert Millet. Dr. Millet has written numerous books on the subject of grace from his personal perspective. Though I am not yet convinced that he has grasped the biblical message of grace, Millet has often made comments that contradict LDS leaders on this subject.

    Was Hafen offering a public rebuke? Was he engaging in damage control? I have no doubt that many members of the LDS Church have been confused by what appears to be mixed signals when it comes to obtaining salvation.

    Hafen also used his talk to criticize the Christian view of the fall of man. He insisted that for centuries, Christianity has been wrong in its belief that “Adam and Eve’s fall was a tragic mistake, which led to the belief that humankind as an inherently evil nature.” The fall, he said, “was not a disaster.”

    First of all, I object to Hafen’s stereotype that all Christians believe the fall was “a mistake or an accident.” Certainly it was a mistake on the part of Adam to sin against God’s decree, but I do not believe for a moment that the fall took God by surprise or that it was not in His divine plan.

    Hafen’s comment on man’s nature is not out of step with what has been taught by LDS leaders of the past. On March 23, 1862, Brigham Young said, “Many of us have been taught the doctrine of total depravity—that man is not naturally inclined to do good. I am satisfied that he is more inclined to do right than to do wrong. There is a greater power within him to shun evil and perform good, than to do the opposite” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.78).

    Young’s position seems to conflict with the Book of Mormon when it says, “Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death. Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state” (Alma 42:9,10, emphasis mine).

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 14, 2007 @ 1:45 pm |Reply

  163. I agree with BY on this one!!

    “Many of us have been taught the doctrine of total depravity—that man is not naturally inclined to do good. I am satisfied that he is more inclined to do right than to do wrong. There is a greater power within him to shun evil and perform good, than to do the opposite”

    AMEN Brigham!

    Comment by coventryrm — December 14, 2007 @ 2:32 pm |Reply

  164. I am going to make that my LDS quote of the day even… 🙂

    Comment by coventryrm — December 14, 2007 @ 2:33 pm |Reply

  165. Colin. Read the Book of Mormon. We have ALWAYS had those teachings that Millet is arguing. From Joseph Smith to today. Just because the lay membership decides to take particular hold on one set of its scriptures doesn’t mean that the others never existed. The idea of salvation by grace is PERVASIVE throughout the Book of Mormon if you’re paying attention.

    So it’s a bit ignorant to claim that “grace” is something the LDS Church only discovered in the last 20 years.

    As to the idea of a cruel God creating people simply to damn them – you just aren’t answering the question.

    I laid out logically why God is directly responsible, under the traditional Christian view, for the evil within me.

    You simply respond – “no! You’re depraved. You have no right to complain and should be grateful for what you get.”

    That’s not an answer at all. I suppose by your reasoning, a robot created and programed to murder children should be grateful to its maker for creating it in the first place – and besides, what right does a depraved robot have to criticize its all-powerful programmer?

    You’re trying to evade the question of what is really screwed up about the traditional Christian God by shifting the blame to the people.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 14, 2007 @ 3:11 pm |Reply

  166. Yes, I don’t think that it’s the teachings of the church that have changed, but what those on the outside of the church think that LDS members believe has changed.

    Frankly, I tire of discussions over “grace” versus “works” when it is abundantly apparent from the Bible and Book of Mormon that you need both — and to say otherwise is to ignore what has been written by the oracles of God.

    Let me tell you a little experience I had all the time on my mission in Taiwan. Most of the people there held a traditional belief that was a mixture of Daoism and Buddhism, and did not have any understanding of Christianity beyond knowing that Jesus died on the cross for some reason or other. Whenever we told of His story and His marvelous sacrifice, they would always say that he was a great person, that it took great character to do what He did, and that they respected and revered the Christian religion for that. It would often seem like a perfect situation to tell them more about His gospel. But inevitably, most people would say the following:

    “All religions are the same. They all teach people to do good things.” They admired our determination and agreed that the teachings of Christ were bringing happiness to the people, but it always came down to this: “Christianity has helped you become a good person. Buddhism has helped me to become a good person. Both religions are good, and it doesn’t matter who we believe in, as long as we do good things. God loves everyone, and he has all these religions on earth so that people will do good things. I have a Christian friend next door; he’d probably like to hear what you have to say.”

    In essence, what did most of them say? They said that they believed in salvation only by works, and that M. Contrast this view with what a typical Christian would say to me:

    “You Mormons believe that it’s all about works, when the Bible clearly states that it is only by Grace that we are saved. All I have to do is profess a belief in Jesus Christ to be saved — anything more is blasphemy. Here, my next-door neighbor is a Daoist, go convert him so he can be saved, too.”

    So, basically, we had the Christians saying we believed salvation was only about works, and the Buddhists saying we believed salvation was only about faith and grace. Is there no way to reconcile these two positions?

    Yes. It is easy, if one will just believe in the Holy Scriptures. I’ll show a few examples from the Bible:

    “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 — GRACE

    “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3 — WORKS

    “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15 — WORKS

    “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.” Acts 15:11 — GRACE

    “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” James 2:17 — GRACE and WORKS

    “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” James 2:24 — BOTH

    Obviously, works are important, or Christ would not say that those who love him do his works (the commandments). On the other hand, did not Paul say several times that salvation came by grace, and not works?

    And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:6

    “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” 2 Timothy 1:9

    How can we reconcile this with what James said? Both have to be true, because they are both in the Bible, right?

    Well, you can think about that for awhile, but the conclusion I have come to is that both are important for salvation. Indeed, as Paul said, salvation comes only by grace — we could not do it without Jesus Christ. If it were not for his atonement, pulling us out of the midst of sin and cleansing us of it, we would be hopeless and damned forever. He didn’t have to suffer for us, but He chose to — that’s where his grace comes in. So, yes, it is only by grace that we are saved.

    But where do works fit in? By my understanding, they of themselves do not produce salvation, and it indeed is as you say, salvation is by grace alone. However, to extend that grace to us, Jesus has set some requirements. He knows we all are imperfect and will sin, but he has set a path whereby by following His teachings we can become perfect, even as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

    What would his atonement do if it left mankind in their carnal and sinful state? Nothing. Man must change and become sinless, following in Jesus’ footsteps. Man must first believe in Jesus Christ (first faith), then repent of his sins (then comes some works), and then we symbolize our belief in him by undergoing the work of baptism. He changes us from the carnal to the spiritual, but it is only by following the path that he has set forth, that is to say, keeping his commandments, that our faith is tempered, even as James says. Only then can the carnal become spiritual.

    Well, that’s an altogether incomplete explanation, I think, but I guess it’s more important for us all to spend time in the scriptures, pondering and praying over their meaning. They aren’t contradictory; it just takes a little inspiration from God to reveal their consistent nature, I guess.

    Imperfect Ashui, checking out.

    Comment by Ashui — December 14, 2007 @ 7:23 pm |Reply

  167. Ashui

    Great point, basically you are saying that if you truly believe in a certain philosophy or principle about life, first you start by practicing living your life in accordance with those beliefs, if those principles or beliefs bring your life into a certain balance, peace spirituality whatever you want to call it, as you practice and hone those skills hopefully you will grow to understand and live them more and more as a way of life than an actual thought out process. In business there was this analogy I always liked, there are 4 stages of progression unconscious incompetent – conscious incompetent- conscious competent – unconscious competent.

    1st – We don’t know that we are incompetent
    2nd – We know that we are incompetent
    3rd – We know how to be competent
    4th – We are competent.

    I guess that is how I would describe faith and works, first you have to recognize that there are some basic principles to living a happy life. Then we have faith and stumble through trying to apply those principles, next we can apply them pretty regularly but still have to think about it, then we just live our life in accordance without much thought. I think that is the whole deal with faith and works.

    Hope that made sense.

    Comment by coventryrm — December 14, 2007 @ 7:56 pm |Reply

  168. Ashui, you just summarized Washer’s video.

    Colin, Ashui just summarized Washer’s video.

    Colin, The quotes (FROM WASHER) I provided in my comments are the highlight summary quotes from his video. They weren’t pulled out of context; I listened to each section of his sermon and quoted the exact words he used. Every one of them could have been taken from any number of Mormon sources; they are perfectly representative of what I have heard in literally hundreds of talks at every level throughout the Mormon Church. I didn’t say that Washer was preaching Mormonism; I said that what he was SAYING is exactly what we teach. Yes, the presentation style puts off many Mormons, but the message is consistent with what we teach every day, week, month and year.

    My most important comment of the entire thread:

    YOU posted the video; YOU asked us to watch it; I did so. According to what Washer said ON THE VIDEO YOU POSTED I have been saved by God’s grace. My heart has been changed; I walk in a newness of life; I accept my naturally fallen state; I have entered the gate and am walking in the narrow way – constantly being brought back to it by God as I start to stray. My life is what Washer describes as the saved life; my heart is what Washer calls regenerated; my works are what Washer calls the fruits of the movement of God through me. YET, you, without knowing anything about me except my religious affiliation, have condemned me as not being saved **in direct contradiction of the description you submitted from a preacher you say speaks only truth**.

    I have been saved by the criteria YOU asserted were preached by Washer as a man of God. **I live the life; I walk the walk; I claim no power to do so outside of the grace of God; I am EXACTLY what Washer described as regenerated and saved.** I cannot state that every Mormon fits this description, since I know that is not true. I’m sure the Mormon you mention in your experience – if your description is accurate, and I assume it is – is NOT regenerated and saved. However, I know that I am – **by the description Washer provided that you said was true.**

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 8:15 pm |Reply

  169. I should have posted this before the last one:

    Colin, you said in your last comment that you are troubled by Elder Hafen’s talk, but I have no idea why. Here is your summary paragraph in which you condemned what he said as heresy:

    “If Hafen was discussing personal sanctification, I wouldn’t protest so much. However, to insist that personal effort and the ability to keep commandments are the necessary requirement for eternal life is anathema to the biblical message of grace.”

    Colin, as bluntly as I can put this, Washer said EXACTLY the same thing that Elder Hafen said – that the great HERESY of modern Christianity is to think that a one-time prayer and/or confession will save you. Washer said that we are required to persevere in our repentance efforts and live differently than the world by bearing the fruits of obedience to the life God has demanded that we live (“keep the commandments”). You can’t have it both ways, Colin. Either repentance, consciously chosen and requiring commitment and effort, is necessary to salvation – as Washer and Elder Hafen state – or it is not. YOU introduced Washer as the great modern authority on this topic, and he agrees with Elder Hafen.

    Comment by Ray — December 14, 2007 @ 8:32 pm |Reply

  170. Seth R.,
    Your analogy falls apart because God never programmed anybody to sin, rather man chose to pursue godhood by turning from God to lower created things (Satan, himself, the creation) by being self suffecient. He then became devoid of grace and any ability to turn back (Read the end of John 3 carefully and observe the nature of those who are in “darkness”). Essentially he can be compared to a man sinking in quicksand who can do nothing but sink, or to someone trying to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. You are failing to understand original sin and that you are just as guilty as Adam for committing that first sin which led to your demise, a choice which gave you a fallen nature which you cannot and will not change on your own This is a very deep topic that would take much discussion to work out…

    Concerning the Faith and Works I believe you all still aren’t understanding my position so I will need some time to formulate a way to show the distinction.

    Ray,
    No Paul Washer clearly stated that the reason why you have works half way through. He stated it is because of two reasons. 1)Because “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Phillipians 1:6) and 2) You have a father in heaven who loves you and will NOT allow you to continue on in sin. This is not something the human will contributes to earn God’s favor apart from his grace. Rather it is God working in them…

    I feel as if we are footsying around the issues which may seem small but they are major. Things like; according to LDS doctrine the Bible has been corrupted, you accept scriptures beyond that of the apostolic canon, your god was created by another god, your jesus was the first spirit child he had, god the father had sexual relations with mary, your idea of salvation is ascent to godhood where you will become a god like the father… These are the major issues

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 14, 2007 @ 8:41 pm |Reply

  171. Wow, I’m done talking. Thanks for those last few comments Ashui, Coventry and Ray. They were absolute perfection.

    Comment by MCQ — December 14, 2007 @ 9:52 pm |Reply

  172. Shizizzle sez you thugz is blabber’n on `bout tha same old shizn over n poser . Dogg House Records in ya mothas house. Shizizzle thinks tizzy Shiz is jizzy a jealous Jaredite wit no bling like Shizizzle, Colin in need of a spiritual enema wit da cracka faith gloves, n Ashui hazda Mo-mon Zen and gonna make it to da Father’s house wit mo money.

    I is Shizizzle wit da bling y’all

    Comment by Shizizzle — December 14, 2007 @ 10:16 pm |Reply

  173. **HAHAHAHAHA** sorry, I can’t help it — Shizizzle, that was hilarious! I literally laughed out loud! “Mo-mon Zen”!

    Coventry, I love the analogy you gave, and the very concise summary of faith and works. That’s something I often lack — the ability to say it all in a brief, pithy statement. Beautiful.

    Anyhow, Merry Christmas, everybody. I just finished my final, and I’m catching a plane home in a few hours! In the spirit of this thread, I’d just like to say that I know who Jesus Christ is: He is my personal savior, and the redeemer of the world. I pray that our Heavenly Father will help us to love as He did. Merry Christmas!

    Comment by Ashui — December 14, 2007 @ 11:40 pm |Reply

  174. Ashui, Call me and I will teach you how to write concise, pithy comments – since I’m never verbose. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — December 15, 2007 @ 12:11 am |Reply

  175. Ashui

    It’s a wonderful knowledge to have isn’t it 🙂

    Merry Christmas to you too

    Comment by steffielynn — December 15, 2007 @ 1:33 am |Reply

  176. I don’t understand shizizzle language,

    But Shiz is the bomb digity, and the one and only….

    But maybe you will grow on us too Shizizzle 🙂 That is if I can catch on with your sweet lingo

    Comment by steffielynn — December 15, 2007 @ 1:38 am |Reply

  177. Steff, I will hereby translate fo’ Shizizzle (wit my urim and da thummim):

    Shizizzle says:

    You people talk way too much. Shiz is jealous of me. Colin needs some special love. Ashui has perfect faith and will go to straight to heaven.

    I am Shizizzle and MCQ is the wisest commenter on this blog.

    There you go.

    Comment by MCQ — December 15, 2007 @ 3:41 am |Reply

  178. Wow, MCQ; that is a perfect translation – right down to the last sentence. NICE!

    Comment by Ray — December 15, 2007 @ 3:43 am |Reply

  179. MCQ

    Thanks for translating! I would have totally missed that last part 🙂

    but you did miss the “and steffie is the cooliest” part !!!!

    🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 15, 2007 @ 3:45 am |Reply

  180. This is age discrimination. Just because I’m (probably the oldest), it doesn’t mean I’m not hip to this jive.

    Crap; wrong generation.

    Comment by Ray — December 15, 2007 @ 3:51 am |Reply

  181. Ha ha,
    geepers Ray, don’t feel left out! Your super groovy!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 15, 2007 @ 4:12 am |Reply

  182. “god the father had sexual relations with mary”

    That’s not taught. A few in the past have speculated that, but it is not taught. Nobody I know believes it, except some Greek Orthodox.

    “your god was created by another god”

    We’ve already addressed that – If referring to Heavenly Father, another speculation based on one verse not taught as official doctrine; if referring to Jesus, we’ve covered it ad nauseum.

    Colin, I’m done. I simply won’t continue a conversation with someone who posts a video in which the “authority” describes the saved as if he was describing me and my life – and who then denies it in the next breath. Washer described how one is saved by describing my life – my effort to repent – the fruits by which I will be known. I’m sorry you can’t accept that, but if you would step back and listen to his message objectively, you would understand that it does NOT support much of what you have posted on this thread. I agree with pretty much everything he said in the video – but that’s not enough for you, even though you said it was when you posted it.

    I didn’t come into this discussion to “win” – though, to use your own words, I’m sure you won’t believe me. I came into it to see if there was anything new in your perspective that could enlighten me in any way. I ALWAYS start out with that assumption – that God is able to bring me further light and knowledge through the people He puts in my path. Frankly, I have had this same discussion more than once – with theologians who made MUCH more convincing arguments than you have. However, not one of those theologians held up a standard for some (“mainstream” Protestants) and a completely different standard for me (a Mormon). Not one of them said, “That person who mirrors your life is saved, but you are damned – even though your fruits undeniable witness of God’s hand in your life.” They each understood the sheer hypocrisy in such a construct and avoided it like the plague. Those conversations were enlightening and heart expanding; this has not been.

    I will end my participation on this thread with my favorite hymn, which includes the following:

    “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. I tremble to know that for me He was crucified – that for me, a sinner, He suffered – He bled and died.

    I think of His hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt. Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget? No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat until at the glorified throne I kneel at His feet.

    Oh, it is wonderful that He should care for me enough to die for me. Oh, it is wonderful – wonderful to me.”

    Comment by Ray — December 15, 2007 @ 6:56 am |Reply

  183. So I missed my flight, but I blame myself. Who else do you know who decides to ride his bike to the airport to save money? The problem was I didn’t find the bike rack in time, and so here I am taking advantage of the airport’s free internet. (Okay, I’m home now, but I thought I’d post it anyways, even though it’s been mostly addressed).

    Colin, we may have to discuss some of those issues you mentioned at a later time, but there is one that you have completely wrong, and I just can’t let it pass by. I am referring to your comment on the virgin birth: “god the father had sexual relations with mary.” Absolutely incorrect — we do not believe that, and it is not preached. Either you heard this from a bad source, or you misunderstood something that you read. After reading this, I expect you to never claim that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds such doctrine, and I would like you to write that yourself — from what I know, many people who try to challenge the church, even after learning that something they believed about our church was wrong, continue to parrot the incorrect statement just to try to break people’s faith and spread falsehood.

    It’s very simple: How could it be a virgin birth if “god the father had sexual relations with mary.” Obviously, it wouldn’t be a virgin birth. The virgin birth is mentioned specifically in 3 chapters of the Book of Mormon: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/search?type=words&last=virgin&help=&wo=checked&search=virgin&do=Search&iw=bm&tx=checked&af=checked&hw=checked&sw=checked&bw=1

    Allow me to also give a quote from a modern prophet, President Benson, concerning this issue that uses one of those scriptures as his source: “He was the Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father in the flesh—the only child whose mortal body was begotten by our Heavenly Father. His mortal mother, Mary, was called a virgin, both before and after she gave birth. (See 1 Nephi 11:20.)” (“Joy in Christ,” Ensign 16 [March 1986]: 3-4., emphasis added) (See President Benson’s Teachings About Christ).

    There’s many more examples of this, but I’ll leave it at that. Simply put, God formed Jesus in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Ghost. He was still begotten of the Father, but not by the process that you state. Afterwards, Mary carried Jesus to term in a normal pregnancy, and by the natural process of delivery He was born. Honestly, the very thought that Christ was an illegitimate child….

