One would think the title would need little explanation but it does. The 8th article of (LDS) faith states,
“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
By belief I mean, and I think others mean, positive affirmation that the book is accurate and authoritative. My questions for my LDS neighbors are:
Do you believe the King James Version of the Bible is translated correctly?
If your answer is “no” to that question then my follow up questions are:
What parts are translated incorrectly? Is the Joseph Smith translation, or any other translation, translated correctly? Why, why not?
If you believe no translation currently exists that does the Bible justice then why has your church with a living seer, cadre of scholars, and loads of money not given a reliable Bible translation to the world? Do you believe that the Bible has been incorrectly transmitted so that an accurate rendering of God’s word would not be possible from the existing manuscripts?
If you answered “yes” that at least one translation of the Bible is to be fully believed then my follow up question would be:
Is the Bible on par with the other standard works? Why or why not?
And lastly, for those Mormons who believe an accurate Bible translation(s) exists is:
Do you view the New Testament as reliable in the same way that Christians view the Old Testament as reliable?
My final question for everyone:
Is the Book of Mormon translated correctly?
I understand that Mormons view the Bible as incomplete in some way or else the other standard works would not be necessary. I am not asking if the other books add something not found in the Bible. I am asking if the Bible(s) we have can be trusted in the same way traditional Christians trust the Old Testament even though they do not view it as the final and only words of God. Please provide as much detail to your answers as you can and try to avoid simple “yes” and “no” answers if you can. The “why’s” and “why not’s” would be much appreciated too. And “yes”, these are loaded questions but only slightly so.
We do teach that all religions carry some truth because they are man made mutations of the truth. This does not mean that they believe in the same God as us nor that these religions can save the person. The only God that can save is the God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ – the only true religion that can assist in the saving process is their true church on this earth – ie the LDS church.
We do not give others the opportunity to choose correct matters after death – God has done that. How, I don’t know. Why, because He is merciful to all and will not deny anyone an opportunity to gain salvation. All I know is that He knows the thoughts and intents of their hearts and if they would have received the truth in this life, but died without the opportunity (eg a peasant in outback China in AD 200), then they will receive a chance to learn about and accept Jesus as their Saviour and Redeemer and then obtain baptism. But it is only really those who did not have the opportunity who will receive that chance to gain the CK – all else will not. For example, our leaders have warned that for someone who knows this and decides to ‘wait’ until the spiritworld to accept will find it difficult as it is more than 10 times more difficult to change as a spirit than with a physical body. It is difficult to describe what we do not understand fully so if this is still confusing then sorry.
As far as Jesus visiting others, that is found in the BoM quite clearly. Jesus was here on this earth to visit and minister to His people – the tribes of Israel. In Jerusalem at the time of His life there were only the Jews and a few Levites and possibly a small smattering of others, but the vast majority of the other 10 tribes were lost and scattered around the world. We believe that this is who Jesus meant when He talked about other sheep that were “NOT OF THIS FOLD”. Why say ‘this fold’ if He was referring to the Gentiles in Jerusalem and its area? He visited one of the lost tribes in America and then when He left He said the same thing – He was going to visit other sheep that were not in Jerusalem nor in America. We believe that they also wrote their records about His visit and these will be scripture when God decides to bring them out of ‘hiding’.
But one thing to stress is that we believe that Jesus is the one and only way/person/everything to be able to gain access to God’s presence after this life and anyone who does not believe in Him despite what they do and/or believe in (including LDS members) will not live with God in the Eternities.
You say “We do not give others the opportunity to choose correct matters after death – God has done that.” This seems contradicgtory, too, because you baptize for the dead, and even those who HAVE heard the word while on this earth. Yes, it is God who allows it, in your faith, but it is you who make it happen. They can only be baptized in the normal Mormon way, anything less is no good, or just that much harder. But if you say post mortem baptism is unnecessary, it kind of works against the practice to begin with. So, which is it and why exactly do you get the records of all the dead people you can and try to baptize them if it is not necessary?
