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Dude, Where's My Keys?

February 9, 2009

On the previous post, faithoffathers brought up the LDS interpretation of Matthew 16:19 and said he had never heard a good explanation from evangelicals for what those keys were.  Here’s his brief summary of the LDS view:

What were those keys? Christ was clearly saying that He was going to give Peter some power that had binding consequences not just in this world, but in heaven. Interesting that this binding power is discussed in the context of the gates of hell, or Sheol. This of course was the Priesthood authority which He gave to His apostles.   LDS interpretation of these verse, in my opinion, is the only one that makes sense and provides the cohesive context for why these concepts are placed together. 1. Spirit of Revelation of Christ 2. Establishment of Church on a foundation 3. Keys of authority. Other interpretations break up these verses into different topics.   I have heard no good explanation from evangelicals for what those “keys” were.

Once again, I looked at Peter’s understanding of this since he was there and Jesus gave the keys to him.  Did Peter ever provide any clue as to his understanding of the priesthood?  Actually, yes, he did!  Peter does not mention these keys, however, in connection with the NT priesthood (I Peter 2:5, 9).   His definition of the NT priesthood is quite different from the LDS teaching on the priesthood.  He describes a spiritual priesthood that consists of all believers in Christ (including women – I Peter 3:1).  He says this spiritual priesthood offers up spiritual sacrifices and consists of a spiritual house.  Peter’s teaching on the NT priesthood does not mesh well with the priesthood of “modern revelation.”

The writer of Hebrews shares Peter’s understanding of the NT priesthood.  He says all believers have now been given access into the holiest (God’s presence) by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:19-22).  Formerly, this access was reserved only for the high priests once each year, in a physical temple, with the blood of animals; but through the perfect sacrifice of Christ, our Great High Priest, “it is finished” – there is no more sacrifice for sins.  There is no longer any need for earthly priests to offer animal sacrifices as in OT times.  The writer of Hebrews makes clear that there has been a change in the priesthood (Heb. 7:12, 18-28) and that God has taken away the OT priesthood, that He may establish the NT priesthood (Heb. 10:9-10).  This priesthood includes our Great High Priest, Jesus, and all believer-priests who now have access into the holiest place which, in OT times, was restricted to only the high priest once each year.  What an awesome privilege!

Back on the topic of the LDS priesthood keys, though…   I ran a search on my SwordSearcher program and could not locate the word key or keys connected with either the OT or NT priesthood.  So I’m confused regarding the assertion that the most logical explanation for the keys is that they refer to the LDS concept of priesthood authority.  In looking at the larger context of scripture, keys do not appear to have anything to do with the priesthood.

In pondering for myself the origin of “the keys” as understood in Mormonism, I sensed a possible spiritual connection that I would like to explore further…  I’m seeking any insight/knowledge on this.  I noticed that the Masonic Dictionary refers to Matt. 16:19 when defining the symbolism of “The Key” in Freemasonry.  According to the dictionary, “’The Key’ is one of the most important symbols of Freemasonry…the key has been adopted as the official jewel of the Treasurer of a Lodge, because he has the purse, the source of power, under his command.”

According to information from a former Mason[1], “Freemasonry claims to be the repository for the Keys necessary to enter into that Grand Lodge Above, where God dwells. To be admitted, you must join the Brotherhood, learn the secrets of Freemasonry (the secret handshakes, secret tokens, and secret words), and become more and more virtuous.”  – Wait a second!  Freemasonry holds the keys?

image 2

I thought it was Mormonism.  Which is it?  More importantly to consider, perhaps, who had the symbol of the keys first?  I think this is important when we consider the worldview of Joseph Smith when he offered up this “modern revelation” of Matt. 16:19 and the keys.  This might not be all that original of an interpretation.  Joseph Smith was raised in a Masonic family, after all, and became a Master Mason just a few months prior to introducing the LDS endowment ceremony [3, 4] which bears striking similarities to the Masonic initiation [5, 6, 7].  Just a few months later, Smith instructed LDS Church leaders ‘in the principles of and order of the Priesthood, attending to washings, anointings, endowments, and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood…. [emphasis mine]’” (History of the Church, vol. 5, pg. 1, May 4, 1842).

So, if we set aside the Masonic lenses for a moment, what were these keys for “according to the scriptures”?   The passage actually defines for us what they were for.  They are the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  Isn’t a key an instrument for opening something?  And wasn’t Peter used by God to open the doors of the kingdom of heaven by being the first one to preach the gospel to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles? (Acts 2:1-41, 3:12-4:21, 10:1-11:18)  And weren’t all the disciples given the power of binding and loosing (Matt. 18:18)?  There is never any indication by Peter of holding any special authority besides being an apostle (I Pet. 1:1) and an elder (I Pet. 5:1).  He never claimed to be a pope or to hold a priesthood office of the Masonic/Mormon variety.  The writer of Hebrews, in describing the qualifications for the Melchizedek priesthood, actually limits the membership of this office to Christ alone (Heb. 7:3, 26-28) of which the OT king of Salem (Melchizedek) was a type (Heb. 7:1-2; Gen. 14:18-20).

__________________________________________________

References:

1. Rite or Wrong

2. photo was hijacked from this site

3. Masonic Ritual and the Nauvoo Temple Endowment

4. Freemasonry and the Latter Day Saint Movement

5. Mason/Endowment Comparison

6. Masonic Ritual in the Temple Ceremony

7. Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry: The Relationship Between Freemasonry and Mormonism

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109 Comments leave one →
  1. faithoffathers permalink
    February 9, 2009 5:33 pm

    jessica,

    Interesting topic and article. But you still didn’t really answer the question of what those keys were that Christ clearly gave to Peter. You answer “wasn’t Peter used by God to open the doors of the kingdom of heaven by being the first one to preach the gospel to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles.” This seems to be a very broad, vague answer for what seems like a very specific gift or power of which Christ spoke. What of that sealing power- Christ is very clear- Peter would have power to “seal” on earth with consequent “sealing” in heaven. What would he seal, and by what power? Your answer just doesn’t seem all that clear or convincing.

    You are right about the other apostles- there too were given the “sealing power” or the priesthood. The NT clearly describes Christ laying His hands on their heads and “ordaining” them. It was by this authority that they preached, baptized, healed, and cast out devils. He clearly chose them, ordained them, and gave them “sealing power” and keys. This all seems so much more ordered than what you suggest.

    Thanks for the article.

    fof

  2. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 9, 2009 6:03 pm

    Greetings Jessica,

    I have been enjoying your blog lately!

    Regarding the topic at hand i would be curious to hear how you would answer a question as an Evangelical. It may initially seem a bit off target from the topic of this thread- but i can assure you it is not- as should become self-evident shortly.

