Defending John Calvin

When I was in high school, the music world suffered a cataclysmic event. It was discovered that Rob and Fab didn’t sing their own music.  Milli Vanilli was a fraud.  A number of my friends who owned their cassette tapes (yes I’m that old) suddenly stopped listening to their music all together.  I thought this was strange.  Never had my friends been to a Milli Vanilli concert and it wasn’t likely that they ever would attend a concert.  They only listened to the music on the radio or on their walkmans.  So it really didn’t matter who was singing, if they liked the music on Monday, they should still like the music on Tuesday.  Nothing had changed about the quality of the music.  The only thing that was wrong was the picture on the album cover.

I’m not a Calvinist.  When I first heard Calvinism described to me I found it offensive.  Later as I encountered some dyed-in-the-wool Calvinist I was caught off guard by how sound some of their arguments were.  I’m still not buying it, but I understand why people are attracted to its tenets.

The most  obnoxious Christians I have encountered have either been Reformed Baptist or Fundamentalist Pentacostals. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Calvinist don’t try to find more attractive ways to present themselves or their beliefs.  It’s the kind of theology where you feel you’re being given the middle finger while it’s explained to you.  That being said, most Calvinist are not jerks and I respect the rigorous defense of the faith and the Bible that they pursue.

Some recent arguments have been made against the character of John Calvin.  I’m not entirely up on all of the details, but it seems he may have sent a political (not religious) opponent to burn at the stake.  Not a rousing example of a man of Christ. While I’m certain that Calvin’s sins have been forgiven, he may have lost a few crowns in heaven for that unfortunate  incident. To be honest, I haven’t really looked into the story, but for the sake of argument I’ll just assume Calvin was completely in the wrong and is a murderer.

I don’t at all think that Calvinist should abandon Calvinism because of John Calvin’s personal foibles (as egregious as they are).  If he were still alive and pastoring, I would absolutely recommend that his parishoners either leave his church or remove him from ministry.  But I don’t think his theological ideas must be abandoned any more than I think the Declaration of Independence has to be tossed aside because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves or the civil rights movement was misguided because Martin Luther King Jr was an adulterer.

John Calvin was not the only proponent or originator of Reformed Theology (as it’s some times called).  It’s likely that if John Calvin hadn’t expressed his views, someone else most likely would have.  He just happens to be the most popular presenter of his ideas at his time in history.  Calvin also did not claim that Calvinism’s authority was found in his personal character.  Instead he argued that it was found in the authority of scirpture and a reasoned approach to scripture.  If scripture and reason have no authority, than neither does Calvinism.  If Lindsay Lohan discovers the truth of Calvinism, and it is true, it still holds even if she finds a new way to crash and burn every other week.  Al Gore can burn a barrel of diesel fuel on his lawn every night and be the biggest hypocrite in the world, but if his scientific arguements are correct, the earth is warming due to man made causes.  What Al Gore does in his personal life doesn’t make the science any less true.  Only science makes his claims false.

I recognize that Mormons may immediately say that “Well then, why are you picking on Mormonism for the things Joseph Smith did?”  I think the situation is totally different.  Joseph Smith claimed the authority of his teachings came from his own status as a True Prophet of God.  This means that we have the right and obligation to look into his personal character to verify his claims.  We need to not only investigate what he taught with that self-proclaimed authority but we need to see how he leveraged that authority in his personal life.   If a prophet is producing “bad fruit” I think we have good reason to reject his authority and his teachings.

I think the situation is also different for another reason.  If you confronted Calvinist with John Calvin’s sins, they would more than likely say that he was in sin and that he should not have acted that way.  Getting a Mormon to actually own the facts that Joseph Smith did anything that an outsider would call questionable is a monumental feat (though it’s been easier since “Rough Stone Rolling” was published).  To get them to say that Smith was wrong or sinning in any area of his life is practically impossible.  I think this proves my point that Joseph Smith’s prophetic status is directly tied to his character.  Smith didn’t claim to be perfect, but finding a Mormon who can name a specific reason he lacked perfection is something I’m not holding my breath for.

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116 thoughts on “Defending John Calvin

  1. Joseph Smith was lousy with money. Also, he drank too much.

    So you know.

    I find Calvin’s character interesting because it explains why he found those particular notions of God compelling. He was a control freak (in my humble opinion) and so he constructed a control freak God from scripture. What is most interesting to me is that you find an awful lot of Calvinists amongst the internet ministry crowd, but relatively few Lutherans (who have a much more palatable understanding of God (in my opinion, again, some more)). Why do you think that might be?

  2. Tim, your position here is totally inconsistent. Either character matters for prophets or it doesn’t. I think you’ve established that it doesn’t.

    And a next time a Mormon seems reluctant to admit that Joseph Smith wasn’t perfect, just point out the places where his oopsies have been canonized. The 116 pages incident and D&C 111 come to mind, and I bet there’s more.

  3. Mephi,
    Calvin never claimed to be a prophet (in the sense that he never claimed to add new books of scripture to the canon). That said, Calvin did provide the “one true” interpretation of scripture, so in that sense, he takes a prophetic stance.

  4. I read a little more carefully and see where Tim is making a distinction between prophets and someone in the camp of John Calvin or Al Gore or MLK, Jr. I don’t think it holds water though, a cursory of review of the Bible shows that those prophets had just as many flaws as a Joseph Smith or a Brigham Young. We don’t chuck out the 10 commandments because Moses murdered the Egyptian, or look narrowly at Noah because he got drunk or disparage the wisdom of Solomon because he liked strange women.

  5. Calvin claimed to be a theologian not a prophet. Stop by Faith Promoting Rumor and you’ll quickly see character doesn’t matter for theologians. 🙂 (just kidding guys)

  6. Nice post, Tim. Love the Milli Vanilli reference. It’s okay, I am old enough to have tape cassettes, too!

    There’s a joke among evangelical Christians, that Calvinism attracts a lot of jerks because it gives them justification to be jerks. They can’t help but be jerks; God predestined them to be that way. (And no, I am not just an Arminian dumping on Calvinists; see this article by a Calvinist for some discussion of this.)

    I think a key difference between Joseph Smith’s flaws and those of Moses, Noah or Solomon is that no one tries to justify the flaws of the biblical characters. Everyone knows what they did was wrong, it’s all open and on the table. Well, okay, on very rare occasions you’ll meet Christians who would say Moses was justified in killing the Egyptian because he was beating a Hebrew slave, but that’s about it. I’ve never heard someone try to say that marrying women from other peoples who followed other gods was the right thing for Solomon to do.