The reference to “not of this fold” interpretation you offer is not accurate. But I am sure you have been through this argument before, so I will not really address. I will say point out that your belief comes from the BoM, not the Bible. You know, as I was writing this, it hit me that your belief fits well to even give JS more credence, because if Jesus met with other groups and they messed it up to, that only makes it seem like this doctrine is all the more true. A hopeful belief that makes you feel more important, whether or not acknowledged.
Finally, you say Jesus is the only way. This is partly true– you forgot that you are a part of that way, given you have to do stuff in order to trigger Jesus’ mercy.
After your comment “Finally, you say Jesus is the only way. This is partly true– you forgot that you are a part of that way, given you have to do stuff in order to trigger Jesus’ mercy.” it appears that you did not understand or read my last sentence properly. I said that Jesus is the only way and anyone who does not believe in Him DESPITE what they do/believe in (INCLUDING LDS MEMBERS) will not live with God in the eternities. It is the belief in Jesus that turns one around to do what Jesus has asked us to do. Our ‘works’ as most like to call them (I prefer the Finnish word used in the Bible which is ‘actiona/deeds’) are based on our faith in Jesus – WITHOUT that faith in Jesus, what ever we do, including temple ordinances and keeping the WoW and 10 commandments, will not allow us to return to Heavenly Father. So it is our faith in Jesus that is what it is wholly dependent on – not our works, as they factor into faith.
Actually, I understand completely what you are saying. You miss my point. My point is that if you have the faith but do not do the work, you will not be saved.
Yes, I understand your faith is an indispensible part of your beliefs, as it should be. But leaving it there is incomplete, wouldn’t you say?
You cannot separate works from your faith, and this is why I make the claim that I do. It is not faith alone that saves you. It is faith coupled with the works that your god commanded you to do. Loosely, you demonstrate your faith by acting on it. If it were faith alone, I would not bring it up. But as it is if someone has all faith but no works they have no chance, and if they are all work but no faith, they also have no chance. Hence, a good equation is faith + works = salvation. If you lose either side of that equation, you fail to equal salvation.
Works, then, are where you come into play in my comment. You are the one working and striving to do all you can so that you can reach as far as you can in the heavens for your place into eternity. You are the one who puts the efforts into the equaton. Yes, you think God will meet you and help you along the way, but he will not drive if you do not put your share of gas money in the tank.
You are a part of the equation, and thus it is not ALL God in the equation. It is only a part. How big a part I don’t know, but I know that does not matter. I know you must do your part.
Am I wrong on that, too?
Its almost correct. I have always been taught that faith = belief + works, meaning that in your equation above you are saying “belief + works + works = salvation”.
I have been taught this is referred to in James 2:19 – 20 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?“
From this we can see that the devils believe in Jesus and God – so why aren’t they saved? Because they do not do the works of faith. No matter how you try and rephrase things it states a couple of times in that chapter – faith without works is dead. So to have living faith unto salvation one must have the works to go with it. Otherwise, without the works, one’s faith is dead and they are just like the devils – believing but not having faith.
Ralph, I am right, then. I’ll take it. If Faith = belief + works. and salvation is dependant upon belief, my equation really stands, unless you can differentiaion faith from salvation further.
I do not intend to debate the merits of the positions, but only wish to say that when you say that it is only your faith that factors into your salvation. That claim works when you accept faith without questioning what makes up that faith. Works are an important, indispensible even, aspect of your faith, the very faith that leads to your salvation.
I only claim that your point is a bit misleading.
You are correct when you quote the Bible, “faith without works is dead.” Your explanation, however, leads me to believe that in your mind works ignite faith. I’m not sure that’s what you’re trying to say, but that’s how it hit me. Now, if you are saying that works are the fruit of faith, then I can agree with you on that point. James basically teaches us that our works prove that we have faith, and not that our works merit salvation. Would you agree on this point? I have some other questions: do you consider baptism to be a work that is necessary to show our faith? Do you view baptism as an act one must do in order to enter God’s presence? Must a person be sealed in the temple in order to enter God’s presence? Thank you.
Peace and Grace!
As I said in my reply to your one with the equation – your original equation was slightly incorrect and I corrected it with belief + works = faith. This means that true faith + grace = salvation. So yes works do play a factor in salvation when looked at it like this, but it is faith that leads to salvation.