    I don’t like being forceful, but I’m going to ask you directly: will you never again attribute this belief to this church?

    Comment by Ashui — December 15, 2007 @ 9:14 am |Reply

  184. Colin, your final paragraph reads like a starter pamphlet from an anti-mormon hate group. Are you finally showing your true colors?

    “according to LDS doctrine the Bible has been corrupted,”

    I don’t know if corrupted is the right word. We believe that some of the “plain and precious things” were lost over the course of time. We do not view it the way many creedal Christians do, as the inerrant word of God. I think you do major damage to your credibility to insist that it is inerrant.

    “you accept scriptures beyond that of the apostolic canon,”

    Well, duh. And we don’t apologize for it:

    2 Nephi 29:

    7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
    8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
    9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
    10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.

    “your god was created by another god,”

    That’s highly suspect. In one sense, we believe that we are co-eternal with God. In other words, he was never created, and neither were we. In a spiritual sense, He is our Father and like us, he had a Father.

    “Your jesus was the first spirit child he had,”

    Jesus Christ is the son of God, I’m not sure that “first” is correct, or that it matters.

    “god the father had sexual relations with mary,”

    What Ray and Ashui said.

    “your idea of salvation is ascent to godhood where you will become a god like the father”

    There’s a difference between salvation and exaltation. When we refer to salvaton, it is not godhood. It is salvation from physical and spiritual death and being able to dwell in the presence of God.

    As others have said, you should not attribute beliefs to us that we d not hold, or that are attributed to us only by people who hate us.

    Comment by MCQ — December 15, 2007 @ 10:40 am |Reply

  185. Call Me simplistic, cause I am….

    But I have just read through these comments again. And all I can think of is my struggle to find a church that made sense. Colin reminds me of my struggle and my journey.

    I went to so many churches, and tried to understand, but none of it made any sense. And i’m sorry Colin, but neither do you.

    The idea that God will only save a select few people, and the rest are screwed is devastating. The thought that God will condemn His creation to Hell because His creation did not fully understand? Again devastating. I used to think God was a big scary guy sitting on a throne on a cloud ready to strike me down.

    Now I KNOW that God is my Father, who loves me, more then I will ever know, I feel it. I also know that we are ALL His children, and He loves ALL of us. If this was not the case, I agree with Seth, I would want no part of an unloving mean God. But I am truly blessed because I know Him, and it is because He has touched my heart.

    I really do not think He wants us arguing over who is right and who is wrong. I think He wants us to love one another, and share His gospel.

    Colin, maybe we really do believe in a “different God” Or a “different Jesus” Because I totally disagree with your ideas of who they are.

    But one thing I will NEVER do is condemn you to Hell for your beliefs, and I will NEVER call you UNChristian. There is only one judge. And He is loving and kind, and fair. He knows we are not perfect, and He loves us anyway.

    My hope is that you will see that Mormons DO believe in Christ, and that we are Christian, because we not only believe in Him, but we also strive to do our best to be like Him.

    Comment by steffielynn — December 15, 2007 @ 3:47 pm |Reply

  186. Steff,
    Nobody is going to hell BECAUSE of wrongs beliefs, they are going to hell because we have all failed the covenant of works in Adam. I already addressed this issue repeatedly with the fire analogy… Man is not an innocent victim or has failed just because “he doesn’t know”.

    “When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. . . . Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. I will repeat a little anecdote. I was in conversation with a certain learned professor upon this subject, when I replied, to this idea if the Son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it would be very dangerous to baptize and confirm females, and give the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children, and be palmed upon the Elders by the people, bringing the Elders into great difficulties.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pp. 50, 51)

    I believe the Father came down from heaven, as the Apostles said he did, and begat the Saviour of the world; for he is the only-begotten of the Father, which could not be if the Father did not actually beget him in person.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 238)

    “Christ was Begotten by an immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 547).

    ““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).”

    Mormon Grace versus Christian grace
    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 if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. (Romans 11:6)
    Grace consists of God’s gift to His children wherein He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him and comply with His laws and ordinances would have everlasting life. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 353-354).
    Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20). Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace (Romans 4:16).
    Grace is granted to men proportionately as they conform to the standards of personal righteousness that are part of the gospel plan. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 339).
    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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10). Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you (Moroni 10:32, Book of Mormon)
    Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:5)
    As with all other doctrines of salvation, justification is available because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, but it becomes operative in the life of an individual only on conditions of personal righteousness (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 408).
    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)
    Certain saved-by-grace-alone fanatics flatter their followers into believing they can be saved through no act other than confessing Christ with their lips (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 287).

    Concerning the Bible I will post another post that will be rather long, to demonstrate the Bible is innerant….

    I wish this converstaion could have gone more like the conversation the following podcast… If you wish to listen to it, it is from a radio program and it takes about 3-4 minutes to get through the into until the conversation starts
    [audio src="http://podcast.wayofthemasterradio.com/audio/podcasts/1207/WOTMR-12-05-07-Hour2.mp3" /]

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 15, 2007 @ 4:40 pm |Reply

  187. Friday, June 21st

    Dear Elder Hahn,

    Thank you for your letter of May 26th. I appreciate the swift response, as well as the kind attitude with which you wrote.

    I realized in writing to you originally and suggesting that we begin with a discussion of the Bible’s teaching about God that we might have to hold off long enough to deal with the subject of the Bible. I have met a few Mormons with whom such a diversion was not necessary, but, that is the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of LDS, in my experience, harbor some doubts concerning the accuracy of the Bible, some going so far as to reject the Bible, for all intents and purposes, as a book that can be trusted. Indeed, Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt once wrote:

    “What shall we say then, concerning the Bible’s being a sufficient guide Can we rely upon it in its present known corrupted state, as being a faithful record of God’s word We all know that but a few of the inspired writings have descended to our times, which few quote the names of some twenty other books which are lost,. ..What few have comedown to our day, have been mutilated, changed, and corrupted, in such a shameful manner that not two manuscripts agree. Verses and even whole chapters have been added by unknown persons; and even we do not know the authors of some whole books; and we are not certain that all those which we do know, were wrote by inspiration. Add all this imperfection to the uncertainty of the translation, and who, in his right mind, could, for one moment, suppose the Bible in its present form to he a perfect guide Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original…There can be no certainty as to the contents of the inspired writings until God shall inspire some one to rewrite all those books over again….No reflecting man can deny the necessity of such a new revelation” (Orson Pratt’s Works, “The Bible Alone an Insufficient Guide,” pp. 44-47.
    I have met a number of Mormons who were that “radical” in their view. But, I’ve also met others who would disagree with Orson Pratt, such even as Brigham Young, who, in response to comments such as those above by Pratt, said, why I make this particular remark is because this congregation heard brother O. Pratt scan the validity of the Bible, and I thought by the time he got through, that you would scarcely think a Bible worth picking up and carrying home, should you find one in the streets…The Bible is good enough as it is, to point out the way we should walk, and to teach us how to come to the Lord of whom we can receive for ourselves (Brigham Young, 10/8/1855, Journal of Discourses, 3:116).

    So, as you can see, there are a lot of different attitudes toward the Bible amongst Latter-day Saints. Your objections to the accuracy of the Bible, Elder Hahn, are “common” in my experience, and I will do my best to answer them.

    In my previous letter I noted a few passages from the Bible, such as Isaiah 40:8 and Proverbs 30:5-6. It seems obvious to me, Elder Hahn, that the Lord Jesus believed that the Scriptures were truly and really “the words of God,” and this is perfectly in line with the views expressed in those Scriptures I just cited. In fact, in disputing with the Jews, Jesus said, “have you not read what God spoke to you saying, `I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob”‘ (Matthew 22:31-32). Here the Lord Jesus refers to the written words of Scripture as the very words of God Himself You will not find the Lord Jesus ever “correcting” the Old Testament Scriptures, but each time He quotes the Old Testament writings, He accepts what they say without question, and expects all others to have the same attitude. A high view of the Bible is surely Jesus’ belief. Do you believe that what you find in the Bible is actually God’s words, Elder Hahn Or have you been taught that the Bible is not fully trustworthy, not fully accurate

    There are two Scriptures that clearly present my belief in the nature of the Bible as God’s Word. The first is 2 Timothy 3:1-17, the second is 2 Peter 1:20-21. Let me briefly review these passages with you.

    Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for instruction, for training in righteousness, in order that the man of God might be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” Yes, I know, that is not the King James translation — it is my own translation of the Greek in which Paul wrote to Timothy in the first place. I will discuss the topic of “translation” a little later, if I might ask your indulgence till then.
    Paul describes the Scriptures as “God-breathed.” The term itself that is commonly translated as “inspired” literally means that the Scriptures find their origin, their source, in God Himself. They are like the breath of God Himself, coming forth from His mouth. Note, too, that the Bible is not here speaking of how the writers were led by God to write what they did, but that what they wrote was “inspired” or “God-breathed.” God used men to write His Word, but He did so in such a way as to insure that what was written was word-for-word what He had intended from eternity past. The God of the Bible is big enough to use men to write His message, yet at the same time see to it that the resultant revelation is not mixed with error or untruth.

    The Apostle Peter did address the manner in which the holy men chosen by God wrote the Scriptures. In 2 Peter 1:21-22 we read, “Knowing this first of all, that no Scriptural prophecy ever came about by the prophet’s own personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever was borne by the will of man, rather, while being carried along by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God.” Again, this is my own personal translation of the original Greek. Peter is discussing not the interpretation of the text, but the origin and surety of the text. He asserts that the prophecies of Scripture (and he is not speaking simply of prophecies in the sense of predictions of future events, but the whole proclamation of the truth of God) never came about simply by human impulse or through human thinking. God’s revelation has never found its origin in the will of man. Instead, these men spoke from God while being carried along by the Holy Spirit of God. What they said came from God, and as they spoke these things, they were being carried along by the Spirit of God. Obviously, then, the Spirit of God would not have led these men into error in what they said as they spoke from God, would He We see, then, that the Apostles, just as the Lord Jesus, believed in the inerrancy of the Biblical text — that what they wrote contains no errors, no untruths.

    We might agree to this point. You might be willing to say “yes, as the Bible was originally written it was the perfect and complete Word of God.” But, then you’d be quick to add, “Things have changed — the Bible has been changed, things have been lost. We can no longer say that the Bible is fully and completely the Word of God.” That really seems to be your main objection if I am interpreting your last letter correctly. If so, you seem to be in line with a majority of LDS today. However, you might note that one of your own LDS scholars, James Talmage, was not quite as strident in his criticism of the Bible. Rather, he knew enough of the Bible itself to be much more moderate in his words:

    The Latter-day Saints believe the original records to be the word of God unto man, and, as far as these records have been translated correctly, the translators are regarded as equally authentic. The English Bible professes to be a translation made through the wisdom of man; In its preparation the most scholarly men have been enlisted, yet not a version has been published in which errors are not admitted. However, an impartial investigator has cause to wonder more at the paucity of errors than that mistakes are to he found at all (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, pp. 236-237)
    He also noted,

    The New Testament must he accepted for what it claims to he; and though, perhaps, many precious parts have been suppressed or lost, while some corruptions of the texts may have crept in, and errors have been inadvertently introduced through the incapacity of translators, the volume as a whole must be admitted as authentic and credible, and as an essential part of the Holy Scriptures (Articles of Faith, p. 248).
    It is interesting that Talmage would say “perhaps many precious parts have been…lost” and “some corruptions of the texts may have crept in” in light of the clear teachings of many of the early LDS teachers (such as Orson Pratt) as well as the direct statements of the Book of Mormon about the Bible:

    Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness [the book of Mormon originally read “awful state of woundedness”], which thou beholdest they are in, because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, whose formation thou hast seen (1 Nephi 13:32).
    Of course, this passage only says that these “plain and precious truths” are withheld by the “abominable church,” and not that they have been removed from the Bible, but many, many LDS believe this to be the case. 1 Nephi 14:10 says,

    And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
    It is clear that the all churches other than the LDS Church must be actively “keeping back” many “plain and precious truths” of the Bible. How this is done is not stated by the Book of Mormon; but, popular belief amongst Latter-day Saints says that the Catholic Church removed whole sections of the Bible during the Middle Ages. You stated in your letter,

    But, you must know that the Bible has been translated over and over and over again. We can’t know exactly what the Bible said originally, because it has been translated so often. As the Eighth Article of Faith says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
    You are about the four hundredth Mormon missionary who has said this to me, I can assure you of that! But, your assertion is simply not correct. Let me explain.

    TRANSMISSION VERSUS TRANSLATION

    We need to define some terms, Elder Hahn, so that we can properly understand how we received the Bible as it is today. You made the statement that the Bible has been “translated over and over and over again.” In one sense, that is true, but I doubt you are thing of translation in the proper sense. Most Mormons, when they say this, mean that the Bible was translated from one language into another, and then from that language into another, and then into another, and so on. Often the example is used of the child’s game where one person whispers a phrase to one person, and then on to the next, around the circle, and each time the phrase is changed a good bit by the time it gets to the end of the process. But, this is not what happened with the Bible.

    When we speak of the history of the Bible, and how it came to us, we are speaking of the transmission of the text over time. For the first fifteen hundred years of the “Christian era,” the text of the Bible was transmitted by hand copying, from one manuscript to another. We have today over 25,000 hand-written manuscripts of the New Testament alone, and over 5,000 of these are written in the original language of the New Testament, Greek. Most of the time, when Mormons speak of the Bible being “mistranslated” in terms of the 6th Article of Faith, they are not referring to its actual translation, but rather they are alleging that there have been errors made in the transmission of the text. Normally it is believed that passages, and even whole books, have been “lost” in the process of transmission, not in translation.

    Translation is the process whereby one renders a passage in one language into the words of another language. For example, above I gave you my own translation of both 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21. That is, I had before me a text of the New Testament written in Greek, and I translated those passages from Greek into English, and put that translation down on paper for your benefit. Each of the various “versions” of the Bible that are available today — the King James Version, the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version — each is simply a different translation of the one Bible, which was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. There is only one Bible, while there are many translations of that Bible into the many languages of mankind, including our own English versions. I enjoy reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, as well as in German and French. I am not reading three different Bibles when I read in these different languages — I am reading three different translations of the one Bible, originally written in Greek and Hebrew.

    I hope the difference between transmission and translation is now clear to you. When we speak of supposed errors in rendering the original Hebrew or Greek texts, we are speaking of translation. When we speak of the allegation that passages of the Bible, even entire books, have been “removed,” or that the text of the Bible has been corrupted over time, we are speaking of transmission. In light of these definitions, allow me to address your statements.

    You said that the Bible had been “translated over and over again.” Yes, that is true in the sense that each time I open my Greek New Testament, I am “translating” it over again. But, I don’t believe you meant it in that way. Rather, you seem to be saying that the Bible has gone through a process where it has been translated from one language into another, sort of like this:

    Hebrew to Greek to Latin to French to German to Spanish to English

    Obviously, if that is how it happened, you would be right in saying that by the time it got to English, a great deal of what it originally said would have been lost in translation. But, that is not how it happened. Each of the English versions is based directly upon the original languages, and there is but one step between the original Hebrew and Greek texts to the English translation thereof. So, as you can see, we can know what the Bible originally said with reference to its translation from the original languages into English.

    So, in a sense, I can say that I agree that the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, in the sense that a purposeful and malicious attempt to mistranslate the Bible would not produce a result that I would feel obliged to call “the word of God.” For example, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) produces what they call The New World Translation. This, I believe, is not truly “the word of God” for it purposefully mistranslates a number of passages that are relevant to the person of Jesus Christ, in an attempt to “smuggle” the doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses into the text of the Bible. I feel no obligation to follow this mistranslation as if it were the Word of God. In the same way, Elder Hahn, I do not follow Joseph Smith’s “translation” of the Bible, for it has no basis in the manuscripts of the Bible that we have, and, in the case of his tremendous addition to the 50th chapter of Genesis, he was obviously attempting to “insert” a prophecy about himself in something that was written a full 3,000 years earlier.

    I have often had LDS people say, when confronted with a passage that contradicted their own beliefs, “well, that must be mistranslated.” I ask, “do you know what the correct translation is, then” “No,” they reply. “Have you examined this passage in the original Hebrew or Greek” “No, I have not,” they say. “Then how do you know it is mistranslated” I ask. “Because it contradicts what the LDS Church teaches,” they reply. Only a handful of times have I met anyone who had done even a small amount of study on a passage that they alleged to be “mistranslated.” If you ask me, Elder Hahn, James Talmage knew that the Bible was translated accurately in the English versions, and he also knew that the charges of gross corruption of the Biblical text, made so often by Latter-day Saints, have no basis in fact. That is why he was so reticent in his statements which I cited above.

    So the next question, obviously, is this: has the text of the Bible been changed and corrupted, as many allege? Or do we know what the original authors of the Scriptures wrote? We can speak all we wish of being able to translate the texts of the Bible accurately (and we can do so), but if the text has not been transmitted correctly over time, what does it matter

    Recently, I heard a Christian talk host and a Mormon speaking about the Bible on a nationwide talk program. The Mormon said, “Well, the Bible has been translated many times, and we no longer know what it originally said because it has been changed.” Sadly, the talk-show host responded not with accurate information about the Biblical text, but rather said, “Well, the Book of Mormon has been changed, too!” While he is correct that the Book of Mormon has undergone a good deal of specific, purposeful editing (the Doctrine and Covenants even more so!), that is not the point. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The host should have responded by refuting the charge of “corruption” that was lodged against the Bible.

    It is impossible, of course, for me to attempt a full discussion of the history of the text of the Bible in a letter. Besides, many fine scholars have put pen to paper in the description of this very thing. Two fine, more basic works come to mind that I would like to recommend to you. F.F. Bruce’s The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and J. Harold Greenlee’s Scribes, Scrolls and Scripture. Both should be readily available to you. But I shall not simply direct you to others without giving you a basic reply to your contentions.

    While it may be true that none of the 5,000 Greek manuscripts (as an example) of the New Testament read exactly like another, this in itself is not a very meaningful fact. That any hand-written document of the length of even one of the Gospels should read exactly like another would be quite remarkable, for the probability of misspelling even one word, or skipping one “and” in a whole book is quite high. But, despite this, it is amazing that at least 75% of the text of the New Testament is without textual variation; that is, 3 out of 4 words in the New Testament are to be found without variation in all the manuscripts we have. 95% of the remaining 25% of the text is easily determined by the process of textual criticism. Textual criticism is the process whereby, knowing the propensities of scribes in making errors and utilizing the incredibly rich amount of evidence available to us (the New Testament, for example, has far more manuscript evidence available for study than any other document of antiquity), the most likely original reading is determined from the possibilities presented by the manuscripts. That leaves but a little less than 1 1/2 percent of the entire text — less than two out of every one hundred words — where serious doubt as to the exact wording of the original exists. But note this well, Elder one thing that is not in doubt is that we do have the original readings available to us in the possibilities given to us by the manuscript tradition. What I mean is this: every reading that has entered into the manuscripts of the New Testament has remained there. While some might think that this is bad, it is not, for what it also means is that since no readings “drop out” of the text, the original reading is still there as well! Our task is not, then, impossible, for the original readings are still there — we just need to recognize which of two or three possibilities it is.

