Some of you might wonder why those of us in the countercult ministry keep on keeping on. We persist because:
- we love the Mormon people
- we want our Mormon neighbors to have a warranted assurance of permanent and comprehensive forgiveness and secured eternal life
- we are not of this world. Jesus prepared us (read John 15) for a negative response from those who are of this world
- our God-given consciences ring aloud over the deception that Mormonism promotes
- we are full of joy over fellowship with our ex-Mormon brothers and sisters in Christ
- we know and love our ex-Mormon brothers and sisters in Christ and want more of them
And most importantly:
- we want the God of the Bible to be honored and worshiped and known for who He really is
We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to patiently love even those who do not want to be loved. We will, by God’s grace, press on in some manner or other until we die or until Jesus returns. May we say with John Paton:
“My heart rose up to the Lord Jesus; I saw Him watching all the scene. My peace came back to me like a wave from God. I realized that I was immortal till my Master’s work with me was done.” (>>)
Press on, Christians, and don’t let intimidation or seasons of discouragement or grief stop you from being courageous in Christ. “And, Christian, humble yourself under the gracious hand of God, and as an everlasting, invincible child of God, give yourself to relieve suffering, especially eternal suffering.” (>>)
Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly like me by faith apart from works (Romans 4:4-8),
I hope you have a blessed weekend. One thing I want you to know: you are in the prayers of a lot of people who care about you and only desire that you come to a saving knowledge of the biblical Jesus Christ and His Gospel of grace. I understand your passion for your position, and I can respect that.
Peace and Grace to you and yours!
Defender…I think we have gotten to the little peanut of the matter with your “priesthood” argument. You show your hypocrisy with flying colors! You chastise us for not finding continuity with the way you interpret the ministry of earlier apostles/prophets to look like…but yet belong to a religious system that bears ABSOLUTELY NO continuity with Judaism or New Testament Christianity. I can show you the Aaronic priesthood in the Hebrew scriptures. I can also show you from the Torah that you are in no wise qualified for it. You will also note that there was only ever ONE temple…which was God’s idea by the way. I can also show you the listing of high priests down through Jewish history until the ONE TEMPLE was destroyed. One at a time my friend…just like there is only one President of the USA. If Hebrews 7 tells us that Jesus is now our High Priest FOREVER (since He is eternal) that should tell a body that there won’t be any other high priests running around.
Bottom line…show me YOUR continuity.
Defender says: “In order to take your proposition I would have to ignore the fruit, deny the process that produced it, and then take your seed, plant it, use your recipe and then compare the two. Does that make any sense at all?”
My question is, Why not? The LDS “apple” is not all that sweet. It’s sweet to you because you are full of pride about your exaltation. You have no fear of your god because he was once like you and you are going to be just as great as him some day. Fear of the true God is the beginning of Wisdom. Proverbs 9:10.
You also said: “Cutting off your source of salvation knowledge by venturing on your own seems suicidal.” Here again shows that the LDS “apple” is not all that sweet. This is your community and security as planned out by JS. You stand to lose a great deal by questioning his authority. Your apple is held on to the tree with fear, not love.
As far as Scriptures go, I don’t understand why LDS even refer to them. You can’t say the Bible needed to be restored without admitting you don’t have respect or acceptance of God’s Word. And I believe LDS lie every time they say they are Christian; they are not. You are a new religion.
So on judgment day or at the second coming, when the sky is full of the heavenly host singing praises to God, you’re going to be thinking “Here we go, JS. You better be right.” Because at that moment you’re going to have to face your rejection of the Bible and really trust what JS has proposed.
So like all other Christians here, I ask that you read the Bible for yourself from cover to cover; maybe start with the New Testament. Don’t read just snippets or JS’s version. Any easy readable version that works for you.
I just want to mention briefly the polygamy revelation (and retraction) and how unhappy Emma Smith was with it. The LDS apple will become very bitter for millions of LDS women if polygamy is “revealed” again, don’t you think?
Continuity! What a wonderful word. There is none in Mormonism. Zero! That very concept is what makes Mormonism look dishonest and downright deceitful. There is no system to the Mormon program of doctrine, practice and beliefs. When you get a succession of “prophets” proclaiming total nonsense and then subsequent faithful Mormons screaming “that doesn’t count”, credibility is nonexistent.
