Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Surprising Issue in Presidential Politics: Do Mormons Believe Satan Is the Brother of Jesus Christ??

Do Mormons Believe Satan the Brother of Jesus Christ?? This issue is coming up with surprising frequency, at least from my vantage point (including email I receive). It's a question I address on my LDSFAQ (Mormon Answers) page on Relationships Between God and Man, so I'll quote the relevant section here:

Do Mormons believe that Christ and Satan are brothers???

This seems to be one of the most popular cheap shots against the Church.

The Church has issued a short statement on this topic ("Answering Media Questions About Jesus and Satan," LDS.org Newsroom, Dec. 12, 2007):
Like other Christians, we believe Jesus is the divine Son of God. Satan is a fallen angel.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, God is the Father of all. That means that all beings were created by God and are His spirit children. Christ, however, was the only begotten in the flesh, and we worship Him as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.
I'd like to add some of my thoughts as well. Christ is the creator of this earth and our one and only Savior and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. However, He shares something with us in that we are all spirit sons and daughters of God (Heb. 12:9; Acts 17:28; Numbers 16:22) as is Christ (see also Hebrews 1:5,6; Heb. 2:9-12; Matt. 12:50; Col. 1:15; Psalms 89:27; Romans 8:29; Rev. 3:14). Christ differs from us in several ways, such as the fact that He alone was perfect and sinless throughout his mortal life, having served as Co-creator with God and then as our Savior. Yes, technically, Satan is the brother of Christ, but so are all of us and all the angels, both good and fallen. But anti-Mormons want to make this doctrine sound scary by leaving out the information that would explain our position, and suggesting that somehow we worship a false "Mormon" Christ who is like Satan. That's seriously misleading - and often deliberately so.

It's a Biblical doctrine that Satan was in heaven originally but fell from heaven. Here is an excerpt from the article "Satan" in Smith's Bible Dictionary (a non-LDS source):
Of the nature and original state of Satan, little is revealed in Scripture. He is spoken of as a "spirit" in Ephesians 2:2; as the prince or ruler of the "demons" in Matthew 12:24-26; and as having "angels" subject to him in Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7, 9; The whole description of his power implies spiritual nature and spiritual influence. We conclude therefore that he was of angelic nature, a rational and spiritual creature, superhuman in power, wisdom and energy; and not only so, but an archangel, one of the "princes" of heaven. We cannot, of course, conceive that anything essentially and originally evil was created by God. We can only conjecture, therefore, that Satan is a fallen angel, who once had a time of probation, but whose condemnation is now irrevocably fixed. As to the time cause and manner of his fall Scripture tells us scarcely anything; but it describes to us distinctly the moral nature of the evil one.
As for our common heritage with Christ as sons of God, the teachings of the Bible are clear. In Romans 8:14-18, I see Paul saying that our divine heritage from God is what makes it possible for humans to become "joint heirs with Christ." Though we may be potential "joint heirs," Christ is always and eternally our Savior. Latter-day Saints also believe that Satan was a spirit being in the premortal existence that we all shared, who, as Revelation 12:7-9 describes, rebelled against God and was cast down to earth, with those angels (spirits) who followed Satan (see also Jude 1:6, 2 Peter 2:4). Lucifer (Satan) was in heaven and was "a son of the morning" (Isaiah 14: 12-15) who sought to usurp God's glory and throne, rather than follow God's will (see also Job 1:6, where Satan comes into an assembly among the sons of God - these sons of God, premortal spirit children, existed before the creation of the earth was completed, according to Job 38: 4-7).

Just as we see the potential for great goodness and great evil in humans around us, so has there always been such potential among the spirit children (Heb. 12:9) of God who are blessed with liberty to choose God and Christ or to choose evil. Satan chose the greatest evil possible and still works toward that end. That he was in heaven and was a "son of the morning" among the spirit beings there ("morning stars" in Job 38:7) makes his fall and his guilt and his eternal punishment all the more terrible. But our understanding of who Satan was and is - a fallen angel, by choice a total and complete enemy to God and Christ - does not make us unchristian, in my opinion. Nor does it give us any respect for that abominable being!

Simply saying that "Mormons think Christ and Satan are brothers" is a distortion of LDS doctrine - it is deliberately misleading. We see all of humanity and all of the angels - fallen as well as divine - as creations of God, spirit sons and daughters, given freedom to choose good (through Christ) or evil. Christ is obviously a Son of God, though much more completely than we are. He is also our Savior and even our Eternal Father in several ways. Our common relationship to those who are Good and those who are truly evil in no way impugns the Good or blasphemes God and Christ.

Obviously, Latter-day Saint doctrine is not derived from the popular teachings of mainstream churches, but I see it as being in harmony with the Bible, though others are free to interpret the Bible differently. But I hope you won't mistake differences in interpretation with a rejection of Christ, to whom I look for salvation.

Update: Early Christian Evidence on the Nature of Satan

FairWiki (FAIRMormon.org) has a valuable entry on the charge that Mormons think Christ and Satan are brothers. Here's a helpful excerpt with some evidence from early Christianity in favor of the LDS view:
The early pre-nicene Church father Lactantius wrote:
Since God was possessed of the greatest foresight for planning, and of the greatest skill for carrying out in action, before He commenced this business of the world,--inasmuch as there was in Him, and always is, the fountain of full and most complete goodness,--in order that goodness might spring as a stream from Him, and might flow forth afar, He produced a Spirit like to Himself, who might be endowed with the perfections of God the Father... Then He made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain. Therefore he was infected with his own envy as with poison, and passed from good to evil; and at his own will, which had been given to him by God unfettered, he acquired for himself a contrary name. From which it appears that the source of all evils is envy. For he envied his predecessor, who through his steadfastness is acceptable and dear to God the Father. This being, who from good became evil by his own act, is called by the Greeks diabolus: we call him accuser, because he reports to God the faults to which he himself entices us. God, therefore, when He began the fabric of the world, set over the whole work that first and greatest Son, and used Him at the same time as a counselor and artificer, in planning, arranging, and accomplishing, since He is complete both in knowledge, and judgment, and power... [Lactantius, Divine Institutes 2.9. in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vols. (1885; reprint, Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004), 7:52-53]
Many things he here taught are not considered "orthodox" by today's standards. However, Lactantius was definitely orthodox during his lifetime. Amazingly, many things here correspond to LDS doctrine precisely in those areas that are "unorthodox." For example,
  1. "He produced a Spirit like to Himself," namely Christ. Christ, in this sense, is not the "co-equal," "eternally begotten," "same substance" "persona" of the later creeds.

  2. "Then he made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain." God made another spirit who rebelled and who fell from his exalted status. He is the diabolus.

  3. Christ is the "first and greatest Son." Not the "only" son.

  4. Lastly, since the diabolus and Christ are both spirit sons of God, they are spirit brothers.

The writings of Lactantius are available online. The quote above can be read at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.iii.ii.ii.ix.html.

Please note that I use the term "anti-Mormon" above to describe those who are not interested in mere debate or understanding, but who intentionally use deceptive tactics to frighten people who know little about the Church. It's fine to disagree with our views and to question whether there was a premortal existence, or whether we and all angels, fallen or otherwise, can be called "spirit children" of God, etc., but to take our doctrine and spin it into an emotionally-charged cheap shot like, "Mormons worship a false Jesus who is Satan's brother!!" - well, that's far from intelligent discourse or sharing of differing views. It's a hostile attack meant to frighten people, to prey on their ignorance, and stir up prejudice. Anti-Mormon is the appropriate term in this case, no matter how much the perpetrators claim they "love the Mormon people" and are just trying to help do God's work in their own dishonest way ("When it comes to fighting the cult of Mormonism, the ends justify the means," as one anti-Mormon book seller told a friend of mine at a Christian book seller's conference about 20 years ago, justifying his deliberate distortion of what Mormons believe). Now some may repeat this charge out of ignorance, so there's nothing wrong with merely asking the question if you want clarification, but others use it knowingly as a tool to achieve their own ungodly ends. And one day, I think, they'll give an accounting of their works to our true Lord and God, Jesus Christ, who may have have a few familiar words for them. But that's just my opinion.

292 comments:

1 – 200 of 292   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Hmmm - looks like you're just quoting from the Mormon scriptures again. No wonder it sounds so pro-LDS!

Joseph Antley said...

It's unfortunate that so many ask this question but don't want to take the time to understand the answer.

HuckleBerry said...

I've heard something about this, though I don't know much about the Mormons, just enough to repeat a few things I've heard.

wtkeeney said...

Anonymous said: "Hmmm - looks like you're just quoting from the Mormon scriptures again."

Well, let's see. The ONLY scriptures quoted in the entire article were from the King James version of the Old and New Testament. Yes, Mormons use the KJV Bible. When I tell all my non-LDS friends that they're using "Mormon scriptures" every time they study their Bibles in their Baptist, COGIC and AME services, I think they might fall over in shock. :)

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

There you go again using the early church fathers to prove your point.
Let see the bible and the early church fathers support many of our doctrines?
It is not fare and could get you into trouble with the anti-mormons.

Chad said...

I am not LDS, but have been reading quite a bit the last couple of years about the LDS faith and its understanding of origins and especially it's view that there was a pre-mortal existence. This post was interesting, and a a student of patristics I appreciated your quotation. I always wondered about Jeremiah stating that God knew us before we were formed in our mothers womb - I always understood this as God's foreknowledge of who would come in to the world but the LDS doctrine of pre-existence could be an outgrowth of scriptural references such as Jeremiahs

Brian D. said...

Jeff,

You are a tremendous asset to the LDS blogsphere!

Your shockingly pro-lds positions are refreshing and appreciated!!

Patrick said...

What I find disturbing is the number of members of the church who claim they have never been taught this doctrine. News articles at the Deseret News have reader statements that say, "After 36 years, (or however many), as a member of the Church I've never heard of this belief."

I feel these denials are a knee jerk reaction to what appears to be an embarrasing belief. Many members don't know how to respond to criticism and feel a blanket denial is their only weapon.

Mormanity shows us that the study of scripture and history will bear out the LDS position.

Apologetics is a learned skill, and it may be time that LDS Church members learn how to participate in the conversation. If you're going to venture out into the deep water of intellectual debate, get prepared.

NM said...

Jeff,

I can see how easy it might be to accept, within the paradigm that everything is God's creation - even Jesus, how Jesus can be the brother of Satan - which then must mean that all humans, angels, demons, etc. are directly related to both Satan and Jesus...

I guess where traditional Christianity is VERY DIFFERENT to Mormonism is who we take Jesus as.

So, with this in mind, how might LDS doctrine interpret John chapter 1? I know that in the New World Translation, as you know is a translation of Charles Russell founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses where KJV says:

"In the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God"

I know that you know that traditional Christianity view Jesus (The Word who became flesh) as someone who has eternally co-existed with God and IS God.

Yet, the NWT says, "In the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was a god"

Are Charles Russell's interpretations similar to LDS doctrine in relation to who Jesus is?

timur said...

Patrick, perhaps many Latter-day Saints say they don't "hear of that belief" because we don't overtly teach that "Jesus and Satan are brothers." That statement can be derived from what is taught, but you're just not going to hear it spun that way.

Bradley Ross said...

A favorite book of mine has been "Jesus the Christ" by the Mormon apostle James E. Talmage. Partially spurred by the recent questions about the Mormon beliefs about Christ, I decided to start podcasting the book for those who'd like a more in depth view than might otherwise be readily available. The full text of the book is available from Project Gutenberg.

D360 said...

Hi NM,

how does the Word be with God and Be God at the same time. I suspect you'd argue the trinity at this point - but it would seem strange wording, it would seem more plain to just say "in the beginnig was the Word and the Word was God"

however our D&C basically affirms the docrtine that Christ has always been with God in the beginning - eternally co-existing

"D&C 93: 21
21 And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the abeginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn;"

don't know how to provide a hotlink but you could go to LDS.org and look up the entire 93 rd section of the D&C for more on it.

hope that helps

Ryan said...

NM: Keep in mind that LDS believe that "in the pre-existence (beginning) we were all with God, and the Word (Christ) was a God."

If you think about it a moment, "beginning" is an odd word to use at all. By most definitions "eternity" doesn't *have* a beginning. Does the phrase refer to the beginning of things related to this earth? To the time at which we came into being (perhaps long before this earth)? Our vocabulary for describing this sort of stuff is rather limited -- finite, you might say -- and leaves these sorts of topics kind of murky, in my opinion.

If you want a real "trip" some time get a mathematician started on the different kinds of infinities and how they relate...

Bookslinger said...

Bradley, That's cool that you're podcasting Talmadge's book.

Did you know the church has MP3 files of it for download?

Did you record that version that the church has available for download?

Bradley Ross said...

Bookslinger: Yes, I'm aware the church has those audio files on their web site. I'm doing my own recording that excludes all the citations, which I think really helps the flow. Plus, it gives me an excuse to reread the book. :)

Confutus said...

In answer to JM, there are several times in the Book of Mormon where Jesus is stated or claims himself to be God: for instance, Mosiah 3:5 "the Lord Omnipotent, who reigneth, who was, and is, from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay..." Mosiah 3:15 "I would that you should know that God himself shall come down among the children of men and redeem his people:", 3 Ne 11:15 "I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth": in 3 Ne 15:5 "I am he who gave the law [to Moses]', and so forth.
Yet Jesus also speaks plainly of himself, in both the NT and the Book of Mormon, in both mortal and resurrected state, as distinct from and subordinate to the Father.
So Mormons also sometimes interpret John 1:
1 "In the Beginning [before the creation of the world] was the Word [Jesus], and the Word [Jesus] was with God [the Father] and the Word [Jesus] was God [in his own right].
2: The same was in the beginning with God [the Father].
I hope this helps.

NM said...

Hi D360; Ryan; Confutus,

Thank you for your response. Confutus, I especially liked all the amazing references you gave from the Book of Mormon showing that somehow, Jesus IS God!

I LOVE the reference from Mosiah 3:15! ""I would that you should know that God himself shall come down among the children of men and redeem his people:"

The above reference is something which I have been thinking of for the past few months and it thrills me =) that God, in order to give us eternal life, absorbed and propitiated his own wrath?! Isn't that so absurd, yet so amazing?! The demonstration of his 'love' by dying in our place is something I just cannot get my head around. The word 'grace' is a better word than that of 'love' to describe his kindness to us; when we come to know both how utterly destitute we are in our sin and realise His infinite holiness and majesty, 'grace' as is the best description, because it denotes how undeserving we are of it....Yet He chose to do it. What an AMAZING GOD! =D

D360,

John 1 is SO STRANGE, isn't it? And I agree, why didn't John just say, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God"

Notice: John points us to the subject of the Word and NOT God. John wants us to focus first upon this 'the Word'...so as John carries on, we find out that the Word are two things(!)

1) The Word was WITH God.

So, we assume that it is a person SEPARATE FROM God...but then goes on to say,

2) and the Word WAS God.

?!?!?!?WHAT?!?!?! John, that just DOES NOT MAKE SENSE! Not only does John make the blasphemous claim that the Word is EQUAL to God, but that the Word IS God?!

So, anyway I don't understand it myself. My finite mind can just about understand the doctrine of penal substitution, let alone the doctrine of the Trinity! =)


Ryan,

I don't know that I can agree with you with regard to whether 'beginning' relates to this earth only. The reason being is that if we scroll our eyes down to verse 3, it says, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

So, John goes back to Genesis and says that Elohim (a plurality of three or more), who made the universe? Well, the Word was also present!

Would I be right then to assume that LDS theology might say, "Well, Heavenly Father begat Jesus before anything was made and together they both created the universe"...would that be a correct assumption? And so AFTER everything was made by both Jesus and Heavenly Father, Heavenly Father then begat Lucifer, angels, spirits etc. Would that also be correct?


Jeff and others,

Just for the record guys, I can see how Satan and Jesus can viably be brothers IF ALL created beings have been begotten by Heavenly Father. So, if everyone (including demons, angels, spirits, humans) are literal children of God, what do you do with John 3:16? Or Jesus' parable of the master who first sends servants then as a last resort, sends His only son?

Ryan said...

I don't know that I can agree with you with regard to whether 'beginning' relates to this earth only.

Please don't! I was only trying to highlight how inadequate our language is for comparing eternities of different "sizes."

Would I be right then to assume that LDS theology might say, "Well, Heavenly Father begat Jesus before anything was made and together they both created the universe" ...would that be a correct assumption? And so AFTER everything was made by both Jesus and Heavenly Father, Heavenly Father then begat Lucifer, angels, spirits etc. Would that also be correct?

Basically, yes. Just to clarify, "spirits" are un- and dis- embodied beings (before birth and between death and resurrection, respectively). "Angel" is a title, not a species, i.e. "servant of God sent to mortals with a message from Him." Joseph Smith taught that, "there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it." D&C 130:5. Lucifer was a particularly powerful spirit that rebelled to become Satan.

One question, though: what do you mean by "created everything" and "created the universe?" LDS believe that we all existed before this earth, that this earth is not God's final creation, and that the process of creation continues eternally. I realize evangelicals might disagree with the first claim, but I think the other two are pretty well-accepted?

A less ambiguous statement of the LDS doctrine might be, "Heavenly Father begat Jesus before any of us and they participate in the process of creation together." Again, due to the nature of "infinite" and "eternal" our language doesn't allow us mortals to say things like "when" or "how much" with any clarity.

Ryan said...

Oh, and demons are simply spirits that rebelled against God during the pre-existence (like Lucifer). That's part of why they're so terrible and tragic -- the ultimate traitors, fighting against their own.

Kathleen said...

Ryan wrote, "LDS believe that we all existed before this earth, that this earth is not God's final creation, and that the process of creation continues eternally. I realize evangelicals might disagree with the first claim, but I think the other two are pretty well-accepted?"

Evangelicals don't believe that creation continues eternally (as far as I know!), but we do believe that there will be a new heaven and a new earth created after everyone is resurrected and judged.

Could you clarify what you mean about creation continuing eternally?

Kathleen said...

Right, and we don't believe this earth is the final creation. The "new heaven and earth" (Is 65:17, 2 Pe 3:13, Rev 21:1) will be, though. I kind of just said that, though. :P

glo said...

I would say that evangleicals do not beilive that creation goes one eternily. mostly because when god created, in the begining(gen 1:1) god did not just create the world, the universe and all that, he also created time. God is in controll of time, he is not ruled by time he is the one who created time.

as for john, it was written in greek not hebrew. there for his gosple is meant to deal with the metiphisical and phylisophical issues of the god-man, or the man-god. that is why the gospel of john is so importaint to the doctrine of the trinity, sanctification, and the nature of Christ.

as for the early christians, I have no problem with their writtings matcking up what lds say, not because it proves lds is closer then today's christians, but because during the ear of the anit nicean fathers (anit here does not mean against, but rather prier to) they were still working out the teachings and doctrins and theologies of what would become christianity. the doctrines that we have today are the result of early christianity coming in contact with that Heresies that tought simmilar teachings that sounded the same and used many of the same words and language but the fathers (Like Iernaus) Found to be inconsistent with what they found in the bible.

NM said...

Jeff,

I can't help but say the obvious here, that differences do exist between traditional Christianity and LDS theology - certainly between Evangelicalism and Mormonism...Whether or not you see it from my perspective, I can't help but think the differences are way too vast. Is it a correct assumption that the LDS church want to be numbered among traditional Christianity? Is that what it is? It certainly comes across this way; well certainly from the things you have written about...

If so, I personally just cannot see how the LDS church will be able to do it. And yes, most people's knowledge of Mormon Christianity is born out of ignorance - but I'm sure that through the use of the internet, people will eventually find out for themselves that the differences are immense.

Instead of this wanting to be merged into traditional Christianity, why not celebrate the differences that exist instead? I'm sure people in general will be more accepting of Mormonism if the LDS church clearly stated the differences that do exist. Personally speaking, I am now more appreciative of Mormonism because I have a knowledge of some of the differences.

Furthermore, this post alone (for example) clearly shows that traditional Christianity and LDS theology operate upon two different sets of paradigms.

I wonder if what has happened is that the people who shout the loudest against Mormonism are the Evangelicals. And whilst there are some aspects of Mormonism that may have similar doctrines to other Christian denominations, for example Methodism with the similarity being man's free agency, that Mormon theology might be more accepted among the more liberal circles...Would that be a fair assumption? Is it that Mormons get most flack from Evangelicals? Is that what it is, or do Mormons actually receive equal flack from all other Christian denominations?

Do you understand what I mean Jeff? Please know that what I have said has been expressed in all humility...

Peter said...

Is it a correct assumption that the LDS church want to be numbered among traditional Christianity?

Dear NM,

I do hope that you had a good Christmas and New Year.

In answer to this I believe that we don't want to be numbered among trraditional Christianity, we want to be aknowledged as Christians. That is to be a Christ centered religion based on the Christ of the Bible. Not Christian as described by creeds. To me, to be Christian means to believe in Christ. Well, thats a barebones description of it anyway. I have heard of a few people (through my friends) who claim we worship a different Jesus and that we aren't Christian. It is annoying that people don't recognise that we fully aknowledge that Christ is our Savior and attempt to emulate Him.

My take on the sitn.

Peter

NM said...

Hi Peter,

Thank you. The holidays were refreshing. It was an amazing time to simply enjoy God's goodnes in my family =) Did you have a good holiday? It's good to see you again by the way. I don't know whether you've simply been hovering, but I like to read from familiar names =) Question: why don't you open your own blog? I'd be interested to read some of your own thoughts?

And thank you for your response; again, it's probably something I will mull on in the next few days.

Peter said...

Gday again,

I had great Holidays! I was in New South Wales for the big family Christmas get together. Then I was in Geelong, Victoria for a YSA (young single adult) convention over New Years. It was my first convention. I have a girl friend now, she is the first one within the church and the first in a few years at least.
Things are going well so far this year.

I have been hovering. I didn't like the direction the conversations I was having were heading, so I evaluated and decided not to get into any big ones.
I had a blog once, it wasn't anything special. I'm not much of a writer really. All my thoughts and feelings stay in my head. Once I ponder something, and get an answer, I stop thinking about it and it goes into hibernation until I get into a discussion about whatever it was. Besides there is not a lot of point starting my own when Jeff does such a good job and provokes great thoughts. Maybe one day I will again start one and if so I'll let you all know.

I think that I am still learning (and probably will never stop) about God and His church. I don't understand all things but I know that the right choice was made, that is to follow Christ as best I can.

Satan being our brother was something I had before I became a member as well.

Peter

Carlos said...

If I may jump into the fray...

Ryan, I hope this answers some of your questions.

First of all I appreciate the respectful tone of the conversation so far. Let me do some clarifications from what I understand to be LDS doctrine (I’ve been a member since 20 years ago). Jesus Christ was the first being created in the Pre-mortal spheres. After that, Heavenly Father created all the other sons and daughters. Because He was the first One crated, and the first one to resurrect, Jesus Christ is known as the Firstborn Heb. 12: 23, Col. 1: 18, D&C 76: 54, 67, 71, 94, 102. That’s why in the spiritual realms His church is known as the Church of the Firstborn (in Spanish, Primogenito). He progressed in those timeless eons to the point of being God. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ created the heavens and the earth, and other spirits children assisted under their direction. Job 38: 7

4 Where wast thou when I alaid the bfoundations of the cearth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath alaid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the acorner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars asang together, and all the bsons of God shouted for joy?


In those pre-mortal realms Lucifer rebelled against God and was cast out, along with a third of the spirits, thus becoming Satan and his demons. The other 2/3 of spirit children come to Earth as men and women.
Another title of Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten. (in Spanish, Unigenito). While we were all created by Heavenly Father as spirit children, He is the only one that became mortal as the result of the Holy Ghost overshadowing Mary. So in pre-mortality Jesus received the title of Firstborn, in mortality he received the title of Only Begotten (John 1: 14, 18, John 3: 16, 18).
As for “"In the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God", in Spanish the translation says “In the beginning the Verb was with God and the Verb was God”. What verb? In my opinion, the great I Am., Jehovah, the pre-mortal Jesus Christ. He stated as much, and the Jews tried to kill him for blasphemy. John 8: 58
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
So He was with God, Heavenly Father, and He was also a God. Seems simple to me, as long as you understand the Godhead as three distinct separate Beings working in unity for one purpose. Most scriptures in the Bible about what people call the Trinity make sense if you look at them this way. For me, that’s another testimony of the veracity of the Church and its doctrine.
As for God being beyond, or above time, we agree. Some of the clearest scriptures on the matter are in the LDS scriptures
1. 2 Pet. 3: 8
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand ayears, and a thousand years as one day.
Alma 40: 8
8 Now whether there is more than one atime appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.
As for whether the church wants to be numbered among “traditional” Christianity, I would say it depends on what you call “traditional”. We want to be clear that we consider ourselves Christians as believers, followers, and worshipers of Jesus Christ. That’s what most people define as being a Christian, and that we are.
If by traditional you mean similar to other mainline Protestant denominations, the answer is no. If by traditional you mean as the church originally established by Jesus Christ, the answer is yes. We are a restorational church. That is, we claim to be a restoration of the original Church, as established by the Savior, with the same form, doctrine, and authority. We don’t want to be like other churches, for our whole reason for existing is the belief that the pure and original doctrine and authority had been lost from the face of the Earth. Well-meaning men did the best they could with what was available, doing much good and teaching much which is true in the process, thus tremendously blessing the lives of millions. But a restoration needed to happen, bringing forth the authority and doctrine as at first. That's what we call apostacy and restauration, both which are explained in the Bible.

Andrew Miller said...

Jeff,

I'm glad you brought this up. I did over at my blog (http://strongreasons.blogspot.com) as well a few days ago. The quote from Lactanius is insightful, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Okay, I am going to bite.

The way I see the Christianity issue is that we do not expect nor do we desire to be accepted as traditional christians. What we (at least I) desire is to be accepted as worshippers of Jesus Christ.

I feel that most of the teaching that we are not christian is to scare others from wanting anything to do with us.

It even goes so far that those who preach against the church (and yes, most of them seem to be evangelicals) do not even want us to be able to worship Jesus. It is especially disturbing when they talk about how offended they get when we even say we worship Jesus or accept Him as our Personal Savior, etc.

I have often thought that if evangelicals will not allow us to be Christian because we do not see the nature of God as they do, then we could say they are not Christian by the same criteria -- how would they like that?

Bassooner

Mormanity said...

NM - We are Christian - it's who we are, it's what we believe - and I strongly object when people try to define us as non-Christian. But we gladly acknowledge and do in fact celebrate the differences between traditional Christianity, the Christianity of the creeds and later. Our whole reason for being as a Church is the fact that there was some significant loss over the centuries that required a Restoration.

So yes, we are NOT part of "traditional" Christianity and have trouble with many of its post-biblical traditions and creeds, but we most certainly are Christian and look to Christ as our Savior.

joelglanfield said...

All I can add to this great post is that I'm grateful to Mike Huckabee (who admittedly doesn't know much about LDS doctrine?!?) for giving us a chance to clarify our beliefs. I don't think his political jab had any effect - except to direct more traffic to LDS.org as well as giving bloggers the opportunity to help others see what we actually believe. Do political cheap shots every really work on Americans anyways? I doubt it.

Just some thoughts from Canada ;)

Anonymous said...

NM,

You need to check out Rev. 12 and Rev. 12:7-10 talks about Satan and his angels or at least one third. What about the rest? Some Christians say that Micheal was Christ as an angel before he became the Son of God. Some say that Christ was never created but was with God from the begging. I just point this out to show that Christian religion have differing views on this.

Kathleen said...

Would someone explain to me why Isaiah 14:12-15 is assumed to be Satan and not Babylon? Reading the context and preceding verses (13.1, 14.4), I would never have put Satan into it! To me, it's entirely clear that Babylon is being referred to.

NM said...

Anonymous,

Hehe. These christians that you refer to, who have this idea that Jesus was Michael the Archangel are Jehovah's Witnesses. Again, another group of people who traditional Christians might view as a cult =P

Jeff,

Thank you for your response. I undertand your perspective. There are still a few questions that I'd like to ask, but at the moment - I have a subject for a post on my blog that I just can't get out of my head - and until I have written it down, I won't be able to concentrate on the questions that I have =) Bear with me though...

Funny, when I was at university, the Christian Union would hold an event called 'Grill-A-Christian'; a chance for students to hurl tough questions...and the poor guy would have to (on the spot) answer such questions as honestly as he (or she) could. Consider yourself Mormon-Grilled =)

Peter said...

Gday Kathleen,

It's pretty easy really. Lucifer = Satan.

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.


I have highlighted it here for you.

Peter

GB said...

