Finding Our Way Out of Mormonism

Former BYU professor Lynn Wilder was recently on the popular Evangelical television show “The 700 Club”. She discussed her book about her transition out of Mormonism and some of the differences between Mormonism and Evangelicalism. She mentions her perceptions of finding a different gospel outside of Mormonism and her embrace of the cross and grace.

About these ads

154 thoughts on “Finding Our Way Out of Mormonism

  1. Ater listening to this, I think that most Mormons will say they have already read the New Testament and do not feel that it conflicts with Mormonism in any way.

  2. They didn’t get into the three or four (depending on how you break them up) requirements for becoming a Christian: (1) Repentance (turning away from living your life the way your natural self wants to live it to living it for and via Jesus, (2) faith in Jesus (following him) (which is really the same as #1), (3) the new birth (receiving the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, into your heart), (4) believing Jesus is the Son of God and the Christ (Messiah).

    I would like to ask Lynn and the interviewer if someone, or an organization, is Christian if they do those four things. If they say yes—and they have to—then I would show them that the LDS teaches them. (Lynn would know that they do unless she has reprogrammed her mind to include some lies or some sort of denial.)

    It’s so simple that scholars & simpletons alike can’t stick to it. Corrie Ten Boom used to say KISS—Keep It Simple Stupid. (Keep It Simple Saints is usually the more appropriate version but since . . . well, you get it.)

    God bless you, Tim & Co.

  3. Since it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance and since faith is a gift of God for those who hear the gospel (by God’s grace)…there is nothing that we can do of our own volition to become a Christian. There’s plenty that we can do afterward, however.

    I thought the interview was pretty good.
    I really can’t stand (however) that ‘Valley Girl’, lazy, gravel-ly way in which she speaks. We have a young lady in our church who reads the Scriptures now and then, who speaks exactly the same (as do so many young women around the country these days)…and it makes my skin crawl. Yes…I’m a dinosaur.

  4. Hey Cal, where does it say in the Bible that if you do those three or four things that you are a Christian? Because I just read Romans 10 this morning.

  5. Romans 10 is great, Kullervo. Did you find during your time in the LDS that they teach people to “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (verse 9)? Did they encourage people to call “on the name of the Lord” (verse 13)?

  6. If I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised form the dead, but by “Jesus” I mean, the thirtieth and final Aeon emanating from the One, paired in a perfect syzygy with Sophia (wisdom personified), and come into the world from the holy Pleroma to rescue Sophia from her corruption at the hands of Ialddaboth, the evil and false demiurge creator of the world, and to save us by teaching us secret wisdom, am I a Christian? and am I saved?

  7. This is the second video featuring Ms. Wilder you have posted here.

    Yes, but it’s the first time she has been on the 700 Club and she just released a book with a major publisher. She’s currently the biggest thing in Evangelical/Mormon news.

  8. I find it more and more difficult to atomize Christianity into a few choice phrases. Don’t verses 9 and 10 of Romans presuppose a knowledge of God (verse 3)?

  9. I feel like, if Christianity could be summed up in a simple formula, Jesus would have just, said that formula when he went aroung preaching the gospel of the kingdom. This is why I feel safe in ignoring both theoldadam’s and Cal’s reductionist theologies.

  10. The only formula (really an non-formula) was when Jesus described to Nicodemus who it is that we are born again. He basically said, “You can’t do it. It has to come from above. There is NO formula. The Spirit is like the wind. It blows where it wills.”

  11. No. That’s not what Jesus said at all. That’s you interpreting what Jesus said, and putting a whole lot of spin on it. If Jesus had wanted to say “there is nothing you can do to be saved” he could have said that.

  12. He did say that. He said. “You didn’t choose me. I chose you.” He also told Peter when Peter said that Jesus “was the Son of the Living God, the Messiah”…”that flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”

    Jesus flat out told Nicodemus that he (Nicodemus)could “not be born again of his own doing but that it has to come from above.”

    This lines up perfectly with Scripture where it tells us that “faith is a gift of God.” And where it says in the Gospel of John, “who were born not of the will of man…but of God.”

    It’a a semi-Pelagian heresy to believe that we have some role to play in coming to God. We do not. God is a real God. He calls and He chooses.

  13. Maybe so, but it is exactly opposite (that we have something to do with saving ourselves) of Holy Scripture. And it makes us into a ‘little god’. Somehow I do not think God is very pleased by it. After all, that was the nature of the 1st sin in the Garden.

  14. If I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised form the dead, but by “Jesus” I mean, the thirtieth and final Aeon emanating from the One, paired in a perfect syzygy with Sophia (wisdom personified), and come into the world from the holy Pleroma to rescue Sophia from her corruption at the hands of Ialddaboth, the evil and false demiurge creator of the world, and to save us by teaching us secret wisdom, am I a Christian? and am I saved?

    No.
    I think your point is that one has to mean what the Bible means when one confesses sincerely that Jesus is their Lord. That’s a fair assertion.
    In your view, then, what does the Bible mean by “Jesus”? And what’s the minimum that one has to understand about Jesus in order to qualify for entrance into the Father’s eternal kingdom? Please present Bible support for your view. . . . Thank you.

  15. I don’t think minimum is even a biblical concept. Can you even find the word minimum in the Bible?

  16. No.

    Ok, well then what if I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised from the dead, but by “Jesus” I mean the eldest of the spirit children of Elohim and one of his many Celestial wives who was born on earth into a mortal tabernacle like ours (except that it was the genetic offspring of Elohim and Mary) and foreordained to become a god but who did not receive of the fullness at first but “continued from grace, until he received a fullness,” and who suffered in the garden of gethsemane to open the way so that we can earn our exaltation and become gods, and who was resurrected into a glorified body of flesh and bone (but not blood) and who now dwells with Elohim (who is a completely distinct being that is also a glorified mortal man with a body of flesh and bone) on a planet near to a star called Kolob?

    Am I a Christian? Am I saved?

  17. You might be. You might not be. “The wheat and tares grow together.”

    There is some really ridiculous and non-biblical theology going on out there. But thanks be to God that we are not saved by our good theology (although it is important).

  18. Kullervo,
    I’m asking YOU the questions now! Fair is fair. It’s your turn to answer.
    Someone once told me that I think too much. Oh, if they only knew the ldstalk crew!