    This “tenacity” of the New Testament text (that is, the fact that readings “stick around” even if they look to be obviously in error) also helps us to see why another favorite LDS accusation against the Scriptures is wrong. Many believe that large sections of the Bible have been “removed” or have been “lost” over time. Seemingly, given what the Book of Mormon says as cited above, this “editing” was done by the Roman Catholic Church, which, it is alleged, removed that which was not in harmony with its own beliefs. Aside from the fact that there remains much in Scripture that is not in harmony with Roman Catholic teaching (which, I guess, would mean they did not do a very good job in their “editing”), what is obvious is the fact that such a task of “editing” would have been simply impossible to do! Why You have thousands of copies of the Scriptures, spread out all across the Roman Empire, from Spain to Egypt. How can any one man, or any one organization, gather up all these copies, including many buried under the sands in Egypt or in a clay pot in Palestine, change all of them, and then replace all of them Some may wish that God had not allowed for all these copies of the manuscripts to exist with their minor variations, but, in reality, we can see that this was a wonderful way of protecting the text! Any change in one manuscript shows up like a sore thumb when compared with the others! For example, if one person took a manuscript and attempted to “rewrite it” so as to teach a completely new doctrine, this one manuscript would be vastly different than those manuscripts found a thousand miles away. The change would be obvious to all.

    So I hope you can see, Elder Hahn, that many of the things you have been taught regarding the Bible are, actually, myths rather than reality. When we read the New Testament, we can know that Paul wrote “For by grace you have been saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8); we can know what was originally written and can build our faith upon the sure revelation of God in Scripture.

    I have waxed long, but I feel it is important. Please feel free to ask further questions about the Bible, as it will be vitally important to any discussions we might have later on. I hope you are feeling well, and I hope to hear from you again soon.

    Sincerely,

    James White

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 15, 2007 @ 4:41 pm |Reply

  188. Colin,

    What is the letter for? You posted it twice, and I will delete one of them because it is not necessary to post them 2X’s So where is it that you want it, so I can delete the other?

    Colin, It seems to me you are not really listening to what people say here. You should at least TRY to understand. I think you are here to prove us wrong, but that is not going to happen.

    We want to learn from you, and we hope you will learn from us, but you have to start listening in order to do so.

    You come up with these long winded comments, and quotes, but it is impossible to get through it all. Maybe we should stick with one quote, break it down and move to another.

    Comment by steffielynn — December 15, 2007 @ 4:57 pm |Reply

  189. Steffie, the letter Colin just posted proves one thing: He has absolutely no interest in listening to and understanding us. A few simple example before I bow out for good:

    1) I admitted openly and freely that the statements “God had sex with Mary” and “God was once a man” have been taught and speculated upon by some previous leaders and members – but I added that we do not believe in prophetic infallibility, never have and never will. I also added that Mormonism does not teach them now – and, frankly, the general membership never has accepted those statements as canon. It is LESS serious than nearly all of Christianity not accepting or following many of the “social” admonitions of the Pauline epistles (since those are accepted as part of an infallible canon) – but Colin does not condemn his own faith tradition for that fact. To him, it’s OK for them since they are “Christian” but not for us since we are “Mormon.”

    2) In the grace discussion, Colin continues to ignore the MANY Biblical verses we have provided and, instead, focuses on statements from Journal of Discourses and Mormon Doctrine (neither of which is canon and the latter which was disputed by the rest of the apostles and prophets of McConkie’s day – who unanimously hated the title because of its false implications). That alone is extremely instructive.

    3) He has a stock repository of quotes and arguments that he has archived for these discussions, that he pulls out of the file no matter what anyone actually says. He does NOT address the actual quotes we provide; he refuses to acknowledge the inaccuracies of his own quotes when we illustrate them to him; he repeatedly skips answering direct questions we ask, preferring instead to launch another file of antiquated and discarded quotes.

    4) Most egregiously, he posted a video that he claimed would condemn us – but then, when I explained how it actually echoes what we teach (by providing actual quotes from the video) he denied it and moved right back to the same hackneyed attack mode. That is disingenuous and hypocritical, but he refuses to admit his own evidence claims I am saved. In other words, he has been inconsistent in his assertions to us (in light of the video), but he won’t admit that and blithely ignores the fact that his own evidence teaches almost exactly what we teach. He refused to deal with the actual quotes I posted from the video itself and simply denied that Washer actually teaches what we teach.

    5) Coventry and BR (and, to a small degree, even ej) will listen and try to understand what we are saying. Colin doesn’t even try. He flat-out is not reading carefully and thoughtfully in order to learn what we really believe; he has made up his mind based on the classic anti- interpretations of others, and nothing we can say – including simple, direct testimony, the words of his own “authority” (Washer) and scriptures from the Bible itself – can convince him otherwise.

    6) Every time we have said that we disagree, he has said that he has “proved” his point and we are wrong; every time we have said we agree, he denies it and calls us liars. In his mind, he is right in every area and we are wrong in every area. It really is that simple.

    7) He refuses to admit that “true” Christians can disagree about various points of doctrine and still worship the same God – even though Christianity itself (even evangelical Christianity alone) is literally fractured with doctrinal disagreement. It’s why there are so many denominations; they each disagree(d) with someone else’s interpretation about some BIBLICAL teaching (grace, baptism, communion, the nature of the Godhead, authority of scripture and man, etc. that ALL deal with definitions of salvation) and started a new sect based on that disagreement.

    It is one thing to discuss doctrinal differences with someone; it is quite another to engage in confrontations and vain (arrogant and lacking efficacy) arguments. It is your choice, Steffie, how to proceed, but I personally am turning the other cheek and closing my mouth. In this situation, I truly believe it is what Jesus would do – and, frankly, I should have done so as soon as I realized how pointless this is.

    Comment by Ray — December 15, 2007 @ 6:28 pm |Reply

  190. I’m sorry, Steffie, I forgot to add my final point:

    The letter Colin posted is riddled with inaccuracies, but the most ridiculous one cuts right to the heart of the letter itself. The letter says, “You will not find the Lord Jesus ever “correcting” the Old Testament Scriptures, but each time He quotes the Old Testament writings, He accepts what they say without question, and expects all others to have the same attitude. A high view of the Bible is surely Jesus’ belief.” I nearly choked when I read that statement, since Jesus said over and over and over again, “You have heard it said of old . . . but I say unto you . . .” (often quoting almost verbatim from the Old Testament writings) In doing so, He literally substituted a whole new standard for His people – which is MUCH more radical than merely correcting canonized scriptures. To assert that Jesus accepted the Old Testament as inerrant and unchangeable is the height of folly – and shows just how narrow-minded (in the purest linguistic sense) the author of the letter is.

    That’s all I will say about the letter, since it demonstrates the weakness of the very foundation of the position it takes.

    Now I truly am done.

    Comment by Ray — December 15, 2007 @ 6:44 pm |Reply

  191. Ray I agree,

    I hope the conversation can continue. We just need to take it one step at a time, and give Colin a chance.

    Colin I do not know you, but from what I gather I think you are sincere. But are you here to “save” us or to discuss and maybe even learn something you did not know about the LDS faith?

    I hope we can move forward, it’s up to you. I just ask that you listen to what we are saying,

    Thanks 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 15, 2007 @ 6:47 pm |Reply

  192. Ray,
    I want to start with your last comment about Jesus… Before his discourse he clarified what direction he was going. He stated…
    “”Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20).
    It is significant to point out that whenever Jesus was quote Moses or referring to the Law he would most of the time say “Moses said”. However here he is talking about what they have been TOLD about the Law from the Pharisees. The Pharisees taught that the Law was a system of salvation, not a legal case against mankind for all the multitude of sins they are guilty of from breaking the covenant of works in Adam. The Ten Commandments themselves are spiritual in nature as is observed by the 10th commandment (You shall not covet). It even lists how that sin is related to other sins, like just coveting your neighbors wife is a sin, even if you don’t physically committ adultery with her. “You have heard that it was said, ‘(AK)YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman (AL)with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27,28). Jesus is not condemning the Old Testament as in error or irrelevant, as his opening statements demonstrate.

    Ray, also what “social admonitions” are you talking about that we do not follow

    You also said that I will not admit how fragmented evangelicalism is, and that they can take completely different directions on various issues and still be considered valid “protestants”. So of course the question comes up if that is true, why do I reject mormonism. The problem is you listed these: “Godhead, authority of scripture and man”. Any denomination or group that changes these three (or the atonement, or justification by faith ALONE), is considered apostate. This goes for “oneness pentecostal” modalists, liberal Bible critics (episcopal, evangelical lutheran, presbyterian church USA), and religious humanists who believe in universal salvation and the goodness of humanity. All are condemned as completely heretical by evangelicals and even Catholics. Views on the sacraments and what spiritual realities are involved with them (transubstition, consubstitution, calvinist, symbolic) do not affect a churches view on salvation, UNLESS they are insisting you have to recieve the sacrament from them in their special way to be saved. They then will be considered heretical because they are adding works to salvation. What is important is that a church DOES administer the sacraments in church by the Biblical example. If a church doesn’t administer the sacraments they are considered by historic Christianity to be apostate. In short a church is a true church when they 1)Have the correct doctrine of God 2)the correct view of salvation 3)they administer the sacraments 4) place themselves under the authority of scripture (The historic canon).

    Again I will continue to reject what your church says about salvation and will continue to be suspect about what you say concerning us being in agreement. I think I failed to make this distinction… I believe that justification (being eternally right before God) and sanctification (works) are completely seperate things, yet the latter ALWAYS occurs when the former has TRULY happened (this is what James and John are trying to tell us). Nothing I DO makes me right or more accepted by God PERIOD. However, the Bibles clear testimony is that if someone has truly encountered God and is justified by his free grace only on the merits of Christ, the work of the Spirit in their lives will cause a transformation. What I gather from you scriptures and doctrines is that things we do (the sacraments, good works) do indeed earn us favor before God and that is the wrong idea of God, justification, and man (you do not believe everything you do is a “filthy rag”. If the prophets I have quoted are wrong, then could you please show me where I can research the LDS’s doctrines clearly laid out? That’s it for now, hopefully a little later I would like to post something on why I think that there is so much confusion and unnessarcy debate in the Mormon-Protestant dialogue, while the core issues are never addressed. However, I do not want to overwhelm you… Sorry steff that I have posted so much, I get overwhelmed many times when I go into these forums and it is me against everyone else…

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 15, 2007 @ 9:02 pm |Reply

  193. Colin, I will respond, since you seem to have asked a very sincere question about how we view our works.

    You said, “What I gather from you scriptures and doctrines is that things we do (the sacraments, good works) do indeed earn us favor before God.”

    This is why I am bothered by what I call semantics. There are hundreds of ways to phrase what we believe, and Mormons (including leaders) have phrased the concept in many ways over the years – usually in direct response to how others are phrasing it, which tends to lead to hyperbole. The key, however, is what is meant by the phraseology.

    This is the heart of the actual doctrine as taught in the Mormon Church: “We are fallen; nothing we possibly could do will change that; on our own, we have no chance of returning to the presence of God; the Atonement of Jesus, the Christ, is the only means whereby that is possible; many people claim to accept Jesus as their Savior and Redeemer (by being grateful for His mercy), but far fewer actually accept Him as their Lord (by doing what He has told them to do – keeping His commandments); faith, therefore, is not a mere claim to believe (even the devils believe) but rather an acceptance that is so deep that it literally changes one’s heart (regeneration) and nature and creates “new creatures” who actually live as He has commanded them to live.”

    When we speak of “works” we mean the exact same thing as “fruits” in the Biblical sense. It appears to me that the singular difference in our view of this topic is NOT works, per se, since I think we all agree that true regeneration by Christ creates someone who will exhibit through their fruits the in-dwelling of Christ in their hearts, but rather the role of personal will in that transformation. It appears to me that you believe there is no conscious choice on our part to accept God’s grace – while we believe that we must choose to accept it.

    Just to clarify this summary, since it admittedly is simplistic: Do you believe that anyone can be predestined to election and reject it? Are you saying that God knows us so well that he arranged our mortal births so that those who would receive His grace will have that opportunity, while those who would reject it will not? I don’t want to get into a debate about any individual person (like King David or Solomon), but rather focus very narrowly on the line between your belief and hyper-Calvinism. What is it that separates you from the hyper-Calvinists who claim we are nothing but puppets on a string? Particularly, in your view of grace, how does repentance work – since the injunction to repent is indisputable in the Bible, and is described as the pure catalyst of righteous fruit? (BTW, I personally wish we would use “fruits” instead of “works” in the Mormon Church more often, since “works” implies actions separate from God, while “fruits” implies actions that are a result of our connection to the Vine – which is the actual meaning of our doctrine.)

    (I apologize if you feel you have answered this already. I want to discuss it in complete isolation.)

    Comment by Ray — December 15, 2007 @ 10:08 pm |Reply

  194. Colin, i understand how you feel. I used to spend a lot of time defending my faith on “Christian” blogs, where I was alone. But just know, we are not against you.

    One thing that is great about our faith is the knowledge of free will. Everyone is free to believe as they wish.

    Personally I just hope that after all the discussing is over you will have a greater understanding of our beliefs. We are not here to knock you down, we are only here to say that we love Our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

    🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 16, 2007 @ 12:41 am |Reply

  195. Colin, I’ve been the only one on traditional Christian blogs before and I’ve been “beat around” before. So I know what it feels like. Just remember, this is a Mormon blog. You comment here with that understanding.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 16, 2007 @ 1:22 am |Reply

  196. Ray,
    Concerning the Calvinist vs. Hyper-Calvinist differences here are what they are. Calvinists essentially believe in five points, which were formulated to refute the five points of arminianism which were the exact opposite. Here they are…
    T- Total Depravity- This does not mean that man is as evil as he can be nessecarily, but that the totality of his being (including his will) is effected by Sin.
    U- Unconditional election- God the Father elected from eternity past all those who would be saved based up no foreseen merit in them (there is none they are all equally depraved apart from God’s grace)
    Limited Atonement- Jesus’ atonement was only for those whom the father elected from eternity past
    Irresistable Grace- The Holy Spirit cannot fail in bringing those to faith that God the Father elected
    Perseverance of the Saints- Not only are those who are elected secure in their salvation, they will not apostasize but will remain in the faith.

    Hyper-Calvinist affirm all of these but add some things Calvinists do not believe in. 1) God does not ordain means to an end, meaning the elect will be saved whether you preach the gospel to them or not 2) God has no love at all for the non-elect 3) Do not worry about being holy, just continue on in sin until God changes you. There are sometimes other strange things they believe, but these are the major ones.

    So no, I do not believe that the elect can reject their election. This goes back to the nature of freewill I already discussed. Freewill is the ability to choose according to the inclinations of your heart, or nature (remember the shark analogy). All people are born dead in their trespasses and sins and therefore have no desire for God (the true God) or salvation from sin. Sure people may say they want to be saved from sin, but that is just because they do not like the negative consequences (death, sickness, hell, guilty conscience). Only those who have been regenerated will hate sin for sins sake, because it by nature is opposed to God. The elect are given a new heart (Ezekiel 36) which CAUSES their will to follow its nature which is for God and his Law (Jeremiah 31:31-35).

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 16, 2007 @ 2:57 pm |Reply

  197. Let me know what you think of this article, I think it illustrates why there is so much miscommunication in this dialogue. The article was found here: http://www.aomin.org

    I confess, I do not understand it. How a religion can play the “political correctness” game is completely beyond me. Yes, I know–in today’s culture, everyone is a victim, everyone is a martyr, and now if you dare even ask let alone answer a question about someone’s religious faith, you are being mean-spirited and everyone will demand an apology from you. But let’s lay this out simply:

    In Mormonism, God the Father, Elohim, begets children in the spiritual pre-existence.
    In Mormonism, God, men, and angels, are of the same “species.”
    In Mormonism, Jesus is the first begotten spirit child of Elohim.
    In Mormonism, angels “are chosen from among his (Elohim’s) offspring and are themselves pressing forward along the course of progression and salvation, all in their respective spheres” (Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 35).
    In Mormonism, Satan is a fallen angel.
    Therefore, Jesus and Satan are both offspring of Elohim, and therefore….?