Which came first – the chicken or the egg? Do works/deeds ignite faith or is it the other way around? I could make an argument for either case. But our main works/deeds are usually subsequent to and because of our faith in Jesus because of a change in heart and a willingness to serve Him. What is required are usually what we believe that Jesus has asked us to do. You Evs believe that it is just a good life, we LDS believe that He has asked us to be baptised and do our temple ordinances, etc besides living a good life. Because we believe that He has asked this we do not believe that it is ‘working our way to heaven’ as many imply here as that would be a human-ordained work, not a God-ordained work. If God asked you to do something you would do it right? If you didn’t do it then you are rejecting your God and you do not have living faith. But baptism is a symbol of a change in life style – from the old dead person to the new living person – but it is also a symbol of a covenant made between one and God, similar to how circumcision was a symbol of the covenant made between Abraham, his seed and God. That is why all need to be baptised – to show that they either accept or reject this covenant. For those that said on another blog/topic that they would find it offensive if they were baptised post-humously, then that is exactly what you would be like and you would reject the baptism, meaning you would reject the covenant.
Since not all will receive a chance to gain some of their temple ordinances in this life, eg temple marriage/sealing, or they were too young when they died (ie under 18 yrs old) , if they stay/had stayed steadfast in their faith they will still gain the highest degree in the CK. This is a teaching by many a church leader. So this implies that faith is the first and foremost requirement for salvation.
Ralph, if it is fair to equate faith with salvation, and works are an inherent part of faith, ie that you do not have faith if you do not work, then my equation remains the same. Notice in your last equation you input “grace”. This is a different concept. So, I am still not sure your premise is complete the way you originally presented it. That you are adding grace now is interesting, too. While I understand you believe grace comes into play, the way I have heard it explained is that the grace comes into play after you have done all you can.
I appreciate the discussion of what the works are to you, because that is an important part of the equation. What you end up with, no matter the rationale, is that it is a very ceremonious faith. I do not mean that to be disparaging, but only honest. You must do those various ceremonies to constitute the work.
So, taking the equaiton set up yet further, ceremonies=faith, and if that’s the case, your salvation is determined on your participation in the ceremonies. And to include the grace, after you have done all the ceremony you can, then grace will kick in.
If nothing else, Ralph, I hope you see this logic. I know it is not that simple in your mind, but based on what you have told me, this is how it flows.
It is not the ceremony but the ordinance that is important. One could skip the ceremony but still gain the ordinance. However, when it comes to the endowment ceremony, it explains what the ordinances are about, so if one skips the ceremony the ordinances are more difficult to understand. But one does not need a full baptismal ceremony (ie the prayers and talks) to get baptised and be given the gift of the Holy Ghost, all that needs to happen is the baptism and the laying on of hands with at least 2 witnesses to the event. No ceremony. The same could be said about all the other ordinances, which is why they have changed the endowment ceremony a couple of times and it does not make a difference to members as it is the ordinance that we are going for not the ceremony. I believe they have made a few changes to the initiatory ceremony as well, again, we go for the ordinance not the ceremony. So ceremony does not equate to faith but ordinances are a part of the works/deeds we need to do as these are covenants made between us and God.
I have never said that we do not need grace, I was just expanding on your equation. In the Bible and BoM it says that it is by grace we are saved – then it states that we need faith to attain that grace. So if faith includes works then it still fits that it is by grace we are saved after all we can do because of our faith. God is a faithful God and will not tempt us above our capacity. Some have a higher capacity than others which is why its after all we can do, because some cannot do as much as others. God is just asking us to do our best even though the most perfect human to walk this earth could only get 0.1% closer to heaven through their works, it is Jesus that gets us the rest of the way there. Just to clarify – I am only using figures to show how dependent we are on Christ not to say that we are working our way to heaven. We can never get anywhere close without Jesus and His atonement.
So in expanding equations we have
faith = belief + works
AND salvation = grace + faith
so that means that
salvation = grace + belief + works
Which means that the scripture that states that salvation is not by works is correct because it is not by works ALONE. Like I said, the devils believe, but they do not receive grace nor salvation – why? Because they do not have the works/deeds which makes a living faith.