In regards to our current discussion I hauled out a copy of Christian History Issue 96-one that I hadn’t read but had obtained when I ordered a mass of back issues. The title of the issue is “The Hunger for Secret Knowledge”. The historical record really points out the falicy of the Mormon claim of a great apostasy. This claim was a convenient ploy by Joseph Smith to present his “restored gospel”. What is known is the pains the Church fathers took to preserve the teachings of the apostles and to beat back the heresies that would come against the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was just one in many a long line of religious inventors.
Irenaeus wrote: “The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet as if occupying but one house, carfully preserves it. She also believed these points (of doctrine) just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed one mouth.”
This faith, according to Irenaeus, is found in the Scriptures and summarized in the Rule of Faith. The proof that this is the true faith is that the “Great Church” could point to a visible succession of teachers, presbyters, and bishops who taught the same things throughout the worlld: This is the teaching common to all the apostles and the churches founded by them. The leaders of many of these churches had been taught by the apostles themselves, or disciples of the apostles. (John Behr St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary)
In regards to the continuity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Irenaeus pointed to the Christian communities in Rome. The tradition of the time was a series of house churches, each having its own leaders; there wasn’t one church with a single bishop. Iranaeus, in pointing to Eleutherius, listed 12 successive leaders, from the apostles down to (Eleutherius) showing that the apostolic teaching had been passed down continuously. He highlighted Clement, one of the first leaders. Clement had known the apostles. He recorded their teaching in a letter. Irenaeus wrote: “the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is the most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.”
Irenaeus wasn’t trying to defend the authority of particular people. What he was defending was the true faith against heresy. He did this by showing that the apostles’ message about Jesus had been faithfully preserved and could be trusted. Succession and continuity wasn’t so much the handing down of an office but it was the expresson of the continuity of the true faith. (John Behr pp. 31,32)
I think all of us Christians who come here and defend the Christian faith, understand the continuity of the message that was preserved for us throughout time. We are by nature a precise lot. We understand that the continuity and accuracy of the basic doctrines of the faith, handed down by our predecessors must be preserved and proclaimed accurately and yes, with continuity.
Continuity?! Are we living in the same world? Are you seriously trying to convince me that the history of Christianity is a story of continuity?
The Westminster Confession of Faith (Calvinist), states:
The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to his will. (25:5) (where? I guess I should move to WI)
or how about
“There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that ANTICHRIST, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.” Later repealed by SOME Presbyterian churches.
That is continuity? That’s in the past you say. What about today? All I need to do is do a google search or talk to my neighbors and see all the fire and brimstone being hurled at each other (all in the name of true Chrisitainity). At times I have my feelings hurt at all the condemnation thrown my way. Then I realize that is the legacy of Protestantism. It is really no different today than 1830, only much more politically correct. So much for coming to the unity of the faith (Oh the scriptures says that only comes through prophets). If the continuity you are describing is the chaos that reigns I must be blind.
Do you really think these quotes prove your point of discontinuity?
Sorry, but they do not.
One thing I think you miss is a comparison between the Church that is of God, and the church of man.
I expect you to say that this church of God is what you have restored, but you forget that just as the Catholoics thought theirs was of God, it was perverted by man. So is yours.
The only true church is that found in Christ. It is of no denomination, and all those who believe in him are saved. And I think you know what I mean when I say those who believe in Him.
I weary of the rehashing of these issues. Nevertheless, I will address one thing you said.
Jesus being a high priest (since he is eternal). If He is the Eternal high priest they why the need for any other high priest before Christ. Why was he made a high priest if he is the Eternal high priest? and why in Heb 5 is Paul addressing his words to a group of High Priests if they were not necessary?
When we talk about continuity we’re talking about the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. These doctrines don’t change with time. They’re the same as when they were articulated by the church fathers as taught to them in the lineage which reaches back to the apostles. That was the point of what I wrote above. If the Mormon commentators would actually read and process the historical information, they would understand the point. If they understood the point they’d comprehend who God is. If they understood who God is, they wouldn’t be Mormons. Our Mormon friends play this broken record of the apostasy and the restoration of first century Christianity but provide nothing, in terms of a historical record, for any of their claims. I took the time and trouble to present evidence for the continuity of the basic doctrine of the Church and the tenacity of the early Christians to preserve the basic teachings of the apostles. Please Mormon posters, do the hard work of scholarship and quit repeating here the mottos, slogans and folk doctrines that are repeated mindlessly down at the wards.
In looking at the writings of Irenaeus, we are looking at a person that received the doctrines of the Church from those who had passed the apostolic teaching down to him. These teachings were the orthodoxy that protected his flock against the heresy of his time. It gave to Polycarp and the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne the faith to endure to the end.
