Skip to comments.MORMON CHRISTOLOGY: A CHRIST-TEST FOR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY - OPEN
Posted on 07/15/2010 7:46:51 AM PDT by greyfoxx39
MORMON CHRISTOLOGY: A CHRIST-TEST FOR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY
Is The LDS Jesus Christ Exclusively Different from the Biblical Jesus Christ?
This paper will establish the nature of the controversy, set forth an
exegetically derived, succinct christological test for identifying genuine Christianity
and compare Mormon Christology with this test. It will be argued that Mormon Christology
does not pass the Christ-Test and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
should not be identified with Genuine Christianity. And it will be demonstrated that the
LDS Jesus Christ is exclusively different from the Biblical Jesus Christ.
THE NATURE OF THE CONTROVERSY
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are generally outraged about the evangelical assertion that Mormons are not Christians, or that the Mormon Church is not a Christian church. Consider the following remarks uttered by President Boyd K. Packer, in his role as acting president of the Quorom of the Twelve.2 Packer directed his comments to contra-Mormon apologists as he addressed a large gathering of Brigham Young University students and faculty five months before the 1998 annual June meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City.3
My message is for those who teach and write and produce films which claim that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Christian church and that we, the members, are not Christians. . . . Such individuals are uninformed and unfair . . . I bear witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives. He is our Redeemer and is our Savior. He resides over this church. He is no stranger to his servants here and as we move into the future with quiet confidence, his spirit will be with us.4
Frankly, I can empathize with President Packer and the Mormon people for their oft' expressed outrage. I too would be more than a little livid if anyone asserted that I was not a Christian or that my Church was not a Christian Church. For this reason, when engaging a Mormon person for the purpose of leading them to genuine repentance and faith in the genuine Jesus, I distinguish between the two religions in the following way. I use the terms "LDS Christianity" or "Mormon Christianity" in contrast to "Biblical Christianity," "Traditional Christianity," "Historical Christianity" or sometimes even "Genuine Christianity."5
On the other hand, informed evangelicals are generally concerned about the Mormon assertion that Mormons are Christians, or that the Mormon Church is a Christian church, an for good reason. Consider the following remarks made by Republican Presidential Candidate, the Honorable Orrin Hatch, at a recent meeting of the Christian Coalition in Washington, D.C. Hatch was only politely received at the largely conservative evangelical event when introduced. Referring to a poll that indicated that 17% of Americans would never elect an LDS member to the presidency, Hatch remarked, "Well, I can't do anything about bigots or bigotry, but I can do a lot about people who are misinformed. . . . I take my Christian faith very, very seriously." 6 Then Bishop Hatch bore his testimony saying,
I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that he lives. I know that he died for you and me. I know that he has provided a means by which we may go back to our Father in Heaven to live in peace and prosperity . . . It is from this land that true freedom has gone all the way around the world . . . God bless America, and God bless all of you.7
There are at least two features of Hatch's speech that demand a non-conciliatory apologetic response. Hatch enjoyed a rousing standing ovation from the Christian Coalition after his testimony of Christian identity in light of the cool reception he got at the time of his introduction. And the Deseret News gloated openly when it issued the headline, "Hatch wins over skeptical Christian group--Standing ovation after he stands up for his religion."8
Now, consider also the concluding comments from Stephen E. Robinson's book, "Are Mormons Christians?" Robinson poses the criteria for Christian identity as simply knowing, loving, or worshipping Jesus Christ. He writes,
Though all the world may say that Latter-day Saints do not know or love or worship Jesus Christ, I know that we do, and if this is not the issue in question, or if this is not enough to be counted a Christian, then the word has lost its meaning.9
LDS apologists Daniel Peterson and Stephen Ricks also weigh in. "By every New Testament standard, Mormons are Christian," they write.10 They also assert, "What made a person a Christian in the first century, and what makes a person a Christian today, is, simply a commitment to Jesus Christ. Such commitment is central to the religion of the Latter-day Saints." 11 This Peterson-Ricks definition, commitment to Jesus Christ, is indeed a suitable working test for Christian identity. What remains unsettled is a suitable biblical description of commitment and of Jesus Christ. A description of the latter term is the subject of this paper.