    Gundek,
    The word Trinity doesn’t occur in the Bible either. (By the way, I’ve read about half of Justo Gonzalez’s book “The Apostle’s Creed For Today.” It’s a fairly good book, a little better than I imagined it would be.)

  19. Cal, I can’t answer your question because your question is based on an assumption (“I think your point is that one has to mean what the Bible means when one confesses sincerely that Jesus is their Lord. That’s a fair assertion.“) that is not true. I wasn’t making any point at all (yet). I was asking a straightforward question: If I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised form the dead, but when I say Jesus I mean the gnostic Jesus, am I a Christian and am I saved?

    You said no, but you didn’t explain your answer, which is too bad. I would have liked you to.

    But you didn’t, so I asked a follow-up, and I will ask it again. Given your answer to my first question (re: gnostic Jesus), if I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised from the dead, but by “Jesus” I mean the eldest of the spirit children of Elohim and one of his many Celestial wives who was born on earth into a mortal tabernacle like ours (except that it was the genetic offspring of Elohim and Mary) and foreordained to become a god but who did not receive of the fullness at first but “continued from grace, until he received a fullness,” and who suffered in the garden of gethsemane to open the way so that we can earn our exaltation and become gods, and who was resurrected into a glorified body of flesh and bone (but not blood) and who now dwells with Elohim (who is a completely distinct being that is also a glorified mortal man with a body of flesh and bone) on a planet near to a star called Kolob, am I a Christian? Am I saved?

  20. But in the vain hope that I can get you to answer my straighforward yes-or-no question, I will go ahead and say that in both cases (the gnostic Jesus and the Mormon Jesus), I think as the person is a Christian (for what that’s worth), because the most consistent and historic definition of “Christian” going all the way back to the first Easter is a person who believes Jesus was resurrected. That’s the touchstone. But I say “for what that’s worth” because I’m not sure how that benefits you or me gnostics or Mormons. I think its a solid description of the salient boundary of the Christian religion, but it doesn’t mean you’re not a heretic and it doesn;t mean you’re not going to hell.

    As far as whether the person is saved, I don’t know. I’m asking you. BUt I’m going to push you on why so you may as well give a reason.

  21. if I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised from the dead, but by “Jesus” I mean the eldest of the spirit children of Elohim and one of his many Celestial wives who was born on earth into a mortal tabernacle like ours (except that it was the genetic offspring of Elohim and Mary) and foreordained to become a god but who did not receive of the fullness at first but “continued from grace, until he received a fullness,” and who suffered in the garden of gethsemane to open the way so that we can earn our exaltation and become gods, and who was resurrected into a glorified body of flesh and bone (but not blood) and who now dwells with Elohim (who is a completely distinct being that is also a glorified mortal man with a body of flesh and bone) on a planet near to a star called Kolob, am I a Christian? Am I saved?

    Yes.

  22. Cal,

    I think you are missing my point, you have not proved there is a minimalist doctrine in the Bible (Matt 7:21).

  23. JT, what about my first question? If I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised form the dead, but by “Jesus” I mean, the thirtieth and final Aeon emanating from the One, paired in a perfect syzygy with Sophia (wisdom personified), and come into the world from the holy Pleroma to rescue Sophia from her corruption at the hands of Ialddaboth, the evil and false demiurge creator of the world, and to save us by teaching us secret wisdom, am I a Christian? and am I saved?

  24. FYI Cal, the Apostle’s Creed is not explicitly Trinitarian. You can cram an awful lot of heresy into it if you want. I’m not sure why you brought it up.

  25. JT, what about my first question? If I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised form the dead, but by “Jesus” I mean, the thirtieth and final Aeon emanating from the One, paired in a perfect syzygy with Sophia (wisdom personified), and come into the world from the holy Pleroma to rescue Sophia from her corruption at the hands of Ialddaboth, the evil and false demiurge creator of the world, and to save us by teaching us secret wisdom, am I a Christian? and am I saved?

    I don’t know.

  26. Why are you sure about the one and not the other? What’s the difference?

    I know what one is referring to, but I have no idea what the other is referring to.

  27. How is that relevant? I’m not asking you anything based on what the questions are referring to. You’re bringing baggage into your answer.

  28. Maybe you should just say what you want to say without beating around the bush. I was trying to feed you short, simple answers so that you would get to the point already.

  29. Unless you are Cal, I can’t really get to my point, since my point is pretty much “Cal has inconsistent answers to these questions, because his position is untenable.” I wasn’t actually asking general questions. I was asking Cal, and I want to know his answers. As usual, he won’t give them.

  30. I still wonder how the specific content of the belief is at all relevant to salvation if faith in Jesus (the man who lived in Nazareth) to save is the same.

  31. I will point out, Paul did not say anything about “faith in Jesus to save” in the verse Cal and I are talking about. That’s the Mormon reductionist gospel at work again.

    The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 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.

  32. ok, Your point seems to be that in order to confess the Lord Jesus, you have to have a particular thing in mind. I am not trying to reduce the Gospel to anything, I am just wondering how its supposed to work really. Is salvation achieved by entering into a particular mental state or is it something else? What does the content of the belief have to do with that mental state?

  33. I know that you are not trying to reduce the Gospel to anything. But I think Mormons habitually reduce the Gospel to salvation only.

  34. Oh, what did I get myself into!

    Thanks, JT, for pulling Kullervo’s point out of him. You saved me a lot of time!

    Gundek, the verse Kullervo has been pushing indicates a minimum requirement. It says “thou shalt” be saved. The verse gives no other requirements and yet it says, thou SHALT be saved. (Other translations say WILL be saved.)

    Now to Kullervo’s question, which was,

    “if I say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in my heart that he is raised from the dead, but by “Jesus” I mean the eldest of the spirit children of Elohim and one of his many Celestial wives who was born on earth into a mortal tabernacle like ours (except that it was the genetic offspring of Elohim and Mary) and foreordained to become a god but who did not receive of the fullness at first but “continued from grace, until he received a fullness,” and who suffered in the garden of gethsemane to open the way so that we can earn our exaltation and become gods, and who was resurrected into a glorified body of flesh and bone (but not blood) and who now dwells with Elohim (who is a completely distinct being that is also a glorified mortal man with a body of flesh and bone) on a planet near to a star called Kolob, am I a Christian? Am I saved?”