    I am curious to know if you think what you see in Evangelical churches today is the exact same thing we see in the church in the new Testament? Is the “Church” as you understand it today the exact same organization you see existing in the church in the New Testament?

    This is a question that i have often pondered on in my past- and i am curious to know where you are at with it currently.

    It is an interesting and note-worthy question is it not? At least or me it has been. Would you be interested in sharing your thoughts on that with me at all? I do think it ties in nicely with what you are getting at in your original post here.

    many thanks,

    -Tad

  3. February 10, 2009 1:11 am

    FoF
    I willingly admit that I am not as well versed in the Bible as I would like to be but I do not recall ever reading about Christ laying his hands on the apostles and ordaining them with the priesthood. I know this is done in the Book of Mormon but could you give me a reference for this happening in the New Testament?

    Thanks,
    Soy Yo

  4. February 10, 2009 1:43 am

    Hi Tad,

    I’m glad to hear you are enjoying my blog. 🙂 Thanks for your question – it’s a really good one and probably deserves a post of its own. Here’s my off-the-cuff thoughts for now:

    The short answer is that no, I don’t see the same kind of Holy Spirit power as was manifested during NT times or the huge numbers of conversions as in the book of Acts. Most devoted Christians I know long for a deeper work of God’s Spirit in this day and we are in prayer for this.

    As far as the organizational structure of the NT church which was made up of all believers in Christ forming a “spiritual priesthood,” yes, I do feel that the overall structure of the Evangelical church is more similar to the early NT church than the organizational structure of Mormonism.

    I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the Mormon/Masonic connection. Do you have any insights to share on this?

    Thanks for your comments,

    Jessica

  5. February 10, 2009 3:01 am

    I think that anyone who wants to bring up Freemasonry as a critique of Mormonism has to do more than just shout “eeew! Freemason cooties!”

    You have to actually show why the stuff adopted from Freemasonry is harmful or incorrect. Otherwise, I’ll feel free to ignore you as simply ranting.

  6. February 10, 2009 3:41 am

    I propose that the title of this post be changed to, “Dude, Where’s My Keys?”

    That is all.

  7. February 10, 2009 4:24 am

    “eeew! Freemason cooties!” ? Nice one, Seth.

    Jack, I love it!! That’s the perfect title! I am going to change it. Thanks! You’re blog titles are always very creative. I will have to work on improving mine. 🙂

  8. February 10, 2009 5:27 am

    Seth: get past the creepy comments: what do Freemason leftovers have to do with the God of Moses, Elijah, or Isaiah ?? The LDS theory is that something like what you have today in temple observances goes all the way back to Adam. Are you interested in giving us a credible reason to believe that idea ?? The two: Freemasonry and ancient Judaism , to most people, don’t seem to have a heck of a lot in common….. so what are we missing here ??

  9. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 10, 2009 6:19 am

    Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for the response.

    Jessica’s comments: —-Most devoted Christians I know long for a deeper work of God’s Spirit in this day and we are in prayer for this.—-

    Amen. I am sure we all here can agree with this statement. I too long for a deeper work of God’s Spirit in this day throughout the world. All followers of Christ surely must long for more of that. I would hope that we can all pray for more of that. I am with you 100% on that Expression Jessica.

    Jessica’s comments: —-As far as the organizational structure of the NT church which was made up of all believers in Christ forming a “spritual priesthood,” yes, I do feel that the overall structure of the Evangelical church is more similar to the early NT church than the organizational structure of Mormonism.—-

    You feel the overall structure of Evangelical church today is more similar to the early NT church than the organizational structure of Mormonism? That is a fair and honest statement Jessica. I would be surprised if you thought otherwise. However, we all already know you feel that way don’t we?- obviously because your an Evangelical. But, you have answered a question I have not asked. What I am really wanting to know and what I have asked you is if not if you think the Evangelical church is more similar than the Mormon church to the NT church- but if you think the Evangelical church is EXACTLY the same as what we see in the NT church. That is a very different question. Can you see the difference?

    More on this in a bit.

    Jessica’s comments:—-I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the Mormon/Masonic connection. Do you have any insights to share on this?—-

    Jessica, I personally feel that this question and issue is really not important and I would generally speaking have no interest in pursuing it. However, in this case it just may help get to what it is I really do feel is important and want to talk about here. So, here are my thoughts on it as requested.

    The first thing that pops into my head when I read this question is…”Uh-oh, someone has been hitting the anti material a little too much! Please understand that it is not a commentary on you and I am not trying to make light of the possibility that you really take these claims seriously… but to me they just seem, well,… silly. They are just so hard to take seriously. It is the same old sad story really- the old “tempest in a teacup” routine. The tempest of the anti-mormon critics whirls round and round within the tiny teacup of “counter-cult” culture- while the real truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues on its way unhindered and completely outside of the tiny teacup. I see it all the time. Those caught in the swirl of the tiny teacup tend to think that the teacup is the entire universe when in reality- it is just a tiny teacup. Good, honest Christian people like yourself Jessica sometimes get sucked up into that dizzying swirl. I think the assertions in your post are really just part of that swirl. From outside the tiny teacup it just seems silly.

    Just the other day I was having a discussion about a painting and a sculpture in an art book a friend had with him. Both works were from the Renaissance period I think. (Michelangelo?, Im not sure) and both contained a representation of Peter. In Peters hand were a literal ring of keys- to symbolize the reality of what we read about in the NT. Will you be interested in playing the same “connect-the-dots” game with these artists and Freemasons we see so well modeled in the tiny swirling teacup tempest? Or will you feel it safe to claim that these artists were influenced by the Biblical data after all?- not to mention the overwhelming Christian consensus on the matter at the time.

    It has been my experience that when many Evangelicals challenge the LDS idea of “authority” or “keys” they are often unaware of how big of a bite they are really taking. I say this because the overwhelming majority of Christianity today and throughout history subscribes to the idea of Priesthood “authority” and “keys”. So, when evangelicals challenge LDS over the issue they are really taking on almost all of Christianity itself- often without realizing it. It is the Evangelical community as well as some other forms of Protestantism that are in the minority when it comes to this issue. Consider the following.

    According to Encyclopedia Britannica as of 1995 there are 968,000,000 Catholic Christians and 395,867,000 Protestant Christians living on the planet. That means for every 1 Protestant Christian there are about 2.4 Catholic Christians. Of these Protestant Christians only a significantly smaller portion of them are Evangelical Christians. Of these Protestant Christians only a smaller portion of them subscribe to the doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers” making them a tiny minority in their views regarding “authority” and “keys” as compared to all forms of believers. However, these numbers do not even include the 217,948,000 Greek Orthodox Christians or the 70,530,000 Anglican Christians or the remaining 275,583,000 Christians who do not identify themselves with any of these other branches of Christianity and fall into the “other” category.