    Evidently, to follow this reasoning to its final conclusion is forbidden by political correctness, well, unless you are LDS. I noted the 1986 Ensign article discussing this very issue and describing those who do not realize that Jesus and Lucifer were both spiritual offspring of Elohim (and hence spirit-brothers) as being “unacquainted with latter-day revelations” (here’s the article on line). Yet, despite all of this, we find the following on the very same LDS website, dated 12/11/07:

    SALT LAKE CITY 12 December 2007 Like other Christians, we believe Jesus is the divine Son of God. Satan is a fallen angel.
    As the Apostle Paul wrote, God is the Father of all. That means that all beings were created by God and are His spirit children. Christ, however, was the only begotten in the flesh, and we worship Him as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.
    I do not have an ounce of respect for this kind of response, I must confess. This from a religion that proclaims it is in possession of “latter-day revelation” that clarifies so much that is allegedly unclear in non-LDS faiths? This is the religion with a living prophet and living apostles? And all it can come up with is this pure piece of spin? Let’s consider this statement put out by the LDS Church.
    First, what other Christian church believes Jesus is the divine Son of God in the way Mormons do? Who else teaches Elohim lives on a planet that circles a star named Kolob, and that he has a physical body of flesh and bones (no blood), and that he begets spirit children with an entire harem of heavenly wives, who likewise have physical bodies, yet give birth to spirit babies, and that Jesus was the first begotten son of this exalted man from another planet? I’d really like to know who these “other Christians” are. And which of these groups, even if they held all of those views, likewise believe that Jesus was “sired” by Elohim in a physical body, making him the only begotten of the Father “in the flesh”? I think the list is pretty small. And surely the folks in Salt Lake know this, yes? So why speak in these words? Mormonism does not teach what the historic Christian faith has taught about the divine sonship of Jesus, so why pretend otherwise?
    Next, yes, Mormons believe Satan is a fallen angel. But, they likewise believe that angels are begotten by the Father, as the statement goes on to say (though, in words that non-Mormons would most likely misunderstand). You see, what is amazing about this statement is that it is actually confirming that Mormons believe Jesus and Lucifer are spirit-brothers. Missed that on first reading? You were meant to. But the statement says that…for Mormons. Mormons know Satan is an angel…one of the offspring of Elohim. Mormons, at least the well read ones, know what “only begotten of the Father in the flesh” means, too. And Mormons know that when this says that God “created” (Mormons deny creatio ex nihilo, so the more normative term in their theology is either beget, when speaking of creatures like angels, or organized, when speaking of physical objects, for the Mormon God cannot create matter, which, in their theology, is eternal) all beings that is an assertion that He is the father of them all, meaning all of mankind, Jesus, our “elder brother” in LDS parlance, and Lucifer as well.
    What percentage of those reading this official statement will interpret it exactly backwards? A large percentage, to be sure, and that is what leaves me shaking my head. If you are going to claim to be a representative of God and to possess divine revelation, then show commensurate courage to openly explain, without obfuscation, what it means.
    Some of the press can be forgiven—they are pagans. Pagans find theology, even grossly warped theology like Salt Lake’s, difficult to follow. A few quick stabs through an online source is enough, right? So some AP reporter, evidently, managed to dig up a copy of The Encyclopedia of Mormonism and opine, “The authoritative Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published in 1992, speaks of Jesus as the son of God and of Satan as a fallen angel, which is a Biblical account.” Wow, that’s deep. What those words mean in Mormonism, we are not told, of course, but that’s enough to make it look like Gov. Huckabee was clueless. And for the vast majority of folks, that’s enough.
    But others should know better. Conservative talk show host and author Hugh Hewitt, a strong Romney supporter, posted on his blog earlier this week,

    Huck asks in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”
    No word yet on whether the former Arkansas governor asked if the Jews killed Jesus or if Catholics pray to Mary as a god.
    Let me see how this works. You ask a question that is based in truth: Mormons do believe Jesus and Lucifer are both offspring of Elohim, the exalted man from another planet who is God the Father of this planet. You do so in response to someone asking if you think Mormonism is Christian (it isn’t). Just how does this have any bearing to asking if the Jews killed Jesus (Acts 4:27-28 seems to answer the question, so why ask it?). And while Roman Catholics do pray to Mary, they do not admit that this is worship, let alone that Mary is a “god.” But to ask them this question would be to go against their own definitions, so—is Hewitt suggesting Huckabee’s question was based upon falsehood? Will Hugh Hewitt openly acknowledge the truthfulness of the data that I and others have posted on this topic? My recollection was that Hewitt was, at one time, anyway, a Presbyterian elder, either PCUSA or PCA, I do not recall which. He would be doing a great service to clarify the situation, document the historic LDS teaching on this subject, and reiterate why he feels the truth about Mormonism is irrelevant to Mitt Romney’s political aspirations.

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 16, 2007 @ 2:58 pm |Reply

  198. Colin, it’s not the fact that the question is true or untrue, it’s the fact that he ASKED the question. How lame is that? And Mitt Romney, from what I understand knew nothing about it, Huckabee apologized because he felt guilty, he knew he was being a jerk.

    It is true that the LDS believe that we are ALL brothers and sisters. And yes of course that includes His Son Jesus Christ and Lucifer.

    Does Huck not believe that he is a child of God, And Jesus is God’s son, and everything was created by God, why do Christians make this seem like a crazy idea? It makes sense!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 16, 2007 @ 5:58 pm |Reply

  199. Colin, you keep making a pretty basic mistake in approaching Mormons: you quote statements by General Authorities or from Ensign articles as if they were somehow all the word of God, absolutely 100% set-in-stone LDS doctrine, or our “real” beliefs. You don’t seem to understand the nature of LDS beliefs – how we have certain core doctrines which we all believe in (primarily contained within our scriptural canon), but that most everything else beyond that is conjecture. We are extremely comfortable seeking to engage in logical conjecture, but we don’t make the mistake of believing that every path of conjecture is correct. Many such paths of thought we acknowledge as having been totally incorrect. Bruce R. McConkie is an excellent example of this, he himself having repudiated his own past statements regarding race pre-1978. We are obviously always listening to see if God has major new doctrines to reveal to the world and undoubtedly many are yet to come, but you make a serious mistake in mixing up every LDS prophet’s sermons as having the weight of scriptural authority. Indeed, this seems from prior statements here to have led you to the fundamental error of believing that our core doctrines (which are not infrequently strikingly similar to many of the other Christians whom you have referred to) are somehow a shell game or deception while the paths of deep conjecture are the “real” Mormon beliefs. You have it precisely opposite. The fact that we are comfortable with exploring the mysteries of divine matters does not mean we (limited human beings that we are) believe we’ve got all those deep matters figured out or right, nor does it negate those core principles of scripture (ancient and modern) that we do believe as our Christian foundation. I strongly suggest you review your entire approach to looking at LDS beliefs, even if you think it’s your job to convert us all, you’re not gonna get very far if you think our thought processes are precisesly the opposite of what they actually are.

    Comment by Non-Arab Arab — December 16, 2007 @ 8:10 pm |Reply

  200. Well said, NAA.

    Colin, thanks for your added input. I thought that would be how you would answer, but I didn’t want to make an incorrect assumption.

    I guess I’m still confused about why you would link the video by Washer, since he seems to be telling the audience that they need to stop acting as they are and start acting as Jesus wants them to act – including, as he himself puts it, repenting of their incorrect actions. I have two questions, and, since I’ve heard and read others’ detailed responses to these questions, I’d really appreciate an answer my teenagers would be able to follow. (I don’t mean that sarcastically at all; I just want to get at the heart of the answers.)

    1) How does repentance fit into the equation for you?

    2) What is the purpose of life for those who are elected to damnation?

    Comment by Ray — December 16, 2007 @ 8:40 pm |Reply

  201. Ray,
    You bring up some interesting topics for discussion… Ultimately, the question is why preach repentance and faith, and the gospel at all if only those whom God elects will respond (in other words, why not be a hyper-Calvinist). Repentance fits into the equation for me right next to faith. Both are gifts from God that come out of a regenerated heart. The best example I can think of when meditating on this is the experience Isaiah had in Isaiah chapter 6. The second his eyes were opened to the beauty and the holiness of God, that new nature and understanding immediately reacted against the sin in his own body. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans with the battle between the Spirit and the flesh. When someone is regenerated and brought into a restored relationship with God, naturally that new Holy disposition in them reacts against their flesh (sinful nature) which manifests as repentance and they place their faith in Christ as the only solution to their problem. What needs to be understood is that yes Salvation is all of God… The only reason why I am saved and another isn’t, is not because of any foreseen merit in me or any kind of cooperation that I did with God’s grace that led to my regeneration. This is commonly called Monergism (God alone acting to regenerate) which is contrasted against synergism (God and the individual cooperate to produce regeneration). Ephesians chapter two describes a person before regeneration as “dead in trespasses and sins”, who are then “made alive” by God’s grace. A good example of how this works is when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, except in a spiritual sense. So yes all of this happens mysteriously and beyond on comprehension, yet God always uses his word and the urging a preaching of a gospel minister to bring about this impartation of spiritual life. Which is why people like Washer (who is a Calvinist) are so passionate about what they do. They can preach with confidence and assurance that all those whom he preaches to that are elect WILL come to faith, and that it doesn’t DEPEND upon human means, although if we are being led by the Spirit we will be careful to preach and accurate and faithful message in the Spirit of Christs love (which can get harsh at times).

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 16, 2007 @ 8:58 pm |Reply

  202. That’s what I thought you’d say, Colin – and I really appreciate how concisely you answered it. I guess we simply are going to have to agree that, while we teach many of the same details about grace and repentance, the foundation is radically different – which really does make the actual core principles different.

    What about my second question? What is the purpose of life for those elected to damnation?

    Comment by Ray — December 16, 2007 @ 9:06 pm |Reply

  203. Ray,
    Their purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever… They just don’t, and won’t until God recreates them anew under the headship of the 2nd Adam (Jesus Christ). However, you must keep in mind that when I and most other Calvinists preach they do not preach these doctrines without having is saturated in the gospel. For example, if you have followed this debate at all and examined the different viewpoints of calvinists and arminians the language and terminology used by Paul Washer would identify him as a flat out Calvinist. However, his message was filled with the call to repent, believe, and other issues dealing with human responsibility. That is because Calvinists DO believe in human responsibility no matter how much it seems to be logically unsupported by those doctrines. It is accepted as a paradox, that is, it APPEARS to contradict but after examining it closely and thinking outside the box it can be reconciled. The same goes with most of the good Calvinist preachers of the past (Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, John Owen…) and those around today (Washer, John Piper, RC Sproul). They may preach messages defending these doctrines, but they are so all-pervasive and do alter core principles as you stated, that it causes what they preach and how they preach it to be radically different than an arminian.

    What I am getting at here, is that all of these doctrines (Calvinism) have to do with what has happened to you AFTER it has happened. I normally don’t preach the five points to non-Christians, although my preaching is affected by it, simply because it is to deep and you do truly understand these doctrines unless it has happened to you. However, there is a point in ones life when they actually DO repent and believe by God’s Spirit, and this is done in accord with a Spirit filled person urging and insisting that they repent and believe and be RESPONSIBLE for their sins. The sheep (the elect John 10) will respond, and the goats (non-elect) will not… When I first looked into these issues I in my pride thought, “well whats the sense of praying, or evangelizing if God has it in control”. However, that just showed by fleshly pride and arrogance as an arminian that I thought the reason for me doing these things was to help God out. However in Acts 17:25 we find out God is not helped by human hands. I then did some reading and realized that because God is sovereign I HAVE a reason to pray. Whenever someone prays “Lord save my family”, that prayer is meaningless unless God has the power to change their heart so that they are saved. The same goes with evangelism, I am not nearly as scared as I used to be when I witness because I know God’s will will be accomplised…

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 16, 2007 @ 11:30 pm |Reply

  204. Steff,
    By the way Huckabee’s question wasn’t at mean spirited as the media has portrayed it to be. Watch the video here and see Huckabee explain what went on that actually made that question come up. http://godandculture.wordpress.com/2007/12/14/huckabee-explains-his-jesus-and-satan-are-brothers-question/
    Don’t believe the media on issues like this, they are just about willing to side with anyone that can make conservative evangelicals look like bigots…

    Comment by ColinSamul — December 17, 2007 @ 1:03 am |Reply

  205. Again, thanks, Colin, for the further detail. I think I only have one more question:

    1) What is that state of the damned? How do you describe their eternal condition / existence?

    Comment by Ray — December 17, 2007 @ 1:39 am |Reply

  206. Wow, things do seem to work a lot better when the posts are focused! It feels a little more like the thing called “understanding” might be happening.

    Okay, I’m going to try my best to make a smiley. I haven’t done it before on this blog, but I think it follows the same basic rules, so here goes: 🙂

    Comment by Ashui — December 17, 2007 @ 1:43 am |Reply

  207. Mommy, Ashui made a smiley. Can I?

    Comment by Ray — December 17, 2007 @ 2:44 am |Reply

  208. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — December 17, 2007 @ 2:45 am |Reply

  209. Sorry, Colin, I forgot about one other question that arose from #196:

    Is there a quantitative difference within typical Calvinists and hyper-Calvinists in the “number” of people elected to salvation? Does God save more people in one construct than in the other?

    Comment by Ray — December 17, 2007 @ 2:58 am |Reply

  210. Ray,
    Concerning the question that is right above, yes there normally is a difference. Hyper-Calvinists are normally EXTREMELY stingy with who they believe the elect are. Fred Phelps is considered a hyper-Calvinist and from what I can tell he only believes him and his church (which is basically his family) are saved. There really are no mainstream influential hyper-Calvinists, they always seem to be sideshow whackos… Pretty much most really theological serious evangelicals are Calvinists. There are some exceptions, especially with those scholars who deal with apologetics (who wants to have to defend Calvinism, when you already receieve enough heat for just being Christian?). Of course the “purpose-driven”-feel-good-what-a-friend-we-have-in-jesus, mainstream churches tend not to be either… Pretty much though all serious protestants have been since the reformation. People like Charles Spurgeon, believed that there will be more people in heaven then there will be in hell which he actually wrote in his article “A Defense of Calvinism” which can be found here http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm

    Concerning your question about the state of the damned… This is an issue that I am still working through. There are two basic views of hell, both of which have been represented fairly equally throughout church history. The first is that it is a literal lake of fire where everything that the New Testament describes literally takes place. The second view is that Jesus and the Apostles were using well known imagery to describe the horror of eteral seperation from God, and the realization of what satan’s lie of self-suffeciency and self-deification leads too. This view will point to the fact that Gehenna, which Jesus referred to, was a horrible trash dump where things were burned and the land was considered cursed. So while hell is described as a tormenting fire, it is also considered utter darkness and a place where the “worm never dies” (also more imagery from Gehenna). However, this view doesn’t soften the suffering that will occur in Hell because most people who believe in it say it will be so bad, people there would be WISHING for a Lake of Fire. It does tend to emphasize a spiritual suffering above a physical suffering as the literal approach tends to do. There is another view that is in extreme minority and that is partial annihilationism. This was put forth by John Stott who is a huge globally known evangelical. He believes that the word for eternity in Revelation means a “long period of time”. This view basically has the damned being totally destroyed (spirit and soul) over a long period of time until they are reduced to nothing. However, this view is not at all taken seriously aside from the fact that someone like John Stott has put it forth.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 17, 2007 @ 1:56 pm |Reply

  211. Shiz does not understand the purpose of eternal suffering compared to the “blink of an eye” probationary period for which the punishment is justified.

    Comment by Shiz — December 17, 2007 @ 6:13 pm |Reply

  212. Again, thanks, Colin. I almost am ready to give you my take on your answers, but I just need to clarify one more point – that might seem simplistic and already addressed, but I just want to make sure.

    Each of the descriptions of eternal punishment seem to define it as “never-ending” torment of one kind or another. There is another view that I have heard that defines eternal punishment as the type of punishment Jesus suffered in the Garden – explained like a dripping wet rag being rung through an old-fashioned ringer over and over and over until it is completely free from any hint of moisture. (Physically, bleeding from every pore; spiritually, squeezing sin from the soul.) They result of this type of suffering is NOT a glorified existence in the presence of the Father, but merely an eventual cessation of suffering that allows one to praise God for His mercy in causing the end to that suffering. Such a construct allows the elected damned to praise God and “enjoy” Him in a very real way – not by “saving” them in the classic sense, but simply by “redeeming” them from Hell. Scripturally, this interpretation generally is based on the verses attributed to King David’s statement of glory to God when he said, *after* his adultery with Bathsheba and his directed killing of Uriah, “Surely, thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell.” (Psalms 16, particularly vs. 8-11)

    Have you heard of this view, and what do you think of it?

    Comment by Ray — December 17, 2007 @ 7:58 pm |Reply

  213. On the issue of Calvinism, I think it’s important to realize that the words “predestination”, “predestined”, “adopted,” “election”, “chosen” scream out of the pages of the Bible. When someone, like me, identify themselves as Calvinists, we hope to point the person to the Bible and not the person of Calvin. Calvinism is just a way of identifying a system of beliefs found right in the very pages of Scripture, nothing to do with Calvin. In Galatians 1:15, the Apostle Paul said that he was chosen and set apart before he was even born! It reads “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace…” Paul was traveling on the road to Damascus will letters in hand to kill Christians. When Jesus appeared to him, Paul did not choose to follow Jesus, nor does Paul say “from that moment on I became a Christian.” So where did Paul even get the idea that he was “chosen before the foundation of the world?” This is often a serious problems for Mormons. I’ve debated quite a few of them in my city and have quite a reputation with the LDS. The fact is, God has chosen, from before the foundations of the world were laid, His vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. This is why Christ is mentioned as “the lamb that was slain BEFORE the foundation of the world.” My salvation in Christ was secured from everlasting to everlasting.

    Comment by Elvis Kesto — December 17, 2007 @ 8:01 pm |Reply

  214. Elvis, any Mormon who knows our doctrine fairly well would have no problem whatsoever with what you just said – except the distinction we make between “predestination” and “fore-ordination” – the discussion we are having on this blog. Paul’s claim is exactly like Jeremiah’s (Jer:1-5 – “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”) – which is quoted extensively and often by Mormons to teach per-existence and fore-ordination.

    How’s this one? (You can argue that the source is invalid, but the message is the exact same from a unique Mormon source.)

    Abraham 3: 22-23 – “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.”

    Elvis, I don’t know you, but to claim that Mormons don’t believe in prophets being chosen before birth shows either an ignorance of Mormonism or a distortion of the actual conversations. Our beliefs in fore-ordination differ from Calvinist predestination, but the BOTH share a belief that God chose his prophets and leaders before they were born. You can quote verses that say it about individuals; I can quote verses that say it about ALL prophetic leaders – so don’t go there. We are in agreement on this point.

    Comment by Ray — December 17, 2007 @ 9:44 pm |Reply

  215. “Pre-existence” not “per-existence” – mea culpa

    Comment by Ray — December 17, 2007 @ 9:45 pm |Reply

  216. “even grossly warped theology like Salt Lake’s”

    How you expect us to continue to talk to you after statements like this is beyond me. Steff, why do you put up with this?

    Comment by MCQ — December 18, 2007 @ 7:05 am |Reply

  217. Another thing Colin: Some of the concepts and words that you throw around so casually are sacred to us. Show some respect or get lost.

    Comment by MCQ — December 18, 2007 @ 7:26 am |Reply

  218. MCQ,
    That article I posted by was a Christian apologist who has done much debating and discussion with LDS officials, those were not my words I was using that article to make a point. I think James White is just a little frustrated that many Mormons side with the anti-Christian liberal media and culture in general when it comes to your views on mainline Christianity and the Bible. It isn’t right that some LDS officials helped the media once again paint Christians as ignorant bigots who just stereotype other peoples beliefs. Other things that he and other Christians have dealt with (how Mormons often side with atheists with attempts to show contradictions in the Bible), I think shape a lot of his tone. Also, what other terms have a thrown around that are sacred to you??

    Ray,
    To answer you question on why hell is eternal let me illustrate something. Read over these scenaries and imagine what the just punishment should be for each of these sins. 1) You throw a rock 2) You throw a rock and break your mothers window 3) You throw a rock and break a window of a public school 4) You throw a rock and break a window of a school and kill a kid 5) You throw a rock and kill the president
    Do you see where I am going with this?

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 18, 2007 @ 1:47 pm |Reply

  219. Colin

    Maybe i’m behind, but I don’t get the question, what it has to do with eternity?

    None of the above would justify eternity in Hell….

    If I were the judge in the above I would give these punishments (and it was my child that was to be punished)….