The doctine of the Church was and is, that all humans are fallen-dead in their sins-and in need of redemption. Salvation is not a matter of destiny but of faith. The eternal Son of God, who became human, reunited God with humanity. Those who believe in him have the life of the Holy Spirit in them-and only they can be called “spiritual”: “as many as fear God and trust in His Son’s advent, and who through faith do establish the Spirit of God in their hearts-such men as these shall be properly called both ‘pure,’ and ‘spiritual,’and ‘those living to God,’ because they possess the Spirit of the Father, who purifies man, and raises him up to the life of God.”
Irenaeus demonstrates in his writing, the great orthodox doctrines of unity: One God, who is the Father and Creator of all things, immaterial and material, and who orchestrates one harmonious history of revelation and redemption; one Savior, who is both divine spirit and human flesh, both Christ and Jesus; one human nature, which is both spiritual and fleshly; one salvation of both the spiritual and material realms, which is by faith. (attribution: D. Jeffrey Bingham, Dallas Theological Seminary)
Now, when we bring the Word of God, the Gospel of Salvation to Mormons, we are bringing the same Gospel preached by the apostles and handed down to those Church Fathers that followed in their footsteps. These people battled the heretics of their time and preserved and protected the fundamental doctrinal teaching of the Church from error. We have historical evidence and proof of that.
Defender…I don’t recall ever “hashing” them in the first place…I have yet to hear any Mormon poster adequately explain how your “priesthood” system in any way resembles ancient Judaism. Now Masonic parallels abound…big surprise!!
Your questions seem a bit silly but I understand you don’t subscribe to an inductive approach to interpretation so I’ll do my best. Nowhere in the entire book are we told that the audience is “high priests.” In Chapter 5 Paul is beginning his explanation of Christ NOW being our High Priest forever (he didn’t qualify to be a priest under the Law just like you don’t). He says every high priest taken from among men just as we would say every president taken from among men. Notice he uses the singular “he” afterwards. Only one at a time served as HP my friend. The cities of refuge were based on the death of “the” high priest not “a” high priest.
He wraps up his argument in 7: 28 For the law maketh men high priests(one at a time Defender) which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Sorry. I didn’t mean you specifically just previous threads in the past. Actually, in addition to Masonic parallels, historical digging will yield Egyptian, Gnostic, Far Eastern sect similarities. I would be glad to dissect the Levites duties in the temple/tabernacle surrounding Priesthood responsiblities. And what if we “prove” that these are the same, or at least very similar. Well I suppose the response will be Joseph copied these as well. But I would love to do it with you.
High Priests: Maybe terminology is a problem here. Sifting through your comments, I would say that your reference to “high priest” is synonymous with “presiding high priest” for us. It is the OFFICE of High Priest that you seem to reference. I also think we may be confusing the Melchizedek and Aaronic (Levitical) priesthood with their offices.
So my question is: If you believe their is only one HIGH PRIEST (Melchizedek) then why abandon the Levitical? If Protestants maintain Sola Scriptura, then where is the command to discontinue its use?
When did Iraneus live?
You claim that you are bringing the same gospel that was taught by the early Christian and my argument/ question on this thread has been that I see no resemblance to the preaching seen in the NT.
The only response has been that God grants FLEXIBILITY in how the gospel can be preached. Is that based on tradition or scripture (the classic Catholic vs. Protestant dilemma). If it is Sola Scriptura, then surely a reference to this deviation must be present in the NT. If MRM and the like a taking the liberty to deviate from the pattern of apostolic teaching, where do the scriptures give them the license to do so. Seems like a fair ? that the LDS want an answer for.
Maybe the others are smarter than I am, but I am not exactly sure what you are getting at here.
Your questions seem overly convoluted and your point seems to be sliding.
Your original question to Aaron was this: “Where do you get your justification in the scriptures to pursue such a course? If you possess the “true” gospel, why preach it in such a different manner than your forebearers? I would be interested to see an example of a prophet/apostles/disciple/believer etc. who preached the gospel in the manner that utilized by this group. I would expect to see a discourse on the details surrounding all manner of false doctrine. Any examples?”
I’d like to return to this question and clarify some things, because it certainly seems you have been answered.
What do you mean by “such a course”?
How are we preaching in a manner different than our ancestors?
Could you rephrase this: “I would expect to see a discourse on the details surrounding all manner of false doctrine.”