    Talk about Joseph Smith’s questionable polygamy practices and you’ll get a barrage of answers from “God commanded him to do that” (no blame) to “Emma knew about them all but she refused to accept them” (blame Emma) or at best “We don’t really know all the details, so we can’t judge.” If Joseph Smith’s message isn’t dependent on his character, why are so many people reluctant to say that maybe Joseph Smith was wrong?

  7. to tag on to Jack’s comments. Yes, there are flaws in many of the biblical prophets. But some how Joseph Smith carries all of their flaws not just one or two.

    In the case of David and Solomon (not prophets by the way) you also see repentance for the sins (I guess with Solomon that’s a “sort-of-repentence”).

  8. I don’t deny that there is a pervasive belief that a prophet’s character matters. I’ve heard Mormons defend Moses killing of the Egyptian overseer, too. However, this view is untenable to any serious student of the scriptures, LDS or otherwise. So what we have is a case of the average Joe not believing what’s in their scriptures. What else is new?

    But some how Joseph Smith carries all of their flaws not just one or two

    Joseph Smith, Egyptian-killer!

  9. 1) Its ridiculous to NOT admit that Joseph was full of flaws. Most Mormons simply don’t know enough about Joseph’s life to admit to the flaws.

    2) We don’t know enough about most biblical prophets to know their character. I imagine that more than a few of them had flaws similar to Joseph, we just don’t have the biographical data to know one way or another.

    We do know that many of them were in adamantly in favor of genocide. If we had detailed accounts of what went on by their direction, or if they were advocating the same things today we probably consider them no better than Jim Jones, Goebbels, or Pol Pot.

    Therefore the “fruits” argument has to be highly qualified in order to fly. If God will send prophecy to those who are willing to advocate the cold-blooded murder innocent men women and children, its hard to think that a drinking problem, egotism, or manipulative personality is going to be a show stopper.

    3) I would argue that the fruits of a prophet are the nature and effects of his prophecy and teachings not the caliber of his personal life. Everybody has their vice, and it is the nature and disposition of almost all men to exercise unrighteous dominion as soon as they suppose that they have any authority. (I think some prophet was correct on this point . . can’t remember which one)

    I think this applies to Calvin as much as it does to Joseph.

    So still think the “fruits” test advocated by Tim seems to be inferior to the “Spiritual confirmation” test that most Mormons use.

  10. If it were discovered that Thomas Monson has an alcohol addiction you don’t think it would affect his status as prophet?

  11. Besides, the Word of Wisdom wasn’t made a binding commandment on the LDS Church until the administration of President Heber J. Grant in the early 1900s. Before then, it was not something binding on the membership.

    An infraction today in a top leader is much more serious than it would have been in Joseph’s day. There used to even be tobacco spitoons in the Salt Lake Temple.

    So alcoholism is not really a good comparison.

  12. A better comparison would be a revelation that Pres. Monson has been engaging in speculative real estate ventures and has had to file bankruptcy – leaving his creditors holding the bag.

    That was almost as frowned upon in Joseph’s day as it is today.

  13. If a prophet is using his status as a prophet and claims to revelation to sin, does that call into question his status as a prophet and his other prophetic claims? In other words, if Joseph Smith told a woman that an angel with a flaming sword commanded him to marry her, and he was lying about that, does that call him into question?

    I think that it does. If Moses and Joshua were lying about God telling them to slaughter the people of neighboring nations, I absolutely think that calls into question their other prophetic claims.

    I’m willing to be challenged on that though. Is there an example of a biblical prophet who used his status as prophet to make false claims about what God told him and sinned?

    Joseph Smith possibly committing adultery with Fanny Alger doesn’t bother me. Joseph Smith being financially irresponsible doesn’t bother me. Joseph Smith treasure-hunting as a younger man doesn’t bother me. Those are all acceptible flaws for a prophet in my book, though I wish the church were more open about some of them.

    But Joseph Smith coercing women into marrying him by telling them God told him to do it… that absolutely bothers me. And I’m honestly trying to see the biblical parallel for someone abusing their prophetic status and still being a prophet.

  14. Tim, just one question: have you stopped beating your wife yet?

    Yeah, I know, unfair question, and there’s no really good way for you to answer it—there is a good response, which is to not answer the question and point out that it’s a sucky question.

    Might I suggest that the reason you don’t get many Mormons to discuss Joseph’s flaws is because you are approaching them with a similarly sucky question? You start your discussion with a non-starter, this nonsense that “personal flaw = not a prophet,” and then you’re surprised that Mormons don’t open right up. The right response from Mormons is to point out that your “question” sucks, but it’s easy to get flustered in the situation and fall for the trap—the same way that people get flustered and can’t respond intelligently when asked if they’ve stopped beating their spouse.

    I’ve seen the issue of Joseph’s imperfection brought up at church or in private conversations (with non-blogging Mormons, I’ll point out), and Mormons didn’t get all defensive—because it wasn’t brought up attached to an unrelated issue of whether he was a prophet or not.

    Joseph Smith claimed the authority of his teachings came from his own status as a True Prophet of God. This means that we have the right and obligation to look into his personal character to verify his claims.

    Why? You make a huge logical leap there, Tim. What are you basing this “right and obligation” on?

    We need to not only investigate what he taught with that self-proclaimed authority but we need to see how he leveraged that authority in his personal life. If a prophet is producing “bad fruit” I think we have good reason to reject his authority and his teachings.

    I don’t agree with you on Jesus’ teachings on fruits of prophets. The fruits of Joseph’s labors are that a whole lot of people gave their lives to the Lord, tried to live in harmony with each other, prayed and studied scripture, etc. etc. I assume you are using Matthew 7 as your basis for investigating a potential prophet’s personal life, but I don’t see Jesus saying that the fruits are personal life fruits.

    The other fruits of Joseph’s work are the fruits produced in me, the blessings and enlightenment I gain from his doctrine. I’ve planted (tested) many of those teachings and harvested good fruit—and by those fruits I know that Joseph was a true prophet. “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Ah, but I gathered good grapes from Joseph Smith.

    Furthermore, Jesus goes on to address what he will do with prophets who have personal life problems (and do not repent, we can assume):

    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    Notice that the people being dismissed are those who did all sorts of wonderful things—things that might look like good fruit to you, no? Good fruit = true prophet, right?

    In sum, I think you’re trying to take a short cut, Tim. It’d be great for you if you didn’t have to address the doctrine Joseph taught—didn’t have to convince me that the priesthood (for example) isn’t real, despite my personal experiences that convince me otherwise, apart from anything I think about Joseph Smith—if you could just taint everything he said with something wrong that he did.