    Scenerio #1. none, or maybe a scolding “we don’t throw rocks”
    #2 a spanking, #3 A high five (I don’t like the principal) JUST KIDDING! So same as #3 (oh and i’m assuming we are punishing our children here) #4 WAY more serious, but seems like an accident, so the punishent would have to fit the crime. And killing the president by accident would be just as bad as killing any other human being, so the punishment for #5 would be the same as #4.

    Comment by steffielynn — December 18, 2007 @ 2:16 pm |Reply

  220. Steff,
    This is a fundemental difference between Mormonism and historic Christianity. The Bible teaches, especially in Romans and Ephesians 1 that only Christians are adopted children of God through Jesus Christ. Everyone else is God’s fallen creation, which he still shows common grace to but are not his “children” especially in the intimate sense of the human relationship. See, in our view God is eternal and infinitly worthy, beautiful, perfect, self-suffecient, and inherently existent. He didn’t NEED to create us because he had a “man shaped hole in his heart”, he Chose to create creatures to experience his glory. And due to the fall he chose creatures to show “amazing grace” too by redeeming them from a state where they are destined for eternal seperation from him, to where they can enjoy his presence forever by HIS GRACE ALONE!! We as humans are extremely deficient and lacking in contentment, partially because we are finite but mostly because we are fallen and do not have the infinite pleasure of intimacy (not sexually) with God. Therefore we turn our spouses and families (which in the divine order of priorities should come 2nd AFTER God) into idols that meet are needs and “fill the whole” that is within us. We then become dependant upon our loved ones and will do anything to preserve relationships with them (Think of all the convicted serial killers whose mothers still think they are innocent). This isn’t entirly sinful, but because of the fall you can be sure that we all do approach our familys with sinful selfishness… However, God is not that way, he does not depend on anyone or anything else for existence, fulfillment, or perfection… The Bible says multiple times that God will not judge with partiality. So no, I was talking about what a human judge should do if he is just and upholding the law in those situations. Even if they weren’t on purpose, they still would increase in penalty based up not just the act but who the act is against. All of our sins ARE on purpose and aren’t just justifiable accidents. They are rebellion and a deep seated hatred and despising of the infintily worthy, perfect, and glorious God who is before all things.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 18, 2007 @ 2:51 pm |Reply

  221. Colin

    Really? You believe all that? That (belief) is exactly why I was searching so long for a church. I’m not trying to disrespect your beliefs, I just feel so sorry for you. 😦

    The God you just described IS different then the one I know. Although I agree that He is Glorious and Perfect, I disagree with everything else.

    If what you say is true, then God is cruel, creating “creatures” Just to keep a few and destroy the rest. And not just destroy them but makes sure they suffer for ETERNITY. That sounds like satan, NOT God!!!

    And families, where do you get this idea that people idolize families? I have to assume you do not have one (wife and kids) if you really feel this way. Before I had a family I did not know true, unselfish, eternal love… I love my husband and my children… beyond words.

    I did not know HOW to put God first in my life until I became LDS. Now He truly is my #1 and I know that he gave me my amazing family, because HE loves ME!

    Colin, we are ALL His children, and He loves ALL of us. Even the ones who throw rocks!

    Why do YOU believe in God? Do you believe you are one of his Chosen? And if He has already chosen His special children, why preach His word? Why try to save others? Are you not just wasting your time?

    Comment by steffielynn — December 18, 2007 @ 3:09 pm |Reply

  222. Colin,

    I’m going to go through the last comment phrase by phrase, since I just don’t understand why you think it applies to us as a “correction” of what we teach. I will quote your comment then provide the Mormon version.

    1) “that only Christians are adopted children of God through Jesus Christ”

    Agreed. All of us are literal, spiritual children (creations) of God, the Father, but only those who accept the Atonement of Jesus, the Christ, are considered “adopted” children of God through Jesus Christ.

    2) “He didn’t NEED to create us because he had a “man shaped hole in his heart”, he Chose to create creatures to experience his glory.”

    Agreed. We differ as to the ultimate meaning of “glory”, but we certainly teach that He didn’t need to create us – that He was God without our creation – and that our creation was to experience His glory. (Frankly, I have never heard the phrase “a man shaped hole in His heart” used in any Mormon meetings I have ever attended – and those number in the thousands.)

    3) “due to the fall he chose creatures to show “amazing grace” to by redeeming them from a state where they are destined for eternal separation from him, to where they can enjoy his presence forever by HIS GRACE ALONE!!”

    Agreed. We sing a hymn with the following words, “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me; confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. I tremble to know that for me he was crucified – that for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.” We also teach that we cannot be saved without His grace – that it alone is what gives us salvation – that our “works” are merely the fruits of the internalization of His grace.

    4) “We as humans are extremely deficient and lacking in contentment, partially because we are finite but mostly because we are fallen and do not have the infinite pleasure of intimacy (not sexually) with God.”

    Agreed. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    5) “Therefore we turn our spouses and families (which in the divine order of priorities should come 2nd AFTER God) into idols that meet our needs and “fill the hole” that is within us. We then become dependent upon our loved ones and will do anything to preserve relationships with them.”

    Agreed. We teach that the family is the penultimate “earthly” and “heavenly” group, but we also teach that those relationships are secondary to our relationship with God – that our spouses and families can’t save us apart from God. Obviously, we disagree on the state of our family relationships after death, but we don’t disagree with the actual words you used in your comment.

    6) “However, God is not that way, he does not depend on anyone or anything else for existence, fulfillment, or perfection… ”

    Agreed. We have said multiple times in this thread that the “God was once a man” idea is NOT considered canonical doctrine – that it is an extrapolation of one Biblical verse – that it simply isn’t taught anymore – that it is not a core principle of Mormonism. (I should add that it is a very plausible interpretation of that verse in isolation, but it is not supported by the rest of the Bible or the rest of our canon.)

    7) “All of our sins ARE on purpose and aren’t just justifiable accidents.”

    Agreed. We define sin explicitly as those actions that are done on purpose – when we know what we should do and do otherwise.

    The most fundamental point of doctrine where we certainly disagree is predestination – as opposed to fore-ordination.

    You said in an earlier comment that predestination is a paradox – in the following words:

    “Calvinists DO believe in human responsibility no matter how much it seems to be logically unsupported by those doctrines. It is accepted as a paradox, that is, it APPEARS to contradict but after examining it closely and thinking ***outside the box*** [emphasis mine] it can be reconciled. They may preach messages defending these doctrines [of human responsibility], but they are so all-pervasive and do alter core principles as you stated, that it causes what they preach and how they preach it to be radically different than an Arminian.”

    This means, according to your own words, that Calvinists like yourself preach the same basic concepts of human responsibility (“the call to repent, believe, and other issues dealing with human responsibility”), but that after examination it is OK because it can be reconciled “BY THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX”. Those are your words. This is how it sounds to a Mormon – or any other non-Calvinist, for that matter.

    “You and I might preach the same message, but we mean different things by it. You preach repentance, belief and human responsibility in order to prompt people to change their lives and come into harmony with God’s will for them; we, on the other hand, preach repentance, belief and human responsibility in order to prompt people to let God change their lives and come into harmony with His will for them. If people actually do change their lives and believe, repent and bear delicious fruits due to YOUR preaching, you still haven’t done God’s will – because you disagree with us about your role in that process; if, on the other hand, people actually do change their lives and believe, repent and bear delicious fruits due to OUR preaching, we have done God’s will – because we are right and you are wrong.” In other words, “by their fruits ye shall know them” is applied differently to one group than another – based solely on how they view and articulate those fruits – even when those actual fruits are exactly the same from ANY objective perspective. (Even you and Washer seem to admit that “fruits” in this case means “actions”.) You seem to be saying that two people can DO the exact same thing – and even SAY the exact same thing – and even appear to MEAN the exact same thing, but that one of them has been elected to salvation and the other to damnation.

    You openly admit that this is a “paradox” that only can be reconciled “by thinking outside the box”, but you restrict the ability to think outside the box to yourself and those who believe exactly as you do. It’s OK for you to think outside the box – and to mean different things with the same words or the same things with different words, but it’s not OK for anyone else to think outside the box – and to mean different things with the same words or the same things with different words. You’ve created a double standard that makes your beliefs and words sacrosanct and others’ beliefs and words corrupt – EVEN when they are the exact same beliefs and words. You have demonstrated that in spades on this thread.

    Over and over and over again, you have claimed that we don’t “really” believe many of the things that you believe – that you wish Mormons would stop “lying” about their beliefs. Yes, there are points of doctrine (including some VERY important points) upon which we disagree, but there also are MANY points of doctrine upon which we agree completely. However, every time I and others have made that point, you have rejected it out of hand – or ignored it completely without acknowledgment. That I simply can’t understand – maybe because I’m not allowed to think outside the box.

    Comment by Ray — December 18, 2007 @ 4:17 pm |Reply

  223. Steffie, we disagree with the way Colin phrases a lot of what he says, but don’t let the hyperbole obscure the underlying truths that are embedded in many of his words. We really do have a very different perception of God than he does, but almost all of that comes from the difference between predestination and fore-ordination. We each believe God has a plan for us; we just differ in how we see our role in that plan.

    Granted, that is a HUGE difference, but – in the end – we both are saying that God has created the criteria by which we will be saved or damned – and that it is up to each of us to follow what we feel the criteria for salvation are. When you cut through the paradox nonsense and focus on what he teaches about personal responsibility, Colin actually believes in agency and will – he just can’t accept it when it comes as a heresy from those damned Mormons who are outside his box that is outside the original box. He can accept it just fine when it comes from a Calvinist like Washer, because, you know, it’s a just a paradox coming from him.

    Comment by Ray — December 18, 2007 @ 4:30 pm |Reply

  224. BTW, today is our 21st anniversary. Congratulations are in order, I think.

    Comment by Ray — December 18, 2007 @ 4:31 pm |Reply

  225. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

    I hope ya’ll both have a WONDERDUL day! 🙂

    (and I hope you got her something special!)

    Comment by steffielynn — December 18, 2007 @ 4:40 pm |Reply

  226. I forgot to make a point explicit about my point #7 in comment #222.

    Colin’s quote is “All of our sins ARE on purpose and aren’t just justifiable accidents.” That is agency and will. The ONLY way to reconcile that with Calvinism is through the application of the “outside the box paradox” that Colin mentions. That’s why Colin’s view of predestination is neither logical nor scriptural, because, at the end of the day, it requires Olympian mental gymnastics to construct an outside the box paradox to make it work and those gymnastics are not allowed in the rest of his theology. That’s why he has to call it a paradox – rather than the logical and doctrinal fallacy that it is.

    The majority of those who sat on the council of Nicea understood that such a paradox was not doctrinal and scriptural, which is why they rejected the Athanasian position as too extreme in favor of the “Semi-Arian” position – which was firmly consistent with their understanding of the Bible without requiring this type of paradox.

    Comment by Ray — December 18, 2007 @ 4:45 pm |Reply

  227. MCQ: Regarding #217 – I share your frustration with Colin concerning the way he mocks what we hold sacred (as I do with ej), but Steffie has made it clear that she wants Colin and others on this blog. I have had to repent of my earlier comments suggesting others leave. Please rethink the last sentence you typed by chalking it up to frustration.

    See ya’ later. I’m off to work, so I can celebrate my anniversary tonight.

    Comment by Ray — December 18, 2007 @ 4:53 pm |Reply

  228. Shiz makes a few observations from the perspective of a parent:

    1) “that only Christians are adopted children of God through Jesus Christ”

    Shiz has no need to adopt children that are already his.

    2) “He didn’t NEED to create us because he had a “man shaped hole in his heart”, he Chose to create creatures to experience his glory.”

    Shiz did not create children so that they could experience his glory, Shiz created children so he could experience their glory.

    3) “due to the fall he chose creatures to show “amazing grace” to by redeeming them from a state where they are destined for eternal separation from him, to where they can enjoy his presence forever by HIS GRACE ALONE!!”

    Shiz believes that if a man is placed in jail for no reason other than being born, the act of letting him out of jail is not an act of grace.

    4) “We as humans are extremely deficient and lacking in contentment, partially because we are finite but mostly because we are fallen and do not have the infinite pleasure of intimacy (not sexually) with God.”

    Shiz does not consider himself fallen. Being born is not equivalent to having fallen.

    5) “Therefore we turn our spouses and families (which in the divine order of priorities should come 2nd AFTER God) into idols that meet our needs and “fill the hole” that is within us. We then become dependent upon our loved ones and will do anything to preserve relationships with them.”

    Shiz warns against confusing love with worship. They are not the same.

    6) “However, God is not that way, he does not depend on anyone or anything else for existence, fulfillment, or perfection… ”

    Shiz asks, that if this is true, where did God come from?

    7) “All of our sins ARE on purpose and aren’t just justifiable accidents.”

    Shiz sees no need to repeat the obvious here.

    Comment by Shiz — December 18, 2007 @ 11:18 pm |Reply

  229. Steff,
    ” If what you say is true, then God is cruel, creating “creatures” Just to keep a few and destroy the rest. And not just destroy them but makes sure they suffer for ETERNITY. That sounds like satan, NOT God!!!”

    I’ll let God’s Word speak for itself…
    “Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
    For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”
    So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,
    even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.” (Romans 9:13-24)

    “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons”…”Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.” (Matthew 12:24,31)

    “And families, where do you get this idea that people idolize families? I have to assume you do not have one (wife and kids) if you really feel this way.”

    Uhhhhh, I’m not even sure where to begin with this??… First of all I do have a wife. Second do you honestly think that we are fallen creatures, yet when it comes to families we are sinless? The entire Bible calls fallen man an idolater, in fact the number one sin that got the Israelites introuble was idolatry. Romans one illustrates that we have fallen short of God’s glory and therefore seek pleasure in fulfillment in the creation above the creator… and families are not included in this? If that is so why did Jesus use this hyperbole… “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

    “Why do YOU believe in God? Do you believe you are one of his Chosen? And if He has already chosen His special children, why preach His word? Why try to save others? Are you not just wasting your time?”

    I’ll answer the last two questions first, and my answer is… I already answered both of the questions fully in several other posts.

    Yes, I believe that I am part of the elect but that took me two years after I repented and trusted in Christ to realize. What God’s word said was undeniable no matter what the anti-Calvinist fundemental Baptist church I was going to taught. I also personally fought tooth and nail against these doctrines until I humbled myself and set aside my mind set on the flesh (Romans 8:7) and God showed me the truth about these doctrines and how they reveal a merciful God not a cruel tyrant. Ultimately I realized that my problem with the doctrines was that, like all of humanity I believe in human goodness. While I gave lip service to the teaching that men are “dead in trespasses and sins” , I still believed he had an island of goodness in him where he could choose God and love him and essentially earn his salvation with the help of God.

    I believe in God not due to an emotional feeling or because of some idea of god that I had while still dead in my sins that a particular religion fulfilled. I believe in God because he has revealed himself as the sovereign God of history… Through reading the Bible and studying everything about it I have come to the conclusion that it is the inspired, suffecient, inerrant Word of God. Furthermore, I believe that Jesus is the eternal Logos (Word/John 1) of God incarnate as revealed in the New Testament who was the promised Messiah and fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies, types, and shadows. He was historic and he died for his people, and rose again to be seated at the right hand of the Father. I believe he founded his church on the apostles that he had chosen, and that their teachings are presented in the New Testament and have been expounded upon by all faithful, fruitful, and biblical ministers for the last 2,000 years to build up his Church to where it is today. These are all realities and facts that exist from outside of my personal experience and would be absolute truth whether I came to the knowledge of them or not. However, approximately three years ago after years of being on and selling drugs, and being heavily demonized by occultic practices (witchcraft, channeling, freemasonry) God kicked satan out of the way who was leading me while I was dead in my transgressions and sins, whether I realized it or not (Ephesians 2:1,2). He placed gospel ministers in my path who preached the Biblical gospel of Law and Grace. Meaning they showed me God’s Law (the Ten Commandments) and showed that I had broken them all either in actual deed or in thought. God then created “good soil” (Mark 4) in my heart where those truths sunk in deeper and deeper into my being until they took firm root. I saw that in my heart where all of my willful actions come from (Matthew 15:19) there was nothing but evil. All “goodness” that APPEARED to come from me was actually a manifestation of God’s common grace in the world, and my motivations for doing them were never pure or in line with the two greatest commandments. I then beheld the Holiness of God and how helpless I was, however this seeing was done by the quickening Spirit of God because without it I could not understand objective Spiritual realities (2 Corinthians 2:14,15). I then remembered the Grace part of the gospel message that included the death and ressurection of Jesus on behalf of sinners, and cried out to Him for salvation. From then on I have had peace with God, and have continued to experience and personally know him more through his Word, prayer, fellowship with other believers, and sound teaching. I continue to be more humbled by God’s grace in realizing that being a Christian means depending more on God and Christ instead of becoming more self-suffecient, indepedant and ,”holy” by my own works. Rather as I put to death the old-self and surrender it to the cross of Christ (Romans 6-7) I find that the new nature, the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) created in the image of Christ at my conversion gives me the heart, motivation, and nature to live a holy life that is as natural as my heart beat and my lungs drawing in air. In short, the God of the Bible is an objective reality that exists, and my experience with him has been profoundly (even frighteningly) in line with his Word. This all happened to me when I was not looking for him or pleasing to him. “We love God because he first Loved us”.

    Ray,
    First, will you please let me know where I can find all Mormon theology and universal teachings stated clearly? You said in #217 that I have disrespected your most cherished beliefs, but I thought you said I have your beliefs all wrong? What things did I disrespect in a way other than saying I thought they were unbiblical or wrong?

    Also I think I can answer the majority of your most recent posts by stating this… I stand by everything I have said concerning Calvinism, including all scriptures, illustrations, and logic. When I said paradox, I was talking about something that APPEARED to contradict, but upon closer examination doesn’t. When I mentioned “thinking outside the box” I wasn’t talking about some existentialist illogical reasoning. I was referring to deep logic and higher metaphysical reasoning that would take pages, upon pages to discuss and defend. In fact, I am reading one of the most famous Calvinist examinations of this “paradox” called the Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards right now. You also said something about my point of view being proven unscriptural… When did this occur? I thought I answered pretty much every scriptural objection and defended my own exegesis.

    Finally, I am sure glad shiz isn’t God…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 19, 2007 @ 2:27 am |Reply

  230. Colin if those were not your words, I apologize. The word I most object to being casually bantered about is Elohim. We don’t use that name, even in worship. I object to it being used repeatedly in a post, especially in any form of ridicule.

    Comment by MCQ — December 19, 2007 @ 3:15 am |Reply

  231. Colin, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism is online. It’s not perfect but it’s a good start:

    http://www.lib.byu.edu/Macmillan/

    You may also want to do some browsing at http://www.lds.org

    I want to sincerely congratulate you on the peace you have found. We have our differences, but we can agree on that.

    and I actually really like Shiz.