The representative LDS comments above which claim LDS Christian identity demand an apologetic response that compliments the evangelistic approach suggested above. The price is simply too high to ignore or patronize the unsubstantiated and false claims of LDS Christian identity which are made in the public arena. To do so necessarily gives ground to pluralism since Historic Christianity and LDS Christianity make mutually exclusive truth claims about the object of religious commitment, Jesus Christ, and mutually exclusive truth claims about the nature and practice of that commitment to Him. If pluralism prevails Christianity itself is stripped of its distinctive truth, distinctive way of salvation and distinctive eternal life. And if pluralism is true, then Christianity of any description is irrelevant.
The Bible strongly suggests that a christological test is a legitimate way of discerning Christian identity or redemptive status. In other words, one's redemptive status before God in this life and the next may be directly related to what one believes about the person and work of Jesus Christ. For instance, Scripture clearly asserts that one must not reject the Sonship, incarnation, death, burial and resurrection of Christ to enjoy the blessings of salvation.12 Consider especially 2 John 7-9,
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son (NKJV).
Matthew 16:13-20 also makes a very strong claim that identifying Jesus correctly is a proposition that constitutes the Rock upon which the very Church is built,
When Jesus came into the region of Ceasarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But whom do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock [of confession] I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (NKJV) [italics mine].
Now if a Christ-Test in general is legitimate for discerning Christian identity or redemptive status, and I believe it is, then what remains are the particular test questions for the LDS context. A particular test for LDS Christology is required because Mormons happily confess the Sonship of Christ together with His incarnation, death, burial and resurrection. What they do not happily confess, I will demonstrate, is the biblical meaning of some of these terms. Now, I should like to set forth my biblical Christ-Test primarily derived from a thorough theological-exegetical analysis of the Christology of Colossians 1:15-20 stated in consideration of LDS Christology.13
There is an abundance of evidence in this Colossians christological passage to assert confidently at least six essential aspects of the person and work of Christ:
1) Jesus Christ is uniquely fully divine, yet a distinct person.
2) Jesus Christ is uniquely fully human, yet without sin.
3) The fundamentally distinct human and divine natures of Jesus Christ are uniquely unified in one person without confusion, change, division, separation or identity.
4) Jesus Christ is the unique perfect revealer of God's essential nature.
5) Jesus Christ is the absolute LORD-Creator of all creation ex nihilo.
6) Jesus Christ is the unique and efficient reconciler of creation.
1) Unique Full Divinity
The two strongest witnesses in this passage for the unique full deity of Christ may be found in the image of the invisible God phrase of 15a together with the firstborn phrase of 15b. These two phrases paint a glorious picture of Christ that depicts Him as the unique, eternal, visible, representation and manifestation of God who is otherwise unobservable. Christ is exactly equal to God and exactly like God, so exactly equal to and like God that He does what only God can do. He creates ex nihilo. Additionally, Christ is so exactly equal to and like God that He BE-s what only God can BE. He necessarily BE-s. To be exactly like God is to BE necessarily. And to BE necessarily is to BE eternally. And Christ is so exactly related to God that He is called only what God may be called, the Image of the invisible God and the Firstborn over all creation.
2) Unique Full Humanity
The two strongest evidences in this passage for the unique full humanity of Christ also lie in the words image of the invisible God of 15a and in the phrase firstborn of 18c. These expressions describe Christ as the full revelation of true humanity, as Man par excellence, as the Ideal-Human who is created in the image of God, able not to die on the one hand, but certain to die because of Adam's sin on the other. As the Firstborn from the dead, Christ is fully human on the basis of His dying and fully human, as well, on the basis of His bodily resurrection.
3) Unique Unification of Two Fundamentally Distinct Natures in One Person
This christological proposition is not derived from one biblical proposition, but is, however, a necessary derivation of the assertion of the two above propositions: Christ's unique full deity and unique full humanity. Full divinity and full humanity are two fundamentally distinct kinds of beingness. Only Jesus Christ is fully both. The exact relationship between these two fundamentally distinct natures in one person is a profound mystery, but cogent thinking and biblical thinking demand an isolation of certain incorrect descriptions of this relationship. Ancient incorrect descriptions include Apollonarianism, Nestorianism and Eutychianism.