    On at least two levels I find the question unanswerable. For one, it has a contradiction in it. You said, “suffered in the garden of gethsemane to open the way so that we can earn our exaltation.”
    To me, “earning salvation” is “attempting to be saved without any help from the substitutionary sufferings of Christ.” (Since you didn’t say you were describing Mormonism, I’m setting aside my knowledge of Mormonism to answer your question.)

    Also, I’m not sure what you mean by “genetic.”

    Also, is this Jesus one with the Father in spirit, nature, and truth?

    Also, is he the Son of God?

    (Also, to satisfy my own curiosity, what did you mean when you said Jesus “did not receive of the fullness at first but “continued from grace, until he received a fullness”? Are you saying your hypothetical Jesus was sinful at one time?)

    Have a glorious day. :-)

  35. Cal,

    Romans 10 doesn’t teach minimalism. Belief from the heart is not a minimalist exercise. Calling on the Lord assumes you know who you are submitting to.

    Minimalism is not found in the Lord’s teaching. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

    The only way you can find a dogma of minimalism in Romans 10 is to ignore the proceeding 10 chapters of the faith that Paul proclaims. 10 Chapters, showing exactly what the confession that Jesus is Lord entails is not minimalism.

    To be honest, in order to find a minimalist doctrine in Romans 10 you have to rip individual passage out of the chapter itself.

  36. Cal, what difference do your clarifications make. If it’s a minimalistic confession what would it matter if you thought Jesus or the father had been a sinner?

    You’re just kicking up controversy to avoid the question. It’s obvious what you think you just can’t overcome the blatant contradiction with your position on Mormonism.

  37. Cal, why didn’t you have to ask all those follow-up questions about the person who, when he says “Jesus,” means the thirtieth and final Aeon emanating from the One, paired in a perfect syzygy with Sophia (wisdom personified), and come into the world from the holy Pleroma to rescue Sophia from her corruption at the hands of Ialddaboth, the evil and false demiurge creator of the world, and to save us by teaching us secret wisdom?

    You gave an immediate and unqualified No to whether that person is a Christian and saved, despite the fact that he says Jesus is Lord and believes he was raised from the dead. How come you were able to do that, but not with the second one?

  38. What mistakes can you make regarding how you talk about Jesus?

    If you make up all kinds of fantastic reasons that Jesus saves, does he save you any less?

    Every person who believes that Jesus saves and that the kingdom of God is real implicitly relies on an extra-biblical understanding of what makes the Bible reliable. Dramatic mistakes are bound to happen.

    Cal seems to think that Mormons don’t err too far but can’t articulate the line. Can anybody?

  39. “Every person who believes that Jesus saves and that the kingdom of God is real implicitly relies on an extra-biblical understanding of what makes the Bible reliable.”

    What does that mean?

  40. Let’s be clear: the only person here who is proposing a minimalist approach to salvation (and the person who brought up Romans 10:9 in that context in the first place) is Cal.

  41. Tim said, “Cal, what difference do your clarifications make. If it’s a minimalistic confession what would it matter if you thought Jesus or the father had been a sinner?”

    I anticipated that remark (you guys are professional critics—except perhaps for Jared) and prefaced my question of whether Kullervo’s Jesus had sinned with “to satisfy my own curiosity. . . .”

    Gundek, are you suggesting that one has to memorize Romans 1-10 and have a perfect revelation of what every verse means before one can be accepted by God?

    As soon as Kullervo clarifies the apparent contradiction in his big question—the question about someone with Mormon-like beliefs—I’ll be ready to give an answer to it.

    In the meantime, I’d like to know if there is someone here brave enough to answer this question: “What are the minimum doctrinal requirements that must be met in order for an organization to be classified as Christian?” They must give Scriptural support for their answer. (Tim came close to answering that question a few years ago.)

    Critics come a dime a dozen. I want to see if there is anyone here who has some real substance—something like the substance that makes the Father & Son one (:-)—in their brain. (Don’t get hot under the collar now! That last sentence was a tease.)

  42. No Cal,

    I’m suggesting that all scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, not just snippets pulled out of context conveniently minimizing doctrine. Your aim low version of Christianity doesn’t have much to offer. I mean do you hear yourself, “what is the minimum…”

    Is that honesty holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience?

  43. Yes, indeed. Christ does it all.

    Well then…what’s left for us to do?

    What do you want to do?

    That’s freedom. That’s what Christ gives us in the forgiveness of our sins.

    Minimalist? I dunno. He crossed a huge chasm and gave the maximum that anyone could ever give. All for the ungodly, wherein not a single one deserved it.

  44. Cal, from the very beginning of this thread you and only you have been insisting that somewhere the Bible lays out a set of minimum requirements for someone to do in order to be considered a Christian (and, by implication, to be saved). I only brought up Romans 10 in the first place because it appeared to contradict the four factors you laid out.

    I think that in terms of the historic definition of the Christian faith, you have to believe in the Resurrection in order to be considered a Christian. But as I indicated above, that just means “Christian” in the sense of which of the world’s religions you (or your organization) descriptively belong to and has nothing to do with whether or not you are saved or in Christ Jesus or going to recieve your exaltation or whatever.

    As far as what you must do, if anything, to be saved? I don’t have an answer to that. I’m not saying it’s unanswerable, just that I don’t personally know. I do know that I am saved, and I do suspect that any minimalist answer or simple formula someone tries to give will fail to pass muster, because if there was a minimalist answer or simple formula, I am confident that Jesus, Paul and the apostles would have spelled it out, explicitly, over and over again.

  45. Kullervo, I’ll give you the medal because you admitted you don’t know and at the same time stuck you neck out with a partial answer. By the way, did you say you are saved now? That makes my day! You originally said you weren’t a Christian, as I recall.

    Gundek, all Scripture is profitable—yes, certainly. Meditation on the whole counsel of God is very important for balanced spiritual growth. However, what we’re doing here is asking, “How, according to the Bible, are we to know which organizations are Christian and which are not?” It’s helpful for carrying out the whole counsel of God to know the answer to that. For example, how would you prove the Catholic Church is Christian if someone told you to condemn all Catholics because it’s an unchristian cult because of their many false traditions? I remember years ago that you showed some concern for the unity of the church and the value of the Nicene Creed for providing a glue to keep us together.