I am beginning to think you do not seek answers to these questions, but instead seek only to confuse the issue to distract from having to prove your side. In other words, you seem to want to destroy the other side without having to prove your own.
If you can show otherwise, it’d be great to see it. But to start that, you really do need to clarify what it is you want.
Defender…I would find Egyptian and Gnostic parallels to be a negative thing but that’s just me.
The bottom line is that in order to be a priest according to the Law you must be a Levite. That would be the only Aaronic priesthood I ever heard of. The “high priest” not only had to be a Levite but also a DIRECT son of Aaron.
We abandoned the Levitical priesthood due to a greater sacrifice…ummm some guy named Jesus or something. Hebrews 5-8 goes on to explain how he replaced all the old things of the Law. Besides that the priesthood was established to offer sacrifices in the TEMPLE which was destroyed in 70 ad as I’m sure you know. Not much use for priests with no TEMPLE to work in eh?
You said “I think all of us Christians who come here and defend the Christian faith, understand the continuity of the message that was preserved for us throughout time. We are by nature a precise lot. We understand that the continuity and accuracy of the basic doctrines of the faith, handed down by our predecessors must be preserved and proclaimed accurately and yes, with continuity.”
I believe that many on this site have said that the Jews did the same with their religion and scriptures – they were very precise in copying their doctrine and scriptures and preserving them from generation to generation. So the question is why are they not the true church/kingdom of God anymore? They believed in the God of the Bible and they looked forward to the coming of The Christ. God was with them and supported them and called them His own. So what happened if they had this continuity that you claim also to have? If they have gone apostate from the true God then there is a possibility that Traditional Christianity has too despite this continuity.
One fact I have said a few times is that in five Bible Dictionaries that I have read now, all say that the DOCTRINE, not just the word or the definition of but the DOCTRINE of the Trinity is NOT in the New Testament. Now if you believe in sola scriptura then if the doctrine is not in there you should not believe in it despite the traditional teachings of your church – because then they are the teachings of man. At least 2 of the dictionaries are of Christian sources – one is the largest and most prestigious Bible studying society in America, the other is a Christian minister from a Protestant background. Yes I know you can find verses in the bible to support the teaching but that does not change the fact that the doctrine is not in the NT. The quotes you used from Ireneus show 3 seperate beings and he does not try to conglomerate them in those quotes.
A huge difference between the Jews and us now is that the Jews missed what Jesus himself was saying, and what Jesus was saying was backed up by the entire OT.
Its not just about preserving scritpure, but about knowing what is in them anbd being open to living that out. This was where the Jews failed. They became prideful about showing off thier religion, and they, instead of being open to what God would bring, they saw the savior (and still do, for that matter) as a political king in the mold of David.
But as you know, the savior the oT pointed to was fulfilled in Christ, and not a political conquerer.
You now seek to equate us and our reaction to your faith with the Jews and their reaction to Christ. This simply doesn’t work because your faith is not widely supported by the Bible. You have to go outside of it, and find ‘documents’ that were not even present in the time of the Jews. You have to find a few very obscure verses that very valid other interpretations to make your point, and even then, you have to go outside.
There are other differences, but I think you get the point on that now.
As to sola scriptura, belief in it does not necessitate that you take everything literal, which is what you are advocating. It does mean that everything is supported within the scriptures.
Don’t you just love how the Mormons always refer to what they feel is their trump card and bring up the doctrine of the Trinity as NOT found in the Bible; however, they are quick to jump on the JS band wagon and believe that God was once a man who progressed to godhood just like anybody else who completed a,b,c, etc., and this doctrine is clearly NOT found in the Bible? So, I say to Ralph and to all othere Mormons: you shouldn’t be quick to believe in doctrines NOT in the Bible simply because it’s a part of the Mormon tradition.
Here’s the difference between the early church fathers and the leaders of Mormonism beginning with JS: the early church fathers worked from within the parameters of the Bible, while JS et al worked and continue to work outside the parameters of the Bible. Where the Bible was authoritative for the early church fathers and all true followers of the biblical Jesus Christ, the Bible has been and is relegated to a fourth-rate document that is without proper authority for JS and his followers. I think the wording of the LDS 8th AOF is humorous, as JS refers to what he wants Christians to believe as erroneous translations to be found in the Bible, and offers his “interpretation” as something more valid than a translation. This leads to an entire people improperly using the Bible to defend their position of heretical teachings, because the basis for their arguments is not the Bible but the revelations of JS. It doesn’t matter to them that Christ established His kingdom on earth, a kingdom against which the gates of hell could not prevail, and a kingdom that God has the power to preserve. This talk of restoration only reveals that JS did not believe in an omnipotent God, but rather in a god who was once a mere man. I’m sorry, but that’s the biggest red flag the Holy Spirit has illumined for us, and it’s sad that the Mormons have become insensitive to the warnings God has prepared for them to see. That’s why we press on!