Ralph, you say “One could skip the ceremony but still gain the ordinance.” Maybe I need to be more specific– I mean the ceremoney to be the act of doing what you are commanded. A ceremony need not be complicated or festive.
Going back to the start of this discussion, I orginally took homage to this comment: “Jesus is the one and only way/person/everything to be able to gain access to God’s presence”.
You then state this: “So it is our faith in Jesus that is what it is wholly dependent on – not our works, as they factor into faith” after I called into question your premise.
I could go on and quote every portion of the discussion, but I think going back to the beginning will help remind what it is I am trying to say: faith in Jesus is not all that is required in your faith. Yes, faith is required, but your faith is defined by the works you do, and they works you do are specific to the ordinances. It then follows that the ordinances define your faith, which then defines your salvation. Summarizing even further, the ordinances define your salvation.
Unless you can separate the faith from the ordinances/works, they are a necessary part of your salvation.
Going back to your original statement again: “Jesus is the one and only way/person/everything to be able to gain access to God’s presence”. This is not entirely true because it is you who has to perform the ordinances/ceremonies.
Left something out: “Going back to your original statement again: “Jesus is the one and only way/person/everything to be able to gain access to God’s presence”. This is not entirely true because it is you who has to perform the ordinances/ceremonies.”
What I left out is that because it is you who must do, and per your definitions, God will not save if you do nothing. And what “doing” means is performing the ordinances/ceremonies.
If it were only Jesus who saved, you doing anything would be unncessary. God would save upon belief and would require no effort from you.
This is more complete as to why your comment is not entirely true.
We do what we do becasue of our faith in Jesus, without that faith we would not do it or it would profit us nothing in the way of salvation. So it is still Jesus and faith in Him that allows us access to the CK.
In your faith you still believe that works are part of salvation. You state that because of your faith you are saved and then you do good works as they show you have faith. If someone does not do good works then they do not have faith and are not/were not saved to start with. So works still factors into your faith and salvation. If not then you are like the devils – believing but not doing the works of faith. “Even so faith without works is dead”. If faith is what one needs for salvation and without works it is dead, then works are also needed for salvation. We all agree in one way or another on this.
So let me ask you the question – will your God save you if you did nothing? If you answer Yes, then how are you different from the Devils. If you answer No, then how is your ideology different to mine?
“We do what we do becasue of our faith in Jesus, without that faith we would not do it or it would profit us nothing in the way of salvation.” A) You don’t know that for sure, do you? In other words, you do not and cannot know the hearts of others. B) that you are required to do it in your faith still does not negate my claims. Faith in Jesus is not all that leads to your salvation. You must believe and then you must do certain and explicit things to be saved. It also leaves open the potential that one who believes but who does not do these specific things will not be saved. So, your contention that it is only the faith that saves you is rhetoric at best, even if that faith initiates one to do those things. This is because that faith is not complete until you have done these things.
Again, leaving it at the point you did originally is not completely accurate because to prove your faith in Jesus and invoke his saving grace, you have to do specific things.
Again, I am not here to argue the merits or specifics of those things now, but only to show that you cannot leave it at this: “Jesus is the one and only way/person/everything to be able to gain access to God’s presence” because it is not complete or accurate.
Your latest rebuttal still does not address directly this point because it still states that something other Christ is necessary. Our position is based strongly on what you said originally because we believe Christ is the only way, and nothing we can do, certainly specific ordinances/ceremonies, will ever get us to him, ever. They bring us no closer and offer nothing to warrant his grace.
Your position is that the works do bring you closer to him, and thus negate your comment from the start, so again, it is not just Christ that gets you to heaven.
Let me ask my question again and also ask a related question – will your God save you if you did nothing? Will your God save you if you did the exact opposite of what He says?
If so, what is the difference between you and the devils who also believe? If you say ‘works’ then doesn’t that prove that works also play a role in your salvation?
If we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ, and faith must have works then you also need to agree that our works play a role in our salvation. But it is the motivation behind the works that is the question, which is why it all rests on faith in Jesus Christ. Regardless of what we do, if someone lives according to the LDS gospel, goes through the temple, etc but does not believe in Jesus then they will not achieve the CK. If they believe in Jesus but do not do anything the He wants us to do, then they will not gain the CK. That is faith.