    I’ve given thought to Kullervo’s big question. I’d like to put my answer on record so I can lay my mind to rest.
    If Kullervo had clarified his big question by answering my two questions concerning it, and answered them according to Mormon beliefs, this is how I would have answered if I were supposing that I didn’t know anything about Mormonism:
    I would have answered with a preliminary or laboratory yes.
    I would have seen reason to believe the person was Christian yet also reason to investigate further before going public with my answer. I would have wanted to test my hypothesis by spending time with the person to see if they are truly deceived and not purposely teaching error, and to see if I can find any fruit of the Spirit in the person.

    This will probably be my last comment but I will check in tomorrow night in case someone has said something to me.

    Keep loving Jesus.

  46. By the way, did you say you are saved now? That makes my day! You originally said you weren’t a Christian, as I recall.

    Things change, and I believe this was inevitable. Maybe I’m a Calvinist after all.

    However, what we’re doing here is asking, “How, according to the Bible, are we to know which organizations are Christian and which are not?”

    Where in the Bible does it say anything about deciding if organizations are Christian?

    If Kullervo had clarified his big question by answering my two questions concerning it, and answered them according to Mormon beliefs, this is how I would have answered if I were supposing that I didn’t know anything about Mormonism:
    I would have answered with a preliminary or laboratory yes.

    What? You don’t even know what my answers were. Now you are spouting nonsense.

    Just to show you, I will answer your questions/address your comments:

    For one, it has a contradiction in it. You said, “suffered in the garden of gethsemane to open the way so that we can earn our exaltation.”
    To me, “earning salvation” is “attempting to be saved without any help from the substitutionary sufferings of Christ.”

    I mean that in order to become like Heavenly Father, a person has to work toward and eventually achieve perfection. Jesus’s atonement enables forgiveness of sins and makes working your way to godhood possible, but you still have to do the work.

    Certainly not every Mormon believes that, but many do, and there are plenty of official sources you can point to to back it up.

    Also, I’m not sure what you mean by “genetic.”

    I mean “genetic.”

    Like any human being, Jesus has DNA. Like any human being, Jesus’s DNA is inherited one-half from his father and one-half from his mother. If you ran tests on a sample of Jesus’s DNA, you would see that one half of it is mortal human DNA from Mary, and the other half is perfect glorified DNA from Heavenly Father.

    In other words, Jesus is literally the physical offspring of Elohim.

    Again, I’m sure that many Mormons might hem and haw at an answer that specific, but plenty of Mormons believe that, to the extent they have thought it through. And I can’t remember where but I know that I have read an authoritative pronouncement saying essentially the same.

    Also, is this Jesus one with the Father in spirit, nature, and truth?

    What do you mean by “spirit, nature and truth?” This Jesus is a similar type of being as the Father, and is the Father’s physical and spiritual offspring. They are perfectly united in will and purpose, but they are separate distinct beings and explicitly not one in substance in the Nicene, Trinitarian sense.

    That one’s relatively uncontroversial among Mormons (other than Mormon bloggers on the internet who want to nuance everything into nonexistence).

    Also, is he the Son of God?

    Yes, in every sense. He is not only the spiritual son of God like we are, but he is also the physical Son of God. Again, that’s more or less universally believed by Mormons.

    (Also, to satisfy my own curiosity, what did you mean when you said Jesus “did not receive of the fullness at first but “continued from grace, until he received a fullness”? Are you saying your hypothetical Jesus was sinful at one time?)

    I have no idea what D&C 93 means, and I doubt any Mormon does either.

  47. A Calvinist? Oh, no, not that! You might as well get that straight right from the start, Kullervo. God in his sovereignty gave us a free will. Deut. 30:19: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

    You said, “I mean that in order to become like Heavenly Father, a person has to work toward and eventually achieve perfection. Jesus’s atonement enables forgiveness of sins and makes working your way to godhood possible, but you still have to do the work.”

    Without any help from the Holy Spirit?

  48. Our wills are bound. Bound to sin.

    “No one seeks for God.”
    “No one does good, no not one.”
    “I chose you, you did not choose me.” (Jesus)
    “No man can come to me, except he be compelled by the Father.” (Jesus)
    “Who were born not of the will of man…but of God.”

    What was St. Paul doing when he made his “free-will” decision for Jesus?

    He did no such a thing. God knocked him on his keester and basically said, ‘you are mine’. End of discussion.

    “Free-will” is not the answer…but the problem.

  49. I’m noting the fact that Cal is more disturbed by Kullervo’s joke about being a Calvinist than he is about the Mormon teaching that man can be exalted to godhood.

  50. @Gundek,

    “Every person who believes that Jesus saves and that the kingdom of God is real implicitly relies on an extra-biblical understanding of what makes the Bible reliable.”

    This means the reason people find the Gospels reliable is not contained in the Gospels themselves, but found in what people say about the Gospels.How we interpret their importance is fully dependent on why we think they are important— which is outside the text.

    For example,if I believe that the Gospels were simply four historical accounts, written years after the fact with a particular agenda, I may have very different beliefs than someone who thinks they were written with the Holy Spirit sitting next to the author, feeding him the words.

    Equally, it is just as plausible to think that every scriptural writer got the message wrong in important ways as it is to think that they all got it correct in every important way. Deciding between these plausible possibilities must come from a theory outside the Bible.

  51. The gospel Word creates faith in the hearer (no, not all the hearers of it – but some).

    The writers of Scripture were earthen vessels. They didn’t always get everything just right (historically, or theologically). But they didn’t have to. The finite contains the infinite. Just as Jesus himself was true man, and yet true God.

    But where the gospel of the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Christ is proclaimed, in some fashion, albeit not perfectly, people can come to faith (by God’s grace).

  52. I think that is a valid explanation, but does it make too much of the earthen vessels?

    If human language can explain the workings of God then it surely must do so in a tricky way. If you mistook Jesus of Nazareth for a man you would be among the vast majority of people that interacted with him.

    Likewise, why would God deny you access to the kingdom by mistaking Jesus for something other than exactly what Paul taught about him? It seems counter-intuitive to think that His Grace would not extend to the hermeneutically challenged if they strive to be connected to the Holy Spirit.