    Comment by MCQ — December 19, 2007 @ 3:29 am |Reply

  232. MCQ,
    Yes, I like him too, but I’m still glad he isn’t God…. 😉

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 19, 2007 @ 3:49 am |Reply

  233. Shiz’s Ideas are closest to mine, He speaks as a father who adores his children. This is how I see God as well, He adores His children (us), He does not want them do burn in hell because of the way He created them. He wants them to learn, to grow, to live and love and return to Him, with a greater knowledge.

    Colin I just don’t get how anyone can say they believe God is loving and merciful and also believe that He will only save a few of His creation, and the rest will burn forever. How is that loving and merciful? I used to believe that, and my husband always disagreed with me, he would say it didn’t make sense. There are different degrees of sin, and he was right, and I was taught about the three degrees of glory. And now I get it! It just makes so much sense!

    There are other things I will get to tomorrow, i’m super tired.

    **** Colin, I agree with MCQ I am happy for you that you found God, even if we disagree, I know He loves all of us! 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 19, 2007 @ 4:50 am |Reply

  234. Colin, I really do respect you – no matter how the last few comments sounded. I don’t doubt God will save you and reward you for your faithfulness and repentance, based on what you have written. Frankly, I just happen to think you’ve focused so hard on the outside the box, intellectual paradox that you’ve overcomplicated something that isn’t that complex.

    Personally, I think you’ve bought into the “if only they studied the clear Word harder, they’d get it” concept – with the disclaimer that they still might not get it if they are elected to damnation. That’s just me, however.

    Comment by Ray — December 19, 2007 @ 5:24 am |Reply

  235. “He does not want them do burn in hell because of the way He created them.”

    Steff I already answered this many times… Go to my previous posts where I described original sin, and the nature of the will. You just don’t understand that when it comes to our fundemental disposition toward God and sin we are equally guilty with Adam and Eve as if we were actually in Garden, where we were sinless and knew God perfectly and yet willingly turned from him. This puts us in an irreversible situation apart from God’s grace, where we have sinned against an infinitly holy, worthy, and perfect God by looking at him and going ehhh no thanks all this other stuff you created is better and more worth my time…

    “There are different degrees of sin, and he was right, and I was taught about the three degrees of glory.”

    I agree that people, due to God’s restraining grace upon them, may physically sin less then others… However, the only reason why some secular humanist “do-gooder” appears better than some other horrible person is that God has pulled his grace further away from later. Left to their own fallen will and desires, isolated from all outside physical and spiritual goodness, everyone is just as capable and willing to do all sorts of evil. Think about all the cases where a group of people will be stranded on an island or in the middle of no where. Pretty soon people realize that they no longer have to put on their societal masks or play by the rules, and those who were good citizens are all of the sudden commiting rape and murder. No one can lay hold to any self-suffecient goodness that made them “better” than another person… I also believe that there will varying degrees of punishment in hell and reward in heaven.

    By the way Steff, in your view who goes to Heaven and why? Also who goes to hell (if anyone) and why? Where do we get any sense of morality, justice, and punishment from if all of creation is all just one unconditionally loving family where Adolph Hitler is loved just as much as the Apostle John?

    Ray,
    “I don’t doubt God will save you and reward you for your faithfulness and repentance, based on what you have written.”
    I appreciate the fact that you insisted you still do respect me, I still do respect you also… Concerning this quote all I have to say is that to the contrary I do not doubt God saved me BECAUSE of the faith and repentance he has given me 🙂

    “Frankly, I just happen to think you’ve focused so hard on the outside the box, intellectual paradox that you’ve overcomplicated something that isn’t that complex.”
    I can certainly understand how I may have come across this way. Concerning Calvinism, I believe it foremost because it is what I find consistantly that the scriptures teach. It also makes sense when I reflect on my conversion and the fact that I was no better, smarter, or more spiritual than someone else so as to cause me to come to salvation. Concerning the paradoxes and what not, that is just what I study in my freetime because I just love studying deep subjects, however I do not deem such things nessecary. All that is nessecary is that one accepts what the Word of God teaches by faith, and if you want to ask questions later then there are certainly plenty of answers. I do not deem belief in the doctrines of Calvinism nessecary for ones salvation. However I seriously question other “Christians” who when confronted with all the Biblical evidence in favor of it that they cannot refute, they still reject it just because they do not like it and spend the rest of their “Christian walk” railing against it. Many arminians certainly are saved, but the presuppositions and logic that are inherent in their line of thought lead to a different man-centered gospel which bears only a slight semblence to the biblical gospel.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 19, 2007 @ 2:33 pm |Reply

  236. Shiz declares that the act of being born is not a sin…even if one believes that the act of being born was a conscious decision to leave the presence of God in search of something better.

    Shiz does not care what the scriptures say (or can be interpreted as saying). If something does not make sense on a moral and just level, Shiz does not abide in it.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 19, 2007 @ 4:47 pm |Reply

  237. Shiz,
    “Shiz does not care what the scriptures say (or can be interpreted as saying). If something does not make sense on a moral and just level, Shiz does not abide in it.”

    Then you are not a Christian.

    Again if you dig deep it does make sense on a moral or just level. I would recommend reading Jonathan Edwards “Original Sin Defended”, its quite lengthy and you probably won’t read it, but is a logical AND scriptural defense. I may not like a certain concept that science discovers, and may think it is illogical according to “common sense”. That doesn’t mean though that there is no way to make sense of it upon closer examination. My apathy for wanting to examine the evidence closely would suggest more of a personal bias then it would the inability for that concept to be logically validated

    “decision to leave the presence of God in search of something better.”

    If you do not recognize this as a horrid sin, then you don’t know God.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 19, 2007 @ 5:57 pm |Reply

  238. Colin,

    You speak of cases of people stranded on an Island, I don’t know of any REAL cases of good people being stranded and turning evil. That just sounds like an episode of “Lost” (which is my favorite show by the way)

    So you believe that people are naturally evil? So what about people of other faiths or people like Coventry who desire to do good JUST for the sake of doing good?

    If what you are saying is true then ALL people who are not “saved” or “chosen” would be evil. But that is not the case. There are wonderful people out there who are not Christian. Those people in your eyes would end up in Hell. I believe they will obtain a degree of glory.

    So this brings me to your question. You asked who goes to Heaven and why. I don’t know if this has been discussed, so forgive me if I repeat something someone else said.

    We believe in Three degrees of Glory, the Telestial, Terrestrial and the Celestial Kingdoms. We also believe in “outer darkness” (also known as Hell)
    Everyone will be Judged by God, with the Savior as our advocate. So where each person goes I do not know. And people Like Hitler will be judged according to their hearts. So I would assume that Hitler would reject God, but who knows. Christ dies for all of us, and only God can judge.

    Anyhow, anyone who rejects God with a full knowledge of Him will be sent to outer Darkness.

    And the hope is that we will get to the Celestial Kingdom so that we can be forever happy with our Heavenly Father, our Savior Jesus Christ, and our families.

    Comment by steffielynn — December 19, 2007 @ 7:16 pm |Reply

  239. Speaking of Salvation, I made a new post,

    There is so much to it, and it is so wonderful….

    I hope we can discuss it further!
    https://mormonsrock.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/the-three-degrees-of-glory-and-the-plan-of-salvation/

    Comment by steffielynn — December 19, 2007 @ 8:00 pm |Reply

  240. Everyone, before we automatically ascribe stereotyped beliefs to Colin, since it bugs us when he does it to us, let me ask him a basic question – since he already has said that people can be saved without accepting basic concepts of Calvinism.

    Colin, to be very narrow in focus: Is it possible for someone who was born in a time and place that made hearing of Jesus impossible to be among those elected to salvation?

    Comment by Ray — December 19, 2007 @ 8:11 pm |Reply

  241. Steffie, if that question should be in the new thread, feel free to delete it from here and repost it there.

    Comment by Ray — December 19, 2007 @ 8:15 pm |Reply

  242. Finally, Colin, please try harder to be less judgmental and condescending in your comments. You probably don’t mean to be, but every comment includes statements like “if you studied these doctrines” or “if you think about these deeply” or “clearly” or “it is obvious that” or, in your last comment, “if you dig deep” and “you probably won’t read it” – ad infinitum. (Fwiw, I’ve read and considered and discussed and debated what Johnathon Edwards wrote in that book, “but you probably don’t believe that” – with that last phrase used ONLY as an example of how it sounds to us when you say things that like to us.)

    You said, “I seriously question other “Christians” who when confronted with all the Biblical evidence in favor of it that they cannot refute, they still reject it just because they do not like it and spend the rest of their “Christian walk” railing against it.”

    I do not reject predestination because I can’t refute it. I can and have refuted **those specific conclusions that I feel are not backed by the complete Biblical record**. Furthermore, I spend VERY little of my time even discussing it – much less “railing against it”. However, if you look REALLY closely at what you just said in your quote, you are doing exactly what you question in others. You are rejecting what others believe and actively “railing against it” for the express reason that the way you read the scriptures differs from the way they do. Over and over and over again you have claimed that it simply is because you understand the scriptures better than they do – and even stating that your view is “clearly” correct – when brilliant theologians have discussed and debated these very concepts from the beginning of Christian theological discussion and debate.

    Finally, I question your theological interpretations, but I do not question your “Christianity” at all. I believe, as you claim to believe, that God touches us each individually and allows us our varying interpretations according to our ability to understand Him and His word. I have no doubt you are Christian to the core, even though you believe things differently that I do – based on what I am able to ascertain from your comments. I think your fruits bear out your sincere conviction; I wish you would, at the very least, grant us that same concession – that God actually might be working in us to accomplish His purposes.

    I am NOT asking that you suddenly grant our beliefs legitimacy; I’m just asking you, at the most fundamental level, to recognize that you are doing exactly what you say frustrates you about others.

    Comment by Ray — December 19, 2007 @ 8:44 pm |Reply

  243. Shiz does not concern himself with labels that are up for interpretation. Shiz is only concerned with the intent of his heart and the repercussions of his actions.

    Comment by Shiz — December 19, 2007 @ 10:38 pm |Reply

  244. “So you believe that people are naturally evil? So what about people of other faiths or people like Coventry who desire to do good JUST for the sake of doing good? If what you are saying is true then ALL people who are not “saved” or “chosen” would be evil. But that is not the case. There are wonderful people out there who are not Christian. Those people in your eyes would end up in Hell. I believe they will obtain a degree of glory.”

    In this instance you are completely at odds with the Biblical revelation (The Prophets, basically all of Jesus ministry, and Romans 1-3). So first and foremost your problem is with what God, who is the only one who can objectively judge humanity, has already deemed is true concerning our condition. I basically already addressed most of what you say here in what I said concerning common grace and apparent goodness. However, I think we need to take this back even further… According to your definition what makes something or someone good, and what exactly is goodness? I will probably deal with the whole afterlife issue on your new post…

    Ray,
    “Colin, to be very narrow in focus: Is it possible for someone who was born in a time and place that made hearing of Jesus impossible to be among those elected to salvation?”

    Yes.

    Concerning your other comments about what I said concerning individuals who reject scripture concerning Calvinism, I didn’t have the intention to aim that at you guys. I was mostly talking about other mainline “protestants” I have dealt with. My main issue with Mormonism (or any other group) has to do with the nature of Christ and of God… This is because of what the Apostle John said… “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2,3). What is significant about this verse is not the exact heresy that he is addressing (doceticism: ie. Jesus was just an “appearance), but the fact that John is basically saying that if your Christology is wrong then you are not a Christian… John is listing in 1 John, all of the signs of a true born-again believer. Here he is saying that your Christology must be correct, by stating that those who they were dealing with that had the wrong idea of Christ (docetics) were not Christians. Now sure, as a young believer I didn’t have everything down 100% and I am sure I do not right now. But I heeded to the voice of the “Good Shepherd” through sound teachers and grew and accepted more of the Truth as it was presented and demonstrated to me. Let me wrap up what I am trying to say by quoting one of my favorite Reformed/Calvinist preachers of today RC Sproul. This comes from his book “Getting the Gospel Right”, which is about what the Gospel and the Church truly are.

    “In modern terms we ask the question, Is the Church of the Latter Day Saints a true Church? Certainly Mormons claim to be a church. Not only that, but they claim to be a Christian church. Jesus has a prominent role in their religion. He is venerated and elevated to a position of honor. Mormons even speak of having a “personaly relationship” with Christ. Yet both Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses categorically deny Christ’s deity. Likewise the Trinity is denied by some groups organized as church, such as the Unitarians.
    Those who adhere to the marks of the church as formulated by the Protestant Reformers do not accept the bodies mentioned above because, not only are they infected by theological error or heresy, but their errors and heresies involved the rejection of truths or doctrines essential to biblical Christianity. These institutions, though claiming to be churches, are regarded as false churches, sects, or cults by orthodox Christianity.
    Is it then possible for a truth Christian to be a member of any of these institutions? The answer must be yes. Not every member of an institution affirms everything the institution formally affirms, or denies everything the institution denies. It is possible for a person to be a member of a Mormon community and still believe in the deity of Christ, just as it is possible for a person to be a member of a visible church that affirms the deity of Christ while privately rejecting this doctrine.”

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 20, 2007 @ 3:07 am |Reply

  245. You quote, and I agree completely with: “”Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” Then you take that simple statement and twist it all out of proportion by claiming, “John is basically saying that if your Christology is wrong then you are not a Christian.” NO HE ISN’T. I was a school teacher; I am a passionate parser; I can’t stand it when people read something and claim it says something else. Going from “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” to “if your Christology is wrong then you are not a Christian” is a leap beyond comprehension.

    Parse the words, and John CLEARLY states that the key test is the acknowledgment that the “man” called Jesus is actually the Christ (the Messiah – the pre-existent “annointed” King of kings of Israel) come in the flesh. The test is recognizing and affirming that He who appeared to be just another man (or even a great teacher, moral leader and prophet) was, in fact, the true and anointed King of His chosen people. John’s quote you reference says NOTHING of divinity, but rather it addressed anointing – which is what “Christ” means.

    Now to address Jesus’ deity:

    Colin, I do not swear or use any vulgar language. I generally am a VERY temperate, patient man. However, statements like the following drive me absolutely batty – and it takes all my commitment to charity not to scream:

    “both Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses categorically deny Christ’s deity.”

    That is LUDICROUS!! First, our belief in Jesus is SO different than that of the JW’s that even to class us together is insulting and inaccurate. MUCH more importantly, we believe that Jesus is the second personage of the Godhead – that He is FULLY divine, God incarnate; that He was God before His birth, God during His life and God after His physical death – that He is the God of the Old Testament (Jehovah), whom Israel CORRECTLY worshiped as their God – that He is the Son of God, the Father, and one with the Father is Godhood and divinity – that He is our adoptive Father in a very real way, due to His GODHOOD – that we are saved ONLY because a GOD condescended to be born in human form and die for us, an atonement that only an INFINITELY divine being could perform – that it is perfectly accurate to call Him God, the Son. We accept Him as the Christ (Messiah), our Savior, Redeemer, Lord, Master, Judge, High Priest, Shepherd, Life’s Blood, Bread and Water, King and on and on and on. We pray to God, the Father, in the name of God, the Son and rely on God, the Holy Ghost to communicate God’s will to us. We accept John’s statement that He is Christ come in the flesh, but we go FAR beyond that basic requirement.

    You probably have no idea how hard I have had to focus here in order to follow the Biblical injunction to not return railing for railing – to turn the other cheek – to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. Disagree with the doctrine all you want, but don’t, please don’t, tell me my Church denies Christ’s deity. That simply is absurd.

    Comment by Ray — December 20, 2007 @ 4:53 am |Reply

  246. Shiz wonders why Jesus (God of the OT) has a completely different personality than Jesus of the NT.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 20, 2007 @ 6:10 am |Reply

  247. I found this to be very interesting, thought I would share:

    Q: Why do some call the Church a cult?

    New Mormonism: For the most part, this seems to stem from a lack of understanding about the Church and its core doctrines and beliefs. Under those circumstances it is too easy to label a religion or other organization that is not well-known with an inflammatory term like ‘cult.’ Famed scholar of religion Martin Marty has said a cult means a church you don’t personally happen to like. We don’t believe any organization should be subjected to a label that has come to be as pejorative as that one.

    Old Mormonism:
    “And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent of the unholy and impious act.” (Orson Pratt, OP-WA, “The Kingdom of God,” no.2, p.6)
    “…all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who recieves baptism or the Lord’s supper from their hands will highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt people.” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, pg. 255)
    “…the great apostate church as the anti-christ…This great antichrist…is the church of the devil.” (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine p.40)
    “Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the “whore of Babylon” whom the lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness.” (Pratt, The Seer, p.255)
    “Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth.” (Brigham Young, JD 6:176)
    “Evil spirits control much of the so-called religious worship in the world; for instance, the great creeds of Christendom were formulated so as to conform to their whispered promptings.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.246)
    “After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christiandom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common orgin. They belong to Babylon.” (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, p.324)

    How anyone could actually believe that Mormonism is a true church with it’s radical, unbiblical teachings such as: Mary was not born of the Holy Spirit, Satan and Jesus are brothers, Jesus is our brother and the firstborn of creation, we can become gods someday and rule our own planet, Hell does not exist, Atonement was made in the garden, etc etc, truly baffles me. Satan has really pulled a fancy one here. Problem is, there is zero scriptural evidence for any of these teachings. They are actually anti-biblical in nature.

    Comment by Elvis Kesto — December 20, 2007 @ 5:41 pm |Reply

  248. Elvis

    My friend, there are over 200 comments on this thread alone explaining our beliefs. And you still get it wrong.

    Before you knock something, and insult people, you should do your best to at LEAST get what you are trying to knock down CORRECT!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 20, 2007 @ 6:00 pm |Reply

  249. My friend, these are quotes from leaders from YOUR church. Not to mention, Jospeh Smith himself said that every church today is apostate, hence “latter day” saints. I’ve debated numerous Mormon elders on these topics. They never give a Biblical answer. When they are in a corner, they tell me the Bible is full of contradictions. How convenient…

    Comment by Elvis Kesto — December 20, 2007 @ 6:09 pm |Reply

  250. Let us try some deductive logic here and see what happens. Yes or no, do Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers. Please, refrain from the old “God is the Father of all” argument. Plain and simple, yes or no. If yes (as your church believes) then prove it from Scripture. If no, then you are not in line with Mormon theology.

    This should give you a boost. This comes right from LDS.org:

    How can Jesus and Lucifer be spirit brothers when their characters and purposes are so utterly opposed?

