Time For a New Word

The word “evangelical” is quickly getting stretched into incoherence thanks in large part to lazy reporting about the Trump Presidential campaign.  This is an excellent argument about the need to imagine a new word.

So it’s time redefine—or better, reimagine—what “evangelical” means. If the very heart of the evangelical movement is actively living out the Bible’s message that the world can have hope in the person of Jesus Christ, then nothing could be further from the heart of a true evangelical then siloing off from the rest of the world in order to advance a political agenda. True evangelicalism is not about maintaining a particular earthly kingdom, but about calling people into the kingdom of God.
So what kind of word should we use to rename this blog?
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About Tim

Evangelical Christian living in Southern California. I live with my wife and whatever foster children happen to be in our home at this moment. I love photography, baseball, movies and I'm fascinated by Mormonism.

749 thoughts on “Time For a New Word

  1. I look at “evangelical” as the Rorschach test of American religion, how the term is used tells more about the user than the word itself. It is interesting that Russell Moore is willing to take a political stand and abandon evangelical over Donald Trump but didn’t have the same reaction to the televangelist scandals.

    I don’t know what you would replace evangelical with. Any term that cannot distinguish between the beleifs of say Benny Hinn and Mark Noll probably isn’t useful.

  2. I should say that if you are comfortable with the use of evangelical, but take issue with the political connotations, I wouldn’t abandon the usage.

  3. So what kind of word should we use to rename this blog?

    This is probably a good time to rethink the entire name of the blog to reflect how it has evolved over time. Here is one proposal:

    “LDS & Evangelical Conversations: A Discussion of Differences and Similarities Between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity”

    Changes to:

    “Evangelical Conversations About Mormonism: What Some Evangelicals Claiming to Speak for All Christianity Find Heretical, Distasteful, or Weird About Latter-day Saints”

  4. There are nonMormon Christians that say there is only ones true church , made of many denominations and manyideas about God, as long as they follow the proper core beliefs.

  5. JT,

    I am sorry my comment was uncalled for. Personally I have gotten over the idea that people have to agree with me to be Christian.

    Fred,

    I’m not sure what your point is. I think one Church, One Baptism has been a confession of faith and hope since Paul.

  6. There are many nonMormon Christions that come to Utah to make the point that there is more than one true church. Than they tell me I am not a Christian because I do not follow what they believe to be the one true set at teachings about who God is and what His interactions with mankind is. They also make a list of other Christian groups who do not follow their “one true way of thinking”, saying that none of us are Christian.

    Your statement “… since Paul” leads to another thing the above mentioned nonMormon Christions talk about to show me why I am not a Christian. They say it is wrong for me to follow the teachings of a man (Joseph Smith) while they place the teachings of men like Calvin and Luther, or the men at the “Councle of something or other ” between themselves God.

    You see, to them I am not a Christian because I do not accept what these men think the scriptures say. Men who declared they were not getting revelations like the Prophets and Apostles of old.

    To them, I must agree with the teachings of these learned men to be a true Christian.

    I think I just let one of my hot buttons get pushed.

  7. Off topic to the group leader.
    About the picture above this blog.
    Is the cross next to a stone box in the ground ment to mean we believe getting additional scriptures to be the same as our brother Jesus’s Atonement?
    If not, please teach us your thoughts behind them.

  8. Fred, if I may, I urge you to consider that the beliefs you put on Smith that you follow, are contradictory to what we see emerging from the earliest church. I am not trying to be condescending, but honest in a hope you understand the criticism. For instance, your belief that you can become a god directly contradicts the notion that there is only one God. As such, we both cannot be correct. That is why you hear that you are not a Christian. Now, there is room for disagreement and different takes on a large number of Christian issues, however, there are a few that are not negotiable, the existence of a single God being one of them.

    A lot of the discussion between Mormons and non Mormons stem from the nuances of statements like that, with one side objecting to some argument or another.

    As I said, I am not looking for an argument over this in this forum, but I do hope you at least understand the point: on many levels, our faiths are not compatible.

  9. “… contradictory to what we see emerging from the earliest church.”

    Not being a master scholar in this area I have to rely on the summery of those who spend more time doing the resurch.

    I find it of intrest that LDS scholars use more and more references from nonMormon Christian historical Bible scholars who disagree with your accepted way of thinking.

  10. As I understand it, Fred, the LDS view a brief period after Christ and before the church started to become more organized as the period in which an apostasy occurred. I encourage you to research, on your own and use sources apart from LDS sources in the research, to determine the veracity of the claims during that period.

    Now, if we take a step back and analyze what you just proposed, though, we come up with a question that addresses not a congruence between the faiths but that your scholars suggest Mormonism is right that something happened during that time to pervert the original Christian paradigm. This has nothing to do with how the faiths are compatible, but which is correct.

    Your statement is more that Mormonism is the true Christianity than anything else. And this is what all too often happens in such discussions, and I won’t engage in the discussion apart from saying that my point still stands that the criticism you receive has to with compatibility of the faiths, not who is correct.

    The trouble is that you think you are Christian, just like they are, like I am. You believe in Jesus, too, and you cite early evidence to suggest your faith is correct. You don’t like being told you are not a Christian, and I understand that. However, and using another example to demonstrate the gulf between the faiths, is your reliance on a hierarchy of prophets who cannot err, and then cast those prophets aside as their pronouncements age and beliefs adjust, as if God’s commands are not timeless. The Curse of Cain is a good example…

    Again, I’ll emphasize that I am not interested in a drawn out discussion on who is right and who is wrong, though I expect a response from you that gets into that, that somehow I am misrepresenting your faith or some derivation of that. My point is still that the objections you see and the arguments made that you are not Christian come from the incompatibility of our respective faiths.

  11. Cowboy,
    Amoung the things that reinforce my faith in this church is the way the internet has allowed LDS historical scholars to study the findings of other Christian scholars that use to get published in a way that it was hard to find. Things that do not back up the accepted triditional ideas about Christianity and were unknown in the 1830’s when most of the latter-day revelations were brought forth.

  12. It is the point.
    NonLDS Christians have found that some of the core of triditional Christianity does not match older teachings. The Lord had already given us some of those differences before man scholars found them.

  13. Fred, I am with Gundek on this one. Not sure what you mean, precisely, except that you are in “I am right and you are wrong” mode, which is what I said is something I am not going to engage in here. My only point is that traditional Christian beliefs are fundamentally opposed to Mormon beliefs. We can argue for weeks on the merits of each position but that only reinforces my statement that traditional Christianity and Mormonism are fundamentally opposed.

  14. I am saying that your scholars are finding that some of the things taught through Joseph Smith are not wrong, now that there are early Christian documents that teach that some of your understandings have been wrong.

    Of course, you will most likley have to go to the LDS scholars to find references to the original documents so you can check it out yourself.

  15. My only point is that traditional Christian beliefs are fundamentally opposed to Mormon beliefs.

    slowcowboy, who I am sure would be considered a traditional Christian by non-American Christians, is right. Traditional Christians don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the Son of God, fully divine, who was resurrected and atoned for the sins of mankind. They don’t believe that “there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.” Principles such as faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit are fundamentally opposed to their beliefs. They do not revere the New Testament as holy scripture. They do not believe that Jesus established a church, that He will come again, or that there is a final judgment. These fundamental beliefs of Mormonism are, quite frankly, pure heresy to a traditional Christian.

    Gundek: man scholars are the opposite of maid scholars. Come on, man.

  16. Fred, I’m sure some other Mormon told you that, but you don’t even seem to have any idea what specific doctrines they are referring to. It’s kind of a pointless discussion unless you can give us some idea of what you’re talking about. As it stands this is non-specific hearsay.

  17. {… you are in “I am right and you are wrong” mode, which is what I said is something I am not going to engage in here.}
    {This has nothing to do with how the faiths are compatible, but which is correct.}
    Hate to say it, you are already there.

    You say you follow the teachings of the reformers who corrected what was wrong in the Church.

    We say we follow the Prophets the Lord Jesus Christ is using to reinstall His church.

    I am trying to stay in the «this is why I believe we are following the best path» mode.

  18. {Fred, I’m sure some other Mormon told you that, but you don’t even seem to have any idea what specific doctrines they are referring to.}
    I have faith in the “some other” Mormons will continue to point me to the documents spoken of. That faith in these men comes from seeing that some of the documents were correct. After all, I do not have the time to read all the ones that have English translations, nor can I read the nonenglish ones. Then there is the cost of getting copies of documents.

    Do not believe the antiMormon false teachings that most Mormons are blind robots. You may not agree with our teachings, but be careful of the antiMormons. They are not often careful when teaching you what they want you to believe about us.

    Tim,
    Here is a good place to start.
    After that, check the main target me of contents.

    After you are done with FairMormon, there are other places they point to that has additional information.
    http://en.fairmormon.org/Primary_sources/Theosis

  19. {Fred. You know full well you are in right/wrong mode, and you want to move the discussion that direction.}

    Sorry that you do not understand that is different from what I said.

    Then I will say this from your point of view.
    How do we learn of each other if we cannot tell each other why we believe we follow the correct teachings?

  20. Ah, there you go. Good on ya. Of course that’s what we need to do, and that is what I am starting with. By saying our positions are not compatible, without saying who is right and who is wrong, gives a platform from which to explain why they are incompatible, in addition to explaining what the beliefs actually are.

    Now, you starting the conversation by saying that I am wrong and your faith is right immediately puts up walls.

  21. {You must be so proud that some of the things taught through Joseph Smith are not wrong.}

    I think I said that poorly. Some of the things that were thought us through Joseph Smith that did not agree with triditional Christian teachings have been found to be true by nonMormon Christions.

    Now the question is, why was the triditional gospel wrong and the renewed gospel correct?

  22. JT,

    As an amateur patristics reader my favorite man scholar is John Behr and my favorite maid scholar is Elizabeth Clark.

  23. Fred,

    There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world. Lets say there are 20 million Mormons of all types (LDS, Church of Christ, Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ, Apostolic United Brethren, etc) for slightly less than 1% of world Christianity. There really isn’t an antimormon cabal out to get these various Mormon Churches.

    If you are interested in scholarship on theosis I would recommend The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition.

    As a Mormon you need to read “Partakers of the Divine Nature”: A Comparative Analysis of Patristic and Mormon Doctrines of Divinization

  24. Tim, I am a little surprised by the thought that you would abandon the term Evangelical. You might be experiencing what Mormons have long experienced, being lumped in a category of people that you feel extremely uncomfortable with, even though they might say they have the same sort of allegiance you do.

    I remember reading Ezra Taft Benson’s and Cleon Skousen’s political writings and not wanting Mormonism to be associated with that sort of thing, wanting to keep the term purer (a tension inherent in the “official doctrine” debate).

    But I see rebellion against the term is simply a new act of schism within those who are probably part of the church you belong to, a sign that uniting around the flag of Evangelicalism (or any other sectarian term) might be the another sort of heresy inherent in American democracy.

  25. Jared,

    Post WWII evangelicalism at its best is an ecumenical movement between conservative protestants Churches. As a naturally disaggregated movement no one is going to be comfortable with everything (or even most things) that happens within American evangelicalism.

    Post WWII evangelicalism at its worst is a political movement where self appointed leaders insist they have the influence to tell the ecumenical movement how to vote. In this religious/political version of Tammany Hall evangelical voters are told what issues and what candidates have salvific gospel importance.

    The media has gommed on to the “evangelical” voter since Jimmy Carter. And maybe this is the first time where a single candidate is so obviously anathema to the values that evangelical voters claimed to be supporting. But the media keeps telling us that evangelicals are voting for Trump.

    A lot of people I know are throwing there hands in the air and trying to figure out who these “evangelical” voters are?

    I’m not convinced the media has the power to determine who evangelicals are or how they are voting. And I am pretty certain that evangelicals are not going to follow leaders who compromise principals.

    Liberty University has it’s own voting district and even with Jerry Falwell Jr’s endorsement Trump only got 8%

  26. Fred,

    I checked out your link. I agree that Joseph Smith did not agree with traditional Christian teachings of the early Church.

  27. Fred, I’ve read that link before. In some respects I think the author is bearing false witness about the Orthodox view of Theosis by highlighting where it agrees with Mormonism and downplaying where it (strongly) disagrees. In Protestantism we have a similar doctrine called “Glorification”. In both the Early Church writings and in the Orthodox doctrine of Theosis there is very clear distinction between man and God as created and uncreated. This sets the doctrine of Theosis up as something very different than the Mormon doctrine of Exaltation.

    I would highly recommend an article found on this blog on the subject
    https://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/evangelicals-theosis-exaltation/

    You can read the Early Church documents in their complete context here (not just the pull quotes FAIR used) http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

  28. Do not believe the antiMormon false teachings that most Mormons are blind robots. You may not agree with our teachings, but be careful of the antiMormons. They are not often careful when teaching you what they want you to believe about us.

    Fred, I’m not sure which “antiMormons” you think I’m learning from. For the last 11 years I have studied Mormonism from Mormons.

    Might I encourage you not to believe the anti-Protestant false teachings that are proffered by the LDS church. You may not agree with our teachings but you should do the courtesy of learning about us from someone other than our Mormon detractors (including the LDS church). “They are not often careful when teaching you what they want you to believe about us.”

  29. Jared, I only think the term is useful as it is descriptive. The political media has morphed the term into a synonym for “Southern, blue collar, white, conservative” without regard to religious belief or practice.

    I would still firmly align myself with the Bebbington Quadilateral but the term “evangelical” seems to have nothing to do with those theological distinctives.

  30. Tim,
    This is only another example of a verb, a descriptive word being turned into a noun, a title.
    Evangelical described a church that did missionary work.

    Now it is a group of churches that believe the same thing with minor variations in doctrine.

    Places like C.A.R.M. uses the term both ways and you have to see the context to understand which one they mean.

  31. Fred,

    I understand that it is easy to confuse evangelical (adj.), evangelism (n.) and evangelize (v.), but they really do have distinctive historic usages.

    There are some pretty big doctrinal distinctive within American and Worldwide evangelicalism. As a ecumenical movement the level of cross denominational or cross church cooperation is determined by these destructive beliefs. What evangelicals have been good at is creating an environment where Christians can cooperate while maintaining and honoring each others distinctive beliefs. It doesn’t always work and it is a mess. I think broader Christian cooperation is worth the effort.

    C.A.R.M. like F.A.I.R. is a para-church organisation without any ecclesiastical authority.

  32. The ordained officers of the church when preaching have a ministerial authority to speak for God.

    But I think there is a difference between ecclesiastical authority and claiming “thus says the Lord.”

  33. Fred, I have authority to speak for him. So might you. The Holy Spirit speaks God’s word to me, and if I pay attention I can glean God’s direct words and message and convey that to others. How might others know that I am conveying God’s message? By listening to the Spirit in the own walk, talking with other believers, and going to the scriptures to discern whether what I say is credibly from God.

    Now, I think Mormons seem to believe that God must speak in huge, dramatic pronouncements, and sometimes He does. But we believe God has already given us everything we need to know to achieve salvation through the life of Christ Jesus. Its all there for us to learn about and to follow Jesus, who is the human incarnation of God himself. His plan will not change: He is everlasting, and His truth eternal.

    That does not mean that God does not have specific messages for his plan for us or for those around us. Therefore, his pronouncements need not be doctrine to direct an entire “church” (the “church” by the way, in Christianity, is the whole body of believers acting for Christ, not a particular organization or building) to include back people, for instance, or to ban polygamy in this world. (Just two easy examples.)

    I don’t need a formal prophet to speak God’s pronouncements to me, and nor do you, really.

    If you wonder about our pastors and their role? Well, they are really just men like you and me who have taken it upon themselves to study more the nuances of the Bible and Christian history for the purpose of teaching and leading others in their walk with Christ. They have no more special authority than anyone else to speak for God.

  34. You speak of “personal revelation” in Mormon speak. We all get inspiration and guidance in our daily needs.

    You also say that the Lord has given us all the information we need. You say your leaders have the same type of personal revelation, and they add to that by becoming scholarly, by becoming a Christian scholar.

    How do you know which scholarly advice to follow when the scholars you accept as pastors and teachers disagree with each other? An example being how some pastors and teachers teach that same sex marriages are ok, even good; while other pastors and teachers teach it is not good.

  35. Sorry about getting your name wrong, my tablet keeps changing the spelling. It must be in the spell check and I need to get it to stop it.

    Fred.

  36. gundek.

    Fixed it. I had auto correct on ; I did not even know I had auto correct.
    This is still better than a typewriter. I use to type fo to sixty mistakes per minute. :»)

  37. Fred, the disagreements are a bit of a red herring in that disagreements are natural and do not change the essence of the Gospel.

    For example, answer this honestly, now: how many sects of Mormonism are there now? Is the Mormon Church body fully united on every issue or are there areas of disagreement?

    And back to the Christian church: does homosexuality change the nature of salvation through Jesus Christ alone? No, it does not. At most, the question is one of whether homosexuality is a sin, and if so, what role does continuing sin play in a Christian’s life. We all sin, yes, but does that excuse continuing in it unabashedly? What role of mercy and grace?

    Even as we answer these, though. we come back to the basic gospel message of salvation in and through Jesus alone. And how we answer the above questions does not change that basic message. Further, no matter how we answer those questions, as long as we identify that Christ died in a very real way for our sins, we are still the single body of Christ.

    And, Fred, I ask you how you are explaining your message here and not proselytizing your faith? Above, you asked me this: “How do we learn of each other if we cannot tell each other why we believe we follow the correct teachings?”

    We can learn of each other without setting up a “gotcha” situation. I am willing to bet the folks here know more about Mormonism than you give them credit for, and it is through reading anti-Mormon resources. I am willing to bet the folks here have a higher opinion of Mormonism than you are willing to give them credit for. I am also willing to bet the folks here want a positive and productive discussion that does not utilize gotchas such as areas of disagreement within the Christian faith like homosexuality, which prove nothing concerning the truth of the basic gospel message and the person of Jesus.

  38. {Fred, the disagreements are a bit of a red herring in that disagreements are natural and do not change the essence of the Gospel.}

    The other things you brought up are important and they are good to discuss. I would like to not have them sidetrack from this issue at this time.

    You speak of the “essence of the Gospel”. I think you are speakinlog about the core beliefs needed to be a true Christian. Without using Mormonism as a reference of what it is not, please explain the “essence of the Gospel.”

  39. See John 3:16 as a starting point. I am curious your thoughts on what you think core Christian doctrine is, though, ie, what do you think Christians think is the essence of the Gospel.

  40. What do you think the essence of the Christian gospel is?

    I can certainly tell you (and started with in John 3:16, to which I got no response), but I assume you have an idea as to what it is already (which is why you didn’t respond to John 3:16). If we are interested in telling each other what our faiths are, but we already have an idea as to what the alternative is, it is more helpful to start with what the other knows.

    So, fred, what do you think the Christian gospel is?

  41. Fred,

    Ministerial authority derivative and declarative, recognizing God as the only Lawgiver. Of course this presupposes the belief that the “whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His [God’s] own glory, man’s salvation” are contained in the Bible.

    For example a minister has authority to declare drunkenness as sinful, but it would be an abuse of authority to claim that a moderate use of alcohol is sinful.

  42. Tim,
    I don’t think you should change anything. You have used the term correctly, it’s the media that has it wrong. Stick with what is right.
    This has always been my concern with the Christian world. More division, more separation and eventually it dies. And we are seeing that happening right now. (We discussed this last year).

    Now, there may be some who love the Protestant world fracturing further and further but I do not. When groups are fractured they get picked off. In our own country, there is a growing resentment against any sort of organized religion. If enough of the wrong politicians get in power, and stack the supreme court with anti-religion people, then eventually it will be possible to outlaw organized religion. Certainly they will take away tax breaks which will destroy small churches.

    While I certainly don’t believe in being saved in a single moment of confession, I do believe the closer one is to the truth, the closer they can be to God and be numbered among the sheep at Judgment Day. More fracturing and more thinning of the Christian world and people move further from the Truth. (“If ye are not one, ye are not mine”). And that is why I don’t want further division in the Evangelical community.

  43. gundek,
    How do you know what is proper Ministerial authority?

    I have a set Ministerial authority as a Mormon. That makes it easy to know who who the Lord wants me to follow.

  44. {So, fred, what do you think the Christian gospel is?}
    We agree that the God loved us so much He had His Son Jesus Christ atone for us. Ths Gospel is how the Atonement works. We disagree on how the Atonement works.

    I am going to try and use imagery I learned as a WASP to show you how Mormons believe God’s love is given to us. Please remember iit is a quick overview and not a comprehensive explanation.

    We are all born in sin, nothing we can do about it. Then we sin more as we go through life. We can try to do good, but we can not do enough to remove the sin.

    Jesus took our sins from us so we could be resurrected and praise God for ever more.

    At some point we meet with Saint Peter at the Perarley Gates where our actions are judged on that Day of Judgment.

    We are the asigned which mansion we will live in and what job we will have to praise God forever.

  45. Fred,

    I think you can recognize a Minister’s authority by how they treat the word of God. For me personally it boils down to two things first a basic Biblical hermeneutic of the mighty acts of God in the narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and glorification.

    Second, I would see Jesus. Does the minister preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” or does the minister detract and distract from Christ?

  46. Ray,

    I think there are quite a few American evangelicals that don’t believe in being saved in a single moment of confession.

  47. Fred, there is much packed into your description of the Mormon Gospel. And an important aspect left out. I can only be brief here, but I will still try to give adequate time to the pertinent issues.

    First, we must answer the question of “who is Jesus”. The Mormon Jesus is very different from the Christian Jesus. They are so different it is difficult to, in good faith, say they describe the same person and being.

    Second, I am not sure the Mormon really believes he can’t do enough to be freed from his sin. I know the Mormon will vehemently deny that, as they will say Jesus is the one that provides the bridge from our works to the CK. The reason I question the Mormon premise is that the Mormon does believe in works, and your answer alludes to them where you say we will be judged by our actions and then by our placement and job in the afterlife based on that judgment. That judgment, now, is based on works, and bear in mind that Mormons have specific works they utilize on that track. Failure to perform those specific works seem to greatly impact one’s final placement, which is to say, the more you do, the better chance you have of gaining a higher place in the CK. Therefore, it seems to me that the statement that the Mormon can do nothing to be freed from sin is not entirely accurate, at least not complete.

    Third, I am not sure what you mean when you say that Jesus takes our sins away from us. It seems, in your answer, that Jesus universally takes sin from everyone and our actions dictate our final placement in the afterlife. I would disagree with that, as John 3:16 demonstrates.

    Finally, your answer is void of the issue of faith, which is clearly a requirement for salvation in John 3:16,which states: “For God so loved the word, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” These words are preceded by “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” It is then followed by: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

    This section of John 3 continues to describe Jesus talking about the light (see John 1), and how people doing evil works cannot see the light for fear of being exposed. This could be seen as a statement in favor of works, but I don’t think it is. We cannot ignore the statement on whoever believes. Its interesting to note that Jesus is talking to Nicodemus (a Pharisee) here, who was pushing Jesus on his statement of being born again in the Spirit. It is clear Jesus is talking about spiritual matters, not physical acts. Jesus tells him (Nicodemus) explicitly that Jesus himself is a very different person, alone in powers of the world and that faith in him, God’s only son, is the only way to receive eternal life.

    So, bringing this back to the Christian Gospel, it is that Jesus came to save us by our act of faith in him, and nothing else. Of course, there is much packed into even that statement, but at its most simple form, the Gospel is that faith in Jesus alone, with nothing else involved or required, leads to eternal life. The Gospel is a spiritual message that faith in Christ is all that is needed.

  48. Fred, you said: “That makes it easy to know who who the Lord wants me to follow.”

    I am not sure I want it to be easy. In fact, Jesus tells us the opposite. Paul emphasizes this greatly and often. The Christian life is not easy nor expedient. We are told several times in the Bible how we are to know who to follow and how to test what people tell us. Not one of those is that a president or leader of a church speaks, you then follow. To the contrary, we are told test it all. If it falls in line with scripture and tradition, it is worthwhile. If it is not, then it can be cast aside. One of the important things to remember about knowing who to follow is what they teach and who they teach. See 1 Tim 6:3-5.

  49. There are many differences between our faiths. Let us focuse on this area and not divert ourselves by bringing up other important differenced. Please stay with what Jesus did for us and save how He did it for another time. Thanks.

    We both have faith in God’s plan. We just disagree on how parts of that plan work. The biggest disagreement is about how He speaks to us today. That is how we get out different understandings of the after life.

    Please describe “act of faith in him”. As I see it you are doing something, you are doing a “works” . By you own defination of Christian doctrine you can not do any works that affect your salvation.

    Part of the problem is that the same words are used, but the useage is different. That is why I used “protestant speak” to give an overview of what we believe Christ’s Gospel to be. Through what we believe to be continuing revelation, God as given us part of the question the old time gosple song asked. Yes, there are “stars in your crown” and here is how you get them.

    Other then the long held Protestant/Catholic idea of sitting around playing harps in praise of God for the rest of eternity, what do you belive you will be doing after you are saved?

  50. “Other then the long held Protestant/Catholic idea of sitting around playing harps in praise of God for the rest of eternity, what do you belive you will be doing after you are saved?”

    Honestly?

  51. Fred, which is it? Are you wanting to discuss how he did it or not? Seems after saying we are to leave it you jump right into it, and then go off in several odd directions, like what we do in heaven.

    Anyway, if you wish to describe believe something as an act akin to performing a ritual or serving the poor, well, its not an original argument and also very flimsy.

    I fully agree on the language, and have advocated to many Mormons that we be careful to define things accurately.

    I also don’t recall seeing your explanation of how view see the Christian Gospel. You said: “I am going to try and use imagery I learned as a WASP to show you how Mormons believe God’s love is given to us.”

    Now, do you wish to address the points I made, or are you going to avoid them, as you did above?

  52. {Paul emphasizes this greatly and often. }
    One of the things Paul teaches over and over is that by his authority he corrects mistakes in what was being taught. He did not sit down in a council of men and hash out what he thought was right, he got his information straight from Jesus and he taught it to us. You, you are responsable to decide which teachings to follow. You have to work your brain by the works of study. Another “works” that you should not do to get your salvation. As a Mormon, that works only help deside where we will be save to, not weather or not we will be saved.

  53. Oh and Fred, I stated at the start of our conversation that in many, most even, respects, our faiths are not compatible. You wish to move towards a discussion of describing what they are. What is your intention here?

  54. {Honestly?”
    That was an invitation to teach the more scholarly ubderstand of the afterlife.
    How do yo get “stars in your crown”?

  55. {What is your intention here?”
    I started by trying how we believe we are saved and what happens after we die. After describind my understanding about how “works” relate to faith, I am trying to get your relationship between faith and works and since works affects the afterlife.

  56. No, that’s not where you started. You started with saying that non-LDS scholars are showing Smith correct.

    Works are treasures we reap in heaven. I have no idea, and won’t pretend to, describe what that looks like in heaven. And they will pale in comparison to our direct companionship with Jesus, the one and only God, who came to earth to save his creation. You asked about jobs in heaven, and I respond directly to that question with a giant, “who cares”? I’ll be with Jesus, what could be greater than that?

    Now, as I understand Mormonism, Mormons are concerned with things like eternal jobs and placement. I, and all the Christians I know, are not.

    Again, our faiths have little compatible ground, which is where I started.

  57. Thank you..
    Who cares?
    Many Christians, both Mormon and nonMormon.

    Here is a question about your faith.
    You have faith that you are saved, true faith to be saved.
    Protestant teachers and preachers teach of false conversion and false salvation, and that you need to be careful because these people are in your churches, they are even amoung the leaders.
    How do you know your conversion is a true conversion and not a false one?

    Mormons do not teach that you had to live a Mormon life to be saved.
    Do you believe you have to be a “true” Christian, by your understanding of true, to be saved?

    That is why our faiths are different, yet at the same time compatible.

  58. Can you cite me to Christians who care about the specifics of the afterlife?

    How do I know my conversion is true vs false? First, let me emphasize, and be direct, that I don’t like gotcha games, and that seems what you are trying to play here. You are trying to set up a situation where Mormonism provides the only answer.

    But, first, addressing your concerns, I don’t know of anyone who teaches false conversions. They either converted, or they didn’t. We can view the parable of sowing the seeds in rocky land, weedy land, and good soil to see that. I would argue such a phenomon as presented by Christ in that story is even true within Mormonism.

    So, how do we know a conversion is true? The first answer is by faith. The second gets back to confirming, though the means I mention above (scripture, etc). The third is fruits. These are in no particular order, but basically, we have faith that God saves us upon our faith in him, and we also confirm our salvation through what we learn in scripture and tradition, and we see real fruits in changed lives and differing attitudes.

    I know full well that you believe that non-Mormons get saved, and that you have several degres of salvation and heaven. Heck, even those who don’t really beleive in God and are generally good people can get to “heaven”. But be honest, me, as a non-Mormon, I can never reach the full heights heaven and never fulfill my full promise in salvation until I turn to Mormonism. So, again, per your advise, we need to be careful of terms and be complete when we describe the Mormon concept of salvation. Still no compatibility here.

    Being a “true” [sic] is not a complicated idea. One must put their faith in Jesus to be considered a true Christian. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, the question of who is Jesus must be answered, as surely you would agree that someone who believed Jesus was really a great spaghetti monster in the sky probably distorts the real, historical Jesus and cannot rightly be called a follower of the real and historical Jesus.

    The Mormon Jesus is not the same as the Christian Jesus, and our faiths remain incompatible.

  59. Your statement about LDS beliefs shows a great miss knowlage about the teachings and belefs.

    You may not believe out teachings, but if you are going to teach that something we do is wrong, you have aresponsable to understand that teaching amd not just repeay an antiMormon scarecrow rendition of it.

    A guestion about your teaching here.
    {Heck, even those who don’t really beleive in God and are generally good people can get to “heaven”.}

    Protestants who use TULIP to remember the main parts of thier religion would say that is a nonChristian teaching. ie. That you are not a Christian.

    How am i to knoe which of you is correct?

  60. Fred,

    “You may not believe out teachings, but if you are going to teach that something we do is wrong, you have aresponsable to understand that teaching amd not just repeay an antiMormon scarecrow rendition of it.”

    “Other then the long held Protestant/Catholic idea of sitting around playing harps in praise of God for the rest of eternity, what do you belive you will be doing after you are saved?”

    So unless you get your Protestant/Catholic theology from a Tom and Jerry Cartoon the idea of an eternity of harp playing fails to recognize the most basic confession of the entire Christian Church recited in the Nicene Creed “we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

    Whether the afterlife is describes in terms of the Beatific Vision, or the Coram Deo or even the doctrine of Glorification not many Protestants or Roman Catholics would disagree with John Calvin when he wrote, “The end of the gospel is, to render us eventually conformable to God, and, if we may so speak, to deify us.”

    I really think you need to read “Partakers of the Divine Nature”: A Comparative Analysis of Patristic and Mormon Doctrines of Divinization. It’s on a Mormon website.

    http://publications.mi.byu.edu/periodical/occasional-papers-3/

    Thank you for the conversation.

  61. Might I encourage you not to believe the anti-Protestant false teachings that are proffered by the LDS church

    Tim – What are these exactly? I don’t recall ever having any lessons on Protestantism or bringing in so-called experts to teach anything that could be considered “anti-Protestant.” To be sure, a key tenet of the faith is that there was a falling away in the early Christian church, but this is usually treated generally and Protestantism is often referred to positively as a part of God’s work in preparing a way for the restoration of his church.

    I think there are some Mormons who feel some tension (and perhaps even some antipathy) with some members of Protestant faiths (often of the Evangelical variety), but this has less to do with what the LDS church teaches and more to do with how these Mormons have been treated by some members of these faiths. The church itself speaks rather positively of other churches and their adherents and seeks to build relationships with them.

    You may not agree with our teachings but you should do the courtesy of learning about us from someone other than our . . . detractors.

    Well said. A good lesson for everyone.

  62. I second Gundek on the knowing of our faith. You’ll notice above that I said instead of asking what I think about my faith I suggested it more useful to describe what we think of the other person’s faith.

    I would submit that my description of your faith and who is saved is generally accurate. You may clarify it, sure, but don’t accuse me of being wildly off, as only the really bad folk get kicked to the outer darkness. The bad people, but not really bad, still achieve a level of heavenly kingdom in the telestial. The good folk, but not good enough to reach the celestial, get to the terrestrial. The celestial kingdom is where all the really good people go. Notice that none of these three levels are considered hell, which is only the outer darkness. You’ll notice the quotation marks around “heaven” in my statement above, which indicates I mean to separate it out.

    (TULIP, by the way, is a Calvinistic acronym used to described attributes of the Christian faith as Calvinists see it. I have never heard anyone disqualify anyone else for utilizing TULIP. Please cite those who you claim have.)

    How are you to know which Christian group is correct? Stop worrying about which Christian group is correct and celebrate Jesus, that’s how. The Christian church is the entire body of believers, and there is no one correct group. Yes, there are differences among different groups, but these differences do not affect the essence of the Gospel I addressed above. There is therefore room for disagreement on certain issues, like TULIP (like for instance, the issue of free will v. election).

    So, let’s stop playing games, fred, and why don’t you stop asking “gotcha” questions about our faith. You already have an idea as to what my faith is. Why don’t you tell us what your ideas are instead of playing games?

  63. You’ll notice above that I said instead of asking what I think about my faith I suggested it more useful to describe what we think of the other person’s faith.

    I would submit that my description of your faith and who is saved is generally accurate.

    This pretty much sums up the origins of religious conflict and why interfaith dialogue can be difficult.

  64. slowcowboy, I hate to tell you this, but you are the evangelical Fred (with slightly better spelling abilities). You are looking at your doppelganger without realizing it.

  65. Again, I’ll ask how so? What have I said that is entirely unreasonable? Its easy to make accusations like that, and if true, they can be backed up. Not trying to be a pain, but if I can help clarify anything, or improve, let me know.

  66. {doppelganger}
    Dose that make slowcowboy a fantastic person because he is so much like me, or
    Does that make me the evil twin from the underworlds?

    Any way, part of the problem with religious descussions is how one word has different meanings to different people. That is a big part of why I ask ya’ll to describe what things like salvation or afterlife means to you and why I have gone into descriptions about what they mean to me.
    Not to play the gotyou games.

  67. { I have never heard anyone disqualify anyone else for utilizing TULIP. Please cite those who you claim have.}
    That would be that you have to believe and follow the teachings of Calvinism.
    Only some will be saved and God has already decided if you are saved.

    Can someone be a true Christian if they believe only some will be saved while other true Christians believe that all may be save? Are they both true Christians.

    Are both gospel “truths” included in the body of the “true body of Christ”?

  68. There are only 3 options; none will be saved, some will be saved, all will be saved. The majority opinion of the Church is that some will be saved.

  69. { I really think you need to read “Partakers of the Divine Nature”: A Comparative Analysis of Patristic and Mormon Doctrines of Divinization. It’s on a Mormon website.}

    http://publications.mi.byu.edu/periodical/occasional-papers-3/

    Lots of interesting ideas. You did notice that this is the place where scholarly men get togeather and discuss matters, mostly religious matters. Not the making of doctrine. If they get it wrong there is someone with the same authority from God the Apostle Paul had to guide us.

    I have skimmed through it, is there one part you would like me to study since the papers are on many sub-topics?

    I like this from Father Jordan Vajda, OP

    {{ More to the point though, as regards the underlying motive for this thesis, was my eventual perception that one connection between the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lay in the fact that those who sought to deny the label “Christian” to the LDS Church were, more often than not, the very same people who would then turn around and attempt to deny this label to the Catholic Church—with the same reasons often being used in both instances to justify the conclusion. And since it was easy enough for me to see through the many half-truths, misunderstandings, and even outright errors alleged against the Catholic Church, I suspected that similar critiques leveled against the LDS Church—as to its “non-Christian” status—were equally flawed. }}

  70. {The majority opinion of the Church is that some will be saved.}
    Are you say that all three versions of Gospel doctrine are part of the true body of Christ.?
    If so, please point me to something that explains this. I cannot fathom the idea.

  71. JT,

    The most difficult issue with any interfaith dialog is represent someone else’s beliefs in a way that actuality represents them. I think it is really easy to miss the nuances of another persons deeply held beliefs and unintentionally restate them in a less than precise manner that is often a mischaracterization.

    I don’t think Elder Ballard meant to insult Roman Catholics when he claimed they don’t know God, I expect he simply doesn’t understand or difficulty explaining the nuance of how orthodox Christianity has defined mystery. I don’t think Elder Holland meant offence when he conflated various creeds with terminology not part of confessional tradition, he just isn’t aware of creedal traditions.

    So on this Maundy Thursday I propose we all ask more questions about what people believe instead of telling them.

  72. Fred,

    This isn’t a gospel issue, not a claim about what option is true, not a claim about how anyone is saved. It is simply a statement of logic. There are only 3 options; none will be saved, some will be saved, all will be saved. So if your going to condemn the Calvinist for the belief that only some will be saved you need to clarify why their belief that some will be saved is any different from anyone else’s idea that some will be saved. Unless of course you believe no one will be saved (and then this conversation is moot) or you believe all will be saved.

    I don’t get the idea of apostolic authority for moderating a discussion about theology. To me that is like saying that God did not endow people with the discernment to think for themselves. I prefer the idea of John Behr (Greek Orthodox) The Church is an in an interpretative community in an in an interpretative relationship to the Scriptures.

    I think the basic premise of Father Vajda is correct and can be extended to almost any religious group. In addition to half-truths, misunderstandings, and even outright errors I would add cultural biases, but according to Elder Ballard Vajda doesn’t know God, so that makes you wonder.

  73. {So if your going to condemn the Calvinist for the belief that only some will be saved…}

    I was not condemning any of the views, I asked if they are all acceptable. You ssy they are not a gosopel issue, that all three are accessible. I do not understand how this can be. Who will be saved seems to be central to God’s plan.

    {I don’t get the idea of apostolic authority for moderating a discussion about theology. } {I prefer the idea of John Behr (Greek Orthodox) The Church is an in an interpretative community in an in an interpretative relationship to the Scriptures.}

    This is an Old Testament idea,but I think it states my way of thinking on this.

    The Ten Commandments are not the ten suggestions.

    But people keep trying to discuss why you do not have to know and follow them.

  74. I just had a thought. It may be behind some of our misunderstandings. I have been using “God’s plan” and “Gospel” as the same thing.
    Do you understand them to be the same, or is there a difference?

  75. All/Some/None: They cannot all be acceptable they are mutually contradictory.

    I’m not sure what the 10 commandments have to do with apostolic succession. Sorry

  76. JT: let me be more precise when I say it is more useful to have the other tell about the other faith, especially as it pertains to Mormon/Christian dialogue. It seems to me that most who engage in these discussions have a notion of what the other person believes. In other words, they have a predisposition as to what, in my case to Mormonism, what Mormonism is about. I can ask questions, but I have found asking the questions leads to situations where the respondent either does not understand them or answers them using language such that we talk past each other. I have found that not very productive.

    As such, and because there is a pre-knowledge, of sort, I find it useful to have the parties’ state their view of the other faith through their own lenses first, and then, in an open manner, allowing correction and a positive discussion about working through the prejudices and hopefully coming to a better understanding though this correction. The subtle nuances Gundek spoke of can be addressed and items of confusion can be clarified, but knowing what those areas are is key, and it is more difficult to reach them without knowing the starting place of the person describing the other faith.

    I always do try to act in that sprit, not to condemn but to push honest and open conversation.

  77. Fred, I would offer that I don’t know God’s ultimate plan for the salvation of others. I know he wants us all to be saved, that God is God and we are not (and never will be), that he knows who will accept him and who will not, and that God does have the power to harden hearts to move his will forward.

    Gundek and I have discussed elements of this before, and I take a position that I would like to think free will is available, but I trust that God is in control, not me.

    Now, there will be a universal resurrection, but not a universal salvation. I am not aware of orthodox Christian churches that espouse universal salvation. The orthodox view is that somehow God will save some, and others will not be saved. Universal salvation seems a heresy, in my opinion.

    Now, God’s plan and Gospel are related terms but not identical. God’s plan certainly entails the Gospel, but the Gospel, in my opinion, is God’s plan of salvation for us, his creation whereas his plan is much bigger and broad.

    The 10 Commandments will be followed if one is in Christ. It is inevitable that one will not be jealous, respect parents, no idols, etc. if one puts his faith in Jesus Christ and focuses on Christ. That is how we do not need the 10 Commandments. Its not that they are null and void, it is that God’s law is fulfilled through Jesus. Think about it, if Christ comes to live in us as we become Christian, how can Christ lead us to break the law? (See the book of Galatians for a good overview of this concept, but vs 3:24 of the letter gives a good summary: “24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”)

  78. {I’m not sure what the 10 commandments have to do with apostolic succession. Sorry}

    I was trying to show a reglious example of some things must be done in a set mannor. None of the –all will honor God, or some will honor God, or none will honor God– type of ambiguity. There is only one answer, just like tbere is only one answer to who will be saved.

    {Think about it, if Christ comes to live in us as we become Christian, how can Christ lead us to break the law?}
    There are laws and where are laws.
    We have record of some of the original twelve disciples being killed for breaking the law. One evan had his cross put up upside down. Who gets to decide if a law is to be followed under your way of thinking?

  79. There seems to be a few things that must be if a person is part of The Body Of Christ, and other things are open for debate.

    Please list the ‘must be’ items.

  80. Right, they were killed for breaking Jewish law. Peter, as understood by tradition, may have been crucified upside down, but there is no proof this actually happened.

    Remember that the early Christians were given a very hard time for breaking with Jewish law. This is actually consistent with the Christian message that law is not necessary. And besides, it does not address the point I brought up about how when we are in Christ, we will fulfill the law. You did not address that.

  81. {And besides, it does not address the point I brought up about how when we are in Christ, we will fulfill the law. You did not address that.}

    Is fulfill the law a must be action to be a member of The Body Of Christ, or is it a result from someone being in The Body Of Christ?

  82. Must be’s in Christianity:

    1) A belief that there is only one God.
    2) A belief that this God exists in three separate beings, or persons, each fully God yet each fully independent and all united as the one God. G od the Father, in heaven, Jesus Christ, fully God come to earth to make a final sacrifice to provide a final path to Him, and the Holy Spirit to act as the mediator between God and man.
    3) That Jesus is indeed fully God and Human.
    4) That Jesus was born of a virgin.
    5) That Jesus died, fully and completely, on the cross and rose from death three days later.
    6) That Jesus was not just some good man who overcame hardship and endured sinlessly to the end, that Jesus is and always has been God. (added to direct attention to the differences and incompatibility to Mormon thought)
    7) That mankind is inherently sinful, whether through original sin directly or through an inescapable tendency to sin).
    8) That mankind is therefore in need of a way to return to God.
    9) That Jesus provides that way to return, and that is only possible with Jesus’s eternal divinity and oneness with God.
    10) That belief and faith in Jesus is the only way to be redeemed with God and sins forgiven.
    ——–
    This is a long list to suggest that the Trinity is non-negotiable, as is a faith first belief structure. Inherent in the Trinity is the persons of the Trinity, and given a discussion with Mormons, the correct identification of the person of Jesus is of particular importance. Additionally, that Jesus is the only means to salvation is vital in defining a Christian.