  15. Jack, you ask a good question, but I’m afraid that if Moses. Joshua, and others were lying about God telling them to kill all those people, then we wouldn’t know. I mean, the text doesn’t say they were lying, but maybe they were.

  16. And I’m honestly trying to see the biblical parallel for someone abusing their prophetic status and still being a prophet.

    Okay, here’s one example that isn’t quite perfect but it’s in the ballpark: Peter refused to eat with Gentiles. Paul chewed him out for it. Was Peter a false Apostle? (Again, it’s not a perfect example—I don’t know that Peter used his Apostolic authority to refuse company—but I thought I’d throw it out there for your brainstorm.)

  17. You know, this is the thing that bugs me the most about Mormon-Evangelical dialogue –

    The Evangelicals always seem to be looking for excuses not to address the actual DOCTRINE. It’s always a big strawman of saying “well look how much the people who proclaimed the doctrine sucked.”

    Who freaking cares what polygamy was like in practice?

    What about the DOCTRINE?

    Who cares how we got the Pearl of Great Price?

    What about it’s content?

    Who cares if there were horses in America or not?

    Was King Benjamin right or wasn’t he?

  18. I’ll get back to you later Brian, I gotta run, but I wanted to offer one thing: I apologize to our LDS regulars. This is a thread that’s supposed to be about Calvin and already it’s turned back into criticisms of Joseph Smith.

    I think this blog has a couple of problems with discussing Calvinism, namely, we lack a regular Calvinist participant. Aaron from MRM occasionally drops by and we get some other very occasional evangelical participants who might be Calvinists, but neither Tim nor I are Calvinist and we’re the most active evangelical participants these days.

    Obviously I don’t believe Calvinism is true, so that leaves two options for me:

    (A) Calvin was sincere but misguided. He did his best to exposit what the Bible says about God, but ultimately his theological system was wrong.
    (B) Calvin was indeed a false teacher and knew his theological system was wrong and will have to answer for that in the afterlife.

    I believe it’s Option A. I would like to offer a similar option to Joseph Smith, but I don’t think he left us that choice. His is much more of a traditional C.S. Lewis Trilemma, either he was telling the truth or he was lying or he was crazy. I don’t see how you can be sincere but wrong about angels and flaming swords and whatnot.

    Anyways, I apologize to our LDS participants. You don’t have to do yet another thread defending Joseph Smith if you don’t want to, I’ll do my best to participate in a Calvinism discussion if you want to try to direct the conversation back that way.

  19. Jack,
    It seems like 1st Kings 13 might contain such an instance.

    Regarding Calvin, I don’t much like him. But I am willing to go with your option #1 (actually, I would tend to think that anyhoo, even though I think Calvin was a megalomaniac).

  20. Seth said:
    The Evangelicals always seem to be looking for excuses not to address the actual DOCTRINE. It’s always a big strawman of saying “well look how much the people who proclaimed the doctrine sucked.”

    Because the DOCTRINE is white noise if it’s not actually founded in some reality. It has as much religious significance as Kwanza.

    And be fair Seth. I spend very little time discussing Mormon origins on this blog. I know that if I want you to engage me I’ve got to talk about the doctrine not Joseph Smith sex life.

    Brian said:
    Furthermore, Jesus goes on to address what he will do with prophets who have personal life problems (and do not repent, we can assume):

    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    Notice that the people being dismissed are those who did all sorts of wonderful things—things that might look like good fruit to you, no? Good fruit = true prophet, right?

    You recognize that this verse can easily be flipped back on you right? You’ve experienced and seen all these wonderful things.

    In sum, I think you’re trying to take a short cut, Tim. It’d be great for you if you didn’t have to address the doctrine Joseph taught—didn’t have to convince me that the priesthood (for example) isn’t real, despite my personal experiences that convince me otherwise, apart from anything I think about Joseph Smith—if you could just taint everything he said with something wrong that he did.

    It ALL rests on Joseph Smith. Gordon Hinckley said that if Smith is not a true prophet then none of it stands. (sorry I can’t find the quote, I’ll get back to you). It’s not a short cut. It is the whole package.

  21. Mark Driscoll makes a very eloquent and stirring case for Calvinism here. The problems only come when you think about it for five minutes (and it doesn’t help his case when at the end he tells you not to question it).

  22. The problem with those statements about everything standing on Joseph is that they’re never very theologically specific.

    We’re left to assume the worst.

  23. “Because the DOCTRINE is white noise if it’s not actually founded in some reality. It has as much religious significance as Kwanza.”

    Ouch, Tim! Now tell us what you really think 🙂

  24. The same is true for all of Christianity. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, it’s all jibberish and we’re to be pitied. (see 1 Cor. 15).

  25. Tim:

    It ALL rests on Joseph Smith. Gordon Hinckley said that if Smith is not a true prophet then none of it stands. It’s not a short cut. It is the whole package.

    Is that your full response? Essentially repeat what you said in the OP and hope I bite this time? I’m not having a “was Joseph the whole package” debate with you because I don’t buy your “whole package” argument.

    You recognize that this verse can easily be flipped back on you right? You’ve experienced and seen all these wonderful things.

    I wrote up a response to this, then deleted it because I think you are still dodging my main point, which is (I’ll say again) that I don’t buy your dichotomy.

    Jack:

    I apologize to our LDS regulars. This is a thread that’s supposed to be about Calvin and already it’s turned back into criticisms of Joseph Smith.

    Ha! No need to apologize, since this thread most certainly was supposed to be about Joseph Smith. Look at the OP: despite the title claiming to be about “defending” Calvin, Tim quickly assumes for sake of argument that Calvin was a murderer—not much of a defense, is it? Then Tim concludes with two paragraphs about “Joseph Smith was a scumbag and therefore his doctrine is bad too.” Nope, you didn’t make this “Calvin” post about Smith, Tim did.

  26. And fwiw, Eric said, “MAYBE JOSEPH SMITH WAS WRONG! (In some areas of his personal life).” But I’m willing to extend that “maybe” to include anything and everything about Smith: personal, public, prophetic, etc. And I extend that to everyone else: Paul, Nephi, Moses, Seth R….

    (well, no, actually I believe everything Seth says.)

  27. “Joseph Smith’s prophetic status is directly tied to his character.”

    I also disagree with that. I also disagree with Calvinism.

    As for the Joseph Smith/polygamy thing, it’s certainly puzzling, but there’s always another way at looking at things. Julie Smith (at Times and Season) once gave another approach/way at looking at it that has caused me much reflection.

  28. Well I am a little slow, so if it takes you less than five minutes I assure you no offense was intended.

  29. Brian ~ (well, no, actually I believe everything Seth says.)

    That makes two of us.