Can someone define exactly what "traditional Christianity" is? Is it the protestant tradition (which also needs to be defined) or is it the Catholic tradition or is it something other. And who gets to give the definitive answer? In other words, Who is the authority to declare "traditional Christianity" and how would or could we know it?

Kathleen said...

I see, Peter! The ESV translation which I use says, "O Day Star, son of Dawn". The KJ seems to be the only one that says Lucifer...the Amplified adds the note saying the king of Babylon is implied. Any further thoughts?

Peter said...

Hi Kathleen,

Have a look at 2 Nephi 24:12-15 also Doctrine and Covenants 76:26-27. This may help tie in the other translations. I have heard the term Lucifer is a name or translation for Day Star. It may be like someone who uses Rock instead of my name?

A little food for thought.
Peter

Patrick said...

Jeff wrote:

"Please note that I use the term "anti-Mormon" above to describe those who are not interested in mere debate or understanding, but who intentionally use deceptive tactics to frighten people who know little about the Church. It's fine to disagree with our views and to question whether there was a premortal existence, or whether we and all angels, fallen or otherwise, can be called "spirit children" of God, etc., but to take our doctrine and spin it into an emotionally-charged cheap shot like, "Mormons worship a false Jesus who is Satan's brother!!" - well, that's far from intelligent discourse or sharing of differing views. It's a hostile attack meant to frighten people, to prey on their ignorance, and stir up prejudice."

That is a great explanation of what is anti-Mormon. I don't mind honest debate, but when I feel a conversation is nothing but cheap shots, I just walk away. That's real easy to do on the internet.

NM- your tone is refreshing. I just finished reading "Bridging the Divide-The Continuing Conversation Between a Mormon and an Evangelical" The book documents a long ongoing conversation between a BYU Professor and an Evangelical Pastor. It's purpose is to demonstrate that the LDS and Evangelical can converse together respectfully. It's a great model. You also demonstrate the civility that can exist. Thanks.

Confutus said...

NM,
In response to your comment, about how God "absorbed and propitiated his own wrath";
Mormons would say that he absorbed the penalties of his own justice, which qualifies Him to offer mercy and grace to those who do no worse than to inherit Adam's fallen and mortal state.
Wrath is reserved for those who spurn that offer.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Peter!

NM, have you followed this train of thought? Any thoughts?

Confutus said...

Kathleen,
I believe "Lucifer" is from a latin root, meaning something like Light-bearer.
LDS scripture (D&C 76:15-18) expands somewhat on "Lucifer" and "son of the morning", by describing him, before his fall, as an "angel in authority before God".
He rebelled against God, was cast out of heaven, and became Satan.

I have understood Isaiah to be poetically identifying the fall of Lucifer with that of the king of Babylon.

Anonymous said...

"angel in authority before God".

D&C 76:25

Anonymous said...

"O Day Star, son of Dawn".

As always there is a dispute in the differing translation and if this scripture in Isaiah 14:12-15 is talking about Satan or not. Other scriptures in the Bible appear to point to the idea that Satan was a pre-existant spirit or angel along with other angel\spirits. For me the idea of (ben) "son of dawn" suggests that he was some ones son. If so whos son? Surely not God Our Heavenly Fathers son. By Christian standards Christ was not created but always equal to the Father. But even Christ stated the the Father was greater the He. From this we could conclude that Christ and Satan and all of us have the same Father. ie. brothers.

If those Christians could just agree on one translation and interpetation I could then be a true Christian.

SteSmo said...

For those interested, John Tvedtnes has a wonderful chapter in his book "The Most Correct Book" concerning the controversy over the etymology of Lucifer and the context of the name in Isaiah. It is "Lucifer, Son of the Morning" from pages 132-153.

Happy reading!!

Steve Smoot

Slapper said...

So who is responsible for the evil nature of Satan? Was he created evil and is simply doing God's will, or did he have free will and is thus responsible for his evil choice to rebel?

SteSmo said...

Dear Slapper,

Latter-day Saint doctrine holds that Satan was one of God's elect spirit children who rebelled against God's plan so that he could give glory unto himself (Abraham 3:22-28, 2 Nephi 24:12, 2 Nephi 2:17-18, D&C 76:25-28). The Latter-day Saints also hold that Lucifer's, otherwise Satan, plan is to make us miserable through sin like himself(2 Nephi 2:27) by denying God's laws and rebelling against his doctrines.

As to why there is Satan in the world, it is clearly laid out in 2 Nephi 2 that Satan is loosed in this world so that man could act upon the God given gift of free agency and choose for himself whether or not he wants to follow God or Lucifer. Without Satan and sin, how could we know of God and his grace?

Hope this helps,

Steve Smoot

Anonymous said...

"So who is responsible for the evil nature of Satan?"

He is! He used his gift of free agency and rebeled aginst God's laws.

NM said...

Confutus,

You said, "Mormons would say that he absorbed the penalties of his own justice, which qualifies Him to offer mercy and grace to those who do no worse than to inherit Adam's fallen and mortal state.
Wrath is reserved for those who spurn that offer."


I agree with you wholeheartedly. The Word who became flesh, in dying, acheived two things: 1) to vindicate God's righteousness and 2) to propitiate God's righteous judgement to us who deserve nothing but death.

I find point 1 the most intruiging and profound. As Paul says in Romans: the penalty of sin (insurrection) is death. It seems God's only way to atone for sin is for someone to die.

A good example of Jesus' act to vindicate God's righteousness can be seen with the sin(s) that King David made. Do you remember? He lusts after Bathsheeba. So, he commits adultery and not only that, he purposely sends her husband out to the front line - with the clear intention that he will be killed. Adultery, perhaps rape AND murder? Yipes.

In the KJV, it records that God simply passed over David's sins! (I mention KJV because it seems that J Smith's translation says that God DID NOT pass over David's sin )...

How could a righteous judge (that being God) simply pass over sin (II Sam 12)?! Can you imagine a judge in the law-court, with good, clear evidence and without a shadow of a doubt to show that the man standing before him is guilty, to then simply pardon him? If a judge did that today, he'd be out of that job within seconds!

God simply passes over David's sin?!?! What, and he's supposed to be a righteous God? David deserved to die! This is a joke right? If this is a righteous God, then I don't want to have anything to do with him...

...then Jesus comes along...

Jesus - the descendent of David. Did you notice who DID die? Bathsheeba's first-born son: as if to show to David of someone else to come WHO WILL atone for David's sin.

His death served to vindicate His Father's righteousness. Now no-one can say that God is unjust. Why? Because he has payed the price himself...simply beautiful...



Jeff, I'm still workin' on my question. Please bear with me. =)

Teranno4x4 said...

Hi Jeff,

Interesting post and more interesting comments posted so far ....

On first glance, the whole concept of Jesus and Satan as brothers appears completely blasphemous. On closer inspection, there appears to be intelligent resoning to arrive at the conclusion.

Personally I hold with most of the comments made so far by NM and I was quite impressed by some of the comments of Carlos (5:26 PM, January 07, 2008), that I was surprised that no-one backed him up or developed some of his ideas. They seemed to be ignored...

For me though NM has hit the nail on the head with the verses that he used : John 1:2&3 : 2The same (the Word) was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

This text is quite clear - 'All things'. That means that Jesus is the creator of anything that has ever lived or even been created. Whether in this world or out of this world.

If this verse is not accepted, because it can be argued that it only applies to this earth's creation and not to time previous, then please consider a more compelling verse by a different author and witness in the NT , writing to the Colossians in Ch 1:16&17 :

16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Who is talking in Job 38:4 ?

Quite clear for me personally, now.

From the family perspective it is not possible for Jesus and Satan (nee Lucifer) to have been brothers at any time. This is the whole problem in the heavenly order of things that Satan never wanted to accept the authority of Jesus and wanted to exalt himself higher in Christ's position within the Godhead. As a created being he held to psychotic and envious ideas of grandeur well beyond his station.

Jesus alluded to events described only in the book of Genesis, revealing that he considered it an accurate historical record (see Luke 17:26–29; John 8:37,43-51; amongst many others etc.). How would He have known that emphatically if He was our creator, but had emptied Himself of His divinity ? Well I believe it to be from the closeness of the relationship that He has with His Father out of choice. The same choice that we all can choose too.

Also as you probably have guessed from my previous comments, I don't hold to thoughts of pre-existence, pre-mortal, spirit bodies or spirit children. The Bible identifies spirits as angels either working for God or for the Demonic forces. No in-between here. So on this sub-topic, I don't agree with Carlos at all. he does raise a good point though : "only begotten Son" - what does this mean in light of a spirit pre-existence if we are all sons and daughters of God in a pre-life?

Carlos also said : "Because He was the first One crated, and the first one to resurrect, Jesus Christ is known as the Firstborn Heb. 12: 23, Col. 1: 18, D&C 76: 54, 67, 71, 94, 102."

If Jesus was the first to resurrect, can anyone explain to me why Moses was present on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus ? Was he still dead - the disciples didn't think so ?

My opinion (for what it is worth) is that the verse in Hebrews is a very important idiom in that it places Jesus as the MOST IMPORTANT of ALL resurrections in pole position so to speak, not necessarily by timeline. taken out of context as Carlos demonstrated can be a theological banana skin. Unless the text is taken that Jesus is the literal firstborn resurrection from the 'second death', which the righteous will not experience but the death which the wicked will not return from - Satan included.

Teranno4x4 said...

In addition to the above comment, please also consider Philippians 2:5-11 :

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the FORM of God, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL WITH GOD:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In verse 7, the Greek word for servant more accurately translates as 'slave'. How many times do we refer to Jesus as a slave ? But through His act of humility He invites us to go to the place that He is preparing for us (john 14:2), so that we may sit together with Him on His throne (Rev 3:21).

These images - should they be taken quite literally? Are all the Redeemed going to sit on Jesus throne with Him together ? Or is it more of an idiom for sharing of the great Reward in being accepted by the Father and living with God for evermore ? The same applies to the name for Jesus.

NM claimed that the only Christians to identify Michael the Archangel as Jesus are the Jehovah's Witnesses. From my experience, the ones knocking on my door certainly didn't equate to that belief.

Michael is mentioned in particular in Dan 10:10-21, Dan 12:1,2 . When one considers ch10:21, ch12:1 and compares it to Rev 5:1-7 , the similarities are too strong to ignore.

One only needs to identify the Lamb that has the authority to open the book, since no other man was able to open the book from understanding verse 3 in Rev 5. One can clearly come to the conclusion that this is none other than Jesus. Can there be any other explanation ?

So the original post must come down to the personal understanding and conviction of the Nature and Being of Jesus. Is He our Creator or the Created (whatever your answer, He is still God!)... ?

How much more our salvation, if the creator of everything natural and supernatural was put to death on a cross for the forgiveness of universal sin (seeing as it originated in heaven with lucifer). What an impact on the whole universe to 'out' the deceptive character of satan, totally vindicating the Father of all wrongdoing and supernatural accusation, bringing redemption for mankind - all for eternal peace, hamony and rest. Hallelujah - what a Saviour!

Teranno4x4

Confutus said...

NM,
When Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden, God forbade them to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and promised that if they ate, they would die.
Thus, the penalty for disobedience was death (we don't take "day" literally here But "death" doesn't just mean the death of the body. It can be taken in another sense: The separation of the soul from God. Jesus uses the word "death" in this sense so abundantly, that it's practically the only way to make sense of many of his teachings.
Jesus's death on the cross satisfied the mortal death part, but what about the second? We can point to him on cross where he cried "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?". A separation from the Father would make sense: A separation of himself from himself strains the imagination even more than saying that he both was God and was with God.

Anonymous said...

"From the family perspective it is not possible for Jesus and Satan (nee Lucifer) to have been brothers at any time."

If Christ is the Son of God then did He have a Father? If Christ has a Father then could He have brother and sisters? No say it ain't so.

Anonymous said...

So should we take the word of T4x4 or the word of Lactantius?

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

Don't take the word of either myself or any other mere man.

See what God wants to teach you from His Word! The verses that I quoted from Colossians will suffice for you. They are easy enough to read!

Technically if Jesus created everything living in heaven and also on earth, then how could satan possibly be His brother in the family sense?

If you strictly use his title 'Son of God' and then use other biblical verses that relate to 'sons of God' as the angels, then yes you can arrive at that conclusion in twisted kind of logic. But the difference in separation of the two Beings (beings) is denoted by the capital letter of our wonderful Creator ! satan will never attain to this level of creative power - only fulfilling destruction wherever he now goes (including finally himself).

To still claim that they both are brothers is like claiming you are a brother to the flowers that you may decide to grow in a garden !

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

Teranno4x4, said:


"Don't take the word of either myself or any other mere man."

Amos 3:7 "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

Dare we use the scriptures also.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

Why do you persist in this vein of logic?

Here is the comment again for you in its entirity - you obviously missed the point first time around!

"Don't take the word of either myself or any other mere man.

See what God wants to teach you from His Word! The verses that I quoted from Colossians will suffice for you. They are easy enough to read! "

In other words - I am trying to say to you that you need to refer back to the Bible, which is God's Word to mankind revealed to all men by His servants and prophets. God's servants and prophets are not just mere men, they are carefully chosen from their obedience to their Creator! One is not elected a prophet or a servant by fellow men, one IS chosen by God.

Do you get the total message now ?

Teranno4x4

milk and honey said...

First begotten. Gr. proµtotokos, “firstborn” (see on Matt. 1:25; Rom. 8:29; cf. on John 1:14).
Though Jesus was not the first to rise from the dead in point of time, He may be regarded as first in the sense that all others resurrected before and after Him gained their freedom from the bonds of death only by virtue of His triumph over the grave. His power to lay down His life and to take it again (John 10:18) sets Him apart from all other men ever to come forth from the grave, and characterizes Him as the source of all life (see Rom. 14:9; 1 Cor. 15:12–23; see on John 1:4, 7–9). This title, with the one that follows, reflects the thought of Ps. 89:27.

Prince. Or, “ruler.” This world is Christ’s legitimate domain. Christ triumphed over sin and won back the lost heritage of Adam, and is the rightful ruler of mankind (Col. 2:15; cf. Col. 1:20; see Rev. 11:15). At the last day all men will recognize Him as such (see Rev. 5:13). But, recognized or not, Christ has overruled the affairs of earth for the completion of His eternal purpose (see on Dan. 4:17). The plan of redemption, made a historical fact by His life, death, and resurrection, has unfolded step by step toward that great day of triumph. See Rev. 19:15, 16.

Anonymous said...

T4x4, said:


"...refer back to the Bible, which is God's Word to mankind revealed to all men by His servants and prophets.


This is true unless there is a true prophet on the earth.

Teranno4x4 said...

Hi Anon,

Please don't trip up here.

The Truth is still the Truth.

A prophet will only enhance it for what it is and make the message from God commonly understood for all people....

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

T4x4, said:

"A prophet will only enhance it for what it is and make the message from God commonly understood for all people.... "

So you are saying that God does call prophets.

So does God call prophets then? Or should we just use the Bible and ignore anyone calling themselves a prophet or anyone else trying to clarify the Bible to the people? ie. pastors, priests, bloggers, etc.

Pops said...

So indulge me in a little heresy: the Bible is NOT the word of God. Not a single word of it was penned by God. Not the original, nor any of the translations.

All of the writing and translating was done by men, some more inspired than others, some recalling from memory events that had transpired many years previous to their being recorded. And then there are the many translations. Inspired, to be sure, but executed by men.

And the copying by hand. Is it possible any errors crept in there? Were all copiers inspired? Were they perfect? Did they sometimes make mistakes?

What about the editing? Who put the Apocrypha in the Bible, and who took it out? Once again, it was men, not God.

The point? The word of a living prophet will always trump the word of a dead prophet.

Relevant questions:

Can God call a prophet today, or is he unable to do so? If unable, why?

If God did call a prophet today, how would he call him? How could we know he was really a prophet?

If part of God's reason for calling a prophet today was to correct errors that had crept into the things taught about Him, how could we know it? Some of what he would teach would necessarily contradict the written record, so that couldn't constitute a litmus test.

tatabug said...

Pops,

Good questions and excellent points!

Anonymous said...

Pops,

Is that why there are no more revelations for the D&C?

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Pops / Tatabug,

OK let me humour your 'heresy' for a short time in my reply.

the Bible is NOT the word of God. Not a single word of it was penned by God. Not the original, nor any of the translations.

Who wrote the 10 Commandments on stone, so that Moses could preserve them into his writings ?

Who wrote ' MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN' ?

What did Jesus write in the sand to dissolve the crowd for the woman caught in adultery ?

Why were the words of Jesus recorded as such inside the four Gospels and at the beginning of Acts?

Why does Revelation also have many of the words of Jesus?

You raise many easily disputable questions over the authority of the Bible. On first glance maybe you have a point, until deeper research into history shows that the apostle John lived until circa 100AD, by which time the books that we have today in our Bible pretty much were concluded to be the included ones by the early Christian Church (of which John was still actively participating).

The word of a living prophet will never trump or undermine (my word) the word of a dead prophet. Their message is always from God (if they are a true prophet), whose message is consistent with His law and whose message can only be further enhanced - never diminished.

Truth will triumph and never be suppressed.

If God wants to declare His message today through a prophet, then of course it is possible - I never claimed anything different. Only my personal belief on this topic is that a constant stream (as the Catholics have their popes) of 'modern-day' prophets leading a 'people' is not God's way. The prophets are usually chosen from the 'least of the least' and are obedient to do His bidding in declaring His divine message to the target audience.

How about if the prophet contradicted errors brought in that are easily understood from the early 'organised' church which was based on the Vulgate and written in Latin (enter Apocrypha argument with it's origins in gnosticism).

If a prophet contradicts the 'Textus Receptus' / Authorised Versions translated from some of the earliest available manuscripts (some originals), then that is where I would say he would be on dangerous ground himself, based on the fact that a 'true' prophet never contradicts any previous message only adds to, enhances or provides completely new light or insight into certain matters.....

The LDS denomination can not hide behind the concept of a Bible written by man. With all the history of the dead sea scrolls, early manuscripts from the early Christian church (NT gospels, letters etc.) . I maintain that if you removed the knowledge / writings contained in the Bible, then the whole gospel message would disappear too. The BOM or any other book for that matter just does not cut the mustard when delving into the redemptive teachings of Jesus and the reasons why. These are discussed in Genesis and follow through like a piece of string all the way through to Revelation. The golden thread of truth.

Final comments from the Bible :

Prov 30
5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Mark 7 (words of Jesus)
13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Luke 5
1And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God

Luke 8
5 A sower went out to sow his seed:
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

Acts 4
31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Heb 4
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Rev 19
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.


Now should I believe Jesus or J.S. because he is more recent timewise ?

Respectfully as heretically possible against your comment,

Teranno4x4

Peter said...

Gday Teranno4x4,

I thought I would step in and ask why do we need to disbelieve one or the other? I am sure that all LDS members strongly believe/know that Jesus Christ is the Lord. That he did do everything written of in the Bible and book of Mormon, and is who the Bible and Book of Mormon say he is. I also know that all LDS members believe/know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.
Why are you asking us to pick one?
For us, Joseph corrected misunderstandings and brought new enlightenment, among other things.
Have you read the Book of Mormon all the way through? If so, or if not, I would suggest looking at it for what it is porported to be, divinely inspired scripture, asking yourself if it is possible that this is what we claim it is?
What is it about Joseph Smith that makes you think he is not a Prophet?

Peter

Pops said...

T4x4,

Sorry, I seem to have struck a nerve. I meant only to explore in order to understand where our beliefs diverge.

The point is not that God has in times past spoken to man - he truly has - but that the recording of his word was always done by men, translated by men, edited by men, etc. We don't have the tablets inscribed with the 10 commandments. We don't have the writing on the temple wall. We don't have any audio or video tape of the Savior speaking. What we have is what was written by men, filtered, translated, and edited through the ages.

You say, "The word of a living prophet will never trump ... the word of a dead prophet." True enough. I guess what I meant to say was that the word of a living prophet trumps the translated, edited, filtered word of a dead prophet. Not because the dead prophet erred, but because the translating, editing, and filtering can change both what the dead prophet said as well as what he meant.

Christ seemed anxious to have Peter lead the flock after his ascension. He and the other Apostles struggled mightily against false doctrine that was continuously creeping into the young church. Why should we not need a prophet today, one who is authorized and called of God, to keep the doctrine pure in our day also? Why would God leave us alone to waste away our lives in discussions and arguments about true doctrine, if we indeed truly seek him with all our hearts?

Teranno4x4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Peter,

I am not disputing that LDS Christians believe in Jesus or hold J.S. in high esteem as a modern-day prophet, as you do the same with the leader of your church today.

My point is that it is God who appoints prophets and in a time of his choosing. It is not for man to presume the best candidate to fit the shoes.

I made my points because of the fact that it has been described in this thread that J.S. has corrected misunderstandings and re-interpreted many errors within the accepted canon.

The reason that I beg to differ and not accept this as a fruit worthy exercise is that Jesus Himself - the very Son of God (note the emphasis here) - taught and preached his sermons based on the writings of the patriarchs and prophets in times of old. He didn't come with a re-invented message. He opened up the meaning of scripture with parables and teaching in order to demonstrate to the world the true nature and character of God, in His life, death and Resurrection.

If Jesus did not re-invent the wheel by correcting perceived errors - then what gives J.S. the right or authority to do so? Is it the same authority that was with Jesus ?

This is where I see that the differences in our Christian faiths start. It has nothing to do with reaching deep inside me to 'feel' the movement of my heart within me when I read the BoM (btw I felt nothing!), but everything to do with the authority by which the men of old spake for God. This should not be changed.

I have made this point before, but I will state it again. Yes, if one nit-picks then you may find spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors between the ancient and modern original languages - however the most important aspect about any comparisons is that the message contained has absolutely NO deviation.

Regarding J.S. , his life, his own testimony witness and the circumstances surrounding his death lead me to believe that he was not a 'true' prophet. I can accept our differences in this respect, but this is my opinion. I have posted a comment on 'true' prophets on Jeff's more recent post 'A Mormon Conspiracy'.

Teranno4x4

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Pops,

No - no nerve has been struck - unless you count all the areas where we choose to agree to disagree as raw nerves.

I am always happy to discuss as long as our opinions can respectfully be acknowledged?

True, we don't have the ark of the covenant with the 10 Commandments inside. Would it change your perception on the translations / interpretations if it were to be found ? If so why? If not, then why ?

For me I don't think that Daniel who saw the writing on the palace wall would have made any mistakes when he recorded and explained the message 'MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN'. Could he have made a major error here in front of the king of Babylon or in his recorded proceeding Book? This is in characters that we recognise the closest that we have to the original language and he was a true prophet that had privelidges of seeing heavenly matters because he was 'greatly beloved'. Check out the original language if you prefer and the message is the same...

For the words of Jesus, look to the four gospels. Yes they differ in beauty that we are all made differently and do not comprehend the same. But how much of the four gospels is consistent with either the same even or the same words of Jesus ? Where are the errors here? Do the four books contradict each other at all or anything else written afterwards in the NT ? If not, why not ?

Why then would J.S. feel the need to re-interpret that which did not need changing ?

Personally I do not feel that God has left us alone at all. We have His Word to dig deep into His character. I feel God very strongly in my life - I do not feel alone.... As for differences in doctrine, well maybe you need to keep searching for the answer to your question. My answer is in my my very being and is part of my own make-up and character and I am learning more, day by day. I do not question the nature of God's Word - I just accept it for what it teaches me (and in the original form wherever possible).

It is also possible for God to speak to us directly through various other means than just through a prophet. Have you not experienced these other methods in your life (eg prayer and answer to prayer)?

Psalms 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

Teranno4x4

Pops said...

Teranno,

Let me take a shot at some of your questions.

Q: Would it change your perception on the translations / interpretations if it were to be found?

A: It would demonstrate whether or not the translations we have are accurate, assuming we could translate them accurately today.

Q: Could he [Daniel] have made an error?

A: I would hope not, with only 4 words to work with ;-)

Q: Where are the errors here [four gospels] ?

A: Well, if I knew that, I would be a prophet then, wouldn't I?

Seriously, though, here are a few of the corrections that were provided by Joseph Smith:

Matthew 4:5+ - the devil didn't take Jesus anywhere, the Spirit did. [Why would Jesus allow the devil to take him anywhere?!?]

Matthew 4:23 - adds the clarification that those who were healed were those who believed in Christ.

Matthew 6:13 - changed "lead us not into temptation" to "suffer us not to be lead into temptation" [why would God lead us into temptation?!?]

Matthew 7:29 - changed "For he taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes" to "For he taught as one having authority from God, and not as having authority from the scribes" [The scribes had authority - the original makes no sense]

Matthew 11:27 - changed "and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" to "and they to whom the Son will reveal himself; they shall see the Father also" [the former appears to give Jesus authority over the Father, something which Jesus himself contradicted often]

Matthew 13:12 - changed "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath" to "For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever coninueth not to receive, from him shall be taken away even that he hath" [How can you take from someone who has nothing?!?]

Matthew 19:13 - changed "Then were brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them." by adding, "saying, There is no need, for Jesus hath said, Such shall be saved."

Okay, I'll stop with that one, which shows how the deletion of a few words at the end of a verse can drastically alter doctrine, from the innocent and saved nature of little children to a belief that infants require baptism or they will go to hell.

You get the idea. The pattern of changes suggests numerous innocent changes that would normally occur as an ancient document gets filtered through the ages, along with some alterations that might not be so innocent.

Q: Have you not experienced these other methods in your life (e.g. prayer and answers to prayer)?

A: I struggle with questions worded this way - is the answer, "Yes [I have not]", "Yes [I have]", "No [I have not not]", or "No [I have not]". But yes, I receive vast amounts of inspiration and guidance from God on a daily basis, due in part to having received the Gift of the Holy Ghost by one bearing the priesthood of God.

One of your earlier comments was, "The prophets are usually chosen from the 'least of the least' and are obedient to do His bidding in declaring His divine message to the target audience." Nor surprisingly, that describes a 14-year-old uneducated farm boy in upstate New York who asked God which of the many conflicting Christian denominations he should join, and got far more than he bargained for.

I think I have a better understanding of where we differ, and I thank you for your patience. Nevertheless, I will assert that we have more in common than we have differences - something that is often forgotten in the moment.

Pops said...

Another question, if I may: why does the Bible end?

Anonymous said...

Come on Pops, we all know why the Bible ends, because Christ was the last true prophet on the Earth...unless you count Paul who survived the rest...well, well that is if we don't count John neither. No more prophets mean no more need for more revelations, which means no more need for pastors, priests, teachers, apostles, prophets, evangelists and so forth...we have the Bible...that's all we need.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Pops,

I will try to start with the latter questions and work upwards...

The Bible ends with Revelation. Revelation is a book that needs to be read in parallel to Daniel, as many of the scenarios, visions and prophecies are inter-related. Revelation finishes with God dwelling with His children on an earth made new without any wicked / evil people or angels due to them being destroyed as a result of their wicked and evil ways.

Probation has closed with Jesus' second coming - His purpose to take His people home.

Beauty, Holiness and Peace will reign in the universe forever more.

What further books are necessary to be added to this message of hope for God's people living with the 'everlating gospel'?

I have appreciated your reply and have also had the time to fully digest your comment. Whilst I will address the Bible verses used individually in a second comment, I will also state that I personally see that we have more differences than we have in common, mainly because I am Bible based and you can quite happily manipulate the scripture (written by men of God), based on the life of a 19th century man.

Acceptance or not of this testimony is key to the real differences in our Christian outlook. I never forget this in any moment. I am pleased to acknowledge our differences and to respect the way that you choose to go.

More later .....

Anonymous said...

T4x4 said
"You happily manipulate scripture..."

I guess the Bible wasn't manipulated then? Is that what you're saying? Then I guess knowing that Revelation, wasn't really the last book of the Bible doesn't bother you? Nor does the fact that other books written by prophets, ie Gad the Seer, 3rd Corinthians..ahem 2nd Corinthians, were never placed into the Bible and that's okay right? That's totally not manipulation? So the "Church" that put the whole Bible together didn't manipulate the texts? So, taking text out of the Bible after putting it in, isn't manipulation? Hmmm...I need to see your definition of "manipulation".

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Pops,

The canon that it taken from the Textus Receptus in order to make up the 'Authorised Version' is as accurate in the English language as any translation that we have today. As I stated previously the apostle John was part of the very early church that had pretty much decided on which of the books would be included in the accepted Bible that we have today. My guess is that you would only be disputing the content of the NT, since the Jews still readily accept the OT as their canon.