    There is therefore room for discussion on the role of works, including the role and mode of baptism and other rituals common in the Christian faith. There is room for discussion on the likes of pre-determination, what the after life may look like, end times, the proper role of authority (ie, the Pope, and this potentially leads to questions concerning the role of Christ himself, so this is one that must be tread carefully), etc.

    Of most import, though, I put the non-negotiables of the Christian faith in two areas: the identity of God and Jesus’s death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. Any faith or doctrine that distorts either of those two is immediately suspect and needs to be addressed.

  83. “Is fulfill the law a must be action to be a member of The Body Of Christ, or is it a result from someone being in The Body Of Christ?”

    It is a result. It is not something we do. It is a reaction of Christ being in us.

  84. Thank you slowcowboy,
    Is there any thing else that needs to be on the list of beliefs that define a member of The Body Of Christ? I ask so I can know of I am wrong because of a hard fact, or if I am just up against a doctrinal opinion by the teachings of other Christions.
    Also, and more important, it will guide my study.

    Knowing I can be wrong, even though I believe am right, while having faith in the restoring of the Gospel leads to some hard choices as to what to study next.

  85. Fred, are you asking about non-negotiables or traits Christians carry? Bear in mind that you may get slightly different versions of either of these questions depending on who you are talking to. I believe my list is a fair attempt at an answer and is accurate, even if worded differently.

    I am also not sure I understand your intent, as I don’t know what you mean by “hard fact, or if I am just up against a doctrinal opinion by the teachings of other Christians.”

    I would urge you to consider the sources I gave you much earlier in this discussion: the Bible, prayer, and other Christians. As to the Bible, if you are interested in learning Christian beliefs, use something apart from the KJV or any Mormon version of the Bible in conjunction with your study. I prefer the ESV, but there are other versions that are very good. Before you condemn them, understand that the document evidence they have that they use to translate from far surpasses what was available at the time the KJV was developed. It, too, is a good translation, but I understand Mormons are slow to use other versions.

    Prayer must be involved, and you might not get a fuzzy feeling confirming a prayer. Prayer will be answered, in some form or fashion, but God does speak directly to us. Discerning God’s voice is not always easy, as his answers are not always what we expect them to be.

    Other, mature, Christians must also be considered. Whether this is speaking to them in person or by reading their materials is going to be important here. The point is at least two fold: First, don’t take my word for anything: check my claims out and test them against the Bible, through prayer and what others say. Then, check their words out, too. Second, you will get different perspectives on these issues that may help clarify the issues. Within the different perspectives will be similarities that show a consistency of the heart of the Christian message.

    It should be obvious, but if you are looking for differences as if to show division and to discredit the claims, you are not being open to finding the truth and what Christians believe. At that point, you are looking to confirm your bias against the veracity of the Christian message and to affirm the message of Joseph Smith and Monson. Just as there may be differences, there will be common themes and similarities that speak of the consistency to which I infer in my posts.

    A final thought: perhaps finding a church to visit, probably even a few, may be a good way to learn about these things.

    I hope this post is not too long and is taken as a good faith effort to answer your concern…

  86. ” A belief that this God exists in three separate beings, or persons, each fully God yet each fully independent and all united as the one God. G od the Father, in heaven, Jesus Christ, fully God come to earth to make a final sacrifice to provide a final path to Him, and the Holy Spirit to act as the mediator between God and man.”

    What?!?!

  87. Gundek, trying to put the Trinity in my own words here. Never easy, as it never fully describes it. Trying to be brief, too. As you know, the Trinity is a huge concept and simple, brief words always leave it wanting in accuracy.

    But: God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are not three separate beings but one, yet they retain their separateness just the same.

    I do like this brief definition, from Tyndale Bible Dictionary:

    “The Scriptures present the Father as the source of creation, the giver of life, and God of all the universe. The Son is depicted as the image of the invisible God, the exact representation of his being and nature, and the Messiah-Redeemer. The Spirit is God in action, God reaching people—influencing them, regenerating them, infilling them, and guiding them. All three are a tri-unity, inhabiting one another and working together to accomplish the divine design in the universe.”

  88. Slowcowboy,
    Thank you.
    The fact that there are different ideas as to the core beliefs mean to me that if I am to stop worshipping God by the guidance I believe He gives through His chosen leaders, I must decide which of the other ways is correct. As I see it, the “minor” differences are large enough to be a problem. I could choose a way that is worse then you believe the LDS Church to be.

    Catholics are Catholics. They call a doctrine a doctrine and a tradition a tradition. Some times I think they are better at it than we are. But around here the Protestant churches tend to spend much of their time telling each other why they sre right by compairing their teachings to the Mormons, almost as if all you need to do is to do it apposite the Mormons and you are right. It has been a bunch of years since I have visited a Protestant service, has it changed?

    {Other, mature, Christians must also be considered. }
    Please define a “mature” Christian.

  89. A mature Christian is one who is not a new Christian and has grown in Christ for some time, someone who knows the Bible and doctrine and has been around the block a time or two. Basically, the purpose is that they will likely have a better understanding of the nuances you bring up.

    I think you also continue to miss a big part of the argument: there is great continuity within the Christian church. You appear to want it neat and tidy all around, to be told what to believe by someone with the authority to tell it to you. While God is not a God of confusion (quite the contrary, actually), God is God and men are men, including Mormon men. If you think there is not confusion in Mormonism, you are very mistaken. Now, before I set up an argument that all are confusing, let me state that the message of the Gospel and the non-negotiables I just laid out are well understood among Christian churches. That they may describe them in slightly different terms should not be surprising nor damning. Everyone who witnesses an event will describe that event in different terms, but that does not change the event.

    Yet, you’re focusing on the differences does, as I suggested above, indicate to me that you are not really interested in learning about true Christian doctrine. I suspect you don’t think it exists outside of Mormonism. If it did, in your mind, there would be more consistency and agreement. But that is precisely what I am trying to convey: the consistency and agreement is there, even if it is not described in the same way.

    I can tell you that Gundek and I seem to disagree on very important matters concerning the church (such as election and how to address homosexuality within the church, and this is based on prior discussions we have had here), however we do agree that these disagreements do not disqualify either of us from being a Christian. (I suppose I should clarify that I cannot directly speak for Gundek, but I recall us coming to that conclusion in a prior discussion– Gundek, if I am mistaken let us know…)

    I don’t know where you live and likely have not been to a church near you. From my experience, I have never been to a church where they directly told anyone else their church is wrong. They merely teach God’s word.

  90. We are told that there are false prophets, false priests, and false teachers, which also means that there are true prophets, true priests, and true teachers. And there is the problem of teachers teaching another gospel.

    At what point does freedom to understand differently become a confusion of thought?

    You say that belief in the Trinity is the only core value needed, the rest is open to interpretation. I have spoken to mature Christians who disagree. Are you right, are they right, or are you both wrong. Or are you both right?

    Your definition of a mature Christian is a Christian scholar. The defination of God’s nature came out of a council of men, a council of scholars, who voted on it.
    Some scholars suggest that these councils stacked the deck by invitating only like minded scholars or by forcing the vote. I do not have proof one way or the other, but it leads to a question.

    Why are they right?

  91. Just so you understand that I am not picking on you because you are not Mormon, I ask the same questions of my own denomination.

  92. Fred, yes, Paul speaks of false prophets all the time and tells us how to test them. So does John. I urge you to read them.

    And you misrepresent what I speak as nonnegotiables. Its not quite as simple as the the Trinity. And if you think a mature Christian is a scholar, you are badly misrepresenting that, too. Not only are not all scholars Christian, let alone mature Christians, but not all mature Christians are scholars, let alone educated.

    I still think you are playing gotcha games and are decidedly not open to learning about Christianity. Even if you ask the same from those in your faith, you have an agenda. I ask you, fred, to go deeper and consider what you have been presented with here. If you are interested in learning, you will do so.

    I’ve asked you to present your thoughts about core doctrines of my faith so that I can see that you are trying to understand and learn.

  93. As quoted by Cowboy:

    “Must be’s in Christianity:

    1) A belief that there is only one God.
    2) A belief that this God exists in three separate beings, or persons, each fully God yet each fully independent and all united as the one God. G od the Father, in heaven, Jesus Christ, fully God come to earth to make a final sacrifice to provide a final path to Him, and the Holy Spirit to act as the mediator between God and man.
    3) That Jesus is indeed fully God and Human.”

    Referencing your second point:
    Setting my own beliefs aside, had I read the Bible with no prior religious experience or beliefs, I could never have come up with these conclusion. In many chapters, I would think that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost were separate entities but in other chapters it looks like they are the same person. This would be true for anyone who bases their beliefs on the Bible. But we all know this confusion was cleared up the establishment of the Trinity doctrine in the 4th century.

    This means those who believed in Christ before the Trinity doctrine was established didn’t think the way main stream Christians think of it today. But I wouldn’t say those people weren’t Christian or didn’t believe in Christ. Or that their belief is suspect.

    I think the same can be applied to points one and three. If one is looking at every sentence in the Bible, there is so much contradiction on these doctrines, it would take some sort of divine authority or proclamation to clear it up.

    Now, if the Trinity Creed is that declaration and we believe the men who generated that document were inspired to do so, then why isn’t that document attached to the Bible as being scripture?

  94. Ray,

    Perfectly understandable. I think that there a fair number of Baptists who don’t believe in being saved in a single moment of confession.

    Personally I don’t like the idea “must be” doctrines or practices in Christianity because it tends to degrade discipleship into a a checklist. It has not been the historic practice of the Church. I think it is a misunderstanding of the intention of the fundamentals movement of the early 20th century, but I also understand why many people use this approach in interfaith dialog as it allows for a simpler discussion on single topics.

    Historically I think you are right. There was a Church before the Trinitarian dogmas, but practically we live in the Church after the eccumincal creeds and 2,000 years of theological discussion with the larger community of believers.

    So, there never really has been a desert island Christianity with me and my Bible alone. Christ’s Church has always been a covenant community of disciples, sometimes more pure, sometimes less pure. To hypothetically expect a person alone with a Bible to come up with any doctrine just doesn’t match reality.

    If as Christians we accept that there is only One God. And as Christians we accept that the Father is God worthy of all worship and glory. And as Christians we accept that the Son is God worthy of all worship and glory. And as Christians we accept that the Holy Spirit is God worthy of all worship and glory. And as Christians we accept the the unity Between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is essential, going beyond a mere unity of purpose and will. And as Christians we believe that in this essential unity there is an eternal and real distinction between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    If as Christians we believe all of those things, and more, to be true when speaking about that One God how are we to express the essential unity and distinction in a way that does justice to this most basic revelation in the Bible?

  95. {Fred, yes, Paul speaks of false prophets all the time and tells us how to test them.}

    Paul teaches of false prophets, not no prophets. Now comes one of my questions, with some background repeated to show why this question is important.
    Paul teaches that there will be prophets.
    A prophet corrects false doctrine, what would be called another gospel.
    The correction looks like another gospel to the followers of false doctrine.
    We now have to figure which is the other gaspel; the false doctrine, and which is true.
    On one hand I have a Prophet who says he has athority fron God to speak for God.
    I ask what or who can speak for God on the other hand.You tell me to study the teachings of “mature Christians”. Not liking me calling them Christian scholars, you tell me that they do not all teach proper Christianity.
    How do I know that a teacher or priest is not teaching another gospel?

  96. “How do I know that a teacher or priest is not teaching another gospel?”

    You could take some personal responsibility and study.

    How do I know that a prophet or an apostle is not teaching another gospel?

  97. Ray, the early Christians believed Jesus was God, as is evidenced even by your own statement of the Bible. The Holy Spirit was evidenced at Pentecost. And, yes, the Bible speaks of their unity and separateness. That’s the point.

    Fred, the tests of a prophet are clear in the Bible. Do you know what they are?

  98. {You could take some personal responsibility and study.}
    I do need to do more. Asking people who do not understand things the same as I do is a part of study.

    {How do I know that a prophet or an apostle is not teaching another gospel?}
    At last, please, teach me what you believe you need to do. You will also be answering the question about teachers and priests.

  99. {Fred, the tests of a prophet are clear in the Bible. Do you know what they are?}
    I will say yes, than you will start a discussion about all the things you think LDS Prophets have done wrong and that will not help me understand why you believe the teachers and priests you follow are true.
    I am trying to understand why people believe the triditional Gospel is the truth, not why what I believe is wrong.

  100. Well,fred, for the record, you were the one who brought up that you had a prophet and that it was then a decision on how to decide who was telling the truth.

  101. God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus; He came to love, heal and forgive; He lived and died to buy my pardon, An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

    Chorus Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives!

    How sweet to hold a newborn baby, And feel the pride and joy he gives; But greater still the calm assurance: This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

    Chorus Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives!

    And then one day, I’ll cross the river, I’ll fight life’s final war with pain; And then, as death gives way to vict’ry, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!

    Chorus Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives!

    Songwriters MAHER, MATT / INGRAM, JASON /CASH, ED / TOMLIN, CHRIS /CARSON, DANIEL / GAITHER, BILL /GAITHER, GLORIA

    Published by Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

  102. Gundek,
    “To hypothetically expect a person alone with a Bible to come up with any doctrine just doesn’t match reality.”

    As I understand it, from a series of lectures I attended at the Church of Christ once, that is exactly what Alexander Campbell did for his movement. In fact, there are many small denominations and larger ones, as well, which have combed the Bible and established Christian churches based on their understanding of the Bible.

    I think what Slow Cowboy is getting at is there are certain doctrines which one must think in order to qualify as Christian. (Also, Tim has mentioned this in the past). That’s why there is a basic check list.

    In the LDS Church too, McConkie listed off a few doctrine which were important for salvation. A sort of check list if you will.

    I think we can all agree there is a minimum number of specific beliefs one must have to qualify as a believer of any particular religion or church. So, I don’t have a problem with Slow Cowboy having some sort of list.
    My question, which wasn’t really answered, is if there are some things such as an absolute understanding of the Trinity which was established 300 years after Christ is so important, then why isn’t the document included with the Bible?
    Reworded, if the theological understanding of 2,000 years of study is the truth and inspired, then why aren’t these papers attached to the Bible since these understandings are the Gospel Truth, so much so that others, such as Mormons, can be rejected for their thinking differently?

  103. Ray,

    Taking a checklist of doctrines out of context and saying this is minimal Christianity is like telling the story of Hansel and Gretel without a house in the woods or a witch. I understand what you are saying and I don’t completely disagree that there are fundamental doctrines in Christianity without which it could not be Christianity. The issue I have is that fundamentals are important within the context of broader Christianity. So, yes One essentially united God is fundamental to Christianity, but to understand why you need the context of a personal God who creates and reveals Himself to His creation.

    Yes, I’ve been to Cane Ridge, but Campbell with all Restorationist movement churches make the same claims for a primitive New Testament Christianity. I think that the specifics of their unique doctrines come straight out of 19th century Christianity.

  104. Gundek (or any one else),
    Do you think that Evangelical Churches today look like New Testament Christianity?

  105. Slow Cowboy,
    There is some sort of Trinity present in the New Testament but in the Old Testament it’s not as obvious but is there. However, it’s clear that understanding the Trinity based on what is written in the Bible is not so clear. Hence the origin of the official Trinity doctrine in the fourth century.

    From prior conversations with Tim on the subject, he took the position that practically all Evangelical churches, including the Church of Christ groups believed the concept of the Catholic Trinity. Yet, in discussions with people I know from several different Evangelical Churches, they don’t view the Trinity the same way. And they have told me they get their understanding of the Trinity from their churches.

    So, this is why I asked the question specifically about attaching the Trinity declaration to the Christian Bible, if it is indeed official Christian doctrine and is the key standard from segregating Christians from fake Christians.

    Is there some reason this should not be done?

  106. Ray, yes, I think Evangelical Churches ‘look’ like New Testament Christianity.

    I also submit that if the Trinity is found in the Bible, why is a new document needed? Bear in mind the Council of Nicea did not create doctrine, it affirmed it.

    And why is there no document concerning the Trinity considered scripture or attached to the Bible? These documents, apart from the Bible itself, is not close enough in time to the life of Christ and the original apostles to be a part of the Canon, and they are not considered inspired. Of God, yes, but not directly authored by God himself.

    However, again, and I emphasize this: the doctrine of the Trinity is directly found in the 66 books of the Bible, as you admit yourself. The doctrine of the Trinity is absolutely authored by God himself.

    A final thought: that different Christian groups define it slightly differently does not change the substance of the doctrine, a three-in-one God, a Triune God, involving God in Heaven, who came to Earth to save his creation and who sent his Spirit out in the world to reach all mankind. It is natural that different takes will develop, as that has happened in Mormonism, too, with for instance, polygamy (the Salt Lake City Chruch of Latter Day Saints is not the only LDS church). The point is the similarity and unity with the Christian body is remarkable given it has been around for nearly 2000 years.

  107. {Bear in mind the Council of Nicea did not create doctrine, it affirmed it.}
    The Council of Nicea voted on which of the competing view points amoung leading Christian authorities.
    How did they decide who would do the voting?

  108. Slow Cowboy,
    I wish to address this:
    “I also submit that if the Trinity is found in the Bible, why is a new document needed? Bear in mind the Council of Nicaea did not create doctrine, it affirmed it.”

    The fact that the New Testament identifies the Father, Son and Holy Ghost does not in and of itself explain the Trinity. That’s why there were competing ideas in the fourth century, just as there are today. Officially establishing what the scriptures means, especially when something is not exactly clear, is an act of authority. In this case, the Council, as an authoritative body, decided the current Christian Trinity was the official view of the New Testament books. If, as you say these men, were not inspired to settle the facts as representatives of God, then by what authority is their view the correct one? And if their view is the correct one and authorized by God, then it should be part of the Canon, in my opinion.

    And you said:
    ” It is natural that different takes will develop, as that has happened in Mormonism, too,…”

    Yes, different views develop for many reasons and usually not for good reasons. As to the ‘other’ LDS, I don’t recognize them as LDS like you recognize other Evangelicals and Catholics as Christians. The ones who believe that Jesus came to earth taught the Gospel, died and was resurrected on the third day, I view as Christians, the same as you being a Christian. In fact, this is the only item I have on my list which says one is a Christian (and the way the behave, of course). There are plenty of “Christians” who think this story is just a symbolic story with no basis in fact. I don’t consider them Christians. Those who consider Jesus just a prophet or a great man or teacher, I do not consider Christians.

    The additional doctrines, the details of the Trinity, virgin birth, grace and works, line of authority are distinct doctrines which segregate denominations.

  109. Ray, its simple, really. Easy, not necessarily, but simple. The authority is found in scripture. And as you said, you can get the Trinity from the pages of the Bible. That is what was done at Nicea, as it became prudent to declare what is truth and not allow false doctrine be taught. The people at Nicea merely upheld what was considered truth and denied Arianism, a doctrine developed denying the eternality of Christ. New doctrine was not created, and what is clearly found in scripture was upheld.

    The authority is therefore twofold. First, it is supported by scripture, God’s word and our prime source of authority. Scripture is God’s word, remember. It is reliable and complete. And the Trinity, again as you admit, is found in the Bible, even if there is scripture speaking of the separation of God and Jesus and the Spirit. But that is the point and the emphasis of the Trinity. They are separate but the same.

    That people believe a man named Jesus lives and was later raised from the dead is not the whole story. Important details, yes, but the whole story. In many ways, we start to see the very controversy that led to Nicea here. The very identity of Jesus mattered 1700 years ago and it matters now. Who Jesus was And is and what he does for us now in a very real way is vital.

  110. Gundek,
    To answer your question, New Testament Christianity would be the practices of Christians during the time of the Apostles, how the church was run at that time, what was actually taught and how it was understood.

  111. Slow Cowboy,

    “That people believe a man named Jesus lives and was later raised from the dead is not the whole story.”

    Well, I agree it’s not the whole story. It’s just the start. But in defining who is a generic Christian, I think it is defined right here. Because if Jesus had not come back from the dead, then everything else has no meaning and is worthless. His great sermons, miracles, instruction on living life mean nothing if there isn’t something beyond this world. Returning from the dead proves there is much more to our existence.

    I am fairly convinced that the bulk of New Testament Christians knew little more than the basic story of Jesus returning from the dead. This gave them hope in a brutal world, and while they may not have understood the Trinity or the whole story, they were saved none the less and were Christians none the less.

  112. Ray, the three-in-one God was what was understood by the earliest Christians. Nicea did not create that. They may not have used the word ‘Trinity’ but they understood the concept.

    Now, as I understand, Mormons downplay a part of Jesus rising from the dead: that actually, brutally and humiliatingly, died on a cross. The atonement for Mormons occurred prior to his death. His death then was a mere formality with less impact than for orthodox Christians.

    Why is that detail important? The death of Christ is central to our faith. Without it, full cleanliness before God is impossible. Jesus died as a sacrificial lamb for us. Without this death our sins are not buried and we are in the hook for them. We cannot ever live a life to absolve our sins.

    Such a transaction can only occur by the only righteous being himself, God. Having a man do that is impossible. So, just because someone named Jesus is believed to have been raised from the dead is insufficient.

    Now, I do realize you will find my description of your faith in the man Jesus overly simplistic. But you do believe he was probably just a guy like you and me who followed God’s plan enough so that he was given the full power of God.

    This violates the prime notion that there is one and only one God. It also violates the principle that this singular God alone can save us.

    This all violates the premise I stated earlier that the very identity of the Jesus in question is of the utmost importance. We, I think, must be careful on how we identify Jesus Christ himself. It matters, and just saying Jesus rose from the dead is not sufficient on its own.

  113. Ray,

    Then no. No Church Protestant, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox or Mormon practices the Christianity of the time of the Apostles, how the church was run at that time, what was actually taught and how it was understood.

    “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

  114. So, I’m a bit late to this conversation, but …

    Tim, I kind of agree with Ray, that it’s the media and/or popular culture that is using “evangelical” inappropriately, not you.

    Besides, I can’t think of a better term.

  115. {By inviting all the bishops to participate. Are you suggesting that may have been rigged?}

    I said nothing about it being reigged, that is your thought.

    There was more than one belief about the nature of the God head, just like there are today. They voted on which one was the accepted one.

    Why did the men at the Council of Nicea have the power to tell all of the Body of Christ how to think?

  116. I know full well I used the term. However, your question begs a clarification as to what you are searching for with the question of deciding on who was allowed to vote.

    They voted on which was the correct one, not just merely accepted. They had that power because Christianity,using a modern term, is not a relativistic proposition. Truth is truth, is it not?

  117. {They voted on which was the correct one, not just merely accepted. They had that power because Christianity,using a modern term, is not a relativistic proposition. Truth is truth, is it not?}

    I am old enough to have seen many truths become untrue because of new knowledge.

  118. {The nature of godhead was not addressed by the First Council of Nicaea.}

    ?????????????

    Homoousios
    Christian theology
    Written by The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
    Last Updated1-28-2015
    homoousios, in Christianity, the key term of the Christological doctrine formulated at the first ecumenical council, at Nicaea in 325, to affirm that God the Son and God the Father are of the same substance. The Council of Nicaea, presided over by the emperor Constantine, was convened to resolve the controversy within the church over the relationship between the persons of the Trinity. The council condemned Arianism, which taught that Christ was more than human but not fully divine. The use of homoousios (Greek: “of one substance”) in the Nicene Creed was meant to put an end to the controversy, although the influence of Arianism persisted in the church for centuries. In 381 Emperor Theodosius I summoned the second ecumenical council, the first Council of Constantinople, which produced a creed that also contained the word homoousios and became the definitive statement of orthodox belief.

  119. fred,

    Precisely, the relationship between the Father and the Son as well as a refinement of the language used to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son but not the nature of the godhead. The debate at First Nicaea centers on what it means for Jesus Christ to be the only begotten of the Father, not what it means to be God.

    Godhead as in Acts 17:29 ; Romans 1:20 ; Colossians 2:9 from the KJV refers to godhood or divinity.

    The Nature of divinity was not a subject of debate. The uncreated aseity of the divine nature of the True God was a starting point for all sides.

    If you are using godhead as a synonym for trinity, then the First Council of Nicaea does not address the relationship between the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

  120. __________to affirm that God the Son and God the Father are of the same substance_______

  121. I used the term because it is “Mormon speak”
    It does not matter if God and Jesus are one being, or two beings, it speaks of function.

    ____
    Godhead
    The Church’s first article of faith states, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” These three beings make up the Godhead. They preside over this world and all other creations of our Father in Heaven.

    The Mormon view of the members of the Godhead corresponds in a number of ways with the views of others in the Christian world, but with significant differences. Latter-day Saints pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. They acknowledge the Father as the ultimate object of their worship, the Son as Lord and Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as the messenger and revealer of the Father and the Son. But where Latter-day Saints differ from other Christian religions is in their belief that God and Jesus Christ are glorified, physical beings and that each member of the Godhead is a separate being.
    . . .
    Although the members of the Godhead are distinct beings with distinct roles, they are one in purpose and doctrine. They are perfectly united in bringing to pass Heavenly Father’s divine plan of salvation.

    _______
    We believe a Prophet corrected the assumed truths.

    You have been asked why I should believe the teachers and priests you choose to believe have a better understanding of what God says in the Bible.
    Your answer so far is that they are better educated in gospel matters, that they are inspired men and you agree with them.
    Anything else?

  122. fred,

    By all means, if you want to believe that the First Council of Nicaea voted on the nature of the godhead then go for it.

    I think that is a gross oversimplification of what happend at Nicaea in 325 and the nature of the actual debate that brought about the First Council.

    If you are actually interested in Church History Lewis Ayres, John Behr, Khaled Anatolios, Jaroslav Pelikan, and Stephen Holmes have influenced my thinking on the history of the Trinitarian dogmas. I will understand if they are not as credible as The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica.

  123. Slow Cowboy,
    ” the three-in-one God was what was understood by the earliest Christians. Nicea did not create that.”
    Without serious research on the subject, it is highly unlikely that is what the earliest Christians understood. It seems every one who believes what their church teaches today just assumes that the earliest Christians thought that way.
    The only Gospel in existence until 96 AD was the Gospel of Mark which was written in about 66 AD right before Mark’s death. That is 33 years after Christ’s ascension. In there, the “Trinity” looks nothing like the Nicaea Creed. And neither do any of the letters circulated by Paul, Peter or John. It appears the “three-in-one” as understood by the fourth century was developed after the Apostles died and was extrapolated from their writings.

    But as a Christian, I am stunned that you would belittle the significance of the resurrection. The resurrection is the one thing that makes Christianity real. What does it matter if there is a three in one God, or if God atoned for our sins? If there is no resurrection, then these things are not real and do not matter.

  124. “The atonement for Mormons occurred prior to his death. His death then was a mere formality with less impact than for orthodox Christians.”

    Well, you are right, that is a real over simplification. Luke tells us Jesus ‘sweat great drops of blood’. That is not normal, even if some one was fearing imminent death. This is a sign that Christ was bearing our sins in the garden. But the atonement is a process which started in Gethsemane and ended on the cross. It is all inter connected. Jesus was a sacrifice for our sins, which means being killed is part of the sacrifice. That is hardly a formality.

    Unfortunately, because so much of the sin bearing occurred in the garden, many LDS erroneously conclude or oversimplify the atonement. But the atonement is a complex thing we know little about, despite having living prophets. The one thing I do know is it is deeply personal. Christ’s atonement was not a blanket mass sacrifice for everyone. Each persons sins where atoned individually in the process. So, when we say “Christ died for you” (died being a part of the atonement), he literally died for you, not just a mass of people.

  125. Slow Cowboy,
    I really don’t understand how you can talk to so many LDS and say this:

    “But you do believe he was probably just a guy like you and me who followed God’s plan enough so that he was given the full power of God.”

    The whole point of the Virgin Birth was to point out that Jesus is not like us. That he is the offspring of not just another man, but of God. He is God’s son, literally. We too are referred to as “children of God” in the Bible, and while he is the father of our spirits, we, in mortality, are not literally his son or daughter like Jesus.

    And whether you believe he is some substance of some explainable being or a separate entity in a three way union, we all think he was God descending in mortal form. And he agreed to do this for us, to become a fallen man just like the rest of us. This was not some after thought because Adam and Eve made a big mistake in the Garden of Eden. This was planned well in advance.

    What Jesus showed us was you don’t have to be a God to follow God’s plan. Because if you make mistakes or commit sin, he will atone for those transgressions with his sacrifice. He showed us, if you have faith, you can do the miracles Jesus did. (I’ve see a few in my lifetime). But what no man who ever lived could do, is atone for themselves or bring themselves back from the dead. That requires the power of God. And that is why Jesus’ divinity is of paramount importance.

    So, no, he is not just some regular guy who followed God’s plan. I am surprised you think this is LDS doctrine.

  126. Gundek,
    “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

    Excellent quote!

  127. Ray, yes, Jesus’s salvation message is vey personal, but offered to everyone, and made possible in his death, which made the power over death possible in the resurrection. This death must be accomplished by God, and since there is only one God, well…

    Do you disagree with Smith and Snow, and every Mormon leader since that suggests that there is a progression to godhood and exaltation? If God and Jesus were both possibly men just like you and I, how is that compatible with our position that there is only one God, and who has always been God and always will be God?

    Its great that you put divine powers on Jesus, but again, if Jesus and God are separate Gods, the Bible lies and God himself is a liar, not to forget that Jesus, too, is a liar.

    (Sorry for the brief and curt post, I had a longer that was lost…)

  128. {Church History Lewis Ayres, John Behr, Khaled Anatolios, Jaroslav Pelikan, and Stephen Holmes have influenced my thinking on the history of the Trinitarian dogmas.}

    I understand you agree with them. Do they have more athority to speak for God than the men at the Councils like the one at Nicea. Is there a council on earth today that has the same power over the word of God as the older councils that created the creeds?
    (power over the word of God being the athority to determine which defination of God’s Word is the correct defination.)

    Remember, you want Mormons to stop being Mormons and become part of what you call the Body of Christ. If I am to leave Mormonism, I want to know why this Body of Christ is the right place to go.

  129. Fred,

    I think you misunderstand me. I’m not trying to make you stop being a Mormon. I want to understand your personal interpretation of Mormonism.

    I don’t think that any of the historians I referenced claim the authority to speak for God in their books. Whatever authority they have is based on their academic skills and expertise. It really isn’t a matter of faith to explain the debates surrounding First Council of Nicaea, it’s a matter of history.

    I also think you may misunderstand how Protestants understand the authority of councils. Councils have authority in as much as they have correctly represented the Bible. Councils do not define biblical truth they confess and expound biblical truth. A council’s authority is derivative.

    In your view of Mormonism does it take a special authority from God to teach history?

  130. { A council’s authority is derivative.}
    Then there should be no differences. The Whole Body of Christ would know if all are saved or if only some would be saved.
    Same thing goes for the “must be” ideas.
    If any part of your base is off, than ——-

    That is part of why we believe God has restored His gospel. No more “deriving” His Gospel, Revealing His gospel works better.

  131. {Because, fed, it will set you free. But can I ask whether or not you feel that you are not free?}
    Yes, Free from the limitations put apon me be the sins of myself and others.
    Being freed from sin is not the end, it is our begining.
    With that freedom I also have a responsibility.
    Do you feel any responsibility to become the best you can because Jesus freely gave you this head start?

  132. Do I feel a responsibility to be as good as I can be? Of course, to love my God more than anything, followed by loving my neighbor as myself, yes. But I do not feel I have a responsibility to do certain specific things in order to be more saved. I feel free from the burden of thinking I have to do something to please my God. Nothing I do would help, anyway, as my works are like filthy rags to God (and I am OK with that). That, I think, is freedom, being OK with resting in the presence of God… What more would I want?

  133. This comes from the Churches web site under Gospel Topics.
    I copied and pasted because I have not been able to express myself well enough for you to understand my question and since I am only answering your gueston I decided to leave out my lack of verbal skills.

    _______

    Eternal Life
    See also Becoming Like God.

    Eternal life is the phrase used in scripture to define the quality of life that our Eternal Father lives. The Lord declared, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God’s presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).

  134. I believe that God is very sad when we do not do all we can to build on the freedoms we were given by the suffering of Jesus the Christ during the Atonement.

    There is only one salvation. It is not the end of our journey, but it is a very important steping stone along the way. What we do with it is our responsibility.

  135. So, you are not done when you are ‘saved’? We, after all, don’t want to let God down…

    Hence the freedom I speak of, as I know I cannot do anything more to gain God’s favor, and he does not want my works, he wants my heart.

  136. How will you be praising God when you get to heaven. You do believe you will be praising God after the resurrection that you are saved to?

  137. Irrelevent?
    Even though you can have all that Jesus has, Who has all that God has?
    Interesting.

  138. Yup, irrelevant. See, I am an heir through belief, not “doing more”.

    See Galatians, here found in Ch. 4:

    “1 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces[a] of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b] 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

  139. It is interesting that you use a part of the Bible that points awat from the trinity.

  140. Revelations, third chapter speaks of what you have to do to get all that Jesus has. You must overcome something, just like He did.

    20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

  141. You got to do something

    Revelation 3:20-21New International Version (NIV)

    20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

    21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

  142. Pick your translation, you still haave to do something, some kind of “works”.

    ____

    Holman Christian Standard Bible
    Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.

    International Standard Version
    Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me.

    NET Bible
    Listen! I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home and share a meal with him, and he with me.

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    “Behold, I stand at the door and I shall knock. If a man listens to my voice and will open the door, I also shall come in and I shall have supper with him, and he with me.”

    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    Look, I’m standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I’ll come in and we’ll eat together.

  143. You used a Bible verse that speaks of family, a real earth family to show you how God’s family works. God’s family works just like the earth family.
    The child is the same child before, during, and after the time set by the Father. Unless you morph it into something that just looks like an earth family because it has to fit the forced defination of the trinity.

    Now, remember, even though you are saved, you have to do some works to be “victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

    Unless you can also morph this to be a nonworks, even though you are doing something.

  144. Yeah, not sure where I see how that points away from the Trinity, but anyway, if it does, so what? If you have been reading the posts I have exchanged with Ray demonstrating that there are verses in the Bible that point away from it and to it, you already have seen the point is already conceded that there are verses that point away from it. So what? And the verse is not trying to demonstrate the family. It is about justification by faith. Read the whole chapter and the ones before and after to see the context. Paul is using a metaphor to suggest that like a son inheriting his father’s stuff, so we will receive God’s stuff when we believe. Why? Because we become God’s children not after we do stuff but at the moment we put our faith in Jesus.

    Also, in Revelation 3:20, what do I see in this verse? I see that God is there to everyone who opens their heart to him in faith. At that point, they have a relationship such that they will eat together, a sign of familiarity and comfort. And we ought not forget that this portion is talking about how it will be at the end times. Those to whom the door has been opened will receive eternal life and get to dine with Jesus. As to being victorious or conquering, this has to do with trials, not specific works or completing a program. I see no specific action required there. Can you educate me and tell me what specific action is required to be considered “more”?

    I’ll state at the outset that if you take that verse to mean works are required, akin to saying putting our faith in Jesus is a work, that’s not a very strong argument…

  145. {Yeah, not sure where I see how that points away from the Trinity, but anyway, if it does, so what? }
    That is a choice.

  146. That’s okay Cowboy, I lose type too!
    Hope you can keep track of two conversations at a time…

    You said:
    Do you disagree with Smith and Snow, and every Mormon leader since that suggests that there is a progression to godhood and exaltation?

    No, I do not disagree with them. However, the definition of words is often at play here. Jesus says in the NT we will be “exalted”. Is that different than being merely saved? I say yes.
    And godhood is a relative term too. Tim and I had a long conversation on the subject a while back before my family problem (which is resolved now and thanks for your concern back then), so I’d rather not redo it, but if one is subject to someone else, are they a God the way you think they are? And my answer is no.
    Unfortunately, many LDS view godhood in the wrong light and the leaders had to put out a statement on the subject saying, ‘no, you aren’t going to get your own planet…’
    I have been very fortunate to understand what the top leaders of the Church think, verses how the members absorb it and have stood up against nonsense doctrine which was never promoted by the Church but believed by many members. So, becoming a ‘god’, yes, but becoming a ‘God’ – no. We will never be above Heavenly Father or Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

    And you said:
    If God and Jesus were both possibly men just like you and I, how is that compatible with our position that there is only one God, and who has always been God and always will be God?

    Jesus is the example. He was God before he became mortal, he was a God while mortal and he was a God after being resurrected. And we are God’s children before we were mortal and while we are mortal and after we will be resurrected. And as children we will never be above Heavenly Father or Jesus.

    In the conversation with Tim, he said our final state of being could be called a “glorified man” (and women I assume). In LDS terminology, we call this godhood. The ‘glorified man’ will be subject to Heavenly Father just as a ‘god’ will be.

    The big mistake and deliberate misconception concerning Snow’s ‘God was once a man’ by the non-LDS world is there is a quantum difference from ‘being a man once’ and ‘began as a man’. ‘Began as a man’ is a false doctrine perpetuated by those who want to misrepresent our beliefs.
    LDS doctrine is this: Everything was a spirit before it was tangible. Nothing living or nonliving exists unless it was a spirit first. And that includes the members of the Godhead.

  147. And you said:
    “if Jesus and God are separate Gods,”
    They are not separate, they are one in mind, thought and purpose and every way you can think of but they are two individuals personages, along with the Holy Ghost forming one God.

  148. Ray, yeah, frustrating when you write a lot and then it is lost… I appreciate your patience.

    As to progression, there are a couple thoughts that come to mind. First, does the different takes on progression and exaltation within the LDS sect of Mormonism harm its credence? I mean, if different descriptions of the Trinity disqualify Christians, or make it harder to take seriously, how is the differing Mormon take on this topic any different? Seems that it should exemplify how different views are acceptable and how beliefs can differ.

    Second, while I appreciate your statement, I am not sure the history of King Follett and other history of your faith supports it, and the words themselves speak to more than what you suggest. They speak to a literal message that God was once a man just like us, and we can become Gods, too, just like the Father and Jesus before us. There’s simply too much out there to ignore.

    And I did read this: https://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng.

  149. And Cowboy, I appreciate you because how many Christians will stand up and talk? Very few. How many will read, study and speak with some knowledge on Gospel topics. Again, I say very few. And while we do not see eye to eye on quite a few details, I think we can agree on the most important things.

    No one said one must believe in LDS exhalation to be saved. Jesus told us, that we need to repent, be baptized and endure to the end. Now, in my many experiences with non-LDS Christians there are a huge range of differing opinions of say the Godhead and the after life. And the reason there is such a range of views is there is simply not a great deal of information on the subject and people speculate based on their experiences. Where they get into trouble is believing their opinions on topics which are not crystal clear are the Gospel truth.

    Anyway, I assure you what I have explained is the LDS Gospel truth. You just have to understand LDS terminology. There are Bible verses which say we will one day be equal to Jesus and that Jesus is equal to God. Joseph Smith drew on those and so did the article you linked to.
    But Jesus also said his “Father was Greater than I”. Joseph Smith didn’t ignore this either. So, how are they equal yet the Father is greater? And that’s where the second paragraph I wrote comes into play. Not a lot on the subject has been explained either in or out of the LDS Church which can be claimed with certainty.
    We will be equal in the sense that we will be pure, holy eternal and a whole list of things and we will yet be subject to the priesthood order which means there is always some one above us in authority. The article never says we will be separated from God or above him. Joseph Smith never said or even implied that false doctrine. Jesus will always be subject to the Father and we will always be subject to Jesus and those between Jesus and us.

    “They speak to a literal message that God was once a man just like us, and we can become Gods, too, just like the Father and Jesus before us.”

    God was once a man just like us in that he was mortal, felt what mortals felt, learned like mortals learned and so on. But God is always God. Capital “G”. We will be a god. Little “g”. Big difference. And Jesus is the example and Jesus is capital “G”. And so is Heavenly Father, capital “G”.

    Smith, Snow, Hinckley and others were not trying to belittle God’s station. They know full well what it is and always had been. They bring up the subject to encourage us to apply ourselves and endure to the end as Jesus commands.

  150. I don’t mean this question to be contentious, but I do mean it to be honest: Ray, why should I believe you?

    Joseph Smith himself told his followers how God came to be God. Think about that for a moment. This is not a statement on how God is or his eternal existence of God. Smith expressly tells us how God came to be God, as if God was not always God. Smith then goes on to tell us how Jesus learned to do what his father did, and that we share that responsibility to do what the Father did so that we can what all the gods have done before us. What was one of the things to learn? How to put our lives down and raise them up again. Its not until we are able to achieve the “resurrection of the dead” that we achieve eternal glory, as those “enthroned in everlasting power”. Smith said we can obtain the same power, the same glory, and the same exaltation as God. When we do this, we take a position of power and lift everyone up above us, wherein God takes a higher place due our position, but the kicker is that we “will take his place”.

    Smith then talks about ladders and learning gospel principals, then moves to a description of the first wowds of the Bible, which he translates to “The head one of the God brought forth the Gods.” Smith states there is a grand Council of Gods that brought forth the world.

    Now, all of that is in the King Follet Discourse. You’re founder expressly stated that God himself how God became God, then spends the rest of the time telling us how there is a Council of God’s and that we can learn to displace God in his current position while we advance him up. If God was not always God, and if we replace God, we aren’t just assuming a place in heaven full of glory, we take everything he has, including his position as God.

    So, why should I believe you over your founder? Further revelation? I am not sure that is a compelling argument to me. Believe it all you wish, but I find it terribly weak and contradictory.

  151. Cowboy,
    I don’t think you are contentious so don’t worry about it. But as far as believing me, you can rest assured that I know what I am talking about. Now, you won’t believe the doctrine itself as it sits but you can understand that what I have explained is LDS doctrine.

    If you read the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Moses and Abraham, you will see two things that are very important. One, all things (which includes living things such as people and what we consider non-living things like planets) were created spiritually before physically. And two, that there were millions of earths before this earth which have obtained Celestial Glory. Creation as used by Joseph refers to the Creation of this earth and not everything which ever existed.
    On this earth Jesus moved to the higher state of being a God made of Spirit to a God with a tangible body, just like his Father. This means on one of those previous earths, Heavenly Father did the same thing Jesus did. And we know this because Jesus told us he didn’t do anything except that which he has seen his Father do. (This is straight from the Bible). So, God the Father was once a mortal man just as Jesus was once a mortal man.

    The trouble is how you or possibly your anti-Mormon books are portraying what Joseph was saying. The “Grand Council of Gods” are those who lived as spirits before this earth life. Remember, Jesus said “ye are gods”, the people on the council included men who went on to become prophets in mortality. Jesus was there and so was Lucifer and all of us. You were there too, maybe not on the council but a part of the proceedings.

    Now to say we are taking God’s place as we move up is an unrealistic explanation of Joseph discourse. God’s increase comes from eternal increase of dominions. And we too can have eternal increase but we will still be under Heavenly Father just as Jesus is. You and I live on this earth and will be resurrected from here. In the future, we will not go down on some other planet and repeat Jesus’ experience. That is not our role.