    I think Protestants have a a legitimate beef against Mormons for not proclaiming or believing in the salvation from sin in this life, but this does not seem to be a basis for the deep rift between these believers in Jesus.

  53. I think Protestants have a a legitimate beef against Mormons for not proclaiming or believing in the salvation from sin in this life, but this does not seem to be a basis for the deep rift between these believers in Jesus.

    I think that there’s a whole lot more to it than a mere issue of whether you are saved from sin in this life or not, Jared.

  54. I suspect, given your Mormon background, that you don’t even really understand what the issues are from an orthodox Christian viewpoint.

  55. I don’t think the earthen vessels are the point. Just the means that God uses in this world to accomplish His perfect purposes.

    After all, what else does He have to work with?

    He could skywrite across the sky, “Believe in Jesus” with a gigantic finger doing the writing. We’d all believe…but we wouldn’t love Him…we’d be scared to death of Him.

  56. C’mon. That sounds like: “I suspect, given your Palestinian background, that you don’t even really understand what the issues are from a Jewish viewpoint.”

    From either opposing position the issue seem important and intractable. To an outsider, whose values are different, they seem possible to overcome.

  57. No, I mean that, based on years of online discussions with you about these issues, I am comfortable inferring that you don’t actually know very much about the basic fundamental doctrines of historic orthodox Christianity (and their practical and theological ramifications) in context and from an orthodox Christian perspective (Trinity, Creation, Fall, Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection).

    Most Mormons (including me up until about a year ago, and apparently including you) simply have no idea about these doctrines and don’t even know that they have no idea about these doctrines; they typically (a) have heard distorted explanations of them from Mormon sources and/or (b) assume that they are more or less the same as the corresponding Mormon doctrines of the same name (as applicable).

    So of course you don’t think that the differences matter. You don’t understand the differences. And given your background, that is not surprising.

  58. Well, I may not know all the issues, and I haven’t studied much recently, but I did I study philosophy at BYU, and worked as a research assistant for David Paulsen who was, at the time, hosting a symposium where reknown theolgians from across the country would come and give lectures on a huge range of theological subjects. I was an avid religious reader as a kid. When I studied at West Point, before going to BYU, I had a philosophy professor who was a Catholic theogian. In law school I also took a philosophy-focused curriculum and almost went to grad school to study international justice, and did quite a bit of reading in that area. I haven’t discussed religion first-hand with many Evangelicals or Protestants over the years, mainly because they all seem pretty intimidated when the subject is brought up. (Either because of me or because I am a Mormon.) But I have spent a lot of time over the last several years thinking about Mormonism from a Protestant perspective and vice-versa. I think I do understand the differences pretty well, at least from my non-believing post-mormon perspective. So I may not have perfect understanding of the theology I think I have enough understanding of the groups to gauge what the important differences between them are. And I, of course, am applying my own ideas about what are important reasons to carve up a community into opposing groups.

    And, from a human political point of view, I think the divide between the groups is pretty huge, From a religious/philosophical point of view the differences seem petty. . . to me. However, I do think that the inflexibility in both systems make it very difficult to resolve even these petty differences.

  59. Philosophy means you are smart, and a good thinker. It doesn;t mean you understand orthodox Christian doctrines from an orthodox Christian perspective. The fact that you think they are not a big deal and should be disregarded in the name of unity is pretty much conclusive proof that you don’t understand them from an insider’s perspective, which, since we are talking about theology, means you don’t understand them at all.

  60. Jared,

    I think we use the terms faith and belief quite differently. As we discussed when we were talking about spiritual experience and the Holy Spirit, belief and faith are an outworking and an effect of the power of the Spirit by, with, and through the word of God preached and the sacraments administered, the means of grace. This may seem a little more radical than a good feeling but, faith in Protestant doctrine really goes beyond intellectual assent. I’m not making light of extra biblical material, theology is an exercise in understanding, testing, expressing, and explaining but while helpful and edifying this is not the source of faith.

    Looking at Kullervo’s point, I cannot think of a single doctrine where Mormonism in anywhere close to any branch of Christianity, Rome, East, Protestant. I used to think there was about an 80% difference but after learning more about Mormonism I think the only similarity is spelling.

  61. At root, this argument comes down to a disagreement about what is a “legitimate reason for disunity” I think theology is not really legitimate. This is obviously an idiosyncratic position. But I think, on some level, the phenomena of Mormonism points to how inconsequential theology can be compared to other forces within a religion. It shows that theology and scripture can be effective at engendering and sustaining faith even when manufactured.

    The reason I think theology is a petty reason for disagreement is that I agree wholeheartedly with Gundek, faith is far more than mere intellectual assent. My view is that the differences in the propositions people assent to are not as important as the working of the Spirit in their lives. And, that there is not a strong correlation between believing right theology and an active faith in the Christian message.

  62. “And, that there is not a strong correlation between believing right theology and an active faith in the Christian message.”

    Don’t you need to define the Christian message?

  63. Jared said:

    My view is that the differences in the propositions people assent to are not as important as the working of the Spirit in their lives. And, that there is not a strong correlation between believing right theology and an active faith in the Christian message.

    That’s an interesting bit of theology. Do you think if more people accepted your theological perspective that there would be more unity in practice and understanding of one another? ;)

    (my point being, you’re picking and choosing which theological tenets are relevant and which are petty; you’re just failing to recognize your own position is a matter of theology.)

  64. My point is not that my theology is correct, but that I don’t think Protestant theology or Mormon theology require that believers be correct in what they say about Jesus in order to experience salvation and follow the spirit, does it?

    If the theology does not require separation then separation is a problem, regardless of my theology.

    I

  65. Don’t you need to define the Christian message?

    Do I? I thought the New Testament did that as well as anything could? My point is that, in practice, a believer does not have to define the message in order for it to be effective. He or she could be dead-wrong on most points and still get what matters from it. No?

    It seems uncontroversial to believe that the message, ultimately, comes to each believer in an individual way, in a way that makes sense to them– even when the are incapable of assenting to correct theology.

    Why? Because EVERYTHING said about Jesus is adulterated by metaphor, even when it points directly at reality.

  66. First I would say that the first presupposition of theology is that God has revealed Himself and humanity is capable of receiving that revelation. The fact is Christians are called to “pay closer attention to what we have heard…” not look for ways around it.