    It is the Evangelical that is the odd man out on this subject!

    One reason that this is a helpful realization is because it helps bring home the clear reality that the reason the overwhelming majority of Christianity subscribes to the idea of “authority” and “keys” is because the Biblical precedence for it is so abundantly clear. All of the Biblical data taken together makes it almost impossible to deny authority and keys and a whole host of other elements present in the NT Church that simply do not exist within Evangelical churches at all today. It is no surprise therefore that the issue of “authority” has sometimes been referred to the “Achilles heel” of Protestantism

    To argue “who” has the authority or keys seem to me to be a valid issue of discussion. But to argue that they were not a part of or not a very important part in the NT church is just too out of touch with reality and Christian history to be taken seriously.

    Even many of the reformers and great protestant leaders of the past would agree with us on this issue. So it is not just LDS Christians standing alone here. As an Evangelical Christian I came out of the Baptist tradition. Perhaps you are already familiar with the story of Roger Williams- the founder of the Baptist denomination. Consider the following.

    ——–
    “Baptists’ opinions concerning the American origin of this denomination (Baptist) also conflict. The most popular view is that America’s first Baptist church was organized under the leadership or Roger Williams in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1639. Since these early Baptists refused to acknowledge the authority claimed by ministers of other faiths, they initiated baptisms among themselves, authorizing certain of their number to administer this ordinance. According to one account, Ezekiel Holliman, a layman, first baptized Roger Williams, who in turn baptized Holliman and about ten others.

    Williams remained a Baptist for only a few months. Shortly after helping others organize a Baptist society, he left the movement. He doubted the validity of his own baptism because of an absence of the visible succession of authorized administers. In a letter to John Winthrop in 1649, Williams argued that he believed the practice of believer’s baptism by “dipping… comes nearer the first practice of our great Founder Christ Jesus, than any other practices of religion… and yet,” he continued, “I have not satisfaction neither in the authority by which it is done, nor in the manner.” On another occasion Williams acknowledged that he was dissatisfied with the prevailing creeds and with the various Christian institutions of his age. He insisted that an apostasy had occurred and that there was a need for a restoration of the purity of the “Primitive Church.” Failing to locate a church which, in his opinion, had received the necessary “special commission” to restore the New Testament Christianity, Williams became a “seeker” (one searching for the truth but not afflicted with any church) and died before his vision of a restoration had been realized.”

    -“Christian Churches of America- Origins and Beliefs”, Milton V. Backman, Jr., pp. 132-133
    —–

    Notice that these early Baptists “refused to acknowledge the authority claimed by ministers of other faiths, they initiated baptisms among themselves”. This is just one of many, many examples from history that could be named that show good, honest, God fearing Christian people doing the best they can with what they knew…. Trying to have a church like the church found in the NT, but coming to know that they just didn’t have the right “keys” and “authority” to make such a church and that such could only be provided by God himself.

    I put all this on the table to say this. If you are going to try to take a bite out of the LDS church on the issue of authority and keys- it might serve you well to first solve that riddle with greater Christianity first- as well as with the great Christian leaders of your own tradition before pointing that gun at us as LDS Christians.

    If Roger Williams were here with us today he might disagree over “who” had the proper authority, be it Catholics, Anglicans, Greek Orthodox or LDS. But he would agree wholeheartedly with us as LDS Christians that authority and keys were part of the NT church, that they are essential to Christ’s church and that they are very, very important.

    ….which brings us back to my original question. The one that went unanswered. If you feel Evangelical churches today are “more similar” to the NT church then am I correct in deducing that your answer to my real question would be “No, you do not believe that Evangelical churches today are exactly the same organization we see in the NT church?

    If what you see in Evangelical Churches today is not exactly what you see in the NT church doesn’t that raise significant questions and issues? Was Roger Williams and many of the other great reformers onto something bigger and more substantial than you are willing to admit at the moment? Before you try to claim that yes there are differences but the differences are minor or insignificant let me give just one example of which there could be many. Remember the stories in the NT of the early Christians receiving the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost? Has anyone ever laid his hands on you in your church to receive the Holy Ghost? If you answer no, can you honestly say that that is a “minor” or “insignificant” difference? It sure didn’t seem to minor or insignificant to those early Christians to me. Does it really seem insignificant to you?

    If what we see in Evangelical churches today is different fro what we see in the NT church surely we must ask ourselves- when did it change and why did it change? Good questions, yes?

    What do we then do with verses like Galatians 1:8-9

    “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

    If the “gospel” that Christ and his Apostles were preaching included things like the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost- what do we say of a gospel preached that does not include that?

    There are many many other valid examples or questions we could raise here- but the principle is the same with all of them. If you make the claim that there is no authority or keys on the earth today and that they did not exist in the NT church then in order to maintain coherence protestant Christianity MUST be exactly the same today as what we see in the NT or there is no explanation or justification for any change. Roger Williams and many other great protestant reformers were very familiar with this reality.

    Do you consider what you see in Evangelical churches today to be EXACTLY the same as what we see in the church in the NT? It really is a good question isn’t it?

    In Christ,

    -Tad

  10. February 10, 2009 11:36 am

    This is a great discussion. Jessica, thank you for starting it. I would like to jump in on the discussion with Dependent. I only have a few minutes as I have to get ready for an early morning meeting. I will be brief and will go more in depth later.

    Dependent, I believe youa re applying and misunderstanding Pauls commented in Galations. Let’s look at Galations 1 closely starting in verse 6:

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
    13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth[a] and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.

    You see Paul starts off his comments by referring to ONE thing… the Grace of Christ. He then goes one to explain about how the Grace of Christ is being perverted by ANOTHER Gospel (which he says is really no Gospel at all). What is “Gospel”? What does it mean? It is literally translated as “good news”. Here is the problem Mormons get into in my opinion. You somehow tie together the Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ with the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You are trying to make the connection with the Organization of The Church and the Gospel. Are they really the same thing? No, they are not. Please show me from the scriptures where the church is ever talked about as The Good News Of Jesus Christ. You will not be able to find it… the Good News is always tied to one thing… Grace. Paul says NOTHING about the organization of the church to the Galations. His entire letter talks about the Good News of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and the grace that thereby follows being perverted by legalism. In chapter 3 he goes on to accuse them of this perverted gospel by saying “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”. This has nothing to do with the church organization… the church organization is in no way tied to “The Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ”.

    Darrell

  11. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 10, 2009 7:40 pm

    Darrell,

    Thank you for your comments.

    What you have presented here is in my view a very fine representation of the way some forms of protestant Christians cast the interpretation of the Galatians passage in question. Your post is a good illustration of the lens or paradigm through which many Evangelicals would see these passages.

    However, that is exactly what it is- the Evangelical cast or spin. I intend to explain better what I mean by this below.