    I’m not trying to apologize for Tim, he’s the OP and he can take the discussion in the direction he wants, but I seem to recall some complaints that this blog is always about questioning Joseph Smith and we don’t discuss/allow for criticism of Protestant leaders. And I feel bad about that. I don’t mean to be part of a pile-on-Joseph-Smith Take 27.

    I’ll get back to everyone else’s comments/thoughts later tonight or tomorrow.

    And holy hell do I hate threaded comments. We HATES them, precious.

  30. I totally agree. . . if there is nothing to back the doctrine up, (I am looking for spiritual, physical, historical, or experiential confirmation) It is really meaningless.

  31. Geez, I ought to start my own Church…

    And then 200 years later, people can talk about how my uncharitable words, neglect of my kids while online, and video game habit disqualified me as a prophet…

    For the record, I don’t care if Calvin burned someone at the stake. No more than I care whether Mohammad was a womanizer, or killed people.

    It’s Calvin’s teachings that jump shark and that’s all I care about.

  32. Tim, I’ve been of the opinion for a long time that if the “true God” sucks, then I’m not going to bother worshiping him, and it doesn’t really matter if he’s “true” or not.

  33. @ the topic: is “By their fruits you shall know them” totally worthless? Is there a tangible line to be drawn where you can say, “Okay, this person is definitely not of God”? Or is it all relativistic and you can’t know for sure unless the Spirit personally confirms it to you?

    Brian ~ I agree that the text doesn’t say if Moses and Joshua were lying and presents it as if they weren’t. I am saying that if they were lying—if the text of the Bible is wrong and they actually just made up that the orders were from God to justify their genocide—I would definitely question whether anything else the Bible says about them is true, prophethood and all.

    I thought of Peter as a possible example as I was typing it, too, but like you said, the problem is that we don’t know that he claimed revelation for his desire to continue Jewish customs with Christianity. If he did, I for one would definitely see that as problematic to his apostolic status.

    John ~ 1 Kings 13 is definitely close. The old prophet’s lie does cause me to question his status though. I think he was either (a) a once-genuine prophet who had fallen away or (b) always a false prophet, but had some level of veneration among the people of Judah just the same because they were so corrupt. The only problem for that interpretation is that he goes on to give a genuine prophecy from the Lord in v. 20-22, but it wouldn’t be the first time God had spoken through a deviant prophet (Balaam comes to mind).

    Clean Cut ~ Julie’s post is a nice effort, but I don’t think she’s really grappling with the problems created by the angels & swords claims. I’d have to go back and check where those accounts come from, but my question is, if those are possible false accounts and exaggerations, how do we know that things like Peter, John and James ordaining Joseph Smith to the priesthood aren’t false accounts and/or exaggerations? And what about D&C 132 (I see some people made good points about that in the comments)? Just seems it’s arbitrary to question the divine mandate for polygamy just because you don’t like the doctrine and leave the other doctrines alone.

    I also don’t think early LDS leaders ever acted like polygamy was something they wanted to practice and God reluctantly permitted. They always insisted it was the other way around: they were reluctant to practice it, but had to because God commanded it.

    Seth ~ Your complaint about evangelicals not addressing doctrine is a little confusing to me given that you’re the one who is always saying Mormonism is about praxis, not doctrine. Just the same, I can analyze the doctrine of polygamy as taught in Mormonism if you want, but I really don’t think the doctrine is less shark-jumpy than the execution was. I can do any other doctrine we want to talk about as well. Some are problematic and objectionable, some aren’t.

  34. Jack,
    Your reasoning regarding the prophet seems circular (he did a bad thing, therefore he can’t be a prophet). The text is ambiguous, though, so I can’t fault you.

    At times like this, I think of Ezekiel 20:25, where God says that if people won’t follow his good commandments, he will give them bad commandments. Our setting up a standard for God’s behavior does not mean that God will follow that standard.

  35. Who is the prophet that God commanded to have sex with a prostitute? That could be an example.

  36. Mephilosbeth: You may be thinking of Hosea. He was told to marry a prostitute, which is a bit different than what you’re suggesting.

  37. Jack: I think that “by their fruits” is very relevant here, and I think we have to start by discussing what “fruits” means. I’ve made it clear that I believe Jesus meant “what I harvest from a given prophet,” whereas I think Tim reads it as “the actions of that prophet.” What do you think?

  38. Yeah, Hosea and Gomer was what I was thinking of; not as bad as I remembered but still kind of sketchy!

  39. of course it was sketchy. That was the point. Hosea was representing God’s relationship with Israel. His wife kept running off on him.

  40. So here’s what I’m getting from this thread and previous threads.

    –A person can be a total jackass and still be a prophet, because their jackassishness has nothing to do with their prophetic calling

    –A person can teach false (or screwed up) doctrine and still be a prophet, because that was just their opinion, or a human mistake, and that has nothing to do with their prophetic calling

    –A person can give false prophecy and still be a prophet, because prophecy is too hard to pin down anyways

    If all of this is true, could someone please remind me…

    What the hell is the point?

  41. P.S. I’m not trying to single people out or be obnoxious by linking to the comments I did above; I just wanted to reference a few places where those sentiments had been expressed. My question is completely sincere.

  42. Katie, I’m not entirely sure I’d support all those propositions.

    But I will say a prophet doesn’t need a 100% batting record to be useful to me.

  43. John ~ You’re correct, my reasoning could be seen as circular, and you’re welcome to interpret 1 Kings 13 to mean that one can be a true prophet and abuse/lie about revelation from the Lord. I’m just saying that I don’t think the Bible has a clear example of a prophet doing so and still remaining a prophet, though 1 Kings 13 is probably the closest thing.

    Brian ~ It’s an interesting alternate reading of that saying. I will have to think about it some.

    Mephibosheth ~ Personally I think the way Hosea wrote down the Lord’s commandment to him was proleptic. That is, God didn’t literally say, “Go and marry a faithless wife.” He told Hosea to go and marry Gomer, who seemed like a respectable woman at the time. When she turned away from him later, he was stunned and asking himself why God would tell him to marry this woman since God knew what she was.

  44. Katie,
    “I never said it would be easy…”

    Actually, I agree with Seth. I don’t need to prophet to be 100% right or perfect. So, pointing out their foibles doesn’t mean much other than they were human to me. I still listen/read and try to get what I can from what they say.

    I think that the best modern theological treatise on God and Prophets was written by an atheist, anyway (but a soft atheist). All ya’ll go out and read Small Gods by Terry Pratchett and then return and report.