4) Unique Perfect Revealer of God's Essential Nature
The image phrase together with firstborn in v. 15 harbor the strongest proof for the revealing work of Christ in this passage. As an exact visible representation of what God who can not otherwise be observed is like, Jesus Christ is the ultimate revealer of who God is and what God does. What makes Christ the perfect revealer is that He shares attributes with both God and Man-in-the-image-of-God. He is, in one person, both Creator ex nihilo and Inhabitant of His creation. He occupies two realms: the realm of God and the realm of man. And Christ reveals God to man, in his created realm, what Creator-God of another fundamentally different realm is like.
5) Absolute LORD-Creator of All Creation Ex Nihilo
Firstborn in v. 15, especially amplified by before all things in v. 17, offers the strongest testimony of the work of Christ as Lord of creation ex nihilo in this passage. These phrases depict Christ as supreme over the creation that He creates ex nihilo. And it follows necessarily that whatever He creates, He is prior to in time. Christ is the uncreated and unprocreated Creator ex nihilo over His creation. But His special creation, man, fell prey to temptation. Man's sin brought a curse on all creation and creation stood in desperate need of re-creating or reconciliation.
6) Unique and Efficient Reconciler of His Creation
The strongest evidences in this passage for the redeeming work of Christ as efficient reconciler of creation, or in other words efficient LORD-Re-Creator, are found in the phrases reconciles all things (v. 20a) and the Firstborn from the dead phrase of 18c. Jesus Christ is the peacemaking mediator between God and fallen man, and between God and fallen creation because He is both God and man, Creator and Inhabitant of creation. Christ makes this peace with God on behalf of all creation by His substitutionary death on the cross. He makes recreation-reconciliation possible through His shed blood on the cross, and He models re-creation through His resurrection.
MORMON CHRISTOLOGY & THE CHRIST-TEST14
1) On Unique Full Deity
The LDS christological program suggests the derived, or progressive deity of Jesus Christ rather than the full deity as described by the Christ-Test above. The fully divine status of the Son of God is the subsequent result of His procreation and resurrection, therefore His deity can not be an eternal state or an exactly-equal-with-supreme-God state. An official LDS manual reads, "Jesus Christ is literally the son [sic] of God the Eternal Father."15 In a guide for LDS family home evenings, the writer remarks, "How are children begotten? I answer just as Jesus Christ was begotten of his father."16 Heber Grant wrote Jesus is the "Son of God just as much as you and I are the sons of our fathers."17 And Ezra Benson wrote, the Son of God was "sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father."18 LDS Christology suggests that there was a time when the Son of God was not was not the son of God, by suggesting there was a time when the Son of God was not begotten.19
Additionally, Jesus Christ did not even achieve what Mormons term "the fullness of deity," until after his resurrection. Consider Joseph Fielding Smith's comments, "The Savior did not have a fulness [sic] at first, but after he received his body and the resurrection all power was given to him both in heaven and in earth. . . . There were some things lacking which he did not receive until after his resurrection."20 The LDS Jesus Christ is a radically different Jesus Christ with reference to His unique full deity on the grounds that the LDS Jesus Christ does not enjoy exact likeness or eternal likeness with God.
2) Unique Full Humanity
Whatever distinctions there may be on this point are subtle, highly complex, and related to the findings of the first and third test and therefore warrant no special treatment in this brief analysis.
3) Unique Unification of Two Fundamentally Distinct Natures
Mormon Christology, its Doctrine of God and its Anthropology, effectively annihilates the fundamental distinction between humanity and deity. In other words, LDS Christology basically disagrees with the premises upon which the traditional doctrine of the hypostatic union is based, that is, deity and humanity are different states of being. Robinson wrote,
The soil from which the LDS doctrine of deification grows is the belief that humans are of the divine species and that the scriptural language of divine paternity is not merely figurative. . . . The strict wall of separation between the human and the divine . . . in my view is not really biblical but, once again, philosophical. . . . It rests on the same objection to the clear sense of Scripture that led to the equally unbiblical doctrine of the two natures in Christ, which was added to historic Christianity by the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451. . . . According to Chalcedon, Christ's divine nature never became human, never suffered, never died--the claims of Scripture notwithstanding. Latter-day Saints reject all that.21
Therefore, the LDS Jesus Christ is a radically different Jesus Christ compared with the Traditional Jesus Christ described as possessing both fundamentally distinct human and divine natures uniquely unified in one person without confusion, change, division or separation. Perhaps a new phrase "without identity" should be added to traditional christological formulations to exclude clearly the erroneous LDS view that annihilates this essential distinction.