    Second it seems obvious you need to define Christian message, faith is more than intellectual assent but it certainly isn’t less. Christians are continually called to confess their faith. The confusion we have is the insinuation that the only reason for correct theology is salvation. Cal thinks he can nail it down to 3 or 4 fundamentals and a person is saved. You seem to be arguing that no theology matters. I think you are both wrong.

    I believe that a saved person through God’s divine favor places their full faith and trust on the free promise of the person and work of Jesus Christ but, that faith does not merit salvation. A saving faith is not not meritorious. The object of our faith, the person and work of Jesus Christ is meritorious. Certainly a person can err on a whole host of issues and still have a saving faith but, that doesn’t mean our goal should be to look for the minimum requirements.

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

    Finally I think it should be controversial when we turn Christianity into individuality. God saves a people. All of the New Testament is addressed either implicitly or explicitly to members of the Church. Christians are called to gather, even in 2′s and 3′s. If faith comes as Paul describes from hearing the word of God preached, if the sacraments are signs and seals of Gods grace, the corporate nature of Christianity is vital.

  67. Faith is a gift from God. And that is all that God is after.

    And since it is from God, that trust is more than enough to save us.

    “What is it to do the works of the Father?” they asked Jesus.

    “Believe in the one whom the Father has sent.” (Jesus’ answer)

  68. On question begging:

    Here are my assumptions:
    (1) Protestant theology is correct.
    (2) Mormons and Protestants follow Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God within the meaning of the Old and New Testaments, and follow him as if he was God, the creator of the world, and believe that only through Him can people return to God’s favor.
    (3) Both Mormons and Protestants believe that Jesus wanted his followers to be extremely unified in love.
    (4) Mormonism theology is drastically different than Protestant theology, so much so that many may not have enough faith in Jesus to be saved.

    Under these assumptions I see Protestants fundamentally reject Mormons as believers in Christ, and often keep them out of love and fellowship because of that. The theological differences are immense qua theology, but they are petty qua the realities of keeping Jesus’ charge for unity. The practical problems that Mormonism creates for a belief in orthodox theology should not outweigh the importance of accepting them.

    Of course, Mormons are actively competing with Protestantism on a theological level—which has historically meant a whole lot, mainly because keeping the same theology was a massive political issue.

    So the ostracism of Mormonism for believing in silly theology and false scriptures seems to be a archaic carryover from the time when Church and politics mixed. Ultimately I think it springs from the fact that people don’t have enough faith in their message that they need to keep devoted believers in other churches far from their children. Mormonism is undoubtedly seductive to many brilliant, high-functioning people, so maybe I can see that this point. But if they take Jesus charge seriously, then these are petty and political, not doctrinal.

  69. What do you make of all the talk about false teachers and deceivers and why it’s important to keep them from leading others astray. The call for unity is not left unchecked against idolatry and heresy.

  70. Let’s be honest.

    Mormons and Protestants have real and substantial disagreements about every doctrine in the second and third assumptions so, these doesn’t seem to be the basis for full communion.

    Love and unity don’t trump truth in the NT. Idolatry and syncretism are regularly condemned in both the NT and OT. Spelling is not a reason for unity.

    The sermon is the central feature of Protestant worship. I doubt a Protestant exposition of John 1:1 would be a welcome talk at sacrament meeting. What is the basis for unity if we couldn’t preach in each other’s pulpits?

    I cannot think of a Protestant denomination that makes the claim to be the one true church. It doesn’t look like Mormonism is looking for communion?

  71. For us Protestants (Lutherans – technically not Protestant, but you know what I mean)…what is central is Word AND sacrament. They are both The Word.

    We believe that we know the truth. But unlike some, we don’t claim that we are the only ones that know it.

  72. What do you make of all the talk about false teachers and deceivers and why it’s important to keep them from leading others astray. The call for unity is not left unchecked against idolatry and heresy.

    I don’t know precisely what I make of this, one of the most powerful and influential ethical ideas in Christianity is non-resistance to evil. False teachers can be very damaging, personalities and ideas can lead to entrenched bad behavior. But I don’t think that being aware of false teachers should lead to lack of fellowship with false believers.

    What I can’t reconcile nonresistance to evil with the disunity and dis-fellowship, especially in the case of the Mormons, They are not dangerous to the Christian message of Protestant theology enough to justify ostracism, even when the Mormons “started it.”

    You say “Love and unity don’t trump truth in the NT.” I would reply that, in the NT, the truth is love and unity among the imperfect– even those that imperfectly interpret scripture.

    There is plenty of common ground between Mormons and Protestants, they could easily and un-controversially speak on all kinds of subjects on each other’s pulpits and they have plenty that they could learn from each other.

  73. I mean both passages are both in the same discourse so it seems pretty obvious Christ intended both passages to be applied not played off of each other.

  74. My brother was baptized Orthodox Christian last year. They definitely agree that unity trumps doctrinal differences and eagerly welcome western Christianity to abandon the doctrinal and ecclesiastical differences that have caused it to break away so that it can return to the original church of the New Testament.

  75. Gundek, assuming neither passage trumps–both equally apply–how do you treat believers in a false prophet who ask you to walk the mile with them, or “sue” you for the public label of Christian?

  76. Furthermore, a reading od Matthew 5 that is as broad as Jared C suggests is also vulnerable to reductio ad absurdum: what about believers who ask you to you to “walk the mile” with them by disregarding the authority of the Sermon on the Mount, or who “sue” you to reject Matthew 5?

  77. Furthermore, a reading od Matthew 5 that is as broad as Jared C suggests is also vulnerable to reductio ad absurdum

    I don’t think any interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount can be made invulnerable to reductio ad absurdum. Jesus asks the absurd.

    How does the Sermon on the Mount inform the imperative for unity in the Spirit as explained by Jesus in John 17:21? Mormons are clearly among those who believe in Jesus because of the Message of the Gospels.

  78. Perhaps, that would be a reasonable solution, so long as the Eastern Orthodox Church did not demand assent to a particular theology in order to participate in the community.

  79. Primacy is the wrong word. I am advocating more unity, not perfect unity. A shift in the balance toward a large nation rather than a bunch of hostile city states.