  45. I understand the point; my point is where do we draw the line before someone’s behavior disqualifies their prophetic status. Before Hosea I might have drawn the line at prophets who marry prostitutes for a Sunday School lesson to the Israelites.

  46. I had to look up “proleptic.” I see that’s a very common apologetic for the Hosea and Gomer story. It’s fine by me, the metaphor works with either reading.

  47. Katie,

    I think you ran into how difficult it is to nail Mormon jello to the wall. What ever it takes to keep Joseph Smith as a true prophet is the key. Even if it means that defining a true prophet in any meaningful way is no longer possible.

    Seth said:
    Tim, I’ve been of the opinion for a long time that if the “true God” sucks, then I’m not going to bother worshiping him, and it doesn’t really matter if he’s “true” or not.

    I hear the rest of the world saying the same exact thing. “If I think God is sucky, I’m not following him.” We were all made to worship though. People go on worshiping even if they take the real and true God out of the equation. The world typically continues to worship with money, sex, drugs and rock and roll. You’ve chosen a peculiar Christian sect instead as your venue.

    If it’s not about discovering the real and true God, I don’t know what the point is other than to be the god of our own lives.

  48. Mephibosheth ~ Hmm, I never thought of it as an “apologetic.” 🙂 Personally I’m fine with God telling Hosea to marry a faithless woman directly. I just like the proleptic explanation better. I think that the “it was all just a metaphor, none of it actually happened” apologetic is a bit more common these days.

    There was an essay in Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity Vol. 2 called “Mate, Mother, and Metaphor: Gomer and Israel in Hosea 1-3” by Timothy M. Willis which covered many of the angles and interpretations of Hosea. When I got to that essay I rolled my eyes and thought, “Hosea? This is going to be boring.” Was I ever wrong! I wasn’t expecting this essay to be such a delight, but I found it riveting, as reading goes. Really made me appreciate Hosea.

    Not that I expect you to rush out and pick up the book, but if you’re ever just dying for some scholarly exposition of Gomer, now you know where to go.

  49. If God cannot appeal to his children, then it seems to me that he is not God.

    You’re never going to convince anyone to follow a God they don’t like.

    And keep in mind, I’m not conceding for a moment that the Mormon God is not supported by the Bible.

  50. Let’s put it this way…

    Remember the character “Q” from Star Trek Next Gen?

    What if God turned out to be “Q”?

    Would you worship him willingly?

  51. Jack: “He told Hosea to go and marry Gomer, who seemed like a respectable woman at the time.” Is that a total guess, or is there some evidence for that? I don’t see any hint of that in the text.

    Tim: “I think you ran into how difficult it is to nail Mormon jello to the wall. What ever it takes to keep Joseph Smith as a true prophet is the key. Even if it means that defining a true prophet in any meaningful way is no longer possible.” Bullshit. What Katie ran into is a bunch of Mormons all saying essentially the same thing: something isn’t true just because a prophet said it or because you read it in an ancient manuscript; a direct and personal relationship between the believer and God is of utmost importance.

    Katie: There are a few restaurants I’ve been to that I absolutely love—I go back again and again. And every time I go, I order something different. I realize there’s a risk I might waste my money on a dish I end up not liking, but I’m willing to take that risk because just about every other dish I’ve gotten there was great. If you asked me for a restaurant recommendation, I would point you to one of those places—knowing, of course, that I couldn’t guarantee everything on the menu. Likewise, if you ask me for a source of good teachings, I’ll point you to the scriptures, writings of prophets, Seth R’s comments…

  52. Here is how the “Book of Mormon Answerman” on YouTube addresses the issue of Smith’s polyandry. Pay close attention to the end of his plea:

    Did Joseph Smith marry women who were already married…. ahhh, that is the latest big question. Ask yourself “does this make sense?” With so much propoganda out there smearing the good name of Joseph Smith, I am glad that there is the Book of Mormon, a testimony of the truthfulness of the work for which he was the leader, under Jesus Christ. Bring your testimony back to the basics, and you will know what to do with these other stories. Whatever we choose to nurture our minds with, will determine our future. Ask yourself, do you want to turn into a antagonistic militant bent on persecuting happy families? If so, keep reading their material until you are a convert to it. If you don’t like what you see, if what they stand for is negative, then why sign up for it?

    Know this, there are falsehoods in the world as well as truth. Knowing that, your biggest challenge is securing for yourself, the ability to know truth from error, and to have the gift of discernment. Korihor, in the Book of Mormon, paid no attention to these things, and was more easily deceived by the devil, as he began to teach that there was no Christ. He had the “facts” on the matter.

    He was persuasive.

    He was wrong.

    He said concerning the Nephites belief in Christ:

    Alma 30:15 How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.
    16 Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so.
    17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.
    18 And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms– telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.
    Alma 30:27 And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges.
    28 Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God–a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.

    Boy, was he dead wrong, yet he had his “facts” which could not easily be disproven. That is why he had some success.

    If you were a person who did not believe in God, how would I prove to you that God exists? I would persuade in the energy of my soul. I would not bother to “rationalize” about it, but would boldly state my position on the matter. I now boldly state my position on the matter of Joseph Smith. He was a prophet of God, and did no wrong. I do not believe he married other living men’s wives. That makes no sense to me in light of the many glorious manifestations that the Lord has given to me pertaining to how the Lord approves of Joseph Smith. His Spirit, the Holy Ghost has plainly manifested to me that Joseph Smith died a most true prophet.

    A lot changes when one claims to be a prophet. Even the Book of Mormon Answerman implicitly understood this. There should be a higher standard of accountability and integrity, particularly when you’re doing something with appeal to your prophetic office or your special connection with God.

    Now, regarding the larger issue, let me paste sometime I wrote to Allen Wyatt awhile back,

    There is no question in my mind over whether the seeds of Mormonism’s institutional racism were planted by Protestants. Racism is only the beginning of the list of the embarrassing sins of my religious ancestors. There are worse skeletons than racism in our closet. Furthermore, you and I both come from the same rotten mom and dad, Adam and Eve. The nice thing about sola scriptura (a belief some Mormons seem to retreat to when forced to deal with things like Adam-God) is that I can discard the teachings of historic Jews and Christians when they don’t reflect (explicitly or by inference) a historical-grammatical reading of the Old or New Testament. My leaders have no more access to God than I do, and I am not bound to any one religious hierarchy. God has promised that his people are securely in his hand, but he has not promised that religious leaders who are professing Christians will never lead people astray.