4) Unique Perfect Revealer of God's Essential Nature
Jesus Christ is not, in the LDS program, the perfect revealer of God because of the differences that exist at the ontological level between the Eternal Father and the Son. The Son is, for instance, not eternal nor presumably capable of creating mankind (see below) and can not reveal in his own person eternality or anthropological creation. In Traditional Christology, the Son of God is ontologically the same as the Father, and therefore reveals exactly what God 's essential nature which can not be perceived otherwise is like. Mormons are, however, "thoroughly subordinationist in their theology of the Godhead."22 They "believe that the oneness of these three [persons of the trinity] is not ontological oneness of being . . . but a oneness of mind, purpose, power, and intent."23 In this way, the LDS Jesus Christ is incapable by definition of revealing exactly what the Father is like, because the Son is essentially different in person and essential being-ness.
5) Absolute LORD-Creator of All Creation Ex Nihilo
Mormons affirm several distinct doctrines on Christ's role in creation as well. The Son of God is not the absolute Lord-Creator of all creation ex nihilo in LDS Christology. The earth and everything in it were spiritually "created" (spiritual matter reorganized) by the Father before the physical "creation" (physical matter reorganized) by the Son and others. Bruce R. McConkie wrote, "This earth was created first spiritually. . . . Then came the physical creation. . . . Man and all forms of life existed as spirit beings and entities before the foundations of this earth were laid."24 Joseph Smith revealed, "In the beginning [of the physical creation], the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. . . . Now the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize. . . . The pure principles of element . . . had no beginning, and can have no end."25 Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, "It was Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who, under the direction of his Father, came down and organized matter and made this planet. . . . It is true that Adam helped to form this earth. . . . I have a strong view or conviction that there were others also who assisted them. Perhaps Noah and Enoch; and why not Joseph Smith?"26
Perhaps the most distinct of all LDS Christ-the-Creator doctrines is that the Son of God did not "create" mankind in any sense of the word. Bruce R. McConkie wrote, "We know that Jehovah-Christ, assisted by 'many of the noble and great ones' (Abr. 3:22) of whom Michael is but the illustration, did in fact create the earth and all forms of plant and animal life on the face thereof. But when it came to placing man on earth, there was a change of Creators. That is, the Father became personally involved. . . . Man was created by the Father."27 It is very clear that the LDS Jesus Christ is a radically different Jesus Christ compared with the traditional Jesus Christ on His role in creation and the basic definition of the nature of the creative act itself. The Colossians passage leaves absolutely no room for the LDS interpretation that rejects Christ's role in the creation of mankind.
6) Unique and Efficient Reconciler of His Creation
The Mormon Jesus Christ is very different on this test as well. For starters, the LDS doctrine of atonement tends to minimize the central work of Christ on the cross itself. Consider an official LDS missionary training manual that reads "The atonement made by the Savior began in Gethsemane and ended at the empty tomb."28 The careful reader will also note the strange absence of the very word "cross" in Mormon documents in general. In five entire pages of propositions and official quotations on the subject of the atonement of Christ in Doctrines of the Gospel, there is not one occurrence of the word "cross." More important, however, than the notable absence of references to the cross itself is the limited nature of the atonement itself. Jesus' atonement only effects universal immortality, it does not effect the fullness of salvation. The Articles of Faith collected in the Pearl of Great Price states, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."29 And Gospel Principles states, "When he became our Savior, he did his part to help us return to our heavenly home. It is now up to each of us to do our part and become worthy of exaltation."30 In other words, the work of Christ on the cross is not reconciling at all, it does not make total peace between God and man, it only makes partial peace and restores immortality to all mankind. Whether one enjoys the full benefits of salvation, called exaltation or deification, depends on the conduct of man himself. This is definitely not the traditional doctrine of the atoning work of Christ. Therefore, the LDS Christ is very different on this point as well from Traditional Christology.