Peace and Grace!
My point is bringing up parallels is this. When the Masonic card is played the underlying premise is: JS stole/pieced together stuff and made it all up. So how do you explain Gnostic/Egyptian parallels? I suppose you could say the devil revealed it to him, but you would have to dump the “he made it all up” card. The argument that he stole/made it all up is just rediculous, even for the most brillant among mankind.
Priesthood: But Jesus was not made a priest after Aaronic but Melchizedek. So even if you are right about the Aaronic, why isn’t the Melchizedek order still functioning? Sola Scriptura would dictate preservation unless otherwise directed, right? I do like your parallel of TEMPLE=PRIESTHOOD. I would just remind you that if the temple is true you would expect to find the priesthood and vice versa.
You three ?’s
1. What do you mean by “such a course”?
How are we preaching in a manner different than our ancestors?
Could you rephrase this: “I would expect to see a discourse on the details surrounding all manner of false doctrine.”
I’ll answer the first two together. I am talking about the manner in which the gospel is preached. The Savior commands to go into all the world, teach all nations, baptizing them….. The apostles and prophets then proceed to obey. So where in the NT do you see them taking on athetists, pagans, apostates, whoever by picking apart their false doctrine piece by piece. This is what I mean by “such a course” or a “manner different”. I am looking for true messengers and I expect them to follow the same pattern…unless of course the scripture tell me not to look for a pattern.
The 3rd ? revolves around the same theme. I am looking for some semblance of similarity between the manner of preaching here and that found in the scriptures.
For example, at a recent fair there was a gentleman trying to win converts who was simple telling the people how much he loved the Savior, what he has done for him, and that he wanted to share that with others. I felt it. Powerful. He was Baptist. That is the pattern I am looking for, one exhibited simply and powerfully every 6 months during Conference (Elder Holland’s last talk is a great example)
Your comment “you shouldn’t be quick to believe in doctrines NOT in the Bible simply because it’s a part of the Mormon tradition.” does not work for the LDS discussion. We believe in the Bible, but we also believe in more revelation from God. This means that we do not take the Bible as the only source of God’s word like you Evangelical Christians do. So if our prophet had a revelation from God about His nature that is the truth, whether it is in the Bible or not. But for you, if it is not in the Bible then you should not believe in it as you believe that the Bible is the only authoritative source of God’s word. If these Bible dictionaries are true in what they say, then how do we know what Jesus taught or what the first believers in Him and God believed about the nature of God? The first sources about the ideology of the Trinity are post-Biblical (according to these Bible dictionaries) so they cannot be equated as what Jesus or His close followers believed.
Yes Sharon, I know that you refered to a page in another post to describe the Trinity, but regardless of what that page uses to describe the Trinity, it does not negate the 5 Bible dictionaries that make the statement. As I said, 2 of those dictionaries are of Christian sources – thus showing that they are being objective about their remarks.
You love to tear the feeling thing…fair enough, but I am curious what your trump card would have been in the NT. Two situations: Sermon on the Mount as Jesus basically tears up the Jewish law…it has been said by them of old, but I say unto you… Where do turn to while sitting on the mount? Are you not going to believe Jesus because he is preaching doctrine not found in the OT?
How about Peter preaching to the people post resurrection? Your friends are pricked in the heart and are told to proceed with abdoning the law and participate in baptism. Where will you turn now? Just curious. Are you going to mock them for using their feelings as the trump card?
Thank you for the clarification.
Much has been addressed above, but I’ll give a couple other references.
A place to start is 2 Tim 3: 16: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”
If the scripture is good for rebuking and correcting, what does that say about the role of the teachers? Certainly it must be assumed that they were to correct and rebuke those who go astray.
Secondly, we see in Romans 16:17-18″ “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”
Here, Paul is saying that the leaders need to be on guard for deceivers.
From these two alone, we get justification for teaching and rebuking those who bring forth heresy
We also see in 1 Tim 4:6 Paul’s instruction to Timothy: “If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.”
Now, we see Paul saying that pointing out errors and the good news (that is the context of this verse), you will be a good minister.