    Even Democrats and Republicans can agree that the other side are Americans and represent American values for the most part. It seems odd that differences in values are more primal than theological differences.

  80. But my point is, by insisting that they accept you in unity without requiring you to assent to a particular theology, you are requiring them to assent to a particular theology.

  81. no, I am pointing to their own theology, and seeing that it demands unity, requiring them to justify disunity. I don’t think their theology demands the extant of the disunity that I see, including prejudice against Mormons for theological reasons.

  82. If Christian unity is in fact the most important thing, you should be willing to abandon your other, less-important theological positions in order to be unified with the original church of the New Testament.

    Democrats and Republicans can agree that the other side are Americans and represent American values for the most part, just like Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox can agree that the others are Christians and represent Christian values for the most part.

    But do Democrats and Republicans agree that the Communist Party USA are Americans and represent American values for the most part?

  83. no, I am pointing to their own theology, and seeing that it demands unity, requiring them to justify disunity. I don’t think their theology demands the extant of the disunity that I see, including prejudice against Mormons for theological reasons.

    But the Eastern Orthodox didn’t disunify; they got left. It was western Christianity who thought their theology (and ecclesiology) demanded disunity. At least that’s the Orthodox perspective. Everyone else left them. Everyone else is welcome to come back.

  84. But do Democrats and Republicans agree that the Communist Party USA are Americans and represent American values for the most part?

    I thought quite a lot about this growing up in the Cold War. Ultimately it makes sense to include even those directly opposed to your position in the community of Americans, i.e. grant them rights and a voice for the strength of the Nation. This is a core part of the American value of unity.

  85. Whether you think Democrats and Republicans should see communists as Americans who represent American values is not the question. The question is whether Democrats and Republicans do, because you used them to try to make a contrast with Protestants and Mormons regarding of mutual acceptance: “Even Democrats and Republicans can agree that the other side are Americans and represent American values for the most part. It seems odd that seems odd that theological differences are more primal than value differences.”

    But it was a bad analogy. You implied that [Republicans:Democrats::Protestants:Mormons], but a better analogies would be [Republicans:Democrats::Protestants:Catholics] and [Republicans:Communists::Protestants:Mormons]. That was my point. And whether or not you think that Democrats and Republicans should see communists as Americans who represent American values, they don’t.

    Furthermore, although your position regarding inclusion of Communists in the American political landscape is irrelevant, it should be pointed out that it is derived from your interpretation of the American democratic ideal, which is clearly not the same thing as the New Testament injunction to be one. So it is irrelevant x2.

  86. And whether or not you think that Democrats and Republicans should see communists as Americans who represent American values, they don’t.

    No, in fact they do. Democrats and Republicans officially see all kinds of people as Americans for the sake of intellectual freedom and national unity. In principal they see murderers and killers as Americans, as well as Communists. They think Communists are dead-wrong, and their values un-american, so they scorn them for their error, but they include them in fellowship as fellow citizens. That is what respect for conscience is all about.

    Again it seems strange that the social construction of nationality is stronger and more inclusive than the social construction of Christianity. I understand the historical problems with unity, but a move toward solidarity and cooperation makes sense and unjustifiable (in my opinion) in light of the New Testament.

    Shouldn’t Christianity be more like the United Nations, instead is like competing nations and city-states?

  87. it should be pointed out that it is derived from your interpretation of the American democratic ideal,

    Are you implying that the Christian ideal of unity should be weaker than the American democratic ideal?

  88. I accept Mormons as co-religionist, just not co-Christians. Just as Republicans see Communist as co-Americans just not co-Republicans.

    The Christian church has a great deal of unity despite enormous diversity. It just doesn’t recognize idolaters as faithful Christians any more than it accepts the sexually immoral as faithful Christians. Anyone who participates in idolatry or sexual immorality is called to repentance. Anyone who advocates that others become idolatrous or immoral are no longer in fellowship. Joseph Smith just so happened to call people to both.

  89. But that is what we a talking about, a theological judgement. Mormons have made theological judgements, new Scripture, new food laws, new priesthoods, new temples, new definitions, new covenants, new prophets, new apostles, we could go on.

    In Mormon theological judgement all of this newness is needed for the one true church (c). In the theological judgement of the East, Rome, and Protestantism all of this newness is schismatic.

  90. Ultimately my judgment is based on a severe criticism of the concept of theological orthodoxy as a basis for unity. That seems post-biblical and, therefore, completely open to question from the sola scripture position.

  91. I really don’t understand what you make of the recommendations for handling false prophets. I think you’re just utterly failing to synthesize those passages into your view. Its not that you’re twisting them, you’re just ignoring them. In the same manner what do you make of the maxims to avoid idolatry? (Which is directly tied to theology)

  92. Or Paul’s concern in 2 Corinthians 11 about false teachers preaching another Jesus, another Spirit or another gospel.

    Or just, Paul’s concern about false doctrine generally. You really don’t have to go extra-Biblical to see serious concern about it. Try the entire book of 1 Timothy.

  93. About the OP, Its getting pretty old to hear about another Mormon having their eyes opened by actually reading the Bible one day and not finding it all sewn up tight. Then becoming “a Christian” because “of course there isn’t any friction with the Bible and my new faith tradition or, heaven forbid, within the Bible itself.” I respect people’s individual faith journeys and I know this is exciting stuff for EV’s, but it gets mega-tiring for those of us who read and cherish the Bible and come to different conclusions than American Evangelicalism.

    Or Paul’s concern in 2 Corinthians 11 about false teachers preaching another Jesus, another Spirit or another gospel.

    As to where this discussion has arrived, I think its clear that Paul was concerned with some level of orthodoxy, although I don’t agree with using his somewhat vague warnings to specific communities about some specific teachers that he deemed false to refute those who don’t agree with my particular take on the Bible in 2013. Or using it to validate every successful doctrinal development in Christian history.

    Its easy to see that some level of orthodoxy mattered to a number of various Christian thinkers/leaders in centuries past, for a variety of different reasons and its clear that it matters to different Christians today. I can understand why. But, its also vividly apparent to me that, if it matters to God, its only in a very base fundamental way. In fact, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about God in my years of searching, is that he’s quite comfortable tolerating a wide variety of beliefs among his children. Otherwise, why would he give us such a large textual margin of error? And it is large – that’s clear.

