OxyMormonics on Mormon Confusion over Order of Authority

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The older YouTube version of this is available here.

This topic reminds me of a quote by Robert Millet from the recently published Claiming Christ:

“It’s a little tough to answer the question: Which is of greater importance to you people, the living prophet or the standard works (another way of describing our scriptural canon)? I think most Latter-day Saints would be prone to answer this by pointing out the value and significance of living oracles, or continuing revelation, or ongoing divine direction through modern apostles and prophets, and thus to conclude that living prophets take precedence over canonized scripture. On the other hand, a number of LDS Church leaders have commented that while Mormons look to living prophets and modern revelation as their guide to walk and talk in modern times, they are quick to add that prophetic pronouncement will be in harmony with the standard works, the canon. For this perspective, then, it appears that the standard works trump the living prophets. And so to be honest, it’s a little tough to decide which is the chicken and which is the egg.”

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14 Responses to OxyMormonics on Mormon Confusion over Order of Authority

  1. Jeff B says:

    I like the “bottom line” segments of their videos, because anyone reading it is like, “??..huh??”

    Alas, just another item of inconsistency in the church. Will this make any difference in the mind of ANY of the LDS faith who watch it? No. It is their will that they have faith in their church and a man convinced against his will.. It really is disheartening to see someone choose to poke out their eyes and remain blind.. but hey, I guess the LDS could say the same thing about us.

  2. falcon says:

    Ya gotta love these people! I’ve said it before, the problem is, we don’t know how to “think Mormon”. The presentation will make perfect sense to the faithful Mormon. I knew a guy one time who ran a fairly large organization. He didn’t like to have employee policies because policies reduced his ability to be flexible. So this is the deal, Mormons should be called flexible when it comes to doctrine, practice and their own history.

  3. dj1989 says:

    As Jeff B said, “It really is disheartening to see someone choose to poke out their eyes and remain blind.. but hey, I guess the LDS could say the same thing about us.”

    Well, in all honesty, we (Mormons) do say the same thing about you. And for legitimate reasons, in my opinion.

    But, it’s pretty much a waste of time to bicker back and forth, and it’s certainly a waste of energy, when we could be putting it into living good lives, and trying to love and be kind to our neighbors (each other).

    But, hey… that’s just me.

  4. Jeff B says:

    “Whaaats love got to do, got to do with it?”

    heh, sorry, your comment just made me think of that song.

  5. dj1989, I believe in the inerrancy and authority of the Bible over any human teacher here on earth. I believe in sola scriptura. While evangelical Christians aren’t perfect in implementing this belief in practice, it is nonetheless a staple, explicit, clear belief of almost every authentic Christian. This is an important foundation for leaning on the promises of Christ, for if you are willing to trust a human source outside the Bible as having more or equal authority, you will probably be led astray by Satan into believing things like… the purpose of life is to prove your own worthiness, and that you can become a god just like God somehow became a God (contra Isaiah 43:10).

    So this isn’t a waste of time. If you don’t repent, you will burn forever in hell as God exacts retribution for your idolatry and spurning the promises of God (1 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 21:8, 22:15). I don’t want you to go to hell. I love you guys, I pray for you, and I labor for your salvation from bondage to the doctrines of demons. Any indifferent shrug over vital matters of truth about Christ and his word and his authority comes from the dominion of Satan.

    Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly by faith apart from works (Romans 4:4-8, contra the JST),

    Aaron

  6. dj1989 says:

    Aaron-

    It’s not an “indifferent shrug” as you say, but a matter of fact statement that this is a waste of time. It is a waste of time, because it cannot be argued conclusively.

    Here’s how I see it. You have your beliefs, and so do we. You have your interpretation of scripture. So do we. You have what you think are irrefutable evidences for believing what you believe, based on Biblical teaching. But, here comes a surprise…. we believe the same.

    I will completely concede the fact that there are things that seem strange, irrational, illogical, and un-Biblical about Mormonism when looking through a traditional Christian lens. Before you take my words out of context, please note, that I am merely saying that I think I can see the Mormon world from your perspective (a traditional Christian perspective), and not that I agree with that perspective.

    However, from a Mormon perspective, Evangelical Christianity also appears strange, irrational, illogical, and un-Biblical. That is certainly my opinion of Evangelical Christianity.

    But, as I know that I will not prove anything to anyone in this kind of forum, I will just try to work out my salvation, as Paul says, and try to put my life in tune with the teachings of Christ to the best of my ability.