I think it is pretty clear that we are to preach against those who are in error.
There is more, so much so, that I am not even sure how you do not see it.
The manner of preaching is still a bit unlcear, but I think you are seeking something that just is not there. Again, Paul tells us it is good to be anything to anyone to reach them for the Gospel.
Defender…I think you underestimate the occultic knowledge of masonry. Granted the vast majority of men involved are in the lower orders (3rd degree). As you get into the higher degrees you find vast amounts of magickal and pagan knowledge. Read something by Albert Pike. From what I understand Joseph progressed rapidly in the lodge as he was fascinated by occultism (water dowsing, buried treasure seeking, etc).
As to a functioning priesthood (of any order) I think you missed my point. Our Great High Priest placed His blood on the mercy seat in heaven and sin has been declared PROPITIATED!! The purpose of priests is to offer sacrifices for sin. He has made an end of sacrifices. No need for priests. He is our mediator. If you are a priest, how many bulls have you offered on an altar? And if you did offer a bull then you would be proclaiming Christ’s sacrifice insufficient. Maybe I’m missing something…
I stand by my statement. One should test what a professed prophet says by an appeal to the Bible. It’s a dangerous thing when the Bible is tested against a prophet. This latter approach is unbiblical.
Peace and Grace!
2 Tim 3 I don’t think we would disagree that the need for this correction is essential, it is the manner in which this is to take place that shows me the true messenger.
Romans seems to emphasize my point. Paul warns against deceivers and then gives you their MO. What is it? Flattery and smooth talk. To me that is the key! The more you talk it out (Aaron calls it religious criticism) the more smooth it becomes. The ancient apostles did not preach that way. They were rough, uneducated (except Paul). They couldn’t even read half of the words on this blog. I expect preaching today to be the same. Witness, testify, warn.
All the scripture you cite are in the context of correcting FELLOW BELIEVERS. If I were one of the fold, Paul’s counsel would seem reasonable. But the apostles preached to the unbelievers in a much different fashion. Am I wrong?
I know this crowd doesn’t get the gravity of what I am saying because this is the tradition of the apostate Church onto and through the Protestant movement. Mainly, let’s discuss all this, let’s debate it until we all agree what the gospel is, then we can go on in endless debates with all the heretics until they believe. That, to me, is not the way of Jesus or the original 12.
The magic and occult thing is such a smokescreen. A few years ago, I watched a documentary by a Jewish sect showing that Jesus was in the occult and a magician….yada yada yada. (wish I could remember the name) I kept thinking, “you’ve got to be kidding, all they need to do is subtitute Joseph Smith for Jesus and certain Christian groups would have their next frenzy.”
Priesthood: Do you believe that the priest offering was ACTUALLY the sacrifice for sin? I can’t imagine that you do, but your statement seems to suggest that. The Aaronic priesthood was offering a sacrifice as a similitude of the Saviors coming Supreme Sacrifice. Just as they (ancient Israel) looked forward to the Atonement of Jesus, through the Ritual of Sacrifice, we too remember the great Sacrifice through the Ordinance of the Sacrament (all Aaronic priesthood responsibilities). Their purpose, both ancient priests and modern (Aaronic) is to point the minds of the people to the Redeemer. They are absolutely essential in all ages of the world. If they are not, why doesn’t Jesus (post resurrection) ban them?
So I haven’t offered a bull? But I have officiated in the office of a priest, doing what they are suppose to do, point people to the Savior through the ordinances of the priesthood (Aaronic). On the contrary to making the Atonement insufficient, it reinforces the absolute necessity the great and last sacrifice.
There is so much to discuss regarding the Sermon on the Mount as a prerequisite to understanding the verses you point out. But, Jesus doesn’t tear up the Jewish Law as you infer; in fact, He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). After reading the entire Sermon, one will notice a sequence of inner development, a transitional step of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, which is followed by righteous behavior (read 5:3-9). Jesus is more concerned with the heart of a person than with his or her behavior. I know this is foreign to Mormonism, but it did not matter if a person did not commit murder if he or she was angry with another person. The Law said not to murder. Jesus came and said, “You’re not getting it. Do not even become angry, because it is the same as murder.” Now, why is this so? Because Jesus is after our hearts. He wants to give us hearts of flesh in place of our hearts of stone. He wants us to love each other with pure motives. It’s more about a heart condition than behavior. In 5:43-48, He reinforces this idea by basically saying, “So, you love those who love you. Big deal. Love your enemies, and pray for those who want to see you hurt.” Then He commands us to be perfect as God is perfect (a discussion on Christian Perfection has to wait for another day). This message is consistent with OT teaching: Lev.19:17: “Do not hate your brother in your heart”…18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your enemy as yourself.” Prov.24:17: “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice…”
Peace and Grace!