  94. Actually Paul is quite clear on what the gospel is, and what it is not.

    When he writes to the Galatian churches, for example, he says that it has nothing to do with ‘what we do’…or ‘what we don’t do’. And he tells them point blank that if they want to play the religion game of being law keepers for righteousness, then they “sever themselves from Christ.” They don’t need Him anymore. They want to contribute with what they ‘are doing’.

    This is serious business. In Romans Paul speaks about the ‘doers’ getting what they deserve on judgement day. (and what they ‘do’ had better be perfect, and in motivation also) But the non-doers…the trusters…those who have faith, will be receive grace…as a gift…and it will be reckoned to them as righteousness.

  95. Christian J,

    So I am trying to understand what appears to be two conflicting views. On the one hand you have God’s tolerance for error and a margin of error built into the Bible while, on the other hand you have the exclusive claims of the one true church (c), priesthoods, authorities, keys, etc.

  96. “In fact, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about God in my years of searching, is that he’s quite comfortable tolerating a wide variety of beliefs among his children. Otherwise, why would he give us such a large textual margin of error? And it is large – that’s clear”.

    The sound basis for tolerance of other views is that there are too many questions unanswered by Scripture to feel confident in any extensive theology.

  97. It doesn’t. I do not believe the Mormon church is the one true church. However, the LDS Church deals with discrepancies in interpretation by allowing for speculation and/or new revelation regarding unanswered questions. It is not important to have the right answers so long as you have the right church.

  98. It seems to me that you have to have some level of orthodoxy in order to make coherent sense out of a community’s beliefs and religious practices. I recognize how this butts directly against the supremacy of the individual in our post-modern culture. But there’s no call to come together as a community without unifying values. If there is some sort of “fellowship of all beliefs” it seems the end result would just be chaos.

    Even in communities as open as Burning Man it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out what the unifying beliefs are that bring everyone together. I’m guessing a violent skinhead faction would not be welcomed there.

    In most congregations, an individual who quietly and privately believes the Book of Mormon to be authentic scripture is not going to be removed from fellowship (they will be challenged though). I think if I really pressed the issue with most Mormons they would agree that teaching non-orthodox ideas is a problem. We just disagree about where to draw the lines.

  99. Right, there are lots of ways to hold people together. The fences between groups are important to keep them together as well as to keep others out. Perhaps the unity of believers as Jesus said is not possible, the history of Protestantism may be the demonstration of that. But if you believe it is possible or desirable, I don’t see how making unity depend on orthodoxy has worked. It seems to have been a complete failure.

    I am not pointing the finger toward Evangelicals alone. Mormons are in a tighter box than Evangelicals on this. They have both authority and some orthodoxy to prevent them from accepting the spiritual realities of traditional Christianity. Mormons have walled themselves off. But, my view is that the paradigm of orthodoxy and rejection of heresy seems to be an outmoded impediment to reaching those behind the wall.

    This is why I like Cal’s paradigm despite the theological consequences.

  100. The structural problem, once again, is that your notion that unity trumps theology is itself a distinctly theological proposition. And to the extent that you expect others to agree with it, you are demanding an orthodoxy.

    The substantive problem with your notion that unity trumps all other theology is that it immediately reduces to “unity is the only theology.” And that is of course a position you are free to take, but it contradicts the actual teachings of Jesus on its face: Jesus did teach unity, but he taught a whole lot of other things. If unity were the only thing that mattered (and if unity trumped everything else, unity would be the only thing that mattered), Jesus’s teachings about the Kingdom, for example, would be starkly different. The Kingdom parables in Matthew 13 for example, do not appear to point to a Kingdom defined by unity and unity alone. You may think that Unity Above All is the best gospel, but its certainly not the gospel of the kingdom.

  101. You may think that Unity Above All is the best gospel, but its certainly not the gospel of the kingdom.

    I am not suggesting “unity above all”, just unity above requiring strict theological agreement on certain select points. I don’t think “the gospel of the kingdom” requires disunity merely because of differences in dogma and creed.

  102. I’m not talking about strict theological agreement on certain select points. I’m talking about no theological agreement on any point. We are not comparing Anglicans and Congregationalists. Other than spelling what reason is there for any unity between Protestants and Mormons.

  103. What about satanists I am talking about unity among those that believe the message of Jesus in the Gospels.

    I am pointing to what Jesus meant when he prayed for all believers in John 17:

    ““My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

    I would argue that Satanists are not among those that believe in Jesus within the meaning of this passage.

  104. I am suggesting that disunity among believers merely due to their incorrect beliefs is a cop-out on this. You don’t have to abandon dogma to embrace and worship with those that hold opposing views. Theological correctness is generally the least of your concerns when you deal with a human being on any other level but worship. It doesn’t seem to be a good method of judging people, or converting them to the truth of Christianity as you see it.

  105. I am talking about unity among those that believe the message of Jesus in the Gospels.

    Um, okay. What is the message of Jesus in the Gospels then?

    Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus all believe Jesus was a prophet send by God (in some capacity) and theoretically believe in his teachings. Unity with them, too?

  106. “Belief in the Resurrection”

    No, I think in denying the two natures of Christ distorts LDS christology distorts even the resurrection.

  107. By “message of Jesus in the Gospels” I mean is “the message attributed to Jesus in the text of the gospels.” The words speak for themselves, they are the message.

    I suppose it would depend on which Muslims you are referring to. But the Koran categorically rejects the notion of Jesus as son of God or savior of the world. Their tradition denies the resurrection, a prime component of each Gospel account.

    I suppose a Hindu or Buddhist that believed in the resurrection and the character of Jesus as Son of God within the meaning of the Bible would seem to fall within Jesus’ simple description of the believers he was praying to be unified.

  108. Kullervo,

    You may already have read it but I highly recommend Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation”.

    He lays out the necessity of Christ being fully human and fully God. His triumph over death could only be accomplished by the divine, for a debt owed by the human. He makes the argument that humanities union Christ ins bound by Christ’s union with our humanity, that only the creator of all things could effect our re-creation.

  109. Kullervo,

    It’s not “my gospel”…it is THE gospel.

    It’s for all of us. But that is where the rub lies. Many just can’t stand the graciousness of it and twist it into a facimile of ‘us’.

    God doesn’t operate anything like we operate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s