Teryl and Fiona Givens were recently on a tour of British ward houses giving a series of talks entitled “The Crucible of Doubt”. The point of the talk seemed to be to encourage Mormons who may be struggling with doubts. One attendee recorded the talk and shared it. Another attendee took notes on the talk and shared those notes. I’ll set aside the content of Givens’ apologetic arguments in order to focus on something he said about Protestantism. Continue reading
I first heard the following chestnut as a teenager. Though it is sometimes shared by miscellaneous kinds of Christians (often as a humorous but good-natured anecdote meant to show how confusing the Trinity can be), it was first introduced to me by a Mormon friend who wanted to show me that belief in the Trinity was ridiculous. It reads as follows:
“Whom do men say that I am?”
And his disciples answered and said, “Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elias, or other of the old prophets.”
And Jesus answered and said, “But whom do you say that I am?”
Peter answered and said: “Thou art the Logos, existing in the Father as his rationality and then, by an act of his will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being coequal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple.”
And Jesus answering said “What??”
The joke was recently posted to the comments of an LDS scholar’s blog, with the scholar who runs the blog calling it, “A wonderful joke, and right on target.”
R.C. Sproul took a question from a pastor on his radio show that interested me quite a bit. The pastor had a new convert in his church that had been a polygamous Mormon. The man had left Mormonism but not any of his three wives. The pastor was curious how he should go about disciplining this man and if he should be encouraged to leave his two additional wives.
You can hear Sproul’s answer here. Start at the 9:00 mark.
I expect Christians to encounter more situations like this one. And the dilemma isn’t just for polygamist. What should two married women with children be counseled to do if they join a church? Two married men? How about a man who divorced, as a believer, for unbiblical reasons and remarried?
I’m sure the situation is semi-regular in the LDS church. What must a polygamous man do to be baptized and enjoy full communion in the LDS church?
This strikes me as a way to serve notice that “I am right and you are wrong” rather than an effort to find clarity and understanding for why he views Mormonism as “non-Christian”. It doesn’t in any way engender Mormons to his point of view.
The last part of 1 Peter 3:15 seems to have been neglected.
Pope Francis appears to have a new, dramatic, position on salvation for the non-believer. Catholic Online gives a detailed account of the Pope’s sermon yesterday where he stated that even atheists were redeemed by Christ and would go to heaven if they “do good.”
A quote from the article:
Francis explained himself, “The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
I recognize that the pope is not really making himself out to be a universalist, but he definitely opens the door to salvation to anyone regardless of belief. If this is a sign of things to come, I think this pope may have ideas that could really unite Christianity. If the pope believes an atheist can get into heaven, this seems to change the entire dynamic of Christian interaction with the world. The fundamental missionary act would be to promote and support good conduct–Christian love–rather than merely spreading Christian theology or belief. Is the pope implying this? Am I reading too much into it? Whether this represents a sea change or is simply warmer rhetoric, I think its a very positive step. Thoughts?
Thank God for smugglers. I was humbled by this video.
I put my six-year-old son to bed the other night and reminded him to say his prayers. ten or fifteen minutes later he came down with a huge smile on his face, he wanted to call his mom and tell her something (his mother and I are not married anymore). It was too late so he went back to bed. First thing the next morning he came directly downstairs and called his mother to tell her about the feeling he had when he was praying. He explained to her, and later me, that he had this amazing feeling when he was praying and could not stop smiling about it. Watching this experience–like so many I have had as a parent– was like looking into a mirror reflecting myself at his age.
Of course this experience raises so many questions for me, and for perhaps should raise this questions for all Christians: How do we explain the witness of the Spirit to a child.
I actually do not have a good answer– a satisfactory explanation of spiritual experience like this is perhaps the biggest question I have in life. I know there are all kinds, including those that do not involve belief in God, but my son deserves one. And he deserves one in language he can understand. I reject many aspects of the explanation he is routinely given at LDS church, and I am not satisfied with what I did tell them. So I put it to anyone who reads this–how would you explain this experience to my son, if he was yours?