    Anyways, what Joseph is talking about of how God became God is the same this of how Jesus, God, became God in a state as a resurrected being. There is no further revelation on the subject but in light of all the things Joseph taught about everything concerning pre-existence and the plan of salvation, this really is the only way it can be interpreted.

    I think the real issue for you is the concept that God didn’t some sort of history before the events of Genesis transpired. Am I wrong?

  152. Well, Ray, we’ve been down this road before, as these conversations tend to be repetitive after awhile. Nonetheless, I don’t buy your argument, and as I understand Mormonism, it is one based on authority and stature. Those higher up in the church have more authority to speak on these matters. As far as I know, there have been no official pronouncements that the King Follett discourse is not to be taken at its word. The closest thing was when a former president waffled on the issue in an interview saying he did not know that that is what Mormons believed.

    From the outside, it seems like the Mormon church is trying to distance itself from the belief. Your explanation fits right in with that impression. You even to admit that God was not always God.

    The language that God moves up and we take his place indicates we can be gods. The language is clear. The interpretation is not unreasonable, and I would argue makes more sense than yours.

    Of course, it is your faith, and you can believe as you see fit. I won’t convince you one way or the other.

    Anyway, there is another point in me bringing up the “why should I believe you” question. It is often said of Christians that us lay folk are not to be believed because we are asked by what authority do we have to speak of matters of our faith. Since we all say something different, and there is apparently a hierarchy we should adhere to, us little folks don’t know what we are talking about. (Fred used this very line in this now very lengthy thread.) You are now making the same argument we make: trust us because we know, and we demonstrate how we know.

    I have no problem with this position, if it can be backed up by scripture, tradition, and God’s word, so this is not a criticism of your current approach. I prefer a rational approach to the scriptural record than an appeal to authority, to be honest. I just bring it up here as a teaching moment as to the criticism often laid against Christians…

  153. No, I don’t think that is a concern of mine. I don’t know what God did prior to creation, though I know he has always been God. I think guessing what he did prior to creation is trying to fill in gaps so that we as humans can explain some of the unexplainable. We run into great problems when we do that. Mormons like to accuse Christians on relying on such wisdom of men, but I see attempts like this from Mormons as precisely that in action.

    We simply cannot explain everything about God, and that’s OK. We don’t have to.

  154. Hey Cowboy,
    I don’t think the Church is trying to distance itself from the belief and much as it’s trying to emphasis what most people need, faith in Christ unto good works. In our day to day lives how we live, not our speculations on what we don’t understand about the universe, is what is important.

    But on the subject, I think we can agree that since creation began, God has always been God the way each of us understands him. Prior to creation, Joseph was revealing some things which had to do with our pre-existence and prior to creation and therefore the implication on the origin of God, the Father, being a tangible being. I think we can both agree that Jesus is now a tangible being where before his resurrection, he was not a tangible being. Was he less God before birth and the resurrection? In my view, those events does not change Jesus from being God. Or maybe, you don’t believe Jesus maintains a physical body?

    In any event, my objection to your understanding of Joseph, is that ‘we will eventually replace God, be above God’ and that is not true and that is not what the Sermon is saying. But if that is what you want it to mean, that is your right to think anyway you want. And if you want to tell your Christians friends this is what the Mormons believe or Joseph Smith believed, then I can only say that would be a gross misrepresentation.

    And if you want to appeal to authority, you can ask any LDS General authority “will man ever replace God or be above God?” and he is going to tell you “no”. If you ask any of them, “will we always be subject to God the Father?”, they are going to tell you something like, “yes” or “always” etc…

    Now, the whole premise of Joseph concerning God once being a man comes from the Bible from the mouth of Jesus. Maybe you should reread those verses. The first time I read those verses and understood what was being said I was very surprised. That Joseph did, in fact, know what he was talking about.
    ________________________________________________________________
    “us little folks don’t know what we are talking about.”

    Generally speaking, I think those who have read and studied know as much as the hierarchy. The exception to this are those who have had visions on the subjects. For instance, the Apostle Paul knew more than we do and as a Latter Day Saint, I think Joseph knew more than anyone (concerning Gospel things) since Jesus.

    ” Mormons like to accuse Christians on relying on such wisdom of men, but I see attempts like this from Mormons as precisely that in action.”

    Yep, people who believe in Christ often tend to be hypocrites, know-it-alls and pass unrighteous judgment on others. So sad.

    So Cowboy, I know Tim’s answer on this but I don’t know yours. Are you a Young Earth Creationist or do you think Creation was the big bang 14 billion years ago? And more importantly, was Adam literally created by God directly from the earth or was man’s creation a symbolic for evolution and we all descended from some monkey-like creature over millions of years?

    “if it can be backed up by scripture, tradition, and God’s word,”

    I agree on two of the three, but not tradition. It was a tradition that the universe circled the earth and some people still push the idea. Many traditions are often proved faulty but they can be a good place to start an investigation.

  155. Ah, but the addition you make that God was not always God is vital to the Christian understanding of God. Its not so easy to just waive a hand and dismiss that topic, which is what you do in your emphasis on focusing on the day to day lives we live. Mormons change the identity of God in a radical way, and then expect Christians to not notice. Its as if the message is: “Look the other way, what’s over there is not important. Look at how good we are and how we worship God now!”

    Sorry, I cannot ignore the definition of God. You’ll notice that in my first post on this thread I stated this: “Now, there is room for disagreement and different takes on a large number of Christian issues, however, there are a few that are not negotiable, the existence of a single God being one of them.”

    Now, I am not arguing that we replace God in the sense that we become greater than God. I agree, that is not what Smith is saying. However, I mean it in the sense that if we do well and achieve exaltation, God gets a promotion and we fill in his prior spot in the pecking order. Think of your boss getting a promotion at work, then you get promoted to take his previous position; that’s the sort of thing I see happening. It fits on so many levels Mormon beliefs, including eternal progression.

    Interestingly, I found this quote at Mormonwiki:

    “Eternal Increase

    Eternal progression also refers to the principle of eternal increase.[2] This means that those who are faithful, who are married and sealed in a Mormon temple, and who keep the covenants or promises that they make there, will be allowed to have spirit children in the resurrection and raise them up as our Father raises us. This is the greatest blessing that God offers to His children. When He promises that all that He has can be ours when we are exalted, He leaves nothing out. The power to create, even in a familial sense, can be part of mankind’s celestial inheritance.”

    http://www.mormonwiki.com/Eternal_Progression

    I am not sure how it can be any clearer. “We will be allowed to have spirit children in the resurrection and raise them up as our Father raises us.”

    Onto the question of the hierarchy:

    So, why appeal to authority and a prophet?

    No, Mormons aren’t like that at all. And while I say that in jest, to the hypocrites, I have to say also don’t confuse the message with the messenger. We all sin. Don’t you?

    Young earth/old earth? I honestly don’t take strong position on it. To me, taking a strong position on it is conjecture. Further, the answer does not affect the identity of God, and more importantly, it does not change the salvation plan. Its one of those areas where Christians can disagree without much hoopla. If you wish to make it a strong issue, have at it. I just won’t play along. To give an answer, I think it is entirely possible God made the earth in a much shorter time than scientists state. When I look into lands shaped by, say, glaciers, I don’t see why that had to take millions of years, or even hundreds of thousands, to create. However, I wasn’t there when it was created, so I can’t speak to it.

    Your objection to tradition is a great point, which is why I don’t rely solely upon it. However, there is much to glean from the wisdom of our forefathers, and we ought not dismiss them out of hand. Taken together: scripture, God’s word, and tradition provide us a solid position from which to glean truth.

  156. Hey Cowboy,
    First, I think it’s great you don’t have a problem reading LDS material from the source. It wasn’t that long ago that many a preacher used the scare tactic of “it’s of the devil and God will punish you for investigating it”. Thankfully many Christians such as yourself have more faith in their own beliefs than to accept such nonsense.

    “the addition you make that God was not always God is vital to the Christian understanding of God.”

    I never said God wasn’t always God. I said God didn’t always have a physical body. And I used the example of Jesus. Jesus was God as a Spirit only, became mortal man, died and was resurrected as an Eternal Being, God, with a glorified physical body. And to make clear, since before the beginning of this creation and earth, God the Father always had a glorified physical body.

    I asked about your view on Creation for the purpose of pointing out that Creation can be marked by a length of time. YEC = 6,000 years, Big Bang believers = 14 billion years. In either scenario, there was a beginning point. And we have to ask, what was God doing before that beginning point? And the answer is we don’t know. What Joseph did as prophet of the Restoration was explain what Jesus was talking about when he said “I only do that which I have seen my Father do”. And this was right before he was killed and raised from the dead into a glorified physical body. Additional information came forth which explains some things concerning before the “Beginning” of this heaven and earth, and even more information of what the future holds and why. And yet, the information is not really “new” because it’s mentioned in the Bible. Joseph merely expounded on these lost teachings of original Christianity. A short list is there are to be three heavens, men and women can be married forever, people will sit on the throne with God and with Christ, will help rule and reign on earth during the thousand years and so on.

    “I am not sure how it can be any clearer. “We will be allowed to have spirit children in the resurrection and raise them up as our Father raises us.””

    “Think about the power to create. Will you get the power to create?”

    Honestly, I don’t think about this hardly at all. I was given the power to create on this earth and I created several times. The more one creates the more one has a responsibility to look after our creations.

    So, what will be in the future will be. And if our Father wants us to have this power, then it’s his call. It’s hardly unchristian to think he won’t give this power because Paul says in Romans 8:17 we will “joint heirs with Christ”. And Jesus tells us in John 16:15 that all the Father has is his. It is a logical conclusion that we too will inherit all the Father has. So, you be the judge of what “all” means. Probably includes the power to create.

  157. Ray,
    Sounds to me like you think you will become a god. Tell me where I am wrong.

    Also, if you become a god, there is more than one.

    Am I wrong?

  158. Okay Cowboy,
    I think it would help if you read John 10: 34, 35 where Jesus was trying to reason with some detractors. He was essentially saying, ‘why are you angry when I say I am the son of God, when you are already gods?’

    Cowboy, we are already gods but without much power. You, me and all the descendants of Adam are gods. Now, if you do not believe this then Jesus is a liar. And he said it not once but three times in the Bible: Psalms 82:6, Isaiah 41:23 and John 10: 34.

    So, in that sense there is more than one god, there are billions. Now, how many of these have the full power of God? Only three that I know of. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And the Son and Holy Ghost pray to Heavenly Father. And we pray to Heavenly Father. Not Jesus. Not the Holy Spirit. But Heavenly Father.

    So, there is only one God that we pray to. This means there is only one God which answers prayers. Hence there is only one God, even if you or I, at some future time, are assigned powers to create.

  159. Ray, my thought is that Jesus was not being kind or complimentary to the Pharisees. Jesus was not the nice guy people make him out to be. He did have an attitude and utilized strong language, including sarcasm, to make his point.

    I encourage you to read John from that perspective.

    Psalms 82, well, vs. 7 kind of describes it all: “You will die like mere mortals”. Vs. 5 states that the “gods” know nothing. Here, we see a little ridicule to world leaders/idols, too. Its hardly convincing to suggest God means to say we are all “gods” in a positive way.

    Isaiah 41 is kind of laughable that it would be used to support your case. Read the rest of the chapter, and tell me who is being addressed as gods? (See vs. 22 for a hint.)

  160. Well Cowboy,
    We can agree on a couple of points. One, I should have read Isa. 41 more carefully and you are correct, it doesn’t apply. And two, Jesus was sometimes tough on the Pharisees, but not in this instance.

    Jesus was quoting Psalms 82: 6
    Up to verse 6 God is referring to those who follow idols, not the idols themselves and when he gets to verse 6 he says we are gods: children of the most high. And the key to knowing this is exactly what he means is in verse 7 where he says, “but” or in ASV “Nevertheless” you shall die like men. He is saying despite the fact that ye are gods and children of God they are gonna die and be judged.

    So, when I read John10: 34-38 it doesn’t sound like sarcasm at all. It sounds like he was trying to reason with them. Despite the attempt verse 39 tells us they went after him. If Jesus was using sarcasm he knew he would be inviting an immediate problem. I think he was giving them a chance to learn the truth. But the Pharisees rejected it, again.

    Your view comes down to how you see the relationships between God and mankind. So, let me ask the questions
    1) Is the human family children of God or not?
    2) Did we live as spirits in God’s presence before birth?
    3) Is God the Father of our spirits?
    4) And if not why does Jesus want us to address him as “Father”?

  161. Ray,

    I must admit, I am tiring of the discussion. These are usually very repetitive, and I am not sure what else to say. This is not an admission that I think you are correct, but just an honest assessment of my tiring of the circles. I am familiar with Psalm 82, and it is hardly convincing evidence to support your cause, and I find it rather strongly supports the notion that God loathes those who themselves ‘gods;. That these folk will die does not indicate they will be gods in the afterlife, but rather that they are mere men.

    You have to understand that only God has the power to rule over all of creation. Only God can create. Only God can judge our souls. Only God has lived through eternity and will continue through to eternity. We are all his creation, and as such, we will all die, even these ‘gods’. That is the point of Psalm 82: only God is God, and everyone else will die.

    Any suggestion that we will be able to attain a position like God cannot be found in this chapter, and is pure speculation that came from somewhere else.

    And there is no reason to think Jesus was using this to show them how they will die, yet, Jesus will live forever. Jesus is clearly using this in a way to demonstrate his power, not theirs. And even if we are to grant (and I do not, but for the sake of argument) that Jesus is calling them ‘gods’, there is no reference here to suggest Jesus is telling them they will get to be in a position just like God or any sort of eternal progression. If Jesus is telling them they are gods, it is in the sense they are earthly rulers who will die like the mere men they are.

    Psalm 82, concludes, interestingly, that who is to arise and judge the nations? God, not these gods, who know nothing.

    Now, I know you have bought into the notion of the King Follett Discourse, and have argued that you agree with me that you will very much become like God, and get the power to create and rule nations/worlds. We agree you will not become God, but we also agree that you think you will get all the powers God has, if not his glory, as he will always be more glorious than you.

    It is hard to make points, apart from an exchange of knowledge as to what our beliefs are, when one has bought into these premises. We will continue to go in a circle, arguing the same points over and over. This is why I said at the outset that there is much to the disagreement on the point of there being only one God and that the Mormon and Traditional Christian views are incompatible. You can’t reconcile the two. For every point we might make, you will make a point, and vice versa, always talking around each other.

    Unless you are able to read John, Isaiah, Psalms, etc without Mormon view points, you will never understand that the notion of the existence of only one God and its importance. You will never see the continuity of the Biblical narrative and its focus on the one true God and how we are to simply put our faith in Him. Its what Abraham did, its what the apostles preached. Its what made Adam fall, and what John spoke of in Revelation. Faith saved many in the Old Testament, just as faith changed Saul’s life in the new.

    But faith in what? That is the question. Faith in the one true God of the Old Testament, come to earth as a final sacrifice for mankind, his creation, as described in the New Covenant.

    But to understand this, you have to set aside prejudices and personal dreams. God wants your heart to be fully given to him, without hopes of anything better than what God alone can provide. We can’t work to anything, and we can’t do anything to get us any more favor. Paul describes them, works, as filthy rags to God. This says that our works don’t count to our salvation, not that God does not care about our works. Those who work to achieve a greater salvation fool themselves, and that was a prime message Jesus gave to the world.

    So, faith in God alone in the person of Jesus of Nazareth is the faith we need. Faith in anything else is a distortion of God himself. But you have to let go of everything before you see this, and I admit this is not easy.

    This post has gotten huge, but in the spirit of open communication, even though I am tiring of the circles (you questions continue the spiral), I will very briefly answer your questions:

    1) The human race is the creation of God. Family? An easy word to show the relationship, but not entirely accurate in its description of our relationship with God.
    2) No.
    3) God is our creator. Again, ‘Father’ is more a metaphor than a complete descriptor of our relationship with him.
    4) Because God is in many ways our Father. But he is also our deity, our ruler, our authority, our Lord, and so many more titles. Father, though, is a descriptor showing relationship, typically loving and nurturing, and demonstrative of a creator. God is indeed loving and nurturing, and so the title works. But Lord and King also work, not forget, God, or Creator, or King, or Everlasting, or Holy One (for a better list, see: http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-definition-god-titles.htm) (there are many other resources you can review, too). God is so much more than our Father.

    To finish (finally) as I remember, you were a convert to Mormonism. I pray that you consider these things you read from me today you review with an open heart and mind, and if you are a person striving to find the truth, you will continue to do so. Challenge your beliefs. Believe it or not, I challenge mine.

  162. Cowboy, you bring up many points on many topics in your last post. I will not go into all of them. Not trying to ignore you, just the post would be ridiculously long.

    And there are many things you say I agree with, but probably not in a way you like. You say:
    “much to the disagreement on the point of there being only one God and that the Mormon and Traditional Christian views are incompatible”

    And I agree. How you view “one” God and how I view it are different. And yes, “Mormons” and “Traditional Christians” are not compatible but there is a common thread between us and that is we believe in the Bible which is a testimony of Jesus. And that is why I try and talk with you about the things we have in common and I ask specific questions to get your view. Now at this site, I am talking to several different variations of “Christians” and to pretend you all think alike on all the same subjects is far from the truth. The only thing this group agrees on is the Bible is the Word of God and The Nicaea Creed which tries and explain the “Trinity” God. And even in this official document, most here and in Christianity in general do not agree on all the points. Last year, Tim made a compelling case that most Christian Churches officially think alike on the Trinity but that is not what I see when I talk to church going Christians.

    So, I apologize for seeming too circular. In order to speak with some one rationally, you have to know their position on specific subjects. Most of the positions on the LDS Church are out there and you have read them. But when you present them, they come with an age old anti-Mormon slant which often misrepresents our views. Also, there is the distrust factor. As in the LDS Church is “changing” to be more Christian. The doctrine hasn’t changed at all in the almost 40 years I’ve been a member but emphasis has changed and general perceptions has changed to be more correct. The biggest is “work your way to heaven or godhood”.

    When I bring up a scripture to support a gospel topic, I expect to be understood. I know, for instance, that Psalms 82 is not about godhood. But like so many other “unique” LDS doctrines, the topics are causally mentioned in the Bible as common knowledge of the people at the time. And that is what “I have said, ye are gods” is about. And what I have approached is what was common knowledge to the early Christians has been lost since details of it were not recorded in the writings of the New Testament authors except in passing.

    The difficulty I have with this is the fact, that you Evangelicals do look at the Bible in a similar way. The way I looked at it when I was one of you. If something comes up that little is understand, then the scripture gets white washed away. Good example is your treatment of Jesus using the quote from Psalm. You really believe Jesus used sarcasm here? Sarcasm in juvenile and sinful in most cases. Jesus was always straight up about truth. He never said anything that wasn’t true. He was always teaching. He may not have revealed everything he knew but he never taught falsely. So, since you don’t believe we are of the same species as Jesus, a clever way to dismiss the truth is presented.
    So many verses from the Bible are white washed like this by most Christians. It is very disappointing.
    Oops, this post is getting much longer than planned. I’ll just leave it here.

  163. Ray, you’re problem in addressing Christian doctrine is that you don’t get it. Sorry, you just don’t. You keep wanting to fit it within the Mormon “box”. You don’t see that we agree are much, much more. You want to call Nicea “official”. You want it to be neat and tidy, like your faith, Christianity is not. Its very simple, but we don’t have rules to check off or authorities telling us what is going on.

    That’s what you don’t get, and why your questions won’t help, and why I think we keep going in circles. Christianity is not going to work within your expectations. That’s why I say you have to let go of them and look at them apart from your Mormonism.

    Bear in mind also that a simple statement that we share a common testimony of Jesus is not in and of itself helpful. What is the testimony and who is this Jesus? If the testimony is different and the Jesus is different, we are worlds apart even though the same words are used. But again, you have to look at the equation from a different perspective. You can’t force this.

    And so we enter the discussion of Jesus’s statement about being gods. Its impossible to really discuss it further if you can’t recognize that Jesus may be someone other than what you think, or that he may mean something different. As I inferred in my last post, even if Jesus was not being sarcastic or using pointed language, Psalm 82 does not make the point you think it does. Therefore, Jesus is not making the point you think he is making.

    Until you can recognize this as a possibility, let alone open yourself up to the truth, you just won’t get it, and you will continue to play gymnastics with ideas about Christianity to get them to fit in your box.

    I encourage you to keep asking questions, but you also have to accept our answers. To start, believe that your statement “The only thing this group agrees on is the Bible is the Word of God and The Nicaea Creed which tries and explain the “Trinity” God” is categorically false.

  164. I have been watching from the side because Ray has not caused anger like I have been doing.

    { You want to call Nicea “official”. You want it to be neat and tidy, like your faith, Christianity is not. Its very simple, but we don’t have rules to check off or authorities telling us what is going on.}

    It was the lack of “neat and tidy” that caused me to question which Christian denomination was right, long before I found that Joseph Smith had asked the same question. While trying to prove Mormonism wrong, I found that the different Protestant faiths were the ‘other gospel’.
    Just my view.
    Go with God,
    Fred

  165. Cowboy, I am open to hear your point of view. Indeed, I am interested in it. And I will evaluate your point of view based on what I know. But your point of view, very often can not be “the truth” in total when it conflicts with the writers of the Bible. The Apostle John is the primary source of the divine nature of man and his future. It is hardly just one verse from the OT which Jesus quoted which John used to broach the subject. If it was just one verse, then maybe your view could be correct that Jesus could have behaved like a smart mouth teenager. Remember, it is “the testimony of two or more witnesses” which establishes truth, not just one. But I find it hard to believe Jesus would ever do so. It does not ring true in any way, shape or form. We are now talking about the character and personality of the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and the best he could do with some incompetent Pharisees was smart off? No, Jesus did not use false doctrine to defend his position as the Son of God. He used truth, like he always did: every single time. I think you should reread the verses in John. And I think you should do a line by line study of Psalms 82 and then tie it all together. Maybe it will become clearer.

    Paul, comes in second on the divine nature and destiny of mankind. What Joseph Smith did was synthesize all the scriptures on the subject. Not, unlike all the Protestant ministers, before you, have done with your favorite Gospel topics. The only difference is Joseph claimed the mantle and authority of a prophet to do so. There is only one truth and it should come in a “box”. Truth is not open to being changed; only clarified.

  166. Cowboy,
    Let me attempt to put this in perspective.
    In Europe, by the 1500’s the Catholic Church was so corrupt that a rebellion against it began. This spawned the Protestant movement. This movement rejected the priesthood of the Catholic Church and established a new authority: the Bible. The trouble is only the select few who could read controlled which Bible doctrines were taught to the masses. So, in that regard Protestant “Christianity” was still like the Catholic Church without the hypocrisy, being controlled by the Protestant Priests. Now, about 250 years later something amazing happened. Many more people could read and the Bible was more easily available to the public. This led to a period known as “the Great Awakening”. (Read about it someplace like Wikipedia). Here, a new trend came to be which rejected the idea one still needs a priest for salvation hence one only needs the Bible and their own “relationship with God”. At this point in time, the late 1700’s, particularly in the United States, various versions of the Protestant movement began fracturing into huge numbers of Christian Churches. (Europe, however, remains fairly unfractured with primarily about 6 Protestant Denominations).
    And with most points of Gospel doctrine and related views, all of these churches are different than each other. It is not a false statement on the claim I made.

    These many “Christian” churches took the Bible and established churches based primarily on the doctrines they perceive their most recent church lacked. This, Cowboy, is a matter of historical fact.

    Here are a few points to consider:
    Do you believe there will be a 1,000 years of peace on the earth when Christ returns? I do. But 90% of your fellow Christians say no, while 10% say yes.
    Do you believe the earth is 6,000 years old like the Bible seems to indicate or is it billions of years old like science says it is? 30% of Christians say the earth is 6,000 years old while a whopping 70% say, no, that’s not true despite what it says in Genesis.
    Did man evolve from a lower life form? 70% say yes, while 30% say no.
    Was Adam a real person or a symbol?

    Those are big issues. What about smaller ones? Is baptism by immersion or sprinkling? If baptized by sprinkling, is it valid if your church says immersion is the way? Can women do the baptizing or only men? Can women rule in church? Are we committing adultery if we are divorced and remarried to some one else, are we saved by grace or works or can we fall from grace? The list goes on and on and on.

    The point is your truth was most likely established shortly after the Great Awakening rather than at the time of Christ, as most Evangelicals want to believe. This means, most of the details of what you believe aren’t but within decades of age as LDS doctrine and possibly much younger. Why would your truth be real and LDS truth not be real? Because the preachers of the 1790’s figured everything out correctly?

  167. Ray, you have no clue nor no interest in paying attention in what is most important. All those things are side issues. Important, maybe, but side issues to the most important. The most important is faith in Jesus as the source of our salvation. That is undisputable in the history of he Christian church and is expressed in the Bible. Its right there in it. And if we are to take Jesus seriously, and we should, we are to believe him when hells us that belief in him is the only way to salvation, and that we are to give away everything to follow him. We are also to take note that he never said anything about polygamy, curse of Cain, secret ceremonies in temples, or anything like that that Smith put in motion.

    I am saddened you want to put religion in a box an think Smith is to believed when he claimed the mantle of prophet after getting so much wrong, not least in trying to clarify the ‘right church’. Its very premise is wrong. It is a distraction, and you have become distracted, too.

  168. Cowboy,
    I understand your concern. But to me, it’s all important. All Gospel topics are important, but I agree that some are more important than others. And Jesus is the core of everything related to Gospel topics.

  169. But what you have done is let side issues distract you from the one thing that matters most. And why? To put God in a box?

    I am not sure you are sincere when you say you understand the concern, or at least don’t grasp the severity of it. It seems you give it lip service but won’t go any deeper.

  170. I don’t get where you are going with this. Why do you think I am putting God in a “box”? I never said God is limited. In fact, I implied the future exaltation of man shows God is limitless in power and ability. And only a little of which has been shared with us at this time.

    I think your concern is we LDS do not rely on Jesus, when everything about the LDS Church, beliefs, worship and practices are completely centered around Christ. But if I am wrong in understanding you, please explain.

  171. Ray, I know you don’t get it. That’s clear, and why I say I doubt your sincerity or lack of understanding.

    I could begin to answer your assertion about how you think I believe it is your lack of reliance on Jesus, but I fully recognize you rely on Jesus. I don’t doubt that you rely on someone called Jesus at all. But we’ve been down this road several times, but you seem as if you have learned nothing.

    But your statement that you think the exaltation of man showing God’s power is precisely where you put God in a box. Again, I could tell you why but we’ve been down the road before and you don’t seem to have learned a thing.

    I have told you what matters in Christianity, and you, time after time after time, return to the questions that while important, miss the point. You’ll never understand Christianity if you don’t focus on God and getting nearer to the heart of Christian belief. Its this heart that you avoid, that you never seem interested in. This is where God is not explainable in human terms. This is where God reveals himself as much, much bigger than human understanding. This is where we must trust that only God can save us, and we have to put our faith in him as our only source of salvation, that he came to earth, humbled himself to become like us, to save us. We cannot be “like him” or take on anything about him. He is our God, and we are his creation.

    Are you willing to learn about this God, who is not like you, who is above you in every conceivable way, who came to earth to save you? Can you set aside the distractions and focus on this God?

    Being honest, you’ve shown no interest in that, always returning to the side questions like eschatology or baptism or creationism, etc., even stating that I don’t think you believe in Christ. You did this very thing in this last post at 10:55. I am not sure you are able to think about Christianity beyond these tangential issues and get to what really matters.

    I pray you do open up and consider what matters, not the side issues. God is there, knocking, but are you listening?

  172. Well, JT, what I wrote above is certainly contentious, but honest. And I tire of the endless circles, and I am done staying in them. Mock if you like; no worries here.

  173. OK I’m going to regret this.

    What is the point of telling anyone what is and isn’t important in religion? A particular doctrine, principal, policy etc. my in fact be quite important to that person.

    From my study of Mormonism it is obvious that certain ideas play a more critical role than it does in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant theology (hereafter ORP).

    As an example most ORP recognize the role of the family in redemption, but in Mormonism the family is not just critical it is central to their redemptive story. Or take “authority”. What for many ORP is an exegetical and historic disagreement for Mormons is the so vital the very existence of Christ’s Church is dependent on a very specific type of authority.

    So from where I am standing it is not, “you don’t get it that’s not important”, it’s I don’t get it, why is that important?”

    One last thing. Always make room for the distinction between doctrine and belief.

  174. Cowboy,
    I am actually dismayed by your last post. Most of it sounds like an out reach to some one who doesn’t believe or worship God. Would you say this sort of thing to some one in your own church?
    I think you need to realize that Mormons, like you, believe in God, pray to God, love God, study his words and frequently have direct communication with God and feel his Spirit regularly. Some of us, like myself, have actually witnessed or been part of divine miracles performed by God as he used us as his mouth piece, much as he used Moses as his mouthpiece right before the Red Sea parted.

    >>> Its this heart that you avoid, that you never seem interested in.

    I don’t often share special spiritual experiences with people which I perceive to have come to a conclusion about my faith based on anti-Mormon writings. With these people, I would rather talk about things which might open up a positive dialog. One does not need to be convincing another his or her position is right to have a positive dialog.

    And I am not talking to you about your “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” because I believe you have felt God’s spirit too or you wouldn’t be religious and posting at this site.

    >>>This is where we must trust that only God can save us, and we have to put our faith in him as our only source of salvation, that he came to earth, humbled himself to become like us, to save us.

    And who do you think Mormons think can save us? ‘There is only one name under heaven which can save us: Jesus Christ’

    >>>We cannot be “like him” or take on anything about him. He is our God, and we are his creation.

    We are more than his creation. We are his children. Literally in the spirit and figuratively upon acceptance of Christ. That is why God has a special concern for us. Jesus didn’t die for all whale kind, or deer kind, or lion kind or bacteria kind. He died for mankind, and it is man that he is most interested in. Why?

    Genesis tells us we are made in his image. And it doesn’t matter if you think it’s literal or figurative or both. There is a very special correlation between man and God. – Gen. 1: 27

    After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, he said
    “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” – Gen. 3: 22

    And John tells us, “we shall be like him”
    “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John 3: 22

    So, Cowboy, when you say things which conflict with the New Testament authors, it is very hard for me to appreciate what it is you are saying.

  175. I disagree with JT laughing. I believe Cowboy, though strongly worded, believes what he is saying.

  176. Ray, you’re still not getting it. I know you believe in a God. I know you passionately believe in a God. But you still show no indication of any willingness to explore any deeper what has been presented to you and seem stuck in the same circle.

    This is partly why I say our faiths are incompatible. You don’t understand we don’t worship the same God and you seem uninterested in understanding why. This is that box I am talking about.

    I can only say the same thing so many times before I conclude it is impossible to communicate when that person does not show any interest in understanding what has been presented to him.

    Sorry Ray, I respect you and like you (sincerely) but you’re just not getting it.

  177. Ray,

    I’m not sure if I am trying to clarify anything, I’m just in awe that you and Slowcowboy can talk past each other without even the possibility of communicating.

    I’m not sure if it is because each of you doesn’t know anything about the other’s beliefs or if you both simply don’t care.

    Quoting from Saint Anselm, Daniel Strange teaches that an encounter with another religion must be self consciously “faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum).

  178. Gundek, please let me know what you see that I may be missing from Ray. But yes, I am growing frustrated with the lack of progress in this discussion. If I can do anything to improve let me know, as I am open to criticism (hopefully constructive, if course 🙂 )

  179. Yes Gundek, please feel free to speak your thoughts.
    I am about to get swamped, but I will get back here as soon as time permits.

  180. My basic point is only that you are both talking past each other. I don’t know what motivates either of you in this conversation but it goes nowhere because you are not taking the time to understand the other’s point of view.

    My advice is that each of you are going to have to decide on how much time you want to invest in understanding the beliefs of the other.

  181. Yeah, it goes without saying that we are not getting any where.

    Ray, what is it that you do not get or what may be getting in your way of even acknowledging my point that your insistence on the differences is way off track, and that if you want to understand Christianity better, you have to understand that Jesus and his saving power is what it is all about, no matter what stripe of Christian one might be? What keeps you from even accepting that at the heart of every Christian is Jesus and his sole power to save, and that this is common throughout all of Christianity? Why won’t you accept that issues like the age of the earth or eschatology do not address this fundamental point?

  182. Slowcowboy, you have said,

    { What keeps you from even accepting that at the heart of every Christian is Jesus and his sole power to save, and that this is common throughout all of Christianity? Why won’t you accept that issues like the age of the earth or eschatology do not address this fundamental point?}

    Talking about Jesus you said.
    {We are also to take note that he never said anything about polygamy, curse of Cain, secret ceremonies in temples, or anything like that that Smith put in motion.}

    I have worshiped with people who do not use a piano or organ because the instruments are not mentioned in the Bible. Yet they do other things that are not in the Bible.

    You also pick and choose from the things Jesus did not talk about when you worship, the things you think are important.

    You believe you follow the true way and all others are wrong. That is OK, I believe the same about the faith I follow.

    We say you can be a Christian, even if you do not have the complete gospel. You say we are not Christians because we do not follow the narrowing of God’s Word from the creeds you accept.

    We accept the authority of Prophecy.
    You accept the authority of the Creeds, even if you do not want to admit it.

  183. Oh, Fred. You do precisely what I am saying Ray does. Frustrating.

    Anyway, the difference between the curse of Cain, etc and using a piano or organ in a service is night and day. You do realize that falls right in line with you accepting the authority of prophecy and a prophet, right? There is no authority on using pianos or not; there is authority on the existence of a curse on black people because they are black.

    Now, as to the creeds, you have to understand they are not about authority. They are about defining a doctrine, a belief, a fundamental concept within Christianity. They hold no authority apart from the truth they convey. But that truth is found in many, many other places, and existed prior to the creeds being drafted, all the way to Jesus himself.

    You don’t have to agree, Fred, but you need to understand that this is fundamental to our faith. Like Ray, I ask you to explain why you cannot accept this? Why do you harp on the things that don’t matter, like pianos in church? Is this something they teach you in whatever form of apologetic teaching within the LDS structure?

    I posit a very simple point: pianos in church or mode of baptism etc. are tangential to the primacy of Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross as God incarnate in the Christian faith. Everything else is a distraction. If you don’t understand, please, ask questions.

  184. Please accept my apologies for coming off flippant in my last comment; it was not intended as a personal mockery. What Gundek described – talking past each other – is what I was laughing at, but it was still poor form.

    If I can do anything to improve let me know, as I am open to criticism

    Yeah, it goes without saying that we are not getting any where.

    Ray, what is it that you do not get . . . ?

    Although the original question was directed to Gundek, if I may, I’d like to add my two cents on this: I think it is best to be introspective about how to improve interfaith dialogue. In other words, rather than asking “what is it that you don’t get,” try asking yourself (or the other party) “what is it that _I_ don’t get?”

  185. {I posit a very simple point: pianos in church or mode of baptism etc. are tangential to the primacy of Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross as God incarnate in the Christian faith. Everything else is a distraction. }

    Slowcowboy ,

    You seem to be saying that Jesus doing the Atonement is more important than the nature of God. Am I correct?

  186. Fred, let me reword that. Notice that I state that God Incarnate sacrificed for us on the Cross. The Cross means nothing if God himself did not die there.

    The Cross is significant precisely because God Himself was out upon it.

  187. Fred,

    I won’t deny that most of Christianity accepts the authority of the ecumenical creeds as brief statements of the Churches beliefs. Of course that authority is expressed differently in different traditions, but they have certainly stood the test of time. I mean who has ever heard of Councils of Arles, Milan or Sirmium?

    Why do you think that 99% of Christianity continues to reject the authority of the various Mormon prophets?

  188. {Why do you think that 99% of Christianity continues to reject the authority of the various Mormon prophets?}

    Same reason most of the world are not Christian.

  189. Slowcowboy,

    You did not answer my question.

    “Slowcowboy ,

    You seem to be saying that Jesus doing the Atonement is more important than the nature of God. Am I correct?”

    I was thinking about their nature of God being the difference between one being doing three things, or three beings doing one thing.

  190. “I was thinking about their nature of God being the difference between one being doing three things, or three beings doing one thing.”

    That doesn’t reflect the trinity.

  191. Gundek

    “As of the early 21st century, Christianity has approximately 2.4 billion adherents, out of about 7.2 billion people.[1][2][3][4][a] The faith represents approximately one-third of the world’s population and is the largest religion in the world, . . .” [Wiki]

    Only one third of the world agree with us. Since most makes you right, you have just proven all of Christian wrong. ; < |

  192. Sure. 2.2 billion Christian is more than 1.6 billion Muslim or 1 billion Hinduism, but if you want to be right, OK.

    It doesn’t explain why 2.2 billion Christian’s don’t acknowledge the authority of the various Mormon prophets?

  193. But most are Christian. More than any other religion.

    Gundek – These two sentences are saying two entirely different things. “Most of the world are not Christian” is an objectively true statement. It is different than saying they have more adherents than any other religion.

    Although I do not always follow Fred’s reasoning, I think his counter is entirely apropos to your question, which seems to be an argumentum ad populum.

  194. Well, JT, considering that “most” means something that is the greatest, yes, Christianity is the most followed faith out there. That is also an objectively true statement. But I think spending too much time harping on this is a bit foolish, no? And that Fred’s bringing up the point to begin with is a distraction, isn’t it? 99% of the Christian world denies Mormon authority, right? Also an objective statement. Can you refute it?

  195. JT

    I’ll admit I misspoke, Christianity has a plurality not a majority. If somehow as Fred insists, l have just proven all of Christian wrong, I will have to hope that the person and work of Jesus is sufficient to overcome my carelessness.

    Being from a dissenting Protestant background I really wouldn’t make the claim that “most makes you right”.

    My question is simply trying to get at how the GREAT Apostasy, restoration, unique prophetic authority, one true Church, rejecting all other Christian baptisms can all be basic LDS beliefs while Fred insists everyone can be a Christian.

    I appreciate the ecumenical spirit, but at some point don’t theological claims mean something?

    I’ve been reading about Vatican II and the idea of the religious other. I’m just curious what it means when Fred says 2.2 billion people who reject LDS prophetic claims are Christian?

  196. Fred,

    You said: “You seem to be saying that Jesus doing the Atonement is more important than the nature of God. Am I correct?”

    I was thinking about their nature of God being the difference between one being doing three things, or three beings doing one thing.”

    Gundek already adequately responded, as this does not reflect the Trinity. However, I think you are trying to suggest some division of labor or personage. Either way, only one thing was accomplished on the Cross: the forgiveness of sins for all who believe. And, whether we say it was one or three distinct persons on the Cross, that is the point of the Cross. And if we allow latitude on this second point as to one or three persons, we are squarely in the mystery of the Trinity, one God, three persons. Remember, we believe God is fully God (the Father), fully Human (Jesus) and fully spirit (The Holy Spirit).

    If you want a clean, crisp answer that won’t make your head spin, you won’t like that. But this is Biblical narrative: there is only one God, but Jesus claimed things only God could do, and he claimed to be able to send the Spirit.

  197. { If somehow as Fred insists, l have just proven all of Christian wrong, I will have to hope that the person and work of Jesus is sufficient to overcome my carelessness.}
    You fell into the law of unintended consequences.

    If you want to have fun sometime, take the things that are said to be wrong with Mormonism and apply it to your version of Christendom.

    Much of the time you will wrongly prove your faith wrong, just like it wrongly proves my faith wrong

  198. OK,
    I ask you if your idea of the Trinity is just as important as a belief in the Atonement when it comes to deciding if someone is a Christian ;
    and you reply by teaching me about your ideas about the Trinity compaired to mine.

  199. Cowboy,
    “you have to understand that Jesus and his saving power is what it is all about, no matter what stripe of Christian one might be? What keeps you from even accepting that at the heart of every Christian is Jesus and his sole power to save, and that this is common throughout all of Christianity? Why won’t you accept that issues like the age of the earth or eschatology do not address this fundamental point?”

    I fully accept that without the redeeming power of Christ, Christianity (and Mormonism) means nothing. It’s a given. I am confused when you think I am avoiding or refusing to admit this fact. I am the one who said without Christ’s resurrection, then the atonement would have never been real. That the resurrection validates the redeeming blood of the atonement. So, I don’t understand when you say over and over that I “don’t get it”, other than belittling talk.

    All of the “side” issues put together form a basis for gospel thinking. That is why I think it’s important to talk about them. That’s why I talk about them especially when those same issues are used to attempt to “prove” the LDS Church’s teachings are off track or wrong.

  200. Fred, actually, I answered that what you refer to as the Atonement is only possible with God on the Cross. God himself was on the cross. Seems to me either you are playing games or not paying attention.

  201. Ray, first, let me address your statement that you rest fully in the saving power of Christ. I do think you honestly believe Jesus saves most everyone. And without Jesus’ grace, you would not be able to do anything. However, you also believe that to be fully saved (exalted) you have to do stuff, and not just generic good works, specific rituals as defined by the Mormon church. This is entirely different that the Christian view that I am trying to communicate.

    The view I am trying to communicate is that only Jesus saves. And this is what all Christians believe. No matter the stripe of Christian, that is at the heart of every faith. Therefore, it is vital you understand that. Anything else is a distraction. Whether you agree, you need to understand that point.

    Now, I am happy to discuss the likes of baptism, age of the earth, eschatology, etc, but none of these affect the truth that only Jesus saves. And I have not argued that those things prove the Mormon church wrong.

    All I am doing is arguing that only Jesus saves, not priests or pastors or baptism or anything or anyone else, including ourselves.

  202. I’m sorry Fred,

    I wasn’t clear. I’m not interested in proving Mormonism wrong.

    I am trying to understand your ecumenical claim that Mormonism recognizes all 2.2 billion confessing Christians as true Christians despite their rejection of Mormonism’s prophetic authority, not being members of the one true Church, not being baptized with proper priesthood authority, etc.

  203. {…recognizes all 2.2 billion confessing Christians as true Christians despite their rejection…}
    I see where some of the confusion is occurring.
    Your use of “true” Christian is getting in the way.
    By your defination, a true Christian MUST believe in the Atonement and the Trinity, plus a few other things. There is a bunch of ‘lesser’ doctrines that you say is not important enough to worry about, but to be a true Christian in your version of the one true church, people must believe, live and teach these core principles.

    Latter-day Saint doctrine is not so restrictive in the definition of Christian. You do not have to know and understand it all to be a Christian.

    We believe that God has a set way of teaching and authorising the leaders of His Church so they can teach those who have not yet learned.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the earthly church that Heavenly Father has given the authority to speak and teach for Him today.

    Many of the teachings give us a better understanding of why we do some of the ordinances, and how the Lord wants them done. You do not need authority to be a Christian. By the value given the idea of a true Christian in this thread, you can even be a true Christian without having the authority from God to perform His ordinances.

  204. Fred,

    My definition of a true Christian is not that they must believe in the Atonement and the Trinity, plus a few other things. A true Christian is a person who has a true faith as accepting, receiving, and resting upon the person and work of Jesus Christ.

    I don’t think the idea of one true Church, as in a single institution, in any way reflects what we know about the New Testament and earliest forms of Christianity.

    I think my question is, How can you be a Christian without baptism?