So just to placate you I will change my comment slightly but it still says the same thing – It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we can gain the CK. He is the only way/person/everything to be able to gain acces to God’s presence.
Will my God save me if I do nothing? Yes.
Will he save if I do the opposite of what he says? Depends on that means.
Our salvation is not dependant on what we do. It is dependant on where our heart lies– do we abide in His will, or do we abide in our own?
Faith without works is dead, James said. You even brought this up. But let me give another view on this: a faith that does not work in Christ by doing good deeds will not grow and mature, and thus can be considered dead. An active faith is far more beneficial to God than a dead one, and yes, we should be active in our faith.
Notice also that the faith without works comment does not specify ordinances that must be done.
“It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we can gain the CK. He is the only way/person/everything to be able to gain acces to God’s presence.’ This still is not fairly accurate. The point in question is the rile works plays in the faith, and that is not changed, so no, it does not satisfy me.
Now, you do not have to satisfy me, but you need to understand where it is we come from. For us, faith alone means faith alone. That is decidedly not the case with you, even if you spin it the way you have.
We’re getting mixed messages from LDS here.
Shematwater’s recent post on another thread (http://blog.mrm.org/2009/03/joseph-smith-did-more-than-any-man-who-has-ever-lived%e2%80%a6) states “There was no person who held the keys of the priesthood for performing any of the saving ordinances that are the Gospel” (in the context of the Great Apostasy).
So, does that mean you can’t be saved unless there is a priest around to do the “saving ordinances”?
What happened to being saved by faith? I mean, if you’re saved by faith, then you’re saved by faith – there’s no need to get a priest involved to do some other “works”.
I understand that its pretty clear; you can’t get into the Celestial Kingdom without the intervention of the LDS Church and its preisthood. This, I believe, is exactly the scenario that the NT refers to when it talks about justification by works, though in its case you couldn’t get to God without the Jerusalem Temple and its preisthood.
How ironic that the LDS church would institute the very thing that the Bible opposes; and to do it in the name of the people who wrote the Bible!
You are making everything way too difficult. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple: believe in Him. You want to add all this other stuff to make it difficult to be saved. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Are you serious? I understand that it’s difficult for you to understand the idea that faith is the catalyst for works, and that works are mere evidence of our faith–they don’t save us. Our faith saves us. And, I don’t think that you really can make an argument for either case like you state. We are justified by faith, which means we come into a new relationship with God through believing in Jesus Christ. At that moment, we become sons and daughters of God, empowered with the Holy Spirit so He can perform the work of sanctification and make us holy as God is holy. Our works do not play a role in this work of God (unless you are bound and determined to label faith as a work). Our works then give evidence of our faith. You can find everything I outlined in the Bible, Ralph. Mormon doctrine does not teach anything remotely close to what the Bible teaches. So, we’re back at my quetions for this thread: Is the Bible authoritative for you or not? If it’s not, then just say it isn’t, but don’t try to dance around the question and speak from both sides of your mouth like most Mormons are doing regarding this issue. Then, if you do admit the Bible isn’t authoritative for you and that JS et al are more authoritative, then please understand that we as TBC see this as heresy. In other words, it is false teaching to relegate the Bible to a writing that has no authority. And for any Mormon that wants to argue that we TBC hold the Bible to be more authoritative than God, then you have just proven that you do not understand that the Bible is actually God-breathed. You give “evil men” way too much power to think that they could actually destroy God’s Word to the point that the salvation message no longer exists in it. And, you get serious about the reasoning that goes into that statement, why would “evil men” take out all the stuff that allows them to have multiple wives and to be free to exact “blood atonement” practices? Does that make sense? I don’t think so. And, please, your arguments that the Church never taught such doctrines is really nothing more than an attempt to change the facts despite what your leaders own mouths have said about them. The Bible is indeed the Word of God. The BOM is mere fiction. That’s my testimony, and I know it because the Holy Spirit has illuminated me on the subject. I know you’ll say the same about your testimony of the BOM. That leads us to one question: which one of us is following a false spirit? The Spirit can’t be witnessing two different things to two different people. I can test my faith against the Bible. You have test your faith by saying the Bible is not the ultimate authority pertaining to God’s Word and the Way to salvation. I pray for you, Ralph.