If Anon wishes to harp on about the 'church' and 'addidtion' / 'deletion' after I have made my point quite clearly above, then that is also fine. I am assured of where I stand on this. I need no pursuasion any other way. The church he is mentioning that claimed 'authority' was the early Roman church that was compiling it's canon to become the Latin 'Vulgate'. This was borne out of pagan flirtation by the church in the early centuries when the Eastern mysticism had a major influence in unifying the trends in paganism and Christianity. Many of the adopted symbols are still used by the 'church' today. When one researches the history, it is easy to uncover the real truth described above.

My position is stated further by the Bible in 2 Tim 3:16 - 2 Tim 4:4

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Chapter 4
1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.


When the Reformers realised that the original letters and translations had been tampered with to the extent of spin that they saw, that is why they 'protested' and endeavoured to re-translate word by word the 'Authorised Versions' that we have today from as close to the original manuscripts as possible. The Luthers, Tyndales, Wycliffes and Huss's of our western civilisation have not died in vain to protect and return God's Word to it's rightful form for the everyday people to understand in their local language. They are the real heroes, minnows before the religious sharks, hounding their every move and taking lives in the process.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Pops,

Sorry for the delay whilst I could compose a suitable reply.....

T = Teranno , P = Pops

T: Would it change your perception on the translations / interpretations if it were to be found?

P: It would demonstrate whether or not the translations we have are accurate, assuming we could translate them accurately today.
T: Let us assume that they are identically translated word for word as known in the KJV in Ex ch 20. Would your position of belief in God’s Word change in any way?

T: Could he [Daniel] have made an error?
P: I would hope not, with only 4 words to work with ;-)
T: OK – humour accepted – so do you accept these words as written directly from God (bearing in mind that you claimed not one word etc….previously) ?

T: Where are the errors here [four gospels] ?
P: Well, if I knew that, I would be a prophet then, wouldn't I?
T: No, it would not make you a prophet – my question asked you to consider the identical circumstances that Jesus found Himself in from the independent accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Also considering the words of Jesus Himself that are systematically recorded identically accurate in two or more of the Gospels. Will you still claim them to be containing error ?


P: Seriously, though, here are a few of the corrections that were provided by Joseph Smith:

P:Matthew 4:5+ - the devil didn't take Jesus anywhere, the Spirit did. [Why would Jesus allow the devil to take him anywhere?!?]
T : The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness and kept Him alive whilst he encountered no physical food or water. This is how Jesus too can pass the test of a prophet by being invigorated by God at this time. The devil DID take Jesus to these places and temp him with these real temptations. To claim otherwise in my honest opinion is blasphemy. We all must go through daily temptation (not always as direct as Jesus suffered but temptation nevertheless). Note how Jesus overcame..... by quoting the Word of God. Not because he was divinity incarnate - no - because he had been brought up on it and could even teach His superiors from being a child and it was living in His veins. An object lesson for us all.

P: Matthew 4:23 - adds the clarification that those who were healed were those who believed in Christ.
T: This is a false claim. How can someone possessed by a demon or a devil openly believe in Jesus? Remember the healing of the 10 lepers ? How many returned with thanks? You see not so much belief there as gladness that they were healed - they were not thinking of their Saviour and the miracle that He performed, the nine were only thinking of self. This example (and I believe verse 24 in Matt 4) sets the whole scene that Jesus healed indiscriminately. As John states at the end of His gospel, the world could not contain all the 'things which Jesus did'.

Matthew 6:13 - changed "lead us not into temptation" to "suffer us not to be lead into temptation" [why would God lead us into temptation?!?]
T: This I see as a pedantic perception difference. If God is all-powerful and all-merciful to allow you to breathe and live (and the same for me too), then can he allow us to face temptation as severe as he allowed Job or Jesus to endure ? The 'lead' in this verse is not active. It is passive. If God leaves our presence then how much more do we become exposed to evil and temptations that can come our way? If we choose to leave God's presence through our own selfish endeavour how much more damage can evil do? Having said all of this the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to face His temptation by the devil, so does this also happen in our lives too? If it does then we also have the promise of 1Cor 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

P: Matthew 7:29 - changed "For he taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes" to "For he taught as one having authority from God, and not as having authority from the scribes" [The scribes had authority - the original makes no sense]
The original makes perfect sense and needs no changing! The focus of the original is in the verb 'to teach', so when the comparison is made it is quite obvious from the original English that it was the authority and truth of the teaching that was vastly different to what the people were used to from the scribes and on a completely higher level. In other words he opened up the scriptures in a way that the scribes could not for the people to understand. Yes, the power and authority was from God, but the emphasis is only on the direct comparison of the teaching between Jesus and the scribes. Nothing else.

Matthew 11:27 - changed "and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" to "and they to whom the Son will reveal himself; they shall see the Father also" [the former appears to give Jesus authority over the Father, something which Jesus himself contradicted often]
T: I am sorry - but again there is a major mis-conception leading you away from the original meaning and grammar. This has nothing to do with Jesus revealing Himself to anyone so that the can see the Father. In fact the reverse is applicable in this verse. It is stating that the 'him' at the end of the verse is not emphasising the Father (otherwise it would be a capital Him). Also 'he and him' are added to the English translation from the original Greek in order to improve the sentence composition. The 'him' only relates to 'human beings' or 'man' whom Jesus reveals to the Father, on our behalf as our victorious intercessor. This is consistent with what Jesus is recorded as saying in John 14:6 'no man cometh unto the Father, but by me'!

Matthew 13:12 - changed "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath" to "For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever coninueth not to receive, from him shall be taken away even that he hath" (How can you take from someone who has nothing?!?)
T: This is stating the spiritual darkness that was on Israel that Jesus spoke in parables about the Kingdom of Heaven in language that they could appreciate. If they chose to let his message fall on deaf ears, then they were spiritually empty in the first place and did not let His message affect them either. Therefore when Jesus returns to give His reward to His followers at His second coming and take His people home, then those that refused to heed his words have lost their opportunity to be with Him. Those that heeded will develop a stronger love for their Saviour 'in abundance' (and in Heaven). Quite simple really.

Matthew 19:13 - changed "Then were brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them." by adding, "saying, There is no need, for Jesus hath said, Such shall be saved."
T: I don't believe in or acknowledge the doctrine of infant baptism either. But neither do I accept the addition to the end this verse. Is it there in the original Greek ? Check for consistency of this meaning in the other Gospels - the J.S. implied re-translation is not there at all.

13. Then.... [Blessing the Children, Matt. 19:13–15=Mark 10:13–16=Luke 18:15–17. Major comment: Mark.] The thought sequence is here stressed rather than the immediate time sequence.
Were there brought.... Jews customarily took their children, particularly at the age of one year, to be blessed by a rabbi.
Rebuked them... The disciples completely misunderstood Jesus. They considered this request a waste of their Master’s time and an unnecessary interruption in what was, to them, the more important task of preaching the gospel to adults. They thought they were protecting Jesus from annoyance. According to Mark, Jesus was “much displeased” with the peremptory action of the disciples (see ch. 10:14).


Okay, I'll stop with that one, which shows how the deletion of a few words at the end of a verse can drastically alter doctrine, from the innocent and saved nature of little children to a belief that infants require baptism or they will go to hell.
T:Not implied in either the original Greek or the authorised English versions. This concept is probably originated from the 'Vulgate'.... (speculation as I have no real interest in this false doctrine either).

You get the idea. The pattern of changes suggests numerous innocent changes that would normally occur as an ancient document gets filtered through the ages, along with some alterations that might not be so innocent.
I can see your thought patterns for believing the way that you do. However I really hope that you can also appreciate the meaning as I have offered, since this is the 'true' meaning of the original text / grammar, whether one prefers the Greek or the authorised English versions. If you can not accept my thoughts here - please check it out for yourself in a Greek - English translation.

T: Have you not experienced these other methods in your life (e.g. prayer and answers to prayer)?

P: I struggle with questions worded this way - is the answer, "Yes [I have not]", "Yes [I have]", "No [I have not not]", or "No [I have not]". But yes, I receive vast amounts of inspiration and guidance from God on a daily basis, due in part to having received the Gift of the Holy Ghost by one bearing the priesthood of God.
I did not ask you for any authority. Only if God has answered any of your prayers or revealed Himself in some way to you. My point is that whilst I hold the Bible in extemely high esteem for my life, my personal 'one to one' relationship to Jesus is more important. I can have my Bible taken away from me, but no one can rob me of my Saviour. Personal witness and testimony is also important and I can also see the will of God working in the lives of people that I know (and that also strengthens my faith in Him). The Bible is the tool by which I desire to draw closer to God. It is the ONLY book to contain the 'Everlasting Gospel'!

Many thanks for your interest in my comments. I hope that you have found them interesting and useful.

Teranno4x4

Anon - please do not misconstrue what I have said just because you don't agree!

Andrew Miller said...

This question, "Don't mormons believe the devil and Jesus are brothers" is like asking "you (Mr. Christian) believe in human sacrifice, right?" While both are strictly true (Jesus was fully human and was sacrificed for sin), neither sound right are questions bent on the shock factor and not on real discussion.

Shame on Huckabee!

Anonymous said...

I would like to read or see some evidence that John was part of the early church that chose which books to place in the Bible. There are two stories that I gather from his history.

1. He was sentenced to die many times according to the book of Martyrs and then left after being banished to Isle of Patmos.

OR

2. He went to present day, Turkey and there cared for Mother Mary and was a Bishop for some time in the Catholic Church and there died of old age around 100 years old or something like that. So, how could John have appeared to Joseph Smith to give him the priesthood if had been dead for all that time? And why would he have done it, if he was part of the Catholic Church until his death? Something doesn't make sense. Maybe this should be on the Conspiracies post.

Pops said...

Teranno - there is a significant difference between words being FROM God, and words being WRITTEN DOWN BY GOD HIMSELF in a document. How many words were written in ANY copy of ANY Bible or ANY of their precursors by GOD HIMSELF, with His own hand (or whatever other appendage he might possess, to appease those who reject the notion that we are created in the image of God)?

It was MEN, not God, who recorded the words of God in documents, along with their recollection of related events. Each and every copy of every word in the many versions of the Bible that exist today, or that have ever existed, were written by MEN, copied by MEN, translated by MEN, typeset by MEN, and caused to be printed by MEN.

Problem: men are not now nor have ever been infallible with regard to clerical endeavors.

This then is compounded by the fact that we do not possess the originals of any of the many documents the Bible comprises, not a single one.

Yet you are certain of the meaning and correctness of every word.

How so?

tatabug said...

I would like to reemphasize Pops statement that "WE DO NOT POSSESS THE ORIGINALS OF ANY OF THE MANY DOCUMENTS THE BIBLE COMPRISES, NOT A SINGLE ONE."

Darion Alexander said...

Tatabug and Pops, what about the Dead Sea Scrolls? Wouldn't those amount to originals of at least something? I see where you are going with this Pops, and yes, I have to agree. But in the end, we are supposed to take things on faith.

Pops said...

Copies...

I think this horse is dead. This got way off-topic, but one point might be that there is a continuum of beliefs about the Bible.

At the "arrogant" extreme, the Bible is considered a work of fiction unless everything in it is scientifically proven beyond a doubt - which will not happen.

At the "naive" extreme, it is supposed that "the Bible" somehow magically survived the ages without any alterations or errors, notwithstanding the many different versions and disparities among them.

Somewhere in between is a more pragmatic belief that errors have crept in, some unintentional and others not, pointing out the need for modern revelation to steer us on a straight course.

tatabug said...

Darion,

I know very little about the Dead Sea Scrolls, but from what I do understand, they are not necessarily originals, but copies as well. Jeff's website has a bit of information on the subject from John A. Tvedtnes, who gives a brief explanation and references some books for further understanding of the issue.

Anonymous said...

T: Would it change your perception on the translations / interpretations if it were to be found?

P: It would demonstrate whether or not the translations we have are accurate, assuming we could translate them accurately today.
T: Let us assume that they are identically translated word for word as known in the KJV in Ex ch 20. Would your position of belief in God’s Word change in any way?

T: Could he [Daniel] have made an error?
P: I would hope not, with only 4 words to work with ;-)
T: OK – humour accepted – so do you accept these words as written directly from God (bearing in mind that you claimed not one word etc….previously) ?

I am not sure we could because there is no word for word translation. Even not when some of the best biblical professors cant agree on the translation of the Gospel of Judas.

The new interpretation contradicts the first translation, released by the National Geographic Society in April 2006. But the debate is far from settled.
That initial interpretation of the newfound gospel says that the apostle was following Jesus' orders when he gave Jesus up to enemy soldiers.
In the National Geographic translation, the text's ancient authors depict Judas Iscariot as Jesus' closest friend and the only apostle who truly understood Christ's message. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)
The Bible famously tells of Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Evil as Ever?
April DeConick, a professor of biblical studies at Rice University in Texas, says the first translators got it wrong.
In her new book, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says, DeConick offers her own translation of the gospel.
"In my translation Judas did not come across as a benevolent spirit like he does in National Geographic's translation," DeConick said.
"He emerged as a much more negative Judas—a demon Judas as evil as ever."
Marvin Meyer is one of the translators who National Geographic enlisted. He said he welcomes additional interpretations of the Gospel of Judas.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Pops,

So we have to accept that there is no clear visible reference point for God's own finger having written on something available for visual inspection today.

Now what - why are you a Christian? You have never seen Jesus. You have never seen God. Neither have I - but I wholeheartedly believe. Why - because as Darion Alexander has correctly pointed out, as a Christian I possess something called 'faith' that has been resolutely strengthened by the Gospel message contained in the Bible. I have never claimed one translation to be correct or accurate over another. I did say, wherever possible try to find the most basic and original language that you can understand for your study and research. And I can claim the promise found in 2 Tim 3:16 - 2 Tim 4:4 that I submitted previously for you.

Have you ever seen the wind? But you believe in the wind - why? Because you can see the effects everyday. This is exactly the same reason I believe in my Saviour.

It is heresy against God to sound off half-cocked about His Words. Some words direct from His mouth! Do you like the comment that makes you a direct critic of God Himself? Who are you to claim that this handed down message has degenerated from the original meaning? Yes, mere men are responsible for the handling of God's Holy work, the records, the prophecies and the necessary translations.

To my knowledge some original manuscripts have been preserved in their original Greek as written and contained in the NT? How should we treat these records - also with the same suspicion ?

Here we also come to a dilemma, since I see Daniel as an OT prophet for example with a most important message for the world.

You hold Joseph Smith in very high esteem in terms of investigating the topic of translating and error to be found in scripture. He too was a man was he not? If you measure the same argument against J.S.'s work, is it possible that it could be full of error too ?

To bring it back on-topic, this is one of the key reasons why there is the supernatural conflict between the 'Truth' explaining Jesus (with four different and often the same accounts regarding His life in the Gospels) and satan, who wants us to be deceived and always criticise and nit-pick away at the 'Truth' until we no longer believe.

satan a brother of Jesus the Creator ? - no way! Just a spoilt brat throwing his toys and supernatural weight out of his pram.

Just a thought.

Teranno4x4

tatabug said...

T4x4,

Joseph Smith was human and as such, imperfect like anyone else. But the significant difference between Joseph Smith and many of the men involved in the many years of copying and translating the Bible, is that he was a prophet and they were not. God's special power and authority are upon His prophets in ways that are not available to any ordinary human. As a prophet, his purposes were single to the glory of God, even though he was still imperfect. We can also feel confident that the scriptures revealed through him are acceptable to God, because it is only through prophets that God reveals scriptures, and through the power of God, they are given the ability to translate. We cannot say the same of ordinary men. We cannot say with any surety that the men involved in the work of copying, editing, and translating the Bible had their purposes single only to the glory of God. We also cannot be sure that their translations accurately represent the intent of the original authors because they do not possess the special power of God which is granted to prophets. They translate according to human understanding. Prophets translate by the power and understanding bestowed upon them by God. Which power do you prefer? Any errors in Joseph Smith's work are only minor, and not enough to amount to a corruption of doctrines.

I know you don't accept Joseph Smith as a prophet, and so you will not agree with me or accept what I am saying. But that is how I see it, and you are free to continue to disagree. In the Book of Mormon, it was prophesied unto one of the prophets in it that when this country was discovered by the Gentiles, they would carry a book with them which contained the words from the mouth of a Jew, otherwise known to us as the Bible. But in the beginning, it not only contained many more writings, but the writings as they were originally constituted, were pure and plain unto the understanding of men. However, because of the wickedness of men, those plain and precious things were lost or corrupted so as to cause men to stumble and allow Satan power over them. These are the prophecies that Joseph translated through the power of God, and if he is a prophet of God, these words are true, and there is no other option but to believe that the Bible is corrupted.

Your efforts to convince us that the Bible contains God's undefiled word using the Bible as proof is rather a flawed approach, particularly if the Bible HAS been corrupted. It is fine to say that the teachings of Christ and their effects as manifest in your life and the lives of others lead you to the conclusion that they are true. There is no denial that there are still many powerful and important and true things still contained in the Bible, and we should cling to those. But that doesn't make the Bible immune to corruption. And the accusation that by criticizing the Bible, we criticize God himself is pathetic. I have said before that I accept all of God's word and more than you even. But if God's word has been corrupted by men, I won't accept it, and neither should you. Otherwise, I would be foolish and subject to the deception perpetrated by Satan himself, who wants nothing more than to pervert the truth.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Tatabug,

I have NEVER stated that the Bible is immune to attempts over mis-translation, mis-interpretation or plain old corruption. In fact if you gave yourself the time to dig deep into the manuscripts of the early Roman church who adopted the Vulgate as their accepted canon, you will notice that there are many differences to the original manuscripts that the protestant reformation actually corrected in these times. Such was the move away from the early apostolic church that it horrified the reformers to see how far the movement was. Why do you think the 'church' hunted down and burnt at the stake so many of the reformers as 'heretics' going against church and their traditions?

To carry on a mis-translation argument against 'modern-day' translations or those that 'spin' or twist a certain doctrine is grasping at straws in an attempt to heighten your faith against the myriad of other Christian denominations.

I know that this may sound absurd but I am trying to make a point here without wanting to belittle the JW's. Neither you or I accept the JW version of the Bible - why because the 'religio-spin' has contorted their message to fit their doctrines (eg renaming all examples of God or Lord only to Jehovah, when in fact it is clear to see actions of Jesus from within the Godhead in the OT ).

This is why it is so important to return to the study of the closest that one can find to the original manuscripts (if you consider mis-appropriation to be a problem). If you can then find that the accusations that are levied at the Bible are true and that it is not as translated accurately, then fine go ahead and criticise. But I think that in the verses where Pops elevated the 'new light' of Joseph Smith on theses specific verses mentioned, it was actually the message that he was flaunting, that polluted away the texts from the original. That to me is not evidence of a true prophet - sorry.

How can you argue against some of the oldest manuscripts of the NT (in Greek) that are in the possession of human hands today? Have they also been manipulated and corrupted to deceive - or is it possible that they have as true a message as when first penned ? None of the possible differences in the Greek affects or changes any teaching or doctrine in the NT. Take it further back. The Dead sea scrolls that have been mentioned above have been tested for accuracy and age. According to carbon dating, textual analysis, and handwriting analysis the documents were written at various times between the middle of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD.

The Great Isaiah Scroll has been carbon dated to a range of 335 BC-107 BC and apart from very minor punctuation and grammar is very accurate to the translation that we have today. How God is good at preserving His Word making it stand the test of time. It all helps to strengthen our faith in Him.

You still may claim to accept more scripture and acknowledge more scripture than I do - please go ahead - you win. I have nothing to prove either way. I accept God's Word as He humbly wants me to understand it. It as been defended and preserved for these millennia, so I am sure that it will continue for the short space remaining until Jesus returns to draw a close to time, here on planet earth.

Challenge : - you claim God's Word is flawed, even the verses that I have offered in discussion with Pops when God is speaking Himself. Please educate me where the grammatical, punctuated or mis-appropriated mistakes and flaws are in God's words - in any of these examples?

What if you have already accepted a deception that satan has particularly fabricated and targeted against God’s Word? I am always willing to look into mis-appropriation of Bible verses in terms of traditions or doctrines, but again the question can be returned back to you and your own status of belief, seeing as you are so sure that it is me currently being deceived .....

Teranno4x4

tatabug said...

Well, I'm glad that you recognize that there have been errors and that there has been corruption, but I regret that you are under the impression that those errors and corruption are somehow only minor, or have been corrected sufficiently to restore the Bible to a form we can be sure is reliable. Consider this information which I quote from "A Bible! A Bible! The Canon and Ongoing Revelation," by John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper:

"The earliest New Testament manuscripts were very fragmentary and are therefore useless as evidence that the New Testament as we now have it reflects the original text of the books it comprises. The earliest nearly complete New Testament documents are the fourth century A.D. codices. There was plenty of time during the intervening centuries for corruption to enter the text.

"Very Early Christian writers noted examples of textual corruption. Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) accused the Jews of removing portions of the Old Testament that prophesied of Christ to come. He referred to missing portions of the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezra, citing the missing words (Dialogue With Trypho 72-74). Two other second-century writers, Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3:20; 4:22) and Melito of Sardis (Homily on the Passion), cited one of the same passages, the latter attributing it to both Isaiah and Jeremiah. Ironically, none of these missing parts has been restored in any Christian Bible.

"During the rabbinic council held in Yabneh (Yamnia) in A.D. 90 to determine which books would be accepted as authentic scripture, there were many disagreements over the canonicity of Ezekiel, whose description of the temple service in the last days (chapters 40-48) contradicted the rules laid down in the Torah. Of this, one of the rabbis said, “When Elijah comes, he will explain the difficulty.” Others were not content to wait so long. Rabbi Hananiah literally burned the midnight oil for many nights revising the text of Ezekiel. Of him, it was written in the Talmud, “Blessed be the memory of Hananiah, son of Hezekiah: if it had not been for him, the book of Ezekiel would have been hidden [i.e., withdrawn from public reading]. What did he do? They brought him three hundred measures of oil, and he sat down and explained it” (Babylonian Talmud Hagigah 13a-b). By this, it was understood that the rabbi had modified the text to make it acceptable to the council. According to Abot de Rabbi Nathan 1, the books of Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes were originally considered parables only and became accepted as scripture only after being “interpreted.”

"Several of the Church Fathers of the first centuries of the Christian era quote from Ezekiel items that are not found in the biblical book of that name. Epiphanius (Against Heresies 64.70.5-17) attributes to Ezekiel the story of the blind and lame men, which is also found, without attribution, in TB Sanhedrin 91a-b), but which is unknown from Ezekiel’s writings. 1 Clement 8:3, citing Ezekiel 18:30-31, adds ideas not found in that passage but which are also included in the version found in one of the Nag Hammadi texts, The Exegesis on the Soul (II,6) 135-6. Tertullian (De Carne Christi 23) noted that Ezekiel wrote about a cow that had given birth and had not given birth—a story repeated by Epiphanius (Panarion Haeresies 30.30.3), Gregory of Nyassa (Against the Jews 3), Clement of Alexandria (Stromata 7:16) and in Acts of Peter 24. Clement of Alexandria (Paedagogus 1:9) attributes to Ezekiel words that partially parallel the thoughts in Ezekiel 34:11-16 but which are quite different. From these examples, it is clear that the Ezekiel text possessed by the early Church differed from the one in today’s Bible.

"Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are two fragmentary copies of a document (4Q385, 4Q386) that have been termed “Pseudo-Ezekiel” because it has passages from the biblical Ezekiel that vary from what is found in the standard Massoretic Hebrew text. Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian of the first century A.D., declared that Ezekiel had written two books of prophecies (Antiquities of the Jews 10.5.1), though only one is found in the Bible.

"There are also a number of passages in the New Testament that are not found in all of the ancient manuscripts. The most well known are found in Mark 16, John 8, and 1 John 5. The latter involves the words “the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7). These words are missing in 250 Greek New Testament manuscripts and are found in no manuscript from before the seventh century A.D. They only appear in four manuscripts written after 1400. Most scholars believe that a scribe added these words as an explanatory gloss. ...

"Paul tells the Ephesians leaders that future apostates would arise from their own leadership, some of whom were no doubt weeping at Paul’s departure (Acts 20:29-31). Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians suggests that false apostolic letters may have been circulating within the Christian community even then (2 Thessalonians 2:2). Even John’s well known warning against any who “add unto” or “take away from” the words of his book (Revelation 22:18-19) takes for granted that wicked people would do so and probably had been known to do so before that time. Writing half a century after John’s revelation, Dionysius of Corinth complained, “For I wrote letters when the brethren requested me to write. And these letters the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, taking away some things and adding others, for whom a woe is in store. It is not wonderful, then if some have attempted to adulterate the Lord’s writings, when they have formed designs against those which are not such.” ...

"Since we have already noted evidences for textual corruption, the mechanism seems to us to be secondary. The very fact that it happened is a fait accompli that any objective individual examining the variants in the text should readily accept. ...

"In actual fact, the canon, as we have demonstrated earlier, was slow in developing. Individual documents written by apostles and prophets could readily have been lost or modified before they spread to all the early Christian congregations. This would have been particularly easy during the period when there was no unanimity about which books should be accepted and read." (end quote)

I'm just not as sure as you that those errors were cleared up sufficiently or that the ones which exist are only minor and of little consequence.

But please also consider this last quote from the same article which is not LDS in origin, but Protestant.

"Protestant Bible scholar Floyd V. Filson, reacting to the tendency to believe that the Bible is the sole word of God, wrote:

"It is possible, however, to stress the Bible so much and give it so central a place that the sensitive Christian conscience must rebel. We may illustrate such overstress on the Bible by the often-used (and perhaps misused) quotation from Chillingworth: “The Bible alone is the religion of Protestantism.” Or we may recall how often it has been said that the Bible is the final authority for the Christian. If it will not seem too facetious, I would like to put in a good word for God. It is God and not the Bible who is the central fact for the Christian. When we speak of “the Word of God” we use a phrase which, properly used, may apply to the Bible, but it has a deeper primary meaning. It is God who speaks to man. But he does not do so only through the Bible. He speaks through prophets and apostles. He speaks through specific events. And while his unique message to the Church finds its central record and written expression in the Bible, this very reference to the Bible reminds us that Christ is the Word of God in a living, personal way which surpasses what we have even in this unique book. Even the Bible proves to be the Word of God only when the Holy Spirit working within us attests the truth and divine authority of what the Scripture says. Faith must not give to the aids that God provides the reverence and attention that Belong only to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope is in God; our life is in Christ; our power is in the Spirit. The Bible speaks to us of the divine center of all life and help and power, but it is not the center. The Christian teaching about the canon must not deify the Scripture."

Pops said...

Tatabug - that last quote was excellent.

Teranno - I'm not trying to bolster my faith or make the LDS Church look better in comparison with other so-called Christian denominations. I am simply pointing out that it would be really useful to have a living prophet today. Whether or not Joseph Smith was a true prophet - which I personally know to be the case - must be ascertained personally by appeal to God.

So, is Satan the brother of Jesus Christ? A living prophet could answer that definitively.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Tatabug,

The last 'protestant' quote really struck home the nature of what I have been trying to say all along amongst the many other bits and pieces. Maybe I have been around the houses in terms of the topic, but regarding the Bible as the 'Word of God', this protestant author really strikes a chord with my understanding.

I trust that you have seen that I have not been attempting to deify the scripture, but to clarify that it is the means by which Jesus Christ is revealed to mankind. It is so clear to me in it's entirity and underlined by the last book of the Bible.

"the Bible proves to be the Word of God only when the Holy Spirit working within us attests the truth and divine authority of what the Scripture says." Amen to this that I can testify personally of this truth.

If the truth is there contained - why try with many attempts to denounce it or to belittle it under a disguise of 'manipulated', 'corrupted', mis-interpreted' , 'mis-aligned'. It is these accusations that I can not fathom, when measured with such an eloquent piece of descriptive writing assessing it's wonderful beauty in declaring our wonderful saviour.

By the way please read Isaiah 53 concerning the Messianic prophecies not surviving by being removed and not restored ..... in answer to : Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) accused the Jews of removing portions of the Old Testament that prophesied of Christ to come. He referred to missing portions of the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezra, citing the missing words (Dialogue With Trypho 72-74). Two other second-century writers, Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3:20; 4:22) and Melito of Sardis (Homily on the Passion), cited one of the same passages, the latter attributing it to both Isaiah and Jeremiah. Ironically, none of these missing parts has been restored in any Christian Bible. So you see - just one immediate example where even the pro-LDS critics can not be taken seriously in their 'historical expose'.

There is not a more beautiful precise descriptive promise of the imminent Messiah anywhere else in the OT.

The rest of their comments need a great deal more time for delving into their findings, but on the immediate evidence above, all their comments should be digested with a great deal of research and seasoning.

--------------------

Dear Pops,

Maybe you missed it but I thought that I had clarified the question on Jesus and satan being brothers at earlier on : 1:19 PM, January 10, 2008.