    Mormons, on the other hand, have been given the promise that their leaders will never lead others astray. When Mormonism touts what it calls “continuing revelation”, living prophets, living apostles, and a modern stream of prophetic counsel, it ups the ante. I can, and I do right now, unequivocally denounce and condemn what Luther said about the Jews. But Mormonism’s leaders haven’t demonstrated a willingness to stand up and unequivocally and explicitly denounce and condemn what it (”it” being the institution with various institutional channels of communication and control) has promoted, perpetuated, enforced, and acquiesced to.

    Grace and peace in Christ for those who receive the free gift of eternal life,

    Aaron

  53. I don’t see this being a problem of Mormon jello in this case. As with most criticisms of Mormonism, they simply prove too much. You can’t come up with anything that disqualifies Joseph Smith and his teachings without cutting equally against others we accept as prophets and the truth. And that goes both ways. Mormons make a lot of hay out of the corrupt leaders or founders of the Catholic and Anglican churches and other traditions and we definitely should be careful about whatever judgements are being meted out.

    It doesn’t mean the whole enterprise is a crapshoot. It just means that things aren’t as black and white as they may appear at first blush. C’est la vie.

    I think BrianJ may be on to something with his interpretation of fruits that we can all agree on.

  54. Tim, I very much respect and admire your honesty and forthrightness regarding this issue. I am curious though: you say that you are not a Calvinist, and are not “buying” Calvinism, yet you also say that Calvinists should not abandon their Calvinism because of Calvin’s “foibles” (In my book, murder is not a “foible”) Do you reject TULIP? I don’t understand if you aren’t “buying” Calvinism, why encourage Calvinists to remain in false belief? (Questions about Calvin’s character aside) For my part, at this point in my life, I don’t believe in TULIP. I reject total depravity for the reason I gave in the last post. I definitely believe that we are all sinners and no one will ever be able to choose good and earn our salvation, but I reject the idea that unbaptized infants go to hell if they die, or that we are born totally depraved, which is what Calvin taught. I reject unconditional election because that says that God has predetermined before the world began just who would be saved and who would be damned, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Even in Calvin’s time, there were some who accused Calvin of making God the author of sin, and I agree with their interpretation of Calvin’s theology. Limited atonement–I can’t quote the exact book or verse, but I know that there is a verse in the Bible that says that God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Limited atonement does not stack up with my idea of a loving God. Irresistable Grace, when I was in the throes of my born again life, I would have agreed with this wholeheartedly. This is probably the least offensive concept for me. Perseverance of the Saints–this is NOT “Once saved, always saved” It is saying that those whom God has predestined, he will cause to persevere.
    These issues of what Calvinism is and who Calvin was are important to me because of who I am and where I came from. I’ve heard Calvinists say things like: “Well, it’s obvious Mormons are not the elect, they’re damned by God, it’s obvious because they’re Mormons. Some of the most vicious anti-Mormons I’ve ever heard were Calvinists. I’ve read (and I believe) that virtually all of the anti-Mormon ranting is not to try and “save” Mormon souls: It is to keep “Christian” sheep from straying from their churches and converting to Mormonism. And as someone who still truly wants to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have a big problem with that.
    Fwiw, one the kindest and best men I’ve ever known is also a Calvinist, and when I see him again, I am going to try and talk to him about these issues, and why he supports Calvin in spite of everything.
    July 2009 is the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, and Calvinists all over the world are celebrating. (www.calvin500.org) If what you say is true, (and I believe you) about wanting Calvin to get out of the ministry if he were alive today and were guilty in the execution of a man, then Christendom is divided between those who believe like you, and the vast amounts of Calvinists out there. I certainly don’t believe that his life and ministry are any cause for celebration.
    I’ve been doing some web research, and the execution of Servetus is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Calvin is concerned. What I have found really saddens me. It upsets me because if the tables were turned and it was Joseph Smith who had done any of these things, we who are part of the Restoration movement would never have heard the end of it from the anti-Mormons or the Evangelicals.
    In particular, I am really tired of the polygamy issue. From my upbringing as an RLDS, I am supposed to deny that it ever happened at all. For the sake of argument, I will say that the polygamy allegations are all true. So what? For me, polygamy is no big deal–although I admit the fact that I worked for five years at an Arab embassy where polygamy was part of the culture and considered totally normal played a role in shaping my current thinking. The only thing really troublesome for me in that is that Joseph Smith may have married women who were married to other men and slept with them–something very wrong, and if he had been Islamic, he would have been executed for it. For me though, all that pales in comparison to what I have read about John Calvin. In 1543, when the plague came to Geneva, Calvin refused to visit any of the sick. He considered himself “too important” to risk getting sick. Because of envy, he is said to have run Sebastian Castellio out of Geneva and forced him into poverty and having to beg for a living. (Castellio is the man who said “To kill a man is not to protect a doctrine, but it is to kill a man.”) The Bible says, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature” where is the “new” man in John Calvin?
    I have to go for now. I’ll quit jacking the thread and let everyone get back to “Why Joseph Smith is not a prophet.” 🙂

  55. Okay, but does the jello have bits of carrots in it? Because that’s disgusting.

    It seems to me that in order to make the Mormon position coherent, you have to be willing to accept the fact that prophets and their teachings are not 100% reliable. Which means you have to rely on personal revelation and individual interpretation to sift the true stuff from the false stuff.

    While I’m willing to accept that if that’s really the way it’s supposed to be, I must say, I feel totally disingenuous setting myself up as the ultimate “truth” barometer–knowing how bad I am at discerning the Spirit and how frequently I get things wrong.

    The alternative is to seek for an infallible source of truth and use that as the yardstick against which you measure everything else.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Mormonism doesn’t have this.

    Evangelicalism does, in the form of the Bible.

    But even that troubles me, because doesn’t the Bible give us essentially the same mess that Mormonism does? In other words…

    1)–Don’t Biblical prophets do jackassy things?

    2)–Haven’t Biblical prophets gotten teachings wrong?

    3)–Haven’t Biblical prophets made false prophecies?

    …Or would the Evangelicals here say no? Are the Biblical prophets/apostles somehow immune to the foibles of human error, and are therefore 100% reliable?

  56. I wasn’t saying that Calvinist should not abandon Calvinism. I was saying that they shouldn’t abandon it because Calvin was a murderer. If the abandon it should be because it is a false (though permissible) interpretation of scripture.

    I agree that I would not celebrate John Calvin’s birthday.

  57. And yet the Mormonism Church directs its members to keep personal revelatory feelings in conformity with institutional teachings.

  58. Katie,

    I’m okay with prophets being jack asses. They just can’t say God told them to be a jack ass. Prophets are free to sin and receive forgiveness, just like the rest of us, but we should see repentance not justification for their actions.