  205. {…resting upon the person and work of Jesus Christ.}

    That is your way of saying that only those who accept your defination titled “Trinity” can be your brand of TRUE CHRISTIAN.

    {…as in a single institution…}
    Your one true church is full of so many protesting protestants that it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Your one true forest (church) has many accepted variations that not many can see it as one body. Substitute “Body of Christ” for “one true church”. Only true Christians are in your version of the Body of Christ (the one true church) and only people who accept your idea of Trinity are true Christians.

    And as I see it, the defination called the Trinity came from good men trying to bring understanding and clarity to the confusion that came after the authority through the original twelve was no longer available.
    Since then many good men have tried to do good by studying and teaching God’s Word without the authority God gave to men like Paul.
    Many protest the wrongness of the teaching by creating a new protest-ant denomination.

    Much confusion.

  206. {I think my question is, How can you be a Christian without baptism?}
    The ordinance is not required to be a Christian, but it is a required ordnance that needs to be preformed before you meet Jesus at the judgement seat. There are also some other blessings that help us through this life.
    How do you share this blessing with those who did not have the opportunity to partake of this ordnance while on the earth? Or do you think they did not deserve it?

  207. Fred, actually, I would argue that Gundek’s definition is accurate and straight forward. There’s little confusion in it. Sure, we can intentionally confuse anything, but the Body of Christ is made of those individuals who believe in the saving power of Christ. The idea of a “One True Church” is a man made idea designed to prop up the members of this “one true church” to the exclusion of everyone else.

    Too many, and that includes Christians in my criticism, are exclusionary. They get mad when people believe something different, and get mad when they do things differently. One of the tools of the enemy, in my opinion, is precisely this pride and division. When Christians get ticked when someone decides a baptism is not good when it is a sprinkle instead of immersion they do a disservice to God, and God’s name is blasphemed from this.

    I believe the Mormon faith arose from such division, and thrives off the ability to say they are clear and not divided (though the truth –more specifically, the lack thereof– of their own division is often ignored). But the Mormon faith is not the only source of criticism regarding Christianity on that point.

    But the thing that matters in defining Christianity, let alone Christians, is that belief in Christ, and resting in what Christ did for us. We’ve lost sight of that. And its been lost not because of the word of God or what Christ did for us, but because we are people. Its easy to confuse the actions of the people who deliver the message with the message itself.

    And that is what I am asking you and Ray to do: look at the message, look at its consistency between the different developed sects of Christianity, look at its history. That has remained consistent through time. All the focus on the differences, differences that are the result of prideful (though well intentioned) men who let pride dictate their actions to create division.

    So, in the end, I ask you to consider the message, not the messenger. The message is actually quite clean and straightforward: trust in Jesus alone as the source of our salvation, as Jesus, as God himself, died sacrificially for us such that once we trust in his death and resurrection we are eternally saved and can do nothing to improve upon his perfect sacrifice.

    The circle we always seem to enter is because we cannot seem to agree upon the definitions of words because the Christian and Mormon words are the same but so vastly different. To consider the message I present above, if you want to understand Christianity, requires you to accept the Christian definition. Are you willing to do that or accept what Christians tell you they are?

  208. Slowcowboy – That sounds awesome. Could you please provide the Christian definition of the words that you are referring to?

  209. OK. Let’s start with Jesus: referred to as the Son of God, who is wholly human but fully God and has always been God. Jesus died on a cross when Jewish leaders accused him of blasphemy, an offense punishable by death in Jewish culture at the time, and convinced Roman leaders to follow through with this penalty. This death, and Jesus life, were foretold in the OT scripture, and his subsequent resurrection proved a final victory over sin as his death brought the sin of the world to hell, and his resurrection demonstrated his power over death and the sin that leads to death.

    Jesus’ own words indicate that faith in him is the only way to receive this victory over death.

    If you have sincere questions, please ask.

  210. Great – thanks Slowcowboy. Could you parse out/elaborate a little more on “wholly human but fully God”? As well as “his death brought the sin of the world to hell”?

  211. What is there to elaborate? The statement stands on its own. If you have questions on it, I encourage you to consider what it means on its own.

    As to his death bringing the sin of the world to hell, we can say this is God’s triumph over sin. There are a number of ways to state this idea, but it represents how only God can free us of the bonds of sin, and in his death he took all of our sins with him, of course, this happens when we believe and become adopted under his wings of protection.

    Again, I encourage you to consider this concept on your own. I don’t think a game of cat and mouse with these definitions is productive. Do you?

  212. No cat and mouse games here – I’m sincerely trying to take you up on your offer to Fred:

    The circle we always seem to enter is because we cannot seem to agree upon the definitions of words because the Christian and Mormon words are the same but so vastly different. To consider the message I present above, if you want to understand Christianity, requires you to accept the Christian definition. Are you willing to do that or accept what Christians tell you they are?

    To be perfectly honest, I think Mormons would agree with just about everything you said, with perhaps the exception of “has always been God”. I asked those clarifying questions not as a cat and mouse game, but to truly understand whether there may be some disagreement underneath the surface definitions of the words you used. Mormons believe that Jesus became mortal, and yet was – and is – fully God (and not just in the way that you’re thinking). Mormons also believe in Christ’s triumph over sin, so we would agree there as well.

    If you put your definition in front of a Mormon, they would find very little (if anything) to disagree with.

    By the way, what denomination to you affiliate with?

  213. So, Mormons fail based on my definition. If any one of those fail, then there is no match. If Jesus was not always God, there is no agreement, even if the rest may fit.

    I go to an Evangelical Free Church at present, grew up mostly in a Methodist Church, but generally consider myself non-denominational because I see much that each has to offer and don’t get too caught up in liturgy and the like. I’m there to worship God.

  214. Fred,

    I think you may have me confused with someone else, I’m a pretty conservative Protestant but I have gotten over the idea that people have to agree with me to be a Christian.

    How does accepting, receiving, and resting upon the person and work of Jesus Christ require anyone to believe my “defination titled “Trinity””? I don’t see it.

    I’ve thought about this quite a bit and I think that putting a faithful trust in Christ at the font of Christianity is the only positively explain the sanctification and growth in the Faith. No one can be expected to understand a list of fundamental doctrines to be a Christian.

    Luther teaches us to “let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger” meaning that Christians should own there sinfulness and recognize that Christ is sufficient to forgive our real sins not just our humblebrag sins.

    Well I say let your errors be great, but let your trust in Christ be greater. As a Protestant I believe there is no mortal sin, nothing that Christ cannot forgive. As far as I am concerned there is room in heaven for heretics.

    My one true Church is full of professing Christians not just Protestants. There has never been a time (after the Ascension of our Lord) when the entire Body of Christ has been united under a single governing authority. It is simply historically inaccurate not to recognize that the Body of Christ grew from house churches to city churches to regional churches with layers of ecclesiastical authority added through the centuries. The idea of restoring a New Testament Church as some pure form of Christianity is a myth for people who don’t read their Bibles closely.

    If you don’t believe me Read the epistles to the Church in Corinth. Much confusion. Certainly.

  215. {My one true Church is full of professing Christians not just Protestants. }
    Gundik,

    Thank you, you understand what I have been saying.
    You flame to be a member of the one true church, no matter how different the parts are.

  216. {Luther teaches us to “let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger” meaning that Christians should own there sinfulness and recognize that Christ is sufficient to forgive our real sins not just our humblebrag sins.}

    That sounds like advice to do something, to do works?

    As a Mormon I learned it a bit differently.
    No matter how big your sins, Jesus’ s love and grace has removed it, now go out and do better untill you get it right, He will be with you untill the end and help you to grow .

  217. {No, I’m saying that membership in the one true Church depends on Christ.}
    You just stated the Mormon point of view, unless you want to narrow your defination.

  218. {t is simply historically inaccurate not to recognize that the Body of Christ grew from house churches to city churches to regional churches with layers of ecclesiastical authority added through the centuries. }

    It is who has that ecclesiastic authority today that we disagree on.
    I believe in the restored priesthood, you believe in continued scholarly religious study.

    We believe in top down, God to Jesus, to His earthly leaders.
    I see that being better than men comming togeather to tell us what they believe God meant.

  219. {If Christ alone is the Mormon position, why would I want to change my position?}
    To remove the scholarly mistakes that have crept into the Gospel.

  220. {If Christ alone is the Mormon position, why would I want to change my position?}
    To remove mistakes that have creeped into the Gospel.

  221. So, Mormons fail based on my definition.

    I’m sorry – I thought we were talking about your definition of Jesus. Are we back to definitions of what is a Christian?

    If so, then I have a few more questions for you. You defined the criteria here, but who gets to define it generally? And can you find a general definition of Christianity or Christian not specifically designed to exclude Mormons (i.e., not from a countercult publication or a work referencing Mormonism) that contains your specific criteria? And even if you can, what makes that authoritative?

    Consider this entry in the Wikipedia article on Jesus in Christianity (take its authority for what you will, but I mention it only as a data point of one possible definition not written by a Mormon and probably as authoritative as anyone else’s):

    Although Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to summarize key elements of the shared beliefs among major denominations based on their catechetical or confessional texts.[9][10][11] Christian views of Jesus are derived from various biblical sources, particularly from the canonical Gospels and New Testament letters such as the Pauline Epistles. Christians predominantly hold that these works are historically true.[12]

    Those groups or denominations committed to what are considered biblically orthodox Christianity nearly all agree on the following points:[13]

    – Christians believe that Jesus was a human being who was also fully God.
    – Christians believe that Jesus came into the world as the son of only one earthly parent, Mary.
    – Christians believe that Jesus never sinned or did anything wrong.
    – Christians believe that Jesus was eventually martyred as a religious heretic, was buried in a tomb, and then on the third day came back to life.
    – Christians believe that because he rose from the tomb on the third day, that he lives and has a body of flesh and bone today.
    – Christians believe that Jesus eventually ascended back to God the Father.
    – Christians believe that Jesus will come back to earth a second time.[14]

    Mormons would agree with every word of this. And if you ask a Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist with a basic understanding of Mormon beliefs whether Mormonism would be considered a Christian faith, it is so patently obvious to them that they often laugh that it is even a question. Most of the discussion surrounding whether Mormons are Christian is more about internal boundary maintenance and an opportunity to call out one’s perception of heresy. Based on general usage of the term (and not individual theological definitions), Mormons clearly fit the bill.

  222. Thanks for the background, Slowcowboy – it’s nice to know the person behind the moniker. As you can probably tell, I’m a Mormon 🙂

  223. Fred,

    I understand it is who has ecclesiastic authority today that we disagree on. And I want to answer you a respectfully as I can. So, I do not find the the LDS claims of authority, apostleship, or prophecy credible. Let’s just leave it at that.

    I want to give you a serious answer about “let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger” sounding like a call to works.

    I have watched over and over as people have debated Mormons insisting they are a works based religion as if there was even the semblance of a similarity between Mormonism and Roman Catholicism. People ignore Mormon beliefs about creation, pre-existence, plan of salvation, Prophet, covenants and insist on treating Mormons like Roman Catholics.

    The faith alone vs faith and works debate is a debate between Roman Catholics and the Churches coming out of the Magisterial Reformation. This debate took place in a context before Mormonism ever existed and only makes sense within this context.

    To re-fight this debate between Mormons and American evangelicals or even between Mormons and Protestants would be to conflate the historical and theological context of the Magisterial Reformation/Counter Reformation and to ignore the actual doctrinal positions of everyone involved.

    The faith alone vs faith and works debate just doesn’t apply to Mormonism there isn’t enough similarity to make it actually work.

  224. Cowboy,
    Thanks for this clarification:

    “However, you also believe that to be fully saved (exalted) you have to do stuff, and not just generic good works, specific rituals as defined by the Mormon church. This is entirely different that the Christian view that I am trying to communicate. The view I am trying to communicate is that only Jesus saves.”

    This is a complex issue because it is clear from the NT that doing the right thing and making the right choices between good and evil are part of being a disciple of Christ. To be a disciple one does things which distinguishes them from non-disciples.

    Additionally, if I start quoting the NT on the subject it will be a tidal wave of references concerning “works”. Simply put, Jesus said, “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God”.

    That’s pretty strong language coming from the creator of the earth. John tells us Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”. This means there are commandments to be kept. The case for doing good works comes directly from Christ.

    Now, the trouble comes in when people believe their good works is what saves them. This is what Paul was trying to explain: no matter what you do, it is Christ’s grace which saves you.

    Doing good works is what enhances spiritual growth and draws us closer to God and that is why we are commanded to do them. We are not commanded to do them because they save us, in and of themselves. You, Cowboy, are doing a good work talking about Jesus all the time. It helps keep your mind on God and helps you avoid bad things. That aids you in your spiritual growth.

    Christ has laid out specific rituals. Christ commanded Baptism and thought is so important he was baptized himself, though he didn’t need it. He did it because he was following his own commandment. Other rituals such as ‘the Lord’s Supper’ were laid out by him. He told us to “remember him” in this way. Other rituals which are unique to latter-day-saints are considered “restored” rituals. And many documents have come forth since Joseph’s time which indicates ancient Christians performed these rituals in a similar way.

    I don’t know if that helps you see my view point, but I hope so. The thing I don’t understand about your view is if one accepts Christ and then down the road abandons living a Christ centered life are they still saved when they die?

  225. The debate works when everyone remembers to use accurate deffinitions to words, especially when the same word means different things to different backgrounds; to get beyond the sound bite definations pushed on us from outsiders. I have seen others do it to my faiths words, I have seen people of my faith do it to others, I have even seen myself do it with hindsight.

    Faith plus works does not get us saved.

    Remember, to us, we have faith that all are saved by the grace of Jesus’s Atonement, and because He saved us, we will be assigned to different ways to praise God for the eternities, according to what we do here.

    I see this life as a very long job training and job interview for our forevers.

  226. A postscript thought, made with hindsight.
    I truly question who has authority to speak for Jesus. Even though I believe I am following the correct path, I will most likely keep doing it untill I face Jesus on my judgement day.
    I started this thread trying to see if anyone here had a reason for me to look at the authority behind their belief system, and at some point I changed from trying to understand what makes you different to trying to teach why we are different.
    I was not using bait and switch or guided thought through questions with you. I found myself trying to and redid the post. Please forgive me if I did not stop them all.

  227. Much to respond to. I’ll be brief, though.

    First, Fred, if you want to know what makes us different, I pray you consider what Gundek and I are writing and consider it for what it is.

    Now, JT, if we leave the definition you cite from Wiki alone, you have a point, but both you and I know that is wildly incomplete on a number of different levels. Further, I only said the Mormon definition of Jesus fails to match the Christian definition. Yes, my Christian definition includes more than the wiki, but as I just said, you and I both know the definition of Jesus is much more than what wiki proposes. But the thing about not always being a God is crucial, and there are other differences that should be brought out, but with that alone, we have a very different Jesus we are talking about.

    You ask about authority. The authority I have is from centuries of consistent belief, scripture, and God himself.

    You bring up Muslims, etc. and if they would consider Mormonism a Christian faith and conclude they would. Maybe, but their position is irrelevant. Further, once these differences are brought forth and they are asked if they are the same as traditional Christians, I believe it would be hard from them to conclude that yes, Mormons are just the same as every other Christian. A faith that believes you can become a god, that Jesus is a literal spirit brother of Satan, a Jesus that is just one of perhaps millions of gods is surely different than a single ever existent and single God.

    You are free to disagree, but the trouble with you presenting an argument as you did above is that it over simplifies the discussion.

    Finally, Ray: what are your thoughts on the Mormon saying that Jesus saves after all you can do? I think that this even exists speaks volumes as to the focus on Jesus role in salvation versus our own. The works discussion does require a large focus on the entirety of the Bible, and not just taking pieces of it to conclude something larger. Jesus tells us explicitly that faith in him is what saves. When asked what commandments to follow, his answer is to love God with everything and to love our neighbor. He tells one gentleman to sell everything and follow him. He tells us to pick up our cross and follow him. He does demonstrate two important rituals, baptism and communion, but never does he say that salvation is dependent upon these things.

    Its not only Jesus who talks about doing things (and I just demonstrated he never says you must work to be saved, or more saved) but the apostles often discuss works, too. James says faith without works is dead. But he is talking about something other than specific ordinances or rituals. We see often in the Bible that nonbelievers will recognize believers by their fruits, which indicates a believer will change his life and will do good things. Paul, also, speaks of works and queries his audience to consider whether it was faith or ceremony that saved them. He also tells his readers that his works are like women’s sanitary napkins to God.

    Never, not once, does Jesus tell us anything about works being required for salvation, even though he does talk about works. He does, however, tell us that faith saves. So do the apostles. “Oh, foolish Galatians” Paul admonishes. Why were they foolish? Because they set forth the finish the race with works rather than faith.

    (Galatians 3: 1-5– 3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
    2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
    3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
    4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
    5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?)

    Ray, I DO understand, well, as best I can as a non-Mormon. What you say makes sense. I just think it is wrong, as I contrast it with my thoughts above. I don’t get the feeling you understand our position though. Perhaps I am wrong, but I don’t see that you understand it.

    And what happens to those who profess to believe and later leave? Great question, and I am not sure I have the absolute answer. I think this is a matter of faith and belief, and that true faith produces true and lasting fruit, and some may never truly believe. I also think people will sin, and people will doubt. I also believe Jesus has immeasurable grace and can forgive anyone anything. In the end, Jesus knows our hearts. He judges accordingly, not I.

  228. “A faith that believes you can become a god, that Jesus is a literal spirit brother of Satan, a Jesus that is just one of perhaps millions of gods is surely different than a single ever existent and single God.”

    You’ve been too steeped in the countercult.

  229. both you and I know that is wildly incomplete on a number of different levels

    You bring up Muslims, etc. and if they would consider Mormonism a Christian faith and conclude they would. Maybe, but their position is irrelevant.

    It depends on what we are talking about. Standard usage? Theological “correctness” per general orthodox beliefs? Theological “correctness” per a particular denomination’s beliefs? Sufficient understanding for salvation? Are we talking about whether we think a set of beliefs is heretical, or whether those set of beliefs are even centered on Jesus Christ at all?

    If we’re talking about standard usage, than I would argue that the wiki definition is actually too stringent and that the views of those of other faiths is quite relevant.

    Btw, I am totally fine if you think Mormons are heretical. I have no argument there. It’s what I see as a campaign to mislead others on what Mormon beliefs actually are (based on standard definitions) that I am against. The whole question of whether Mormons are Christians is a late 20th century invention associated with the rise of the countercult movement to stem Mormonism’s increasing growth (whose converts often came from other Christian faiths). Mormonism was generally viewed as a Christian sect – a quirky, heretical one that was known for bizarre practices like polygamy, but a Christian one nonetheless – that arose during the American Restorationist movement during the early 19th century.

    That we don’t agree on all points regarding the nature of Christ and the Godhead is not in dispute. Oversimplifying is saying we’re not Christian, which the average person (including the average Christian) would take to mean that Jesus Christ has no special significance in our theology.

    The authority I have is from centuries of consistent belief, scripture, and God himself.

    Consistent belief: Have you read the history of the church throughout these centuries? Most historians and religious scholars would disagree with you on this one. Scripture: then why use the language of the creeds? Why not directly quote from scripture? God: he restored that authority to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, so . . . 🙂

    For fun: It’s 1054. Are you on team East or team West?

  230. Enter the circle, JT. Enter the spin zone.

    This is precisely what I tire of. There is an ever changing set of goal posts in these discussions and we spin around and around and around, and never get anywhere.

    Fro example: “It depends on what we are talking about. Standard usage? Theological “correctness” per general orthodox beliefs? Theological “correctness” per a particular denomination’s beliefs? Sufficient understanding for salvation? Are we talking about whether we think a set of beliefs is heretical, or whether those set of beliefs are even centered on Jesus Christ at all?”

    Even if I discuss this, you will skirt around the issue, never addressing head on what is being discussed.

    You, I presume, know this.

    Now, being fair, Christianity is a large religion in that there are many, many followers. Much has been written on it, and there are critics galore. And yes, I have studied the history through the centuries. And even the east and the west share the critical notions of Christ, differing on nuances of the genesis of Christ and the Spirit and the level of mysticism, etc. However, these nuances still point to general agreement that Jesus always been been God. Another aspect of Eastern Orthodoxy is a concept of theosis, wherein beleivers believe they can become more like Christ, but to my knowledge, they never believe they become virtual gods in and of themselves and recieve all authority of Jesus and God.

    Again, JT, I ask that we not go down the rabbit trails you present above.

  231. Slowcowboy – The whole sentence is a grouping of standard countercult formulations and reflects a clear misunderstanding of Mormon teachings. I’ll explain them hear as I trust that you are sincere.

    a faith that believes you can become a god

    True on its face, but I think it is important to understand the context, because I don’t think it means what you think it means (i.e., that God is nothing special because we can all basically be gods). I would recommend reading (or reviewing) this article, which I think is a straightforward, honest, and well-written portrayal of what the Mormon belief actually is. Even if you disagree with it, it is important for understanding this oft-caricatured belief.

    that Jesus is a literal spirit brother of Satan

    This is little more than a polemical soundbite. Again, it’s true on its face, but clearly intended to mislead. It is a deduction made from the belief that God is the Father of all – i.e., all beings were created by God and are His spirit children. Christ has always been unique in Mormon theology, as He is the only begotten of the Father in the flesh, He is the divine Son of God, and He is the Savior of mankind. Satan, on the other hand, is a fallen angel. Other than both being the creation of God at some time, they are not on par with each other. At all.

    a Jesus that is just one of perhaps millions of gods

    Again, read the article above regarding the Mormon belief of becoming like God. We are not on par with Jesus. He is unique in our theology.

  232. The whole sentence is accurate, then, if everything is accurate on its face. Your subsequent comments do not change that.

    Now, I understand the arguments made in the article (published by the LDS church) and have reviewed that before. And Ray and I had virtually this same discussion above. The conclusion is that you believe you can become a god, just like God the father, who shares our divine nature and wants the best for us. We may never reach his level, but we will progress just as he progressed.

    I never said you think it is not special. I know you worship God and put him above all else. The possible existence of other Gods is irrelevant to you. Only the Father matters, along with his Son, who makes up our spiritual family.

    And yes, that spiritual family includes Satan, with whom we are all literally related to.

    You can say that my points are designed to mislead, but what you really mean is that you don’t like the light my statement shines on your faith. However, it is patently true that you believe you can become a god, Jesus is related to Satan, and that there are potentially millions of gods out there. Nothing in that statement is inaccurate. Sure, it is a very brief statement of your beliefs, and you are free to expand on them to clarify, but if you deny their veracity, you are not being honest.

  233. Fred,

    Conversation about soteriology is certainly possible and ensuring a common language is essential, but the caricature of works alone (LDS) and easy believe (evangelical) are so symptomatic of interfaith dialog that for the most part it is fruitless.

    Yes I am very aware of the universal nature of salvation in Mormon theology. I am also aware of D&C Section 19 defining eternal and endless in a particular Mormon application.

    This is exactly my point, unless people are willing to discuss the actual LDS application of salvation and exultation, something I would term as a synergistic universalism or a graduated universalism, they are missing the point.

    In the same way unless Mormons are willing to understand that for Protestants, good works are a necessary fruit of justification but cannot be understood as meritorious or worthy of reward apart from the imputed righteousness of Christ, they are missing the point.

    I don’t know what to tell you about authority. As I understand it the restoration is a restoration of authority, previously absent from the Christian Church. Questioning the prophetic and apostolic authority is a question about the restoration.

    The problem is that my basic presupposition is that Christ does not depart from his people, so the Church may be more or less pure, but it has never ceased to exist. So what you dismiss as “continued scholarly religious study” I embrace as the history of my Church. Warts and all.

  234. {Further, I only said the Mormon definition of Jesus fails to match the Christian definition.}

    Who is a Christian.
    I would agree with you IF you were more accurate in your statement.

    If you were to say that the Mormon definition of Jesus fails to match the CREEDAL Christian definition I would agree.

    Your use of Christian is much the same as when I say I am an American , when I mean that I live in the United States. I leave out the Americans that live north and south of the United States.

    Yes, Mormon Christianity is not the same as Creedal Christianity.

    Please be more accurate in the future.

  235. Oh, Fred.

    Have it your way. You apparently are not interested in anything else. I stand by my comment. You are free to disagree, but since you said this: “I started this thread trying to see if anyone here had a reason for me to look at the authority behind their belief system, and at some point I changed from trying to understand what makes you different to trying to teach why we are different.” that you were interested in learning where we stand.

  236. Whoa there, Slowcowboy. I’m not trying to mislead you about Mormon beliefs; I’m sincerely trying to explain them to you. And, frankly, accusing me of being disingenuous or flat-out dishonest is not going to move the conversation forward. Why the hostility?

    First, you say that one of the obstacles to good Evangelical-Mormon dialogue is differing definitions, and you offer to provide the definitions you use. Then, when you say something that can honestly be interpreted in different ways, I try to clarify the definition, to which you immediately respond by accusing me of trying to spin the issue. What gives? By asking you about your definitions, I am trying to nail down the goalposts, not move them. Sheesh.

    And do you really believe that saying something misleading, even if it is true on its face, is honest?

  237. {…that you were interested in learning where we stand.}

    You mis-state what I said.
    I came to learn.
    It was after ya’ll told me my question was invalid I changed to teaching mode.

  238. Fred: What question is invalid?

    JT: What is inaccurate? I am not accusing you of trying to mislead. I am, however, trying to get an agreed upon understanding of what you believe without spin. What is inaccurate about what I said?

    Now, it is becoming clear that both sides of this wish to educate and not learn. I have tried to demonstrate an understanding of your faith. I’ll leave that to others if that comes across, but I have stated agreement and accepted what you have told me. At issue, however, is not what you believe, but why I think there is disagreement. You can’t seem to go there, always inserting your point of view without accepting mine. You ask rabbit trail questions and now accuse me of being hostile, yet you don’t seem willing to take things as they are presented to you.

    In my last post, I emphasized that there is nothing inaccurate in my statement of your beliefs. You’ve done nothing to either acknowledge that, just accuse me of accusing you of things.

    Now, I understand the Mormon point of view on progression. Its been talked about several times already in this thread, and I have acknowledged the Mormon point of view and accepted that you believe it.

    Please, don’t accuse me of malfeasance here, especially when my above response was discussing your statement: “The whole sentence is a grouping of standard countercult formulations and reflects a clear misunderstanding of Mormon teachings.” And my post before that was giving a declaration on the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. The items I listed are accurate representations, albeit brief, of your faith. As I see it, you just don’t like the negative connotations they give, but you can’t say they are inaccurate, even admitting that they have truth in them.

    Now, if you are going to say I am inaccurate, tell me why. If you cannot tell me I am inaccurate, let’s move on and accept that these concepts are important differentiators between Mormonism and traditional Christianity. As a reminder, the concepts currently in question are that Mormons believe they can become gods (yes, a lot goes into that belief, but the belief boils down to that), that Jesus and Satan are literal brothers (sure, fair enough that they don’t have much to do with each other, but brothers nonetheless), and there are potentially millions of gods out there (even if you don’t really care about them).

    Now, bringing up my point: these are huge differences between Christian theology and Mormon theology. Christians believe in the existence of only one God, and no one can become god, either. Jesus is actually Satan’s creator.

    What I ask for is an acceptance of these above differences, or at the very least an acceptance that Christians do not believe those three things.

  239. {…these are huge differences between Christian theology and Mormon theology. }

    Correction:::::::
    these are huge differences between CREEDAL Christian theology and Mormon theology.

    Please remember that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a Christian church, just not another teacher of the narrowed, triditional God’s Word your creeds are trying to force on us by saying we are not Christian.

  240. {…acceptance that Christians do not believe those three things.}

    Corection:::

    acceptance that CREEDAL Christians do not believe those three things.

  241. Fred, that is the source of the question and controversy, though. You come as if you are open to learning but you already know the answer.

    Now, if in a very macro sort of way you want acceptance into the world of Christianity, I suppose you qualify. However, to suggest you are the same Christian as I am is an inaccuracy.

    If someone asks you if you are a Christian, I assume you answer affirmatively, but if they ask questions in line with what I am telling you now, do you highlight the differences and make it known what you believe?

  242. {You come as if you are open to learning but you already know the answer.}

    You are dead wrong.
    I came to learn.
    Even though you are close to my feelings now, there is still a part that watches to see if I can learn something.

    {Now, if in a very macro sort of way you want acceptance into the world of Christianity, I suppose you qualify. }

    My way of doing things.
    Break things down into there basic parts, than see if the basic parts can be broken dowm, all the time remembering that the whole is usually greater than the parts.
    It is part of the reason I can see why Civil War stile slavery was wrong, while the bondage (slavery) taught by Brigham Young and Joseph Smith was a Bible truth.
    Yet, many would stop at the wrongly tought stawman teaching of some who try to make it look as if the two were the same.

    {However, to suggest you are the same Christian as I am is an inaccuracy.}

    Very, very true. If it had been compleat God would not have needed to teach us the difference.

    ____

  243. Fred, What would be a way for you to learn about Christianity without the contention?

    You say I am “dead wrong” but then go on to say that I am pretty close to your feelings… Which is it? And again, without asking me to submit to your definitions, how can I present my faith without getting a Mormon apologetic in return?

  244. A question for any of my Evangelical brothers and sisters here:

    What is it that bothers you about the idea that Jesus and Satan are brothers? What is the inference you make when you hear this?

    This accusation against Mormon beliefs has been made for quite some time, and it seems to be done for shock value by inferring something sinister. What is that sinister thing? Is the thought that this debases Christ or elevates Satan? I have never heard it brought up in a lifetime at church, except in response to the accusation from critics. It is not in any of the curriculum to my knowledge. You can find it in a conference talk from the 1950s, I believe, and in a Q&A section of the Ensign in the 1980s (where the question most likely arose after a member heard it from a critic). The conclusion can certainly be made by deduction based on Mormon beliefs, but it’s just not something that we talk about or deem all that important in and of itself.

    The real difference in belief, as I see it, is that Mormons believe that Jesus is actually God’s Son (very different and unique – He is divine, the Firstborn and the only begotten of the Father in the flesh), and that Satan is also one of God’s creations. The deduction can then be made that if we are all spirit children of God, then we are all brothers and sisters in some sense. It’s interesting that many Christians would reject this, because it can be directly deduced from the Bible.

    Jesus and Satan being brothers is simply a deduction based on this doctrine – a deduction made by critics for shock value.

  245. JT, fair question, and I appreciate it. I find it objectionable that Jess and Satan are brothers because it demonstrates the vast differences in our faiths. That Jesus would be a brother to anyone, let alone Satan, is problematic. Remember, Jesus is God the Father in the flesh. God the Father is alone in existence as God. No one else is God.

    The idea that Jesus has a brother of any sort means that under the idea Jesus is not God the Father in human form, and it destroys the idea that God is the only God.

    Now we throw in the idea that it is Satan we are talking about, not Bob down the corner or Steve who sits a few offices down from me at work. Satan, may you remember, is an angel who rebelled against God and wanted everything God had. God struck him down. To suggest the most powerful force for good and the most powerful force for evil are brothers is simply a staggering and radical thought.

    But ultimately, to me, it is demonstrative of the one thing that I have been harping on most: the existence of one God, and Jesus Christ as being that God.

    Anyway, that’s my take.

    BTW, I’m still curious what you find inaccurate about my statements above.

    Thanks.

  246. The items I listed are accurate representations, albeit brief, of your faith.

    How would you like this as a representation of your beliefs:
    – Free Evangelicals believe in a God that curses humankind because 6,000 years ago a lady obeyed a snake that told her to eat an apple
    – Free Evangelicals believe that one day, if we believe just the right things, we will float up in the sky where we will meet a dead Jew who came back to life

    Do you feel this would enhance anyone’s understanding of your core beliefs? Of what really makes you tick?

    Or this:
    – Slowcowboy once walked into an elementary school without any pants on

    Again, factually true (assuming you have worn shorts to an elementary school before), but hardly an accurate representation of the truth, right?

  247. JT, how would I react? I would react OK with it. I would want to clarify the inaccuracies, and the inaccuracies exist (especially your second example), but I could not quibble with the basics of the statements.

    Now, again, JT, you believe you can become a god, Jesus is a brother of Satan, and there are perhaps millions of gods, just as God did curse mankind because Adam and Even ate the apple after being tempted by Satan and that we will reach heaven if we believe and trust in Christ, who rose from the dead.

    As to your silly example of me going to school without pants on is a great example of the use of language and how it can be used to mislead. Try this, to see another example of how words can be misleading: Mormons believe in Christ and are just the same as other Christians.

    And there you have a great summary of how and why Christians object to Mormon apologetics.

  248. {And there you have a great summary of how and why Christians object to Mormon apologetics.}

    Correction……..
    And there you have a great summary of how and why CREEDAL Christians object to Mormon apologetics.

  249. {Mormons believe in Christ and are just the same as other Christians.}

    A false strawman teachings by people outside the LDS church that what others to have an excuse not to study the truth that has since been repeated by the unknowing as if it were true.

    Many years ago when I was in the service I remember the addition of LDS being added as a choice on out dog tags. This was used as a reason for the lie that the Mormon church did not want to be called Christian. The reality was, we as Christians, were lumped wrongly with the general protestant community. We are not just another Christian denomination. We do not and did not teach this.

    Others want you confused about what we teach.
    Why do you think they want you confused about us?

  250. Then why the huballoo here? Seems you want your cake and to eat it, too.

    Fred, I asked you earlier what would help you learn. You’ve not answered. You’ve just continued to offer Mormon apologetic. What gives?

  251. JT,

    I completely agree that the Satan is Jesus’ brother is done for shock value without actually explaining anything of value, but if you are going to actually critique Mormonism from an orthodox perspective you have to learn orthodox theology and Mormon theology.

    Principally I think the criticism is made to show the ramifications of the LDS pre-existence narrative.

    Practically I think it is more related to the understanding of the divine nature, the incarnation and hypostatic union, and the effect on salvation.

    In orthodox Trinitarian theology there is the teaching that the Son is “eternally begotten” of the Father also called the eternal generation of the Son. This is expressed in the Nicene Creed as “God of God; Light of Light, very God of very God.” Basically this doctrine teaches that the Father communicates deity to the Son eternally.

    The importance of this doctrine plays out in a number of ideas: the eternal nature of God; most importantly the eternal pre-existence of the Son; the aseity (self existence) of God; the eternal relationship of Fatherhood and Sonship between the first and second persons of the Trinity; a denail of subordination between the Father and the Son. This list could go on.

    The salvific ramification of this doctrine can be seen in Gregory of Nazianzus when he argues “For that which He has not assumed He has not healed; but that which is united to His Godhead is also saved.” Gregorie’s point is that for complete salvation body, mind and soul the divine person of the Son must have been united with the complete nature of humanity body, mind, and soul. Two parts complete divinity and complete humanity are understood as necessary for salvation.

    If Satan were the brother of Jesus the implications are difficult to work out. Is Satan the eternal brother? Was Satan eternally begotten? Is Satan part of the divine nature? and on and on…

  252. JT,

    From my reading I think many people overlook that the Trinitarian debates were also in a great part salvation debates. The idea expressed in the Nicene Creed “For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven” comes immediately after explaining the relationship between the Father and the Son. This eternal essential relationship was/is understood as necessary for salvation to occur.

  253. {I asked you earlier what would help you learn. You’ve not answered.}

    Where do you, or the teachers you follow, get the authority to tell others that you can make decissions for God?
    ie; You declare who is and who is not a Christian as if you have authority from God.

  254. Fred,

    God alone is Lord of the conscience. Christ as King and only head of the Church has given his power to the Church through his Word and Spirit and his authority to the officers of the Church. The ordinary and perpetual offices of the Church are Elder and Deacon. The elders of the Church are to to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments, and exercise discipline for the preservation of our sacred religion. The Deacons are to look to the spiritual and physical needs of Christs Church and to their ability their community.

    All church power is only ministerial and declarative since the Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice. The church has no power to make laws to bind the conscience. All church courts councils may err, but they must endeavor to uphold the laws of Scripture as fallible men.

    It is the Biblical example that churches are to be divided into many individual churches as it is that the elders of individual Church will gather together in councils to make decisions for the edification of the Church regarding doctrine, government, discipline, and worship.

  255. Cowboy,
    You and Gundek have done an excellent job explaining why you have a problem with Lucifer being a ‘brother’ of Jesus. Especially, when you say that God the father is Jesus. And if that were true, I would have the same problem. I just think for reasons explained many times before that Jesus is not the Father and is his own person. What I see from traditional Christianity is taking the late Jewish concept, that there is “only one God” but then having to explain the other two mentioned in the NT (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) that the Trinity had to be forced into being to stick with that “one” God narrative. So, Cowboy, it comes back to the spiral you have mentioned. However, I think we understand each other, we just don’t agree with each other.

    You said:
    “what are your thoughts on the Mormon saying that Jesus saves after all you can do? I think that this even exists speaks volumes as to the focus on Jesus role in salvation versus our own. The works discussion does require a large focus on the entirety of the Bible, and not just taking pieces of it to conclude something larger. Jesus tells us explicitly that faith in him is what saves. When asked what commandments to follow, his answer is to love God with everything and to love our neighbor.”

    Yes, this speaks volumes, but it doesn’t mean anyone can “work their way to heaven”. Or that we are saved by our works. But let us distinguish works. In the verses you cited Paul was talking about the works of “the law”, that is the Law of Moses. Mormons do not do the works of the Law of Moses. Those works are “filthy rags”.
    The works that we do are the works of Faith in Christ. If one has faith in Christ, then one does the things Christ wants them to do. If we claim to love God, then we keep his commandments. That is exactly what he said. I do not understand why you have a problem with obedience and discipleship which are principles of Jesus. This doesn’t mean we will never sin again. Of course, we will. It does mean we will sin less which is good for our spiritual growth. But despite our best efforts (“all we can do”), it won’t be enough, so we are saved by grace, love and mercy of an unlimited God.
    The reason we are saved “after” all we can do is because we are living right now in mortality. Salvation is distributed much later after the final Judgment.

    And I think it’s important to remember the Book of Mormon verse says “after” all we can do and not “because” of all we can do.

    I am under the impression, you have read a bunch off anti-Mormon material and you are dealing with the fact, that the material you have read is a few degrees off the true LDS positions to create a negative, Satanic view of the LDS Church. And I think you are having a hard time believing the “good” Christians of whom you have received this information would so deliberately alter the LDS view into a Satanic one. Therefore, us Mormons must be lying about what we believe or the LDS Church has been changing it’s doctrine to escape these problems to gain more acceptance among Christians (so we can deceive them and bring them into our fold).

  256. Ray,

    I never said that God the father is Jesus. That is the heresy of Modalism.

    Jesus is not the Father. Jesus is His own person. The Father is His own Person. The Holy Spirit is His own Person. The Nothing I have said should lead anyone to think differently.

    I don’t have any problem with the late Jewish concept, that there is “only one God”

    “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

  257. {It is the Biblical example that churches are to be divided into many individual churches as it is that the elders of individual Church will gather together in councils to make decisions for the edification of the Church regarding doctrine, government, discipline, and worship.}

    OK. There is a body of leaders that come togeather and control what is and what is not true teachings and what can be left to the individual to believe because little things do not matter.

    This group of men in the Catholic church say they get insperation and guidance from God, a form of revelation that has authority from God.

    This group of men in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints say they get insperation and guidance from God, and even speak with the Lord from tome to time to get revelation that has authority from God.

    How does the leading body you speak of get its guidance from God?

  258. I’m not sure what “little things don’t matter” means. Isn’t there a diversity of opinion and speculation on a host of doctrines, beliefs, and policies within the Salt Lake Church?

  259. {I’m not sure what “little things don’t matter” means. Isn’t there a diversity of opinion and speculation on a host of doctrines, beliefs, and policies within the Salt Lake Church?}
    A question worth exploring, but answering it will lead us away from your teaching me about your faith. Remind me later.

    ____
    “Little things”, like baptismal full emersion verses sprinkling.

    How does the leading body you speak of get its guidance from God?

  260. I see many councils of many different councils comming up with many different answers to the same question, is there a system of higher councils to keep the lower ones one the right track?

    (Please do not ask ‘what differences’, just pick any you know of and answer the question about councles with authority over other councles.
    Please.)

  261. Fred, I don’t see the councils as authoritative apart from how they made clear existing doctrine. They did not come up with new ideas but served to clarify questions on whatever matter was in controversy.

    Now, I answered your question on authority way back when. That won’t change now. But, in short, we don’t need an authoritative figure above us when we have direct access to God. (Not the veil being torn in two upon Christ’s death).

    Ray, yes, I said God the father was Jesus. That is true to the extent that Jesus is the very God Incarnate. However, as Gundek points out, the concept is incomplete, for Jesus is also separate and fully 100% human.. It does not change the problem with Satan, however.

    Have I read a lot of anti-Mormon literature? Not really. Yes, some, but not as much as you think. And do I accuse you intentionally misleading? Absolutely not. I think Mormons are among the most sincere people out there. I do, however, think you are mislead and mistaken. I do think you don’t understand the confusion you create when talking about traditional Christianity and when offering your apologetic to others.

    So it is also with the works discussion. To us, faith alone means precisely that. Any addition and it becomes something completely different.

  262. Any council is subordinate to the Bible.

    Otherwise it is going to be dependent on the form of government a particular Church belongs to.

    There are three basic forms of Church government Congregational, Presbyterian, and Episcopal. In Congregational system power and authority rests in the particular church. In a Presbyterian system particular churches send representatives to regional governing bodies (Presbyteries) and regional governing bodies send representatives to higher governing bodies (synods or assemblies). The Episcopal system generally has a lower to higher governing bodies with the addition of local, regional and church wide Bishops with varying levels of authority.

    Congregationalist and independent Churches have a Congregationalist government, obviously. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, Methodist, Lutherans, Anglicans all have an Episcopal form of Government. Reformed churches generally have Presbyterian governments. Mormonism has an Episcopal form of Government with wards, stakes, regions, Salt Lake.

    My personal belief is that the New Testament Church operated with a very lose Presbyterian government, local cooperation regional coordination, with councils (Acts 15) to answer important Church wide questions.

  263. Slow,

    It is the orthodox and catholic faith that the person of the Son has eternally been distinct from the person of the Father.

    As is taught in the Athanasian Creed:

    And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

    Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.

    For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

    But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

  264. {They did not come up with new ideas but served to clarify questions on whatever matter was in controversy.

    Now, I answered your question on authority way back when.}

    You may feel you have answered it, I do not.

    {But, in short, we don’t need an authoritative figure above us when we have direct access to God. }

    We have that, we call it personL revelation. A persons personal revelation is for his use only.
    We also believe in institutional revelation, ie; Parents recieve revolation for the family, a bishop recieves revelation for the ward he watches over, with a known line of authority up thrugh the one man at the head of the church, all under the authority of God through Jesus Christ.

    When a scripture is not understand, we know where God wants us to go for the answer.

    Since you have no one authorized teacher, it looks to me like people church shop untill they find the doctrine they like.

    How do you pick the teacher you believe has the proper answer about a scripture since you have no one authority?