  7. [riffly_audio]54C312EE97D011DCAD1244CF0D09CCE3[/riffly_audio]

    dj1989, the Holy Spirit penetrates through all-encompassing worldviews and hard hearts by and with the word of truth, so I don’t share the view that such an exchange is futile. Also, the word of God is sufficiently clear in its basic message, such that those that reject it will be held accountable for their rejection. When I quote Isaiah 43:10, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me”, there is an aspect of your heart that acknowledges what it means, even though the rest of your heart suppresses the truth.

    Speaking of scripture, I’d like to leave a remark about the passage you made an allusion to. Please be careful not to hang onto the phrase from Philippians 2:12 while forgetting the crucial clause that follows in verse 13:

    Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

    This sounds a lot like Ephesians 2:8-10, where God in the end gets the credit. Our works are the result of his “workmanship”, so God gets all the praise and glory. This is the most ultimate purpose of life: to love and enjoy and know the only God and give him all the glory that he is infinitely worthy of (cf. Mark 12:29-30, Romans 11:33-36, and John 17:3).

    Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly by faith apart from works (Romans 4:4-8, contra the JST),

    Aaron

  8. dj1989 says:

    Aaron-

    The audio is a pretty cool feature that’s been added to the blog. Nice to hear your voice.

    I agree with everything that you said in that last post. I do not believe any of it contradicts anything that I believe in. That being said, I believe that it illustrates something that I mentioned before… “You have your interpretation of scripture. So do we.”

    I guess that’s my way of saying that the Bible isn’t going to be very effective in convincing Mormons that they should be on a different path, because it isn’t that we don’t believe in it, but that we interpret it to mean something different than you do. You need to remember that Mormon’s do believe in the Bible. We study from the Bible. Without a doubt, I’ve read more from the Bible over the last 2 years then I’ve read from the Book of Mormon (though I have to admit that I’m longing to get back into it).

    It shouldn’t be a big stretch for a person to concede that an author’s message can be misunderstood by the reader, given the context, and the point of view that the reader has when reading the text. It happens all of the time when dealing with written language. And it only becomes more complicated with the introduction of different languages, time periods, and cultures.

    For example, I served a mission in Ecuador. Even after 2 years of speaking nothing but Spanish, I find that it can still be difficult to read Don Quixote in it’s original text (Spanish from another time period), or to understand Mexicans when they speak Spanish (other dialect other culture). If I were to add all of those things together, then forget about it. My own experience has shown that it is absolutely impossible to have a book like the Bible without introducing ambiguous passages, no matter the intent or education it is approached with.

    You might try showing us how your interpretation of the scriptures is better founded, if you’d like to get anywhere.

  9. [riffly_audio]A4EECA88987511DC919F44CF0D09CCE3[/riffly_audio]

    Summary of my audio response:

    – Text and language isn’t a perfect tool for comprehensively communicating the mind of an author, but it nonetheless is an overwhelmingly sufficient tool for communicating the basic message of an author.

    – Love demands reading a text aiming to know the author’s original intent. For you to “agree” with my last post as a Mormon, you had to unlovingly ignore my very apparent authorial intent.

    – Romans 11:33-36 is foreign to the Mormon worldview. Mormonism says there are potentially billions of gods who comprehensively know the mind of the Lord. It also holds that God the Father could have depended on the gifts and merits of other people to become what he is today. Mormonism does not teach that ultimately all good things come from God. God himself had to appropriate and receive and depend on good things outside of himself to become what he is, contrary to Romans 11:33-36.

    – When I referred to Romans 4:4-8, I contrasted it with the JST. I spoke of them as mutually exclusive, so if you “agree” with everything in the post, then you don’t agree with Joseph Smith’s translation.

    – You said that the Bible “isn’t going to be very effective in convincing Mormons that they should be on a different path” because it is interpreted differently by different people. But this overlooks the nature of responsible interpretation. Sound interpretation is exposure of what the author is saying through the text itself, taking into account grammar, vocabulary, literary flow and devices, the larger context, etc. The Bible is going to be effective in saving many Mormons and accomplishing the purposes of God, because, among other things, its meaning is sufficiently clear and the Holy Spirit uses it to penetrate hard hearts and interpretative frameworks.

    – You’re still attempting to support your earlier thesis that it’s not constructive (indeed, you said it was a waste of time) to dialog over the Bible itself as though it is internally clear in its basic message, so it doesn’t make sense to “agree” with my previous post.

    I ran out of time, there’s a 10 minute limit on the audio.

    Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly by faith apart from works (Romans 4:4-8, contra the JST),

    Aaron

  10. dj1989 says:

    That is, of course, your “interpretation” of 3 different things: 1)What the Bible says, 2 What I said, and 3) What Mormonism says. Funny how quickly messages get broken down when writing is the only medium. Hmmmm.