In sum, the LDS Jesus Christ is not uniquely fully divine. He is not a bearer of the fundamentally distinct human and divine natures uniquely unified in one person without confusion, change, division, separation or identity. He is not the unique perfect revealer of God's essential nature. He is not the absolute LORD-Creator of all creation ex nihilo. And He is not the unique, efficient reconciler of creation. In short, the LDS concept of Jesus Christ is not the Traditional concept of Jesus Christ described by Colossians.
A critic might successfully demonstrate that I have misinterpreted LDS Christology or biblical Christology at some point. But, there is little chance that a critic could convince any informed observer that LDS descriptions of the person and work of Christ are the same or even similar to traditional descriptions. Even the present prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints admits as much to Mormons. According to an LDS publication, President Gordon B. Hinckley bore his testimony describing Christ in Geneva, Switzerland at an LDS gathering of five stakes in France and Switzerland on 6 June 1998. The article reads,
In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints "do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness [sic] of Times. He, together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph Smith left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.
Am I a Christian? Of course I am. I believe in Christ. I talk of Christ. I pray through Christ? I'm trying to follow Him and live His gospel in my life."31
Paige Patterson, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, penned a letter to President Hinckley in September of 1998 in response to his Genevan christological remarks commending Hinckley for his refreshingly candid remarks in light of many other church leaders and missionaries who generally tend to minimize the christological distinctions. Patterson wrote,
In my opinion, that [Hinckley's remarks] enhances both your credibility and the reality that traditional Christians and Mormons believe in two different and distinctive views of Christ. . . . Baptists, as you know, hold to a view of Jesus Christ that is based strictly on biblical revelation and that believes that Jesus was and is eternal God. This view is clearly at odds with your own faith that, as I understand it, confesses that he was sired by God, the heavenly father, in consort with his wife. He was in that sense a literal son of God. I also realize that you believe that Jesus existed as an eternal spirit form, but not in the sense as God or as the Son of God.32
The director of media relations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, later reinterpreted President Hinckley's Genevan remarks in a way that sought apparently to minimize the Christological differences between evangelicals and Latter-day Saints when asked to comment on the prophets straightforward declaration. Apparently, the message to Mormons is "We believe in a very differently described, better, Jesus than other Christians," while the message to the public is "We believe in the same Jesus described by other Christians." One can only speculate about the reason for the mutually exclusive messages, but perhaps the different messages are related to the LDS general desire to join the ranks of mainline Christianity and be publicly perceived as so for proselytizing purposes, while remaining distinctive in comments to its distinctive membership.
If a christological test for Christian identity is a legitimate test, if my particular christological test is a valid one, if my description of LDS Christology is on the mark, and if President Hinckley is correct when he observes that the Traditional Christ is not the LDS Christ, then it necessarily follows that Mormonism may not rightly claim Christian identity. At a bare minimum, it necessarily follows that Biblical Christology and LDS Christology are mutually exclusive truth claims that can not both rightly claim Christian identity. When either Evangelicals or Mormons minimize these differences, it only trivializes the deeply held beliefs of both. Perhaps Evangelicals and Mormons will have to agree to disagree vigorously about Christology, but that would be a good start toward advancing the TRUTH about Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, whatever it may be.
(END NOTES AT LINK)
Yup. Just like Jesus.
Later I converted, again I was not re baptized, the Methodist record stood as acknowledgment of my commitment TO THE SAME CHRIST. (emphasis added for our LDS friends)
I cannot think of two traditions that could be seen as being "opposites" more than the GOA and the Methodist Church, yet in the end they stand for the same thing.
Sometimes God knows what he is doing...
(Yeah, be sure to emphasize every Mothers' Day to your Mom how much labor you had to do in that hospital room yay # of years ago)
Translation: So if you have kids, or will have kids, you won't advise them to steer clear of...
...premarital sex -- homosexual or heterosexual...
...All because you've got constant eye logjams?
Tell us: What beliefs and convictions will you take a stand on? (And why, if any, some but not apparently others? IOW: Where do you draw the line and why?)
I really don't care if mormons wish to call themselves "blue-faced magic underwear gods-to-be" as long as they stop demanding that Christians call mormons Christians! They have been happy to be at the end of the "Christian" line for 170 years in their desire to not be associated with the "abominable gentiles", and NOW they are shoving and browbeating in order to force their way to the FRONT of the Christian line because they actually, really believe mormonism to be superior to any other belief.