    Jess L. Christensen, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, June 1986, 25–26

    Jess L. Christensen, Institute of Religion director at Utah State University, Logan, Utah. On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel “who was in authority in the presence of God,” a “son of the morning.” (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)

    How could two such great spirits become so totally opposite? The answer lies in the principle of agency, which has existed from all eternity. (See D&C 93:30–31.) Of Lucifer, the scripture says that because of rebellion “he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies.” (Moses 4:4.) Note that he was not created evil, but became Satan by his own choice.

    When our Father in Heaven presented his plan of salvation, Jesus sustained the plan and his part in it, giving the glory to God, to whom it properly belonged. Lucifer, on the other hand, sought power, honor, and glory only for himself. (See Isa. 14:13–14; Moses 4:1–2.) When his modification of the Father’s plan was rejected, he rebelled against God and was subsequently cast out of heaven with those who had sided with him. (See Rev. 12:7–9; D&C 29:36–37.)

    That brothers would make dramatically different choices is not unusual. It has happened time and again, as the scriptures attest: Cain chose to serve Satan; Abel chose to serve God. (See Moses 5:16–18.) Esau “despised his birthright”; Jacob wanted to honor it. (Gen. 25:29–34.) Joseph’s brothers sought to kill him; he sought to preserve them. (Gen. 37:12–24; Gen. 45:3–11.)

    It is ironic that the agency with which Lucifer rebelled is the very gift he tried to take from man. His proposal was that all be forced back into God’s presence. (See Moses 4:1, 3.) But the principle of agency is fundamental to the existence and progression of intelligent beings: as we make wise choices, we grow in light and truth. On the other hand, wrong choices—such as the one Satan made—stop progress and can even deny us blessings that we already have. (See D&C 93:30–36.)

    In order for us to progress, therefore, we must have the opportunity to choose good or evil. Interestingly, Satan and his angels—those who opposed agency—have become that opposition. As the prophet Lehi taught, “Men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Ne. 2:27.)

    Although the Father has allowed Satan and his angels to tempt mankind, he has given each of us the ability to rise above temptation. (See 1 Cor. 10:13.) He has also given us the great gift of the Atonement.

    When the Lord placed enmity between Eve’s children and the devil, Satan was told that he would bruise the heel of Eve’s seed, but her seed would bruise his head. (See Moses 4:21.) President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that “the ‘God of peace,’ who according to the scriptures is to bruise Satan, is Jesus Christ.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957, 1:3.) Satan would bruise the Savior’s heel by leading men to crucify Him. But through his death and resurrection, Christ overcame death for all of us; and through his atonement, he offers each of us a way to escape the eternal ramifications of sin. Thus, Satan’s machinations have been frustrated and eventually he will be judged, bound, and cast into hell forever. (See Rev. 20:1–10; D&C 29:26–29.)

    Comment by Elvis Kesto — December 20, 2007 @ 6:16 pm |Reply

  251. I ran across a fascinating article about the things Christianity and Atheism share. I won’t post the link here, since I’m not sure how some might respond to the crudity of some of the illustrations, but the 10 things mentioned are interesting – as they relate to Calvinists and Mormons. They are:

    1) You Can Do Terrible Things in the Name of Either One
    2) Both Sides Really Do Believe What They’re Saying
    3) In Everyday Life, You’re Not That Different
    4) There Are Good People on Both Sides
    5) Your Point of View is Legitimately Offensive to Them
    6) We Tend to Exaggerate About the Other Guy
    7) We Tend to Exaggerate About Ourselves, Too
    8) Focusing on Negative (Exceptions) Makes You Stupid
    9) Both Sides Have Brought Good to the Table
    10) You’ll Never Harass the Other Side Out of Existence

    Frankly, these are VERY profound – and all too often get ignored when the emotion starts to roil, the feathers get ruffled and the cheeks stop getting turned.

    Comment by Ray — December 20, 2007 @ 7:31 pm |Reply

  252. “Please, refrain from the old ‘God is the Father of all’ argument. ”

    Man, I can’t stop laughing. I.e., “Please answer this question, but don’t use the answer that everyone has used throughout history to answer many questions of spiritual relationships, good vs. evil, predestination and free will, the existence and purpose of pain and suffering, ad infinitum.”

    Sir, do you still beat your wife? Please, no lengthy explanation; just answer Yes or No.

    Ma’am, please explain the relationship between grace, faith and works – just don’t quote any scriptures that seem to validate your view.

    Sir, please explain why evolution might be God’s creative process – but don’t use that old “the earth is older than a few thousand years” argument.

    Soldier, did you kill that man – but don’t use that stupid “self-defense” argument.

    No, Elvis, I won’t play that “old” game.

    Comment by Ray — December 20, 2007 @ 7:41 pm |Reply

  253. Elvis,

    We can argue all day long, but that will not change the fact that my Father in Heaven has touched my heart. I have the most important knowledge, that God loves me, And that He still speaks to His children. I have peace and happiness because of this knowledge, and that is something you cannot take from me, or argue away 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 20, 2007 @ 9:08 pm |Reply

  254. And Orson is quoted again! I swear, the name of this blog should be changed to Orson’s Oracle, he gets quoted more often here than anywhere else in the last hundred years.

    Elvis, the whole Jesus and Satan are brothers question is answered perfectly in the material you quoted. If you don’t believe that, fine, but what could we possible add to that? It’s a perfect answer. That is precisely what we believe. It’s true that the Bible does not explain this concept fully. If it did, you and Colin would already believe it and we would not be havng this discussion. We believe in revelation beyond the Bible, which is why we believe things that are not found in the Bible. Many of the things we believe are alluded to in the Bible, including that one. (Isaiah 14:12). What is your belief about the origins of Lucifer?

    Then there are these:

    “Mary was not born of the Holy Spirit”

    Um, what are you talking about here, Mary, or Jesus? If Mary, we don’t have any belief about her birth. If Jesus, while some leaders of our Church have speculated about the manner of his birth, we don’t know how it was done, other than we know that Jesus is “the only begotten” of the Father, and that Mary was a virgin. Many Christians have said that Mormons deny the virgin birth. That is not accurate:

    1 Nephi 11:

    13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
    14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
    15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
    16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
    17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
    18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
    19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
    20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
    21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!

    “Satan and Jesus are brothers” (answered in the material you provided)

    “Jesus is our brother and the firstborn of creation”

    The Israelites were commanded to sacrifice the “firstlings” of their flocks, meaning the firstborn, as a type or symbol of Christ, because he is the firstborn of the Father. Lev. 27:26

    Christ is called the Firstborn:

    Col. 1:

    12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
    13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
    14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
    15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
    16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
    17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
    18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

    We are also children of God and therefore “joint heirs” with Christ:

    Romans 8:

    16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children 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.

    “we can become gods someday and rule our own planet”

    We believe we are “joint heirs with Christ,” meaning all that the Father has can be ours. That is a lot more than one planet, I suspect, although we have not been told much about what it means.

    “Hell does not exist”

    It is not accurate to say that we do not believe in hell, unless by that you mean an actual physical place with a lake of fire and a guy with a pitchfork. We don’t believe in that, but we do believe this:

    2 Nephi 9:

    8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
    9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
    10 O how great the agoodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
    11 And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
    12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.

    “Atonement was made in the garden (of Gethsemene)”

    That’s oversimplified, Elvis. We believe both Gethsemene and Golgotha were necessary parts of the Atonement. What do you believe happened in Gethsemene?

    Comment by MCQ — December 20, 2007 @ 9:58 pm |Reply

  255. Ray and MCQ

    Thank you 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 20, 2007 @ 10:16 pm |Reply

  256. Ray,
    First of all I would like to answer your objections to my exegesis of 1 John. You have to understand the the Bible was written under what is called plenary verbal inspiration. This means that just like Jesus, the Bible is full God and fully man. Because of this many of the words, phrases, and situations that are described in the Bible are particular to that culture and time, which is why we need to do some inductive reasoning to see how God is speaking to US today through it. For example in 1 Corinthians believers are told to “greet eachother with a holy kiss”. No Christians that I know of today engage in this practice, does this mean they are disobeying God? Well lets apply the five interpretive principles to the text which are 1) What did this text mean to the original audience 2)What is the difference between us and them 3) What is the underlying theological principle 4) How does the NT change or quantify this principle (This is the NT so we won’t use this) 5)How does this apply to me today. So concerning what this text meant to the original audience if we do some cultural research we find that a “holy kiss” is how people in the world back then would great close friends in family. So what they “heard” was “greet eachother like friends and family”. The difference between us and them is that it is 2,000 years later and most people would not be comfortable doing even with friends and family. The theological principle is that believers should greet and love eachother like close friends and family. Finally, we can apply this today to mean that how we greet close friends and family (hand shake, hug) is how we should greet brothers and sisters in Christ. So what does this have to do with 1 John? Well, what was it that the people John wrote to “heard”. He basically told them that those among them who had changed or denied fundemental qualities of Christ nature were not Christians. The difference between us and them is that Doceticism is not a major heresy in the Church today at all. The theological principle is that if you are saved you will heed to a correct understanding of Christ, and those who hold to and spread false doctrines are not true Christians. This then applies today to all religions and views of Jesus that do not match up with the Biblical account of his nature.

    MCQ,
    “We believe in revelation beyond the Bible, which is why we believe things that are not found in the Bible.”
    This is a major problem from our perspective, not something minor. Every single book that is in the Bible was written by an OT prophet or king and every NT book was written by an Apostle personally appointed by Jesus or by one of their scribes under their direction. When the apostles died, the canon closed. Christians do not accept the book of Mormon because Joseph Smith was not an Apostle but was a high level freemason (as evident by the temple rituals), and what he said contradicted and was inconsistent with the totality of previous revelation.

    “16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
    17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

    The JW’s use this same passage to prove that Jesus was created, but these verses seem to contradict that hypothesis. If he created all THINGS then he must therefore be the uncreated which is what the rest of the Bible testifies, that he is the ETERNAL God. Besides if he is a creation then how could he be before ALL things if he himself is a THING? What firstborn means in this context is the rights, and priveledge and preeminence that the “firstborn child” in ancient times was given over their Fathers property, Christ is given over all creation.

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 20, 2007 @ 11:01 pm |Reply

  257. Colin,

    Could you please tell me where in the bible it says that God will no longer speak to us, and where it says He will no longer have prophets.

    Thanks

    Comment by steffielynn — December 20, 2007 @ 11:52 pm |Reply

  258. I think it’s major too, Colin. It’s the biggest thing that separates us. If we did not believe in continuing revelation, your interpretation of Bible verses would actually carry some weight with us. As it is, your inerrant word is just another interpretation by man to us. Believe me, Colin, if there’s one thing we already know about you, it’s that. We have no illusions that you believe in post-Biblical revelation.

    You said:

    “Christians do not accept the book of Mormon because Joseph Smith was not an Apostle but was a high level freemason (as evident by the temple rituals).”

    Actually, he was both. Apostles personally apointed by Jesus Christ is precisely what we claim lead our church, Colin. You have to stop believing in a closed canon before you can believe in that, however.

    Steff: You’re welcome, as always, and Merry Christmas.

    Comment by MCQ — December 20, 2007 @ 11:55 pm |Reply

  259. Colin: Those verses do not contradict our hypothesis, because we believe we all lived in a pre-mortal world with God the Father and Christ. We do not believe Christ is a thing. Neither do we believe that any of us are things. We believe that we are the children of God, and Christ, as firstborn of the Father, and our chosen Savior, created all “things” (meaning the world and all that is in it) by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Comment by MCQ — December 21, 2007 @ 12:13 am |Reply

  260. and, therein, Colin, lies the heart of the issue. You allow yourself to interpret what those words mean in our own time, but you refuse to grant us that same interpretive ability. You quote something; I dissect it and analyze what it actually says; you some back with, “but it has to be viewed not by what it actually says but by what it means – the principle it teaches.” I have no problem with that approach in many cases, but you knock us every time we do it with other passages we believe teach a principle rather needing narrow interpretation.

    You are insisting on being able to have it both ways, but you turn around and deny us the ability to have it either way whenever our way disagrees with your way. It’s exactly like Elvis’ “explain this but only in my terms” demand – completely unreasonable and impossible. If we quote something literally, you claim it should be understand figuratively; if we quote something figuratively, you claim it should be understood literally.

    Finally, FOR THE THIRD TIME, please try your hardest to erase the condescending tone of comments like “you have to understand” before launching into explanations that I understand every bit as well as you do – and, not knowing your age, probably understood before you were born. You are not talking here with a bunch of ignorant, brain-washed fools; you are talking with some people who have studied theology longer than many have been alive. I refuse to name-drop, as I’ve said before, but I have studied with theologians who are known and respected around the world (Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and others). That does NOT make me any more “correct” than anyone else, but it DOES mean that I don’t need to be told “you have to understand” a very basic point of theology or comparative religion that any decent Master’s candidate understands.

    Let me make this as clear as I can: When I ask you for a clarification, I am NOT asking for a textbook explanation, since I probably have read the textbook or studied with those who wrote it, but rather am asking for YOUR personal view – since I don’t want to stereotype you based solely on your religious classification.

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2007 @ 12:36 am |Reply

  261. BTW, Colin, Just to be clear: I understand your justification; I disagree completely with your exegesis. I accept John’s description as meaning exactly what he said; you interpret it to mean what you want it to mean. I base my belief on what I believe to be the totality of the Biblical record; so do you. I won’t change your mind; you won’t change mine. Just to be clear.

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2007 @ 12:48 am |Reply

  262. Steffie, how’s this for starters:

    Ephesians 4: 11-13:

    And he agave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    ***Till we all come in the unity of the faith***, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

    The parsed, literal version (before Colin rides in and interprets it allegorically and shows how it really means something else for our day):

    The offices / callings / responsibilities / positions / whatever listed in verse 11 are given for the purposes outlined in verse 12 and will exist until the conditions in verse 13 are met. The verses leading up to these verses EXPLICITLY teach of the absolute need for unity, so it is impossible to separate the need for communal unity from the roles of prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Those conditions will be fulfilled when ALL are united in faith (or, at the very least, all those who profess to be believers), possess a correct knowledge of the Son of God (Jesus) and grow to the full stature of Christ.

    Those conditions have not been achieved yet, so those purposes have not been fulfilled yet, so those offices / callings / responsibilities / positions / whatever are still necessary.

    verse 14: These positions are necessary so “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”

    These verses make it clear that the lack of apostles and prophets leads to chaos and confusion and doctrinal disagreement and lack of clarity – and that God addresses such a condition through the calling of prophets and apostles. Amos 3 addresses what happens when there are no prophets – or when they do not heed the prophets. Verse 7 says, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” – so the same message is taught both prior to and AFTER the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.

    People can argue that Mormon apostles and prophets are not real apostles and prophets, but it can’t be argued **from the totality of the Bible** that prophets and apostles were meant to cease with the canonization of the Bible and the death of the original Biblical prophets – especially by those who claim that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2007 @ 1:11 am |Reply

  263. Shiz,
    I forgot to answer you… The God of the Old Testament is not different than the one of the New Testament. For example, in the New Testament Jesus rebukes the Pharisees with some harsh words (Mt. 23:27), a man and his wife were struck dead instantly for lying about money (Acts 5:3-11), and Revelation 20 says that the unsaved will be thrown into hell. Furthermore, in the Old Testament God was merciful to David for commiting adultery and murder, he saved a pagan prostitute (Rahab), he withheld his wrath for centuries while the Israelites shook their fist in his face, and most of all he provided temporary atonement through the temple and the promise of Messiah.

    Steff,
    No where, but there were no more Apostles beyond those appointed by Jesus Christ personally. Only their inspired writings are accepted into the Canon… The Old Testament anticipated the New Testament era all throughout the Prophets and historical books. However, the New Testament does not envision anymore revelations coming beyond those that occured in the generation of the Messiah. The only thing we are waiting for is the consummation and final judgment, hence why the Bible repeatedly states we are in the “last days”. We are no longer looking for anymore light or revelations concerning God’s Word. I have no reason to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet, or an Apostle. Furthermore, his writings conflict with the basic teachings of the Bible.

    MCQ,
    “Colin: Those verses do not contradict our hypothesis, because we believe we all lived in a pre-mortal world with God the Father and Christ. We do not believe Christ is a thing. Neither do we believe that any of us are things. We believe that we are the children of God, and Christ, as firstborn of the Father, and our chosen Savior, created all “things” (meaning the world and all that is in it) by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

    “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. ” (Colossians 1:16)

    This verse says that Christ created everything that is both visible and invisible. Aren’t we here on earth and therefore a thing? It is very clear what this verse is saying, and the Bible does not teach pre-existence so there is no reason to bring this presupposition to this verse or any other.

    What evidence is there that Joseph Smith was an apostle?

    Ray,
    “and, therein, Colin, lies the heart of the issue. You allow yourself to interpret what those words mean in our own time, but you refuse to grant us that same interpretive ability. You quote something; I dissect it and analyze what it actually says; you some back with, “but it has to be viewed not by what it actually says but by what it means – the principle it teaches.””

    No, I do not let the verse to say whatever I want it to be. I use the inductive grammatical-historical method which is the most objective way to read the Bible. I would argue that if you do not take into account historical context, you will read into verses that show historical distance your own meaning. I don’t know where else except in this verse that I have used historical context to interpret a verse. I defended my interpretations using literary context within the scripture itself when it came to the verses from John that brought up concerning the Trinity, and in Romans 9. I answered you all with scripture, and then defended those interpretations when they were criticized and no one seemed to be able to refute what I was saying. Show me where I am wrong or inconsistent in my exegesis.

    “If we quote something literally, you claim it should be understand figuratively; if we quote something figuratively, you claim it should be understood literally.”

    That is because it is context, context, context. You have to take into account the author, the audience, the genre (prophesy, narrative, wisdom ext…), and grammar structures. You can’t just grab a piece of poetry and interpret it literally, or grab a narrative and interpret it figuratively…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 21, 2007 @ 1:27 am |Reply

  264. Ray,
    By the way concerning what you said about our differing views of exegesis… Do you think that when John says that those who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh are unsaved and of the antichrist, that he would only say that about the Docetics? So if I say yes jesus did come in the flesh, but it was the flesh of a space alien who then came down here to earth to be the Messiah, am I still a Christian? What if I say jesus before he was incarnate was a blob of ectoplasm, and then he “came in the flesh”? What if I deny John’s view of the Trinity that is outlined throughout his writings and the writings of his succesors (Polycarp, Papias, Ignatius, Ireneus), and say that some other form of deity came into the flesh and was jesus, would he still consider that person a Christian? Where do you draw the line? How can John’s letter be the universal Word of God if it only applies to a heresy from the 1st and 2nd century? Furthermore my exegesis reveals a principle that is revealed more broadly in other scriptures, namely Galatians 1:9 and 2 Corinthians 11:3-4

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 21, 2007 @ 1:37 am |Reply

  265. Ray,
    I will get to post #262 probably tomorrow morning. Just keep in mind when you read the Bible that it wasn’t written for me or you yesterday…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 21, 2007 @ 1:38 am |Reply

  266. steffielynn Says:
    Colin,

    Could you please tell me where in the bible it says that God will no longer speak to us, and where it says He will no longer have prophets.