I do not profess to be a prophet, but I can tell that the Creator can not be related family wise to his created beings other than by a 'technical' name. There will be certain characteristics that are not inherent.

Teranno4x4

NM said...

Interesting discussion going on here =)

My two pennies' worth? I guess, the crux of the matter will always rest upon the self-professed prophet man - Joseph Smith. 1400 years ago, a man named Mohammad made the exact same self-profession. Along with the 'angel' that appeared to him, he took 'bits' from the Old Testament and 'bits' from the NT, but adding his own slant to this new way of being by giving the people a 'new' way of thinking about the (non) deity of Jesus.

What made Mohammad think that he was the last God-given prophet?

It's easy for us (LDS and non-LDS) Christians to give our critique for Islam because we can clearly see how skewed its views are about who Jesus is and how we relate to God...

In the same way then, what made J. Smith think that he was a prophet? In the same way that Christians might view Mohammad's 'new' knowledge of who God is, which incidentally does not correlate with the gospels or even the flow of Old to New, I guess the same must be said for J. Smith. Right?

It all rests on you Mr. Smith. Were you or were you not a prophet?

NM said...

...but just to let you all know...

this is not a subject that I want to cover. It has been covered upon previous discussions. So my comment above is not an invitation for discussion =)

Christianity, as it has been for thousands of years, has always been about a relationship with Jesus =) Now that's something worth talking about! =D

Anonymous said...

"It all rests on you Mr. Smith. Were you or were you not a prophet?"


You need to ask God not Mr. Smith.

NM said...

"You need to ask God not Mr. Smith".

Ah, but then I could say, "Which God? My God or Mr. Smith's god?"

...but that would just be me being pedantic =P

Enough already.

Anonymous said...

"a man named Mohammad made the exact same self-profession."

I have not problem with Mohammad with being a prophet. I do have a problem with him being considered the last. And many have tried to lump Mohammad and Joseph Smith togother to try to discredit the LDS but Islam would not be much different Old Testiment Judism if it had not taken a radical evil turn. This like just about all religions have at one time or another.

Anonymous said...

"Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) accused the Jews of removing portions of the Old Testament that prophesied of Christ to come."

This is what the LDS church has been pointing out all along.

Teranno4x4 said...

Hey Anon,

What exactly are you trying to say - 'all religions have taken a radical evil turn ' ... ?

Please don't stop there.... LDS faith is an organised religion is it not ? Please expose some of the frailties / evils of your own religion if you are wanting to be generic and fully understood ... ?

OT Judaism failed because of Israel's degenerate desire to seek after false gods in idolatry by accepting the pagan practices of the perpetual surrounding nations. Had they been true to the God of heaven, then there would have been no apostacy, there would have been no captivity in Babylon and no concerns in the problems that we have with inter-faith and interpretations of religion today. It would have remained pure and undefiled and the pagan nations would have converted to worship the God of heaven because of Israel's demonstration through daily living.

These problems all came about because the Jews failed to recognise their Messiah when he was here (own selfish evil desires) and even today they still refuse to acknowledge Jesus as their Saviour.

Please remember that most of the Arab nations can trace their roots also back to Abraham. Hagar and Ishmael were also blessed by God, but it was only ever going to be through the decendents of Isaac that the 'root of Jesse' (Jesus) would be born.

The decendants of Ishmael can play their part within the world for good or for evil and yes they can claim Mohammed (the same applies to LDS and J.S.) as a prophet, but still they can ONLY accept Jesus as Saviour, King of Kings and Lord of Lords !

Teranno4x4

Milk and Honey said...

For Anonymous - left by Teranno earlier ....

By the way please read Isaiah 53 concerning the Messianic prophecies not surviving by being removed and not restored ..... in answer to :

"Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) accused the Jews of removing portions of the Old Testament that prophesied of Christ to come. He referred to missing portions of the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezra, citing the missing words (Dialogue With Trypho 72-74). Two other second-century writers, Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3:20; 4:22) and Melito of Sardis (Homily on the Passion), cited one of the same passages, the latter attributing it to both Isaiah and Jeremiah. Ironically, none of these missing parts has been restored in any Christian Bible.
"

So you see - just one immediate example where even the pro-LDS critics can not be taken seriously in their 'historical expose'.

tatabug said...

"By the way please read Isaiah 53 concerning the Messianic prophecies not surviving by being removed and not restored...So you see - just one immediate example where even the pro-LDS critics can not be taken seriously in their 'historical expose'.
"


The accusation was made originally by Justin Martyr. Would you like to take up issue with him about what he said? No one denied that Isaiah prophesied of Jesus in the Bible. We LDS of all people should know that Isaiah prophesied of Christ, because as you may already know, 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon contains a lot of chapters directly quoting Isaiah, particularly the ones which deal with Christ. But can we be sure that there isn't more that was written by Isaiah which we don't have? As LDS, we have evidence through Joseph Smith that there are at the very least, errors in some of the Biblical Isaiah scripture. Even so, do you find any prophecies regarding the coming of Jesus Christ in the books of Jeremiah or Ezra? I've seen none which prophesy of Jesus and his first coming.

What this information presents is not just specific issues which we face with the Bible now, but issues which have always plagued the Bible, or rather the books of the Bible since well before the time of Christ. It sets a pattern. It should give us pause to consider what damage may have been done. We don't know how extensive either. We LDS have a clue because of what has been restored to us through Joseph Smith. But even we don't know how much beyond that, because we've been told that all of what has been revealed in the past has not been fully restored even now. And I must say, I eagerly await further revelations. But unfortunately, it seems that they will be not be restored until after Christ returns.

"If the truth is there contained - why try with many attempts to denounce it or to belittle it under a disguise of 'manipulated', 'corrupted', mis-interpreted' , 'mis-aligned'. It is these accusations that I can not fathom, when measured with such an eloquent piece of descriptive writing assessing it's wonderful beauty in declaring our wonderful saviour."

I know I've said before that there is much truth contained in the Bible. I love to read the Bible. The language and the teachings are beautiful. But when I read it, I know that it is incomplete. That is where the Book of Mormon and other modern-day revelations come in. They not only testify that the Bible is God's word, but they help to clarify difficult passages outlining doctrines that could be interpreted incorrectly. The Bible itself is the cause of so many of the Christian religions of our day. If the Bible were so clear and easy to understand and interpret, that wouldn't be the case. That isn't to say that there wouldn't still be varying beliefs, but there would be fewer, and there would be much more potential for unity among believers.

"Please expose some of the frailties / evils of your own religion if you are wanting to be generic and fully understood ... ?"

Perhaps you would like to do this for us. What would make you think we would want to do this, or that we even perceive any frailties/evils exist in our own religion. I've been down the road of our Church's own history, which is what you are likely referring to. I know there are issues. But those issues primarily lie in the imperfections which exist in man. There is no weakness or evil present in the restored gospel.


NM,

So I take it that it is your intent to engage in "hit-and-run" style tactics? I'm sorry, but I don't think that is quite fair.

Perhaps you feel justified in saying that we worship a different God than do you, but I don't. Perhaps you didn't mean that sincerely, but I don't believe you would've said it if it didn't carry any meaning with you. Your views on God may differ greatly from mine, but I don't believe you are worshipping a different God than I am. I don't believe that Jews, or Muslims even, worship a different God than I do. Their understanding of God may be incorrect, and they reject Jesus Christ, but I believe that they worship God as they believe is right, according to what they've been taught. If there is only one God the Father to whom we can all pray, then regardless of our understanding of who that God is, we all pray to that same God. He answers and speaks to all who seek Him in sincerity and faith. He knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts and answers accordingly.

"It all rests on you Mr. Smith. Were you or were you not a prophet?"

Anonymous (whom I would encourage to take up a name which would differentiate him or her from other anonymous posters) was correct to say that you need to take the matter up with God and not expect Joseph Smith to prove to you that he is a true prophet. After all, he is dead, so that might prove rather difficult for him to actively engage you in discussion or activities which might lead to such a discovery. Would you presume to ask Moses to come and prove himself a prophet to you? My guess is, no.

One further quote from the article I quoted from previously is one that is worthy of thought and consideration:

"Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time said of him, “We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is” (John 9:29). The Jewish reaction to Jesus is paralleled by the modern Christian reaction to Joseph Smith and the reluctance of the Jews to accept the gospels and other New Testament writings as scripture is the same as the reaction of many Christians today to the Book of Mormon and modern revelation."

I know you are quite confident in your rejection of Joseph Smith, but I would suggest that you make every effort to find out if he is what he says he is, and that the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be.

Remember when the disciples of Christ were on the road to Emmaus, they were walking and talking with the resurrected Jesus and didn't even recognize him. He expounded scripture to them beginning at Moses, and they still didn't recognize him. It wasn't until later that they realized who he was, and they said, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32)

These men felt the Spirit as Jesus taught them. But their lack of understanding prevented them from seeing what was in front of their very eyes. Just as the Jews of Jesus' day rejected Him, so too have many rejected Joseph Smith and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ because it didn't fit their template. They let the wisdom of men blind them to the truth and ignore the Spirit when it has indeed testified to them of it. What I am asking you to do is to undertake a serious and open-minded approach to discovering the truth, with your only intent being to know from God if it is true. Read and study the Book of Mormon, and then ask if it is true. Read it with sincerity and ask with faith knowing that God will answer you. I'm not asking you to take my word or Joseph Smith's word for anything. This knowledge can only be obtained through the Spirit, which testifies of truth.

NM said...

Hi Tatabug,

Ok, I'll bite. But please know that I've discussed this subject before - the reason for my 'hit and run' tactic is because I really don't want to dwell on something that has satisfied my understanding... =)

So, first of all, I AGREE whole-heartedly with every-bit of your rhetoric. The thing is, I could the same logic that you used (e.g. the road to emmaus) to disprove that J.Smith was a prophet. Luke's account of this event is yet another one of my favourite parts of the Bible. The whole point of Luke's motivation to share this account is for Theophilus (and other readers) to see the significance of who Jesus is - that He is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

What I find slightly amusing (but also disturbing)is how you then use this event used by Luke to bolster the same logic for whether J.Smith was a true prophet of God.

My point for saying what I said to 'Anonymous' when he said, "You need to ask God and not Mr. Smith" is that this type of logic can be used for any argument - for any religion. For example, how can we determine whether Sun Myung Moon really is the Messiah if what we do is simply ask God? People who follow Mr. Moon might say a hearty "yes, of course he's the Messiah!" whilst, others might stop and say, "Sorry, no can do"... Tatabug, do you see where I am coming from? The whole point of Luke's explanation of the event surrounding the road to Emmaus is to show the readers that Jesus (if you look at Old Testament scripture) is the fulfillment of it... =)

Ok, a question for you: how would you respond to a follower of Sun Myung Moon when he or she might say to you, "Don't ask Mr. Moon, whether or not he is a prophet/messiah; just ask God" Do you see where I'm coming from Tatabug?

NM said...

And please, please know Tatabug. This is not a subject that I wish to dwell on...I'll happily stay away from it...I'd rather talk about 'grace', the significance of 'suffering' and the doctrine of 'penal substitution'!! Would you care to humour me on these subjects? HAHAHA! =D

tatabug said...

NM,

"OK, a question for you: how would you respond to a follower of Sun Myung Moon when he or she might say to you, "Don't ask Mr. Moon, whether or not he is a prophet/messiah; just ask God" Do you see where I'm coming from Tatabug?"

I do see where you are coming from, but here's the problem I have with your question. I already have received a witness about who the Messiah is. Should I then tempt God by saying that the answer I received isn't good enough and that I would like another answer regarding Mr. Moon?

What I am asking you to do is to seek a witness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as a prophet of the restoration. This witness should in no way conflict with any witness you have received regarding who the Savior of mankind is. The claims made by the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith only serve to testify to the divinity of Jesus Christ and that the Bible also testifies of Him.

Your devotion to Christ should compel you to seek his words wherever they may be found. If he has called a prophet, your faith in him should drive you to find out. Anyway, if you decided that you sincerely want to know, and you ask, what harm could that do?

I'm not sure that I was using the account in Luke to prove that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but rather to make the point that even sincere followers of Christ can inadvertently overlook the truth when it is right in front of them if they are not careful.

I might also add that while Jesus Christ is also the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, so also is the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Such prophecies can be found in Isaiah and Malachi.

And no, I am not ready to reengage a discussion on grace. Sorry, I just think that one needs to rest a while. I'm not sure I have anything new to bring to such a discussion right now.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Tatabug,

I will try and write a 'proper answer' for you later on if I have more time, but I wanted to comment on this quickly whilst it was in my mind.

My comment to Anon, beginning with "Please don't stop there.... LDS faith is an organised religion is it not ? Please expose ..... was made directly after his comment : " 'all religions have taken a radical evil turn ' ".

This is a comment that I don't understand. I am not going to sling any mud at the LDS faith. But if comments like this are made from an LDS member / supporter, then he must be inclusive in his generic religious comments when quoting "all religions".

I am keen for him to explain where the evil turn has been for the LDS movement... ? If in fact he knows what he is talking about to include "all religions" in his comments.

-------------

Tatabug said : " Anyway, if you decided that you sincerely want to know, and you ask, what harm could that do?

After listening, taking heed of or giving time to a prophet in question, one may not have an opportunity to ask that all important question.

Are you aware of the account of the dead body, the lion and the donkey as written in the Bible ?

You can read it in 1 Kings 13.

See what you think - it is a bit of a wake up call when called to listen to the words of 'a prophet' .

Teranno4x4

NM said...

Tatabug,

Eureka!

In the same way you said, "but here's the problem I have with your question. I already have received a witness about who the Messiah is. Should I then tempt God by saying that the answer I received isn't good enough and that I would like another answer regarding Mr. Moon?"...I must also say the same for Mr. Smith! =)

I know you already see my point, but please know that this is exactly what I meant when Mr. Anonymous said, "You need to ask God not Mr. Smith"...why would I need to pray to God about Mr. Smith when I too have also received a testimony that Mr. Smith is not a prophet of God? Do you see the meaningless circularity of Mr. Anonymous' argument? It might as well be a non-statement. And yes, it's certainly a statement that might make LDS folks whole-heartedly agree, but to us (non-LDS) it's a useless phrase - just as you might view it a useless phrase when a Moon-follower says the exact same phrase to you =)

Tatabug...please know that my irk is not with Mormons. My irk is with people who have been led to believe that mere religion is the way for salvation - this goes for all professing Christians, be they Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, self-professed Evangelicals, Anglicans, Baptists etc. =)

Christianity is not religion. Christianity is about a relationship with their only hope (which is deepened through suffering - II Corinthians 12: 9&10) in Jesus - the one who has finished the work. And yes, for the record: I am of the opinion that there are LDS folk who do have a living relationship with Christ, but it's most likely those who HAVE NOT met the standard - those who haven't received their temple recommend; those who might view themselves as nominal Mormons - the cast aways, those who know who have been rejected because they come from broken families etc...

Interesting, Jesus (in Matthew 21:31) said a similar and damning statement to the Pharisees to highlight just how wrong their [self-righteous] system was. He said, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you..." Harsh.

This is why I'd rather talk about 'grace' - it all boils down to assuming and appropriating our correct roles - that God is the benefactor (and will always be) and us as mere beneficiaries. =)

Mere religion is rife and it exists even within circles who preach 'grace', because man's default way of thinking is to assume that we work to gain something; what we put in, we get out. Again, I would rather talk to you about 'grace'.

In my opinion (and this is just an opinion), J. Smith only highlighted the old-age ways, similar to how the children of Israel thought, that the way to please God is through dutiful Old Testament-type rule-keeping, what with all the 'dos' and 'don'ts' that permeate the lives of my LDS-friends...

Again, I'd rather talk about 'grace'. Too much 'ungrace' exist in churches...

NM said...

Tatabug,

I've just been re-reading your last comment to me...and I just want you to know that I appreciate the sincerity of your words...

I liken myself to Peter; he means well, but a little brash who opens his mouth before taking the time to ingest and appreciate others' perspectives.

tatabug said...

Teranno,

I will read the story you recommend tonight or tomorrow and comment afterward.

NM,

If you don't mind, will you please describe how you gained a testimony that Joseph Smith is not a prophet with as much detail as possible so that I can try to understand better and know if we are on the same page with our understanding of testimony? Thanks!

tatabug said...

Teranno,

True prophets obey the word of God; false prophets do not, would you agree? The problem with this story is that one prophet is pictured as lying and the other is pictured as disobeying God's instructions. So what are we to think in this situation? Are they both false prophets?

Joseph Smith added a small but significant clarification to this chapter in verse 18 by adding "Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water, that I may prove him; and he lied not unto him." (changes italicized)

What it appears is going on here is that the Lord is testing the first prophet with a request that contradicted what he had been commanded directly not to do in the first place. Verse 26 explains that the Lord delivered the man of God/prophet to the lion because of his disobedience.

The moral of the story is that the young prophet should have obeyed God.

I'm not sure if that's what you wanted me to gain by reading that story or not, but I would be interested to know for sure what the lesson in it for me should be.

But let me add for your understanding what has been taught to us as members of the LDS church. I know of a quote by the prophet Brigham Young, though I can't locate it at the moment, but I'll share it if I can find it relatively soon. Anyway, it has to do with following a prophet, and what he basically says is that we should not just follow blindly. We shouldn't take the prophet's word for anything. When we receive the prophet's words, we should pray and receive confirmation from the Lord that they are right, and this was something that Brigham stressed throughout his service as prophet, because if we didn't, he feared the possibility that we could be led astray.

tatabug said...

I found it!

"I will say a few words in regard to your belief in being led, guided, and directed by one man. Brother Jackman has said that our enemies hate the fact of our being led by one man. Thousands of times my soul has been lifted to God the Father, in the name of Jesus, to make that verily true in every sense of the word, that we may be led by the man Jesus Christ, through Joseph Smith the Prophet. You may inquire how we are to know that we are so led. I refer you to the exhortation you have heard so frequently from me. Do not be deceived, any of you; if you are deceived, it is because you deceive yourselves. You may know whether you are led right or wrong, as well as you know the way home; for every principle God has revealed carries its own convictions of its truth to the human mind, and there is no calling of God to man on earth but what brings with it the evidences of its authenticity....

"What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually."


--Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 12 January 1862, vol. 9, p. 150.

tatabug said...

NM,

Please understand that I, and most Mormons I believe, are not under the impression that our religion, or the fact that we are Mormon is what will ultimately save us. However, I look at our religion as a facillitator in our quest for salvation. As I know you will differ with me on this, we believe that the leaders of the Church have the authority to teach the gospel and administer its ordinances. Without a proper knowledge of the gospel and the receipt of those ordinances, our progress in that regard is hindered significantly, and we would be cut off entirely without those ordinances whether in this life, or vicariously after death. Yes, it is Christ who ultimately saves us, and many, even among LDS, do not fully appreciate the role that His grace plays in their lives. But without all of these things working in concert, in addition to other factors, salvation is not possible.

NM said...

Hi Tatabug,

I'll get back to you ASAP. My wife has given birth to our fourth child today; her name is Rose =) We would appreciate all your thoughts and prayers...

Again, I'll get back to you =)

Nat

tatabug said...

NM,

A huge CONGRATULATIONS! How exciting. I hope all is well with Mom and baby Rose. I'll be thinking of and praying for your family. How big is she?

Take your time. I'm in no rush for your reply, especially given the circumstances, but I am very curious nonetheless. Enjoy your new baby girl!

Anonymous said...

"My irk is with people who have been led to believe that mere religion is the way for salvation"

Without religion you can not be saved. You must follow the true way just as the Jews had to until Christ came.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Tatabug,

A welll received quote from Brigham Young, but unfortunately not really administered in the vein offered if you look at the constant messages of our friend Anon, upholding the values of denomination over the necessity of Jesus.

Coming in to unify your comments to both NM and myself, I think that as we are both considered to be Christians (of different denominations) we would both agree that the church, authorities and ordinances that are of high importance to you are not of the same level of importance to us, because all throughout the NT, we have the knowledge imparted that tells us that it is the people that make up the church. Different roles, different responsibilities, different parts of the 'whole body' with Jesus at the head. The church is simply the facility that delivers the colectiveness of FAITH.

Jesus alone has the AUTHORITY. It is responsibility that he handed down to the apostles in order to spread the gospel and uphold the ministerial work. There was no authority that you speak of given to mankind.

Even if a man is deemed to be found a 'modern-day' prophet, they would still have no authority of their own. Any authority would be provided by God as and when needed per situation. So it was with Jesus when He manifested the many miracles. He did nothing of his own will - it was always the will of His Father working through Him by His FAITH.

I think that this illustrates the key difference in our belief systems.

Anon - without religion you can be saved and His name, sacrifice and Resurrection IS JESUS CHRIST.

Teranno4x4

tatabug said...

Teranno,

I'm not sure why you are combining Brigham Young's quote with the concept we hold that religion is an essential aspect to our following Christ. The quote I gave you relates to the fact that we are not taught to follow blindly, but to seek inspiration with regard to the Prophet and what is revealed and taught through him. I thought this was important as you seemed to imply with your words and your reference to the story in 1 Kings 13 that it was a dangerous thing to follow a prophet as he might be false or he might be in disobedience to God.

Regarding authority, ultimate authority rests with God the Father first, and Jesus Christ second. But God gives unto men a portion of that authority which is to be used in the administration of ordinances and in the preaching of the gospel.

You state correctly that Jesus gave responsibility to the apostles, but I disagree that there was no authority given to them. How does authority really differ from responsibility? Wiktionary has them related in this way, with responsibility being "The obligation to carry forward an assigned task to a successful conclusion. With responsibility goes authority to direct and take the necessary action to ensure success."

If Jesus indeed gave responsibility and, by extension authority, are not the apostles a part of mankind? So we can conclude that authority is given to men. But authority given from God can only be exercised in righteousness, so we shouldn't assume that when God gives one authority that he may abuse it.

Let's examine what is said specifically in the scriptures regarding power and authority. In Matthew 16:18-19, Christ bestows the keys of the kingdom upon Peter, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." What are those keys, and what are those things that Peter is supposed to bind? We believe that those keys are keys of priesthood authority. With those keys of priesthood authority, man has the power and authority to act in God's name to perform ordinances pertaining to salvation, such as baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. It goes on in verse 21 to point out that Jesus was preparing the apostles for his departure from this earth and from them. He was saying, "Peter, I'm leaving you in charge here, and I'm giving you the power and authority necessary to administer this gospel and lead my Church in my absence." Why should it be any different now?

Luke 9:1 illustrates another example of authority. "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases." In this example, Jesus is very clearly giving them power and authority, and it isn't something that is they just obtained through faith. It was very literally given to them, just as it is today. Those whom God calls, are those whom God authorizes and gives a portion of his power to.

In Mark 3:14-15, "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils." Here we see a similar recounting of a bestowal of authority and power. Ordaining is a means of bestowing authority.

John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." Here we see that God calls people to serve Him, and he ordains them with authority to serve and administer in His name. God does not come and perform baptisms and other ordinances himself. That is why there must be power and authority given to men to be able to 'legally' perform them in order for them to be binding on earth and in heaven. That is what Christ is referring to when he talks to Peter about binding and loosing. Anyone can perform a baptism, or a marriage, or other ordinances, but in order for them to be binding and effective in this life or the next, they have to have God's stamp of approval so to speak, which is why power and authority are necessary.

We believe that this pattern as was established by Christ himself when he organized his Church in the meridian of time was established so that it would continue, and for very good reason. Didn't Jesus set up his Church properly? Didn't he set the pattern, and who are we to decide that it should be done any differently now than it was then? What would be the point of organizing his Church the way he deemed necessary if he didn't mean for it to continue? It was taught in Ephesians 2 that the Church is built on a foundation of apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. And then in chapter 4 that this foundation was necessary "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Has there ever been a complete unity of faith that existed between men upon this earth? Have we even come close to obtaining the stature of the fulness of Christ? So if this requirement has not been fulfilled, why then should we assume that there is no need for apostles and prophets or a Church through which we can more fully meet these requirements?

We believe that Christ intended for his Church to follow the pattern he established, but that the Church went into apostasy (hence the prophecy of wolves entering in) sometime not long after all of the original apostles died. With that apostasy, the keys of the kingdom, or the authority and priesthood power, were removed from men, and because of that, it was necessary that there be a restoration. But believe it or not, that restoration occurred. It was real, and it was brought about through Joseph Smith, who, at 14 years old, only sought to know which Church was true and which one he should join. Little did he know what that simple prayer had in store for him.

You echo my sentiments when you say that it is the people with different roles and responsibilities who make up the body of the Church, with Jesus Christ at the head. That is a firm belief that we hold. But it is the message of Christ and his commandments and ordinances that make up the Gospel. However the Church and the Gospel are inseparably connected.

My opinion is that what anonymous said with regard to religion is either incorrect or misunderstood, or it could just be semantics, but religion itself does not save anyone. To simply be a member of a Church, assuming that the Church is true, does not guarantee salvation. Rather, the Church serves to facilitate (as I stated previously to NM) us on the path to salvation. Our belief is that one must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be obedient, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, in addition to the ordinances of the temple to receive eternal salvation. The Church also offers opportunities to serve God in various ways, which is an important requirement of true disciples of Christ. I suppose if one could obtain these things without the Church, or organized religion, that would be fine, but I doubt most people could, which is why the Church and the Gospel are virtually inseparable.

tatabug said...

I might also add that our Latter-Day Prophets have never claimed authority of their own will or desire. They've been ordained through proper channels. Joseph Smith received that authority, those keys, in the same way that they were bestowed upon Peter, James, and John on the mount of Transfiguration. He received it directly from Peter, James, and John who were the last to hold those priesthood keys. Recall that less than a week after Jesus told Peter about giving him the keys of the kingdom, he and Peter, James, and John were on the mount where they saw Moses and Elias? Do you suppose that it was just for them to say hello and get acquainted? No. It was so that certain keys which Moses and Elias had been given, were at that time to be given to Peter, the presiding head, and James and John as 'counselors' or 'vice heads' so to speak.

So with Joseph having received the keys through the proper authority, he then had the authority to ordain others with certain authorities and powers, and all men ordained to the priesthood in the Church can and should be able to trace their priesthood lineage back to Joseph Smith.

NM said...

Hi Tatabug,

Claire (my wife) has one of her girl-friends round, hence the EXCELLENT excuse to come and play around with my thoughts and blurt them out to you =) Oh BTW, Rose is 8lbs 2 oz. I'm sorry if it's somewhat archaic, but I just don't know what that is in kgs!

So, to Mr. Smith? Please know that the limited knowledge that I have of Mr. Smith has been acquired only through what I have read and understood from t'internet - mostly from Jeff's blog and website. So, I apologize now if I make some erroneous leaps that probably do not exist.

What I do have some knowledge on is this subject of 'grace'. Although I grew up in a Christian environment, please realize that I walked away from it...I have many regrets of the things I have done in the past (as is always the case), but I did learn some fantastic things about 'religion' and Christianity in general. As I came away from Christianity, I couldn't help but think, "what in the world happened there? what did I get myself into? it all looks so incredibly cultish! what with all the praying to a god I don't even know exists and the singing and the clapping and the weird things people said..."

It was a good time to learn and really experience other philosophical viewpoints. Firstly, I came to appreciate Buddhism and all its related commonalities to pantheism. I came to appreciate others' faith in Islam; I had many friends who were ardent atheists, some agnostics - most of whom were scientists. But, out of all philosophies, I guess what impressed me most was atheistic existentialism. I stumbled upon it after a run-in with nihilism - to which I really believed the reality to which there is no God - that life has no meaning. So why not just end my life as I know it?...

So, for the majority of my late teens and 20s, I lived and breathed existentialism. I loved to read Sartre, Neitzsche, Camus etc. What's true for you is true for you, what's true for me, is also true for me. Interesting, much of what we see in postmodern society have existential overtones.

It was during this time that I came to appreciate all viewpoints (from an existential perspective, you can do nothing but appreciate others' viewpoint because life isn't about essence, as Sartre said, but it is about 'existence'...yadda, yadda.)

This experience of aimless wandering enabled me to look objectively at Christianity. I saw that there were only a handful of religions which held to ONE TRUTH, i.e. that objective truth exists. To name the big three players: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. All other religions were spin-offs of eastern mysticism. Existentialism is merely Buddhism without the pantheism bit.

And all three main players had one main thing in common: the belief that there is one God. As all of this was going on, I also made some connections with 'intelligent design' as a viable opposition to evolutionary sciences, but that's for another day...