  265. {My personal belief is that the New Testament Church operated with a very lose Presbyterian government, local cooperation regional coordination, with councils (Acts 15) to answer important Church wide questions.}

    I see it as having started with men called of God having authority to correct local problems, not a majority vote of elected leaders. The Bible has a few of the letters God had Paul wright for Him to correct different congregations.

  266. Not surprisingly I don’t agree with you, and you wonder why many Christians refuse to accept Mormons as Christians. Let me give you a hint. It’s not anti-Mormon literature, it’s statements like “Since you have no one authorized teacher, it looks to me like people church shop untill they find the doctrine they like.” Really no authorized teacher?

    It takes a little epistemic humility with our own beliefs to look around the world and realize there is a lot of Christianity out there. Maybe rather than shopping for doctrines that tickle our ears some have come to recognize that cultural and historical conditions have influenced let’s say the Coptic Syrian Church in different ways than the Protestant Church in America.

    While all parts of the Great Church don’t agree on all the details the basic narrative remains the same. One eternally unchanging God who creates from nothing, a fallen humanity, the incarnate Son on the Cross, reconciliation and in the future a glorification of all creation.

    As many understand it a claim to direct unmediated continuing revelation from God, the claim to be able to proclaim, “thus says the Lord”, takes away the Church’s authority for the reading and interpretation of Scripture and as a binding of the conscience of believers, takes away a Christian’s freewill.

    So if you are going to question the authority of the Christian Church, maybe you should actually question the nature of authority itself. Throughout the 2,000-year history of the Great Church there have been various especial claims to apostolic and prophetic titles and spiritual preeminence that all had one goal, to take away the freewill and authority of the disciples of Christ.

  267. Hey Gundek (Cowboy or others),

    I didn’t say you said God the Father was Jesus, Cowboy said that (which you know by now), but when we talk about Christ and God the Father being separate yet, one, please explain. I know we’ve had this go around before, but the LDS view is crystal clear. The Traditional view is not, or no one has said it in such a way to explain it clearly as of yet.

    ” One eternally unchanging God who creates from nothing, a fallen humanity, the incarnate Son on the Cross, reconciliation and in the future a glorification of all creation.”

    “One eternally unchanging God who creates from nothing,”

    If God or one third of him has taken on a physical body, when for eons of time didn’t have one, is that not a change? Please explain unchanging.

    Why are you so sure God “creates from nothing”? Do you think the entire universe was created all at once? And the earth is the age of the see-able universe?

    Please explain “incarnate Son”. What do those words mean, in plain English.

    Please explain, “a glorification of all creation”. In plain English, what does that mean?

  268. {…the Church’s authority for the reading and interpretation of Scripture …}

    Does that authority came down from God, or up from the congregation; or do they claim it on there own?

  269. First there is no 1/3 of God. The Persons of the Trinity are not parts of God that together make up God. Each Person IS 100% God.

    The doctrine of the incarnation is the belief that the Son of God became flesh. To distinguish the incarnate Son is simply another way to say that the Son of God has taken on a human nature. See the Jesus Hymn of Philippians 2:5-11 to see how we get this.

    Jesus Christ is understood to have 2 natures (1 divine / 1 human) united in the person of the Son. In His divine nature Christ is equal with the Father. The Son takes on a human nature, the union of human and divine is within the person of the Son and not with the essence of God, there is no change to God’s divine nature. In His human nature, Christ is understood as subordinate to the Father. The extent of Christ’s human nature was debated for centuries. The question if Christ has a human will or a human soul created misunderstanding in the Oriental Orthodox Church that has only recently been overcome. This union is sometimes called the mystical union because it is revealed by the claim of divinity during the ministry of Christ.

    I understand God to create out of nothing because to say otherwise is to say that God is contingent. If God creates out of pre-exiting material, God is reliant on something external to Himself. In a universe created by a contingent God the question exists is God answerable to something outside Himself.

    The creation narratives in Genesis has been variously interpreted, sometimes more, sometimes less figuratively. If you were to draw on a piece of paper the literal description of creation in Genesis it would in no way resemble the universe as we know it to be. From this it seems reasonable to extract key themes being taught with the figurative language. I think trying to guess the age of the universe from the Bible has proven to be about as accurate as guessing the Second Coming of our Lord.

    As the Nicene Creed teaches Christians “look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” This is understood variously but the basic hope is to a physical resurrection in a new creation.

    If I missed anything let me know.

  270. Fred,

    Really? The authority to read scripture?

    If Scripture is the word of God don’t you think he wants it read? And if we can assume God wants Scripture read doesn’t it follow he wants it understood?

  271. First, your description of the Trinity. Do you think the followers of Jesus understood what you explained in the time period of 30 AD to 100 AD.?

    ” The Persons of the Trinity are not parts of God that together make up God. Each Person IS 100% God.”

    Please explain this. You said they were separate. Does Jesus have his own will and is therefore separate or not? I recall in the Garden, Jesus was praying and saying what he was doing was not his will asking the cup to be removed.

    I don’t understand how you think they are separate but not at the same time. Please explain.

  272. {Really? The authority to read scripture?}

    You missed the important half.

    You also spoke also of the authority of interpretation.
    Please answer the rest of the question.

    [{…the Church’s authority for the reading and interpretation of Scripture …}

    Does that authority // of interpretation\\ came down from God, or up from the congregation; or do they claim it on there own?]

  273. Cowboy
    Not really interested in the Satan/ Christ relationship at this time because so many topics are being covered. But I do think it makes all the difference.

    “To us, faith alone means precisely that. Any addition and it becomes something completely different.”

    Why is there focus on only one small portion of what Jesus taught? He said, “thou shalt live by every word which proceeds forth from the mouth of God”.

    This is why I ask follow up questions and yet, they don’t get answered. Peter denied Christ three times but no one thinks Peter is going to Hell. We think he was forgiven. Now, I ask, is Judas going to Hell?

    I have asked about some one who accepts Jesus by faith, then falls to temptation and never comes back to church or religious thinking, is that person saved? Do you think nothing is mentioned in the NT about this? These questions must be addressed to see if your idea that ‘faith’ alone, with nothing else, is adequate for salvation. But the first thing which comes to mind is James when he said, “faith, without works is dead”. What do you think that means? To me it means, if you have real faith, then works follow and doing works helps increase faith. Mere belief and confession is not obedience or discipleship.

    And do Evangelicals believe in a literal burning Hell anymore? As Gundek, mentioned, it appears they don’t believe in the Genesis Creation account to any measurable degree anymore (except the YEC perhaps).

  274. Fred,

    I’m missing your point. Authority must come from who grants it, God. But the responsibility to read and interpret Scripture is inherent within its existence.

  275. {I’m missing your point. Authority must come from who grants it, God. }

    How does God let you know who has authority to teach His Word?

  276. Ray,

    “We are speaking of God. Is it any wonder if you do not comprehend? For if you comprehend, it is not God you comprehend. Let it be a pious confession of ignorance rather than a rash profession of knowledge. To attain some slight knowledge of God is a great blessing; to comprehend him, however, is totally impossible.’”

    Saint Augustine of Hippo

    There is one God. Full Stop.

    The Father is God 100%

    The Son is God 100%

    The Holy Spirit is God 100%

    God is the creator, everything else that exists is creation.

    As a creature, you can only know other creatures.

    The Creator must reveal Himself in order for you to know Him.

    You are made in the image of God.

    Christ IS the image of God. (Note the clear distinction between made in and IS)

    God is not a title, or quality, or rank or ability something shared, something to be attianed, something to be invested. God alone is an eternal transcendent being who alone is self existent. Everything other than God is creation. This is the absolute ontological distinction, there is but 1 creator everything else is his creation.

    I am convince that the New Testament Church believed there is One God.

    I am convince that the New Testament Church believed the Father is God.

    I am convince that the New Testament Church believed the Son is God.

    I am convince that the New Testament Church believed the Holy Spirit is God.

    I do not think that the New Testament Church had the interpretive language to express this except in worship, prayer, and attributing divine characteristics to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    I think that over time people tried to explain the relationship between Jesus and the Father, principally to understand how salvation worked. Over the centuries proposed explanations have been accepted and rejected.

    Is that helpful?

  277. {Generally you would start with 1 Timothy 3:1-7.}

    Is there a formal acceptance for the new man in any mentioned position.

    Is the new leader verified by a higher athority, or voted on from the congregation?

  278. In my denomination yes to all. There is a formal call by the congregation, an examination by the Presbytery, a vote in the congregation, and ordination/installation.

    The call of the Pastor can only be severed with the approval of the Presbytery and the congregation.

  279. No, a Presbytery is a regional governing body made up of elders (presbyters) from the various congregations. So for the call of a new Pastor, the congregation calls, the presbytery examines and approves and the congregation has a final vote.

    I think you may be confusing authority with accountability. The source of a minister’s authority is from God, the levels of councils (session, presbytery, general assembly) are there to ensure matters are handled decently and in order. Authority can only come from the source. Accountability runs in both directions, or at least it should, that is the example in the New Testament.

  280. {No, a Presbytery is a regional governing body made up of elders (presbyters) from the various congregations. }

    <<>>>

    Are you revising what you said before?

  281. A reminder of what you said::

    Fred Park on April 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm said:
    Where does the Presbytery get the authority to say who can and cannot hold a position?

    gundek on April 23, 2016 at 4:35 pm said:
    God

  282. gundek on April 23, 2016 at 9:42 am said:
    Any council is subordinate to the Bible.

    In a Presbyterian system particular churches send representatives to regional governing bodies (Presbyteries) and regional governing bodies send representatives to higher governing bodies (synods or assemblies).

    gundek on April 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm said:
    In my denomination yes to all. There is a formal call by the congregation, an examination by the Presbytery, a vote in the congregation, and ordination/installation.

    The call of the Pastor can only be severed with the approval of the Presbytery and the congregation.

    Fred Park on April 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm said:
    Where does the Presbytery get the authority to say who can an d cannot hold a position?

    gundek on April 23, 2016 at 4:35 pm said:
    God

    You tell God who your leaders are.
    This sounds like you tell God who has His authority over you.

  283. No there is no reason to revise anything. You simply don’t seem to acknowledge the possibility of the working of the Holy Spirit in this process. You may remember when I said, “God alone is Lord of the conscience. Christ as King and only head of the Church has given his power to the Church through his Word and Spirit and his authority to the officers of the Church.”

    I would also venture that you may want to distinguish between a “true Christian” and “false teaching”.

  284. Everything we discussed all day yesterday is a system put in place to determine a candidates suitability for the ministry in a particular church. It is essential that candidates are tested to ensure they have the necessary education, training, and temperament for the job. There also a spiritual aspect to the process, that we believe is providentially guided by God, matching the inward spiritual call by God to a candidate with the visible call for a minister by a particular church.

    As is befitting the Christian Church this is all accomplished openly with the full knowledge of all involved.

  285. {…acknowledge the possibility of the working of the Holy Spirit in this process.}

    {…suitability for the ministry in a particular church.}

    I do not believe the Holy Spirit would teach conflicting doctrine.
    ie: Baptism, completely under water, vs. Sprinkle,vs. Not needed at all.
    Or, all will be saved vs. Only some will be saved.

    How do you tell which version of what the Holy Spirit is real and which version of what the Holy Spirit says is not from the Holy Spirit?

  286. Okay Gundek,
    I would like to say I understand your explanation but I don’t. I’m using my imagination, based on your description, as much as possible but this makes little sense.

    The impression I’m getting is your belief says,
    1) God can’t be understood. But does that mean God can’t be described to some reasonable level?
    2) The Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist at the same time in various forms and those forms have it’s own will which can, as in the case of Jesus in the Garden, conflict with each other. And at the same time these three forms are the same personality.

    I’m not trying to challenge you, I am trying to understand your view.
    Now, if your real view means, “I really don’t understand it, I just believe it’s true”, then okay. But, if you have some understanding of this better than I have summarized then please clarify further.

  287. {Everything we discussed all day yesterday is a system put in place to determine a candidates suitability for the ministry in a particular church. }

    No wonder we are having trouble communicating, you answer about suitability about my questions about authority.
    There is a difference between being suitable and having authority.

  288. Ray,

    Yes to number 1.

    Not so much for number 2.

    Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist at the same time as one divine essence, God has a single united will, the person of the Son after the incarnation has both a divine and human. The term person has been used by Christianity to express the Biblical distinction between the Father Son and Holy Spirit.

  289. Cowboy & Gundek and others,

    I know you want to avoid the subject Cowboy but it really is important to our whole theological discussion.

    The problem with Traditional Christian Theory and doctrines is it is the leading cause of the demise of Christianity in Europe and America. The fact is the opening pages of the Bible start with the Creation and critics have made the case that the opening chapters are fantasy, then so is the rest of the Bible.

    The trouble, of course, comes with a poor understanding by Christians of the “beginning”. The idea of Ex nihilism creation suggests the earth was created before the stars and the “beginning” refers to everything we can see. This means the earth is older than about anything in the universe according to traditional views of the scriptures and is the primary reason the critics are winning.

    I think we have to ask, is the Bible true or false? Right now, hundreds of millions believe it to be false when a generation ago these same people would not have left their Christian faith. But is the Bible wrong? And the answer the Bible is not wrong. It has been the understanding of the Bible which is wrong.

    The LDS view was established by a prophet in the 1830’s, before we knew much about the Cosmos and in this view, the ‘beginning’ described in Genesis is about this heaven and this earth and not about the entire observable universe.

    The Bible tells us Creation was completed. But we know this is not true if applied to the entire Universe. Stars are still being created and so are planets, since NASA has published pictures of planets being created just this past year. Now, these stars and planets are not being created from nothing. They are created from unorganized matter. And there is no reason to believe God would work his creation process different with the earth. And since God is “unchanging”, this is a powerful reason to believe what we are observing is exactly how God creates planets and stars. Hence, the critics are winning because of the truth. And this is a real irony.

    To put it bluntly, if the Creation of the Bible applies to the entire visible universe, then it is false. If the Bible Creation applied only to a limited section of this earth and or nearby stars, then the Bible can be true. Now, if the pride of the Christian world wants to hold onto traditional doctrines which are being shown to be untrue then the consequence will be the end of traditional Christianity as the children of current followers are more educated and will not accept nonsense for doctrine. Needless to say, if we take down ex nihilism & traditional creation and replace it with a better theological doctrine, then all the basic core traditional doctrines probably need revisions as well. And the Bible stays relevant. Thus far, LDS doctrine has withstood this time of new discovery (because the inspiration was there) while traditional Christian doctrine is being defeated (because the old inspiration was never inspiration in the first place). But retreating to a place of, ‘only faith is what matters and I’m not talking about anything else’, then you are nailing the coffin of Christianity closed.

    This may be helpful in your studies on the subject:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo

    Bruce K. Waltke wrote an extensive Biblical study of creation theology that argues creation from chaos rather than nothing based on the Hebrew Torah and the New Testament texts. This work was published by the Western Conservative Baptist Seminary in 1974 and again in 1981.[23] On a historical basis, many scholars agree that the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo was not the original intent of the Biblical authors, but instead a change in the interpretation of the texts which began to evolve in the mid second century A.D. in the atmosphere of Hellenistic philosophy.[24][25] The idea solidified around 200 A.D. in arguments and in response to the Gnostics, Stoics, and Middle Platonists.[26]
    Thomas Jay Oord (born 1965), a Christian philosopher and theologian, argues that Christians should abandon the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. Oord points to the work of biblical scholars, such as Jon D. Levenson, who points out that the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo does not appear in Genesis. Oord speculates that God created our particular universe billions of years ago from primordial chaos. This chaos did not predate God, however, for God would have created the chaotic elements as well.[27][page needed] Oord suggests that God can create all things without creating from absolute nothingness.[28]
    Oord offers nine objections to creatio ex nihilo:[29]

  290. Ray, not avoiding it, I just don’t think we can pretend to know precisely how Gosh created the world. I think your focus is not on God in Christianity but side issues. You and Fred seem to hope to catch us in some logical fault. All the while, you fail to see the most important aspect of Christianity. I still ask you pray about that and consider what we have said. Sorry, I still don’t see that you have done so.

    Fred, what answer would suffice? You keep asking questions about things that have been answered. You have been given all that is necessary to know Christ but you seem to want more. You have to be able to recognize what will satisfy your queries or you will never be satisfied.

    Gundek, I agree with you on the Trinity. I also recognize your attempts to describe some of your organization here within the Presbyterian church. I would like to emphasize something you mentioned above. We are united in Christ.

  291. {Fred, what answer would suffice? You keep asking questions about things that have been answered. You have been given all that is necessary to know Christ but you seem to want more. You have to be able to recognize what will satisfy your queries or you will never be satisfied.}

    $lowcowboy,
    No, you have not answered my question. I recap your definations, and you sidestep a yes or no answer, using ‘look there’answers.

    I will try again.
    You get togeather as a congeation and elect your leaders.
    You give your leaders the authority to speak for God in docturnal issues.
    You use the power of the Holy Spirit to be sure this process works accounting to God’s desires.

    Question;
    Others make the same claim amd get different answers, why?

  292. Well, Fred, you Gundek is the one answer that. But I think God reaches people in different ways and allows for differences in church body organization. This comes back to my point about the one thing that matters. That particular thing is not something you seem to grasp.

    It’s ok. It’s a lot to consider. You have something you believe and we are telling you something different. We have different ways of expressing ourselves and doing some things. I actually DO understand the challenge in deciphering it all. Its compounded when your belief system says it is the only true church and was developed largely after your founder asked which church was the correct church.

    What I am asking of you is not easy. But you have to open yourself up to the possibility there may be something to traditional Christianity. And I asking you to consider that.

  293. {…developed largely after your founder asked which church was the correct church.}
    Again, wrong.
    I started asking that question way back when I was a W.A.S.P., long before I heard about the “Mormon Church” had prophers and that the first Prophet asked the same question long before he became the earthly leader of God’s Church.

    {But I think God reaches people in different ways and allows for differences in church body organization. This comes back to my point about the one thing that matters. That particular thing is not something you seem to grasp.}
    {I actually DO understand the challenge in deciphering it all. }

    I grasp what you teach, the quest you have not addressed well enough to answer is;

    Why is your “one thing that matters” the one thing thst matters.
    If it comes from God, it comes from Authority, Authority that is shaired with someone.
    You say that that authority comes from consensus of your congerations.

    Yes or no,
    With no explanation.

  294. Fred,

    I, again, am not able to answer your query about choosing Presbyterian leaders.

    Ok. Now let me cut to the chase. My one thing comes down to that one thing through faith. And before you criticize that, your faith is the exact same thing. We are no different on that front.

    I could offer many justifications for my faith, and so can you for your faith. This is not a shocking statement but lets be real, it comes down to faith. I just think at the end of the day traditional Christianity is true and Mormonism is lacking.

  295. Ray,

    I will have to admit I don’t know how “Ex nihilism” proposes that the Earth was created before the stars. That’s a new one. If you have read Waltke you will understand that ancient Near East had no concept of “nothing” and that “formless and empty” is in fact the antonym of heaven and Earth and does not offer proof of creation from existing matter.

    As I understand it the the LDS view that was established by a prophet at Hiram, Ohio, about March 1832 is that the earth has a temporal existence of 7,000 years (D&C 77:6).

    I think that I have implied previously that there is simply no reason take the creation accounts in Genesis as either science (geology or genetics) because as Waltke points out that Genesis answers the who and why while science is looking for the what and how.

    It should also be clear to someone who has read Waltke that Genesis simply is not a positive history and is as much a polemic against the ancient near Eastern myths and as such has a theological agenda.

    And before we go on a rant about Greek philosophy, try doing geometry without it.

  296. {My one thing comes down to that one thing through faith. And before you criticize that, your faith is the exact same thing. We are no different on that front.}

    We agree there, somewhere inside the shell of your faith you have faith thatthe teachers you accept are teaching God’s true Word. With all your roundabout answers, you have said thst the authority you use to decide the “one thing that matters” from God’s Word comes from your association with God acting as the Holy Spirit. With that authority you vote on who will watch over your congregations and inforce the accepted doctrine.
    It is you, along with the rest of your congregations, authority that your leaders use to tell me I am not a Christian because I do not follow the “one thing that matters”.

    You most likley do not like the way I said that, but please think about it.
    I will not ask for a yes or no answer this time.

    Am I correct in where your congregations get there authority?

  297. I agree fred, somewhere inside the shell of your faith you have faith thatthe teachers you accept are teaching God’s true Word.

    Except I have never said you are not a Christian, I don’t even know you. I will say I accept the truth claims of your leaders at there word and they have left very little room for any ecumenical relations.

  298. { Except I have never said you are not a Christian, I don’t even know you.}

    Not so.

    {slowcowboy on March 21, 2016 at 11:39 am said:

    My point is still that the objections you see and the arguments made that you are not Christian come from the incompatibility of our respective faiths.}

    Your words say different.

    I will accept that you think I am not a Christian because you do not consider my faith to be Christian.

  299. {I agree fred, somewhere inside the shell of your faith you have faith thatthe teachers you accept are teaching God’s true Word.}

    The way you said that, You did not say you agree with that thought when it comes to your faith.
    Are you saying it does or does not apply to you and your congregations?

  300. Well, Fred, its not I making that determination, but God. Bold?

    Maybe, but honest. And how do I get to that conclusion? By listening to the Pirit. By reading Gods word. And by reading Mormon literature and talking to Mormons about their faith. I don’t need authority to confirm Gods leading and its confirmation through study.

    Christian authority is very different than what LSD think it means. Your insistence on putting authority on Christians is like putting a square through a round hole. You keep telling me I have not answered or keep talking around the edges but Christian authority comes directly from God. You seem not to like that answer. Why not?

  301. {And how do I get to that conclusion? By listening to the Pirit. By reading Gods word. And by reading Mormon literature and talking to Mormons about their faith. }

    Thank you for not listing Mormon literature amoung the fools gold.
    I agree, there is a lot of Pirit spun by nonMormons about our faith.

  302. And now I see first hand why Christianity is almost dead in Europe and dying in America. Maybe you are too busy dealing with Fred’s authority questions to give what I am saying any real consideration. Maybe my posts are too long.

    I do thank you for answering way questions when you do, but the main issues are glazed over once again. And I don’t completely blame you because when I was a “born again”, I glazed over when I read the Bible too. And now, I know why. The reason being the Baptist church’s theology didn’t line up with the Bible very well. I’m guessing the same applies in your churches (no offense).

    Cowboy, you have a zeal for the Lord. I commend you on this. I wish more of my fellow latter day saints had this. And Gundek, you are well read and articulate which confuses me as to why there isn’t enough detail in your responses and a brush over of important issues.

    Gundek, you were the one who said:
    “I understand God to create out of nothing because to say otherwise is to say that God is contingent. If God creates out of pre-exiting material, God is reliant on something external to Himself.”

    I was trying to demonstrate this doctrine flies right in the face of discovered facts much as Priests in Galileo’s time were wrong on the issue of Geocentric Universe.

    Further, I pointed out this (our origins starting with Creation) is the root cause for Christianity’s demise, especially among the educated. Our children go off to college and come back non-Christians because of some scant truth they learn there which truth contradicts the teachings of their churches on the Bible.

    Yes, the Earth was created on day one and the stars on day four. This means the stars came after the earth. Genesis Chapter one. If all things are created from nothing, then the stars did not exist prior to the earth which means the universe didn’t exist prior to the earth which is why geocentric model became the Christian standard for well over a millennium.

    Now, Cowboy to say this is a side issue is just unbelievable because the Creation is not a side issue. It is directly related to Christ in the Creation Period the first people, Adam and Eve were created and they fell from God’s presence which is why Christ had to do what he did for the whole human family. No Adam because he descended from an ape-like creature then no Fall and no need for Christ. Even the atheists understand this and this is why they have had so much success in destroying the faith of millions of Christians.

    “You and Fred seem to hope to catch us in some logical fault.”

    Absolutely not. Trying to discuss the bigger picture with you on doctrine. It will help you have a better understanding so when you witness to the Christians leaving in droves, you will have a leg to stand on and they might hear you.

  303. {Are you calling God himself fools gold?}

    {By listening to the Pirit. By reading Gods word. And by reading Mormon literature and talking to Mormons about their faith.}

    I see you are quick to take offense that slows your thought.

    You mentioned three things:

    Fools gold,
    God’s Word (the Bible when you speak of God’s Word),
    Mormon literature.

    No way does what I said imply I thought the Bible was fools gold, unless english grammar has changed since I learned it in school during the middle of the last century.

  304. I understand that creation ex nihilo doesn’t work for a Mormon cosmology. I get it.

    The problem is that you are insisting that I read Genesis the way you want me to. But young earth creationism is not necessary to believe in creation ex nihilo. A literal (is that is even possible?) reading of the creation narratives is not necessary to believe in creation ex nihilo.

    You should read Bruce Waltke’s commentary on Genesis or his Old Testament Theology you will see the error is to insist that an Ancient Near Eastern book, even a divinely inspired ancient Near Eastern book, be treated like a science or modern history book.

  305. Ray, I agree with Gundek to the extent he offers a strong a plausible alternative. I’ll repeat what I said earlier: I was not there at creation, and the answer does not change the salvation narrative. Faith has always been the requirement, not the law.

  306. { Christian authority is very different than what LSD think it means. Your insistence on putting authority on Christians is like putting a square through a round hole. }
    { Trying to discuss the bigger picture with you on doctrine. }

    Notice in this part of God’s Word prophets and teachers came together to set apart or commission Saul, who is also Paul. Their positions of prophets and teachers is important enough that they are included in God’s Word, which is an instruction manual, not a history lesson. We learn setting apart is by someone with the authority to set others apart.

    Different translations say the same thing.

    I have been trying to get you to explain how you believe someone gets this authority described in the Bible.

    Acts 1a3New International Version (NIV)

    13 1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

    Acts 13New King James Version (NKJV)

    13 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

    Acts 13New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

    Barnabas and Saul Commissioned
    13 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler,[a] and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

  307. Fred, do you think these verses demonstrate a requirement all authority be set aside in this manner? More importantly, you don’t think the Bible is a history lesson? If not, you can learn so much more from it if you view it as much history as instruction, especially Acts…

  308. They show a pattern to follow. The history in the Bible is only there to support the spiritual training, anything else gained from it is a bonus.

  309. A pattern, sure, but a requirement is a very different thing. And I read the Bible not out of some spiritual duty but to glorify God. To best understand God we need to look at everything the Bible is and look beyond it being a manual. The history, the literature, everything about it glorifies our God. It is with joy that I get to read it and understand it.

    You may say you view it the same, but your comment the history is only there to support spiritual training makes it seem a cold, dry manual that we read and makes it seem a users manual. It is so much more than that, and I hope you see that the God reveals himself through the stories and literature.

    Does my church set its leaders apart? How do you mean? By the laying on of hands? Yes, generally, but there are some things (such as leading small group or taking the lead on a service project) where that does not always happen.

    Fred, it seems you were a convert to Mormonism. What led you to convert?

    Thanks.

  310. Yes, I was a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (W.A.S.P.). I was reading a joke in _GuidePost_ magazine where the punch line was “We dip them, they drip them”. It was in response to what was the difference between two denominations.
    So I asked. Why the difference?
    I studied off and on for a number of years with no good answer.
    Years later,”knowing” Mormonism was wrong, I set to help a friend out of it.
    Many people get upset with me when I tear a topic down to the smallest parts I can find and then put it back together.
    Tearing antiMormon teachings down to the bones, I found they do not hold together, so I did the same to real Mormon teachings. (Like I tear traditional Christion teachings down to the bones.) After putting it all back together, I found that there is a need for guidance from God in keeping His Word straight, more guidance then is in the protestant faiths.
    So far it sounds like I did it all on my own. Not so, God guided me a little here and a lot there. Lots of personal revelation from the Lord.
    Even today, with the Lord’s guidance I continue to guestion, break down, and put my religion – and the religion of others – back together.

  311. Fred, I have always known there is but one God who can be found in Christ. I gre up mostly in the Methodist church but also spent time in other denominations lime Presbyterian and Baptist. But by and large a Methodist church. I went to college where I struggled with issues of faith and was reading John not long after graduation. It occurred to me then that God wants me and that is what matters. I had been, and still do, wrestle with control. It occurred to me that I have to release all control to God. When one does that, God will guide the person correctly and that he will not guide someone down the wrong path. My strugle was that I thought I knew better, but the more I struggled, the worse things got. Upon release of that control, and with God in control, there is complete comfort and confidence in where he takes me.

    Its interesting to see that you think faith requires more guidance than what Protestant faiths offer. The guidance is there, indeed.

    Now, I currently attend, and am a member in, the Evangelical Fred church, which is a loose organization of like minded churches. It is more Bible based and not related much to many of the more traditional denominations. It takes aspects of many of them and each church is different. It focuses on God as the primary source of everything and celebrates the unity of the Christian body in Christ.

    Prior to this church, I attended a large nondenominational church in the DC area, McLean Bible Church. Why these churches? Because I believe the thing that matters is Christ. There is nothing wrong denominations at all. They can be very powerful tools for Christ, but it seems many to have watered down Jesus and don’t seem to recognize that where Jesus is taught passionately people follow.

    And it is here that I ask you to break Christianity down to its most important aspect
    as you say you lime to do. What is the one thing that all Christian churches share?

    Btw, what denomination were you as a WASP? Kind of a vague term…

  312. Gundek,
    Actually, I am not a YEC, but I am a young mankind creationist. You are correct in the fact that there is symbolism in Genesis account, but my experience with the Bible suggests that while some things are hidden in symbolism, it is none the less a historical fact. The things which are symbolism are obviously so, such as much of the Book of Revelations. But still, there is a somewhat chronological order to any symbolic history recorded in the Bible. If not, then the Bible is meaningless.

    The Bible is a history book and yes, much like a modern history book, unless your brand of Christianity has taken the route that nothing in the Bible actually happened and that the stories are just fables meant to have a good moral to the story for us to live by. A huge portion of Christians are going down that road because they have more faith in modern science than in ancient prophets. But I do agree the Bible is not a science book, the prophets merely recorded what they saw or what the Spirit clarified to them.

    I brought up Waltke because here was a thoughtful Christian showing ex nihilo creation is not necessarily a fact. This doesn’t mean everything he believes is Gospel truth.

    What has become clear to me is neither you or Cowboy, have any type of rational explanation to the Creation account which could be taught to your young adults to save them from the indoctrination they receive at most colleges today. Nor are you interested because it does, in fact, take a sharp rebuke against traditional Christian thought.

    And, it appears, Cowboy could care less about those millions of Christians losing their faith because of the on onslaught of knowledge against the Bible.

    No one is going to listen to ‘faith in Christ’, if you can’t get them past the first few chapters of the Bible.

    And so I will ask one last time: Are these young Christians who lose their faith saved if when they were children and teens believed in Christ but the rest of their lives don’t believe in Christ?

    So, if you would rather go on about whose authority is better while millions of sheep continue to go astray, then go right ahead. I don’t think He will be pleased.

  313. Thank you.
    {… the Evangelical Fred church…}

    I like having a church named after me, but I hope you ment the Evangelical Free church.
    Would that be an affiliate of the EFCA?

    {And it is here that I ask you to break Christianity down to its most important aspect
    as you say you lime to do. What is the one thing that all Christian churches share?}

    The most important aspect is not in the parts, it is in the whole the parts create. This is often referred to by the saying, __ The whole is greater than the sum of its parts__.

  314. Ray,

    Let’s be completely honest. If someone looses faith in Christ because of the creation narrative, I am crushed, but I am not the judge of men’s souls. If someone came to me trying to work through Genesis I would probably talk to them about different genre in the Bible and the actual questions Genesis is answering. As I understand it Genesis is concerned with the who and the why of creation while science is concerned with the how and the what.

    While we are being honest, if you have read Waltke, you know is that Genesis 1-2 is a theological narrative, a direct polemic against the Pagan gods of the Ancient near East and is principally interested in a theocentric view of creation by fiat. It has been recognized by Christians and Jews that reading Genesis as a strict chronological account presents discontinuity within the text itself. Besides Scripture itself is not opposed to seeing allegory in the Genesis narratives

    For the sake of honesty, it seems obvious that you have conflated the ideas of creation ex nihilo with a literal interpretation of Genesis and young earth creationism. I think that just like the doctrines of the Trinity you haven’t bothered to spend any time getting to understand a theology you propose to critique. If you had you would realize that the 19th century modernist cosmology of an eternal universe and matter represents neither the scientific view of today or an understanding shared in the ancient Near East. I think there is a Wikipedia article on the big bang.

    My impression is that you brought up Waltke because you read a Wikipedia article but could’t be bothered to read the original source, and thought, mistakenly that he supported your position. So let’s not be confused. “Thoughtful” is generally a synonym for agrees with me. It’s kind of like when Fair Mormon quotes Harry Emerson Fosdick, good for a laugh when people have read the author.

    I have been in conversation with Mormons for years. I have read countless books about Mormonism, most of them written by Mormons. I have read all of your standard works, I take a casual interest in keeping up with your general conferences I could care less about polygamy, Mountain Meadows, the Kirtland Safety Society or peep stones. I find myself cringing at the way many evangelicals talk to and about Mormonism. I try to refrain from taking cheap shots about the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham. I don’t use the controversial quotes from the Journal of Discources, even though I know all about them. I think take Mormonism and its truth claims seriously. I generally allow each Mormon I encounter to stake out their own version of belief and don’t have an interest in telling you what you believe. I endeavor never to misrepresent your beliefs.

    But, I think you and Fred have done me in. This isn’t interesting anymore. Very few people can be bothered to open a book. I am continually dropping references to source material. Historians, theologians, free biblical material. I’m not trying to convert anyone, I’m really just trying to understand Mormonism better. Frankly it is becoming obvious that most people who post on the internet cannot even be bothered to read books written by their coreligionists much less from people they disagree with.

    Mormons read FAIR, Evangelicals read MRM and nobody actually learns anything except how to cut and paste. I mean Bruce Waltke is thoughtful, but we cannot discuss it because, how do you know Waltke is thoughtful, you have not read him.

  315. {…nobody actually learns anything except how to cut and paste.}

    You repeat three times that you wanted honestly and then you say this.

    I hope it is just a case of mixing up what the situation seems to be with the complete facts.

  316. Ray, I disagree with your conclusion that people are leaving the Christian faith because of a failure to explain creation. That’s a very narrow minded and short sighted point of view. People are leaving churches for a variety of reasons, some of which are related to science and the like, but a lot of it has more to do with societal and cultural forces questioning the very foundation of Christian morals. And before you get too uppity, the Mormon church is not immune.

    I do think, importantly, that if we look at where people are leaving the church, it is pronounced more from the traditional denominational churches. Young people, and old, are coming to more contemporary churches whose message is focused on Christ, where the music is more contemporary and the messages more relevant to their lives.

    Nonetheless, it is indeed an important issue to consider why people leave. It is vital, but the question of why is much more complicated than creation.

    Are people saved when they leave? I don’t know. I believe this was addressed above, but some people will believe and always believe, some will think they believe but not really, and then there are those who never will. Who these people are is beyond me to know. Even the supposed faithful at church are subject to thinking they believe. Its not up to me to judge them. Is it up to you? Does going through a ritual change any of that?

  317. Fred, yes, EFCA is the Evangelical Free Church of America.

    But if the whole of the parts is made u p of the broken down parts, we have to understand the broken down parts. So, what is it that all Christian churches share? Surely, you know the answer if you have broken them all down.

  318. Short version.
    The Catholic Church was a direct desendent of the Church Christ left on the earth.

    Protestant churches tried to reform what went wrong with the Catholic Church, then later started reforming each other for being wrong.

    Finally, Christ restored His church here on the earth.

    Remember, I am only talking of the organisation Jesus operates, not the day to day personal revelations in His interactions with you and me.

  319. No, Fred, that’s not the common theme that all churches share. There is an idea, a belief. You described a history, which is generally accurate apart from your final restoration comment. Now, what is that belief? Let’s be honest and open, OK?

  320. Well Gundek,
    I am sorry we are losing your interest. Now, that I know what you have read it would get really interesting for me really fast. First, let me say, I knew you were well read, as I mentioned, but I am actually very impressed with the extent of the LDS material you’ve read. And thank you for recognizing the negative tone many Evangelicals have towards Mormons, but honestly, I haven’t experienced too much of that in person, but on line I’ve run into a few while LDS friends of mine have mentioned the experience.

    I am sorry if I led you to believe I was read up on Waltke. I cut and pasted from the Wikipedia link in hopes that by seeing a non-LDS author on the subject you would at least look at the link. I know that often when I post a link, it will never be looked at so the discussion can’t continue on the level it needs to. But still, for the subject matter I was discussing the paste was relevant even though I haven’t read his works. Surely, you see that. I wasn’t trying to discuss Waltke, I was trying to discuss the principle that God could have made the earth and “heavens” out of existing materials without diminishing his Power and Glory, especially now, that we have photographic evidence of celestial creation.
    As far as Genesis, I would say it involves who, why and the order. But other details are given either symbolically or literally, but they mean something or else God wouldn’t have related the information in Moses’ vision of the Creation. If we don’t know what they mean then this implies a loss of ancient knowledge. I’ve read Genesis and I don’t think there is a “discontinuity within the text itself”. I think there is a restatement and summary of Creation and while I do believe there are small errors in the Bible I see no reason to think this is one of them.

    “Besides Scripture itself is not opposed to seeing allegory in the Genesis narratives”
    I really don’t know what you are referring to on this point.

    And knowledge was lost since Jewish and Christian tradition clearly maintained a literal understanding of Genesis until the early 20th century. Once it became apparent the distances in space and the time required for the light of distant stars and galaxies to reach Earth was well beyond 6,000 years, nearly all of Christianity did an about face on the literal view of Bible Creation Story. The trouble is the story can’t be all symbolic because the earth was formed at some point, and so were the stars and so was life on earth including man.

    ““Thoughtful” is generally a synonym for agrees with me.”

    Sometimes it can mean that but in this case it is about being open minded to other possibilities.
    “I endeavor never to misrepresent your beliefs.”
    I want you to know I greatly appreciate this.
    “Mormons read FAIR”
    I guess there are or they wouldn’t exist, but, honestly, I’ve never met a Mormon who has mentioned they read FAIR and I personally, have not read much FAIR. But from time to time I may look something up.

  321. Cowboy,
    “I disagree with your conclusion that people are leaving the Christian faith because of a failure to explain creation. That’s a very narrow minded and short sighted point of view.”

    I am not surprised you disagree with me, since we haven’t really agreed on anything.

    Have you ever talked to atheists and former Christians? Especially the ones who are college educated?

    So, while you are right, it is not the Creation Story only which is a problem, it is much of the entire Bible. But it starts right off in Genesis. There are atheist groups which zero in on things such as the Creation story, which I have defended many times, in their attempts to discredit the Bible.

    This is how it works. These anti-Christs come in with facts and explain a point of view in a way which discredits the Bible: mostly because what children and youth are taught about the Bible in their churches is not true. And the atheists can prove it.

    “As a man thinks, so is he.”

    The problem starts in reasoning. After the credibility of the Bible and therefore childhood teachings are discredited then the other issues you mentioned now have fertile soil to take root.

    “Nonetheless, it is indeed an important issue to consider why people leave. It is vital, but the question of why is much more complicated than creation.”

    Well, we agree on something. My whole point about Creation is it is front and center to Traditional Christian Doctrine which has serious problems. If you reread my last few posts one after the other that should become very clear.

    “Are people saved when they leave? I don’t know.”

    “Its not up to me to judge them. Is it up to you? Does going through a ritual change any of that?”

    You are correct that neither you nor I can know what was in some one heart’s long before they leave. But my NT view, is yes, one can lose their salvation if they turn there back on the Lord. Judas was not saved.

    According to Jesus, what sets one “free” (free from sin and eternal death) is the truth. I think we have a responsibility to find out what the truth is as much as we can and share it primarily in a preventative way to stop the hemorrhaging of Christians.

    Yes, we LDS have the problem too but we are doing just that. We are presenting the truth, opening up all the papers to clarify the truth on the issues which trouble some of us. And because of the truth the loss of membership has stopped and we are growing faster than a few years ago.

  322. { Let’s be honest and open, OK?}
    Slow cowboy,
    In a conversation between the two of us you say honesty is needed.

    I know of my honesty, so that leaves only you as being dishonest.

    This is not the first time you used that idea.
    I hope you are only using a figure of speech and you are not calling me a list.

  323. {No, Fred, that’s not the common theme that all churches share. There is an idea, a belief. }

    You must be asking about the desire to understand God’s Word so we can follow the way He wants us to do it.

  324. Fred, no, it’s not found there, either. Your retort leads me to believe that you either are playing games or honestly don’t know. If you don’t know consider the attributes God all Christian churches share. If you do not understand what I mean, we need to start at the beginning. The trouble is, you’ve claimed to have broken everything down, so there is an assumption you should have come across this questioning before. If you have not, you have not broken everything down. (And I understand you say you put it all back and look at whole sin of the parts, but that is not possible without the parts. I am therefore exploring your understanding of the parts.)

  325. Ray, but the creation story is not front and center to the Christian message. Yes, we are created, but how that happened no one knows for sure. Yes, truth sets one free, but the truth Is Jesus himself.

    You are right to suggest this is a big deal, and that people lose faith through doubt in the veracity of the Bible. However, that does not change the Bible’s truth. The message is the same, and that does not need to change, and it doesn’t.

    There are many ways to combat the problem, but again, for the 100th time, the question is irrelevant to the point that the creation story does not affect the salvation message.

  326. You are right Cowboy, the Creation message is not front and center but to those atheists and former Christians it is. When I correspond with them, 90% of their concern is Creation and the Flood. These are the two areas they are indoctrinated the most. And we are to “answer every man…” according to the NT.
    By avoiding their concerns, they just think you can’t answer them which validates in their mind that Christianity is a sad joke.

    I know recently, I have been able to get one of them to some time soon read the Book of John. But I couldn’t do that if I couldn’t answer their objections in some sort of rational truthful way.

    But more importantly, our young people need to know in advance before they go to college the answers so when confronted with opposing opinion they don’t fall into mental apostasy.

    My biggest concern is I am fully aware of the anti-Mormon classes taught in many Evangelical Churches especially the Baptist Churches, like Mormons are some threat. But what I am not seeing or hearing about is an anti-culture/ immoral message which is an actual threat and we know this because tens of millions of Christians are now lost. Of course, to many Evangelicals being LDS means you are lost which is a poor judgment in my opinion.

  327. Who said I can’t or won’t answer their concerns?

    Ray, I pray you consider what it is I am saying and not use this to vent against something only a handful of churches do.

    Your biggest concern is a distraction from identifying Christ for who he really is, and I pray God opens your eyes to that.

  328. Here is an excerpt of a conversation I’ve had with an atheist. The subject was not Creation but you can see how these people think from this exchange. His name was John.

    John:
    Science has enabled the blind to see. Christianity has not. Science has enabled the deaf to hear. Christianity has not. Science has enabled the dumb to speak. Christianity has not. Science has fed the multitudes. Christianity has not. Science has cured most of the worst plagues of humankind. Christianity has not. Science has enabled paraplegics to move about independently. Christianity has not. Science has uncovered the secrets of the universe. Christianity has not. Science has taken us to moon, to the planets, and the comets. Christianity has left us stuck on earth.
    Lastly, Christianity has promised us an eternal life, but has done nothing to extend our earthly lifespan. Science has doubled our life expectancy in the past 150 years. And if immortality is ever achieved, it will be science, not Christianity, that will deliver it.