    I don’t expect to see true prophets teaching heresy or mixing their own opinions in with “thus sayeth the Lord”. If Brigham Young wants to explore his thoughts on Adam being God, good for him. Do it on your own time. But if he’s going to say that all his sermons are as good as the Bible; he’s not a prophet if he’s going to talk about stuff like that.

  59. He really said that all his sermons are as good as the Bible? Now that’s just too good. 🙂 Hyperbole of the finest form.

    (Wait, can true prophet be given to hyperbole?)

  60. Seth said:
    If God cannot appeal to his children, then it seems to me that he is not God.

    So it’s God’s fault that people reject him?

    Remember the character “Q” from Star Trek Next Gen?

    What if God turned out to be “Q”?

    Would you worship him willingly?

    My memories of “Q” aren’t what they should be. But I’d be hesitant to take any spiritual cues from Star Trek. It routinely espouses Humanism and sets all of it’s stories up to express the truth of Humanism. So it wouldn’t surprise me if Star Trek manufactured a “god” that should be rejected.

    If “Q” was the maker and creator of all things, then yes, I think he should be treated as God. If he’s just stronger than me, than no. He shouldn’t be treated as God if he just happens to be benevolent either.

  61. “I agree that I would not celebrate John Calvin’s birthday.”

    Why not?

    We celebrate Martin Luther King’s and Abraham Lincoln’s.

  62. That makes no sense Tim.

    Why on earth would you worship a being just because he created you and the universe? That makes no sense – outside of purely mercenary self-interest (“please don’t squash me like a bug”).

  63. Why on earth would you worship a being just because he created you and the universe?

    Pure unadulterated enjoyment. Because the source of all joy is also the ultimate object of all joy.

  64. Brian ~ I know that one of the attractions of the proleptic interpretation of Hosea & Gomer is that it paints a picture of a good marriage gone south rather than a bad marriage that was doomed from the start, which I think is a better analogy for God’s situation with Israel.

    I will go over Willis’s essay again later today or tomorrow and see if I can list the reasons he gives for favoring the proleptic interpretation.

    Katie ~ My answers would be similar to Tim’s, though I think there are times when the text of the Bible has biblical prophets commanding jackassy things and attributing their fulfillment to God. Genocide, two bears mauling kids for making fun of Elisha, the lion killing the man of God in 1 Kings 13 for his disobedience. So maybe the question to ask is, is God a jackass?

    I also think the biblical precedent is that when prophets do jackassy things, God rebukes them or punishes them. I’m afraid to say this, but I guess I’ll say it anyways: Let’s assume Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Let’s assume he really screwed it up with polygamy, either the doctrine or the way he practiced it. Is it possible God let him be killed by the mob as an act of wrath?

    Ouch. I think that’s an extremely ugly, judgmental road and I don’t like going down it. The thought does occur to me though.

    Seth ~ Unfortunately Katie. at the end of the day, you are all you’ve got.

    Same goes for the rest of us.

    Just like in the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2, where Angelus asks Buffy, “Now that’s everything, huh? No weapons… No friends… No
    hope. Take all that away… and what’s left?” Then he tries to run a sword through her head, and she catches it between her hands with her eyes closed and says, “Me.” TAKE THAT ANGELUS! (There’s a clip on YouTube, but the quality sucks.)

    I was never a Trekkie, but I rather hope God is more like Simon Pegg’s portrayal of Scotty in the new Star Trek movie.

  65. because their contributions outweigh their vices. I don’t think the same can be said of Calvin.

  66. No Aaron,

    You only assume he’s a source of joy. But I made no such assumptions in my comment. I only said he created the universe and us. I never said whether he likes you.

    Maybe you aren’t one of the “elect” for instance.

    I mean, you never can tell can you?

  67. Seth said
    That makes no sense Tim.

    Why on earth would you worship a being just because he created you and the universe? That makes no sense – outside of purely mercenary self-interest (”please don’t squash me like a bug”).

    It makes no sense, or you disagree?

    Can’t your worship of God (and everyone’s worship) be boiled down to self-interest at some point? You strive to be a good Mormon because you think you’ll get something out of it.

    We worship God because he’s worthy. That worthiness can be caused by fear, awe, love and a host of other reasons. All of them are valid for an all powerful being responsible for creating all things simply for his own glory. The “good news” is that we can love God as he loves us. But even if that weren’t the case, everything due to Caesar WILL be given to him. Nothing really belongs to you; not your will, your breath or your keyboard unless God allows you to have it.

    Because God just happened to have created you as a free agent (he didn’t have to), you’re allowed to reject him if you don’t like the terms of service. He provides a place for everyone who chooses not to be with him. No one is forced into it.

  68. Jack: “…a good marriage gone south rather than a bad marriage that was doomed from the start, which I think is a better analogy for God’s situation with Israel.” Though if you want to read this as an analogy for each of individually, then you the Evangelical would prefer the standard reading that Gomer was a prostitute to begin with (depraved nature and all). Right? And now I’m trying to remember the story, but doesn’t the marriage turn out okay in the end?

    Tim: “Because God just happened to have created you as a free agent (he didn’t have to), you’re allowed to reject him if you don’t like the terms of service. He provides a place for everyone who chooses not to be with him. No one is forced into it.” Unless Calvin was right! Hah!

  69. I have a tendency to believe that we all create God’s in our own image and God lets us work through him. He’s no respecter of persons, after all. So, yes, I believe that personal revelation and personal engagement with God trumps institutional or traditional doctrine or behavior, at least as far as having a personal relationship with God goes. That said, I think that there are plenty of Gods out their (some even making claims to be Creators) that aren’t worth worshiping. The Gnostics believed that the Creator God (the OT God) was pure evil and that Christ was saving us from him, as an example.

  70. As long as we’re kicking around Matthew 7, I thought it’d also be good to pull out John 9:

    They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind… They say unto the blind man again, “What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

    Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, “Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

    Then they reviled him, and said, “Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.”

    The man answered and said unto them, “Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

  71. though I think there are times when the text of the Bible has biblical prophets commanding jackassy things and attributing their fulfillment to God.

    Then would you say you think it’s possible that God didn’t, in fact, command these things–but some jackass Bible prophets said He did so they could get away with it?

    FWIW, I’ve always thought Q was kinda charming, so I’d probably be down with worshiping him if it turns out he’s God in the end.

  72. When Seth first brought up the “hypothetical jerk-store God” I thought it was a bit of an amusing tangent; now I see just how pertinent it is. Let’s look at Tim’s (and Aaron’s) stance on two issues:

    1) If a man claims to be a prophet but acts like a jackass, his status as a prophet is suspect; we all sin, but a prophet must be held to a higher Christian standard.