What am I trying to say in all of this? I guess what I am trying to say is that the experience of moving away from Christianity enabled me to look at it with a healthy amount of skepticism. One of the main turning points for me, was that it made me look at the gospels in a different light. Where before, I might have taken everything about who Jesus was as a given - I saw everything through what I call, religious glasses. So before-hand, when I used to read, "Be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect, I thought, "Oh, that means I must STRIVE to be perfect - it's definitely a commandment from Jesus - and He's telling me to strive for perfection" etc. Where now that I look at it, I actually see some of the dynamics, (the drama if you will) of what might have been happening between Jesus and those who asked him awkward questions.

As another side note: I now look at the above quote by Jesus, NOT AS AN INSTRUCTION - as if we were to strive toward perfection, but as a STATEMENT about who God is. Tatabug, if you couple Jesus' "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" statement with other statements like those found in Matthew chapter 5, you'll find out that Jesus was actually calling people to do the impossible. =/

Jesus, in all of his statements wanted people to know that the standard for pleasing God (who IS perfection) is never enough. Again, there is nothing that we can do to please God. For example, Jesus said that if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off! Sane, middle-class, super-spiritual people would never dream of cutting their right arm off, just because they struggle with pornography, for example. Jesus' spoken ministry on earth was to tell us that (again) IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD. So, yes, Jesus was giving commandments, but believe me, if you thought that the law given by Moses was difficult, Jesus was exponentially more difficult!

According to Jesus, there really is NONE RIGHTEOUS - NO NOT ONE. =)

Another thing that gave me an insight into Christianity, was to look objectively at Jesus' outrageous claims. I could now appreciate that all of his statements about himself were perceived BLASPHEMOUS! where before, I saw them only as "Yes, of course Jesus would say I AM the way, the truth, the life etc. He is after all, well, Jesus, right?"

My eyes were now opened to see the uniqueness of Jesus =)

Do you see? Jesus is the most unique person who has ever lived. Jesus (and remember, this is from a skeptic's perception) made outrageous statements and backed them up by doing CRAZY miracles?!

Tatabug, everything Jesus was saying about Himself was a call to depend FULLY upon Him. "I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH THE LIFE. NO-ONE! COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME" How utterly insane is that?! I began to HATE Jesus because of his ego-centric ways, yet drawn to Him because of the way He acted around 'sinners' - the outcasts of society. So, here is a guy who makes outrageous claims and gets the religious people's backs up, yet acts incredibly compassionate to those who are suffering...

And the way Jesus spoke to people was also INCREDIBLY RUDE! For example the guy who said, "Lord, I will follow you, but first let me just bury my father." What does Jesus say? He doesn't say, "Ah, I'm really sorry to hear your sad news, of course, you go do that you poor soul."

Instead, he says, "LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD"?!?! Jesus, why would you say that to someone who was probably grieving? Why would you call this guy who has just declared to want to follow you as 'dead'? Unless of course, Jesus wanted people to know that salvation (through sheer self-determination) IS IMPOSSIBLE.

The good news Tatabug, is through the simplicity of faith IN Jesus (because the 'grace' given by God was HUGE - it cost Him His Son), we have life.

So, for me to look at self-proclaiming unique individuals, like J.Smith or Mr. Mood or Mohammad, who aren't actually all that unique but who in effect, sold a cheap copy of Old Testament rule-keeping religion, is not worth pursuing. Tatabug, like you said in a previous statement: "Should I then tempt God by saying that the answer I received isn't good enough...

This is just an assumption of course, but would I be correct to think that you grew up in the LDS church? It seems that the most ardent, like I assume to be with Anonymous, who keeps coming out with some amazing one-liners, are probably those who have grown up not really knowing (and really appreciating) not just other religions but also other philosophies. Saying that, experiencing other philosophies is not necessarily a prerequisite to appreciating Jesus; but merely to highlight that what you, Tatabug, have to say about Mr. Moon, is the same thing I would say about Mr. Smith. =)

I've experienced other religions (and I hate to admit this, but I've also had some run-ins with Scientology! - talk about walking away from Christianity!) and none has given me as great a joy as the perfection I can't help but see in Jesus. Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a relationship with a person - because it is in Jesus (if He really is who He says He is, IS MY ONLY HOPE - because I have nothing else to cling to). My opinion of J. Smith is that he has taken the relationship that can be found in Him and made a religion out of it. =/

And again, I want to say that I think that there are people within the LDS church who have a living relationship with Jesus. But I'll tell you now, that in the same way that Jesus despised the Pharisees in all their self-righteous ways - those who have perfected religious rule-keeping in the name of 'striving toward salvation' are those who most likely will NOT have Jesus as their Saviour. Pharisees had all the wrong motivations. Even when they were fasting, they made themselves out to look as if they were tired and haggard by leaving their hair un-brushed in the mornings?! - merely to seek the praise of people. =/ Again, Christianity is NOT ABOUT RULE-KEEPING.

And Anonymous, if you continue to do this, you will miss heaven by 18 inches. I may not know you now, but I would love to see you in heaven =)

Some religions have even made 'repentance' a religious act - when it was never meant to be! We do not repent just to prove our worthiness to other people =/ We all stand before an audience of one.

Tatabug, I know I've taken you around the perimeter, but I think it's just to show that I have a healthy amount of skepticism when it comes to looking at other religions and philosophies. Jesus' life, death, his resurrection and his absurd gift of 'grace' is the only thing which has withstood the barrage of (healthy) doubt.

Anonymous said...

"And Anonymous, if you continue to do this, you will miss heaven by 18 inches. I may not know you now, but I would love to see you in heaven =)"


I would rather miss heaven by 1 inch as a Mormon than miss it as a Christian by not being Baptized by the correct Priesthood athority.

Anonymous said...

"And Anonymous, if you continue to do this, you will miss heaven by 18 inches. I may not know you now, but I would love to see you in heaven =)"


I would rather miss heaven by 1 inch as a Mormon than miss it as a Christian by not being Baptized by the correct Priesthood athority.

Anonymous said...

And the way Jesus spoke to people was also INCREDIBLY RUDE! For example the guy who said, "Lord, I will follow you, but first let me just bury my father." What does Jesus say? He doesn't say, "Ah, I'm really sorry to hear your sad news, of course, you go do that you poor soul."

"Instead, he says, "LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD"?!?! Jesus, why would you say that to someone who was probably grieving? Why would you call this guy who has just declared to want to follow you as 'dead'? Unless of course, Jesus wanted people to know that salvation (through sheer self-determination) IS IMPOSSIBLE.'

Because it was a test. Just when he told the rich young man to sell every thing and follow him. He looks into your heart and sees what would be the hardest thing to give up and asks for this. Pass fail. If you read the detailed history of Joseph Smith you will see that he did this same thing for various reasions.

Anonymous said...

"Some religions have even made 'repentance' a religious act - when it was never meant to be!"

Only just a commandment of Christ.

NM said...

I've just stumbled upon this page, 'Meaning of Life' a good wiki resource page to summarise the major secular and religious beliefs. I find it slightly amusing that the last quote for the meaning of life in Christianity has been taken from the book of Ecclesiastes - for which the writer couldn't help but see everything as meaningless! Talk about nihilism!

Pops said...

NM said, "And yes, for the record: I am of the opinion that there are LDS folk who do have a living relationship with Christ, but it's most likely those who HAVE NOT met the standard - those who haven't received their temple recommend; those who might view themselves as nominal Mormons - the cast aways, those who know who have been rejected because they come from broken families etc..."

Thanks for clarifying. Please understand how ridiculously absurd that statement sounds to faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - it's sort of like saying the Pope isn't Catholic. Where do these bizarre impressions come from?!?

Let me reaffirm that I rely on Jesus Christ to save me. He alone will save me. Unless, of course, I don't keep His commandments.

"...there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

If Christ were an Evangelical, he would have said, "Just believe in me and ye shall be saved."

But no, here's what he said (switching to the Matthew account): "...if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

NM said...

Pops,

I'm really sorry but I think the quote "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" comes from the book of Mark - not Matthew. Pops, please, please, please correct me - I haven't actually looked into Matthew yet to find it. At least where "Good Teacher..." correlates with Jesus answering "if thou wilt enter into life, keep my commandments."

The reason I know it is from Mark - is because I use the gospel of Mark for the Exploring Christianity course that our church do - to investigate who Jesus is.

If you could humour me one this one and look with me at Mark's account: would you be willing to go through the passage with me?

So, as far as I know - the passage is from chapter 10 and this particular event starts in verse 17. Ok, so here we go:

17And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

19Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

20And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

21Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

23And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

24And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

27And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.


Do you notice what Jesus says in reply to the guy who calls Jesus 'GOOD TEACHER'? Jesus is so incredibly on the ball. Notice here what He says, otherwise you'll miss it! =)

Jesus says, "Why do you call ME good? there is none good, but one, that is God" (?!?!?) Jesus didn't say, "No you're mistaken, God alone is good, so don't say that I'm good..." Instead, Jesus affirms HIS DEITY. Do you see that? Isn't that just so amazing?
=D

Let's continue:

So, in verse 19, Jesus reminds this young man of the law. And in his eagerness, the young man gleefully answers, "Yes Master, I've done all that - in fact I've been doing ALL that since I was but a youngster!"

Ok, so here is a guy who is most probably bragging about all the good things he has achieved - yet still a little miffed by the fact that he knows he can't do anything else - otherwise, he wouldn't have made the effort to approach Jesus (unless of course his hidden agenda was only to brag about his achievements) =)

So, with COMPASSION, Jesus asks the guy to do the impossible (notice that Jesus was not giving him any new commandments), and Jesus didn't go about trying to break this guy's hidden motivation either. What Mark wants us to know about what Jesus' point was that to inherit eternal life - IS IMPOSSIBLE through mere religious rule-keeping. Sure, it might be true that the young man had kept the law - but this is NOT WHAT JESUS WANTS. Again, the law was never meant for people to strive towards. The law was meant only to show that MAN CANNOT KEEP IT; it was meant only to serve as a mere diagnostic tool. Striving to keep to a diagnostic tool that shows you have cancer does not mean it will cure you of it. Do you see? A diagnostic tool merely shows you what is wrong. Again, the law was meant only to highlight man's already sinful state.

So, what is it then that Jesus is trying to hammer across?

Well, Jesus wants us to know that salvation (or to inherit eternal life as this passage tells us) is IMPOSSIBLE TO ATTAIN. How do we know that this is what Jesus wants us to know?

For that, we need to find out what Jesus asks the young man to go and do (knowing that the young man CANNOT DO IT): Jesus tells the guy to sell ALL his possessions...

...again, notice: THIS IS NOT A NEW COMMANDMENT that Jesus speaks of - as if to say - "Oh to be a Christian, there's this new law that we need to abide by - and that's to sell everything..." NO.

Jesus was merely trying to press a point.

So, in verse 22, we can see that the young man walks away - grieved - because he knew Jesus had asked him (although he has managed to observe the law) to do THE IMPOSSIBLE. Pops, to me: the young man might not have just been bragging about his achievements, the reason being is that he went away grieved - he was pretty messed up by not being able to do what Jesus told him to do.

Pops, this passage in Mark serves only to show that MERE RULE-KEEPING CANNOT AND DOES NOT ENSURE SALVATION. =) Do you see it now? If it was merely about rule-keeping, Jesus would have said, "Woah, so you kept the law since you were young? Well done! Enter!"

Shall we continue?

So in verse 23, Jesus summarizes to the crowd what had just happened by saying "Listen guys, to get to heaven is hard! Especially for you who are rich!"

And his followers were shocked. With Jesus knowing their shocked state, he presses the point further: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God!"

So in the crowd's state of HEIGHTENED SHOCK, they then demanded, "Well, who the heck CAN BE SAVED?!" Pops, notice the word is 'who' not 'how'. The crowd did not ask 'how to be saved' because, they knew that Jesus was effectively saying that salvation is IMPOSSIBLE. The crowd's question was rhetorical (and Mark wants us to know this). The crowd were, in effect, saying, "So, it's impossible Jesus, no-one can attain salvation!"

See, the crowd had it ALL WRONG; just as we do today. =)

People assume that to attain salvation is merely to observe the law - when it is not. Not only that, but people become self-centered in their thinking, thinking that salvation depended upon themselves - when it also does not. So, who DOES it depend upon whether or not people get saved? Pops, what is the usual Sunday-school answer? Answer: God!

How do we know that the answer is God? Well, Mark reveals in verse 27: Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."

Eureka!

It is not about self-determination; salvation does not come about through mere human will-power. Salvation is a work of God. For men - it is IMPOSSIBLE; for God - ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! =D


....

Pops,

I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU: the statement I made upon my previous comment is completely absurd - just as Jesus' message was absurd when it rocked the Pharisees' boat by basically saying that salvation was never about their observance of the law =) But please notice that although Jesus was an offense to those who thought they were the bees-knees, Jesus showed nothing but compassion to those who suffered; again - those who, in Jewish society, were rejects. Those who who had fallen from the perceived standard...those who could do nothing but cling to Jesus - because Jesus was their only hope...

Do you see it now?

NM said...

Aha! I've just found the passage in Matthew 19!

Pops, all I can say is: don't stop at verse 17! Carry on until the end of the chapter - because you'll find out that the commandment (or task) that Jesus gives to the young man - the young man CANNOT KEEP! Therefore: he COULD NOT inherit eternal life - because he DID NOT KEEP Jesus' commandments. =)

Anyway, Mark's account is a more detailed account than that of Matthew's, for which I covered above...

Anonymous said...

"Pops, this passage in Mark serves only to show that MERE RULE-KEEPING CANNOT AND DOES NOT ENSURE SALVATION. =) Do you see it now? If it was merely about rule-keeping, Jesus would have said, "Woah, so you kept the law since you were young? Well done! Enter!""

It is about rule-keeping and more rule keeping as the example of the rich young man. He asked an got a personal answer he did not want. Christ personalised it for him. If I asked this same question and could say I had keep all the commandments from birth Christ would give me a long list of things I needed to do. Then He has the final say.

Pops said...

Anonymous and NM both got it right - mere rule-keeping does not qualify one for Eternal Life. There is so much more. It is about what we must become, through the grace of Christ and His atonement. He did His part, now it is up to us to do our part.

So, will everyone please stop making the claim that Mormons think they can get to heaven by their works? We don't think that. We are striving to obey the admonition of Christ to "Come, follow me" as should be all who profess to be Christian.

Anonymous said...

NM,

Thanks for your personal touch that give us more insight into Gods workings in your life.

"This is just an assumption of course, but would I be correct to think that you grew up in the LDS church? It seems that the most ardent, like I assume to be with Anonymous, who keeps coming out with some amazing one-liners, are probably those who have grown up not really knowing (and really appreciating) not just other religions but also other philosophies. Saying that, experiencing other philosophies is not necessarily a prerequisite to appreciating Jesus; but merely to highlight that what you, Tatabug, have to say about Mr. Moon, is the same thing I would say about Mr. Smith. =)"

This is the Anonymous one-liner, at least I think the one you were talking about. I don't do this to annoy anyone but I have limited time and what takes you 10 to 30 min. to produces takes me a couple of days. I am just one of those "Ned and the first reader" types. Plus like this post they can get out of hand.

Just a touch of back ground. I grew up in a the middle United States in towns of 100 to 1000 people. Pre-high school I attended the Church of Christ then in high school I attended the Catholic church and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement with friends and family. Although I enjoyed most of my religious experiences I did not like organized religions, and did not experience any deep spiritual experiences but hoped there was a God. I had no faith there was a God. All these experiences left me with a void and a cultish felling about religion. At 19 years old I came to a cross roads where I had to make some major life changes and I felt without knowing the deeper meaning of life "…why not just end my life as I know it?..." if I could not know the deeper meaning or purpose to life. The best way to find out what is on the other side is to experience life's last great adventure death. I did not have a personal relationship with God or Christ and had no understanding of what that meant. In my own private way I prayed vocally for the first time. For the first time I had a spiritual experience that effected me physically, mentally, and spiritually by having the Holy Spirit fill my entire being. That day I knew there was a God. About a year later I was reading a story about a persons personal miraculous experience with Jesus Christ and the same divine spirit was poured out upon me. That day I knew that Jesus Christ was the Son of Heavenly Father.

During this time I was taking religion and philosophy classes in college but was not going to church and started feeling the over whelming drive and desire to be baptized. I did not have a clue what baptism was but I came close many times to asking my religious\philosophy teacher to go out in the wilderness and baptize me like John the Baptist did Christ. The more I tried to utter the words my voice became constrained but the desire keep persisting.

One year later I was taught by the Mormon missionaries. As I heard the story of Joseph Smith first vision I had the same powerful spiritual experience that I had twice before. When I read the Book of Mormon I felt the same experience again. After praying about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and baptism I again was filled with the Holy Spirit. You keep talking of grace. The closest description I can give about how I felt when I am blessed with a spiritual experience by the Holy Ghost is the pure humility of gratefulness, the pure love God has for me, the pure free gift of grace God offers because of His Son sacrifice is beyond anything we can do for it and a over whelming desire to please Christ by keep all his commandments. I know that I am not worthy of anything I have been blessed with. There are people like you that are honest in heart, working harder than I have to understand and do Christ will and are more deserving. We can never live up to any standard perfectly but He commanded us to try regardless of our failures. The commandment is to try to keep the commandments, the fact is we will always fail, and the blessing of grace is absolutely a free gift because of the atoning sacrifice of The Christ, regardless of our failures. But the First and Last commandment is we must always try.
Then came the hard part. I had to repent. I was not the worse person in the world but I was rough as a corn cob. Yes, I am a midwest and southern hillbilly. I did not know if I could give up all the hellish life I had enjoyed and I did not think there was enough water or Holy Spirit that could wash me clean. I did not like organized religions. I did not like people. I did not like myself. I did not want to give up or give in and join a organized religion. I like being a Hell riser. As the missionaries explained it to me---how bad do you want it?---what are you willing to give up?--- what are you will to do to get it?--- what will you do with it?--do you want it as much as your next breath of air if you were drowning?

I excepted the challenge by becoming a stone cold convert and was baptized. I read, studied, and could not study enough or keep my mouth shut about Mormonism. I went on a mission and was a member for over 30 years. During those years I read every religious book I could from all other religions and philosophies. This included all the 200 or so books not found in the bible. I studied astrophysics, quantum physics, biology and mythology. All of these studies would leave me up lifted mentally; however, only when I returned to Mormonism did I have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I hate being self disciplined by always needing to repent and trying to "be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect." At times I felt I would drive my self nuts trying. But I now understand the need for a organized religion and the discipline to obey the commandments even though I would rather not, mainly because I will always fail. It is all set up for failure. I would rather go do things I can have success at. I have come to understand this as Gods way to keep me humble. If we are humble He will not need to humble us and He will pour out His Grace through the Holy Spirit to teach us those other personal commandments that are tailor made for us. To me this is why Christ was so hard on some that just wanted to know how to follow Him. This perpetual humility keep us from committing the ultimate UNFORGIVABLE SIN.

I would like to say that there is no need for ordinances, commandments, and religious activities but I can't. I would rather walk away and do my own thing. I have had many bad thing happen to me at the hands of Mormons and Christians that would make it easy to denounce religion but the scriptures and the Holy Spirit have told me different. Let me say that I do not like religion or Christianity because every time I truly get involved it makes me what I call soft and stupid. That is I make soft hearted decisions that come back and smack me in the face. When confronted with a slap in the face, rather than turn the other cheek as commanded by my Christ I would prefer to have "wigs on the green."

The way Jesus spoke to people was also INCREDIBLY RUDE! As a man I prefer the direct approach and Christ at times has been rude to me. I would rather have Him knock me down in the dirt (yes I scream like a little girl when it happens) and teach me any lesson He feels I need, rather than let me slide by and He start carrying me when He knows I need to walk. I have always found in the scriptures, the many examples of other commandments Christ gave, that He would make it clear if they were directed to one person or the people at large. He would look into the individuals heart and what ever it was that would be their Abrahamic sacrifice He would ask of them. I wonder how hard or long it took Abraham to obey? Did he ask any less of His apostles? It took me a long time to obey. I am still working on a lot of them. What is He asking of you? Again, if this LDS message is true what are you willing to give up to know the greatest knowledge God has to offer to mankind? My rule is if I am not ready for the answer don't ask.

Not to be incredibly rude but your well reasoned argument for when Christ gave other commandments, but really did not mean what He was saying, is the main reason why I hate most of Christianity\ philosophies. It is the techniques that philosophers use to put forth mental constructs like situational ethics. Most religions with their exception to the rules have watered down the gospel and the scriptures and made religion a laissez-fair, do it if it feels good attitude. Like the bumper sticker said "Jesus was a hippy so smoke pot." Why not it make you feel good.

{Christ was rude for important teaching lessons, I like being rude if I am face to face so they can zing me on my missing brain cells or why I keep getting shorter, fatter, and balder each time they see me.}

I like posts like yours. I gain greater insight about Christ's workings in your life and that gives me better insight into the gospel in action in my life. This is preferable to the going back and forth on scriptural doctrine. I say this because I feel that the gospel is for the King and the slave and is obtained not by study and religion but by the Holy Spirit. But after the witness of the Holy Spirit it is our obligations to study and pratice as God has reveal it to us. A persons experiences with Christ tell me more about what is true (by their fruits yea shall know them) than which scripture over rides another.

About the one-liners. When someone states a scripture has a specific meaning but it is in contradiction with other scriptures my prime directive is that all contradictions must be balanced with equal weight until a logical conclusion can be achieved or where all contradictions must be true. The bottom line with me is if my testimony was only from study I would run away from religion as fast as I could, but because of the profound miraculous experiences I have had I can not exclude repentance, baptism, organized religion, and the priesthood authority. Life would be much easer and fun. A big question: if you had the experiences that Joseph Smith had or that I have been blessed with what would you do? Can I do any different? I have met many Christians that were on fire with a personal relationship with Christ and I would never expect them to change anything in their belief system unless they wanted to. After all this I still don't feel I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and do not understand what people are talking about when they say this.

I am sure I will see you in heaven weather I make it or not. If I must leave to make room for you and you family I will be happy to do so. My personal opinion is that 90% will make it because we are going through the tailor made experiences that will get us there if we desire it. It is not my belief that everyone should become LDS but Christ has put each of us on the path that will best prepare us to fully except Him and enter into heaven. If I am wrong about LDS church then I was led here so "The Christ" could teach me eternal lessons that were tailor made for me. If I get there and God has changed all the commandments as I understand them and He ask other commandments of me I will bow my head a say "yes sir".

Anon one-liner

NM said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your reply, but I don't think that it was you who I was referring to =)

Please consider taking up a handle?

I shall read your above response tonight =) (very excited!)

Nat

Anonymous said...

"For example, Jesus said that if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off! Sane, middle-class, super-spiritual people would never dream of cutting their right arm off, just because they struggle with pornography, for example."

I don't recall any early or modren Christians cutting off right hands or plucking out right eyes. Middle class or not.

NM said...

I don't recall any early or modren Christians cutting off right hands or plucking out right eyes. Middle class or not.

My point exactly =)

If we were to take Jesus' commandments literally, we would have as part of our inter-denominational constitution 'gouging out of one's eye/ear and cutting off of one's hand' every time we commit sin =/

Nice...

tatabug said...

NM,

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my request. Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, but this weekend was very busy for me, as is usually the case with weekends.

We use very little metric in the US so lbs. and oz. speak my language perfectly. Anyway, I hope Rose is doing well.

Let me just start with a little bit of my own religious background since you asked. You are mostly correct in your assumption. I did grow up in the Church. But I spent most of my childhood and part of my teenage years not actively attending or involved. I had scant knowledge of the Church as a result. My mother was a member but my father wasn't. He was raised as a Baptist. Without going into much personal detail and to make a long story short, I wasn't raised in the most ideal of situations religiously. I wasn't immersed in the Church and I had to gain and rely on my own testimony. I am the oldest child of 5 and am the only one (besides my youngest sister who is only 12) who remained active, which should give you an idea of what I was faced with. Thankfully, one of my sisters is on her way back. Also, in spite of having been raised in the Church, I've had exposure to other religions. I wasn't raised in an area with a large Mormon population. I've attended a number of different religious services of family and friends and have been exposed to different Christian denominations. As I stated earlier, my father was raised Baptist, and so I attended Church a great deal with my grandparents when I stayed with them. They've spent a great deal of time preaching "grace" to me in much the same way you have. I admit that I haven't studied other religions in depth, but I haven't been raised completely isolated or uninformed. I've had the opportunity to learn of and test other beliefs, but none of them satisfied me. I eventually came to know for myself, when I read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, that it is true. The Holy Ghost, in answer to my prayer, filled me with an undeniable sense that it is truly the word of God. There have been numerous other times in my life when I've felt that same Spirit testify to me about other aspects of the Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ. The teachings of the Church have always made sense to me, but it has always been the Spirit which has confirmed the truth to my soul.

It was my hope that you would've shared your testimony as it was revealed to you through the Spirit, which I will assume you've had, even though you didn't exactly say as much.

I understand what you mean when you say that you can also use my words against me with regard to tempting God. But what I hope you understand is that the Spirit testifies of all truth where ever it is found.

So one can gain a witness through the Spirit that Jesus is our Savior no matter what particular denomination he or she may belong to. One may also gain a testimony of the grace that is offered through Christ. There is truth to one degree or another in nearly every religion or belief system.

So to say that one such as yourself has received testimony of different truths does not mean that there isn't truth available elsewhere at the same time. We firmly believe that there is much truth to be found in other religions, and I believe that much of what you've professed to believe is true. There are areas in which I believe that you are not quite on the money, and there are complete gaps in your beliefs, and I submit that since you are not too far off the mark, that you would certainly have had a witness to you of truth. But what I want to try and impress upon you, is that based on your belief that the Bible is the word of God, your belief in Christ as Savior, and in the grace that he offers, those basic beliefs are in complete harmony with what is taught in our Church, minus the idea that obedience is not an essential component of true discipleship.

You may consider this Church a 'cheap copy of Old Testament rule-keeping religion,' but it is firmly grounded and rooted in the reality of Jesus Christ, and his life and mission. It is firmly based in the teachings of the Bible. The teachings of our Church can be found within the Bible, in spite of the different interpretations of scripture which can be considered. As such, I see no reason for you not to study and pray about the Church, other than a stubborn refusal to accept a different interpretation of scripture.

I don't believe you have a true testimony that Joseph Smith is not a prophet because you have not put forth a true effort to find out for sure, and have only made that assumption based on what truths you have learned and perceived were in conflict with what the Church teaches. You can correct me if I'm wrong in any of my assumptions about you, but that is all I can do based on what you've told me.

As far as your description of members of the Church as compared with the Pharisees, let me first say that no one is perfect in the Church, and some are way off the mark, as I suspect is the case in other religions as well, but just because we profess to believe that Jesus expects obedience or 'rule-keeping' as you like to refer to it, does not make one self-righteous, and I resent that comparison being placed on us, especially considering that most are sincere in their devotion and committment to Christ. Comparing us to the Pharisees shows me that you know very little about us. We are not obedient because we seek the praise and adoration of the world. In fact, we get a fair amount of persecution because of our beliefs, mostly from professed Christians, and we would likely get more praise if we didn't feel the need to comply with any set of rules.

Those who's religious observances are not grounded in a desire to be obedient out of love for God and his gifts to us, but for the praise of the world are not worthy of the grace which Christ offers and will likely be cast off, but the mere belief that we must obey does not mean that our motivations are not pure. It does not make us as the Pharisees.

We believe that Christ is our Savior and that it is only through him that we are saved, but eternal life is not a free gift. The Lord has set forth the requirements of righteousness. He knows that we cannot possibly attain perfection, but it is a goal we must work for, and when we have done all we can, even though we will undoubtedly fall short, his grace takes over and bridges the gap for us. This gift is free because there is no way we can ever repay the debt, and none of us are ever truly worthy. But in exchange for this gift, all that is asked of us is our best efforts to be obedient. Only then can we be considered true and faithful.

Jesus Christ has paid and suffered for our sins. As such, we have incurred a great deal of debt to him. He suffered tremendously for each and every sin committed by us individually. He paid the price of sin, and as we continue to sin, we continue to add to that debt; we continue to add to the suffering which the Savior took upon himself for our sakes. We, probably more than any other religion, truly appreciates the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and as a result, we, probably more than anyone else, understands the value of obedience, because it is our weaknesses--our debt--which caused such great pain that the Savior bled from every pore of his body (Luke 22:44).

So let me ask you, what difference does it make if one has a sincere faith in Christ, and yet believes that he must obey the commandments? Will a belief in obedience disqualify him from the saving grace of Christ? If belief in Christ is the only requirement, what will it hurt if I also go the extra mile of trying to also be obedient?