    Please understand that I do understand what you mean when you talk about “grace” and the “good news” of the gospel. I really do understand that concept- and I understand it from within the Evangelical perspective. It is important to know that so that when you hear what I am about to say you do not jump to the false conclusion that I am just passing over those ideas unawares. I know that they are really very important to you.

    Darrell’s comments: —- Here is the problem Mornons get into in my opinion. You somehow tie together the Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ with the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You are trying to make the connection with the Organization of The Church and the Gospel. —-

    Lets see if we can shed a little more light on this alleged “problem” Mormons get into. A good starting place would be to take a closer and more realistic look at what we see in the NT church. Lets say that you and I take a trip back in time to visit these early Christians we read about in the NT in order to get a more realistic sense of what their experience was of this relationship between the “Good News” and the “Organization of the Church”. How did these early Christians come to know what they know about this good news? What elements where part of their experience with this? What elements impacted their lives in this regard? What elements did they cherish most? If we were there with them what would they tell us are important to them in regard to this “good news”?

    For starters lets remember Darrell that these early Christians did NOT have Bibles. They were not walking around with New Testament scriptures in their hands crying sola-scriptura! They did not have Bibles in their hands because the books of the NT would not even be written until decades and in some cases almost a century after the events mention in them happened. This would mean that their experience in the church was much different than what yours is.

    Here is what they did have though. They had living prophets and apostles. They had an open cannon, They had ongoing revelation, They had ordinance work. They had priesthood authority. They had the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost. They had a whole host of other elements that were NOT the Bible. All of these other elements work together in a holistic fashion- each having their proper role and part to play. Guess what all these other elements synergistically joined together are called? We refer to them as the “Organization of the Church”! It is Christs church, clear plain and simple.

    These other elements that you consider unrelated were in fact HUGELY connected to them and their understanding of the gospel. HUGE! Think about it. Their significance cannot be overstated.

    Considering this reality are you now going to try to tell me that when we make our trip back in time to visit these early Christians that you are going to tell them what you have told me? Are you going to tell these early Christians to their faces that “The problem you get into is that you tie together the Gospel or Good News with the Organization of the Church”. They would look at you like you have lost your mind!!! Of course we tie together the Gospel with the organization of the Church!!! Will you then try to tell them that priesthood “authority” is not important? that the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost is not important? That ordinance work is not important? That revelation is not important? That prophets and apostles are not important? Will you tell them to dump all of that and all we need is grace!? Seriously Darrell think about how they would take that. It would be nonsense to them. It would just sound like crazy talk to them. Think about it.

    Will you then tell them what you have told me here in your post here- that “the church organization is in no way tied to “The Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ”. No way!?- really?

    If you do I feel confident that at best they would consider you crazy and very uninformed about what their experience has been and at worst that you utter what is to them blasphemy.

    Are you now going to try to explain to them the “real” truth as you present it here? That 60-100 years from now prophets will write scripture that will at a much later point in time be joined together in what we now call the New Testament- and that the “Bible” is the ONLY way to know Gods truth. The Bible is the ONLY light and knowledge ever given to man, that reading the Bible is the ONLY way to be saved???

    Consider again now the Galatians passage in question. If in our time travel visit to these early Christians you tell them that priesthood “authority” is not important, that the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost is not important, that ordinance work is not important, that revelation is not important, that prophets and apostles are not important, that, to use your words “the church organization is in no way tied to the Gospel” would they say to themselves- “Ah!- yes, the idea of grace is all we need!” or, is it more likely that you would be perceived closer to what Paul in the Galations says when he warns- “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.“ Sounds rather silly now doesn’t it?

    Please Darrel, please, look at your statement again.

    Darrell’s comments: —- the church organization is in no way tied to “The Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ”. —-

    OF COURSE THE CHURCH ORGANIZATION IS TIED TO THE GOSPEL OR GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST!!!

    What could be more obvious or clear!?!?!?

    What other way could have even existed for these early Christians but to experience the gospel through the organization of the Church??

    Evangelicals like to think and feel that they are reading the Bible objectively and understanding it the same way the early church did. The reality though is that there have been centuries of “conditioning” or tradition or influence that mold different paradigms of biblical interpretation.

    It should come as no surprise that Protestants would have a problem with the idea of “authority” or the “organization of the Church” because the very roots of Protestantism itself are founded upon the rejection of those two very things. It is what the entire tradition sprang out of. It is after all what the word “Protestant” actually means- “PROTESTant”. I suspect that your take on the Galatians passage is much more influenced by these traditions and the opinions of people you believe understand the bible better than you do and less out of any sort of personal objective experience with the bible than you might be willing to admit at the present moment. But that is just my opinion.

    Thank- you for sharing.

    In Christ,

    -Tad

  12. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 10, 2009 8:25 pm

    Darrell,

    In the last sentence in the last paragraph of my last post i used the phrase “…..than you might be willing to admit” Upon second reading i am uncomfortable with that choice of words.

    It makes it seem like i dont think you are being honest or that im implying your hiding something. A poor choice of words on my part because i know you are being honest and i don’t think your hiding anything. I would change it if i could but because i cant i want to change it here and say that i should have used the phrase “…than you might realize”.

    That choice of words better represents what i originally attempted to express.

    thank you for your patience.

    -Tad

  13. February 10, 2009 8:33 pm

    I think the “different Gospel” argument has to be one of the most self-congratulatory, circular, uninteresting, and basically worthless arguments Evangelicals have ever cooked up against Mormonism.

    Why not just say “I’m right and you’re wrong – so nyaa, nyaa.”?

    It would all save us a lot of time.

    Just because you can find an argument in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s a good argument in every setting.

  14. February 10, 2009 9:55 pm

    Seth: I think I see your point: everyone of every “christian” stripe, be they RC, Reformed, Anabaptist, or even New Ager thinks they are “biblical”. Who really thinks they are folowing or promoting a falso gospel ?? We all think we are right, and therefore someone else is wrong: even those who say there is no right/wrong are making a distinction and building a “fence” as it were.

    Still, Galations was written for a reason, so there must be a use for Paul’s admonitions, why else is it in the bible….unless you believe in a “corrupted collection ” of some sort. Granted, everyone is thumping their chest and cock-sure that they know what Paul is talking about…….but the ‘goods’ are there, at least I’d say they are……I’m not about to ditch something good because it can and has been misused.

    Not sure what you mean by “…..doesn’t mean it’s a good argument in every setting.” That line threw me.

    GERmIT

  15. February 10, 2009 10:04 pm

    FoF: fascinatiing thot to get this thread kicked off, if I knew the bible better, I’d have chimed in more…..sometimes I think I’m forgetting stuff faster than I learn it….if in fact I ever learn it !!!