    2) If God, who created us and the universe, turns out to be a jackass, his status as God is not in jeopardy; God is worthy of worship even if he’s not…you know…Christlike.

  73. yep. You got it.

    #1 – is claiming to speak for God even though he is not
    #2 – IS God whether we think he is or not.

  74. Katie ~ Then would you say you think it’s possible that God didn’t, in fact, command these things–but some jackass Bible prophets said He did so they could get away with it?

    If you don’t believe the Bible is infallible, then yes, that’s a possible interpretation. Though I kind of think it takes the fun out of God. I like having a God who turns people into salt for looking backwards and sends bears to maul teenagers for making fun of a prophet’s bald head.

  75. I like having a God who turns people into salt for looking backwards and sends bears to maul teenagers for making fun of a prophet’s bald head.

    LOL. It would certainly make for a great video game. And, hey! Since Mormons believe we can all become gods anyway, maybe it’s our third installment…

    Polygamy Jesus: Exalted Hell-Raisers or something like that.

  76. Todd, my apologies. I wasn’t say that all Reformed Baptist or Pentecostals are obnoxious. Just that I’ve met some obnoxious ones of both.

  77. Tim, I did catch that. Thanks.

    And the funny thing is that my wife’s family is Pentecostal.

    Who knows which direction my children might lean (laughing).

    Travelling down the road beyond John Calvin, I love theological elements presented by both Whitefield and Wesley. Unfortunately, in S.E.Idaho, it is all pretty much one way. And no marvelous mystery.

  78. I reject the biblical accounts that prescribe the slaughter of Canaanite men, woman, and children. The Bible presents these as commands from God through Moses, Joshua and others (of course, neither Moses nor Joshua, etc. wrote these accounts…), but I think it is clear from the archeological record and a number of significant inconsistencies within the biblical texts themselves that the harem on the Canaanites isn’t what was claimed by later (i.e., 7th-6th century) authors (I am writing a lengthy post on this right now for FPR). The Bible also draws on ancient Mesopotamian laws, but (re)presents them as though God had given them directly to the Israelites. I could go on.

    In my judgment, I think it is quite clear that the Bible presents certain things as God-given/commanded when it is fairly certain they were not.

  79. Hello,

    I am deafness. So my church is Deaf Presbyterian church under Presbyterian Church American. First of all, I were not read all but some. Because I look quickly area really I already know what’s going on Mormon’s history, church, etc. Second, I noticed you hateful John Calvin’s teaching. Ok, you tried put his faith down. Third, you were assume for Calvin’s killer.
    As short, yes he done by Michael Servetus denied the dogma of the Trinity, questioned the eternity of Jesus Christ, and rejected the baptism of infants. Haveing been sentenced to death. Oct 26th, 1553. John Calvin did warning Michael not come or enter land without permit. But Michael still enter look for troublemaker. Therefore, churches knew John Calvin suggestion sentenced to death that guy. They were support. Oh well.

    Joseph Smith is heresy.

  80. Yeah, I was hoping someone would just take a stab at it.

    I forgot what all the comments say above, but I think Jonathan’s trying to defend Calvin by saying Mr. Servetus should have known better than to show his face after being condemned for heresy. So I guess that makes Mr. Calvin’s actions a-okay.

    Also, Jonathan would like us all to know that Joseph Smith is heresy.

  81. I don’t see why we aren’t allowed to execute people for heresy in our day and age. Those filthy Mormons are defiling our virtuous Christian wimmin and reproducing like rabbits. Something has to be done, I tell you!

  82. Hello, I were read those of your comments. My bad for who I response to. My response to Tim. I am sure he had assume for John Calvin’s killer.

    So, I am sure Mormon LDS and Joseph Smith’s comment for his said “as many people come to me. Because of Jesus’s teaching failed the people left to him.” Even He said, I met God and Jesus. But what’s about Moses said he met God and he want see God’s face. The Lord said, if I show mine the glory and you sure death in a second. But I can show mine glory only little. You have to belind the rock cover then you will see my glory through my finger by holy. So Moses said, sure after that He feared and said Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord your glory!.

    What’s different between with Joseph Smith said the God and Jesus gave me the Mormon of the book while he has not fear or holy?
    Remember we are human are not same God’s. He is Spirit. Therefore, Mormon is Heresy in the history 1800’s!

    Thanks,
    Jonathan
    P.S.
    To God be alone the glory!

  83. Dear Jonathan.

    Please visit the wiki site about this.

    Quite frankly, Calvin is guilty of first degree murder in my book. Any man who writes: “Servetus has just sent me a long volume of his ravings. If I consent he will come here, but I will not give my word for if he comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive”

    If I invited you to my house with a promise to my friends you’d never leave my house alive, quite frankly it doesn’t matter if I’m the one who kills you, are asks others to, Calvin premeditated, Calvin is responsible for the blood of that man. Man up or repudiate Jonathan.

    Furthermore, flaming comments like “Joseph Smith is blasphemy” is no way to show love to Mormons. While this isn’t my blog, and I won’t disinvite you, I’ll certainly ask that you show a little more respect. Maybe Jessica can add some comments on those and show her goodwill.

  84. Correction, this is Tim’s blog, I don’t know if he loves Mormons or not, so I don’t expect a corrective term.

  85. I don’t see why we aren’t allowed to execute people for heresy in our day and age.

    Seriously. The whole empire went downhill once we stopped feeding the lot of you to the lions.

  86. Calvin is guilty of first degree murder in my book

    Except for the fact that Calvin did not live in a nation that was under the Anglo-American common law system.

  87. Again, hello. Some of comments. You are liar of the father. Calvin had a reasonable put the guy death for churches and they permit. What if himself alone. You are right he is killer. Your pointless.

  88. OK, I was going to hold back on responding to Jonathan out of deference to Kullervo (or maybe I was just reeling from being called to be polite by Kullervo… whatever…). But now that I think I have the general gist of where he’s coming from, gloves are coming off man.

    Response:

    1. Prehaps! I’m’ve was to make football often times. Play? Know. Best football results twice again.
    2. Every age I have seen out as a baby. I think I has the solution: width times height.
    3. As a wery old, I can fathom the scene to be with me. Looking always as I ever did. It was not came’s. He borrowed mine.

    Hope that clears things up for everyone.

  89. John Calvin was responsible for more than just Dr. Michael Servetus being burnt to death in 1553. Furthermore I have a hard time convincing Calvinist that Calvin did anything wrong. Obviously you have not done your research work because you don’t even know who it was that Calvin cause to be put death.

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