Peace and Grace!
“Rather, I say we need to test the testimony against what is written in the Bible.”
-I say we need to test everything by the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, not the Bible.
“So, while it is true that we do not have proof that Moses parted the Red Sea, we have enough evidence elsewhere to reasonably rely on the story as truth.”
-Then show evidence of the Genesis stories. Show us the Garden of Eden. Show us Noah’s Ark. Show us the cities of Sodom and Gahmorah. Show us the tomb of Abraham. Again, we have no evidence, but again you believe. Did not Moses write this book? Was he not revealing to Israel the history of the world before them? Who is to say he got it right, as there is no proof?
“I ask you to answer truthfully whether or not JS was a tresure seeker before becoming a prophet.”
-He worked for a man who wanted to find an old silver mine, but after a few months convinced the man it was a waste of time and money. He did not start the enteprise, but he did stop it.
“Also, is it not possible that he practiced black magic to some extent, using sticks and stones to find such treasure?”
-No. There is no evidence of this, except a story spread by a man who was prevented from stealing copies of the Book of Mormon before it was published. Not a very reliable witness. These stories were created from the truths concerning the plates and circulated to destroy the character of a great man. However, no evidence beyond their word can be found (and we know what personal testimony is worth).
“Finally, was he or was he not well read?”
-No. He had only a limited understanding of the English language, and had not even read the Bible in its entirety at this time, as every person who knew him will attest, as will most of his advesaries at that time.
“Is it not possible that he read and understood much of religion and cult belief?”
-He read very little as his family and friends have testified of.
“How did he translate the book?”
-This is unknown. He never explained the method. We have stories from others, that may or may not be true, but none actually tell how he translated (and yes I know all about the hat).
“What did he use?”
-He used the plates, the urim and thummim, and the inspiration of the Almighty. He may have used a hat, as ahs been suggested, but this is not verified.
“Was Joseph Smith really an honest man? To assist with exploring that question, we can look to all he did after he became a prophet.”
-Everything he did and said proves him honest. It is only by looking for the slandering lies of men who were sworn to kill him that anything can be found against him.
“But at what point do you start to get tired of defending each and every aspect of him? At some point, the evidence must become so over bearing that it is clear what he said is false, and that he was not an honest man.”
-I will never tire of defending Joseph Smith, as there is none, save Christ only, greater than him. While he is under others in authority, he is equal to all in righteousness. I have not seen one piece of credible evidence that says otherwise.
“As to Cowdery, wasn’t he excommunicated?”
-Yes, but he never stopped believing, and returned to the faith shortly before he dies. He never once denied that Joseph Smith was a prophet, or that the Book of Mormon was true.
“Do we have his copies?”
-We have the copies he made of the Book of Mormon manuscript, and they are a great help.
“What’s funny about the document to NY, which I now remember, is that it is seen as a fraud, too. And the language has not been accepted by any serious scholar.”
-What I think is really funny is that people suppress evidence that supports the Book of Mormon and the Church because it is unpopular to suppor it. Martin Harris took this document to professor Anthon who sanctioned it. When he was told it was given by divine power he took back his note of authenticity. When later asked he wrote two different letters to two different people. While they were a few years apart the two contradict eachother as to what happened. One says Anthon refuse to see Harris, the other says he saw him and told him it was all a fraud. Just an example of how people who put their standing with men higher than the truth. This same attitude can be seen in several people in the 1800’s, first being simpathetic, but than turning on the church when it became publicly expedient. It has had the effect of making every scholar who will support the church branded not being a “serious scholar.” (Much in the same manner as any scientist who believes in Creationism instead of Evolution in publicly discredited for this simple belief.)
(this is my last post on this thread)
I guess, then, we have a point where the Bible is not trustworthy: Acts 17:11. This would be because the noble Bereans were searching the wrong place and thus, by definition, weren’t really noble in that sense for checking the scriptures to test everything.
Do you think the Bereans were not noble for checking the scriptures?
For the historical remarks– I suggest you check sources outside of Mormonism. What you say contradicts much of it, and even some sources within Mormonism.