The Seven Deadly Heresies (Excerpt)
"Now, in order to have things in perspective, let me identify the three greatest heresies in all Christendom. They do not prevail among us, fortunately, but they are part of the gross and universal darkness that covers the earth and blots out from the minds of men those truths upon which salvation rests.
The greatest truth known to man is that there is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal; that he is the creator, upholder, and preserver of all things; that he created us and the sidereal heavens and ordained and established a plan of salvation whereby we might advance and progress and become like him. The truth pertaining to him is that he is our Father in heaven, that he has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's, that he is a literal person, and that if we believe and obey his laws we can gain the exaltation that he possesses. Now that is the greatest truth and the most glorious concept known to the human mind, and the reverse of it is the greatest heresy in all Christendom.
The Christian heresy, where God is concerned, is that Deity is a spirit essence that fills the immensity of space; that he is three beings in one; that he is uncreated, incorporeal, and incomprehensible; that he is without body, parts, or passions; that he is a spirit nothingness that is everywhere and nowhere in particular present. These are concepts written in the creeds had in the churches of the world.
The second greatest truth in all eternity pertains to the divine sonship of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It includes the eternal verity that he was foreordained in the councils of eternity to come to earth and be the redeemer of men, to come and ransom men from the temporal and spiritual death brought upon them by the fall of Adam. This second greatest truth is that Christ worked out the infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice because of which all men are raised in immortality and those who believe and obey are raised also unto eternal life.
Now the second greatest heresy in all Christendom is designed to destroy the glories and wonders of the infinite and eternal atonement. It is that men are saved by some kind of lip service, by the grace of God, without work and without effort on their part.
The third greatest truth known to mankind is that the Holy Spirit of God is a revelator and a sanctifier, that he is a personage of spirit, that his assigned ministry and work in the eternal Godhead is to bear record of the Father and of the Son, to reveal them and their truths to men. His work is to cleanse and perfect human souls, to burn dross and evil out of human souls as though by fire. We call that the baptism of fire.
Now the opposite of that is the third greatest heresy in all Christendom. It is that revelation has ceased, that God's mouth is closed, that the Holy Ghost no longer inspires men, that the gifts of the Spirit were done away with after the death of the ancient apostles, and that we no longer need to follow the course they charted. "
‘if you have kids, or will have kids’
-—Not going to have Kids, I’m smart enough to know I would be a horrible parent-—
‘What beliefs and convictions will you take a stand on’
the Sanctity of Life and devotion to God.
My crisis in my Roman Catholic faith is my own personal cross I must carry alone and I need to focus on strengthening my faith and devotion to God, Individually, before I ‘discuss’ others beliefs.
Perhaps ‘judgment’ was a poor choice of words....and I’n not your enemy.
No, not from what I went back and read, nor did 44 address the specific points of doctrine.
As to your other point that we are saved by grace, that belief is also held by Mormons.
Once again you miss the cavat mormons place upon the use of grace - AFTER ALL WE CAN DO. Thus works is placed in front of grace as a means of earning it. Please note that grace is something given - not earned or deserved - within Christianity. So to make this statement is grossly incorrect and displays clear ignorance of mormon and Christian doctrines.
But as you know, faith without works is dead, so glossing over works as "out of the picture" is not biblical. I don't mean to skip over other comments but have other things - more later.
Context blow - what came first - faith or works? In James faith comes first and "works" are a later expression coming from that faith. In no place in the bible will you find WORKS as a REQUIREMENT to be saved - none. You should read what Paul teaches about works blow.
We are saved FOR works not BY works - and that is a significant difference between Christians and mormons.
Yes, after all we can do. Are we not free agents to act? Are ordinances such as baptism not necessary? Why was Jesus then baptized? He both commanded us to be born of the water and of the spirit and was baptized himself. It makes a clear point, Christ, having no need for baptism was yet baptized. He practiced what he taught. More later my thorough debater.
Mormon concept - not biblical.
Are ordinances such as baptism not necessary?
No. The thief on the cross wasn't able to be baptized, yet Jesus promised him salvation anyway. The jailer came to Paul asking what was necessary to be saved, didn't include baptism, nor were gentiles Peter came to - yet they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit before water baptism.