    I’m still looking into “keys” and church authority…..my GUT so far is telling me that Matt.18: 15-20 are important scriptures, and I’m thinking it’s not so much Peter this or priesthood that as much as “for where two or three have gathered together in MY name, there I am in their midst….” this power and authority is the kind that Jesus commissioned HIS followers with in Matt.28….yes those were apostles, but they were “prototypes” , not so much of apostleship, but “sent ones”…..delegated ones.

    I will look into this further and write back………..great theme.

    GERmIT

  16. February 10, 2009 10:31 pm

    Tad ~ Feel free to show me where in the Bible the LDS doctrine of ordination to priesthood by laying on of hands is taught. And remember, ordinations to ecclesiastical offices by the laying on of hands and mere references to “calling” and “appointing” don’t count.

    They had the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost.

    They also could receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by simply having it fall from heaven without the laying on of hands, and it happened before baptism. (Acts 10:44-49) Can that happen in the LDS church today?

    According to Encyclopedia Britannica as of 1995 there are 968,000,000 Catholic Christians and 395,867,000 Protestant Christians living on the planet. That means for every 1 Protestant Christian there are about 2.4 Catholic Christians. Of these Protestant Christians only a significantly smaller portion of them are Evangelical Christians. Of these Protestant Christians only a smaller portion of them subscribe to the doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers” making them a tiny minority in their views regarding “authority” and “keys” as compared to all forms of believers. However, these numbers do not even include the 217,948,000 Greek Orthodox Christians or the 70,530,000 Anglican Christians or the remaining 275,583,000 Christians who do not identify themselves with any of these other branches of Christianity and fall into the “other” category.

    It is the Evangelical that is the odd man out on this subject!

    Well, as long as we’re making argumenta ad populum Domini, I guess the Trinity is true and the Book of Mormon is bogus. Sorry Mormons, thanks for playing.

  17. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 10, 2009 11:16 pm

    Bridgett,

    Bridgetts comments: —- Well, as long as we’re making argumenta ad populum Domini, I guess the Trinity is true and the Book of Mormon is bogus. Sorry Mormons, thanks for playing. —-

    Bridget, the point of referencing the stats from the Encyclopedia Britannica is not to somehow “prove” that the LDS view in regard to the issue of authority is correct- as if by some sort of majority rule.

    If you re-read my comments in that post you will see that that citation does help tell us is that when Evangelicals take on LDS in regard to the issue of “authority” they are in reality taking on almost all of Christianity- and not just LDS. And most of the time they dont even realize it- which is really frustrating.

    Evangelicals need to pan back some and get a broader and more realistic perspective on the issue if they want to be able to challenge LDS Christians on the issue in a way that LDS can take seriously.

    I realize that this is difficult for Evangelicals to do generally because it is just not part of the paradigm out of which they see things- and thats ok. This same conversation with a Catholic would sound much much different- as they readily grasp the need for proper authority and the role of the formal organization of the church but downplay other things Protestants consider important- and that’s ok too.

    I just wish Evangelicals would solve this riddle for themselves within sectarian Christianity as well as within their very own tradition before taking shots at us for it. It would actually make them much more effective in grappling with the LDS view on the matter as well.

    People like Roger William were very knowledgeable about the Bible Bridgett, i can assure you of that, very knowledgeable- as were the reformers and many other great protestants who maintain views that the role of “authority” in the early church is and was essential to the fullness of the gospel that we see existing in the NT. Evangelicals would do well to at least listen to, or be aware, or be open to, these great mens views on the subject and how they see things.

    It sure would reduce much of the nuttiness that often takes place between Evangelical and LDS Christians on this very subject. And man, that would sure be a good thing. Wouldnt you agree?

    In Christ,

    -Tad

  18. February 10, 2009 11:59 pm

    Tad ~ I’m well aware that the evangelical views on authority run counter to what most of Christianity claims. One of my overarching theses on Mormons and evangelicals is that each of us claims to be a restoration of/return to whatever original Christianity was, that we both essentially claim to be the same thing. We’ve showed up to the prom wearing the same dress, and now each of us is trying to rip if off the other. It’s natural to me that both groups would have doctrines which go against what most of Christianity teaches, and it doesn’t bother me in the least, as it obviously doesn’t bother you.

    I came to believe in the priesthood of all believers when I was a teenager and I met an LDS guy who began challenging me on what I believed. I was truly perplexed by all his talk of authority and priesthood and gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands—my Protestant church (of which I was a recent convert) had never said a word about authority (not even the priesthood of believers). So I looked up every single reference in the New Testament to “authority,” “priesthood,” “power,” “laying on of hands,” “gift of the Holy Ghost,” myself. Guess what? The LDS doctrine of the priesthood authority given by laying on of hands isn’t there. The priesthood of believers is.

    I understand the LDS position, and I respect it, I just don’t think the Bible supports it. The fact that most of the Christian world has historically taken a similar position only makes the Bible’s silence on the issue more puzzling. Certainly authority-believing Christians didn’t remove the parts of the Bible that teach this authority.

    Why do so many groups under the Christian umbrella get it wrong? IMO, it’s the same problem Israel had when they insisted God give them a king. People prefer to be ruled by men instead of being ruled directly by God.

  19. February 11, 2009 2:01 am

    BJacK….well i was seriously thinking of taking Tadd on a forced Novena…..or a trip to the communion rail for a little transubstantiation……but you beat me to it……dawg it all….

    I WANT to take you at your word as to your reasons for citing theI big RC and E.ORtho numbers, but it sure SEEMED, Tad, that you were making an argument from the armies….at least it looked that way to me….

    If you are comforted by this: I LIKE THE REFORMATION: I think all rigid hierarchies do NOT rock…pardon the very crude metaphor…..I was raised RC, maybe that’s part of my dysfuncition, but as Jack pointed out: I’ve looked….in my case I was hauled of to catechism class for MAnY years and ‘shown’ how the catholic church was the deal, including and especially the hierarchy. I genuflected and drank the Kool-aid till I hit my 20’s and started reading the NT……uh-oh……I was amazed at what I did and did not see. I am quite aware that there are legions of RC’s, some MUCH smarter than myself, who see scripture differently….but there you are.

    and as an explanation, I can’t, off the cuff, do any better than Jack on this one: for many, the structure GOD gave us thru scripture just does not “satisfy” our desire for something more tangible….worse yet, it HAS to be THIS kind of tangible, or it just isn’t legit…. the evengelicals do a lot of things HORRIBLY, and I’m not saying I always like the ev. package of ecclesia…….but I’d take the WORST seeder friendly las vegas drive thru church over layers of man-made psuedo-christian caste system…..

    well, dinner calls……one last thought, the older I get as a christian, I am in no big hurry to get any more, or less, authority than Jesus wants me to have….authority is a little like a loaded handgun….I’ve seen what both can do…

    GERMIT

  20. February 11, 2009 2:56 am

    Now I have time to devote to a more thorough comment. What are the keys? That is a good question. My position on this is that the keys are Faith… pure and simple. Let me give my reasoning for this…

    What did Peter do just before Christ made His comment about the Rock and Keys… he expressed faith in Christ when he said “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That is when Christ followed with His play on words about Peter’s name (Petra-small stone). Christ’s response was directed to Peter’s confession of faith. However, there is another reason I take this stance. Think about what keys do… they give access to something. Christ was telling us He would give us the tool to access Heaven. What are we told over and over again in the Bible is the tool by which we gain access Heaven? Look at Romans 5:1-2:

    “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have GAINED ACCESS BY FAITH into this grace in which we now stand.”