Regarding your reference to the Acts 2 sermon: First of all, this is not a sermon on abandoning the Law in any way, shape, or form; rather, it is a Christo-centric message to a group of God-fearing Jews who were responsible for crucifying the Messiah because He did not meet the expectations they had of Him. They needed to repent of their erroneous thinking about Jesus. Now, if you’re trying to use this passage to promote baptism as necessary to salvation, then I need to tell you that the Greek verb tense is NOT in the imperative, meaning that it is not a command as you would understand a command to be. In other words, it is not, “You need to be baptized or else you can’t be saved.” To further illustrate this point, we read in Acts 3:19: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…” As you see, there is no mention of being baptized. In this chapter, Peter again presents a Christo-centric sermon to the Jews in his audience. Now, unlike baptism, repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation (and we can see how this ties in with the first few verses of the Sermon on the Mount, as well).
Hope this helps, Defender.
Peace and Grace!
You said, “So I haven’t offered a bull? But I have officiated in the office of a priest, doing what they are suppose to do, point people to the Savior through the ordinances of the priesthood (Aaronic).”
What you have described is the priesthood of believers. Christians do this all the time. Read 1 Peter 2 for a better understanding of what it really is.
Grace and Peace!
Defender…yes and no. In the case of Jesus it helps our case that they considered him a magician since they had to make something out of his miracles. At least attributing to magic isn’t denying. I think just the fact that JS was interested in joining the masonic lodge speaks volumes.
Yes I do believe that. Sit down and read the book of Leviticus and then tell me again that they knew all along they were just acting out the crucifixion!! I can’t believe you believe THAT.
As I have challenged the mishies I would also challenge you to show me ANYWHERE (even in the BOM) where anyone following Jesus is ordained to a priesthood…ANYONE! The only one we know of that met Him that was qualified to hold the priesthood (being of the tribe of Levi) was John the Baptist who chose NOT to serve in the temple and had rather nasty things to say to the religious folks who did. Why on earth would He need to ban it when he never participated in it (probably because He was NOT qualified to hold a Levitical priesthood being from the tribe of Judah!)? I also don’t believe you believe you are from the tribe of Levi either. So you don’t even qualify.
Lastly that raises an interesting difference between the OT and the BOM. It is interesting how all the BOM peoples knew Jesus’ name and were totally sure He was coming and He was the one. The poor Jews weren’t so lucky to read back into their traditions after the fact! Methinks something smells fishy.
The Church Fathers were absolutely obsessed with continuity of the faith and worked to beat back heretical philosophies that threatened the foundation (of the faith). Several years after I became a Christian, I realized that my knowledge of the Bible and of the history of the Church was not what it should be. So I embarked on an intensive study of both. One of the first things I reralized was; hay, this stuff in knowable. It’s not that complex or confusing. It’s just information. Once I got passed the rather strange (to me) unfamiliar names of people from the early centuries of the Church and built up my vocabulary of theological terms, I realized I could “get it”.
For those questioning Mormonism, here are a few basic premises to operate from:
1) Absoulute objectivity is possible only for an infinite Mind. Finite minds must be content with systematic consistency, that is, fair but revisable attempts to reconstruct the past based on an established frmework of reference which comprehensively and consistently incorporates all the facts into the overall sketch provided by the frame of reference.
On this point alone, Mormon apologetics fails and fails miserably. There is no “system” in Mormonism. Mormonism thrives on an unsystematic series of “revelations” which allows for no accountability from the former “prophet, seers and revelators”. Without any system, and without any accountability, everything, anything and yes nothing “counts”. Take with that the Mormon leaderships’ necessity and practice of sanatizing its history and folktales, and you truly have a Maze to deal with.
2)In the acceptable sense of objectivity the historian can be as objective as the scientist. Neither geologists nor historians have direct access to nor complete data on repeatable events. Further, both must use value judgments in selecting and structuring the partial material available to them. Which leads us to number 3.
3) In reality, neither the scientist nor the historian can attain objective meaning without the use of some world view by which he understands the facts. Bare facts cannot even be known apart from some interpretive framework. Hence, the need for structure or a meaning-framework is crucial to the qauestion of objectivity. Once the overall viewpoint is established, it is simply a matter of finding the view of history that is most consistent with that overall system. Systematic consistency is the test for objectivity in historical matters as well as in scientific matters.