He both commanded us to be born of the water and of the spirit and was baptized himself.
That baptism wasn't in existance at the time blow - since Christian baptism hadn't yet been instituted. The whole context of this is that the water, refers to the natural birth process.
It makes a clear point, Christ, having no need for baptism was yet baptized. He practiced what he taught.
Ah - there was no Savior nor sacrifice on the cross at that point blow. Jesus was following OT and current Jewish principles and practices at that time. Tell us, unto who was Jesus baptized into? Did Jesus need to be 'saved'. If all that was necessary was a dunking, then Jesus' sacrifice was not necessary - only baptism was needed.
In Matt. 3:15, Jesus tells us that His baptism was "to fulfill all righteousness". The basic action of baptism is identification, so Jesus identified with righteousness in obedience to the Mosaic Law. In Jesus day, when a Gentile would convert to Judaism, he would have to be publicly baptized to identify him as a convert. Obviously, Jesus was not converting to anything.
Secondly, Jesus' baptism served as an official and public inauguration of His earthly ministry (John 1:26-27, 31). It was at this time that Jesus was revealed to Israel as their Messiah.
I have a huge problem with the way mormonism parses "salvation". They will tell innocents that mormon belief is that everyone will be "saved", and hide the fact that "saved" in mormon belief means resurrected to a "kingdom" with several levels, and the ONLY souls that reach what most Christians believe to be salvation, dwelling in the presence of God and His Son, are those who reach "exaltation" through the "restored gospel" of the mormon church.
These souls must be baptized, alive or dead by proxy, by the "proper authority" (mormon of course), confirmed into the mormon church and either they or their proxies must take part in certain rituals in the mormon temple and live up to the "covenants" made there.
Those who reject mormonism will be condemned to the "telestial kingdom"
The Lord compared telestial glory to that of the stars (see D&C 76:81). Those who shall inherit this kingdom are those who:
Rejected the gospel (mormonism), the testimony of Jesus, the prophets, and the everlasting covenant (see D&C 76:82, 101).
Were liars, sorcerers, adulterers, and whoremongers (see D&C 76:103).
Loved and [made] a lie (D&C 76:103).
Be denied the Saviors fulness (see D&C 76:86).
Be able to receive the Holy Ghost through the ministration of beings in higher glories (see D&C 76:8688).
Never be able to come where God and Christ dwell
Excuse you. Did you not read how I used the word? I tried clearing this up once for you, but you are being dishonest now. Maybe you should consult a dictionary and the religious sense of the word rather than degrading it to terms understood by laymen. I thought you were a religious person.
That one would try and make hay out of such a fact in order to prove some convoluted ill conceived point in order to not deal with the facts of their position is Mormonism 101...
You are not engaged in serious debate but attack only. That is not Christian of you.
Then I guess, 'Torch, you have absolutely zero objections to the fLDS calling themselves LDS and Mormon, right?
Wait. (I guess Mormon "prophets" do object...which, based upon the phrasing you chose, means your "prophet" Gordon B. Hinckley wasn't into "freedom of religion" for the fLDS, eh?)
Tell us, 'Torch, how consistent you are: Do you consider the following statements to reflect the same type of "freedom of religion" sentiments you've just espoused?
Hinckley quote #1: There is no such thing as a Mormon Fundamentalist. It is a contradiction to use the two words together. Source: Ensign, Nov. 1998
Hinckley quote #2: Sept. 8, 1998 airing of Larry King Live show:
KING: But when the word [polygamy] is mentioned, when you hear the word, you think Mormon, right?
HINCKLEY: You do it mistakenly. They have no connection to us whatsoever. They don't belong to the church. There are actually no Mormon fundamentalists.
Paragon Defender recently added this thread - Myths and Reality - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ... the clip he linked to has Hinckley saying that the term Mormon should NEVER be applied to these other religions and there is no such thing as a Mormon Fundamentalist.
Don't you find that interesting, 'Torch? I mean would you say we were practicing your style of "religious freedom" if we said that "Christian" should NEVER be applied to these other (Mormon) religions and there is no such thing as a "Mormon Christian"???
So I'd like to know if your "Freedom of religion" has only a "one-way street" sign attached to it.