  11. dj, I identify that kind of response as a cop-out. If you want to be constructive, be specific. Also, take a look at the video testimony of Mark Champneys, who God mightily changed through the Book of Romans. As testimonies like this pile up, it should be harder and harder for you to simply chalk the Bible up as God’s incommunicative mumbling.

  12. dj1989 says:

    Cop-out? It’s not and it is. I appreciate the fact that you want to encourage dialogue. But as I see it, any dialogue becomes vain, when one side makes presumptions that characterize the other side as being “this way” or “that”. After reading your post, and listening to your audio, that was clearly demonstrated.

    You mentioned me as being unloving because I “ignore your very apparent authorial intent”. That kind of thinking is illogical, and isn’t worthy of being accepted. That’s an impossible thing to ask. That is a wild assumption to make and any dialogue will break down if that is a basic assumption. And even if I did know your intent, it’s entirely possible that I just disagree with you (that is your interpretation… I don’t disagree with the scriptures themselves. Except as you point out the JST). Is it not possible to disagree without being unloving?

    That’s what it boils down to almost every time. I disagree with you. I’m not disregarding what you’re saying. I’m listening…judging it according to my experience… and disagreeing. I just think that we’ve come up with different answers to the problem that’s been presented, and that is “Who is God?”, and “How do we please Him?”, and “How do we know Him?” I’m somewhat familiar with Evangelicals answer to that. I just don’t agree. Essentially, I believe that you’re telling me that 2 2 is 3.85… close, but not quite there. Again, that’s just my perception.

    I’m not saying that you’re trying to deceive anybody. I’m not saying that you’re going to hell, because you’re not accepting God’s word. I can’t know what your situation is. I just know that I’ve made a sincere effort to knowing God for myself, and that the answer that I’ve found speaks to me soul and my mind.

    If you feel like your answer is better founded, then the burden is on you to show why EC’s answer is in fact “4”… not why Mormon’s answer is “3.5”. Trying to show us that we’re wrong doesn’t make you at all right.

  13. [riffly_audio]E04212EA98AF11DCAD1244CF0D09CCE3[/riffly_audio]

    dj,

    In order to be loving and engage with the author’s meaningful intent in his language, you don’t necessarily have to agree with what is meant. For example, you don’t have to agree with the proposition, “There is absolutely only one God”, but you should engage with what is meant by it instead of merely saying, “I agree with that proposition”, while importing your own foreign meaning into it.

    If language cannot communicate an author’s intended meaning—even at a basic level—then there is no truth-value in language. But Jesus said in Matthew 12:33-37:

    “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    At final judgment words are a central part of courtroom evidence. Words have this kind of significance because they reveal the state of the heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” And consider this: If careless words evidence the state of one’s heart, then how much more does language have the ability to communicate the heart of someone who is being careful with his words?

    What really is a waste of time is to complain about how dialog over doctrine or scripture is a waste of time, referring with generalizations to issues of language and perception and worldview. This blog post was originally supposed to be about order of authority. If you want to be constructive then deal with the specific issue. If you want to read positive reasons for why you should embrace evangelical Christianity, then stick around the blog. That Mormonism is wrong wouldn’t necessarily mean historic Christianity is right, but if you are “of the truth” (John 18:37) you will at least care about whether Mormonism is false and spit it out like poison if it is founded on lies.

    Take care,

    Aaron

  14. Vicki says:

    As Christians, we believe that the Bible is God’s Authoritative word, period. “additional scriptures” that Mormons have; or changed scripture that Jehovah’s Witnesses have; or separate scripture that Islam or Hindus have; or the countless authoritative teachings or scriptures that other religions and restoration groups have; or special revelation that they claim to have….in all of this, an obvious problem stands out, and its a big one: they all judge God’s Word…the Bible, according to their scriptures, or addtional scriptures or changed scriptures or special revelation. That is why they fail to ‘see the Truth.’
    To see the true Jesus, is to deny their beliefs. They do not want to believe the Truth. It is a very fearful thing to do. I can understand that. If they truly wanted to believe they would pray for the Holy Ghost to open their heart and mind to the Way, the Truth and the Life of Jesus that is revealed in God’s Word.
    What I find is so interesting is that there never seems to be an end to the number of these groups who compares their scriptures to the Bible? Why is that? Why is it the Bible and not other ancient or current scriptures? No doubt, God is revealing the Bible as His Authoritative Word.
    Like it or not…. it is God’s Word ( the Bible ) that judges you, or anyone who makes claims to ‘new scriptures or revelations’that is contrary to God’s Word… not the other way around.

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