    Paul tells us directly here that the way we gain access is by FAITH. FAITH in Christ enables us to enter Heaven and that faith is only possible because of the Holy Spirit that He has sent to us. Without the Holy Spirit we could not have a saving faith.

    Another comment to this about the binding… the correct translation of what Christ said is this:

    “whatever you bind on earth HAVE BEEN bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth HAVE BEEN loosed in heaven.”

    Christ was not saying that whatever Peter does will also be DONE in Heaven. Christ was saying that whatever we do on earth HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE/DETERMINED in Heaven. Big difference…God has already determined it… it is part of God’s soverign will and foreknowledge. We simply affirm God’s soverign will when we express faith in Him. In other words, God already knows who is going to express faith and come to Him. Our ulitimate destiny is already mapped out by God…I know the arminians who read this willl likely not like this position… sorry. When we express faith in Christ we are expressing something that has already been determined by God and as a result are we are bound to Him… our destiny is assured.

    1 Peter 2 presents another problem for Mormon’s idea that the Priesthood is somehow reserved only for males who are ordained by those in authority. If the Keys that Peter was given were literally a special Priesthood Authority why would he assert that ALL BELIEVERS are members of the priesthood?

    “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

    We are called into the light (it has already been determined in Heaven who is called and who will respond) and gain access to Heaven by Faith… therefore, we are all members of the Priesthood of Believers once we express faith in the One True and Living God.

    As for the assertion that this is not taught in Protestant Churches… this has been taught clearly in my church. In fact, there was an entire sermon given by my pastor this past summer on the Priesthood of Believers. In reality this doctrine is simply another way of saying that once you confess faith in Christ you are bound to Him… you are going to Heaven. Bottom line though… it does not read the way Mormons take it.

    Tad,

    Please show me the verse in Galations that supports your assertion that Paul was talking about a Church organization in Galations 1:6-9. I cannot find it. I do however find much evidence that Paul was talking specifically about the perverting of the Good News of Jesus Christ by legalism. (Sidenote: in my opinion that is exactly what Mormonism is… legalism) I cannot find any verse in the Bible to support the idea that we need a specific organization designed a specific way in order to have access to Heaven. Nor do I find any support for the notion that we need specific authority given to us in the form of the Melchezidek Priesthood. Everything I read in Hebrews tells me that only one Being holds the Melchezidek Priesthood… Jesus Christ. He is my High Priest and I do not need another.

    Look at how Paul was called… did he go to meet with the other Apostles or Peter (whom Mormons claim was the Prophet) to be ordained? No, he went straight to preach and did not meet with them for 3 years!! How about on the Day of Pentecost… did the disciples need the laying on of hands by someone in authority to receive the Holy Ghost? No!

    The burden of proof lies with the Mormons on this one… please show me specifically in the Bible where it says you need the Melchezidek Priesthood authority to have the proper Church Organization. In addition, show me how without the church organized specifically as the Mormons have it you cannot have the Good News of Jesus Christ. I simply don’t see it.

    Darrell

  21. February 11, 2009 2:17 pm

    Darrell: you wrote:

    Christ was not saying that whatever Peter does will also be DONE in Heaven. Christ was saying that whatever we do on earth HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE/DETERMINED in Heaven. Big difference…God has already determined it… it is part of God’s soverign will and foreknowledge. We simply affirm God’s soverign will when we express faith in Him.

    this fits in great with Matt 18 with the emphasis, NOT on priesthood or apostleship, but on “wherever two or more are gathered together in MY name….” in other words , believers, ANY believers, praying IN THE WILL OF GOD…..affirming on EARTH what GOD HAS ALREADY affirmed in heaven….. I’m still looking at this , but these thoughts , to me are fitting together…. and AUTHORITY, in this context, is something open and available to ALL the saints, even WOMEN…… don’t tell Jack……..

  22. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 11, 2009 2:33 pm

    Hello again Bridget,

    Bridget’s comments: —- One of my overarching theses on Mormons and evangelicals is that each of us claims to be a restoration of/return to whatever original Christianity was, that we both essentially claim to be the same thing. —-

    You are correct in that LDS Christians do claim to be part of a “restoration”. However, I would be curious to hear how you see evangelical Christianity to be, as you put it, a restoration or/return to whatever Christianity was.

    From an LDS point of view a “restoration” or return to something implies that whatever is being “restored” was at one point in time lost.

    What is it that you feel was lost in the early Church that evangelical Christianity today is a restoration of or return to?

    The answer to that question will raise other good and worthwhile questions relevant to the topic at hand I am sure.

    In Christ,

    -Tad

  23. February 11, 2009 2:40 pm

    Tad: you wrote:

    They had a whole host of other elements that were NOT the Bible.

    well, that’s probably a safe bet, but the ev. position is: if these were such a big deal, they WOULD have been in the bible….. the bible does not contain EVERYTHING, that’s for sure, but the stuff that we really NEED to know, have to know, is in there… so this reality , “they had stuff not in the bible” is self-evident….but not that helpful to us

    also , it can become circular , whatever is missing just so happens to be what we got in modern revelation….how very handy…..

    and yes, ev’s DO believe in continuing revelation, but the revealed WORD of God is the template by which we understand the daily voice of God…..and we need that help. esp. GERMIT

  24. February 11, 2009 3:12 pm

    Tad:

    From an LDS point of view a “restoration” or return to something implies that whatever is being “restored” was at one point in time lost.

    I think you are stuck on this point….and here I will nuance Jack”s point: ev.’s believe that what we have today is what God wants, but what GOD wants is NOT, and was not during the early church age, a specific type of church institution or arrangement. GOD did not, and does not, make a major deal out of ” you are to have THIS type of ECCLESIA…..you will meet like THIS (big group v. small………paid clergy vs. unpaid…..local churches vs. one large centralized church for the city….. and on)

    you are choking on the specifics, while GOD majors in the majors……and GOD’s majors, according to the ev.’s, do NOT include a MUST HAVE in these details: so the LDS , among MANY other groups too numerous to list, are looking for something that really does not exist: the ONE specific INSTITUTION, replete with all the accessories, to pull on the analogy Jack brought up, that makes us “biblical”. The NT pattern is THEIR IS NO PATTERN. This frustrates type “A” s in general, and “restroationists” in particular.

    this is NOT the domain of just the LDS, or even cults, their are many ev’s that, oddly enough, fall into the same trap, saying “churches that REALLY want to follow Jesus do it THIS way….” don’t have bass guitar…..don’t have youth group with an inked up collige grad as “head-buddy”…..has a sermon driven service…..and this list gets VERY long very quicklly.