    Ray:
    And John you have that right and I respect it too. But the belittlement is par for the course. Yes, science has done all those things in an era established for religious freedom which allows divine inspiration and mankind to flourish with the gifts he has been given. And this was foretold, that there would be an increase of knowledge in the last days before the Lord returns. Starting just about 200 years ago, knowledge has burst forth on a level never experienced before. These “successes” of science are one of the signs of the times.

    John:
    Greed and the destruction of our habitat may very well bring about an “End of Days” for our children. Climate deniers will all be dead by the time the severity of climate change will be fully realized. It will be those generations of our children who look back upon those who chose greed over their children….and denial for the betterment of profit. May it be those whose souls burn in hell…..if it even exists

    Ray:
    When the remaining “signs of the times” come to pass then climate change will be the least of our problems.

    The fact he knows about the “end of days” means either he has had many exchanges with Christians or he was one at one time. These people are working very hard to take the souls of Christian young adults away.

    There was a “war in heaven” and that war continues now. And that war is about the salvation of men, so yes, the Creation and related subjects is extremely relative.

  329. {If you don’t know consider the attributes God all Christian churches share. If you do not understand what I mean, we need to start at the beginning. } { If you don’t know consider the attributes God all Christian churches share. }

    Slowcowboy,
    ___ all Christian churches share ___ Back to the defination of a Christian.

    Thank you for correcting my thoughts that you might think that knowing what God wants us to do is more important than knowing what He looks like.

  330. Fred, what you’ve described is not a description of what God may look like.

    Seriously, it is curious how you are avoiding this. Do you really not understand the point? What would help you understand the issue in question?

    Its not the definition of a Christian, but the very identity of God that’s in question. Until you see that this is what ultimately separates Mormons and Christians, in my opinion, we will never be able to have a productive conversation.

  331. {There was a “war in heaven” and that war continues now. And that war is about the salvation of men, so yes, the Creation and related subjects is extremely relative.}

    You teach of a God that was all by Himself before He created angels and men.

    You teach that He created angels that started a war amoung themselves.

    The God you teach of sounds like a Roman emperor who built fighting arenas to watch the little people kill each other.

  332. Fred, the points you bring up are important, but secondary. Now, if I told you there were answers to these points, would you listen to them with openness?

  333. Fred, I am sorry you think I called you a lying pagan. I don’t think you are lying, I am just not sure you are being honest (better read, open) to the points Gundek and I are making.

    Your defensiveness demonstrates this. And I am not trying to be accusatory or inflammatory, just making an observation. If you have questions, ask, and I will give a sincere answer. If you are trying to understand, great.

    Now, I have been very clear in my question, and you keep asserting something I see as irrelevant. I’ve stated this and you haven’t acknowledged even that much. To the contrary, you seem to be ignoring me. All I can conclude is that you either are not paying attention, really don’t understand, or are playing games.

    So, Fred, all I ask is that you demonstrate a willingness to follow along and not leave open the question as to what your motives are. I don’t want to assume anything, and try not to, but it really seems you have an agenda that is not to learn.

  334. Gundek,
    First, I’ve reread your posts and want to thank you for sincerity. You are what you say you are and I think that’s good. You also mentioned getting over about some Christians thinking different than you.

    I am curious, for why this change in your life?

    And second, you have read so much LDS writing and I am really curious as to why? And have you done this for other groups such as the JW’s or 7th day Adventists or Islam?

    So, do you have a deep interest in religions in general or just the Mormons?

  335. Fred, you said to me, Ray:

    Fred quoting Ray:
    {There was a “war in heaven” and that war continues now. And that war is about the salvation of men, so yes, the Creation and related subjects is extremely relative.}

    You teach of a God that was all by Himself before He created angels and men.

    You teach that He created angels that started a war among themselves.

    The God you teach of sounds like a Roman emperor who built fighting arenas to watch the little people kill each other.
    ________________________________________________________________

    As latter day saints, we teach the souls of men were not around until God created them in the spirit world. That angels are spirits that either will be men or already have been mortal men.

    But even if mistaken, I don’t think a comparison of the Traditional Christian God or the LDS God as a Roman Emperor is a fair judgment of others beliefs.

    The war in heaven does continue here. Satan, through people and personal temptations is actively leading souls down to Hell. I think this is standard doctrine for both Traditional Christians and the LDS. If I am wrong, I am sure Cowboy or someone will comment on the issue, so we will have a definite confirmation of my thinking.

  336. {But even if mistaken, I don’t think a comparison of the Traditional Christian God or the LDS God as a Roman Emperor is a fair judgment of others beliefs.}

    Sorry Ray, I was trying to give an example how the teachings and doctrine of triditional Christianity can be looked at as wrongly as the way LDS teachings and doctrine are miss understand here.

    My skill at conveying my thoughts with the written word needs much improvement.

    By cherry picking facts about God, the traditional Christion doctrine can be used to make the God they teach of look like a Roman empire enjoying a day at the colostrum.
    I learned that from an antiChristian back when I was still a W.A.S.P.

    Again, sorry for my writing skills causing confusion.
    Fred

  337. No problem Fred,

    At this site most of the Christians DO understand our view of God, they simply disagree with it.
    I, on the other hand, am still trying to understand their Trinity in some way that makes sense with the NT.

    However, in all my conversations, only anti-Christians think of God as a Roman Emperor. That is atheist propaganda and far from actual Christian thought. It is one thing to disagree, it is another to make fun of or twist the truth. They don’t like it anymore than we like it when done to us.

    This is a good place to exchange differences in a civil manner. I don’t think we should wear out our welcome with harsh untrue comments.

  338. Well, Fred, you’ve given no indication of your openess. My question remains unanswered. What attributes of God do Christians what e in common among each other?

  339. Cowboy,

    “Your biggest concern is a distraction from identifying Christ for who he really is, and I pray God opens your eyes to that.”
    “What attributes of God do Christians what e in common among each other?”

    Yes, today, I have a big concern for the end of Christianity as a major world religion. ISIS has wiped out Christianity from some regions that have been Christian for almost 2,000 years. Secularism has cleaned Europe’s Christian Clock and is taking deep roots here. Because of secularism many Christians don’t actually believe Christ lived and was raised from the dead. They think he was just an allegory, just like the Creation view you seem to support. The real question is, Cowboy, why are you not concerned about the significant decline of the Christian world at large?

    It was John who told us, ‘if we say we love God, but don’t care about our brothers, then the truth is not in us’. What truth lives in you to disregard this drastic decline of the Christian world in our life times?

    I don’t think of Jesus, Adam or Noah as an allegory. Do you? I believe they were real. As to who Jesus was, I believe he told us. But I can’t add to who Jesus is based on Traditional Christianity’s addition of information in the third century. To go from the person Jesus said he was, to the one implied by a new wave of Christian thinking, I think is varying too far from the New Testament.

    And I do not understand why you do not understand these concerns. Maybe you can answer these questions in a way that I will understand your thinking.

  340. Ray, first, I’ll ask again,what leads you to believe I don’t take it seriously? Second, does God protect his people? Third, what about protecting his own word? Fourth, is there a spiritual war going on? Fifth, who is going to win? Sixth, who do you really think is in control?

    Do these questions help guide your understanding of the Christian response?

  341. >>>what leads you to believe I don’t take it seriously?
    The reason I think this is you classify my attempts to speak with you about it as a distraction. The Lord said “‘straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life’, and “few there be which find it”. How narrow and how few that number will be depends on us who believe. Because much of the time, God works through people. If we chose to not think or do something about it because ‘God is ultimately in control’ then Satan wins. There will be even fewer who could have had eternal life.

    >>>Do these questions help guide your understanding of the Christian response?
    I understand your basic premise in your questions. Does that mean you believe in a predetermined destiny of souls?

    When something was wrong in the church 500 years ago, the people who believed in Christ did something about it which eventually led to how you worship today. There would have been no Methodist or Non-denominational Church for you to attend.
    Something is seriously wrong in the Christian World today. I don’t see any sort of attempt to counter secularism except by the YEC group, which has some serious problems in their facts, methods and theology.

  342. Well, Ray, you need to research Christian efforts much more. Seriously. Walk down the Christian aisle at Barnes and Noble or find a Christian radio station, like K Love. Report back

    And to demonstrate how I think the issue is a distraction I posit that we have talked very little about Jesus’ salvation gift at the expense of a question whose answer does not change that gift one bit.

    You did not answer my questions, either, though can I assume from your response that you do not think God is in ultimate control, that Satan could win, or that God is not powerful enough to protect his message or his people? Am I also to conclude you do not believe in spiritual warfare?

    An additional question: do you think when I ask whether you think God is in control that I think I don’t have responsibility in spreading and protecting God’s word?

  343. { Its not the definition of a Christian, but the very identity of God that’s in question. Until you see that this is what ultimately separates Mormons and Christians, in my opinion, we will never be able to have a productive conversation.}

    { slowcowboy on April 30, 2016 at 6:02 am said:
    Well, Fred, you’ve given no indication of your openess. My question remains unanswered. What attributes of God do Christians what e in common among each other?}

    Correction:
    What attributes of God do TRIDITIONAL CREEDAL Christians what e in common among each other?

    I am tired of you telling me that I am not a Christian.

    And,
    I do not think you will ever think I am being open.

    By your internal definition, a person must accept the idea of the Trinity to be called a traditional creedal Christian.
    ‘Trinity’ is an attribute that describes the closest thing to a physical description of God that you are willing to accept. To be a creedal triditional Christian you must accept that one thing in it double roll.

    Then there comes the question about why God created us.
    Your idea of God is based on a master looking down on what he made, while we believe Jesus was teaching His brothers and sisters something very important when He prayed,

    ” 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
    9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
    (Mat 6)

    To us, God is not some ‘omni’ being, He is the father of our spirits.

    The reason Heavenly Father does what He does is because we are family, not underlings.

  344. Fred, a moment for me to teach: Christians believe we become full in Christ alone. In other words, upon belief we are spiritually complete. This occurs through the very nature of God and not anything we do. Only God can do that for us, and there is only One God.

    Your unwillingness to answer my question is curious…. You seem to think it is irrelevant but it is just about everything. If you are interested in learning, and you have said you are, it is to your benefit to consider the answer.

  345. Cowboy,
    I thought your questions were rhetorical.

    >>>what leads you to believe I don’t take it seriously?

    Okay, answered this one already. It appears, you think all topics outside of salvation are distractions.

    >>>Second, does God protect his people?

    Now, that is a good question that would require a complex answer but I will keep it short.
    In 700 BC, the Assyrians slaughtered 49 cities of God’s people. They killed everyone. Finally, the Assyrians came to Jerusalem to finish off Israel. Assyria was quite intent on the final genocide of the Jews but God stepped in and killed the Assyrian army while they slept.
    He did not step in to save Jesus or later the hundreds of Christians who died at the hands of Nero in the Coliseum.
    And he did not step in when Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD in which over one million Jews were slaughtered.

    So, from time to time God will step in to protect his people but very often He will not interfere with the free will of anyone even those killing his people.

    >>>Third, what about protecting his own word?
    I assume you are referring to the writing of the ancient Prophets and Apostles. Much of these have survived to our day but some have been lost. So, you tell me.

    >>>Fourth, is there a spiritual war going on?
    Most definitely there is a spiritual war. Lucifer is actively leading many souls to Hell. The war is about the souls of people. Will they be the Lord’s or the Devil’s?

    >>>Fifth, who is going to win?
    How do you define “win”?
    If 500 million souls get saved out of 20 billion is that a win? I think every soul saved is a win for the Lord, but if my friends or family are lead away and they lose their salvation or never gain it in the first place, then Satan wins those battles.

    >>>Sixth, who do you really think is in control?

    Paul tells us in Gal 1:4 that this “present evil world” is what Jesus is saving us from. And more clearly he tells us the “god of this world” has blinded people from salvation (2 Cor 4:4)
    So, right now, Satan is in control, over all. But Satan loses control over individuals who accept the Lord and live accordingly. Ultimately, Jesus will be in control during the Millennium but that is not right now.

    >>>Do these questions help guide your understanding of the Christian response?

    I don’t know because I don’t know how you see it. I thought I understood you but now I think I don’t.

    >>>An additional question: do you think when I ask whether you think God is in control that I think I don’t have responsibility in spreading and protecting God’s word?

    I am thinking you believe in predetermined destiny, that no matter what you do things will turn out a certain way (what you think is God’s way), so you aren’t responsible or need to be concerned about the loss of fellow Christians to secularism: that God will take care of everything.

    It might be helpful if you answer your own questions.

    Now, you mentioned the efforts of Christians through books for purchase and Talk Radio. How does that reach the Christians who have left their churches? Do you think former Christians buy Christian books and listen to Christian radio? Am I missing something here?

  346. Ray, I understand the confusion on the rhetorical issue, but yes, I actually did want you to answer them.

    Now, as to the first, saying everything is a distraction to the real, prime issue does not necessitate I don’t think the issue of dealing with non-believers or those leaving the church is unimportant. Why you conclude that demonstrates you don’t think the issue I bring forth is as important as these other issues. That’s precisely what I am trying to address and emphasize: that these other issues are important but not AS important as understanding who Christ was and what he did for us, especially in the context of understanding Christianity. If you want to know about Christianity, you need to understand who Christ was and what he did for us. Both of these are essential and required. If we are talking about losing believers through the issue of the age of the earth, we are not talking about Jesus. Believe me, there are answers to your questions on the issue, but those answers do not change Jesus.

    The second question yields this ultimate response: yes, God does protect his people. He never killed all the believers and always left a remnant of believers here to continue to preach God’s word. Daniel is a great example, and there are countless others. Yes, God does not always make it comfortable for believers, often allowing many to die, but God will not and will never abandon them all. We are told expressly the Christian life will invite persecution. We ought not forget that when believers die, they are with Christ and in heaven, and that is a good thing. And yes, God will punish us sometimes, but he uses that as correction.

    God is in control there, not us. God will protect his people, whom he loves. This does not mean it will be easy, just as a loving father has to make it uncomfortable for his children, God, as our adopted father, has to make it uncomfortable for us, too. Just the same, as a loving father will protect his children, God will always protect us. He is the Father, and He is in control, not us.

    Third, we have everything we need and nothing has been lost. It is pure speculation that somethings are lost. Sure, letters from Paul or other leaders of the church at the time may be lost, but those are not scripture level writings. The early believers quickly recognized the importance of the letters that remained behind that we continue to use today. Through God, it was apparent the power they contained. Through God’s people, God kept these documents and preserved them. Not the original letters necessarily, but the words themselves. The evidence of the accuracy of the copies from the original is astounding. And since God is in control, it is hard to imagine he would let his word fall by the wayside, especially under the New Covenant.

    Fourth, I agree, there is absolutely a spiritual war going on. Satan wants to be God. He is trying to convince people they can become gods, too, in any number of ways. One of them is by minimizing the power of God and using science to sow doubt in people of their need for God. Specifically,as to the creation issue, this idea applies. Nonetheless, we are told that Satan is the father of lies, and that what comes from him is a lie. Truth is in God, and when we are in God, we are in truth. And God is in control, not Satan.

    Fifth, God will win. Yes, we will lose some souls, even some close ones to us. However, in the end, God will win, and when we are with him, to be direct, we may be saddened by the failure of some to be in heaven with us, but that will be overshadowed by our pure and unending joy of being in God’s presence. Our goal on this earth is to work to get people to join us in that paradise, And our earthly passions will lead to some disappointment, but we ought not lose sight of the reality of being in the presence of God. Its God’s victory, not ours, that we need to focus on.

    But why will God win? Because God is in control, not us or Satan. God can wipe us all out tomorrow if he so chose. Individually or as a group, but because of his love, he does not do that. Nonetheless, he does specifically use people to advance his purpose, not ours. Sometimes, that does require hardening of hearts. Why is that? I don’t know, but I think he does that with people already bent against him. His preference is to save all, but due to our free will, he allows us the choice. While he already knows what our choices will be, he still lets us live our lives. I am reminded of Esther, who was bold once reminded that God’s purpose will be served no matter what.

    Again, we see that God is in control, not us, even in this present age.

    Sixth, see my last sentence, but to expand, we are subject to God’s control even now. To think we can change God’s plan is ridiculous. As I stated, God can do what he wants when he wants. I cannot. I must always be ready, always looking to see where he guides me. Sometimes I will follow correctly, sometimes I will miss. I sin when I miss, but the beauty is that God forgives me and my salvation is already assured. And if God chooses to take me away tomorrow, that is God’s will, not mine. If God takes my wife from me, that is God’s will, not mine.

    Yes, God allows Satan to roam and influence today, even arguably ceding much authority to Satan, but God’s influence is everywhere and to suggest he is not still in control is incorrect. Remember Job, to whom God ceded authority over to Satan but still limiting what Satan could do. Remember the very nature of Satan and his desire to be just like God, but has told him he cannot have it. God is in control, not Satan.

    So, you think I believe I can just sit back and do nothing? Is that a correct restatement of your belief of me and my position on the loss of believers and the attacks on Christianity?

    As to ex-believers, you never know, do you? Also, don’t forget there are multitude ways a person can get a book, or hear an idea. Don’t forget about the power of prayer and open communication. I think you need to look more deeply into how Christians address the loss of their brethren. I assure, it is no small deal.

  347. ====== John 5:

    17 ¶But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
    18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
    19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
    20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
    21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
    22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
    23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
    24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
    25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
    26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
    27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
    28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
    29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
    30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
    31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

    =========

    Slowcowboy,
    After spending some time explaining what He got from His Father in Heaven,
    Jesus said this about Himself,

    ====
    36 ¶But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
    37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me.
    ====

    Here is something to think about,,

    31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

    37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me.

    Since you say the father and the son are the same personage, you have the trinity bearing witness that the trinity is a judge. By the law of unintended consequences, you are saying that the father/trinity is a false witness, and that the son/trinity is not a true judge.

  348. Fred, you still can’t come to speak of the issue I am trying to discuss and you still are trying to discredit the Trinity. Why is that? You’re not trying to learn. You’re trying to preach.

    Now, I’d posit that your insistence on argument only demonstrates the incompatibility. It does not prove incompatibility, but it is evidence of it because it shows an inability to communicate about our faiths. You are showing you are not interested in learning about Christianity, only proving it wrong.

    Now, your argument is wrong concerning the issue of the witnesses. Why? Because there are two witnesses Jesus speaks of, his works and John the Baptist. His works are works only God can do, and John the Baptist provides a human witness apart from God.

    Its curious, Fred, that this above information comes through the verses you leave out. Why’d you leave them out?

    Here they are:

    “31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

    32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.

    33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.

    34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.

    35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

    36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

    37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”

    Fred, I ask you to explain why you left out 32-36, and why you refuse to simply acknowledge the position I put forth.

    Thanks.

  349. {Fred, you still can’t come to speak of the issue I am trying to discuss and you still are trying to discredit the Trinity. Why is that? }

    Just doing what you said, ” … these other issues are important but not AS important as understanding who Christ was and what he did for us, …”

    You believe that the trinity and Jesus Christ are the same thing.

    {Fred, I ask you to explain why you left out 32-36,…}
    It speaks of a different witness who, by the way, was directed by the trinity to teach about the trinity.

    That was secondary to the piont I made that when the trinity witnessed that the trinity was a true judge, the trinity went against what the trinity said makes a true witness. If you believe in the definition titled “the trinity.”

    To repeat the important part,
    <>

  350. 31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

    37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me.

    If God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are not the same personage, but are two individual beings, these statements from the Bible are true statements.

  351. Thank you Cowboy for your explanations. In actuality, I think we are saying the same things. I think the difference is what “control” means. God is the ultimate power and therefore nothing happens against his will any longer than he wants. Still, in ancient Israel, 49 cities of God’s people were creamed which testifies that God allows free agency to reign unless that free agency is going to interfere with his plan for this earth and his children. Anyway we say it, I think we are saying the same thing. And that is refreshing, since I don’t see why we have to disagree on every single point.

    >>> I think you need to look more deeply into how Christians address the loss of their brethren. I assure, it is no small deal.

    Okay, I was looking into by asking a Christian: you.

    From what I have seen out there, it seems like nothing is being done. And if something is being done I think the results are zero.

    >>>So, you think I believe I can just sit back and do nothing? Is that a correct restatement of your belief of me and my position on the loss of believers and the attacks on Christianity?

    I think personally, you must be doing something because of your recent post. But before that, I couldn’t tell and it looked like you had no concern about it. However, I was more concerned about your church and all the other Evangelical Churches. What are they doing?

  352. So, Ray, if God is the ultimate authority and in control, I can safely assume he knows what is happening and know that his plan will be fulfilled. I don’t know what the details of his plan will be and so I still need to be active in this life, just like Esther was active. I need to play my part. After all, faith without works is dead.

    I can tell you that the church is concerned about the loss of members. But remember the above in recognizing that many will disbelieve in these latter days. Many will fall away and people will do horrible things. We don’t stop fighting but we do have to look at the bigger picture, too.

    You can research what churches do to evangelize and reach people, but prayer is a big part of the answer.

    And I want to pause a moment and state that we are still not talking about Jesus here. This is a secondary issue and keeps a critics focus off Jesus.

  353. {Did you read my post?}
    Yes slowcowboy, I have read your post and it is plan that you have. a case of what you say is wrong in others.
    You are not willing to learn.

  354. Fred, why did you ignore all of my points? What are you trying o teach? I am trying to demonstrate þhe unity of all Christian faiths and you will not address that without saying the Trinity is wrong. You leave out vital verses in your quotes and ignore questions.

    Why?

  355. I think you miss the consept.
    You say I need to be open to your teachings,
    and yet,
    you refuse to be open to mine.

    Then you use questions, . many questions.

  356. I use questions to get you to think about my position. All I am trying to do, Fred, is to get you to understand the Christian position. You’ve yet to acknowledge it for what it is. You seem more concerned with proving it wrong.

    As to your position, which position would you like me to restate now? Your position on the Trinity is that it is basically a logical contradiction that is better answered through Jesus being a more literal son of God with the Father, Son, and Ghost comprising a united “committee” acting in unison for the same purpose. Each distinct and separate person is more literally a person and acts independently, though for the same purpose.

    You believe Jesus has a body, as does the Father. The Holy Ghost does not.

    You believe this description of God to be in better conformity with the Bible than the doctrine of the Trinity.

    I may be leaving out details, but my description is fairly accurate and honest and open. I am happy to do the same, describe your positions, with other Mormon doctrines. Though I disagree with the formulations, I can and am willing to understand them in a fair and open manner, as they are what they are. It causes me no harm to be honest and recognize your beliefs for what they are as you see them, and if I failed to do that, I would not be learning. If I need correction, fair enough.

    Now, I’ll restate what I said at the top of this post: my goal is for you to at least acknowledge the Christian view without adding your judgment into it. Whether you get it completely or not, or agree, or anything of the sort, is not my concern. However, that you can at least acknowledge it is.

  357. Cowboy – I believe in prayer and it is part of the solution. I was just wondering specifically if something is being done. If you don’t want to talk about it then fine.

    >>>And I want to pause a moment and state that we are still not talking about Jesus here. This is a secondary issue and keeps a critics focus off Jesus.

    Not trying to avoid Jesus in any discussion. We have talked about him and his position as the center of everything. I think our only real disagreement is his relationship with the Father and Holy Ghost. But you have to remember and I have said it repeatedly that a belief in the Trinity the way you see it is not what most Christians think. And still they feel the Spirit enough to be religious, go to church pray, do works of faith and help others because they feel God has touched them.
    Now, Tim made it clear last year that most of those Christian churches “officially” believe in the Nicaea Creed Doctrine as the correct explanation of the Trinity but in real life, the people of these same churches think many variations of it. It is clear from this thread alone both you and Gundek see it a little differently. You and I see it much more differently. The point is understanding the Trinity and Jesus’ part in it is not central to feeling the Spirit or salvation.

    What is central to salvation is understanding and believing that Jesus bore our sins and we are to ‘take up our cross’ and ‘follow him’. That is why he said, those who 1) believe 2) are baptized and 3) endure to the end are the ones who will be saved.
    Being Baptized is an outward symbol and declaration of an inner commitment. Being Baptized means, among other things, that you are willing to “follow him” which means discipleship for the rest of your life. That is why Jesus used the phrase “endure to the end” is part of being saved. Paul’s discussion on grace was never meant to override Jesus’ fundamental gospel. Paul was simply discussing the finer points of the Gospel.

  358. Ray, I just don’t have specifics on hand. It is a wide topic, and it is mistake to believe that nothing is being done.

    I don’t get the sense that you do understand the Trinity. The Trinity is widely accepted as being three in one, and can be worded any number of ways. I suggest you go to churches websites to read what they believe. A good one to start with is mcleanbible.org (https://www.mcleanbible.org/sites/default/files/resources-files/What-We-Teach.pdf). There’s also a wide swath of information there. I was previously a member of this church and find it very strong. Left only because we moved away.

    I agree with Tim, and I agree with Gundek. His presentation is perhaps more careful than mine in his presentation, but I used loose language earlier in describing the oneness of God to emphasize exactly that, the oneness of God. I, though, have also expressed that just the same to their oneness is their separateness. There is only one God, no matter how that is sliced, yet each member is indeed separate and independent from the rest. It is a hard concept to describe, so I have no problem that it is difficult to understand. And because of that, it is reasonable for different people to describe it differently.

    I encourage you to review the document in the link above. It includes a description of much what seems to concern you. It is done in a more formal and specific way, with scripture to back it up.

    But the identity of Jesus is central to the question of salvation. Would you agree that following a false Jesus leads to a false destination? That is the point. And that Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity does mean the Trinity is important, as the Trinity identifies who God is. If we get one part wrong, we are in trouble.

    I will not comment on your last paragraph, not to avoid, but to keep the emphasis on Jesus. Understand also that I am not trying to persuade, though that would be fantastic if you gave your life to Jesus now, but to get you to understand that there is a unity in Christianity that Mormons rarely see. The trend seems to be that you look to the differences rather than the unity. Part of that is because the Trinity is difficult, and you run into what you’ve described with Tim, Gundek, and I. However, even Gundek stated there is a unity in Christianity that supports my point. That is what I emphasizing.

  359. slowcowboy,
    Here is an article that has been pointed out to me that you might want to read when you think about what Jesus did for us. Just something that points to how much the Bible does not tell us.

    This points to the idea that Jesus taught more than what is recorded in the sixty six books preserved in the Bible. The evedances from the Bible are part of why we believe the Bible is not sola scriptura.

    Hopefully, the little I post of the article will spark a desire to know more.
    =====

    Defending the Faith: A 40-day gap in the New Testament
    By Daniel Peterson, For the Deseret News

    Published: Thu, May 29, 2014, 5:00 a.m. MDT

    ” Today is Ascension Day, or Holy Thursday. It commemorates the physical ascension of the resurrected Jesus Christ into heaven as recorded in the New Testament:

    “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God” (Luke 24:50-53; compare Mark 16:19).”

    ” Did Jesus merely repeat the teachings of his mortal ministry?
    Plainly, no. Still unrecognized, walking with two deeply disappointed and distraught disciples on the road to Emmaus, the newly risen Savior saw that they had failed to understand his mission. So, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).”

    ” The New Testament offers clear hints that other sayings and teachings of the Savior went unrecorded. For instance, Paul exhorts the Saints at Ephesus “to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). However, no such admonition occurs in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Plainly, Paul and his audience were aware of oral traditions or written documents of which we know basically nothing.”

    =====

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2016/05/a-40-day-gap-in-the-new-testament-2.html?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=danpeterson_050516UTC010507_daily&utm_content=&spMailingID=51307692&spUserID=MTI2MDUzMDY3NjgyS0&spJobID=920600726&spReportId=OTIwNjAwNzI2S0

  360. Thanks, Fred. And yes, I would agree that there are words and teachings not recorded. The Bible even says this directly.

    Are you going to acknowledge my points? Or is this going to be a one way street?

  361. Cowboy,
    I will read your link so it will be a few days before I can get back to you on it.

    >>>if you gave your life to Jesus now

    I think this is where we have real differences. I have given my life to Christ or I would not live the way I live. I would not have faith or pray or anything relating to the Gospel. A prayer inviting Jesus into your life at an Evangelical Church is not giving your life to Christ. It would be a start.
    Some decades back their was a national media push by Evangelicals called the “I found it” campaign. And what we said we found was “new life in Jesus Christ”. But ‘new life’ starts with a sincere prayer but it hardly ends there. And understanding the Trinity never impacted whether some one felt God’s Spirit. I don’t know why you can acknowledge that.

    I’m assuming you think the Spirit Mormons feel is of the Devil since you don’t think we believe in the same Jesus. What I think you are missing is we DO believe in the same Jesus, we just don’t believe in the third century Trinity put together by the religious leaders of that time who did not even have Apostolic authority or scripture which confirms your Trinity. But as I said, I will be fair and read your link to see how well your Trinity is backed up by the New Testament.

  362. Ray, I know, you want it to be the same Jesus, but it is not. Sorry, logically it cannot be.

    Does that mean you follow the devil? I would not go that far at all. I don’t think you worship the devil, but I do think you are mislead and mistaken. I don’t think you are evil or anything. Quite the contrary, most Mormons, and you, too, I assume are great people.

    The feeling one gets is fleeting. We see this “burning in the bosom” in many, many things. Just because we feel it, it does not mean one is converted or changes. I would hope you agree with that.

    I would also hope you understand that the conversion prayer IS just a beginning. That’s absolutely true. One who prays it and vanishes from the faith is not likely a believer. I won’t judge his or heart, but it seems unlikely the prayer was sincere. But the commencement of a believers life is an entrance to a lifelong journey carrying our cross and new unforeseen burdens face us daily.

    You’re right, understanding the Trinity is not a requirement for belief. However, as one matures the believer should come to understand the nature of God. That nature is found in the Trinity. I’ve been open that it is a difficult concept, but kind of like your concept of milk before meat, one must mature and grow into certain understandings of God. Whether the person gets it all immediately or not is irrelevant, but a believer does grow in his or her faith. I mean, it would be silly to expect a new believer to fully understand the concept of justification or sanctification. They should be taught them right away, but fully understanding upon conversion is not necessary at all.

    Ray, you packed a lot that defines the differences between our faiths in this last post. I won’t list them all, but understand that it is not just that you deny the Trinity that makes our faiths incompatible. Frankly, under Mormon standards Christians are not true believers, either. I don’t do the right things, hear the right things, believe the right things, etc. For instance, while I am baptized, my baptism isn’t much good in Mormonism. I may be “Christian” but I won’t ever get fully saved in Mormonism.

    Our faiths are simply not compatible. They share language and have common ideals and goals, but the faiths, when you get into the nitty gritty, are miles apart.

  363. Fred, see John 21:25 “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

  364. Comprehensive answer Cowboy – thank you.

    I don’t want to say much more until I can read your link. I really do want to understand your Trinity that way I can understand you folks better. But as I discussed with Tim last year, I was at the Baptist Church over a year and never grasped the concept remotely like is claimed at this web site.

    >>> One who prays it and vanishes from the faith is not likely a believer.

    I often think of the parable of the sower. Jesus tells us of 4 conditions and what happens to people. I think people who pray their first prayer are sincere but their faith doesn’t last because of the reasons Jesus cites.

  365. {John 21:25 “And there are also many other things which Jesus did,…}
    I do not have faith in the men who decided on what parts of God’s Word to include in the sola scriptura. We are back to the question about where did the men get authority to narrow God’s teachings.

  366. Slowcowboy,
    I have to say that by what you just said to Ray that your knowlage about my faith is very poor. Your conclusions about us must be based on incomplete and/or false facts.

    If you would like to learn where your conclusions sound true, but are false, remind me after we finish discussing why you choose to accept the man made cannon of scripture as sola scriptor.

  367. Ray, sounds good. I appreciate the discussion. I agree with your conclusion about the sowers. That was exactly what I had in mind when writing. (See, we can agree on some things…:) )

    As you can imagine, there are many, many resources to review if you are looking to understand Christianity. The link and the document I posted are but one. I do think it is a solid description of the core beliefs of the Christian church, though, brief, to the point but also comprehensive. I am curious your thoughts, if you are willing to share.

  368. Fred, while I understand your hesitation, as for me, I don’t have enough faith to believe that God would not include everything we need in the recorded scripture, given that he is all powerful.

    I also note that you still refuse to play fairly and continue to ignore specific and tangible points I make. I am done engaging you. It is tiresome and a waste of time when you act this way. It is not productive, let alone honest, and now I am directly accusing you of dishonesty. I won’t continue to play your game. I am done.

  369. {…now I am directly accusing you of dishonesty.…}
    Thank you for finally admitting you have called me a lier, it mushave workedfor you on others.

    {I also note that you still refuse to play fairly and continue to ignore specific and tangible points I make}

    I do not “play” with things religious. You do play controller by spamming question after question and then divert attention from A QUESTION YOU DO NOT WANT TO ANSWER by claiming the other did not answer some other guestion.

    {Fred, while I understand your hesitation, as for me, I don’t have enough faith to believe that God would not include everything we need in the recorded scripture, given that he is all powerful.}

    Thank you for finally saying, in your own way, that you believe God gave these men the authority to speak for Him. That God made them prophets in function, if not in name.

  370. Cowboy, I have been traveling for a few days and am busy. I think I will have time to read your link and share thoughts Sunday or Monday.

    Fred, Christians have a deep seated reasons for believing God preserved the Bible in place of living prophets. I don’t agree with their reasoning but that is no justification to not accept that they firmly believe it. There doesn’t need to be frustration in these discussions. Often frustration comes when that the other person can’t see it the way one’s self sees it when trying to get the point across.
    Try getting in a conversation with an atheist on-line some time. You will find yourself defending the existence of God and even Jesus and you’ll never get to how God’s intentions on how he ran his church in the past and now. It’s quite illuminating.

  371. {Christians have a deep seated reasons for believing God preserved the Bible in place of living prophets. }

    I agree.
    Since the gospel after the second century is different from the gospel before the second century, I just want to know who authorized the different gospel.
    If the change came from God, we are in the wrong faith.

  372. Fred, I have to investigate Cowboy’s link so I will have to be brief but can go into depth later on.

    ‘The Gospel makes bad men good and good men better’ – Brigham Young

    Nothing in this existence is perfect. So, the question bodes, can one not believe the whole Gospel and still be inspired by the Lord? Furthermore, can one be agnostic or atheist and still be inspired of the Lord?

    And the answer is yes. The classic example is the growth of knowledge in the last 200 years. Many LDS leaders have suggested that since the Lord’s Spirit was poured out on the earth during the Restoration, the inspiration of non-LDS people and even non-Christians is the source of our new innovative age. It comes from God since it is good and has benefited the human race. Considering many great discoveries were accidents, I think it tends to back up the idea.

    Moroni 7: 24 “and all things which are good cometh of Christ”

    There is no doubt the Lord inspired people of the second century to put together the writings of the Apostles which has formed our New Testament. They needed guidance from God and this was the closest they would get without living Apostles.
    And the good which has been done because of faith in Christ because of the Bible shouldn’t be discounted. People in other Christian Churches do feel the Lord’s Spirit from time to time which helps them in their progression.

    >>>If the change came from God, we are in the wrong faith.

    Because God doesn’t control us, he guides us, all who believe in Christ are the same faith, just not the same authority to administer the Church.

  373. Ray,
    { Because God doesn’t control us, he guides us, all who believe in Christ are the same faith, just not the same authority to administer the Church.}

    I was using the idea of denomination when I used the word faith, the way it has been used at other times in this thread.

    Your idea. is more in line with the understanding that — you do not have to agree with me to be a Christian, other then a desire to believe that Jesus is the Christ.

    { There is no doubt the Lord inspired people of the second century to put together the writings of the Apostles which has formed our New Testament.}

    There is a difference between good men doing their best to reform something they see to be wrong and God giving a man authority to correct something.

    I do not believe that good men doing their best had/have authority from God to tell me I am not a Christian because I do not believe that ‘God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit’ are a “Trinity.”

    ===
    {slowcowboy on March 23, 2016 at 11:38 am said:
    Fred, the disagreements are a bit of a red herring in that disagreements are natural and do not change the essence of the Gospel.}

    slowcowboy,
    What I say is not a red herring, it falls within the administrative part of the gospel and does not destroy what you call the essence of the gospel.

    Jesus is the Christ.

  374. Cowboy,
    I have read your document from MBC. It covers a lot of ground in just a few pages. It seems to have a “Church of Christ” flavor about it. Did MBC whose leaders are “Elders” come from the Church of Christ group?

    I only spot checked a few verses against their statements, so I’ll need more time to cover it better to give you a fair opinion but I will say I am impressed any Evangelical Church is so willing to post their doctrines in a summary statement. That’s brave because like the LDS they are taking a firm stance of key subjects and if they made a mistake, it is hard to back down or change positions.

  375. Fred,
    >>>I was using the idea of denomination when I used the word faith

    Fair enough.

    >>>There is a difference between good men doing their best to reform something they see to be wrong and God giving a man authority to correct something.

    No argument here.
    However, the trouble comes when initial inspiration of say, “we need to collect the writings of the Apostles into a single book” becomes “that single book has now replaced Apostles and Prophets”. In order for something such as that to occur, the Divine process moves from mere inspiration to prophetic revelation. And this is a differing point we have with Evangelicals.

    >>>I do not believe that good men doing their best had/have authority from God to tell me I am not a Christian because I do not believe that ‘God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit’ are a “Trinity.”

    Agreed. They do not have the authority to make that judgment. However, the good they do accomplish is recognized by Christ. I consider other LDS Church members “brothers & sisters” in the Gospel and other Christians I consider “cousins” in the Gospel. We are part of the same family, just a different line. We want to get along with our family not fight with them. That doesn’t mean we can’t disagree and discuss those differences. But if we become hostile, over bearing or contentious then we are succumbing to the temptations of the Devil. I am not saying you are guilty of those things. Only you know what you are feeling. But I did sense some frustration on your part which is why I said anything about it.

  376. { …the good they do accomplish is recognized by Christ. I consider other LDS Church members “brothers & sisters” in the Gospel and other Christians I consider “cousins” in the Gospel. We are part of the same family, just a different line.}

    Ray,
    To me, we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, not relatives in a different part of the family tree.

    All good will be counted as righteousness.

    As for the title ‘Christian’, I am tired of being told I am not one.
    Slowcowboy, and others here, claim the right to define the title ‘Christian’ so we are not within that title.

    I challenge their right to create that definition; if they are correct, I need to change, if they are wrong, that is their problem. By what authority do they claim that right.

    I was cleaning out some temporary bookmarks and got looking at the stats on the Christian religion being the largest religion. If you use the definition of Christian slowcowboy and others here use , the Christian religion is no longer the largest the largest religion.

    What else do they diminish with their wrongly narrowed defination?

  377. Your comments show a real concern for the authority of men and this isn’t surprising in a system where men make unique authority claims.

    Use whatever terms you like, but if you truly believed the claims made by the authorities of your Church you wouldn’t care what anyone says about Mormonism.

    The point is that no one is trying to define Christianity, people are making a truth claim about the importance of a particular doctrine. Boundary markers are just truth claims.

  378. Fred,
    >>>we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, not relatives in a different part of the family tree.

    And that’s okay too. Technically, Satan is in the family too along with murders, rapists and so on. Those who choose Christ over Satan become part of Christ’s eternal family while those who don’t aren’t going to receive the eternal blessings of eternal family. That is why I make the distinction.

    >>>As for the title ‘Christian’, I am tired of being told I am not one.

    It has never bothered me not to be called a “Christian”. The reason for this is the original Christians called themselves “saints”. If you notice the letters written by the Apostles, they addresses those letters to the “Saints”. It was the non-Christians who dubbed the title “Christian”, much like the latter day saints where dubbed the title “Mormons”.

    But, today, it is the different meanings ascribed to the same word. You and I say we are “Christian” it is because those who coined the term in the first century meant those who follow Jesus Christ. But other people think “Christian” means Evangelical, Catholic or Orthodox Christians. They have taken claim on the term. As for me, I will stick with the term laid down by Christ. We are “saints”.

    >>>If you really believed in the authoritarian Church other’s claims wouldn’t matter.

    Gundek is saying, if you believe your Church has all the authority why are you worried about other religion’s claims?

  379. {Use whatever terms you like, but if you truly believed the claims made by the authorities of your Church you wouldn’t care what anyone says about.}

    “Your”, It is my church because I am a member, not the leader.

    It is your comments about God’s church that I am thinking about.

    Back at you, why it important to evangelicals that I am not to be considered a christian?

    { gundek on May 9, 2016 at 10:05 am said:
    Your comments show a real concern for the authority of men and this isn’t surprising in a system where men make unique authority claims.}
    { The point is that no one is trying to define Christianity, people are making a truth claim about the importance of a particular doctrine. Boundary markers are just truth claims.}

    You do not understand where I see the authority of God’s church comes from. Your comments indicate that you believe the authority of you chosen denomination comes from men.

    Heavenly Father gives authority to His Son Jesus Christ, who gives authority to the leaders of His Church.

    Who do you think God gave authority to for the administer His Church?
    Who do you think God gave authority to to determine who is a member of His Church?

    ..

  380. Fred,

    Call yourself a Christian if you want. I do deny that you are Christian just like I am Christian. To the extent you believe a person named Jesus lived and that you worship him, call yourself a Christian.

    I cannot and will not deny you that. However, if we are honest, our faiths are so different that one cannot say that our faiths are Christian.

    I know you want to believe the differences you always site are enough, in your eyes, to claim it is us who are faulty, and that’s fine. I am only trying to get you to see the equation through our eyes, which is not the same as you. And that should be fine, too.

    The questions I ask are not insincere or an effort to avoid. Rather, they are an attempt to utilize something akin to the Socratic method of teaching, which s based upon the asking of questions designed to get the hearer of the question to think about the issues in a different way.

    For some reason, you accuse me of what seems to be me playing a game to get you to convert. If you do convert, great, but that is not my intent. I only wish to get you to recognize, not agree with, our position.

    Forgive if I got petty and short above, but I honestly feel like I am banging my head on a wall when discussing these things. You won’t answer my questions and it seems you are bent on doing anything but listen to the points I bring up.

    A positive discussion between traditional Christians (what you term Creedal) and Mormons is indeed possible, but we have to listen. You didn’t like my attempt at an honest description of Mormonism, but I tried. As I said, correct me if I am wrong, but at least I tried.

    Not every Christian you meet is so anti-Mormon that they are not open to discussing or sharing ideas. I am one of those open to them.

    I hope you understand that.

  381. Fred I understand what the Salt Lake Mormon Church teaches about authority. I just don’t think you really believe it yet. I think you want it to be true, but you are plagued with doubts. Your comments sound like someone trying to convince themselves.

  382. { However, if we are honest, our faiths are so different that one cannot say that our faiths are Christian.}
    Again with the idea that I am lieing because I disagree with you.

    {… attempt to utilize something akin to the Socratic method of teaching,…}
    It feels more like passive/aggressive teaching from my side.