This may not mean much to you, but consider the prophecy made in Isaiah 29, which I believe is a powerful prophecy relating to the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. It begins speaking about Ariel, which is a reference to Jerusalem. Isaiah is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and at the same time he sees the destruction of another great city like Jerusalem when he says, "and it shall be unto me as Ariel." Without the Book of Mormon, there is no way we could know what people it was that Isaiah saw which were like unto Jerusalem. The people of the Book of Mormon, were largely comprised of a group of Jews who were led out of Jerusalem before its destruction, and were led to a promised land, across the sea to the American continent.

In verse 4, it says "And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust." This is significant as it points to the fact that the plates upon which the Book of Mormon was written, were buried in the ground. It also ties into the idea that that once great civilization was wiped out, and their bodies, now buried in the ground, have a message for us.

Verses 11 and 12, which is perhaps the most powerful evidence in my opinion, says, "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: And he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned." Early in the process of translating the Book of Mormon, Martin Harris (who was Joseph's scribe at the time) wanted proof that the translation Joseph was making was genuine. So he took a copy of several of the characters from the plates along with their translation to some learned men. The account which Martin Harris gave to Joseph Smith states that he took the copy to Professor Charles Anthon of New York City, who certified that the characters were real and correctly translated. However, when the professor learned that the record from which the characters were obtained was itself received by supernatural means, he retracted his statement by asking for his certificate back and tearing it up. Martin Harris reported that the professor said that "if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, 'I cannot read a sealed book.' I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation."

Of course, the unlearned man to whom the book was delivered was, of course, Joseph Smith. Elder Orson Pratt once said, "Now in regard to Joseph Smith's qualifications or attainments in learning, they were very ordinary. He had received a little education in the common country schools in the vicinity in which he had lived. He could read a little, and could write, but it was in such an ordinary hand that he did not venture to act as his own scribe, but had to employ sometimes one and sometimes another to write as he translated. This unlearned man did not make the same reply that the learned man did. For when the book was delivered to this unlearned youth and he was requested to read it, he replied, 'I am not learned.' I suppose he felt his weakness when the Lord told him to read this book; for he thought it was a great work." How is it possible that this connection of the events which transpired in the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon could possibly be mentioned by Isaiah almost precisely as it occurred unless it was true? I just have a hard time ascribing it to pure coincidence.

Verse 17 says, "Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest." Elder Mark E. Peterson said, "The gathering of the Jews to Palestine is one of the most outstanding and significant of all the signs of the times. The Lord said through Jeremiah: '...I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers and they shall possess it.' (Jer. 30:3) Isaiah indicated that Palestine, long languishing in the grip of the desert, was destined to be turned into a fruitful field in connection with the gathering of the Jews to their homeland...

"A sacred book was to come forth before that time--one which was new to the world, one that told of a fallen nation which was destroyed suddenly--a book to be offered in the latter days to learned man who would reject it, but to be given by divine means to an unlettered man through whom it was to be given to the world....

"Where is that book? It is one of the signs of the times.

"Not only did the prophets predict its appearance, but Isaiah set a limit on the time of its publication. That time limit was related to the period when fertility would return to Palestine. Isaiah said that the book would come forth first, and then added that in 'a very little while...Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.'

"The time limit has expired. This new volume must have come forth before now or Isaiah was not a true prophet, for Palestine is fruitful again."

NM, I hope you will take these things under serious consideration. But I would wholeheartedly take anonymous's advice to heart when he said, "Again, if this LDS message is true what are you willing to give up to know the greatest knowledge God has to offer to mankind? My rule is if I am not ready for the answer don't ask." If you are not ready to learn that this Church may possibly be true, don't even waste your time. Only when you truly have a desire to know and are willing to follow it if the truth of it is revealed to you, should you undertake to find out for yourself. In other words, make sure you are sincere in your desire to know.

NM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NM said...

Tatabug,

Hello you. Thank you again for your response; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Tatabug, (and Anonymous) I appreciate reading about your experiences.

I think at this point (before we go any further), I'd like to address your final few sentences in which you said, "If you are not ready to learn that this Church may possibly be true, don't even waste your time. Only when you truly have a desire to know and are willing to follow it if the truth of it is revealed to you, should you undertake to find out for yourself. In other words, make sure you are sincere in your desire to know."

So, with this, I'd like to say in all honesty that I do not wish to pursue LDS doctrine any further nor do I want to pursue in the sincere form (in the familiar sense as you know 'sincere' to be) the 'truth' that you and others have found in the church =) I say what I have said in a 'frankly-speaking' manner to enable you to appreciate my honest motivation; but please know that what I have just said has been done in all humility - and in no way do I want to demean ANY of your amazing experiences =) In the same way that you have given me your time, I also would like to reciprocate.

My initial motivation for being on Jeff's blog was to learn more about Mormonism because I have friends who are LDS. My initial impressions (and still are) of Jeff were good. He (and you) seem very knowledgable about his (and your) faith who have the ability to communicate and give a reasonable defence (apologia) for the LDS faith. (I didn't want to be wasting time with people who waver) For the sake of satisfying my learning needs, I needed to read from someone who stands firm to what they believe =)

In all my discussions (for which I acknowledge that I have sometimes over-stepped the mark), my agenda has always been to promote this amazing word called 'grace'. I don't mean to and am careful NOT TO give criticism to the people who go to LDS churches; I have always stated that there ARE LDS PEOPLE who have a living relationship with Jesus, who have taken Him as their personal Saviour =) when all other things in their life have fallen apart. But such people who DO KNOW Him, are those who have stopped striving toward attaining salvation, but rather depended upon Him because they know they have failed.

As well as this blog (or: as well as Mormonism) I also spend time on other people's blogs; sometimes merely to learn from others' experiences in life. I like to talk to existentialists, I like to talk to and learn from 'liberal Christians' those who have ammalgamated Christian doctrine with what I can only make sense of as secularism, be it capitalism, socialism, even eastern mysticism etc. I like to spend time with people who might consider themselves communists, hyper-calvanists, scientologists(!?), universalists - all sorts. But in all of this, and in all my dialogue with these amazing people, I only talk of 'grace'. The one thing that ALL people have in common is their striving for something. And in their striving, work toward being something greater than they are. I find it interesting that Jesus is the only person who said that if we want to strive to be GREAT, we need to WORK at becoming LESS. How absurd is that?! When the world strives to be great as (if greatness is the ultimate goal) - Jesus is the only one who dared say the complete opposite =)

There are a few people who I admire when reading the New Testament. What I admire most about the apostle Paul is his ability to switch tacts with whoever he is speaking to. So to the Jews, whenever he spoke about the gospel, he speaks to them about Old Testament Law and manages to compare Jesus' magnitude with significant events in their history. To the Jews, God was a given and Paul could be rest assured that when he spoke about God: Jews (in general) knew who he was talking about. But when Paul spoke to Gentiles (like the example of when Paul addressed the Athenians - the philosophers! in Acts 17), Paul had to start from the beginning. Paul had to state to the Athenians what Jewish kids might have learnt in their first year of theology school!

Tatabug, when I came away from Christianity, I had to start again; I had to start right from the beginning. I had to see who God was from a rational perspective - first from a philosophical point of view, with questions like, "Is there even a God?" "Is God a mere social construct? - a mere psychological projection?" etc; and once questions were grounded in my mind, for me to then see how my perception of who God is with what the Bible says who He is. And as I have previously expounded, I had to also start again with who Jesus is - even to the point of looking to see if there is evidence as to whether Jesus existed or not. =/

Now, up to this point, it might seem as though my salvation has been through intellectual understanding, merely. But as with most professing born-again Christians, it is not. Anonymous, (the Anonymous who shared his amazing testimony) you might be interested in this part for which I will share of how I came to have a personal relationship with Jesus =)

My salvation (or my calling out for help) was preceded by acts of gross sin, which were comitted in my few years' worth of aimless wandering.

It's amazing to see how God has worked in my life these past few years, He has been nothing but merciful to me; and for all the significantly rebelious times when I stiff-armed Him - to which I deserved only death - He showed 'grace'. I can't mention as to what 'sin' it was that the Holy Spirit convicted me of, because I am still too ashamed to express it. Only a handful of people know (after the events that happened) about what really happened to me =) So, for now - I can ask you only to imagine these acts of 'gross sin' - which I was harshly reminded of...

Bearing in mind that I am a mental-health professional, I am fairly clinically-knowledgeable as to what people go through when they undergo mental-distress. In times of actue mental-distress, people hallucinate and see all manner of things, which 'normality' should not see. And people who undergo acute mental-distress also believe lots of weird and wonderful 'lies', clinically known as delusional belief that most sane people would not think. Well, Tatabug (and Anonymous) - I have also gone through such an experience. Just as the apostle Paul, after his conversion on his way to Damascus, he then went to try to speak to Jews - the same thing has happened to me - because of my conversion - I now work with people who also suffer with mental-distress to somehow communicate what the 'gospel' (the message of 'grace) really means.

Tatabug, I went to hell and back - and it lasted for about 2 months, for which I lost 3stone in weight. I suffered what we clinicians might call 'panic attacks' and general anxiety. And they would occur at random times - with no apparent triggers AT ALL. I suffered with vivid night-terrors, I even experienced hallucinations on a couple of nights, perceiving two demonic spirits enter into my house - during my most agonising moments. Tatabug, when I say that I was in agony - I was in AGONY - to the point that the idea of suicide seemed like the only viable option. And all the while especially during the freaky times - I prayed to God - because I'd read somewhere that if I prayed in Jesus' name for demons to flee - they would. And they did - but it was only momentary. I might experience peace - only for a day or even a few hours - but the night times were the worst, because nothing seemed to work. My arsenal was spent...

And it was one mid-morning, when I suffered my most severe 'panic attack' which enabled me to experience the eureka moment. At was during my motor-bike ride home - when things were at their peak; being reminded of all the sin which I had committed two/three years prior that I agreed to myself that I needed to go and confess to the person(s) whom I had sinned against when I blurted, "Jesus I can't do this anymore, please save me." (or words to that effect) that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING suddenly stopped. I've heard it in song, and I've read it in poems - about 'burdens being lifted at Calvary' - and it happened to me, thank God. The anxiety lifted; the panic attacks ceased. Tatabug, I was stumped - I carried on riding my motorbike thinking "What the heck happened?!" with words like "Thank you God" mixed in...

Tatabug, I have never had a nightmare since, neither have I experienced any strange sensations ever again, nor any bouts of depression nor panic attacks.

It was six months after all of this occured (after reading the Bible with new glasses that the theme of 'grace' kept popping up; the notion that 'it-has-never-been-about-me, it-has-always-been-about-God'. And I saw in scripture (which I had read for so long but had never seen until now) - that God is Sovereign; that God works all things for good to them that love God; that while I was yet a sinner - Christ died for me. For me? It was then (6 months after the conversion experience) that things started to click for me. I can now empathise with Job when he said "all these years, I had only heard of you, but now I see you with my eyes..." I can now empathise with Paul in his letter second letter to the Corinthian church when he said, "It is in my weakness that His power is made PERFECT in me" (Corinthians 12). Anonymous, this is what I mean about having a relationship with Jesus. It was in my moment of utter despair that I clung to the only person I could think of - the person who I'd read about in my younger days; I could not depend on family because family were not there; I could not cling to friends because they would not understand; I could not cling to alcohol or drugs purely because I don't do them; I could not cling to antidepressant medication - because something inside me kept telling me to stay away from them and the only person with whom I had been in constant prayer with for the 3/4 month duration, when I finally relented - He answered with mercy and showed immeasurable grace.

Tatabug, 'church' is not about a set of beliefs (as though you would find them in an institution). 'Church' is about a group of people who have been so changed by Him - who have encountered Jesus, His mercy and grace when all they deserve is death. See, Tatabug, there is nothing within me that I can boast in. Everything that I have ever done (off my own determination) comes to nothing - and some of which - I am actually very ashamed of. But like Paul - I too can boast only in the cross of Christ. There is nothing that I have acheived to deserve perfection - and I know there is nothing that I have done to gain any such perfection. The only thing I have done is received Him who IS perfection. Do you see? It's not about me attaining righteousness as if it were to be worked for...it is His perfect righteousness IMPUTED to me, as soon as I declare Him my Lord and Saviour =) Do you see this guys?

Again, 'truth' does not belong to a set of beliefs, neither does the notion of 'full-truth' belong to one particular church, like for example the LDS church. Nor does truth exist within the Baptist church nor the Methodist church. Nor can we say that there are aspects of 'truth' in Islam or aspects of 'truth' in Buddhism or Christianity or whatever...

...Truth exists because Jesus exists. Remember? "Jesus said, I am the Way, the TRUTH and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14). Tatabug, to have 'truth' means to have Jesus because Jesus IS the truth. Do you see that? I have a relationship with the truth, because the truth is Jesus embodied. Do you see it? Jeus IS the truth. So, because I have Jesus (that I have declared Him my Saviour) - I am qualified to say - I am Jesus' church; that is, I belong to a group of people who know what it means to have a relationship with Him. Do you see it?

Again, Tatabug, I am not saying that Mormonism as a whole are NOT christians - who follow a cheap copy of Old-Testament rule keeping religion. What I AM saying is that out from this environment of 'rule-keeping' (which also exists in all Christian organisations, be it Evangelicalism, Methodism, Baptists, Catholicism etc) are a group of people who have simply accepted Christ because HE is perfection, knowing that they cannot keep to this aura of 'rule-keeping' acts. Do you understand what I mean?

For me, nothing or should I say, no-one will be able to top the coversion experience I had with Jesus. Can you see just how significant He is to me? This isn't just about an airy-fairy experience (something of which I experienced in many religions - including Buddhism AND existentialism), but it was an encounter with MY sin - sin which drove me insane and even to the point of entertaining suicide.

Tatabug, as soon as I resolved within myself to confess what I had done to the person who I had wronged - and also when I blurted "Jesus, help me, I can't do this anymore - please save me...", everything vanished - it was as if the burden that I had carried especially for those 3/4 fateful months were lifted. The whole experience (and I recall it every now and then) is just filled with absurdity.

So, now - whenever I encounter, or should I say, when Satan tempts me to think about my past life (or even my current life - because I still sin) - I now rejoice. Tatabug, why do I rejoice? I rejoice because even though I am reminded of my imperfection, I can now look up to His perfection. No longer does God look at me and says, "Guilty!" (although I am), but I take Jesus as MY righteousness - and because He advocates for me, when God looks at me, He now looks to His Son, because I am in Him and has paid the penalty, that is, He has ABSORBED the WRATH, which I deserve and God now (miraculously) says, "Not guilty!" =)

...so, in a state of utmost humility, I rejoice; when Satan reminds me of my imperfection, I am reminded of His perfection... do you see it?

Peter said...

Nathaniel,

Great testimony. I loved it. I am grateful that you have had such a strong experience. I too have had a similar experience with God's grace finding me. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. It is a truly magnificent feeling. Thank you for sharing your testimony.
I believe that Christ has saved everyone, if they choose the offer of his sacrifice. You have. However, I believe that once you have accepted, there is more to it. I wanted to do the most I could to make Jesus proud. Jesus does not give a commandment that we cannot accomplish. He is not speaking figuratively. He has told us "by the law man is condemned". He never once said not to live (or attempt to live) the commandments. He told us to live the commandments.

So, you have KNOWLEDGE of Christ and not just a belief.

I would like you to explain your feelings on the scriptures that tell us to keep the commandments.

Such as : -
John 15:10

10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

John 14:15, 21, 23
15. If ye love me, keep my commandments.
21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
23. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

The scriptures are rife with keeping the commandments of God.

This one should you find most distressing – if you don’t keep the commandments.

1 John 2:4

4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

You can not honestly tell me that these scriptures and more are figurative or do not apply. There are heaps in the New Testament that plead with you to keep the commandements. This is our work, continuously repenting of the Evil we do so that we may proudly call ourselves His, that we may glorify God by being a delightsome and pure people.

Once again I do thank you for your testimony and plead with you to examine these scriptures and God's will for us.

Peter

Anonymous said...

"If we were to take Jesus' commandments literally, we would have as part of our inter-denominational constitution 'gouging out of one's eye/ear and cutting off of one's hand' every time we commit sin =/"

True, some are to be taken literally and some are not. Most of them are easly understood which are which. At least for those in the Bible.

NM said...

Peter!!! I was hoping you'd be one of the people to read it! You were one of the people I instantly warmed to because I knew that we had similar experiences =) Not that the semi-traumatic experiences constitute becoming a born-again Christian, of course. I think God works in many, many fantastic ways of bringing His chosen to Himself. Right? ;)

NM said...

Peter,

I have some things I'd like to add to what you have said about the three passages of scripture, but in short: yes, I agree with what you have said.

For now, I have a nappy to change. Yuck...I'll probably mull over what you have said over the next few hours...

Peter said...

Nathaniel,

Forgive my rudeness in not congratulating you for your blessing :) Congratulations! I find it odd that he makes us completely reliant at the beginning and end of our lives. I don't know if it is to show us how we should be (at the beginning) and how we should have been (at the end)? It's just odd to me :P

I just wanted to comment on the commandments about cutting off ones hand and gouging out eyes. I believe that they are refferring to the body of the Church. I don't think the Lord God of all men would desire us to disfigure ourselves. Besides, even if you do those things there is no guarentee that you would change in your heart, which is where it really counts.

Peter

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Peter,

It could always be cut out just like the eye or the hand ! With the eye there is still a chance. With the hand, yup still a chance, but with the heart out - no more chances.

You see that was what Jesus was getting at. Not talking about the church, but literally explaining how radical we need to be in doing a u-turn to drastically change our lives in Him and ultimately for a better standard of communicative life with God, whilst we are here imprisoned on this planet of sin.

Teranno4x4

NM
Hearty congratulations on the new arrival to your family!

(and thanks to you and Anon for the posted testimonies - I will try to read and catch up later).

tatabug said...

"But such people who DO KNOW Him, are those who have stopped striving toward attaining salvation, but rather depended upon Him because they know they have failed."

So since I am continuously striving toward attaining salvation, would you suggest that you know that I DON'T know Him, even though I realize how completely dependant I am on His grace? And I don't consider myself a failure. The test isn't over for me.

"I find it interesting that Jesus is the only person who said that if we want to strive to be GREAT, we need to WORK at becoming LESS."

What in the world does that mean? If by 'less' you mean humble, yes, I can agree that we must be humble. But if by 'less' we lose sight of our divine nature and the potential within us, then no. We must not lose sight of our weakness; we must never lose sight of our dependence on the Lord, but that needn't make us feel worthless.

"Tatabug, 'church' is not about a set of beliefs (as though you would find them in an institution)."

From Wikipedia, "A church is an association of people with a common belief system, especially one that is based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth."

From the Greek, Ecclesia, meaning "an assembly called together."

Yes, Church defines a group because they hold to similar beliefs. If the only belief one 'Church' holds to is that Jesus is the Savior of mankind, then yes, that would constitute a set of beliefs, and so yes, Church would be about a set of beliefs.

"Again, 'truth' does not belong to a set of beliefs, neither does the notion of 'full-truth' belong to one particular church, like for example the LDS church. Nor does truth exist within the Baptist church nor the Methodist church. Nor can we say that there are aspects of 'truth' in Islam or aspects of 'truth' in Buddhism or Christianity or whatever..."

So if no 'set of beliefs' or 'church' contain truth, then that would suggest that there is no truth available. I know you attend a Church, and I would assume your Church affiliates with at least some basic beliefs? If so, I would assume that you believe that that Church holds to and teaches true principles, appreciating that there may still be differences relating to various points of doctrine. I would assume that you would choose to affiliate with a Church that most closely echoes your beliefs, correct? Those things that you believe are the things that you hold to be true, right, otherwise, why hold to something you know is false? That would be utterly ridiculous.

Yes, Jesus is truth. But truth is not just a noun, it is also an adjective. It is used to describe whether or not something is false. The opposite of true is false. So, either a Church teaches truth or it teaches falsehoods. It is possible that a Church or religion can teach some truths while at the same time teaching some things which are false. At the same time it is possible for a Church to teach SOME truth, it is also POSSIBLE for a Church to teach ALL truth. As has already been established, Jesus is truth. But different Churches teach different things regarding Jesus and how to gain salvation. There can be only one truth regarding who Jesus is and how to access His grace. You obviously believe that you know the truth of the matter with regard to Jesus and grace, otherwise, why would you defend it so vigorously? Just as you think you have the truth, I believe that I have the truth. However, only one of us can be right, or else we are both wrong. So what is it?

"Again, Tatabug, I am not saying that Mormonism as a whole are NOT christians - who follow a cheap copy of Old-Testament rule keeping religion. What I AM saying is that out from this environment of 'rule-keeping' (which also exists in all Christian organisations, be it Evangelicalism, Methodism, Baptists, Catholicism etc) are a group of people who have simply accepted Christ because HE is perfection, knowing that they cannot keep to this aura of 'rule-keeping' acts. Do you understand what I mean?"

No.

Listen, I truly appreciate your relationship with Christ. I also appreciate your experience with repentance. I too have had my own experience with repentance, though not nearly so dramatic, but very powerful to me. That said, I'm sorry, I just have a hard time with a lot of the touchy-feely psycho babble with your own definitions of 'Church' and 'truth', non-literal interpretations of scripture (which coincidentally coincides with many creeds concocted by counsels of men, agenda-driven and heavily influenced by Greek philosophy), saying that only those who truly accept Christ are those who have come to the realization that they can't keep the rules. I know I'm not perfect and that I won't reach perfection in this mortal life, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't make as much progress toward that goal as I possibly can. I think you are great and sincere, but I think you are missing the mark.

And your impression of Joseph Smith's selling a cheap copy of an Old Testament rule-keeping religion is striking at the heart of our beliefs. We believe in and follow the teachings of Joseph Smith, who taught very powerfully and testified boldly of Jesus Christ, and if you don't believe that he was a Christian, then you can't believe that we are either.

It's obvious that your experiences have been very powerful for you, and you said that as a result that no one can top the experiences you've had with Jesus. I can appreciate that, but you must also appreciate the fact that you are not alone in those experiences, even among us Mormons. You have to realize that many of us have had experiences which relate not only to Jesus Christ, but also with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in this Church. Those experiences just can't be ignored with some flowery words. Experience is more powerful than words. That is why I've asked you to experience it yourself, and give the Holy Spirit a chance to show you. It's too bad you aren't interested.

NM said...

Tatabug,

Hmm, I kinda get the feeling my last response wasn't met all that well =/ And if I caused you to be hurt in any way then I want to offer my apologies. I don't want to get your back up AT ALL.

The trouble with having such 'open', honest discussions about each other's faiths is that some things do cut the (proverbial) heart - because the subject we are engaging in are things are we hold very dear to us =) I guess in the same way that if we both heard someone scoffing the name of Jesus, we would be hurt because Jesus (to both of us) is someone who has shown us nothing but grace and kindness...

So, you said, "What in the world does that mean? If by 'less' you mean humble, yes, I can agree that we must be humble

Yes, that's exactly what I meant. I'm sorry for the lack of clarification there. BTW, I got that from Mark 10: 35-45.

Tatabug, I really liked your thinking in your 7th paragraph, which started with, "Yes, Jesus is truth. But truth is not just a noun, it is also an adjective. It is used to describe whether or not something is false. The opposite of true is false. So, either a Church teaches truth or it teaches falsehoods..." and ended with, "Just as you think you have the truth, I believe that I have the truth. However, only one of us can be right, or else we are both wrong. So what is it?"

It's a breath of fresh air to be speaking to someone who holds to an 'absolutist' perspective. At this moment on, most would have given up on me and fobbed me off with a, "Listen Nat, you're entitled to believe what you believe, but we believe what we believe...so let's just leave it at that" - as if such a comment resolves any issue =) Such people revert to post-modern this-is-your-truth-this-is-my-truth mentality; and it's very annoying...But you didn't - and I REALLY REALLY ADMIRE THAT IN YOU =)

So, again: and as I've said many a times: it boils down to J.Smith. Does his self-proclamation of being a 'prophet' qualify him for being so based on the merit of these new revelations he had with regard to the character of God; man's relation to God; man's relation of Jesus etc.

As a side-note, what do you (and other LDS readers here) make of FLDS? I've been reading through a few sites and I've been watching a few testimonies of individuals within the FLDS. And I find extremely interesting that they too lay claims that they are 'IN FACT' the 'true' Latter Day Saints - and that those who have discarded the doctrines 'polygamy' have betrayed J.Smith in his message that this is the way to attain 'god-hood'?

Tatabug, in your last sentence, you said, "That is why I've asked you to experience it yourself, and give the Holy Spirit a chance to show you. It's too bad you aren't interested."

If we take the given that 'truth' is CONSTANT (irrespective of how humans have found new ways of measuring it) then if I were to entertain the idea of looking into the LDS church, which 'truth' within the LDS church should I look at? If FLDS people claim stake with their 'only-truth' status, and the LDS people claim stake with their 'only-truth' status by saying that modern prophets have discarded 'polygamy', then which am I to believe (if we take the given that 'truth' is a constant)? Do you see the dilemma? Who are you to say that LDS as a general religious organisation have complete hold on 'truth' when FLDS also make claims that they have stake on 'truth'? As far as I know, both FLDS and LDS follow the teachings of J.Smith, right? So, who's divine revelation do we now follow? J.Smith, the founder of Mormonism who advocated polygamy as a significant way to attain 'god-hood'? Or a modern 'prophet' who has done away with polygamy?

Tatabug, who is telling the truth? How can I possibly know WHO is telling the truth? And please don't revert back to the age-old, "In all sincerity, just ask the Holy Spirit..." phrase, because as you and I have previously understood the fallability of this logic if we are met with a person who follows Mr. Moon who might say the exact same phrase to us. A person who follows Mr. Moon has obviously gotten HIS answer (with all the added sarcasm), but sadly those of us who aren't Moon followers, does that then mean that WE haven't been sincere enough in OUR prayers?

Again Tatabug, who holds the truth and how do we determine as to who is telling the truth?

Do you see the dilemma Tatabug?

I know you are a person who is not satisfied by mere, "This is my truth, that is your truth" mentality. You proved it by your own words Tatabug =) Which, is why I must revert back to my original address: how do we know whether J.Smith really was a prophet?

For you as a LDS, it all hangs upon Mr. Smith. And like you said in your own words, "Just as you think you have the truth, I believe that I have the truth. However, only one of us can be right, or else we are both wrong.".

If 'truth' is 'truth' there can only be one. =) The possiblities are:

1) I am correct in my understanding of who Jesus is and as a result of who He is affects the way we relate to God.

2) You are correct in your understanding of who Jesus is and as a result of who He is affects the way we relate to God.

3) We are both wrong and 'truth' exists elsewhere.

=)

Peter, I was planning on getting back to you tonight, but time is not on my side =) Do you have an email address? I'm on facebook, if you happen to be on it?

Nathaniel

Peter said...

Teranno4x4,

While I disagree with your interpretation I am not going to discuss it with you as I don't feel there is any point in carrying on a discourse with you about our differences.

Peter

Peter said...

Nathaniel,

I understand where you are coming from. I have thought about the FLDS several times. I would like to give you a bit of my thoughts. 1) The FLDS are in direct breach of the 12th Article of Faith - We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.

2) The FLDS started from those who were ex-communicated from the LDS for the continued practice of polygamy. Basically, they were unhappy with a decision from the Prophet and decided to continue the illegal practise.

3) If there is a division between the Apostles of God you are supposed to follow the majority (obviously seeking your own testimony of the choice).

Read about it yourself here if you haven't already.

Peter

P.S. yes I am on facebook, you can find me as Peter Salzmann - network Australia.

NM said...

Peter,

Thanks for the link =) I'll read it now.

Nathaniel

Anonymous said...

NM, said:

"- I am qualified to say - I am Jesus' church; that is, I belong to a group of people who know what it means to have a relationship with Him. Do you see it?"
So only those that don't have a relationship with Him keep his rules? Or if you don't keep His rules then you have a relationship with Him? So if we were to have a friendship I would not be required to keep any of the rules of friendship to be apart of your church. Or if I were to get married in your church I do not have to keep any rules of marrage? Sounds like a church made up from saved by faith or Grace. Is this one of those churches that payes me money rather than I giving them money? Send me my check.

Anonymous said...

NM, said:

"At was during my motor-bike ride home - when things were at their peak; being reminded of all the sin which I had committed two/three years prior that I agreed to myself that I needed to go and confess to the person's) whom I had sinned against when I blurted, "Jesus I can't do this anymore, please save me." (or words to that effect) that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING suddenly stopped. I've heard it in song, and I've read it in poems - about 'burdens being lifted at Calvary' - and it happened to me, thank God. The anxiety lifted; the panic attacks ceased."