    Back to Jacks’s point about a King……we already HAVE a KING…..though not one we can presently touch or feel…. this often offends us……but there you go. One last comment on this post: of course SOME structure is needed and necessary, and some structures work better (for awhile) than others….but don’t confuse WINE for a WINESKIN…….or WELCH’s for a WELCH’s-Jar……if that makes yiou feel better.
    A

  25. February 11, 2009 3:17 pm

    I think it’s helpful to view Mormonism not so much as a “restoration” of the New Testament Church (which you are correct, we have very little real knowledge about anyway). But more a restoration of the Old Testament Church.

    Basically, the LDS faith has brought back a lot of Old Testament themes. So the argument shifts from one of finding New Testament verses that support or undermine modern Church positions, and more one of asking whether the New Testament overruled and nullified everything in the Old Testament and to what extent it did so.

    Protestants, in my experience, tend to highly radicalize the elements of Christ’s message claiming that “old things have been done away.” They tend to naturally assume this meant a rejection of all old ceremonies, and all the old ritual religious life. I say naturally because this mindset has been developed over hundreds of years of attacking the old Catholicism and its ritual trappings. It was simply a matter of self-interest for Protestants to inflate Jesus’ simple statements into a blanket rejection of ALL the “old ways.”

    I personally think this is an overreaction and unwarranted by Jesus’ actual ministry. So did Joseph Smith. I don’t think anything in the Old Testament should be thrown out without a pretty solid reason for doing so. So far, Protestants have not provided me with that solid reason.

    You can find plenty of precedent for Mormon beliefs, but you’ve got to stop looking for it in the New Testament. It’s in the Old Testament more often than not. And the task for Evangelicals becomes less one of proof-texting to Hebrews, or other New Testament verses, and more one of showing Mormons WHY certain Old Testament themes should be rejected.

  26. February 11, 2009 3:39 pm

    I’ve always seen it as somewhat misguided to look too much to the New Testament period for guidance on how the Church structure ought to be run.

    First off, there is very little to go on in the text we have of the New Testament. Evangelicals like to claim that this is because there wasn’t supposed to BE much of a structure (usually to justify their own lack of structure), but I disagree.

    I think the reason the New Testament provides so little ritual or ecclesiastical structure is simply because it was a period of Church infancy – characterized by rapid expansion, experimentation, and theological uncertainty. Not to mention persecution, disorganization, divisions and dissensions, and identity crisis.

    Why is there so little mention of the temple following Jesus’ Ascension? Even though the temple was so obviously central to Jesus’ own ministry?

    Mainly because the Apostles didn’t have a clue what to do with the temple.

    It was still controlled by the Jews and Christians were not allowed to appropriate it for their own worship. I think it’s pretty clear that if claiming the temple at Jerusalem and incorporating it into infant Christianity had been a PRACTICAL possibility, Peter would have done it.

    As it was, he never had the chance. Protestants like to talk about how Christianity had “moved-on” from the temple. I disagree. I think Christianity was in EXILE from the temple simply because it was still in the hands of their enemies. But that does not mean they didn’t consider temple worship central to their faith.

    This is merely one example of how an uncertain transitional religious period resulted in us having very little to go with. Early Christianity was a highly tentative and experimental period. In many ways, the experiment failed.

    Which is why I find the Mormon impulse to go back to the more established Old Testament for ritual and ecclesiastical cues to be a very, very, good idea. If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, it seems reasonable to expect at least some continuity.

  27. February 11, 2009 6:29 pm

    Seth,
    I’m very new to the EV point of view and I don’t claim to speak for them but I have a few thoughts on this.

    I agree that Mormonism is closer to a restoration of the Old Testament church but is that really a good thing? It is my understanding that God gave the Jews in the OT all of the structure and laws in the Law of Moses because they were not able to handle the much more simple rules that were first given. They missed the point of what God was trying to do with them so he had to give them very specific laws to help them understand and remember who He was and what He was going to do for them through Jesus.

    Christ said himself that he has fulfilled the law and then spoke on many occasions about how focusing on the law is not the way to find God. Why would you want to restore that which he already did away with? Do some OT things still have application in today’s world? Sure, I think we would all agree that the 10 commandments should be upheld and kept but we need to be careful not to overlook the simple message Christ taught and revert back to what was done in the Old Testament just because it has more structure. I would consider Christ’s words in the New Testament definitive when it comes to comparing Old Testament vs. New Testament living.

    In regards to the temple, In 1st Corinthians it is stated that WE are God’s temple and that His Spirit lives IN us. If we are God’s temple and he lives in us, why do we need LDS temples to worship or hear Him? Why would early Christians need the temple if they did not believe in worshiping the same way the Jews did and that there was no more need for animal sacrificing and the other rituals done there?

    The temple is mentioned a lot in the New Testament but if you look at what is said about it, it is really only used as a geographical location where Jesus and the Apostles went to teach. Why did they go to the temple? Because that is where the people were, especially the Jews.

    I need to take some time to compare and contrast what is done in the temple in the Old Testament vs. the Mormon temple. It is not something that I have really looked into but in my regular Bible reading, I don’t think I have seen much of anything that is done in both. If it is a restoration of the OT temple the you have to ask why do we need it. In contrast, If it is not a restoration of the Biblical temple rituals and worship, then what is it?

  28. February 11, 2009 6:42 pm

    Seth,

    I don’t have time for a lengthy response right now but I do have a question. You said:

    “I think it’s pretty clear that if claiming the temple at Jerusalem and incorporating it into infant Christianity had been a PRACTICAL possibility, Peter would have done it.”

    Please provide some information from the Bible that makes this assertion so clear.

    Darrell

  29. February 11, 2009 7:00 pm

    just a quick note – I haven’t had time to contribute much to this conversation yet as I’ve been very busy, but I hope to later. I’ve had to edit a couple of comments for swearing – Please remember to keep the tone respectful. Profanity will be filtered out. Thanks

  30. faithoffathers permalink
    February 11, 2009 7:14 pm

    Seth,

    I could not agree more with your point about organization. I think some people believe God went from a very highly structured organization in the Old Testament period including the law of Moses to one of essentially no structure, where an individual can simply believe in Christ and try to live a decent life. I think this makes no sense from a logical perspective, and it misjudges man’s nature. What I mean is that man by nature tends to stray from God given any opportunity to do so. And the structure in the Old Testament, I believe, was in place to accomodate such a nature. Although Christ’s atonement changed many things, man’s nature remained the same. We need all the help we can get, and I believe God knows this and established, then restored His church to provide that structure.