    { I only wish to get you to recognize, not agree with, our position.}
    I recognize your position; my question is where does your (as a groups) authority to say it is better than my possion come from?

    { You won’t answer my questions and it seems you are bent on doing anything but listen to the points I bring up.}

    If you are not using the question to keep from following a thought I am building, I answer. It is not my fault you do not accept the answers.

    { You didn’t like my attempt at an honest description of Mormonism, but I tried. As I said, correct me if I am wrong, but at least I tried.}

    Two problems. 1. You often start talking about Mormonism to divert from a question you are not answering. And 2. Your description of the LDS religion shows that you have been taught wrongly. —- Honest —

  383. { gundek on May 9, 2016 at 12:41 pm said:
    Fred I understand what the Salt Lake Mormon Church teaches about authority. I just don’t think you really believe it yet. I think you want it to be true, but you are plagued with doubts. Your comments sound like someone trying to convince themselves.}

    You just sidestepped the guestions: please be honest, answer the questions and do not sidestep again.

    I believe that Heavenly Father gives authority to His Son Jesus Christ, who gives authority to the leaders of His Church.

    Who do you think God gave authority to for the administer His Church?
    Who do you think God gave authority to to determine who is a member of His Church?

  384. Fred, there is apparently only one acceptable answer to you. Nothing else will suffice. You were given an answer above on the authority question above.

    I would answer the question that God gives us the authority, each individually. You don’t like that answer. So be it.

    You just told Gundek this:

    “You just sidestepped the guestions: please be honest, answer the questions and do not sidestep again.”

    Are you accusing him of dishonesty? Blatantly lying?

    You know, sometimes people are sincere. Do you really think I am being insincere?

  385. { Are you accusing him of dishonesty? Blatantly lying?

    You know, sometimes people are sincere. Do you really think I am being insincere?}

    I think it is wrong to not answer a question by using a variation of, “Look there and not here.”

    { slowcowboy on May 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm said:
    Fred, there is apparently only one acceptable answer to you. Nothing else will suffice. }
    { I would answer the question that God gives us the authority, each individually. You don’t like that answer. So be it.}

    Since you individually know me, you know my next question.
    How does an investigator know what God is saying when people get different information from God, “”each individually””?

  386. Fred, aren’t you avoiding questions?

    You appear to want to direct the conversation without compromise. I have told you what I find most important, and you are avoiding that like the plague. You have been given several answers as to the question of authority and you won’t accept them.

    Now, I accused you of playing games way back when. You are confirming that sentiment. You won’t accept any other answer apart from what you already “know” to be true.

    Now, to answer your question about each individual getting information from God, (in a demonstration of sincerity, so as not to be accused of avoiding questions) we check what we receive against scripture, tradition, and other believers. So as not to ask another question, since you loathe questions and don’t answer them, I will tell you this directly: God speaks to all of us in ways that will reach us as individuals. That does not mean that his word is inconsistent or he tells us different things on the big stuff. God merely talks to us as if we are individuals, and in personal ways that are different for all of us.

    I have to admit, Fred, that sometimes pride gets in the way of Christians. We are fallen people, too. The Christian history is not entirely consistent with the Christian message, which is to say that the history of Christianity has been made up of fallen men. But that’s the thing, the men are faulty, but the message has been preserved. We have the Bible to confirm that. We can also track the history of the fundamentals of Christianity back to the apostles and see a remarkable consistency. What is that consistency? The person of Jesus and what he did for us.

    You may disagree with that conclusion, and that’s fine. I think it is clear, but others don’t. The truth is one way or another, isn’t it? I am happy to discuss it more, if you will not be so abrasive about it. If you continue to argue when I am not trying to argue, I’m done.

  387. { Now, to answer your question about each individual getting information from God, (in a demonstration of sincerity, so as not to be accused of avoiding questions) we check what we receive against scripture, tradition, and other believers. So as not to ask another question, since you loathe questions and don’t answer them, I will tell you this directly: God speaks to all of us in ways that will reach us as individuals. That does not mean that his word is inconsistent or he tells us different things on the big stuff. God merely talks to us as if we are individuals, and in personal ways that are different for all of us.}

    Thank you for not using directed questions as an answer.

    After doing all that you describe, how do you tell who is correct when two people come up with different answers about the “big stuff”?

  388. Cowboy,
    I’ve read the link fairly carefully and will comment on it soon. But following the discussion here I think Fred asks a good question:

    >>>After doing all that you describe, how do you tell who is correct when two people come up with different answers about the “big stuff”?

    I have been curious about this myself as I have brought up some big stuff like the evolution of man verses special creation and so forth.

  389. Ray,

    I would describe those as small stuff. Again, the answer does not alter who Jesus is and what he did for us. You seem to want to include it with big stuff but its not.

    If you don’t agree, fine, but the point I’ve been making all along is that there a few things that are big enough stuff that makes a Christian a Christian. Evolution is not one of those things.

  390. Ray,
    Slowcowboy did not answer the question, again.

    I went to his link to ” WHAT WE TEACH, A Doctrinal Statement McLean Bible Church”

    I found that the local congregation has complete control over their flock as long as they follow the interpretation of the Bible that comes down from the main offices of McLean Bible Church.

    ” We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. It is to be found as one diligently applies the grammaticalhistorical method of interpretation* under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15; I Corinthians 2:7-15).”

    I looked up the reference book, ” Protestant Biblical Interpretation, by Bernard Ramm” and found you had to to be properly trained to be an ‘Interpreter’.

    In the preface of the book the Interpreter is call a prophet that leads the people to the proper understanding of God’s Word.

    The Interpreter is the final word.

  391. Slowcowboy,
    Now that I understand the administrative side of your faith, I am happy to answer your questions concerning the spirital side.

  392. I’m sorry Fred, I answered your question a month and a half ago. The ordained officers of the church have ministerial authority.

  393. Fred, you have an agenda. It is not to have a discussion. The book you cite is not authoritative. Try again.

    The trouble is that the only answer acceptable to you is yours. Nothing else will suffice. You’ve been given the answer from Gundek and I. We a tally have answered your questions but you don’t like the answers. Its clear you won’t stop until we acquiesce to your preferred answer.

    I’m done.

  394. A final thought, Fred, and that is to suggest that this idea of authority is not prime in Christianity. It is in Mormonism, but not to us. You need to tell us why it is important, not just that it lacks, or to find some avenue of authority within Christianity. The book you cited is one I have never heard of, and its quite a leap to say that an “interpreter” controls Christian doctrine, as you have done. You can keep looking for answers to this question of authority, but as I said, ultimate authority is with God, and that authority, when the veil was ripped in two upon the death of Christ, opened direct access to God to us all.

  395. { gundek on May 10, 2016 at 6:09 am said:
    I’m sorry Fred, I answered your question a month and a half ago. The ordained officers of the church have ministerial authority.}

    Yours was only a partial answer, you never answered who had authority to tell you that you are not interpreting the Bible correctly.

    Do yo agree with the idea of your Interpreter being a prophet like it says in ” Protestant Biblical Interpretation, by Bernard Ramm” ?

    Who is/are your Interpreter(s)?

  396. { The book you cited is one I have never heard of, and its quite a leap to say that an “interpreter” controls Christian doctrine, as you have done.}

    Slowcowboy,
    The book sited IS the reference given by the article YOU REFERENCED.

    {…, but as I said, ultimate authority is with God, …}
    Yes, in the book they say the Interpreter insures you have a proper knowlage of the Bible so that you are amoung the first reserection.

    It is given by THE PEOPLE YOU CHOOSE TO WORSHIP WITH as to how THEY GET THE AUTHORITY to tell you, “whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. It is to be found as one diligently applies the grammaticalhistorical method of interpretation* under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit “.

    They claim to have the one true interpertation of the Bible.
    I get the feeling you never thought about that by the way you do not want to visit the idea now.

  397. Okay Fred,
    You quoted a Protestant, which should be considered a Christian here at this blog, whom explained how their churches come up with their doctrines by their training in theology. And Ramm is saying for the churches they are over, the leader (Pastor or whatever title is given) their understanding of the Bible is the doctrine for that individual church.

    This is a tighter reign on the Bible understanding than what Cowboy is implying. What Ramm is saying is the leaders control the doctrinal lines. So, they are no different than the LDS Church in that regard, except we have a central authority and they don’t.

    Now, as far as the link at MBC, they state their authority too:

    “Through our years of study, training, and teaching, we as the elders of McLean Bible Church have come to convictions regarding the major theological truths of the Bible.”

    MBC is claiming because they have been trained, because they have studied and their experience teaching, these leaders (called Elder here) are assuming they know so much more than their followers that they have the authority to lead and make authoritative statements for God. If you will notice, they do not claim to have drawn upon the membership in any way on the topics outlined in the 12 pages or upon the inspiration of God.

    Hence, this sounds very “C of C” esk to me. Which is why I asked Cowboy if these leaders had a C of C background. And I didn’t know why Cowboy, if he knew the answer, wouldn’t answer a simple question about these Christian leaders background.

    Then, I found this:

    http://www.rmsbibleengineering.com/Page3/Page3_4.html

    This link is an Evangelical scrutiny on the C of C. The conclusions here on the C of C are thus:
    1) The C of C is not a Cult
    2) However, the are not truly Christian and
    3) Nearly all C of C members are not saved
    4) And only the ones which are saved are indoctrinated down the wrong path

    So, this Evangelical view of the C of C was news to me.

    After all the times I’ve mentioned the C of C, no one at this blog would tell me Evangelical thought on the C of C which is these people are not really Christian.

    So, it appears to me, that the leaders at MBC were once C of C members who decided there was more truth in Protestant Christianity than most C of C are willing to admit. So, somewhere, sometime, they broke away from the C of C and started their own Church which has a mixture of C of C doctrine and Protestant doctrine.

    The bottom line to the authority question is this:

    Evangelicals assume authority because of their understanding of the Bible. Their reasoning must be, ‘since I understand it, I am now a leader for Christ on some level.’ (Plus they believe God called them but then all the Republican Christians running for the Presidency believe God wants them to be President).

    This means ‘if my understanding of the Bible is different than the Church I’m attending, I can go off and start another faction with the Lord’s blessing’.

    This whole process looks far more “man made” than anything Joseph Smith did which I’m guessing is why the Christians won’t come out and just speak the truth on the subject.

  398. Ray,
    I think this descusion has helped me see why I was not comfortable as a Protestant.

    The prevailing attitude of most is that they will believe what they want and worship where they want;

    And the two do not have to agree,

  399. Ray, I am not sure what question you are referring to. No, I don’t know all of MBC’s leadership’s back ground. I do know the back ground of the senior pastor, though, found here: https://www.mcleanbible.org/who-we-are/lon-solomon Its a great story, by the way, and worth a listen.

    The history according to MBC is found here: https://www.mcleanbible.org/who-we-are/church-history. It was founded by a small group of families in the 60’s.

    Now, on authority, each church has to come together to come up with its core beliefs. That should not be surprising or problematic. Right?

    However, the mistake you make is assuming that each individual within the church must agree 100% with those doctrines. Further, you make a mistake in assuming that the congregation must follow the leadership. Hence, I state that each of us have the authority to determine our beliefs.

    Now, my church does encourage members to be very close to the beliefs of the church leadership, but it is not fully required. Further, Christians are encouraged to find a church that lines up with their preferences on beliefs, style, and mission. Unlike the Mormon church, a Christian can leave a church without recourse. (Yes, I know you will say a Mormon can do the same, but anecdotal stories abound to suggest that is untrue.)

    Finally, we believe attending church is not necessary for salvation or to believe. If this is true, an authority over them is not necessary apart from God. (Of course, church attendance is encouraged for a variety of reasons, but it is not necessary.)

    Every Christian is a disciple, authorized by God to preach his word and impact other people. Every Christian is empowered to read God’s word and determine his faith. Every Christian is an authority for God.

    You bring up the Church of Christ, and that’s a good question. I have not made up my mind on the group, as some of them do hold some problematic beliefs for me. Those I would question their position under Christ, however there are many who I would call Christian with no question. The Church or Christ is a diverse group, and it is hard to answer that with a broad brush. I’m not trying to avoid, but given the vast diversity, it is hard to answer the question as a whole. Some are good, some are not.

  400. {You quoted a Protestant, which should be considered a Christian here at this blog, whom explained how their churches come up with their doctrines by their training in theology. And Ramm is saying for the churches they are over, the leader (Pastor or whatever title is given) their understanding of the Bible is the doctrine for that individual church.}

    It is not only a Protestant I referenced, it is Slowcowboy’s reference.

  401. Fred, I did have to go back and look at the source, and you are pulling a nice trick there. The reference to Ramm indicates a use of the hermeneutic of using the particular method of Biblical interpretation. There is no reference to the idea of a single “interpreter”. As I said, I have not heard of the book until now, and cannot speak to what Ramm says about that, however, it is clear MBC does not intend to subscribe to the aspect you want to force upon them.

  402. {We teach that, while there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. It is to be found as one diligently applies the grammatical-historical method of interpretation* under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15; I Corinthians 2:7-15). We teach that the Bible plays an indispensable part in living a dynamic Christian life. It builds up, transforms, encourages, corrects, and protects the believer’s life as he or she studies and applies it (Psalms 119:11; Acts 20:32; Ephesians 5:26, 6:17). *Forfurtherdetail,seeProtestantBiblicalInterpretation,byBernardRamm(BakerBookHouse)}

    Slowcowboy,
    You AGAIN reference this AND still say you do not follow the Interpreter mentioned.

    Very interesting, and not in a good way.

    {Unlike the Mormon church, a Christian can leave a church without recourse. (Yes, I know you will say a Mormon can do the same, but anecdotal stories abound to suggest that is untrue.)}

    I see you have not experanced leaving the Southern Baptist Church while living in the bible belt.

  403. {The reference to Ramm indicates a use of the hermeneutic of using the particular method of Biblical interpretation. There is no reference to the idea of a single “interpreter”.}

    They speak of prophet with a little ‘p’, not Prophet with a big ‘P’.

    By the book referenced the church you referenced; the Interpreter only has the power to tell you what the words in God’s Word in the Bible really mean. The Interpreter has the gift of interperting the Bible for you. You are responsible for the local adminstration.

    A big ‘P’ Prophet has that, plus the authority and responsible, from God, to administer to the needs of God’s children, the people of the earth, by directing God’s Church .

  404. {There is no reference to the idea of a single “interpreter”. }
    It is right there, in the preface.
    Your church’s referance that is important enough to be put on a paper designed for an investigator. That must mean it is important to the church you choose to follow, even if you are not aware of it.

  405. OK. So who might that “interpreter” be? (Hint: it says it right in the text, and it is not a human. It is the third person of the Trinity.)

  406. slow owboy,
    Try again. The Holey Spirit gives the gift of interpretation to an Interpreter The Interpreter is a person.

    The more you talk the more it appears you have never checked the teachings of the church you worship with.

  407. Where in the text does it state that? Be specific.

    Here’s the entire quote, again, copied from your post: “We teach that, while there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. It is to be found as one diligently applies the grammatical-historical method of interpretation* under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15; I Corinthians 2:7-15). We teach that the Bible plays an indispensable part in living a dynamic Christian life. It builds up, transforms, encourages, corrects, and protects the believer’s life as he or she studies and applies it (Psalms 119:11; Acts 20:32; Ephesians 5:26, 6:17). *Forfurtherdetail,seeProtestantBiblicalInterpretation,byBernardRamm(BakerBookHouse)}”

    Breaking this quote down, we see that there is but one true interpretation though there may be more than one application. This interpretation is found as one applies the grammatical-historical method. The Holy Spirit Guides this ‘one’, and the ‘one’ is not defined precisely. Next sentence we see that the Bible plays an “indispensable” part of the Christian life. The Bible lifts up and directs the believer’s life. Under grammatical and contextual rationale, it is reasonable to conclude that the “one” specified earlier is the believer, because it is the Bible, through this method, that studies and applies the method and the text.

    What is certainly missing from the statement is the idea of single interpreter acting on behalf of the entire congregation or church. Such a statement is clearly absent from the text. At best, you can say that “one” can interpret, but nothing else about a single person given this task.

    Now, the reference, as I stated above, to the Ramm book is not about this interpreter, but about the method of interpretation. This is simple textual interpretation. The asterisk follows the method, not the “one”, indicating a reference to the textual interpretation.

    So, Fred, be specific and tell me where MBC references a single interpreter.

  408. Yes, Cowboy, I read everything twice and checked many of the verses against the main doctrines including the nine Eternal Points.

    First, let me say I am not out to “attack” this document. It’s a statement of what they believe, I accept it for that. And you posted the link to help explain the Trinity.

    The document says many things I personally agree with such as:
    Man was created and in the image of God (though I think “image” in their usage means something difference than what an image is).
    They do believe in a 1,000 year period of peace which means they take much of the Bible literally.
    And there are several other things I agree with.

    Many of the things are what I would consider are shade off or part of what is in the Bible on the various topics. And then there are several issues which never came out of the New Testament. But never mind those right now.

    About God it says:

    “We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing, and subsistent in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14) – each equally deserving the same worship and obedience.”

    Now, I have looked at this carefully, so between you and Gundek and the Creeds, I am trying to understand your Trinity using all my imagination (setting aside the NT for now), and I come up with this image:

    There is this enormous Spirit (since it fill the universe), (what ever Spirit is), that has a vast interconnected mind that presents itself as three individuals. These individuals have one mind, so whatever Jesus thinks, the Father and Holy Ghost are thinking it too at the same moment since it is only really one mind not three minds. The individuals or the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are just separate manifestations of this enormous Spirit called God. And each portion or individual which is not really it’s own individual since it is linked to the other two has specific tasks they primarily perform. A portion of that Great Spirit is housed inside the body of Jesus, locked in it now for eternity, while the other two are still what God has been forever. The Father and Holy Spirit aren’t actually separated because they are both just one big spirit, but their different tasks separate them. (On this last note, it would be like me, the worker man but later I’m the gardener man and later I’m the husband and later I’m the church leader, all wrapped up in one spirit person).

    Between Gundek, you, the Creeds and Tim, this is how I’m understanding the Trinity. Now, how far off am I?

  409. Cowboy,
    I do appreciate you explaining what you know about MBC and you bring up things I would like to discuss. However, I think that will give us too many topics at once, so I’m holding my tongue (so to speak).

    I mentioned what I wrote on authority to Fred because he seems to want a more definite answer to his questions. I think I know what he specifically wanted so I tried to give it to him.

  410. { What is certainly missing from the statement is the idea of single interpreter acting on behalf of the entire congregation or church?}

    “” We teach that, while there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation.””

    ………..
    { Now, the reference, as I stated above, to the Ramm book is not about this interpreter, but about the method of interpretation. This is simple textual interpretation. The asterisk follows the method, not the “one”, indicating a reference to the textual interpretation.

    So, Fred, be specific and tell me where MBC references a single interpreter.}

    1. I never spoke of a single interpreter, just that there is a gift of interpretation.

    2. In the book mentioned for investigators, a person who interprets is called an ‘Interpreter’.

    3.In that same book for investigators, an Interpreter is called a prophet.

    =======

    In conclusion: By joining MBC you accept their ” one true interpretation” of God’s Word, and their people with the gift of interpretation, who use the science of “grammatical-historical method of interpretation” to produce interpreters, these interpreters being said to be prophets to God’s people.

    That would be prophet with a little ‘p’.

    Remember, all this information is in the investigator’s pamphlet or material referenced from that pamphlet. Do not get mad at me if you have not known this before today.

  411. Your ” one true interpretation” refers to the Bible, not the number of Interpreters it takes to get ” one true interpretation”.

  412. By reading the small print.
    I have my question about the administration of your faith, I am now willing to look at what you think is the important part of your faith.

  413. That’s not more specific and is very vague. Take me through a detailed analysts of the text to demonstrate your conclusion.

    See, I read the same thing you do and conclude that we, using your idea of prophets, are all prophets and able to interpret for ourselves Gods word. I conclude this is possible through the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit leads us to the truth.

    And you have referenced a single interpreter. See your posts 5/10/16 ät 11:56 and 1:17.

  414. Yes, I see how someone could read , ” an investigator” as only one investigator. You response to the original article showes that you did:

    “Fred Park on May 10, 2016 at 1:17 pm said:
    slow owboy,
    Try again. The Holey Spirit gives the gift of interpretation to an Interpreter The Interpreter is a person.”

    You started thinking about one person.
    The preface in ” Protestant Biblical Interpretation, by Bernard Ramm” does not speak that way.

    Have you read what is said in ” Protestant Biblical Interpretation, by Bernard Ramm” yet?

  415. I am not avoiding the answer, I said,
    ” Fred Park on May 10, 2016 at 11:28 pm said:
    You will need a copy of, ” Protestant Biblical Interpretation, by Bernard Ramm” .
    Do you have one?”

    If you do not have one I cannot reference the pages you need, and then I have type in long lines of text.

    So stop the Tomfoolery about my not answering and man up to the fact you do not have access to a copy of ” Protestant Biblical Interpretation, by Bernard Ramm”.

  416. You, then, do not understand my questions. You keep using this book but have not tied the book to MBC’s views apart from it using the particular method of Bible study. Use of the work for that does not necessitate use of all its points. Make a detailed case using MBC’s language to demonstrate its tie in of all of Ramm’s book. Second, you’re all over the place with who we are defining. If it is everyone or a lot of people, provide a detailed answer how I am wrong that we all can use the method and find Gods word. Third, if one agrees with MBC using Ram’s method, what’s the problem? Fourth, even if one disagrees and comes to a strikingly similar conclusion, what’s the problem?

    Your looking for something to complain about that does not exist. So, at the end of the day, what’s your point? And be specific. How does your point mean we are wrong and you are right?

  417. slowcowboy,
    Thank you for answering my question about you having a copy of ” Protestant Biblical Interpretation, by Bernard Ramm”. There is no shame in admitting you do not have access to a copy.

    (first){ Make a detailed case using MBC’s language to demonstrate its tie in of all of Ramm’s book. }
    It is the book MBC choose to reference in an investigator flyer. It is the only reference other then Bible verses, so it must be important enough to include in the investigator flyer.

    { Second, you’re all over the place with who we are defining. If it is everyone or a lot of people, provide a detailed answer how I am wrong that we all can use the method and find Gods word. }

    This sounds like one of your red herring questions. I speak of your link and one link they give. If that is your definition of “all over the place” I am gaining understanding about how you study. I do not see that as all over the place.

    { Third, if one agrees with MBC using Ram’s method, what’s the problem?}

    I have no problem with MBC using any book they want. I am happy they included an expanded understanding in the investigator’s flyer. You are the one with a problem with the book they choose.

    { Fourth, even if one disagrees and comes to a strikingly similar conclusion, what’s the problem?}

    No problem, but it would be nice if you looked at the material MBC referenced before telling me that I am wrong about it.

    { Your looking for something to complain about that does not exist. So, at the end of the day, what’s your point? And be specific. How does your point mean we are wrong and you are right?}

    The statements within these questions are wrong. They may help ease your thinking by diverting your attention from things you are uncomfortable with.

    ====
    Here is the big summary about how my studies went.

    I read your reference to a flyer by MBC that is designed for investigators. A small document, so anything referenced in that small space must be important to them.

    They said there is only one true interpretation of the Bible. In there own words, “We teach that, while there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation.”

    They then tell how they get that “one true interpretation” and at that point they reference a book that deals with the method they use. Given there are a number of books on the subject, there is some reason they chose this one. They chose ” Protestant Biblical Interpretation, by Bernard Ramm” .

    Going to the book they found best to have investigators look up, there is reference to the people doing the interpretation as Interpreters and that these Interpreters are prophets among men.

    The answer to my original question way back when is:
    MBC claims the right to determine what God’s Word means and the use people called Interpreters to read and understand what the original writings meant when they were written.

    .

  418. Fred,

    “It is the only reference other then Bible verses, so it must be important enough to include in the investigator flyer.” So what? It finds it important, does not mean it must agree with everything the book says?

    Yes, you are all over the place. First, the interpreter was one person, then it was something else, and now it is apparently anyone who is searching, which is what I am arguing the description MBC points out means.

    I have no problem with the book. I have a problem with you using that to supplant MBC’s teachings with the book. Of course they find it important, or they would not have used it as a resource. However, to conclude that the book dictates that they are under some authority apart from God is mind boggling.

    I read the material a number of times and use it as a reference. You’ve not used the material to prove anything. As I stated above, I object to your use of the book to make a larger conclusion about MBC that is not true.

    Ah, Fred, if you are willing to assert that my supposed avoidance is avoiding that which I am uncomfortable, I ask you why you have still to this date not addressed Jesus and who he is within the Christian church. Are you uncomfortable with that?

    What you miss, Fred, in your conclusion is that this “interpretation” is available to everyone, not just MBC. You have it just like I do. The Holy Spirit guides us. You do recognize that the Holy Spirit is God, right?

    I went through the MBC explanation above, and you’ve not done anything close to that. Why not?

  419. Ray, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. And that’s fine. I wasn’t sure who you’d addressed that too. And its OK on the agreement thing, I was not asking you to agree, only to consider it for the purpose of learning about my faith. You’ve done that, and that’s awesome.

    Your description of the Trinity is fair. I could quibble with some things, but that’s OK. Its a tough concept to understand, let alone explain. All of the metaphors have some problem or another in that they minimize some aspect over another that cheats the true definition. And that’s OK. God is truly beyond our complete understanding.

  420. {… I ask you why you have still to this date not addressed Jesus and who he is within the (TRIDITIONAL CREEDAL) Christian church. Are you uncomfortable with that?}

    Slowcowboy,

    I have been addressing your ideas about Jesus Christ. I am starting with where your understanding comes from; the foundation of your teachings.

    I thought I had my answer and have offered to let you lead me into your idea of who Jesus is when you say this,
    { What you miss, Fred, in your conclusion is that this “interpretation” is available to everyone, not just MBC. You have it just like I do. The Holy Spirit guides us. You do recognize that the Holy Spirit is God, right?}

    You have open up the question again.
    You say you follow MBC’s teachings and you say you do your own interpreting of the Bible.

    Any way, that is your problem. You have lead me to an understanding about how one protestant faith claims to have authority to tell us what the Bible means.
    Thank you for that. :>)

  421. Right, because MBC represents an accurate view of God. And are you suggesting that we are not able to come to study, listen to the spirit, and find God? Just curious on that…

    So, how do you think a Christian church claims to have that authority?

    Before continuing, I want to understand what you understand about that. If that is your concern, and you think you have the answer you are looking for, what is that answer?

    As you know, my priority is the discussion of Jesus, but let’s be sure we have this wrapped up before we continue, if you are going to continue to assert the idea of authority.

  422. { And are you suggesting that we are not able to come to study, listen to the spirit, and find God?}
    No, you have the responsibility and authority from Heaven Father to do that, just like we all have that same responsibility and authority for ourselves
    I am being careful to know who wants the authority to translate His Word into my modern-day mind for me since much of it is beyond my abilities.

    {So, how do you think a (TRADITION CREEDAL) Christian church claims to have that authority?

    They/you claim it from the Bible.
    That is why I want to know who has final authority to interpret God’s Word for us, if your understanding of the Bible is wrong then your conclusions are wrong.

    { As you know, my priority is the discussion of Jesus, but let’s be sure we have this wrapped up before we continue, if you are going to continue to assert the idea of authority.}

    For this decisions, you are the authority, after all, you are teaching me what you believe Jesus has done for us. There will be times I will compare and contrast my understandings, not to show that you are wrong, but to show the differences.

    Is that ok?

  423. Cowboy,
    Thanks but I’m re-posting my description because if there is something worth altering I want you to correct it. Just copy and paste it and then alter, add, subtract what you think needs to be done. If you want, talk to a friend, family or your preacher because here is the problem:

    We are talking about Jesus or God or both, and in order for me or anyone to understand the relationship of three in one or one in three, there needs to be as much clarity as possible. When you say I believe in a different Jesus, I need to have a better comprehension about your Jesus/ God.

    Also, I’m going to go back and review my discussions with Tim from last year to see if I missed something. This might take a day or two. Besides, it looks like you have your hands full with Fred!

    Trinity Summary for editing:

    There is this enormous Spirit (since it fills the universe), (what ever Spirit is), that has a vast interconnected mind that presents itself as three individuals. These individuals have one mind, so whatever Jesus thinks, the Father and Holy Ghost are thinking it too at the same moment since it is only really one mind not three minds. The individuals or the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are just separate manifestations of this enormous Spirit called God. And each portion or individual which is not really it’s own individual since it is linked to the other two has specific tasks they primarily perform. A portion of that Great Spirit is housed inside the body of Jesus, locked in it now for eternity, while the other two are still what God has been forever. The Father and Holy Spirit aren’t actually separated because they are both just one big spirit, but their different tasks separate them. (On this last note, it would be like me, the worker man but later I’m the gardener man and later I’m the husband and later I’m the church leader, all wrapped up in one spirit person).

  424. Ray, all the clarity is there that you need. One God, three separate but equal and fully united persons. Faith in this God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, of these beings (often called the second of person of the Trinity) is what saves, nothing else. I encourage you to really consider these things and don’t look for my or anyone else’s aid in working through the Trinity. Do so with only the Bible and prayer, as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to ask, but others cannot clarify everything to you. Only God can.

    I would even argue that faith in God before Christ came was enough to save, as so much is credited to Abraham due to his faith. Additionally, Paul teaches us that no one now is without excuse to recognize a creator in this world, and that this faith may be enough to save someone.

    What is important is the recognition of a single God, and faith that only God can save.

    Now, you speak of clarity. Would you like me to ask questions of Mormonism that demonstrate anything but clarity? I ask that only to suggest that Mormonism is hardly a clear religion with everything neatly laid out. Mormons provide answers to some things but these answers only lead to more questions that in the end are just as confusing as the doctrine of the Trinity, if not more so.

  425. Fred, are we in agreement that the Holy Spirit, through a diligent study of Scripture can lead one to the truth? Shouldn’t we all want to find the truth?

    If the Holy Spirit guides each of us, independently of others, is the Holy Spirit wrong?

    If you grant that we are all responsible for doing these things on our own, and that we do not need another authority, why focus on the authority of the churches?

    These questions are not red herrings or devices to avoid. They are asked to clarify and sharpen the discussion.

    Before we touch on beliefs, do we have agreement with the idea that all can, on our own (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course), conclude what the truth is?

  426. Cowboy,
    I’m sorry if you think I’m trying to get info to attack you or your beliefs. I know Fred appears to be doing that but in this instance on this subject, I am not.
    I am trying to discern what it is you think God is, where this idea of this God came from and how well supported this idea is in the New Testament.

    As you know, the LDS think of the ‘Trinity’ (term ‘Godhead’ preferred) as three separate beings each having a contained physical presence who are “one” in their love, unity and purpose. So, to reference any of the Father, Son or Holy Ghost or all of them is simply “God” to us.

    Now, when I was at the Baptist Church, the Trinity was explained to me sorta similar to what I have summarized and honestly speaking, any time I read the New Testament that explanation just didn’t fit. For example, who was Jesus praying to? Himself? When on the cross, why did Jesus ask one part of himself why the other part has forsaken him?
    Why does Paul and others always reference “God the father” and “the Lord Jesus Christ” together but does not include the Holy Spirit?

    Then there are other puzzling things. Is God invisible? If he is everywhere present he must be invisible to us. Then we turn around and read in John 1:18 that no man has seen “the Father” except Jesus. So, apparently God, the Father, can be visibly seen.
    Now, what is more interesting is this full scale Trinity taught in the New Testament is not hardly mentioned in the Old Testament. And the only way it is mentioned in the Old Testament is the translated word “God” actually should be translated “Gods”. And because of that we know there is more than one individual in the term “God”.
    It is only when Jesus comes along and clears this up because we read in John 6:46, where Jesus has declared the Father’s existence. Before that no one realized he existed, except maybe Adam and Eve. But even then, once they fell, they were out of God’s presence and therefore did not see God the Father as mortals. Then later on, Jesus says he will send the Holy Spirit, and we are then introduced to a third member of the Godhead.

    So, Cowboy, when you tell me to read it and pray, I say I have read, prayed and studied it for a long time.

    >>>I would even argue that faith in God before Christ came was enough to save, as so much is credited to Abraham due to his faith.

    No one is arguing against the importance of faith. But faith is the first step, and if you die before you can develop into discipleship, then you are saved. It depends where you are when you die. Cain was brought up in a form of the Gospel and actually spoke directly with God (how much faith does that take?), but turned evil and killed his brother. I would say Cain is not saved. See Hebrews 6: 1 thru 6

    >>>Would you like me to ask questions of Mormonism that demonstrate anything but clarity?

    I’m not pretending we have all the answers to everything. God hasn’t revealed everything. I was just trying to understand your Trinity in finer detail. Again, sorry if that offends you.

  427. {Fred, are we in agreement that the Holy Spirit, through a diligent study of Scripture can lead one to the truth?}
    We all have the blessing of inspiration through the Holy Spirit. There is a problem the satan can counterfeit the help we should get from the Holy Spirit.

    { Sh we all want to find the truth?}
    Yes, one problem is that we ban think something is true even though it is not. I have done it in the past, I still do it from time to time even now. Finding the truth is an ongoing job.

    { If the Holy Spirit guides each of us, independently of others, is the Holy Spirit wrong?}
    I think you are asking what is going on if two people get different answers to the same questions. On a personal revelation level, the need of one person are not always the same, so the answers can be different because of different needs. I think your focus for this question is about two answers for the same question asked by suffering people.
    I think the example we will get to sooner or later is the difference answers over the Godhead verses the Trinity.
    Tell me if my understanding of your belief in the Trinity is correct or wrong.
    The word “trinity” is nowhere in the Bible, but there is enough circumstantial evidence that the title Trinity is used to explain it. You have faith that this conclusion that religious scholars came up with is correct and part of that faith comes from the Holy Spirit testifying it to you.

    Instead believe the testimony of Joseph Smith that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visited the young man is true, leading to a different understanding of the nature of the Godhood of God the Father and His Son Jesus the Christ. With the guidance of the Holy Ghost, I believe summery of the religious scholars who have the time and expertise I do not have.

    We have two different answers from what we each believe to be the Holy Ghost.
    Is this the question you wanted to address?

  428. { If you grant that we are all responsible for doing these things on our own, and that we do not need another authority, why focus on the authority of the churches?}

    There are things we have the authority for, personal revelation being a good example. There are times when a group authority is needed, revelation for a group being an example. And it helps on the administrative side.

    Even MBC see the need for someone with authority over groups. It is different than the way we do it, but it is group control with authority over what is taught and who can be a member. (I removed the many references to the Bible that shows the authority to shepard the group.)
    From your link:
    # We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures, and that the members of this one spiritual Body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies. We teach that the one, supreme authority for the Church is Christ, and that the order, discipline, and worship are appointed through His sovereignty. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers) and deacons, both of who must fit biblical qualifications. We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ and have His authority in directing the Church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership. We teach the disciplining of sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of I Corinthians 5:1-13; II Thessalonians 3:6-15; I Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16.

    We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations. We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. However, each local church through its elders and their interpretation and application of Scripture is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation as on all matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government. #

    We have origination from the top down, yours is from common consent given to those above you.

    Do I have that correct?

  429. { Before we touch on beliefs, do we have agreement with the idea that all can, on our own (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course), conclude what the truth is?}

    That deepens on how well you can listen to things I believe true that you think are of the devil.
    I think you will find we are very close in our beliefs about what Jesus dose for the people of the earth, even though we do not agree on how or why He does it.

    I am willing if you are able to accept that we do not agree in all things.

  430. Please keep our descussion on one question at a time, the many answers I just had to do make it hard to follow one thought to a conclusion.

    I do not respond well to.guided guestions designed to draw your answer out of me. Please just make a statement about what you want me to.learn.

  431. Ray, I did not think of your earlier post as an attack. I asked the questions of your faith at the end only to demonstrate that you are choosing which questions are problematic. For instance, within Mormonism one wonders who was the first God and are all the standards the same from world to world. This is problematic to me and is easily reconciled with the existence of a single God having always existed and who determines all the standards all the time.

    The Trinity, though, as I have been open about, is a difficult concept. However, when you speak of Jesus praying to the Father, that is indicative of his humanity and his separateness from God the Father. The trouble is that we also see that Jesus says that he and God are one. How do we reconcile that? Multiple times throughout the Bible we see references to the existence of only one God. We have Jesus saying he is one with God and doing things that only God can do. But there is only one God.

    The point you make about a plural god is an interesting one, and yes “Elohim” has a plural translation. We see in the creation story where we are told God created the world, then later it shows a plural creating the world. We generally believe this is demonstrative of the Trinity, but even more so, to demonstrate the singular nature, one must look at the context of how “Elohim” is used. When describing God, it is almost exclusively used as a singular noun. And the attributes of God demonstrated are clearly in a singular form. Another point to consider, the “im” that often describes a plural in Hebrew is not exclusively such. Many words ending with the suffix “im” are singular.

    Thus, the interpretation of a single God is accurate. There is no problem, then, with “Elohim”.

    Is God invisible? Well, he also walked with Adam, and wrestled with Jacob. I am not sure the answer to that, but I do think he has the ability to reveal himself to us.

    The Trinity in the OT. Actually, I would argue the OT is full of references to a Trinity. A great place to start is Isaiah 48:16:

    “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.”

    See also Isaiah 42. Verse 1 says: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.”

    Later in 42 we see that God is telling what he will do before he does it, and that he will not give his glory to someone else. Yet, Jesus is given all the glory of God.

    Don’t forget Genesis 1:2, where we read of God’s spirit hoevering above the waters. Genesis 18 presents an interesting take on God given that we read that the Lord appeared to Abraham and then immediately three men also appear to Abraham. Psalm 2 warns of not worshipping the Son, and seems to infer that all who take refuge in the Son will be spared.

    Now, there are more such references, but that gets you started with a study into OT references to the Trinity.

    As to faith, well, you are right that belief that God is God is not all that matters. We are told that even devils believe that God is God. What matters is an acceptance of the gift that God offers, which comes through faith.

    Hope this helps.

  432. Fred, the questions are designed to get you to think about these subjects in new ways. Surely you are able to do that.

    I am happy to tell you everything straight up, but until you start to answer these questions and think of these issues in a new light, I am not sure how much you will learn. Of course, I cannot tell you how you learn, but my experience is that people learn best when answering questions.

    Since you wish to focus on one issue, let me ask for your ultimate answer on discerning scripture and finding God. Do we need a church to do that?

  433. { Fred, the questions are designed to get you to think about these subjects in new ways. Surely you are able to do that.}

    Slowcowboy,
    I thought this was to be an exchange of beliefs, not forced answers that fit your monologue.

    { Of course, I cannot tell you how you learn, but my experience is that people learn best when answering questions.}

    looks like you have very limited experience of people. Different people learn in different ways. A teacher needs to learn about his audience a teach to the student, not at him.

    {Since you wish to focus on one issue, let me ask for your ultimate answer on discerning scripture and finding God. Do we need a church to do that?}

    In the narrow field you speak of, no, we do not need a church.
    But we do need a governing body that is part of the Lords Church.

    Besides guiding each of us as individuals, God guides us as a group.

    I believe there is more scripture than the 66 books in the cannon on the Bible. Scripture that’s adds knowledge from God, knowledge that was not in any of the 66 scriptures. Much of it translated by the direct power from God. There needs to be a governing body that can decide on what books of scripture go into the cannon of scripture.

    This is just one of the administration functions that needs a governing body, a governing body that is in tune with the Spirit of the Lord.

    We believe that God is actively involved in guiding His Church from the top down and as a democratic voting function of each individual worshiper.

    When we vote in conference to sustain a church leader, we are saying we will follow God’s will in His choice of administrators, compared to your voting as a group to decide on which of the interpretations of God’s Word you will follow and who you give the power of administration.

    This is part of why I asked about authority.

    This in no way removes an individual’s responsibility to learn and do what he can.

  434. I just had to remove a question I was going to ask you to prime the pump so you would be thinking about upcoming descusions the way I wanted you to think.
    I almost fell into the overused guided qhestion method of teaching.

  435. Fred, if you find the questions guided, then maybe you see something in them that I don’t. They are questions that are to be answered one way or another, leading to greater understanding and fostering discussion. You may think I am trying to guide discussion to particular points, and I am in some ways, but I also am curious your answers.

    Now, if we have the freedom to decipher God’s word and come to our own conclusions, why should we listen to a bigger body on things like additional scripture? Seems that we would then be required to study whatever this body comes up with under the same standards and make our own conclusions on whatever this body says may be scripture. Am I wrong?

  436. { Fred, if you find the questions guided, then maybe you see something in them that I don’t. They are questions that are to be answered one way or another, leading to greater understanding and fostering discussion. }

    ?????? You give the definition of guided questions to show that your questions are not guided questions?????

    {Now, if we have the freedom to decipher God’s word and come to our own conclusions, why should we listen to a bigger body on things like additional scripture? Seems that we would then be required to study whatever this body comes up with under the same standards and make our own conclusions on whatever this body says may be scripture. Am I wrong?}

    Slowcowboy,
    The Interceptors spoken of by MBC say that none of the scriptures in the Bible come from original manuscripts and that there are times when different copies of the same scripture do not match. Just to be clear, we are talking about copies of New Testament scriptures hand copied in the first three centuries A.D. One of the jobs of these interpreters is to study it out and decide which copy is the better copy.

    All english versions of the 66 scriptures in the Bible are translated interpretations.

    I do not have that skill, nor do I think you have that skill, so we must decide who gives the best interpretation of the scriptures.

    In the eighteen hundreds Joseph Smith, using interpretation skills given him by Jesus, interpreted parts of the Bible. The learned Christian scholars of the day scoffed at him. Modern day scientific interpreters have found older copies of scripture that agree with some of what God gave us a hundred years ago.

    I have faith that scientific study will catch up with all of God’s teachings.

  437. Wait, Fred, do I need someone else to tell me what to believe or not? Does a writing need the stamp of a man to be considered scripture? Seems to me that is what you are saying. If so, then you do not believe that we have the ultimate authority to determine truth and that we are dependent on other people by way of them limiting what can ever be considered the source of truth.

    Did I miss something?

  438. { Wait, Fred, do I need someone else to tell me what to believe or not? Does a writing need the stamp of a man to be considered scripture?}

    Since you cannot convers without using controlling questions I will need to play by your rules.

    Give me an example of any of the 66 scriptures in the Bible that you can study in the original copy. If you cannot, you rely on someone else’s interpreted translation.

    { If so, then you do not believe that we have the ultimate authority to determine truth…}
    {Did I miss something?}

    You are putting you own interpretation to what I said. You spend more effort to guide my learning with questions then you put effort in understanding what I said.

  439. We don’t have any. But we also don’t have any of the original plates Smith supposedly translated, do we?

    Now, if you wish to question the authenticity of the documents we have, that is fair. However, the evidence to suggest that what has been saved for us to read today accurate is quite compelling. I assume you are familiar with this information, but if not, let me know and I can post.

    If we cannot rely on what is considered scripture because it is not authentic, ie, the books of the Bible, then what can we rely on?

    Maybe I am assuming too much, but I would guess your position is that Smith was guided to the truth and he should be believed, and he had the authority to say so. Therefore, he is trustworthy.