    Thanks

    Thats an easy one. Hebrews chapter 1:1-2

    “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, BUT in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world”

    I find it all to interesting that today’s Mormons will only accept specific works of Brigham Young, McConkie, Orson, etc. In my debates with Mormons, I’ve quoted Young and McConkie and they look me dead in the eye and say that they are not substantial enough sources. From my person studies, I’ve pulled up a few interesting quotes:

    Brigham Young: “I say now, when they [his discourses] are copied and approved by me they are as good as Scripture as is couched in the Bible…” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p.264)

    Did Brigham ever believe he was wrong?

    “I am here to answer. I shall be on hand to answer when I am called upon, for all the counsel and for all instruction that I have given to this people. If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16, page 161)

    How can Mormons actually believe in their own doctrine? Do you really believe that the Church of Jesus Christ was apostate all the way until Joseph Smith?? What about in D&C where it says the Apostle John would never die? Isn’t the Apostle John still alive today here on earth? How then did the church apostasize??

    Catholics claim to have visions of Mary, Jesus, and various saints. What reason do we have to believe that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and God the Son? Upon doing so, he went and revised the Bible! Makes you wonder who really appeared to him

    I must admit, I am bring up quite a few topics at a time and I typically try to avoid doing so since it isn’t fair. With that said, let me ask the Mormons in here if they accept the works of Brigham Young. If so, who else do you see as an authority in the church, binding on all Mormons?

    Comment by Elvis Kesto — December 21, 2007 @ 1:39 am |Reply

  267. Elvis, the answer to that one is even easier – and it’s why being a parser comes in handy. Here goes:

    Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, BUT in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

    This verse says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about no more prophets. NOTHING. It simply draws a distinction between prophets of old and His Son. There’s nothing else in there. PERIOD. Placing something into the Hebrews verses that isn’t there in DIRECT contradiction of Paul’s words in Ephesians is getting the process backwards – and something you would rail about if we tried to do it.

    Since Colin claims that we are the ones who are illogical, let me make this crystal clear: A passage in the OT states emphatically that prophets are the way that God works among mankind; a passage in the NT (Paul) restates it as a foundation of Christian unity; another passage in the NT (again, Paul) doesn’t refute it directly (any refutation has to be read into it as implied). What’s the “logical” and interwoven conclusion? The one supported by multiple verses.

    As Colin says, it’s CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT – and this context says there is NOTHING in the Bible stating that it is God’s will that prophets cease with the canonization of the Bible. Let me give you some indisputable Biblical context. *****Don’t address prophets further until you’ve addressed the verses in Ephesians and the following:*****

    Matthew 2 describes how some wise men showed up in Jerusalem. Verse 2 says they asked to see the King of the Jews, because they had “seen his star in the east” (implying they came from the WEST) and came “to worship him”. Verse 7 makes it clear that Herod and his own wise men did not know about this star (the sign of the birth of the King), since the wise men had to tell them when it had appeared.

    My point? The prophecy of a star that would signal the birth of a King of the Jews is not recorded elsewhere in the Bible. The only verse that is even close is Numbers 24:17, which says, “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” This, however, can’t be the prophecy – for obvious reasons. Obviously, someone at some point recorded a prophecy about a star that would appear to signal the birth of the ultimate King of the Jews – but nobody in Judea knew about it because it wasn’t recorded in their own records. ***It was extra-Biblical.*** In fact, it even was outside the records that were available at the time but not canonized into the Bible later.

    So, Colin and Elvis, IF that prophecy was discovered, and if, through that discovery, the name of the prophet who recorded it was known, and if it could be authenticated without reasonable doubt as having been written prior to the birth of Jesus, would you accept it as a legitimate prophecy coming from a legitimate prophet?

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2007 @ 3:37 am |Reply

  268. Ray, I won’t deny that there are prophets in the New Testament. But a distinction must be made. In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, we are told to prophesy and to “covet prophecy.” This does not mean that we should covet becoming a prophet. The prophecy means to “proclaim, to preach.” We ought to covet to preacht the transforming Word of God.

    As far as Hebrews 1, it is crystal clear. The Bible is talking about prophets in the sense of latter revelation, latter doctrine. God is fully capable of raising up prophets, but there is no need. We have the inscribed Word of God fully capable of leading us to the fulfillment of the Scriptures–a relationship with Christ. Hebrews 1 is talking about how God has spoken to us in times of old, but now, in these last days, He speaks to us through Christ.

    A prophet must pass the tests given to us in Deuteronomy 13 and 18. Remember, God is fully capable of raising up a prophet today, but that prophet will NEVER be inaccurate or wrong about a prophesy. Let us see if Joseph Smith passes the prophet test:

    Smith said, in History of the Church, vol. 5, p 394 (May 1843):

    “I prophesy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so a potsherd left…”

    The United States never did apologize for anything to the Mormon church. The United States in government were NOT overthrown. Smith made a false prophesy

    Deuteronomy 18:21 “And you may say in your heart, how shall we know the word which the lord has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing in which the Lord has not spoken….”

    And listen to the devilish arrogance of Joseph Smith, supposed prophet. You judge, does this sound like a prophet of God:

    “God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil—all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever 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, nor Jesus ever did it.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp 406)

    I have plenty more blasphemous quotes from this supposed prophet. Is God capable of raising a prophet? Absolutely. Is Joseph Smith a prophet? Absolutely not.

    Comment by Elvis Kesto — December 21, 2007 @ 4:02 am |Reply

  269. This is the most heartfelt and blunt comment I will make in this entire thread, and it flows directly from my last paragraph in #267 and something Colin said in #263. I cannot let it pass without comment. If I did, I would stand condemned at the last day as a slothful servant and an inattentive disciple.

    Colin, In #263 you said, “We are no longer looking for anymore light or revelations concerning God’s Word. ”

    That, not predestination or the nature of God or salvation and damnation or any other point of doctrine, is what separates us the most.

    The Jewish leadership rejected Jesus largely for the same reason. They had Abraham as their father and believed “the prophets are dead” (John 8: 52-53) – so they were not looking for any more light or revelations concerning God’s Word. Their canon had been closed for roughly 400 years; the heavens had been sealed, in effect, for that time. For them, prophets were an aspect of the past, sent to provide all that God needed them to know – but they needed no more than what they had been given. They had closed their minds and hearts to the very possibility that God would speak again to man, so they rejected John, the Baptist, they rejected their own God, come in the flesh, and they rejected the prophets He chose to continue to preach his Gospel. ALL of this happened because they believed in their hearts that God would not speak again to man – that they didn’t need any more – that they had enough. NOTHING in their canon taught what they believed; they simply believed it.

    Frankly, you can believe Mormonism is pure crap to your heart’s content, but there is a HUGE difference between rejecting Mormonism and closing your mind and heart to the possibility that God will speak again from Heaven to prophets. The former is understandable on many levels; the latter is doing to the God you profess to worship now what the ancient Jewish leadership did to Him then.

    Please, I implore you, even if you walk away from this discussion still convinced that Mormonism is garbage and Mormons are hopelessly consigned to a state of torment held for those elected to damnation, allow your heart at least to be opened to the possibility that God can and will speak again to man through prophets. Such a belief is NOT opposed to the Biblical Word of God, and it does not require an acceptance of any particular person who claims to be a prophet. If nothing else, it allows for the chance that you will not reject a second John, the Baptist, if one is called to usher in the Second Coming in the same way that John did with Christ’s first ministry.

    Nothing I say after this will be as important as what I just said. NOTHING.

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2007 @ 4:12 am |Reply

  270. More unfulfilled prophecies by Joseph Smith. You tell me, a prophet or a liar?

    “President Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. . . . it was the will of God that they should be ordained to the ministry and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, for the coming of the Lord, which was nigh — even fifty six years should wind up the scene.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2, page 182).

    This prophecy was spoken by Joseph Smith in 1835, and recorded by Oliver Cowdery. The fifty-six years were passed by 1891.

    AND

    Why does the Mormon church guise under the title “Latter-Day Saints” when Matthew 16 says “and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Did the gates of Hell prevail until Smith?? What about D&C, I believe chapter 7, says the Apostle John would never die until “Christ tarries.” So how did the church apostasize of John was still on earth? Why did God preserve him if the church was just going to apostasize?? This makes no sense.

    Comment by Elvis Kesto — December 21, 2007 @ 4:13 am |Reply

  271. Elvs, I can respect your opinion of Joseph Smith, but I disagree with the following:

    “God is fully capable of raising up prophets, but there is no need.” He has never said that; everything He has said states the opposite – that there always is a need. It really is that simple to me. You might not accept Joseph Smith, but to say there is no need . . . That simply is not supportable scripturally. There is NO scripture that says He will not or need not speak again through prophets. None.

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2007 @ 4:20 am |Reply

  272. BTW, the last paragraph of #270 makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to get into a discussion of apostasy – independent of Mormonism entirely, Steffie needs to open a new thread. Before that happens, I really want to get an answer to the Ephesians passage and the Matthew passage asserting Extra-Biblical prophecy, at the very least. I’m not going to get into a new discussion until this one has been addressed.

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2007 @ 4:26 am |Reply

  273. “You tell me, a prophet or a liar?”

    A prophet Elvis. A prophet. Another thing he prophesied: arrogant people like you calling him names.

    BTW, you don’t appear to understand the purpose of John tarrying. It wasn’t to preserve the church from apostacy. He didn’t tarry as a mortal. But rave on, as long as Steff will let you.

    Comment by MCQ — December 21, 2007 @ 6:10 am |Reply

  274. Let me be a little clearer about my first sentence in #272:

    If you are going to make an assertion about the D&C, try not to botch it so badly that it makes it appear you have never actually read the passage you are trying to reference. It really is a horribly botched attempt.

    Now back to waiting for an answer to my prophecy questions.

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2007 @ 6:34 am |Reply

  275. Ray,
    In answer to #269 I would just like to point out a few things. First of all, the Old Testament DID anticipate not only the Messiah but a new era of revelation. Daniel 9 states that there will be 70 “weeks” (hebrew=sevens) until all prophecies are fulfilled and sins are atoned for… Daniel 9:25 says that there will be 69 weeks from the going forth to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah comes. This cannot be 70 literal weeks, because this passage states that the temple and the city will be rebuilt in the first 7 “weeks”, which would be impossible. What it IS talking about is the Jubilee year, which was a 7 year period modeled after the creation week. There were several decrees to give the order to rebuild Jerusalem, however the two that made the rebuilding of the temple and Jerusalem effective, occured in 458 and 445 BC by Artaxerxes. If we add 69 “weeks” (483 years) to this we come to between 25 AD and 38AD the general period of time of Jesus’ ministry. So the Jews were without excuse because they were given dates on when to start looking for the Messiah. Furthermore, they should have been expecting John the Baptist who paralleled Elijah’s ministry because Malachi 4:1 states, “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes”. In the New Testament we are not told to look for any kind of “restoration” or new prophets or scriptures thousands of years after the time of Christ. We are only warned of FALSE prophets and apostles, and different gospels.

    I think Elvis answered pretty well what a New Testament Prophet is. The New Testament equivalent of an Old Testament Prophet is an Apostle. Old Testament books were written by Prophets because their words were the authoritative Word of God, the same goes with New Testament Apostles. You never see those designated as “prophets” writing New Testament scripture. I agree that every single one of those offices that were listed in Ephesians exists today, except for Apostle. Apostles had to have seen the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and personally be sent by him. Furthermore, their ministry was always confirmed by miraculous occurances such as raising the dead. So no, I do not believe that Apostles exist today, but they are still leading the Church through their writings (The New Testament). We could do a very in depth word study on exactly what the Greek word prophetes means in the New Testament. One view has that it is one who is given the power to proclaim the word with authority and conviction, and another view is that it is the equivalent of having the Lord “lay something (scripture or compassion ext) on their heart”.

    “because they had “seen his star in the east” (implying they came from the WEST)”

    This verse isn’t implying that that they came from the West. It could mean that they had seen his star while they were in the east, or as the website which I am going to point you towards argues, there were several astronomical events that they observed one of which was in the eastern skies.

    So concerning the question on why were they looking for this, and what scriptures did they read this prophecy out of… Well first of all I think it is very probable that the Magi had obtained a copy of the Jewish Law, and being astrologers they would have paid close attention to the verse talking about the Messiah being involved with a star. However, what many of the Church fathers taught was that when Daniel was appointed as a ruler during the Babylonian exile he taught the Magi’s predeccesors what to look for before the coming of the Messiah which he prophesied of in Daniel chapter 9, which was passed along by word of mouth. If you go to http://www.bethlehemstar.net/ , they have some excellent resources that I believe prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what it was that the Three Wise Men observed. If you examine the evidence, they simply observed stars and alignments that God clearly used to show that his Messiah was being born. I don’t see why this is such a big issue, or why this proves that there is revelation outside of the Bible (besides aren’t we told these facts in the Bible?). Just because the Bible may mention books throughout it that are not included in the canon does not mean that those are inspired scriptures that have been lost. Imagine I am a prophet today who is writting infallible scripture, and I am recording from God’s perspective the presidential campaign of Mike Huckabee. If in my writings I say state something about him and then say, “and this was also reported nation wide by NBC”, does that mean that NBC is now a prophet of God? No! How come everytime the Bible mentions a book that is not included in the canon people assume that those other books must also be inspired scripture that should be included?

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 21, 2007 @ 3:16 pm |Reply

  276. #275 – I NEVER SAID THAT THE OLD TESTAMENT DIDN’T ANTICIPATE THE MESSIAH – just that there is no prophecy of the star!! If you are going to try to address what I say, at least address what I actually say.

    You say, “In the New Testament we are not told to look for any kind of ‘restoration’ or new prophets or scriptures thousands of years after the time of Christ. We are only warned of FALSE prophets and apostles, and different gospels.”

    Acts 3 prophecies of a restitution of all things IN THE FUTURE; Revelations 11 foretells two witnesses prophesying and being killed; Ephesians 4 mentions apostles and prophets as essential to Christian unity and meant to last until the end of the earth; etc. Just as importantly, there is NOTHING that says the Bible is the only word of God – that He has not spoken to others outside its scope.

    So you disagree with Ephesians. OK.

    So, you attribute the wise men’s recognition of a non-Biblical prophecy on an oral tradition that also is non-Biblical – because early church fathers taught it. In summary, you do what you would never allow us to do – accept speculation in order to dismiss a blatant example of extra-Biblical prophecy. OK.

    “Just because the Bible may mention books throughout it that are not included in the canon does not mean that those are inspired scriptures that have been lost.”

    Absolutely hysterical response. MANY of them are quoted as authoritative and prophetically inspired – but they don’t fit your theology, so you dismiss them out of hand with just a “they might not have been inspired”. CLASSIC!

    “How come every time the Bible mentions a book that is not included in the canon people assume that those other books must also be inspired scripture that should be included?”

    I’ll let the Bible answer that one, so you can deny the Bible and not me:

    Joshua 10: 13 tells of an important prophecy in the Book of Jasher;
    I Kings 11:41 mentions the “rest” of the acts and “wisdom” of Solomon written in another book – with an obvious endorsement;
    I Chronicles 29:29 mentions three unknown books – one of a prophet and two of whom are of SEERS;
    2 Chronicles 9: 29 lists prophecies and visions of two unknowns recorded in a lost book – OBVIOUSLY inspired;
    there are MULTIPLE other OT references.

    More compelling – and in DIRECT contradiction of your gloss – are instances in the NT that mention INSPIRED things not written in the OT:

    The star of Matthew 2, which you did not address Biblically;
    The prophecy mentioned in Matthew 2:23 that said that Jesus would be called a Nazarene;
    Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, mentioned in 1 Cor. 5:9;
    Paul’s first epistle to the Ephesians mentioned in Eph. 3:3;
    The epistle from Laodicea mentioned in Col. 4:16;
    Jude’s previous words mentioned in Jude 1:3 and the prophecies of Enoch mentioned in Jude 1:14;
    and others I can’t think of right now.

    The Bible itself NEVER says it contains ALL of God’s words to His children; it CLEARLY says it does NOT include all of God’s words. This is a VERY simple issue, and you look incredibly foolish arguing against it.

    Comment by Ray — December 22, 2007 @ 12:57 am |Reply

  277. Hello everyone, I am shutting down for a while,

    Please read:

    https://mormonsrock.wordpress.com/2007/12/22/merry-christmas-i-hope-so/

    Comment by steffielynn — December 22, 2007 @ 1:12 am |Reply

  278. Ray,
    The book of Jasher mentioned in Joshua NOWHERE says that it is a book of prophecy. Rather, the event of the sun standing still is also told to be recorded in it. The book of Jasher is not lost, you can buy it online if you want to and it is indeed a book of history. Even if there is some prophecys that are RECORDED in it, that does not mean it is the inspired Word of God. The same goes with all those other Old Testament passages. Most of those that are referred to are Kings annals, something all ancient kings from the middle east had (Xerxes, Nebuchednezzar). These were records of what the king did, and also would include records from his prophets and seers. So of course in Israel they would be records of what God did through or for the king, and what some of his prophets said. However, that does not automatically mean it is inspired scripture or to be part of the canon. Rather, the Bible refers to those to give other witnesses to the historical reliability of what is being said.

    Concerning the New Testament, just because there were other letters that were written by Paul does not nessecarily mean they were inspired scripture. Everything Paul wrote was not automatically to be part of the canon, he was still just a man. I stand by my argument from the Church Fathers concerning the star of bethlehem… NOWHERE is there any evidence that they obtained that prophetic information from some other book, rather it is consistently taught that they recieved it word of mouth through the Magi that came before them that knew Daniel. The only reason why you are insisting it came out of a book is to prove your thesis… There are books that aren’t included in the Bible that should be in the canon, and therefore the book of Mormon should be considered canon. Jude quoting the book of Enoch isn’t automatically an endorsement for the complete inspiration of the whole book, rather the part he quotes is validated and USED by him in proving a point. No Jew or Christian ever accepted that book as the fully inspired Word of God. Concerning the Nazarene prophecy, that actually is prophesied in an Idiom that all Jews would have picked up on in Isaiah 11:1, because the word branch is synanomous with Nazarite. Even Jerome who translated the Latin Vulgate knew this…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 22, 2007 @ 4:40 pm |Reply


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