Shemwater, a final thought. Forgive for intruding like this, but it seems you really look
(meant to erase that last sentance…) in that last post…
You said, “-I say we need to test everything by the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, not the Bible. ”
This is actually misleading. You test everything by what your leaders say. Don’t try to kid us or yourself. And, in this one statement, you give evidence why Mormons are not considered Christians.
Peace and Grace!
Final thought that I hope shematwater at least reads: Since the Bible is God-breathed, then the whisperings of the Holy Spirit won’t contradict the Bible; therefore, if you’re hearing a spirit whisper you something contradictory, you have to accept the fact that you are following a false spirit. You see, shematwater and all Mormons, even those “whisperings” you think are from the Holy Spirit have to be tested against the Bible for their veracity. A person can’t say, “You know, the Holy Spirit is telling me to divorce my spouse because I just don’t love him/her anymore.” Since the Holy Spirit is One who works reconciliation (because He also is God), one would have to question the source of such “whisperings.” It seems that shematwater and others are actually the products of the post modern world. Is this where Mormonism has gone? I wonder. Regardless, however, it is very clear that Mormons do not hold the Bible with the same high view as Christians. As shematwater points out, even the “whisperings” he hears are more authoritative than God’s Word. I would have to say this is what the LDS 8th AOF has done to the thinking and reasoning behind the theology of Mormonism. It has relegated the Bible to a document that can be dismissed as authoritative unless the practice of eisegesis has been perpetrated against it. It’s sad that the Mormons don’t see that they argue for a man named Joseph Smith rather than for Jesus Christ. I say this because they fight tooth and nail for works-righteousness theology. They demean us because we believe in grace and in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ shed for the entire world if we but believe. They make a mockery of God’s Word that teaches this and try to replace it with their personal “whisperings,” pretty much catapulting them to godhood already. They make grace an appendage to their works, rather than seeing that works are response to God’s grace and evidence of our new lives as new creatures in Christ living Spirit-empowered lives. This faulty thinking is the result of the teachings of JS. I praise God that He has delivered me from the darkness of Mormonism into the light of Truth. My prayers is for all the Mormons, that they will respond to the activity of grace in their lives as God invites them to the light. I know what I am talking about, because I have taught the teachings of JS to others thinking I had the truth. I know that Mormons are sincere in their belief that JS was a prophet. I used to be sincere in that profession of faith, as well. But, it’s nothing more than a lie. The Bible is the measuring stick, not JS, not the “whisperings” we might claim to hear, but the Bible. Other Christians have made great comments and given a lot of scriptural references, and I hope the Mormon who is really seeking truth will read them and test the teachings of JS against them.
Peace and Grace!
“Since the Bible is God-breathed, then the whisperings of the Holy Spirit won’t contradict the Bible; therefore, if you’re hearing a spirit whisper you something contradictory, you have to accept the fact that you are following a false spirit.”
Excellent point and connection. It’s actually fundamental.
I have been gone for awhile so let me get back to you. I know that you only revere one God of Godhead. However, if Mormons do worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (as three separate beings) then that in itself is polytheism. I know many Mormons will tell me that they do not worship the Son or the Holy Ghost, but many do and of the ones that don’t ,the Son and Holy Ghost are worshiped in practice if not in dogma.
Still . . . Even if I were to grant that you only worship one God/Godhead/Quorum then I could fairly state that you are indeed polytheism. Just because you do not worship these other deities (like god the grandfather) does not mean you are not a polytheist. Many, in fact most, polytheists acknowledge other deities that they do not worship. You do not really “interpret” those Isaiah passages differently you add to them to make them say the exact opposite of what they plainly teach.
The polytheistic charge is a bit of a preorgitive one, but it is so because the biblical and extra-biblical evidence (key there) is clear as to the monotheisitc nature of the religion of Yaweh.
So, to reiterate – I would or could alter my views if a Pauline text was (re)discovered. However, it seems with the text that we do have you are not willing to go where it leads.
Look at the ‘one’ as Jesus lays it out in John 17.
We (believers) are to be one as Jesus and the Father are one. Is that being one with Jesus? Is this being one with each other? How do you explain what Jesus said?