Sounds to me like you experienced the confession, repentance, forgiveness and acceptance part of the conversion process but missed the baptism of water and the Spirit which is the Gift of the Holy Spirit and the priesthood. All those pesky rules always getting in the way. HO! Yes those annoying commandments.

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

Anonymous,

While you are free to post whatever you want (subject to Jeff's discretion), I feel that these type of comments are not constructive. I would appreciate it if you would consider a more respectful approach to posting here.

Peter

Anonymous said...

I meant not disrespect, just pointing out some of the logical weakness in some of the statements. The scriptures point out that there are reasons for rules and avoiding them does not help ones position. Also the scriptures point out that there is a procress for conversion. Once we find and except the truth we need to repent be baptized obtain the priesthood. The rest was tongue in cheek. Try not to be so overly sensitive.

Peter said...

Anonymous,

I must thank you on that post. That is more the style that I am hoping for. I must have missed the tongue in cheek style, as I read it I felt it more of an attack with an attempt at humour to cover it. I am not here trying to belittle what some have received, but to build them up, to have correct doctrine and practices.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Peter,


NM said he had a profound singular spiritual event that changed his life forever. He used the parallel example of Paul's conversion. From his experience and Paul's example he concluded that no rules in the new Christian faith were necessary. However, Paul gave up the Jewish rules and started to obey new rules and even introduced new rules into the new Christian paradigm. Logic would follow that if NM truly is seeking the truth about Christ's Christianity he would want to follow His rules. All his studies in the logic of the philosophers he stated that he has studied would dictate that he needs to follow Paul's logical process and follow through with the rest of the requirements of Paul's Christ. NM also points out how Paul uses the necessary logical thought process (rules) to forward Christ's work (rules) with people other than the Jews.

NM is stuck in a paradigm. Christ used 17 teaching methods to move people out of their old paradigm. As stated by NM, Christ used sarcasm and was rude even disrespectful. Christ also used humor but most people are not aware of this. He may have used tongue in cheek humor but most of these are lost in the translations.

NM further pointed out that he was not looking for any other truth because he had found the truth and it was Christ and His Grace. Again this is not logical because logic would dictate that he follow Christ's rules if there is more than just the rules of Grace.

At some point the question for all that study the philosophers, "is do I follow them or Christ?" Over many years of studying both, I have found that the truths that the philosophers have pointed out are found in the scriptures. As one general authority pointed out "philosophies of men are about as useful as fried broth compared to the scriptures." These philosophies are just presented in a different manner and most people are unwilling to except them. Paul was a great philosopher that NM was impressed with. Has anyone met him. Joseph Smith said he met the resurrected Paul and talked about him. He also met most of the Old and New Testament Prophets and had great insights about them. Now NM is stuck in his paradigm and will never enjoy the deep spiritual richness that Christ has to offer through Joseph Smith unless he is willing to look beyond his singular experience of Grace. Personally I can't wait to meet this great prophet and leader. If you want to know if what Paul or Christ had to say was logical you must follow what they taught and the rules they followed. "Prove me now herewith saith the LORD of hosts."

Using one liners to point out weakness in a persons logic or position does not make me rude, disrespectful or insensitive, just to short and to the point. I am sure NM is a very super dude but he is a big boy and won't break easy. And yes I prefer it straight to the point rather than all the dancing around the point. Most of the damage that has been done to my life by Christians and Mormons have been dressed in smiles and niceties rather getting to the point.

PS. Point taken on your last stament. Thanks buddy.

Anonymous said...

NM, said:
"Jesus, in all of his statements wanted people to know that the standard for pleasing God (who IS perfection) is never enough. Again, there is nothing that we can do to please God. For example, Jesus said that if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off! Sane, middle-class, super-spiritual people would never dream of cutting their right arm off, just because they struggle with pornography, for example. Jesus' spoken ministry on earth was to tell us that (again) IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD."
I disagree I think if we make the effort we please God as is stated in Matt. 5: 13,14
Matt.5 Plucking my eye out.

27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
When I first started studying the scriptures I thought they had to be followed to the letter. Until I came to this type of scripture. What was Christ trying to say? It took me about 10 years to come to a conclusion as to what He meant. Not even the Mormons could help me with these hard saying of Jesus. It was not until I found the book by F.F. Bruce "The Hard Sayings of Jesus" did I start to understand such saying.
I had concluded that Christ did not want us to pluck out our right eye or cut off our right hand. I could find nothing in the scriptures or religious studies where the people of the time were shocked by this. Nether did I find any examples of where they were doing this. ( Just a little Opus Dei.) The best I could tell from other early Christian documents is that they did understand that it was not meant to be taken literally. Was it a mistranslation, cultural norm, or was taking it out of the over all context of the scriptures and cultural of the time the problem.

Matt. 5 Christ stats off by telling the people how to be blessed by being good and submitting to wrong doing and not seek even justice. He tells them how great they are.
The Jewish people were a very judgmental nation driven by the strict law which requires watching and punishing each other as "an eye for an eye." There were punishments for breaking of Jewish laws where they would pluck out your eye or cut off your hand and you were justify in plucking out a another persons eye if they offend or broke the law against you.
Verse 5:27 Christ starts off with do not commit adultery with the implied understanding by the people of the time that the punishment for adultery would be stoning to death. He addresses the men only because if they committed adultery they may get a reduced punishment of lashing but the woman would be stoned to death. Christ reduces it to what you see goes into your heart then becomes action. You must stop it at the eye or heart.
Here Christ is talking about the need to stop worrying about finding fault with others and concern your self with self judgment. Control yourself and punish yourself or correct your self before you are caught. He uses the right eye because it was to be used or righteous judgments. He uses the right hand because that is where the righteous will sit and the sheep go. The left is where the unrighteous an the goats go. He uses the right hand because the right hand was clean. The right hand was to be used for eating the left for unclean things like cleaning yourself after the toilet. If you had your right hand cut off you would only be left with your unclean part and would be in violation of the cleanness laws.

NM said...

Anonymous,

You wrote some amazing things! I generally prefer verbosity over minimalism. The more you write, the better I can appreciate exactly where you are coming from.

As a side note, old-timers here, like that of BookSlinger will have witnessed my early days, when my comments were deleted due to the use of tongue-in-cheek, sarcasm - which just doesn't convey in writing =) So, I've learned the hard way - and I'd rather over-emphasise courtesy than saying things like, "WHAT?! THAT's jUsT sTooPid.", which (to be honest) are some of my first reactions... =P

Another side-note: GET A HANDLE!!

I guess what I'd like to clarify is that I am here only to promote 'grace' - nothing else. IF I were to get myself 'stuck' into any system, it would be this: to make myself less - that Jesus, in me, might increase. To make oneself less is to acknoweldge that 'I CANNOT DO IT' but can merely cling to my Saviour, who I know has done all the work =)

Another thing I'd like to clarify is - the fact that you have somehow glimpsed at another way of looking at who Jesus is through the gospels (other than somebody who merely dished out new rules and regulations), then (I think) that's all that I can do =) As you and I both know - salvation doesn't come about by mere intellectual epiphany - Salvation in Jesus Christ is a head-on collision with your (and my) personal sinful life =)

I don't know about you, but have you ever wondered how it is that the 'sinners' (those who in Jewish society) were rejects - were the ones who flocked to Jesus - and also who Jesus were MOST compassionate towards? Jesus HATED everything that the Pharisees did - because they were doing things for the wrong motivations.

So, in order to get across that to have salvation is not merely keeping to the law, Jesus had to go to the extreme and 'gave' - 'new' and more IMPOSSIBLE commandments. Jesus wants us to know that salvation is NOT merely about KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS. And if we do manage to keep the commandments - we do it out of duty - AND NOT DELIGHT =)

The mere fact that you have started to question some of these insane and absurd things that I have communicated (about Jesus dishing IMPOSSIBLE commandments - therefore salvation is merely about accepting Him who IS perfection - the one who has fulfilled the law etc.) makes me happy. =D

It's not me who can make you open your eyes. You and I both know that only God can do it =) Remember: Christ did not come into the world to save the [self] righteous - but to save who? Sinners =)

To encounter a Saviour, is to encounter the fact that they need saving. =)

tatabug said...

NM,

You were fairly accurate in your detecting of my feelings in my last comment. I was bothered by some of the things you said, and as a result I was a little abrasive in my comments. I understand the sensitive nature of what we are dealing with, and I try to keep my emotions under control, but sometimes it is quite difficult. Please understand that I try not to take things too personally, and that I am not holding any resentment towards you. It is clear that you are equally passionate about your beliefs, and I realize that you are only trying to do for me what I would like to do for you, which is share truth. I apologize if I offended. Thanks for your patience with me.

You said:

"So, again: and as I've said many a times: it boils down to J.Smith.

You are absolutely correct. That is why when you preach grace, we will continue to disagree. Because of the revelations received through Joseph Smith, we have the ability to clearly understand the doctrine of grace which is inseparable from works, or more precisely obedience to commandments. As long as we maintain that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, your reasoning will fall on deaf ears.

"Again Tatabug, who holds the truth and how do we determine as to who is telling the truth?

"Do you see the dilemma Tatabug?"


Yes, I do. Well, ultimately, it is only through the Holy Ghost that truth is revealed. If one understands how the Holy Ghost works, and also how Satan works to counterfeit the Holy Ghost, then we won't be fooled.

You said that going by the Holy Ghost is a fallible logic. But to that I would ask you, how else can one learn truth? If we don't go by the Spirit, then we have to go by our own understanding, which would equate to trusting in the arm of flesh. How can we trust that we understand correctly, unless our understanding is confirmed by the Holy Ghost?

John 14:26 says, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

John 16:13 says, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."

1 John 5:6 says, "...And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth."

From what you illustrated with your amazing experience, it is clear that it left you with an undeniable affirmation that Jesus Christ is real and that he is your Savior, but given the diversity of beliefs about Him and points of doctrine stemming from the Bible, how do you verify truth, if not through the Holy Ghost?

Regarding FLDS, I don't know a lot about them, but Peter has provided some good information which would indicate that they are an apostate Church. I would only add that for those who believe that Joseph's teachings regarding polygamy meant to convey that it was necessary to enter into polygamy to attain god-hood, do not understand all of the teachings about that doctrine. It states very clearly in the Book of Mormon that polygamy was ONLY allowed to be practiced when God specifically commanded it because circumstances warranted it. In fact, the people of the Book of Mormon were strictly forbidden from the practice. If polygamy were necessary to obtain godhood, then why would God forbid them to practice it? Why would God not allow all men and women the chance to enter into polygamy if that was the only means through which they could obtain godhood? The FLDS logic that the Church was in apostasy because they did away with polygamy is flawed. It suits their own agenda and fails in the face of logic and clear doctrine. The Lord gives commandments through the prophets and just as the commandment to practice polygamy was given, it was also taken away.

Peter said...

This is what the JST says about Mark 9:43-48

Click Here

NM said...

Tatabug (and anybody else),

I've just noticed that Jeff has just recently written a post probably more suitable for the discussions we are having...

Tatabug, I admire what you said, "You are absolutely correct. That is why when you preach grace, we will continue to disagree. Because of the revelations received through Joseph Smith, we have the ability to clearly understand the doctrine of grace which is inseparable from works, or more precisely obedience to commandments. As long as we maintain that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, your reasoning will fall on deaf ears."

Your comment clearly shows that there IS a difference between 'grace' as I understand it from the Bible and 'grace' as you understand it from the Bible =)

I understand 'grace' to be the expression of love from God to a people who do not deserve to be accepted, let alone loved. The Bible makes it quite clear that we all fall short of the glory of God. For God to send His only begotten Son to die for me is something I find quite absurd. And it's only because God has done this for me, that I can say, "God is love". I know He is love because of the grace He has given to me who doesn't deserve it. =)

So, to the subject of the Holy Spirit? Another thing that has happened to me since that fateful conversion experience - are that occassionally (and it might last for a week or two) weird things happen to me in relation to other people, whenever I talk about Jesus and the amazing work he's done. And I mean extra-ordinary things - to the point of utter freakiness...But I'll probably save that for another day...

Just for the record: I do know what you mean when you say that we need the Holy Spirit to help us to determine the truth. I think I was merely pointing out what you have already mentioned about the work of Satan. Satan is known as the accuser, he's the father of lies, a murderer etc. As well as having the privilege of having been created as a superior being, he has also had a millenia to perfect the art of deception.

The subject of Satan is something I'd like to discuss maybe at a later date...but I guess what I was partly trying to drive at is how is it that other people from other faiths (like Moon followers etc) have also made claims on truth? Unless of course we recognise that we have an adversary who at every corner churns out cheap imitations of what expect to be the Holy Spirit's work.

So, if our conversation is turning now towards the subject of Satan, how can we know whether J.Smith (or Mr. Moon or even evangelicals' take on 'grace') aren't from the devil?

I don't expect you to answer these questions at all...such questions serve merely to get some of my cogs going...

I wonder if this subject of 'truth' is worth discussing over on one of Jeff's more recent (and more appropriate) posts...?

Peter said...

I personally would like to discuss the strait and narrow path. Why there are only a few who find it and what exactly is the strait and narrow path. I know there is a Gate at the beginning of the path and salvation/exaltation at the end. What is inbetween?

Anonymous said...

But unto every one of us is given Grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for His church,
For the PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the philosophies of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

NM said...

Excellent passage from Ephesians there Anonymous =)

NM said...

I have some old notes I made on Ephesians somewhere, but I remember reading the first chapter and being completely blown away by it. - That everything about who we are in relation to what God has done for us - is all for the glory of God. i.e. EVERYTHING God has done in us is so that we might REFLECT His glory =)

It seems God is the only being, with whom 'self-exaltation' is the HIGHEST VIRTUE! =D

Anonymous said...

What is the New Testament teaching on “law and grace”? Is it one or the other—law versus grace—or both—law and grace? . Here is the plain Bible teaching! Most religionists claim that God’s law was abolished by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. They think that mankind is no longer burdened by the stringent requirements of that “harsh law” that stands in their way of freedom—of “having a good time.” But the Apostle Paul wrote, in “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet.” Most churchmen have traditionally condemned the law while absolving sin. However, it is not the law that is at fault, but sin. On our own, we cannot discover God’s perfect law. God has to reveal and teach it to us. How did the leaders of the New Testament Church view the laws of God? Paul wrote, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not grievous” And Christ summed up the matter, saying, “…if you will enter into life, keep the commandments”.
He also said, “Not everyone that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven. Notice the warning that God inspired in the book of Jude: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4).
Even before the New Testament was completely written, ungodly men had crept into the Church in an attempt to corrupt it by turning grace into lasciviousness. This was precisely the false gospel taught by Simon Magus, Nicholas of Samaria, Cerinthus and other “founders” of counterfeit Christianity.
Lasciviousness means “license to sin.” It could also be defined as “unrestrained liberty” or “abuse of privilege.” In essence, this meant license to do what seems right in one’s own eyes, according to one’s own conscience. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines grace as “favor, kindness and mercy.” The ecclesiastical usage is defined as “divine mercy and forgiveness.” No mention is made about grace being license to disobey God’s law. To be “under grace” means to be extended mercy and forgiveness as a result of sincere repentance and resolve to obey God.
Romans 6:23 explains that the wages of sin is death. Upon repentance, baptism and conversion, a Christian is forgiven by the blood of Christ and immediately saved from the penalty of PAST sins. So, in one sense, the person has been “saved,” at that moment, from death.
So do you think we should continue sinning so that God will give us even more grace? No! We died to our old sinful lives, so how can we continue living with sin? Did you forget that all of us became part of Christ when we were baptized? We shared his death in our baptism. When we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and shared his death. So, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the wonderful power of the Father, we also can live a new life through repentance, baptism, and keeping the commandments in His True church.
Should we sin because we are under grace and not under law? No!16 Surely you know that when you give yourselves like slaves to obey someone, then you are really slaves of that person. The person you obey is your master. You can follow sin, which brings spiritual death, or you can obey God, which makes you right with him.
In the past you were slaves to sin, and goodness did not control you.21 You did evil things, and now you are ashamed of them. Those things only bring death. But now you are free from sin and have become slaves of God. This brings you a life that is only for God, and this gives you life forever. 23 The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There are two more applications of when and how a person is saved. The word salvation is derived from the word saved. So, the second way is the most obvious—salvation at the resurrection upon Christ’s Return.
The third way one is saved is that he is “being saved.” No one receives salvation in this life without first undergoing much trial, testing, learning, growing and overcoming. Salvation is an ongoing process—throughout one’s lifetime.
Salvation results from grace—unmerited pardon. The calling to and the gift of repentance are not earned by works. God’s grace is not earned by works. All that human beings have earned is death. To be under grace does not mean that we have already achieved salvation. It means we have been given unmerited pardon and are in the process of overcoming and enduring. Those who endure to the end of this physical existence are saved—saved from eternal death.“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). Having endured and overcome means that one has “qualified.” It also means that one can disqualify himself by failing to endure or overcome. Yet, the calling, the justification—this grace is a gift. Salvation results from God’s grace.
The false idea that “once under grace, we are already saved” is not founded upon scripture. Grace is God’s willingness to forgive past sins, as summarized in Ephesians 1:7: “…in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
God provides Christians with the willpower, faith of Christ and motivation to do His good pleasure. God the Father and Jesus Christ have gone to great lengths to provide the grace—favor and divine mercy—to help Christians succeed in their calling. But they expect results! That is the message of Ephesians 2: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (vs. 10).
The real issue here is not grace or works. Neither is it grace opposed to works. Nor is it grace in the place of works. It is simply this: Grace followed by works.
God extends grace and help to His people, but He expects us to grow in good works, walking in them as a way of life. The law of God is the standard or benchmark that directs the paths of true Christians. Keeping them develops character. Doing these things shows God that the grace He has extended to us has not been in vain.
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

I enjoyed reading your expansion on the themes recently discussed in this topic.

I would say that for the MOST part I agree with you, and accept the Biblical support offered.

Two areas that I became confused with your reasoning and logic are the three described ways of being saved ....?!!!

From the Bible - I know of only one and His name is Jesus Christ.

The second area of uncertainty has come from your comment is when you state that we become a part of Jesus Christ when we are baptised.... Huh ? ... "We shared his death in our baptism. When we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and shared his death. So, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the wonderful power of the Father, we also can live a new life through repentance, baptism, and keeping the commandments in His True church. Where is this Biblical ?

The message and meaning of baptism is symbolic. It IS AND SHOULD BE a deeply Spiritual experience. We do not graft ourselves into Jesus or His ULTIMATE SACRIFICE in any way, shape or form. He ALONE is the one to take aways the sins of the world. What we do is offer ourselves to Him, broken, empty and devoid of ALL self, so that He then (through the Almighty power of the Holy Spirit) can join with us (on His terms - not ours) and assist us to grow and develop in His Divine character.

Do you see the difference here? We do not share in His death or any part of His experience as we TRULY are NOT worthy.

I think that for some of your terminology, you are confusing the term Salvation with other attributes of the whole 180 degree conversion turn around process. Such as Need of Jesus, Confession of sins, Repentance, Forgiveness, Commitment, Baptism, Justification and Sanctification - all that will collectively lead ultimately to Salvation.

Is it possible to be saved without the additional ordinances ... ? - just ask the thief on the cross. He will be in God's kingdom at the end of time - it's a certainty!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insight though - the rest of your comment was inspirational.

Teranno4x4

NM said...

Teranno,

I really appreciate your input here. I too agree that Anonymous' last response was inspirational, it was PACKED - full of amazing verses to get our teeth into!

Anyway, I'll be off for the weekend to visit the grand and great grandparents =)

Peter,

Thank you for your patience =)

Anonymous said...

T4x4, said:


...when you state that we become a part of Jesus Christ when we are baptised...



Romans 5:1-5
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

I think it is (don't know what to call it) an example symbol? I think the meaning of baptism is symbolic unless it is trully a washing away of sin then when The Christ died that power is still in force and activates when we repent and except the water of baptism in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

Baptism associating us with the death of Christ means that it is only through baptism that we can have access to forgiveness. We are "buried with (Christ) in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through...the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins...hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses" (Col. 2:12,13). We are "washed...in the name of the Lord Jesus" (1 Cor. 6:11) - i.e. baptism into the name of Jesus is the means by which our sins are washed away. This was typified back in Num. 19:13, where those without the water of purification had to die. We demonstrated in Study 10.2 how baptism is a washing away of sins (cp. Acts 22:16). The descriptions of the believers as being washed from their sins in the blood of Christ therefore refers to their doing this by means of baptism (Rev. 1:5; 7:14; Titus 3:5 [N.I.V.] speak of this as "the washing of rebirth", referring to our being "born of water" at baptism [John 3:5]).

In the light of all this, it is understandable that Peter's response to the question, "What shall we do?" (to be saved) was, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:37,38). Baptism into Christ's name is for the forgiveness of sins; without it there can be no forgiveness of sin, and the unbaptized must therefore receive the wages of sin - death (Rom. 6:23). There is no salvation except in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12), and we can only share that name by being baptized into it.

Anonymous said...

"Is it possible to be saved without the additional ordinances ... ? -"

No. To be saved without baptism is not bibical.

Anonymous said...

Romans 6:23 explains that the wages of sin is death. Upon repentance, baptism and conversion, a Christian is forgiven by the blood of Christ and immediately saved from the penalty of PAST sins. So, in one sense, the person has been “saved,” at that moment, from death.

There are two more applications of when and how a person is saved. The word salvation is derived from the word saved. So, the second way is the most obvious—salvation at the resurrection upon Christ’s Return (I Cor. 15:50-55; I Thes. 4:13-18).

The third way one is saved is that he is “being saved.” No one receives salvation in this life without first undergoing much trial, testing, learning, growing and overcoming. Salvation is an ongoing process—throughout one’s lifetime.

Notice what Paul wrote in Romans 5: “Much more then being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (vs. 9-10).

Salvation results from grace—unmerited pardon. The calling to and the gift of repentance are not earned by works. God’s grace is not earned by works. All that human beings have earned is death. To be under grace does not mean that we have already achieved salvation. It means we have been given unmerited pardon and are in the process of overcoming and enduring. Those who endure to the end of this physical existence are saved—saved from eternal death. No one can boast that he has achieved salvation in this life. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). Having endured and overcome means that one has “qualified.” It also means that one can disqualify himself by failing to endure or overcome. Yet, the calling, the justification—this grace is a gift. Salvation results from God’s grace

Anonymous said...

"The message and meaning of baptism is symbolic."

The water many be symbolic but the true preisthood is the power that transforms it from symbol to true power. I put a crown on your head it is just symbolic unless there is power in the words and the power to back up your kingship. The priesthood power is the power to act in Heavenly Fathers name and He has the power to back it up.

Anonymous said...

"Is it possible to be saved without the additional ordinances ... ? - just ask the thief on the cross. He will be in God's kingdom at the end of time - it's a certainty! "


I yield to Paul on this one.

Anonymous said...

Consider Jesus' statement about the thief. Does it mean we can be saved by faith alone without baptism?
1. We really do not know whether the thief was or was not baptized.
Multitudes had been baptized by John the Baptist and by Jesus' disciples (Matt. 3:5,6; John 4:1,2). It is entirely possible that the thief was baptized and then later fell into sin. Or he could have been baptized in prison or just because he was forgiven by baptism does not absolve him of the laws of the state to carry out punishment. We cannot argue this is a case of salvation without baptism unless we know the person was not baptized.
2. The thief is also not an example of salvation by faith under the gospel.
Those who argue for salvation by "faith only" cannot use the thief to defend their position either, for he did not have the kind of faith that is required for salvation today.
Romans 10:9 - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
To be saved according to the gospel we must believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead. The thief on the cross could not possibly believe that, since Jesus had not died let alone been raised. Or is it faith that He was the Son of God, He was God, was the Jewish messiah, can forgive sins, that He atoned for your sins or the sins of all mankind or faith that God is a spirit, belief in what is required? If you have faith in a incorrect belief are you saved and in an incorrect one you are dammed?
Hence, people who believe faith is essential to salvation cannot use the thief as their example for how to be saved. He was no more saved by the faith of the gospel than he was saved by baptism only. Baptism without proper authority is void. We could as easily use the thief to prove salvation without Scriptural faith as we could to use him as an example of salvation without baptism.
Even those who believe in salvation by faith only must admit we today are not saved like the thief was saved. But if we today are not saved like the thief was saved, why bring up the fact he was not baptized?
These are differing Christian concepts on what is required for salvation by faith, belief or grace and is not a Mormon concept.
3. Many Scriptures clearly teach that baptism is essential to receive forgiveness under the gospel.
Mark 16:16 - He who believes and is baptized will be saved.
Acts 2:38 - Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.
Acts 22:16 - Be baptized and wash away your sins.
Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27 - We are baptized into Christ, into His death. We have newness of life after we have been baptized (John 3:3,5).
I Pet. 3:21 - Baptism now saves us.
God's word does not contradict itself. All scriptures that contradict must carry equal weight and all must be true and function together. It clearly teaches baptism is essential to receive remission of sin. Therefore, the thief cannot prove people ARE saved without baptism for that would contradict other Scriptures. So there must be some other explanation for the case of the thief. What is paradise?
What was the location of paradise when Jesus spoke this?
At that point in time paradise was located inside the earth in Hades which was divided into two primary parts as seen in Luke 16. The righteous went to the side called paradise (Abraham's bosom) the unrighteous went to Gehenna (hell). While we can nit pick over words, the meaning is obvious in the context of the statement. He would be with Jesus, where did Jesus go that day? Paradise.
This event occurred between Christ's death and resurrection, while his body was put in the tomb His Spirit went to the place of confinement called spirit prison. The view that is best supported is actual spirits because of its consistent use in this manner throughout the New Testament.
Hades is divided into two parts of which no one can cross over from one to the other. On the Hell side of Hades there are both bad angels and humans spirits being confined awaiting their eternal punishment. In this 2nd compartment there is a division for both good angels and humans spirits. For the humans their is Abaddon and the pit. For the fallen angels there is the Abyss which is a temporary place of confinement in which they will be let out during the tribulation.(Rev.9)
The other division is Tartarus which is a permanent place of confinement for those angels of Gen.6 (Jude 6, 2 Pt. 2:4) 1 Pt.4:5" Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6: For this cause was the gospel preached also to them (in spirit form that had left the body) that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, (that is judged for your sins committed in the flesh) but live according to God in the spirit, once you obtain a remission of sins through repentance and baptism.
Paul also stated before he recalled this account of his visit to the third heaven that all believers go there when they die 2 Cor.5:8 "To be absent from the earthly body is to be present with the Lord or in other words a place that He has set up until a judgment is made where they will then go after they comply with all ordinances (repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hand, obtaining of the priesthood, sacrament, marriage, keys to Gods kingdom and washing of feet. The spirit nor Soul doth not sleep , not purgatory, but in spirit prison. There are three heavens distinguished in scripture.The stars and the sun and moon are located.(Gen.1:14-18,22:17;Mt.24:29;Rev.6:13) The third heaven have references and are found in many of the major books of the Old Testament. In the New Testament the Gospels, the book of Acts, 2 Cor.; Eph.;Col. and other epistles mention it. Jesus testified of its reality saying he came from there.
Paul testifies of it and writes of his experience in 2 Cor.12:2 where he was brought to the third heaven where God dwells and in vs.4 calls it Paradise. Yet he did not tell anyone of this revelation for 14 years because it was not excepted as we see the LDS church teaches it today.
Jesus stated in Jn. 14:2-4 that he went ahead of us to prepare a place in heaven which is where His Father dwells. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would not have told you, for I go and prepare a place for you. Many places.
When Stephen was martyred he looked up to heaven seeing a vision of the Lord standing- and said Lord Jesus receive my Spirit (under inspiration of the Holy Spirit). He knew he was going to be immediately transferred having received all the ordinances and a resurrected body into heaven, the location of the Lord.
When Christ ascended he led captivity captive (Eph.4:8-10), those who had waited in faith in Abraham's bosom for their sins to be removed were gathered together in another place, the new Paradise in heaven.
Rev.2:7 "To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God which is now in heaven. In Rev.22:2 we find this tree is located in the new Jerusalem (Heb.12:22-24). (Whether this is symbolic or literal is a matter of view, the fact is we will partake of it). The location of paradise will again change in the future to be on the new earth, as the new Jerusalem comes down and the dwelling place of God is with man forever (Rev.21:1- Rev.22). The same tree that Adam was forbidden to eat from, so that he would not become eternal in his fallen state, will be offered to everyone that has received their immortal resurrected bodies.
So we see that paradise could be a number of places as there are many places where Christ's rules.

tatabug said...

Very informative, anonymous.

I would only add to that, the fact that it was on the day of his crucifixion that Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "...Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43) Some take this to mean that paradise is another word for heaven.