This is where the wheels really start coming off of Mormonism. The only way Mormonism works is to be unsystematic. There’s just too much that doesn’t fit. That’s why Mormonism only works within a frame work of continuous revelation and confirming “feelings”. For example, the facts demonstrate beyond any doubt, that the BoM is not factual history. The idea that it is factual is confirmed, for the believer in Mormonism, only through pseudospiritual experiences.
I realize that the TBMs are probably out of reach, but for you questioning “moderate” believers in Mormonism, a good thorough, and systematic study of both Christianity and Mormonism will yield the information you are looking for.
(attribution to Norman Geisler and his excellent work, “Christian Apologetics”)
“Paul warns against deceivers and then gives you their MO. What is it? Flattery and smooth talk.”
I am glad you said this. What can we say of Mormonism? Shall we look at the methods of Mormonism and how they evagelize? Two well dressed and polite young men come to your door, asking if you can simply read a passage and pray about it.
Smooth talk? I think it might be.
They will not get angry and will leave a situation because the spirit leaves them when it becomes too heated or confontational…
Mormons are great neighbors. They emphasize family…
Then we can look at the character of Joseph Smith…
Smooth talk… You decide
To you Mormon questioners:
When I embarked on my intense study of everything “Christian” I would listen to the “Bible Answer Man” program with Dr. Walter Martin. The thing I remember the most about Walter Martin was his constant mantra, “Question everything. Even what I tell you.” I would add to what Dr. Martin said by saying, “Question everything. Especially the stuff that makes you feel uncomfortable.” Mormons are psychologically conditioned to run away from things that make them feel uncomfortable. Now why would a sect instruct its members to run away from ideas or thoughts that make them feel uncomfortable? It’s because Mormonism can’t support itself with evidence. It’s all about feelings. If I feel good it’s true. If it feels bad it’s false. My feelings are God’s way of communicating with me. I felt increably uncomfortable right before I became a Christian. It’s called conviction. My feeling uncomfortable made me seek answers, to study, to question and to reconsider my current position.
Take the advice of Dr. Martin. Question everything. And in the words of that great theologian Fox Mulder, “the truth is out there”.
Ralph, its curious that you contend that the Trinity is not found in the Bible, and then quote Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, i.e. “it has been said by them of old, but I say unto you… Where do turn to while sitting on the mount? Are you not going to believe Jesus because he is preaching doctrine not found in the OT?”
I’d agree that the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, but the concept is.
I have a particular interest in the continuity of the OT and NT. Falcon has referred to the idea of continuity and I’d agree with him that Jesus was not introducing something that was opposed to the OT, contrary to your implication.
So, if we follow the idea that the NT is a continuation of the OT, where does this lead?
As has been observed, Jesus does not abrogate the law. Rather, he says “I say unto you”. These words are very deliberate and precise. To his listeners, Jesus is putting himself above the law. In other words, Jesus is saying “I am the law-giver”.
Now, who has the mandate to give the law to Israel, if not YHWH himself? Jesus is identifying himself with the LORD, who brought Israel out of Egypt (Ex 20:2). Let’s also bring in John 17, which tells of a conversation between the Son and the Father. And let’s not lose sight of the “one God” thing of Isaiah 42 and 45.
So, we have Jesus, who is somehow fully God, but who also somehow has a relationship with the Father, who is also fully God. Yet there is only one God. Consider how you might reconcile these ideas and I suggest you’ll conclude with the kinds of Trinitarian formulae of the Athanasian Creeds.
So, the concept of Trinity is in the Bible, even when the word isn’t.
Its no coincidence that people who deny the Trinity also deny the reliability or completeness of the Bible. They have to, because if they didn’t, they would have to deal with the one God and three persons that it describes.
But, hey, if you find the word “Trinity” a problem, then I’ve got no problem if you use something else that’s just as good.
In an earlier comment, you mentioned that your son died (25th April).
I am truly sorry for your loss.
I’d just like a reality check here, since its on-topic.
Does posting on a forum like this do anything useful? Sure, I enjoy it and I feel I benefit from the curly questions that get posted from all sides of the debate.
It also excites me that we’ve got LDS here, who are willing to come to the table and engage in the conversation.
Are there people out there who have said “I never really knew the Grace of God until I read about it on MRM”, or something similar?
Maybe it goes the other way too.