    However, since the books of the Bible have been distorted through the centuries, and no original has been found, and we don’t have anyone with the wisdom to authenticate them, they aren’t as reliable as what Smith gave us.

    To me, that is ultimately saying that Smith can tell us what should be believed, and that transmits to his successors of the head of the church he restored.

    Am I wrong?

    If not, then my statement above is true, that we do not have complete freedom to determine truth based on study and listening for the spirit. We have to give extra credence to the leaders of your faith.

  440. {We don’t have any. But we also don’t have any of the original plates Smith supposedly translated, do we?}

    We have some of the original translation, sadly some of the pages have not lasted. We have original copies of most of the Latter-Day revelations.

    {If we cannot rely on what is considered scripture because it is not authentic, ie, the books of the Bible, then what can we rely on?}

    Big jump from what I said. That comes from using directed questions to trying to show everything I say is a reason my beliefs are wrong

    {Maybe I am assuming too much, but I would guess your position is that Smith was guided to the truth and he should be believed, and he had the authority to say so. Therefore, he is trustworthy.

    However, since the books of the Bible have been distorted through the centuries, and no original has been found, and we don’t have anyone with the wisdom to authenticate them, they aren’t as reliable as what Smith gave us.}

    Given the way you twisted what I said into something it was not, yes you are assuming too much.

    {To me, that is ultimately saying that Smith can tell us what should be believed, and that transmits to his successors of the head of the church he restored.

    Am I wrong?}

    Yes you are wrong.

    “… ultimately saying that Smith can tell us what should be believed…”
    “… head of the church he restored.”

    Again you twist things, God had Jesus Christ RESTORE (unlike man made refermations) the Church.
    In His restored Church, Jesus gives group responsibility and authority to some men to do the work. Joseph Smith is not the author of the restoration, it is not Joseph Smith’s church.

    ====
    You said you wanted to teach me what YOU think is most important about Jesus and so far all you have done is use directed questions to help me remember what I believe.

  441. I never said it was Smiths restoration. I said you think he should be trusted. Big difference. Without him being trustworthy you’ve no basis to claim he’s any better than anything else,

    And I am trying to come to a mutual understanding of what you are basing your argument on. You’ve based your entire argument on authority but we haven’t yet defined what that may mean. What is the role of individual authority as put against organizational authority? I am not sure your position on whether we have authority of our own to determine scripture.

    I would say we have that authority. Do you agree?

  442. { I never said it was Smiths restoration.}

    You truley do not remember calling it Joseph Smith’s restoration.
    Let me jog youe memore:
    ” To me, that is ultimately saying that Smith can tell us what should be believed, and that transmits to his successors of the head of the church he restored.”

    { And I am trying to come to a mutual understanding of what you are basing your argument on.}

    I make no argument, I am just answering your questions you seem to think are necessary as part of you teaching me what you believe about Christ.

    Given you earlier said I was wrong about a book you never read, and given you are trying to prove my beliefs wrong, I do not think you will share your faith with me.

  443. Was Smith not the person God used to restore his church? Don’t you think it is fair to say he restored he church in that context?

    You’ve not yet expressed an opinion on whether we are free to determine scripture apart from a larger organizational structure. I don’t think you will do that.

    Now, here’s one problem your reluctance to give an newer to that question: it is demonstrative of how our faiths are not compatible. A second problem is that given your insistence on discussing authority, without agreement on my question we will never adequately communicate to come to agreement on any matters of faith. You will be able to maneuver within the bounds of an argument of authority. By that, I mean that you can always ask the question of authority of my belief and say that your faith has the authority to make the correct conclusions whereas my doesn’t.

    So, you’ve not said who has ultimate authority: us, with the aid of the Spirit, or a church organization.

  444. You said that you wanted to teach me about your belief in Jesus.
    The only thing we need to agree on is that you believe what you teach me.

    So far, the only reasons you have given as to why you are a Christian is that you do not follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

    I find that common among many.

    Time for bed, I am trying to get my days and nights back in line with the sun, that is why so early.

    good evening.

  445. I do want to discuss the Trinity, but more specifically how it unites Christianity. I do recognize such a discussion requires discussion of the doctrine itself. However, your intense insistence on the issue of authority led us to where we are now. You have admitted the duty of every believer to check it all out on their own, but have left open the possibility of an organization pushing its authority over us in our studies by defining certain aspects of our faith for us. Asking for clarification from you on that dynamic so as to come to common understanding is hardly unreasonable. In fact, such an agreement on understanding is key to further discussion, especially since you are the one who made such an issue of authority. Unfortunately, you don’t seem interested in authority anymore.

    Now, the issue of the nature of God through the Trinity is not new and unites Christianity through the two millennia since Christ ascended into heaven. Do you dispute that? If so, how and why, and be specific.

  446. I have an understanding of YOUR view on people in authority in what you call the Body of Jesus.
    Now is your chance to teach why you think YOUR view is correct and you have no need to compare and contrast them with mine to do that.

    {Now, the issue of the nature of God through the Trinity is not new and unites Christianity through the two millennia since Christ ascended into heaven. Do you dispute that? If so, how and why, and be specific.}

    That is a two part statement and only one part is true. Fighting over the physical part of “the Trinity” has divided Christianity from the beginning. All the councils and creeds testify to that.

  447. Fred, you are avoiding the question on authority. Who has the ultimate authority for us to learn scripture? Us, or a larger organization?

    Actually, no, the councils never created doctrine. They were held to formalize already established belief. Yes, heresies existed to prompt the discussion, but no doctrine was formed. It appears you agree that the doctrine of the Trinity is not new and has existed since Christ ascended. Is that true?

  448. { Fred, you are avoiding the question on authority.}

    Yes I am.

    { Actually, no, the councils never created doctrine.}

    They translated and interpreted.

    { They were held to formalize already established belief. Yes, heresies existed to prompt the discussion, but no doctrine was formed. It appears you agree that the doctrine of the Trinity is not new and has existed since Christ ascended. Is that true?}

    Summery of what you have taught about your belief in Jesus:
    1. You do not believe these men had any authority to define the nature of God and Jesus.
    2. You believe what they taught.

  449. I do believe they had authority to define the nature of God and Jesus. This is no different than what I am saying now.

    And since you are avoiding the discussion on authority, you’ve no real leg to stand on. You’ve admitted we all have the duty to discern on our own, with the help of the spirit, what is truth. What’s to say these men did not do that?

    You can’t say that, can you?

  450. { You can’t say that, can you?}
    My beliefs are not the subject.
    You said you wanted to teach me what you find important about Christ.

    { You’ve admitted we all have the duty to discern on our own, with the help of the spirit, what is truth. What’s to say these men did not do that?}

    +This is why I have stopped giving my view, you have focused on my deliefs and are not tteaching me your beliefs.+

    I have spoken of personal responsibility and authority.
    I have spoken of responsibility and authority from God to lead a group.
    You have said you do not believe that God has given people any responsibility and authority to lead a group in His name.

    Now you say this.
    { I do believe they had authority to define the nature of God and Jesus.}

    Given: you do not believe God gives authority to anyone to lead a group.
    Given: you say these groups had authority to translate and interpret the 66 scriptures in the Bible.
    Given: the leaders of your local congregations receive their authority from common consent of said congregation.

    Conclusion, you believe the people of the different councils had authority from the combined consent of local congregations, and not from God.

  451. I told you what I want to teach above, and the discussion of the unity of the Christian church through Trinity is precisely in it. You seem to discount Christianity as a result of all the different churches out there. Your source of discounting them appears in many ways directly related to the issue of authority in that the men who met in Nicea and elsewhere did not have authority to define doctrine.

    I am teaching you that Christianity is not as divided as you think, and the aspects among the different churches, do not destroy the single, unitary church body of believers. I am teaching you that a certain amount of differing beliefs is fine, but we cannot distort who Jesus was and is, and yes, that includes him being the second person of the Trinity.

    So, you are free to disagree on that conclusion, but you sure as heck argued about authority, trying to find out what we believe on that. And I am still not sure you get it, because each and every one of us has the authority you seek. You have it, too. Yes, we select people to lead us, and we believe they are God’s instruments on earth, but we do not believe they have extra authority. The folks at Nicea used the same tools we use today. We can use these tools to come up with the same conclusion they did, and that has been understood among Christians since Christ ascended into heaven.

    In a sense, I am glad you focused on authority, and I hope you consider what it is I am telling you. Believe what you want, no problem. I am not here to convert you, but I do hope you seriously consider what is presented. I think there is growth in these discussions, for both sides.

  452. { I told you what I want to teach above, and the discussion of the unity of the Christian church through Trinity is precisely in it. }

    No you are not.
    You spend your time making statements, masked as a question, about what I believe.

    { You seem to discount Christianity as a result of all the different churches out there.}

    This is better, you used a statement without a question.
    It is a shame it is wrong about me.

    { I am teaching you that Christianity is not as divided as you think,…}
    { I am teaching you that a certain amount of differing beliefs is fine,…}

    Wrong both times, you have been teaching me what you think I believe.

    Thanks anyway.

  453. Fred. Reread my recent comments. I have laid out my thesis quite clearly. In truth, it has been out here since the beginning.

    Forgive me for assuming you think the Trinity is the result of a group of men defining doctrine who had lost proper authority. However, that is quite the impression you have given. If you have a different perspective, share it without throwing attitude.

    i’ll say it again, my thesis is clear. The Christian church is historically consistent as it pertains to the Trinity and the person of Christ. Do you understand that?

  454. Okay Cowboy,

    Thanks for the detailed reply. I appreciate that you are putting forth some evidence for your claims rather than just philosophical positions. Those positions help explain your views but with little back up until now.

    >>> The Trinity, though, as I have been open about, is a difficult concept.

    The more I think about it, the less difficult it is for me to conceive your Trinity. This may sound demeaning but that’s not my intention. Since your 3 in 1 God has one mind, in order to be three separate persons with one mind, this can only mean multiple personalities generated by the same mind. And if that is not exactly worded right, it is very close.

    As I mentioned before, I tried to see what your Trinity is first, before I can evaluate it against the Bible. And as I also mentioned before, it is large portions of the Trinity description which opened the door for me to LDS teaching because I found the teaching of the Christian Church I attended to not believe in the Bible. So, let’s look at this based on what you said:

    >>> The trouble is that we also see that Jesus says that he and God are one. How do we reconcile that?

    I think we need to take Jesus at his word. He doesn’t speak metaphorically like Isaiah or the book of Revelations, he is quite direct. In John 17: 21-23 he explains what he means by being one. In verse 22 he says, “…that they may be one, even as we are one…”.

    Jesus is explaining exactly HOW Jesus and the Father are one, and it is one in purpose, dedication and love and not a tangible physical way. I honestly don’t know why Christians are blind to the words of Jesus. It truly bewilders me. This verse shows Jesus is a separate entity than his Father JUST LIKE we are separate entities from each other. Jesus is not a merged mind with Heavenly Father, they are one in a symbolic way, just like he prayed for us believers to be one in a symbolic way, just like husband and wife are supposed to be one. It absolutely does not mean Jesus is the Father in a literal way. It means he is in a Triad of three separate entities which make up God and so united and alike these three are, they are one God. Hence, they are “one”. And that is why the Father can be called God, or Jesus can be called God individually without taking away from the fact that the three together in simply “God”. That is why Jehovah can say, “there is no other God other than me” because Jehovah is part of a Triad of three separate minded beings so deeply connected which is one God, we can’t tell one from the other.

    Now, there is lots of evidence for this and I brought up Elohim of the OT because it is plural meaning this Triad of three and not some myriad of billions of unknown Gods.

    This Triad of three was not fully known until Jesus declared the Father. (Again see John 1:18). I mean, if the Trinity was a known concept before Jesus, then they sure didn’t know who the Father was, unless, of course, John doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    But we should all find it interesting that in order to save theology, the Christian world has taken an enormous leap of propaganda in the meaning of Elohim. If Moses had wanted to use singular, he could have used “El” or “Eloah”. But he and all the prophets after him didn’t. Then, when we get to the NT, the writers there, now having a full understanding of the Godhead, always separated the term for God with ‘Theos’ which is a singular God. It is always, (a singular) God AND the Lord Jesus Christ. Always delineating the two and Jesus later delineated the Holy Ghost.

    >>> When describing God, it is almost exclusively used as a singular noun. And the attributes of God demonstrated are clearly in a singular form.

    Yes, that is true, because words such as “he” and “him” do not appear in the ancient text. They are inserted by the translators. You can check Strong’s on the relevant verses and see for yourself.

    The translators could have easily used more accurate terms. ‘Them’ and ‘they’ and ‘us’ as was done in Gen. 1: 26
    But because of 3rd century theology the translators use the terms which best fits their beliefs: hardly an unbiased translation.

    >>> Another point to consider, the “im” that often describes a plural in Hebrew is not exclusively such. Many words ending with the suffix “im” are singular.

    Sure, in a few instances that is true, but it clearly does not apply to Elohim, since there were two other terms the OT prophets could have used but chose otherwise. That type of explanation amounts to intellectual trickery. I know you, Cowboy, wouldn’t promote such tactics but those you get your information from are either ignorant or deceptive on this issue. In either case, it’s not a good thing when representing the nature of God.

    Sure, you can go to lots of Christian web-sites and they will all admit Elohim literally means ‘Gods’. Then they will turn right around and say ‘but that’s not what it really means’ using extremely faulty reasoning to justify going against a term the prophets used over 2,000 times in the OT.
    And that is one of many examples of why I’ve said, they don’t really believe in the Bible. So much gets altered to fit a preexisting theology.

  455. { The Christian church is historically consistent as it pertains to the Trinity and the person of Christ. Do you understand that?}

    slow cowboy
    Since you are referring to the TRADITIONAL CREEDAL CHURCH when you say “Christian Church” the fact that the councils were needed shows your statement false.

    Enjoy your ‘ significance of silence’, it covers all the problems you do not want to face, including this one.

  456. Ray, if you think God is has some personality disorder, you still don’t get it. That’s OK, though, as I have long granted its potential difficulty. I will weave the personality thing in with the rest of this thread, but its suffice to start with the concept that a single, omniscient and omnipresent God would be able to take these three appropriate forms to relate with his creation.

    Now, the term Elohim as a name for God could be seen as having a plural meaning. If so, the Trinity captures it. However, the Jews believed in a single God. This was why they took offense when Jesus claimed to be God and why he did things only God could do, like forgive sins. The NT is full of examples. The Jews were upset precisely because he claimed to be God. Remember, they only believed in one God.

    If there had always been more than one God, the Jews had long been wrong, and an apostasy happened long before the second century. But this detail is important. If there had always been believed to be a multiplicity of Gods, then the reaction to Jesus would have been very different. That the Jews believed in one God, and only one God, demonstrates the context from which the earliest Christians came. If there had been a belief of multiple Gods, the Trinity never would have been an issue. But they did only believe in one God, and if Jesus was claiming to be God, and he was, the claim was absolutely radical and offensive to the Jewish scholars and teachers.

    Think about it. Because they only believed in one God, someone coming in and claiming to be God was astounding and ridiculous. It was heresy to the highest degree. I give the Pharisees and Sadducees some credit, as I wonder what I would do if someone were to do the same today. I would hope I would be open to this guy, but I sure would be skeptical, just the same. Given that, the general (though not universal, thankfully) reaction to Jesus was and is completely reasonable.

    And why is it reasonable? Because the universal belief amongst the Jews, and Jesus was a Jew himself, was that there was only one God. And you have to recognize that as you consider the Trinity.

    You bring up some points that end up irrelevant in discussing the Trinity, in that they are in accord with the belief. Yes, Jesus knew what he was talking about, but that does not destroy the Trinity. It affirms it. Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are indeed separate. In that sense, I think Mormonism is very, very close, but they are off in a very important manner. No matter how you slice the Mormon belief in the unity of the God Head, Mormons still believe in three separate Gods. I think this makes it difficult for the Mormon to understand the Trinity as presented by Christianity. We can, and do, take the words of Jesus literally and straightforwardly as you suggest.

    You have to remember, too, that we view God as a separate essence from his creation. We cannot assume, therefore, that God works within the same parameters we work within. This is why I have said in the past that you put God in a box. God is God, we are not. Accepting that truth, that God can take on three distinct and separate persons and retain his single being is very plausible.

    Returning to your multiple personality God, I ask so what? God uses these three manifestations, if we can call them manifestations, to reach us in different ways. These ways are integrated perfectly to allow God to communicate his message, facilitate our salvation, and provide judgment on the world.

    This has gotten longer than I had hoped, but I’ll end by affirming that the Jews did not know what the Trinity was before Jesus. They just didn’t. That’s part of what was shocking to the Jews. Jesus came and exposed flaws in their understanding of God, which had always been about faith and honoring God, not following rules. But Jesus was also forecast in the OT, though the contemporary Jews thought their savior would look very differently…

    Nonetheless, none of the points you make criticizing the Trinity make a difference and are erased when you accept that the Jews strongly believed in a single God. If the Jews believed in multiple gods, then we would have had a very different result. And if the Jews believed in multiple gods, then Mormonism itself has erroneously identified Christian history.

  457. Fred, what are you talking about? You apparently are not interested in hearing what I have to share. I share it and you accuse me of avoiding issues. I share what I want to discuss and you criticize it off hand, without addressing anything.

    I have accused you of having an agenda. You’ve given me no reason to think otherwise, though I have tried to give you the benefit of the doubt.

  458. { I have accused you of having an agenda. You’ve given me no reason to think otherwise, though I have tried to give you the benefit of the doubt.}

    After you backhandedly call me a lieing pagan a few times I stopped being nice. You misrepresent what I say and you misrepresent what my faith teaches. In addition, you do not care to be corrected.

    You have even told me I did not know what I was talking about when I had a copy of a book and you had non.

    { You apparently are not interested in hearing what I have to share. I share it and you accuse me of avoiding issues. }

    I am interested in what you share. I am no longer willing to let you bluster. Some indication you care enough about what you teach would be nice. As it is, the way you teach about my faith gives me no reason to have confidence in what you teach about your faith.

    { Fred, what are you talking about?}

    The ‘ significance of silence’ is the name your people put on what you are doing. Looks like this is another item the people you voted to have God’s administration authority over you that you have not learned about.

  459. {We cannot assume, therefore, that God works within the same parameters we work within…}

    How do you decide what is unimportant by the ‘significance of silence’ making it ok to disagree with other denominations AND the things that you ASSUME to be doctrinal making it something that must be followed, evan though it is an interpolation that is not spelled out in any of the 66scriptures inthe Bible

  460. Fred, everything you wrote is demonstrably false as it pertains to me, my openness to correction, my accusing you of lying and dishonesty, and your openness to what it is I have to say.

    I won’t let this thread and the hosts of this blog be bogged down with slurs and the like, which is where it is heading.

    If you cannot see that requests for honesty include requests for openness to certain truths (applies to me, too), failure to correct me when/if I am wrong, and immediately correcting me when telling you the point (which has been abundantly clear) I am making (here it is again: the consistency of the Trinity unites Christianity now and through history), you are not interested in anything but pushing your own agenda.

    Now, out of respect for Tim, Jared, and everyone else who puts up this blog, I am done communicating with you, and to them, I apologize for spamming it the way I have.

  461. {Fred, everything you wrote is demonstrably false as it pertains to me, my openness to correction, my accusing you of lying and dishonesty, and your openness to what it is I have to say.}

    You probably even believe that.

    { Now, out of respect for Tim, Jared, and everyone else who puts up this blog, I am done communicating with you, and to them, I apologize for spamming it the way I have.}

    I act like you, and you choose to run away. Nice try at covering you real reason, you do not like being treated like you treat me.

  462. { And why is it reasonable? Because the universal belief amongst the Jews, and Jesus was a Jew himself, was that there was only one God. And you have to recognize that as you consider the Trinity.

    You bring up some points that end up irrelevant in discussing the Trinity, in that they are in accord with the belief. Yes, Jesus knew what he was talking about, but that does not destroy the Trinity. It affirms it. Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are indeed separate.}

    Creedal traditionals surpress other Christians findings and they down play the resulting interpretations. They remind me of the way academics suppress conservative Christians on college campuses.

    [Studying elsewhere I came across this]
    « The next commandment notes, “I, Jehovah, your God, am a jealous God”—jealous because there were indeed other viable options, and Jehovah insisted on a commitment.

    Jewish Henotheism

    Let’s use the proper term for this, henotheism. Polytheists acknowledge many gods and worship many gods; henotheists acknowledge many gods but worship only one. »

    « I’ve gotten a lot of insight into Old Testament henotheism from Thom Stark’s The Human Faces of God. Some of what follows comes from chapter 4 of that book.»

    I decided to get a copy os this book ans see if the reviewer is accurate.

    « The Song of Moses (Deut. 32) is considered to be some of the oldest material in the Bible—dating to the mid-13th c. BCE. We have several somewhat-inconsistent copies, the oldest being from the Dead Sea Scrolls:

    When Elyon divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam,
    he established the borders of the nations according to the number of the sons of the gods.
    Yahweh’s portion was his people, [Israel] his allotted inheritance. (Deut. 32:8–9)

    Here we see Elyon, the head of the divine pantheon, dividing humankind among his children, giving each his inheritance. »

    You now have to decide if the teachings of your interpreters are correct, or if some other scripturial interpreter’s interpretation is more correct.

  463. I’ve followed some of this discussion, and Cowboy, I found your earlier explanation of the trinity to be excellent and illuminating.

    I find the idea of Mormons advocating for belief in plural Gods surprising, because Book of Mormon testifies so strongly to a monotheistic universe centered around one, and only one deity.
    The explicit testimony of the Book of Mormon about Jesus Christ, is that he is the eternal creator God, come to earth, that Christ and the Father are one God.

    In my reading, the authors of the Book of Mormon express an understanding of God and Christ that is very much like that of traditional Christianity, and Book of Mormon never says that there is more than one God, or have a place for multiple Gods, or lays-out a three-member group of Gods. And although it doesn’t use the word ‘trinity’, In several of places, the authors use trinitarian language and frequently and explicitly say that Jesus and God are one and the same.

    Examples:

    Alma 11:38 “Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?
    And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last;”

    2 Nephi 26:12 “Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God”

    Mosiah Chapter 3 has an even more extensive discussion of the relationship between God and Christ.

    If the ancient Hebrew prophets were polytheists, the Book of Mormon prophets were unaware.

  464. { I find the idea of Mormons advocating for belief in plural Gods surprising, because Book of Mormon testifies so strongly to a monotheistic universe centered around one, and only one deity. The explicit testimony of the Book of Mormon about Jesus Christ, is that he is the eternal creator God, come to earth, that Christ and the Father are one God.}

    Chidi,
    Just like any of the 66 scriptures in the Bible, complete understanding does not always come from one scripture.

    Here is one more scripture that will help you better understand how three different beings can be one, that is, one in purpose.

    D&C 93:
    3 And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one
    4 The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men.
    5 I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest.

    I have just come across the word Henotheism but it better describes the LDS teachings on God than the word polytheist.

    Polytheists acknowledge many gods and worship many gods; henotheists acknowledge many gods but worship only one.

    I got the term from a Protestant Bible scholar (nonMormon) in his book about how older versions of some of the 66 scriptures in the Bible did not support complete monotheism.
    I have not yet decided if his interpretation of the Old Testament even though I like the term Henotheism.

  465. Chidi,
    Welcome back!

    The Book of Mormon intertwines the Father and Son more so than the Bible even to the point of giving one the impression the two are the same person. And that was exactly one of the points I was trying to make. That the Godhead is so unified as “one” that terms can be inter changed for Jesus and Heavenly Father. And further, he wants all of us mortals (those who believe) to be just as “one” with each other and with the Godhead too. That is the significance of John chapter 17. But despite that “oneness” we are all separate individual persons, just as the Father and Son are separate persons.

    I, and many other LDS, believe that is why in the First Vision, the appearance of the Father with Christ, is so significant. It leaves no doubt or debate as to what “one” means.

  466. Well Cowboy,
    I’m sorry I gave you the impression the Jews believed in more than one God. I’ve thought the Jews were monotheist the whole time. However, when the earlier prophets recorded references to God, they always used the plural because they had a better understanding of the Godhead than the Jews at large, and especially the Jews at the time of Christ. The Jewish leaders at the time of Christ have done what you are doing Cowboy: they were ignoring the obvious.

    And if you will recall, when the Pharisees attacked Jesus because he claimed the be the Son of God (not God himself), is when he quoted Psalms saying to them “ye are gods”. He was reminding them of doctrine which had been lost or overlooked. So, yes, there was a state of Apostasy among the Jews at the time of Christ just as you have readily confirmed.

    >>> I give the Pharisees and Sadducees some credit, as I wonder what I would do if someone were to do the same today. I would hope I would be open to this guy,

    That is being very honest with yourself. I commend you on that. Those followers of Jehovah would have had to give up 1,500 years of traditional doctrine which came down from their great prophet Moses.

    As I mentioned to Chidi, I think you have really overlooked the impact of John 17: 20 -26. Jesus prayed that we would all be one, and that all of us would also be one with Him. If we become one with Him, what does that make us? Does that mean we lose individuality? Does that imply we are some sort of God in or with the Godhead? Will our resurrected bodies dissolve and we will become pure spirit and merge with “God”?

    You tell me, what does it mean?

  467. Ray, your point naturally, and logically, leads to the idea that the Jews believed in more than one God. If Elohim is plural, the Jews would have known that, don’t you think? Yet, they worshipped a single God, even only acknowledging one. I emphasize this to emphasize the notion of the Trinity as supporting a single God. If the earliest Christians were wrong, so were the Jews.

    You seem to acknowledge that the Jews were in apostasy, too. I wonder what the impact of that is, then. It seems that the early Christians reflected what was considered sacred during the time. Sure they could have been wrong, but that seems to put a real question on the veracity of any of the Judeo/Christian perspective.

    I tend to think the Jews had it right: only one God existed. We’ve been over the “ye are gods” statement, and it does not mean what you say it does. All those gods die.

    Interestingly, Jesus most often used the term “Son of Man” when discussing himself, not Son of God. This is an important distinction, one the Jews would have recognized straight up as being a reference to Jesus claiming to be the Messiah. Yes, it has clear reference to Jesus as a human, as a son of a man, but it is also very much a reference to Jesus being much more than a man.

    Now, I don’t want to lose sight of what I am trying to convey, which is not an argument against Mormonism, but a support and explanation of the Christian concept of the Trinity. Within the context of the Jewish belief of a single God, the Trinity makes sense. It is clear Jesus was more than a man, but the existence of a single God makes it impossible for Jesus to be something other than that God come in human flesh. The concept is supported with OT text, and nothing in it is ultimately contradictory.

    I hope that helps you grasp the concept more deeply.

  468. { Fred, This gives some basic info on your concept. The article mentions early Judaism and the LDS Church.}

    Ray,
    The book “The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (And Why Inerrancy Tries to Hide It)” uses older copies of the scriptures in the cannon of the Bible to look at the possibility that God has children who are lesser Gods.

    I am not ready to accept the author’s conclusions, but I find it interesting that a nonMormon is looking into the idea that “many plan and precious” teachings are have been removed from the Bible.

  469. John 17:20 refers not to God making us gods, too, but providing a unity of spirit amongst believers. The rest of Jesus’ prayer seems to make clear that he wants a unity of belief. See vs. 26.

  470. Hey Cowboy,
    I understand what you are saying to some degree about the Christian view of the Godhead, though I don’t understand, how the Nicene description you are supporting comes out of the Bible. And one thing is sure, it is absolutely unsupportable by the New Testament alone.

    It appears to me, to come to this conclusion about the nature of God, you must accept old Jewish notions which had developed over the centuries. If you read the Wikipedia link I posted to Fred, you would see there was some development in the culture of ancient Israel, that they themselves were confused about the number of Gods out there early on. They believed each tribe had it’s own God. That would make twelve gods. And that, of course, stems from the term used by the prophets: “Elohim” which means Gods.

    The following here is how I understand these verses with a point by point break down. As you should see, I articulate the implication of phrases as part of a whole. Without doing this, the words of God get brush stroked opening the door to vast interpretations.

    John 17: 20-23

    20: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

    Jesus is praying to his Father and here is explaining that he is not just praying for his Apostles but all those who believe in him (Jesus) through the Apostles’ words

    21: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

    Here Jesus is saying he wants all believers to be “one” with each other and God and himself (Jesus). And he is clearly explaining that them being one is the same way He and his Father are one. “art in me and I in thee” is not literal, it is a symbolic mental unity not a physical one. And the reason this is true is the follow up:
    “they also may be one in us”
    Since we are not physically in God this is a reiteration of mental, emotional and spiritual unity.
    And the reason Jesus is praying for this type of unity is so nonbelievers will see this unity and therefore believe in Jesus. The impact of unity is a powerful tool for nonbelievers to feel the Spirit and therefore convert. When believers are not unified, the Spirit flees and people don’t get converted. This is an easy explanation as to why the Christian world is rapidly dwindling out there and why there has been a serious slowing in LDS growth for about a decade.

    22: And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

    “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them”
    means Jesus received spiritual power and a binding promise of being sealed up to exaltation with Heavenly Father and this exact same glory he gives to his followers. This is why Paul said we are “joint heirs” with Christ because that glory Christ received he is freely sharing it with us.

    “that they may be one, even as we are one:”

    Here is the summary of Jesus and Heavenly Father being “one”. Not one person, not one essence, not one physical spirit, not separate manifestations. Any of these descriptions are just unauthorized additions to what Jesus is repeatedly describing: one in unity, love and purpose.

    “…even as we are one”
    Jesus closes the door to these imaginative ideas about the “oneness” of God.

    The trouble Cowboy is this:

    The Jews had the authority of God but they had gone askew from the teachings of God. The got the nature of God wrong, that got the nature of the coming of the Messiah wrong, they got salvation wrong, they got the Sabbath wrong and much more.

    Relying upon the Jews believing on one God without a group of three separate individuals with separate wills and therefore separate beings as the foundation as to why God is a single individual manifest three way is a mistake. The Godhead was always there. This is validated by Elohim meaning “Gods” in the Genesis Creation story and in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John where it is clear that both God and Jesus as separate individuals were at the Creation and that Jesus was also a God in conjunction with the Father at the Creation is stunningly clear.

    To claim Jesus is God the Father, is to deny the existence of God the Father. In fact, many Christians do deny there is a Heavenly Father when they direct their prayers straight to Jesus. And the irony is Jesus always declared the Father’s existence, had only one name for him which was “Father” and so many Christians don’t pray to him. They pray to Jesus and many pray to Jesus’ mother. Just mind boggling to me.

    This whole concept of the Traditional Christian God merely promotes an idea the Jews had all wrong about the nature of God.

  471. Well, Ray, as I inferred above, if the contemporary Jews had it wrong about God, then we are all wrong about God, even you. Your position on a three in one God does not jive with the post about 12 gods of really ancient Israel.

    I’ve said before about these discussions is that if we are not careful, we will explain away any reason to believe at all.

    Now, Jesus is the same God as God the Father, but they are separate. I exaggerated earlier to make a point about the oneness of God in that they are both, Jesus and the Father, equally and fully divine.

    I do agree that the Tri-une God has always been there. You’ll get no argument from any Christian on that point. Just as God the Father has been God from Eternity to Eternity, so Jesus is God from Eternity to Eternity, the Alpha and the Omega, according to Jesus himself.

    The Jews trouble was not the nature of God, but the role of God an the role of the Law. Paul outlines this quite well in almost every epistle.

    Nothing you say about the John 17 prayer really contradicts what I said, apart from getting ‘godship’ from Jesus and what it means to be an heir. But this difference stems from the differing understandings of the very nature God, and the implications are huge in how we approach God.

    Its interesting to note your silence on Vs. 26, which, I post here now, using the KJV: “26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

    How can Jesus be in them? What about the love Jesus wishes to be in them? These two together suggest something very different than what Mormonism proposes. It seems suggest the unity of God and Christ is something akin to love and spirit, not we becoming gods ourselves.

    But anyway, again, I don’t want to attack Mormonism. I really don’t. I only wish to explain the Christian faith. The prayer in John 17 is about unity in faith, in the love of Christ and of God. This actually supports the idea of the Trinity, and you have to take all of it, not just the three you site.

    I see, like Fred, you make an appeal to authority. You have to understand that authority is not from an organization to us. Its there for anyone to call upon God, Christ, or the Spirit to take. You know that God is there knocking, and all we have to do is open the door, so to speak.

    I actually think the Trinity is precisely Biblical. We’ve discussed a number of verses to demonstrate this. You simply don’t agree with the conclusion, and that’s fine, but we at least see in the Bible Jesus taking attributes only God has, he makes claims of deity, and we see earlier references to a Trinity. To say it is not Biblical is not accurate.

    A final point is that its interesting to note how you recognize the Mormon church is (at leat) slowing in growth, and you attribute that to differences in opinion. I agree that unity is powerful, but does the trend, if you are correct, indicate that Mormonism is no different from the rest of Christianity?

  472. { But anyway, again, I don’t want to attack Mormonism. I really don’t.}
    slowcowboy,
    I am going to ask one of those guided questions you like to use. One of those questions that already have the answer in them.

    What else do you do that you do not like?

    The statement being, you have a history of attacking LDS beliefs.

    (I think it sounds nicer as a statement)

  473. { I see, like Fred, you make an appeal to authority.}
    cowboy,
    I see from studying religious history that the need for authoritative councils still live and well in Christiandom

    Do you follow the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy This statement is claimed to be the standard-bearer for Evangelical orthodoxy; for now.

    # Now for a thought about John seventeen #
    (21: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, )

    By the law of unintended consequences and using your definitions:

    You, me, Ray, and a bunch of others are different forms of one consubstantial persons.

    I know this is a ridiculous statement, but it is just following the logic you use in the rest of the scriptures in the Bible. I have met “Bible scholars” who insist on using opposing logics on one verse in the Bible. This word means this by this logic, because the logic used on the rest of the verse means that their belirfs and understandings about God and religion are in error if applied to the whole verse.

    I hope you only use one logic at a time.

  474. Fred, I’ll only say that I certainly don’t hate Mormons, and respect much of what Mormons do and how they do it. I am not sure why you seem to have such an axe to grind, but its clear discussion with you is fruitless. So I am not addressing everything else. We’ve spent too much time getting no where. I won’t do it any more.

  475. { We’ve spent too much time getting no where. I won’t do it any more.}

    With what you have taught and the spin off investigations I have learned a lot.

    I got a lot from our exchange of ideas.

    I do not understand why you want to stop.

  476. Hey Cowboy,
    >>> Your position on a three in one God does not jive with the post about 12 gods of really ancient Israel.

    >>>I’ve said before about these discussions is that if we are not careful, we will explain away any reason to believe at all.

    The truth will set us free, is what Jesus said. The mere fact, that Christians, and Mormons too, have brought forth narratives which are a little off or even a lot off, has given reason for many to abandon their faiths.

    I was on line yesterday with an atheist and the myths about Bible origins she learned in Church is what caused her to leave, or so she says.

    I’ve said over and over, for the big picture, it doesn’t really matter if it’s three Gods in one or one God in three because the summation of the parts make it one in the whole. You’ve disputed that. I’ve defended that.

    But the truth concerning the Jews is this: For many reasons, including their creation story which showed “Gods” creating the heaven and earth gave rise to a partiality among the Jews to accept polytheism through out their early history. The old prophets were always combating this tendency in ancient Israel. So, were there really 12 Gods? No. But there was a tendency, for a time, to think there was anciently and I point to “Elohim” as the reason.

    The Hebrews had so much trouble believing the truth is the reason the Law of Moses was instituted. Without a rigid system to follow, the Hebrews would quickly go astray. Jesus knew at his coming he would end the Law of Moses, because he also knew the “Gospel would be given to other people.” (To those other than the Jews and those people would need the full truth uninhibited by the the Law and opinions of the Jews sects).

    “the truth injures no one” and it “sets you free”.

    Christians or the LDS will not lose a single soul with the truth, however, by not disclosing the truth, especially when questioned about it, we could lose the entire flocks.

  477. Ray, you say this:

    “I’ve said over and over, for the big picture, it doesn’t really matter if it’s three Gods in one or one God in three because the summation of the parts make it one in the whole. You’ve disputed that. I’ve defended that.”

    No, the details matter of that God. And it is in this definition that you find the unity of Christians.

    Subsequently, these details indicate we worship different gods. The objection from many Christians towards Mormonism is that since Mormonism uses many of the same words and concepts, though in a radically different way, Mormonism leads men and women astray from the Christian God, which we believe is the True God.

    You think differently, and for the sake of intellectual discussion, that’s fine. I view this at present as an intellectual discussion, so I only ask you to understand, not believe.

    I would state that anyone who with passion and conviction speaks his message will attract converts, regardless of truth. Conversely, those who preach truth without that passion and conviction will lose followers. The question, then, is not about truth but about something else.

    You keep citing that churches as losing members, and many are. However, there are a number of Christian churches that are thriving. These churches are thriving because they speak passionately and convincingly about Christianity. People are engaged and see that Christianity is something more than words from some ancient guy, that’s real and powerful in their own lives.

    Christianity is truth, of that I have no question. However, we cannot escape that we are created, sinful humans, even those who don’t know it. Part of that is that people tend to ignore that which they don’t think affects them. Christian churches that are growing get people to see how the Christian message is relevant, and it is relevant. That is done with honest passion and honest conviction.

    I said above that if we are not careful we will argue that all of the Judeo Christian message is wrong. This is evidenced when say that the details matter. If we can say whatever we want about Jesus then anything can be true, and all we need is that passion and conviction. But there are groups of all sorts that are passionate and convicting. Hitler, using a grave example, was passionate and convicting. Donald Trump is passionate and convicting. Bernie Sanders is passionate and convicting. Apparently Mohammed was passionate and convicting. All sorts of people are passionate and convicting, but they are not all correct.

    We have to get the details right, regardless of the passion and conviction. Truth is the truth, there is no other.

  478. { Truth is the truth, there is no other.}

    { These churches are thriving because they speak passionately and convincingly about Christianity. }

    Slowcowboy,
    A while back I saw a survey that indicates many of those Christians are not Christians by your definition. You might want too rethink the claims you make about Christians agreeing with you.

    Truth is truth, unless you are missing facts.

  479. {…Mormonism leads men and women astray from the Christian God, which we believe is the True God.}

    CORRECTION: More facts so the truth really is the truth.

    Mormonism leads men and women astray from the TRADITIOONAL CREEDAL Christian God, which we believe is the True God.

  480. Cowboy,
    That was very good observations, especially about the passionate people, I enjoyed reading those observations.

    Now, do we really worship a different God?
    Take a cherry pie and slice it into 3 equal pieces. What do you see?

    Suppose the pie represents God. I see one pie, God, divided up into 3 pieces. I don’t see three pies, though I know they are there. You’ve have been saying I see three pies. But I see pie pieces so alike, it’s just one pie.

    Now, what really separates our views is the mind. Suppose our pie has a mind. You see a pie who mind has been divided up.
    I see a pie which has three separate minds acting together to form the one pie or God.
    But in your scenario, when the one part of the pie is active (manifest), it has it’s own mind, or when it’s not active, that we can see, it still has it’s own mind!

    Is there really a difference?

  481. Ray, thanks for your kind words on the observation about passion and conviction. We would be in a very different world if people did not fall for many of the passionate and convicted people out there…

    Anyway, the trouble with analogies concerning the Trinity is each analogy fails in some way. So it is with your pie analogy. And all three parts/persons/essences/manifestations of God are always active. They never stop. God is always working, always knowing. I’m still open that this concept of God is difficult to understand. Muslims reject it as polytheist. Its not at all unusual to see critics use its confusion as tools in their arsenal.

    However, as a I said, there is nothing contradictory about it if you believe only one God exists. And that is where the very real difference arises. You are trying to work your Mormon system into our view of God. Your view of the system is that there is an eternal progression with many gods, of these gods, we only care about three. These three gods work together so closely as to form essentially one God, the God head. I’ve heard it described as a body like how we call the US Senate, even though it is made up of 100 people.

    Even though we have a single Senate, the reality is that it is made up of 100 people. So it is with your godhead. I am not criticizing that, only stating it is (or at least as I see it) what it is. This difference is huge when compared with our notion of there being only one God.

    The difference is so big that it makes the very identities of these respective deities different deities.

    You have to remember the make up of your godhead, which is three separate gods coming together to form one. Each of these gods are not only different gods, but possibly once people or beings just like us. Unless I am mistaken, you don’t know enough to say that is certainly right or wrong. You do, however, believe in eternal progression. Again, I bring this up not to criticize but to set up a difference between your deity and mine. This difference is that my God, in all three parts, has always been God. There was no process of exaltation, and I know that about him.

    Again, we see how these gods are different. We cannot be describing the same God in these two ways. Either God has always been God, or he hasn’t. And there is only one God, or there isn’t.

  482. The reason I think we are closer than you realize is because, I’m not saying the LDS view of God is getting close to your view, I’m saying your view is getting close to the LDS view, in that even you are saying the Father, Son and Holy Spirit think independently of each other. It certainly appears that way in the NT between Jesus and Heavenly Father. And if this is so, then it’s basically the same thing.
    But the big issue on the subject is no one, not just you, can explain what the Christian God is, with three persons, manifestations, three thought patterns or one thought patterns, a vast invisible Spirit, but part of it locked into a glorified physical body, yet it’s just one, and not just symbolically, it’s physically the same thing. This sounds like we really don’t know what we are worshiping.

    Yes, Christ was once a man, but his spirit, the thing which makes a body live, was always God. And we believe the same with Heavenly Father, and at some time, probably the same thing will happen with the individual who is the Holy Spirit.
    My spirit was never a God and never will be, but the promise is one day Christ can pull us up to a very high level that we call godhood, and your view says you will be exalted men and women.
    There is this idea, in the LDS community, that exalted individuals will be out there making worlds and other people in the future. And maybe that is so but there isn’t any actual revealed word on it. “Eternal Progression” is a vague term and we don’t know enough to know much about it.

    But in the Christian view, what are exalted men and women going to be doing for eternity? Playing harps and singing to make God happy? I seriously doubt that will be the summation of eternity for those who accept Christ.

  483. Ray, we are just about around the circle. Anyway, are you familiar with the name Yhwh?

    As to playing harps through eternity, that’s not going to happen. What will happen? I don’t know nor do I care. I am content to spend eternity with my savior. Are you? The answer is another area of potential difference in our faiths. I don’t expect anything more than being in the Glory of God.

  484. Ray,
    Sometimes I am slow, this just hit me. While teaching about divorce Jesus speaks of a way two separate beings can be one in His way of thinking. It shows that God could be thinking about the three in the Trinity not have to be the same being.

    Mat 19:
    5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
    6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    =
    It is even in the first scripture in the Bible. Right from the beginning God taught us that two individuals can work together that they are one in function.

    Gen 2: 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    =
    That does not address the idea that God was alone forever in a place of nothingness before creating mankind and the universe we need to live in. Nor does it address that some of us will now live forever with Him, but it does address how He might be right now.

    They were three but now They are one.

  485. Cowboy,
    >>>Anyway, are you familiar with the name Yhwh?

    There no vowels in the name. Do you mean Yahweh?

    If so, I think is the supposed to be the most accurate translat