But then, when you read in John 20:17, Jesus is speaking after his resurrection to Mary and says, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." If we are to believe Jesus when he said that he would be going to paradise on the day he was crucified and that this paradise of which he spoke was just another word for heaven, then how could he not have already ascended to the Father? The only logical conclusion that I am able to draw from this would be that paradise and heaven are two different places. If this is so, the fact that the thief was promised he would be in paradise was not a promise of eternal salvation.

Anonymous said...

I like your logic.

Teranno4x4 said...

Hi Tatabug,

Remember that in the Greek, there is no grammatical punctuation, so when the verse is re-read, then it could also be implied that Jesus was giving the thief the promise THAT very DAY (to-day) when he was actually speaking it! That would throw in a completely different meaning and could also explain why the thief is not yet in paradise or heaven.

The comma was added for the English theological understanding of the time of translation. Original language is a wonderful aspect to refer back to.

Paradise / Heaven don't have to be two different places as the Greek also reflects it intended as one and the same place.

Teranno4x4

tatabug said...

Teranno,

I'm sorry, but I don't quite follow.

Anonymous said...

"THAT very day."

That very day Christ died and His spirit went to spirit prison to preach. Three days later His body was raised from the dead and He told Mary that He had not go to His Father in Heaven. "Touch me not." When we put the scriptures togother it fits.

Teranno4x4 said...

Hi Tatabug,

Let me try to explain a little clearer.

Here is the exact verse in question Luke 23:43
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Now if we remove all the grammar and punctuation to see the simplicity in which it was first written ....

and Jesus said unto him verily I say unto thee today shalt thou be with me in paradise

Now if we break up the sentence into two parts :

a. and Jesus said unto him verily I say unto thee today

b. shalt thou be with me in paradise

Can you see what I am trying to explain now?

The promise of heaven is still there as clear as anything. The promise was made that very same day, however the delivery of the promise to the thief would not be made until Jesus' second coming when he returns to take the righteous dead from the graves and the righteous living from the earth. Then the righteous collectively will ascend to heaven (Gr. paradeisos) .

More accurately :

Gr. paradeisos, a transliteration of the Persian pairidaeÆza, meaning an “enclosure,” “park,” or “preserve” containing trees, in which animals were often kept for the hunt. It was enclosed by walls and sometimes furnished with towers for the hunters. The equivalent Hebrew word, pardes, is translated “forest,” or “orchard” (see on Neh. 2:8; Eccl. 2:5). In the septuagint the “garden” of Eden is spoken of as the “paradise” of Eden (see on Gen. 2:8). In fact, paradeisos is common in the Septuagint where the word “garden” (Heb. gan) appears in the English translation (see Gen. 3:1; Isa. 51:3; Joel 2:3; etc.).

In the NT paradeisos occurs only in Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7. In 2 Cor. 12:2–4 “paradise” is obviously synonymous with “heaven.” The fact that Paul refers to no earthly “paradise” is doubly clear from the fact he equates being “caught up” to “heaven” with being “caught up” to “paradise.” According to Rev. 2:7 the “tree of life” is said to be “in the midst of the paradise of God,” whereas in Rev. 21:1–3, 10; Rev. 22:1–5 the tree of life is associated with the new earth, the New Jerusalem, the river of life, and the throne of God. There can be no doubt whatever that NT usage of paradeisos consistently makes it synonymous with “heaven.”
Therefore, when Jesus assured the thief of a place with Him in “paradise,” He referred to the “many mansions” of His “Father’s house” and to the time when He would “receive” unto Himself His own (see on John 14:1–3). Throughout His ministry Jesus had specifically stated that He would “reward every man according to his works” when He returned in triumph “in the glory of his Father with his angels” (see on Matt. 16:27). Not until that time will He invite the saved of earth to “inherit the kingdom prepared for” them “from the foundation of the world” (see on Matt. 25:31, 34; cf. Rev. 22:21). Paul taught that those who fall asleep in Jesus will come forth from their graves at Christ’s second coming (see 1 Cor. 15:20–23) to receive immortality (vs. 51–55). The resurrected righteous and righteous living will “be caught up together … to meet the Lord in the air,” and thus “ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17). The thief will, accordingly, be “with” Jesus in “paradise” following the resurrection of the just, at His second coming.

It should be noted that the comma between the words “thee” and “to day” was inserted by the translators. The original Greek text, which had neither punctuation nor word division reads: ameµn soi legoµ seµmeron met emou eseµ en toµ paradeisoµ, literally, “truly to-you I-say today with-me you-will-be in the paradise.” The adverb seµmeron, “today,” stands between the two verbs legoµ, “I-say,” and eseµ, “you-will-be,” and might properly apply to either. Its position immediately following the verb legoµ, “I-say,” may imply a closer grammatical relationship to it than to the verb eseµ, “you will be.”

Obviously, in placing the comma before the word “to day,” the translators were guided by the unscriptural concept that the dead enter into their rewards at death. But, as set forth above, it is manifest that neither Jesus nor the writers of the NT believed or taught such a doctrine. To place the comma before the word “today” thus makes Christ contradict what He and the various NT writers have plainly stated elsewhere.

Accordingly, the Scriptures themselves require that the comma be placed after the word “to day,” not before it. See on John 4:35, 36.

I hope that you find this some help. This shows how your claim that scripture can be distorted is correct. However, the original intentions and meanings should never be overlooked and we should endeavour to always diligently search to find their TRUE meaning. Not force a square peg into a round hole in order to try and make it fit. This is deception.

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

“paradise” is obviously synonymous with “heaven.”


As usual there is nothing obvious about heaven and paradise being the same place.


"Not force a square peg into a round hole in order to try and make it fit. This is deception."

Just because you refuse to understand that there is a spirit that leave the body at death and that the soul does not sleep but the body sleeps in the grave is just as deceptive. You sound like most lawyers I have met. They can twist the truth into a lie. Or is it just that we just disagree on the interpretation or meaning. O' of course you are right we are all just trying to be deceptive.

Anonymous said...

“reward every man according to his works”


What? What? Pull me off my high horse but we are saved by grace or is it faith? I can't keep it all straight. The scriptures are starting to eat my brain. Boy I am sure glad I have T4x4 to clear things up.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

There is no need to be facetious about anything in this communication.

Your language : "When we put the scriptures togother it fits"

This is the 'connecting scriptures together' for purpose of doctrine as I have tried to mention.

It is not just a question of a belief in a 'spirit after death' experience even though I know that this is a common LDS understanding. It is about what DOES THIS VERSE REALLY SAY AND MEAN ? I explained that in the Greek, one can not arrive to your logic, doctine or way of thinking. If that is the reality, then your comment really does become 'deception' and not Truth.

I enjoy reading Truth, but I will comment when something offered is not accurate or 'fit' in with Biblical teaching. And NOT just because I happen to disagree or believe differently to you!

The works that you are so confused about come about through no thought of self or our own being, but they are achieved through following Jesus our Saviour. When we adopt His character and His mind, through our choice of following Him by being His disciple, then automatically all our works become as he would have us do. It is not a conscious mindset to chase after works.

We are saved by the Grace of Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for our sin. We are still saved by Faith, but the works that also will be a measure of our Faith will be inherent in our very being and not a goal that we strive towards attaining.

You keep bring this back into discussion and I don't know why. It is a relatively easy to comprehend principal which is maintained out of our love for Jesus!

In kindness,

Teranno4x4

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

Again I state, it is highly improbable that the thief being crucified was baptised in any way, but Jesus assured him of his salvation through the faith that he demonstrated whilst hanging there.

Why can Jesus not decide who will be and who won't be in heaven? Will you question His authority to make such a profound claim for the thief?

Doesn't revelation depict Jesus riding a white horse with King of Kings and Lord of Lords written on His thigh? Isn't this enough that he paid the ultimate price for our sin, so that He alone has the right to decide our individual destiny which by His divine right should be heaven, but by our continuing sin will be rejection from heaven ?

Something to consider,

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

"Why can Jesus not decide who will be and who won't be in heaven?"

This was not about Jesus deciding who will or won't be in heaven, it was a discussion about does the Christ's statement on the cross say the theif will go to heaven that day. Only if paradise and heaven is the same place which is not obvious by a number of old and new testiment religious leaders statements. These ideas I got from other Christian leaders not Mormons. Eather you are not Christian or Christians also disagree on some points of scripture.

Anonymous said...

Gr. paradeisos, a transliteration of the Persian pairidaeÆza, meaning an “enclosure,” “park,” or “preserve” containing trees, in which animals were often kept for the hunt. It was enclosed by walls and sometimes furnished with towers for the hunters. The equivalent Hebrew word, pardes, is translated “forest,” or “orchard” (see on Neh. 2:8; Eccl. 2:5). In the septuagint the “garden” of Eden is spoken of as the “paradise” of Eden (see on Gen. 2:8). In fact, paradeisos is common in the Septuagint where the word “garden” (Heb. gan) appears in the English translation (see Gen. 3:1; Isa. 51:3; Joel 2:3; etc.).


"I explained that in the Greek,"

The Greek nor the Hebrew did nothing but tell us it was some type of Garden with trees.

You could be correct but we are back to belief not sound doctrine or fact.

tatabug said...

Teranno,

Thank you for clearing that up. I completely understand your point now. That reading certainly works, but it seems as much a personal interpretation as anything.

What I am curious about is why the word 'today' was included at all, as it would seem to be unnecessary in the context you propose. One could just leave that word out altogether and the sentence would still maintain the same basic meaning.

Also, there is no way to know for sure what the original intent was if we assume that someone interpreted it to mean what they thought it should mean, and there is no way to know if this is indeed what happened.

However, I'm not so sure it is a safe position to take to assume that the someone imposed their own understanding into that particular scripture, as there are some early Christian teachings which might suggest otherwise in this instance.

Justin Martyr (ca. ad 150) taught: "The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment. Thus some which have appeared worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be punished."

Tertullian taught (ca. ad 200): "All souls, therefore, are shut up within Hades: do you admit this? (It is true, whether) you say yes or no... Why, then, cannot you suppose that the soul undergoes punishment and consolation in Hades in the interval, while it awaits its alternative of judgment, in a certain anticipation either of gloom or of glory?"

It seems you really like the 'square peg into a round hole' analogy. In this case, the difference between our approach is that I didn't have to 'chisel' out a comma and 'adjust' the emphasis on a word that would otherwise be 'unnecessary.' Sounds a lot like fitting a square peg into a round hole to me. What I did was say if we are to assume that paradise is heaven, we might need to reconsider that assumption on the basis of John 20:17. It needn't be attributed to fitting a square peg into a round hole, but rather interpreting various scriptures so that they can harmonize rather than conflict. It just seems we have different ways to achieve that harmony.

Teranno4x4 said...

Hi Tatabug,

The word 'today' is very important. It denotes the precise time when Jesus insightfully decided to give the thief this important information as to where his future citizenship lay. Maybe he knew that a doctrine would come up in the future where a message spoken would give insight into activities perceived after death. If that was the case in question here, Jesus had no need to give the thief this information - he could have simply waited until He preached to the spirits in prison collectively.

Why didn't He wait ? Because there is no such place and the personal approach was far more compassionate.

Not my interpretation - it is taken from the most accurate source available today - original Greek.

I would be delighted to hear those loving words of Jesus spoken directly to me. No thought of Himself at that moment - only thoughts of His dear children whilst He was close to dying.

Regarding the earliest writings, if you take the early Greek manuscripts and compare them to the letters which are still accessible and compare verses which are quoted word for word in the letters amongst the early Christians, you will find no error and no deviation from the Scriptures written in the entire NT.

For the different versions, they have been manipulated from 400AD on in order to unify persons, scripture, doctrine and tradition. This is where the danger lies. Not in the explanation I provided. That should seriously be considered as fact. Doubt it ? : prove it wrong by investigating for yourself. In fact you don't need to look back to 150AD in order to see doubt, misrepresentation and corruption in the early church. The apostles wrote sections of rebuke in their letters directed at regional church leaders, preaching false doctrines that had crept in the back door of Christianity.

I have not twisted any words to believe what I believe. More simply - I accept that corruption and mis-representation can have had a negative effect on God's Word. That is why I personally choose to dig deeper - to find as original a text as I can in order to search for a prayerful understanding of the true meaning. God answers prayer and I have received much clearer insight into many aspects of His Word.

Take the literal 2D words off the page at your peril. Dig deeper and see the 3D picture. Make the Bible come to life. It may be a completely different read to the one that you know now. Do verses have a 'NEED' to harmonise ? Take many of the Proverbs - do they harmonise with other areas of Scripture?

Rather, I would say - take the Gospel message as a whole - from Genesis to Revelation. THAT in itself is harmony.

Teranno4x4

PS - It seems like role reversal me asking you not to take the translation offered in the English language for this verse (due to translation manipulation)!!! {laughs out loud}

Political Junkie said...

Mormons do NOT believe Jesus and the Devil are brothers. "My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it" (Luke 8.21; Matthew 12.50; Mark 3.35). The Devil does not do the will of God but opposes it, therefore he is not Jesus' brother. But Huckabee and the Devil are brothers because they lie about their brothers. I could equally say, "Baptists believe that Jesus and Hitler are brothers!" Wow, it's true, since Jesus became a human, all mankind are his brothers pertaining to the flesh. But such a statement is equally misleading about Evangelicals as the Huckabee's statement is about Mormons.

Interestingly, Lactantius, a famous Christian teacher who lived at the end of the third century, claimed that Jesus is the Devil's older brother. Lactantius believed that Jesus is God's eldest or firstbegotten Son, and the angels are God's younger sons. Since the Devil was originally an Angel, he USED TO BE a brother of Jesus. At least that's what Lactantius believed. See Lactantius, Divine Institutes II, 9, in Giovanni Papini, The Devil (New York: Dutton, 1954), 81-82.

Lactantius has a point since the Bible says, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38.4,7), and, "there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselve before the LORD, and Satan came also among them" (Job 1.6,12; 2.1,7). All the angels are sons of God (Psalms 82.1,6), and Jesus is the Son of God, so obviously the angels and Jesus are brothers. But here's the rub Huckabee! Didn't you know that Satan originally lived in heaven and was one of the angels (Luke 10.18; Isaiah 14.12-15; Ezekiel 28.13-19; Rev 12.4,7-9) but is now a fallen angel (Jude 1.6,9; 2 Peter 2.4; Rev 12.4,7-9)? I guess it doesn't sound so un-Christian to say Jesus and the sons of God are 'brothers' does it?

The holy Bible teaches that Jesus is God's firstborn Son, "he bringeth his firstbegotten into the world" (Hebrews 1.6). So if "God is spirit" (Jo 4.24), and our Lord Jesus "is spirit" (2 Corinthians 3.18), and God "maketh his angels spirits" (Hebrews 1.7), and God our Father is "the Father of spirits" (Hebrews 12.9) of all men's spirits, then clearly God, Jesus, human spirits, and angelic spirits all share one spiritual nature since we are all spirits. "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Chirst, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Ephesians 3.14-15). "One God and Father of all" (Eph 4.6), "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1.3,17; 2 Corinthians 11.31). "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matthew 23.8-9). "Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?" (Malachi 2.10).

"Worship the Father in spirit and in truth. God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Worship the Father" (Jo 4.23-24). Jesus has one and the same Father that we all have, "go tell my brethren, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God" (Jo 20.17), and, "For it was fitting for him, for whom are all thigns, and by whom are all thigns, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation [Jesus] perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth [Jesus] and they who are sanctified [many sons] are all of one [Father]: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of the flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren" (Hebrews 2.11,14,17; Ps 22.22; etc.). The angels don't want to be worshipped "for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets" (Rev 22.9; 19.10). So Jesus is the brother of the sons of God, and the sons of God are brothers of the angels who are also sons of God. Minister Huckabee does not believe God's Word but follows man's word.
http://www.politicaljunkyfood.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

T4x4, said:
"Not force a square peg into a round hole in order to try and make it fit. This is deception."

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

TODAY means TODAY unless you are trying to say that Jesus was deceptive or misunderstood. Paradise is in the Greek: Gr. paradeisos, a transliteration of the Persian pairidaeÆza, meaning an “enclosure,” “park,” or “preserve” containing trees, in which animals were often kept for the hunt."

So without trying to use some kind of deception so we don't get the ol' "square peg into a round hole" from T4x4 on that very day the thief went to PARADISE a enclosed garden.

However because T4x4 says that when we die we sleep until the resurrection and "... however the delivery of the promise to the thief would not be made until Jesus' second coming when he returns to take the righteous dead from the graves…"

Yet we know that Matthew 27:52-53 is the only record in the Bible of a multiple resurrection: ". . . and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep [died] were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." Matthew's wording clearly describes these saints as revived to normal, physical life.

So the thief could have been one of the resurrected ones as in saints as revived to normal, physical life.
OR:
Christ's body stayed in the tomb for 3 days during which time His spirit and maybe the thieves spirit went to spirit prison to have the proclamation of truth taught to them, where the thief excepted and was then resurrected.



Perhaps the best known scripture that appears to deal with this issue is found in 1 Pet. 3:18-20,
"For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water."



And the fact that the early church fathers Justin Martyr and others understood this concept and are better experts than you I will have to go with them that the souls go to a better place (paradise not heaven) waiting for the time of judgment.

""Justin Martyr (ca. ad 150) taught: "The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment. Thus some which have appeared worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be punished." "


If the argument on repunctuation proves ineffective, the disputant can still be led to the desired conclusion by assuming that by "today", Jesus meant the thief would go to paradise the day he died. But where did the thief go that very day? (Since the thief was promised a place with Jesus, by establishing where Jesus went the day he died, it follows that the thief went to the same place.) Most will quickly assert that Jesus and the thief did not go to heaven but paradise that day, not three days later and not at the last days of the resurrection, when there will be many resurrected but to paradise that day. Not in the flesh, not in a resurrected body, but in spirit form.

We know that PARADISE is not heaven because of "Jesus after his resurrection, said, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." (John 20:17)."

From this, which is three days later Christ still has not gone to Heaven but to spirit prison (paradise) with the thief's spirit during which time their bodies were on the earth and gave out the Good News of the Gospel to all those from Noah till Christ death.

Stop trying to make the scriptures fit the concept that when you die you sleep and nothing happens until the resurrection in the last days.



Stop with "This is deception." and be absorbed. You must be absorbed.

Teranno4x4 said...

Anon,

Please, please, please read these Bible verses :

Deut 31:16
2 Sam 7:12
1 Kings 1:21
Job 14:12
Psa 13:3
Psa 90:5
Pro 3:24
Eccl 9:4-6
Isaiah 57:2
Jer 51:39, 57
Dan 12:2
Mark 5:39

Interestingly John 11:10-13, - 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.


Acts 13:36
1Cor 15:6,18,51
1 Thes 4:13-15
2Peter 3:4

Are these false doctrines given all throuout the Bible and even spoken by Jesus Himself. I choose to believe in the words and doctrines of Jesus !!!

I am not making the scriptures fit any of my beliefs. I believe in what the Scriptures say ! There is a HUGE difference here.

Who does the verse say preached to the Spirits in prison ? Jesus by speaking through Noah to the spirits in the prison of darkness that was the world before (and after) the flood ! Where are the people to whom Noah preached the word of God ? Still in their prison of death because of the flood.

That is the correct context of this text - it has absolutely nothing to do with an activity of Jesus after He died on the cross.

The verse says that he was quickened by the Spirit( the Holy Spirit ) - this means that He was brought back to life from death or resurrected if you prefer that term.

The verse then determines the nature of the Spirit and states that it was in the Holy Spirit that Jesus preached to the people through His servant Noah. Defined time : when the ark was a preparing.

Nothing saying about after the flood to the time of the crucifixion......

The Bible term for when one dies is sleep.

The Bible term for eternal sleep and seperation from God is second death.

Fact, not personal interpretation.

"Absorbed" into falshood ? No thanks.

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

Tx4,said:


"The Bible term for when one dies is sleep."


Question: "What does the Bible say about soul sleep?"

Answer: When the Bible says a person is “sleeping” in relation to death (Luke 8:52; 1 Corinthians 15:6), it does not mean literal “sleep.” Sleeping is just a way to describe death because a dead body appears to be sleeping. The Bible tells us that the instant you die, you are taken to heaven or Hell based on whether you had received Christ as your Savior or not. For believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). For unbelievers, death means everlasting punishment in Hell (Luke 16:22-23). The concept of “soul sleep” is not a Biblical doctrine. The moment we die, we face the judgment of God (Hebrews 9:27). Until the resurrection, though, there is currently a temporary heaven “Paradise” (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4) and Hell “Hades” (Revelation 1:18; 20:13-14).

In a sense, a person’s body is “sleeping” while their soul is in Paradise or Hades. This body is then “awoken” and transformed into the eternal body a person will possess for eternity. These eternal bodies is what we possess for all of eternity, whether we are in heaven or Hell. Those who were in Paradise will be sent to the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 21:1). Those who were in Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people - based entirely on whether a person had trusted Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of their sins.

The above is what most Christians believe so it just show how out of touch you are with the Christian world. So keep using the Bible to prove your points just shows how far off the mark you are from the majority of the Christian teachers. Reading the bible and putting your spin on it does not work anyone can make up their own religion. Yours is just a made up religion like the Mormons.

Anonymous said...

"Please, please, please read these Bible verses :"


Don't have time. Please, please, please, help me out and tell me your point.

Anonymous said...

"13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep."


Here the disciples confused death and sleep also. Christ knew better and the disciples and the apostles stated such in later documents in the bible.

Anonymous said...

While the OT generally treats man as a whole (see nepesh -soul," often rendered simply as "self"), it also recognizes his essential dualism (A. B. Davidson, The Theology of the OT, P. 202). Flesh and spirit combine to form the "self," so that while man may be said to have a Ruah he is a nepesh (yet he is sometimes said to possess a nepesh, which departs from his body at death). The Ruah is contained with its bodily nidneh 'sheath' (Dan 7:15, Aramaic; cf. Zech 12; 1). At death the body returns to dust, but the immortal spirit returns to God who gave it (Gen 3:19; Eccl 12:7). In this regard ruah and nepesh, here meaning distinctly "soul," tend to overlap (Job 7:11 Isa 26:9; cf. Ex 6:9 with Num 21:4; RTWB, P. 234). This differs from liberal theology, which tends to limit ruah to an impersonal vital power that becomes individualized only in the nepesh. Thus it claims that the soul cannot exist independently of the body, i.e. that when the ruah or ,-Power" departs (Eccl 12:7), the person ceases. to exist (L. Kdhler, Old Testament Theology, p. 145, opposed by Davidson, op. cit., pp. 200-201). Yet both nepesh and ruah may leave the body at death and exist in a state separate from it'(Gen 35:K Ps 86:13; cf. I Kgs 17:22 on the rare case of a soul's return to its body).

Anonymous said...

Christ call us sheep to. I don't think He really thought we were sheep.

Anonymous said...

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit:
by which also He went and preached unto the saints in prison; "


He! Christ went as in transported self and preached as in teach to saint (spirits) in prison. Spin it any way you want.

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

You really are showing too many tendancies of being extremely bigotted.

It is impossible to have any meaningful, frank and open discusssion with someone who is not willing to consider another viewpoint. This is what you are asking me to do, which I am considering on each of your comments, but to cut me off when I ask you to consider Bible verses is not doing me the injustice, you are blatantly ignoring God and His Word. These are facts not

As I stated before - do this at your peril. We all must take account for our decisions, choices and actions. Enter into meaningful communication or we respectfully choose to end the communication.

I am still open - are you ?

Teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

You stated :

"The above is what most Christians believe so it just show how out of touch you are with the Christian world. So keep using the Bible to prove your points just shows how far off the mark you are from the majority of the Christian teachers. Reading the bible and putting your spin on it does not work anyone can make up their own religion. Yours is just a made up religion like the Mormons."

If mainstream Christendom is right on the button when it comes to the doctrine of 'the immortal soul' or 'judgement at death' and 'passing straight to heaven', then I am pleased not to be a part of it, because it will give satan no ammunition in his accusations against me as a follower of Jesus when my personal cse is considered in judgement. Jesus will make me whiter than snow because I choose to stand up for what the Bible teaches and not what Christendom teaches. What you are depicting is 'Lemming Theology' and let me tell you that following the masses is not the way to eternal life. Jesus proved that with His life and ministry. Where are the masses of His day? Over the cliff, dead and gone - to eternal life or a future second death...?

We must make the same decisions for ourselves. I choose Jesus alone. No-one else is able to sustain the delights that He has provided for me. False doctrine or reading the Biible for what it states clearly with no spin whatsoever. With Jesus at the helm, it must be radical and non-conformist with the secular world - especially in today's society!

When the Bible says sleep meaning death - it does not mean that a spirit disintegrates from th body and floats away somewhere in another dimension. You accuse me of spin - how can you get to this end from any of the many, many verses that I offered to you.

The Bible can not be clearer. Do you need it to shout? Just because a 'spirit' is mentioned many times in the NT, doesn't mean that it is a literal ghostly apparition.

If I said to you that you show a 'willing spirit' or that you were 'high in spirits' would that mean that your spirit was controlling you or taken off on a holiday somewhere. No it determines your personality and your character at that time in question. So it is the same with all NT references to 'spirit' (little s) in the context of a human being. With the angelic or demonic dimensions obviously the contect is different due to the natures of these created beings. As with many aspects of understanding our rightful place in the universe, not that much is known about these created beings except that they operate in different realms and often the demonic forces encourage deception away from truth. Could it be that they encourage these deceptions by impersonating deceased people ?

You read 1 Samuel 28 and then you tell me if Samuel was really brought up (in his spirit - to use your definition) or if it was an imposter ? If it was an imposter - then who was it ?

You know what - if the Bible teaches that the living soul sleeps, then obviously this can not be Samuel, but I will wait to hear your viewpoint on this.


Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

The Bible uses the word 'sleep' in at least three different senses: in three different ways. Let me show you what these three ways are.
First of all, of course, the Bible talks about natural sleep.
Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself sometimes went to sleep.

The second is not natural sleep. Sleep in this second sense refers to the state of a Christian after he has died: the state of a Christian's soul in death. Don't confuse the first and the second sense. It means that the soul of a believer is now in glory, resting with God and with Christ. Resting from the worldly cares. The soul is, as it were, in a kind of sleep - not a literal sleep, waiting, resting from the physical cares of this world. If it is the case that sleep and death are one in the same why not just change word death in the scriptures to sleep and be done with.
As shown in the scripture of Lazarus it is poetic license. It is not to be taken in the literal sense. It is like some people that are so busy that say "I will sleep when I am dead." The same for the word use below.
Thirdly there is still another sense in which this word 'sleep' is used by the writers' of the Bible. "Let us not sleep", he says, "as do others". Here is a third sense of the word 'sleep'. It refers to the condition of men and women who are out of Christ, who are not believers. It is the condition of their mind, heart and soul and life. You could say the non-believers are sleep walking as it relates to Christ's gospel teachings or they are blind to the gospel. You would not mean they are physically blind.You have an interesting turn of phrase or wording in 1 Timothy chapter five, verse 6. It speaks of a woman, or women, who are living for this world and yet they make some sort of show of religion. This is how the apostle puts it. He says "they are dead while they live". In other words, he is talking here about the state of the unconverted in this life. They are really, he says, asleep or sleep walking through life. If you use the same standard to "they are dead while they live", " we could play all kinds of word games like "they live while they are dead." The same type of word play can be used with the story of Lazarus. But after the disciples were confused Christ stated clearly the "Lazarus is dead." Why not just keep insisting that Lazarus is asleep and explain Lazarus sleeps in Christ? Because it is a turn of phrase or a play on words. Just like later Christ states " "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will have life even if they die." Why not say "I am the resurrection and the awaking. Those who believe in me will I awake even if they sleep." Because they knew about death, they understood the difference between sleep and death.

In your other New Testament examples once it has been established that death did not mean death then why not just refer to death as sleep and be done with it?Because it is word play. Again we have to be careful in taking the scriptures literally and making a doctrine out of it. You can if you like but with exception of JWs and Adventist everyone else pretty much understood it was word play.


Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thessalonians 5, 6).

Again did they really mean sober as in drunk?

Anonymous said...

"but to cut me off"


I was not cutting you off I just have a life other than talking with you. I will do it if I get the chance even at my peril. Yes I am a bigot and at the same time I have gone over this "sleep" concept many times before. I, we, just disagree.

Anonymous said...

"Enter into meaningful communication or we respectfully choose to end the communication."

Try not to be overly senstive or my mommy will not let me come out and play.

Anonymous said...

"If I said to you that you show a 'willing spirit' or that you were 'high in spirits' would that"

Again just using the word spirit in a different context. Now we understand what you are saying but when it is used in the scriptures it is not always clear. That is why people disagree.

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