    The temple played an important part in the early church. Although the temple in Jerusalem remained in the hands of the Jews, church members, I believe, made other accomodations, much like what was done in the early part of this dispensation. There are plenty of examples of such accomodations being made before the temple was built anciently (Think Moses, Abraham, Adam). The temple was clearly very important to Christ. And I would disagree on one point you make regarding the Apostles- I think they were instructed and trained on temple worship and ordinances.

    I highly recommend an article by David Riley- extremely interesting. He summarizes ancient texts translated in recent years that claim to contain the sacred things Christ taught during His 40 day ministry after His resurrection. Any temple mormon will recognize a great deal from those writings.

    Here is the link: http://davidwiley.org/papers/40_days.html

    Some people believe the veil of the temple being rent indicated the end of the temple. Rather, we believe it signified Christ’s entering the Spirit world and ultimately parting the veil that separated man from God.

    Paul and Peter warned that false teachings would and were already being introduced. We know of the statements about the “falling away” and John’s prophecy of the woman (bride= church) going into the wilderness for a time. There is a period that some describe as a vacuum in the latter 1st and early 2nd centuries. We have the writings of the Apostles before, and the counsels after (for example, Nicea), but little in between. The record is all but silent for that 70-80 years. Some believe that this is when the “great and abominable church” did its deed rather than in later centuries.

  31. February 11, 2009 7:24 pm

    jessicasheley ~ I’ve had to edit a couple of comments for swearing

    Guilty as charged! My rule was always that if a swear word is in the Bible, I can say it, but I’ll watch myself for you Jessica.

    Tad, I’ll get back to you later today. Seth, there are a lot of people replying to you and I don’t really want to dog pile you. If you still want to hear what I think, let me know, but it’s probably not all that different from what other evangelicals are saying.

  32. February 11, 2009 8:01 pm

    “Please provide some information from the Bible that makes this assertion so clear.”

    You get the evidence more from the whole of contemporary accounts from that period. The historical record as revealed so far indicates that the temple was highly central to early Christian identity and that it’s destruction at the hands of the Romans was absolutely devastating to early Christianity. In fact, it precipitated a sort of identity crisis among early Christians from which I don’t think they ever fully recovered. Though they did apparently forget it.

    Peter was highly Jewish in his outlook. This is apparent from Paul’s accounts of his own interactions with him. It almost seems that Peter expected Christianity to be basically “Judaism Part II.” It was the more innovative Paul who advocated severing infant Christianity’s ties with it’s parent religion – for which he ran afoul of Peter and the “Jerusalem faction” on numerous occasions. What else do you think that the whole circumcision debate was about? It was basically a battle over whether Christianity would retain its Jewish roots or not. Ultimately Paul’s faction won, and Peter’s (or more accurately – James’) faction lost.

    But here’s the thing. I don’t think the burden of proof is on me to establish why a people for whom the temple was obviously, crucial, central and pivotal for their religious identity suddenly jettisoned the whole thing after being baptized Christian.

    I think the burden of proof is more on you Darrell, to show why they would do such a radical thing when they had no reason to, other than a few very vague and very tenuous Pauline passages that can be, and are, read multiple different ways.

    Why jettison the temple just because of some ambiguous statements from Paul?

    Do you realize what a historically outlandish idea that is?

  33. February 11, 2009 9:19 pm

    Seth: my friend , I think you are starting to get it….the outlandish thing….absolutely..

    Take a very good look at Acts 15, and yes the circumcision thing was huge because it was symbolic of the central question and that was

    HOW JEWISH DO THE GENTILE CONVERTS NEED TO BE IN ORDER TO BE TRUE BELIEVERS IN JESUS THE MESSIAH.

    this was a big deal, potentially “church wrecking….” that’s why ALL the big players show up to the council here in Jerusalem….it’s not about circumcision, exactlly , it’s about having the Gentile believers follow the ‘old’ requirements…..or not.

    you are wrong about Peter and James:
    from Peter: v8-11
    “and GOD, who knows the heart, bore witness to them [the Gentiles]. giving them the Holy Spirit, just as HE also did to us; and HE made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their heart by faith (quick aside to DARRELL: this is what, I think DARRELL is talking about…..)
    v,10 now therefore , why do you put GOD to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke {this is a reference to following the LAW, including the temple stuff} which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe we are saved through the grace of the LORD JESUS in the same way as they also are”

    James weighs in and his reference to “not troubling them (the Gentiles) ” in v.19 is specifically a very straightforward directive NOT to require circumcision (symbolic of ALL the Levitical law) of them….and then he gives them a FEW specific commands, none of them having to do with TEMPLE anything….

    the Jerusalem council is remarkable for a bundle of reasons , but at the top , or near it, would have to be PAUL, BARNABAS, PETER, JAMES, and sundry other apostles and elders ALL IN AGREEMENT…..so your “Paul’s agenda” thing, SETH, falls a little flat here

    Peter, by the way , was ALREADY warmed up to reality of the Gentiles coming into the Kingdom WITHOUT having to follow the Jewish rules from his vision at Cornelius hourse in Acts 10…..so GOD spelled it out in technicolor for Peter and the rest of us: following the Jewish ways was NOT going to be a requirment for Gentile beleivers. that is the sense of eating “all kinds of four footed animals….etc” what the Jews had to do, dietarily, the Gentiles would not

    as an aside, the HolySpirit generously falls on an entire CROWD of people (Acts 10:44,45) with no mention of “laying on of hands by the priesthood…” Hmmmmmm

    yes, Peter had a “backsliding” moment in Galations, where he sypathized with the group of the circumcision (Gal 2:11,12) but he recovered and repented and we see him “on board” in Acts 15.

    ALL the main players in the early church were “Jewish in outlook”, and as far as I know they were unashamedly devout, practicing JEWS….they did not cease to be JEWS when they followed Yeshua…..hardly….the issue was, what about the Gentile converts….how JEWISH did they have to be and still be “believers”……evidently, NOT VERY…..

    more later. FOF: good to hear from ya………. GERmIT

  34. February 11, 2009 9:29 pm

    That’s one read on it Germit. But I’ve read other reads on it too.

  35. February 11, 2009 9:29 pm

    Basically, I think you’re going to need much stronger medicine to get rid of something as central as the temple than what the New Testament text offers.

  36. February 11, 2009 9:46 pm

    Seth,

    I will tag onto Germit here… if it were only, as you say, a few obscure Pauline comments then I think you would have a case here. Unfortuntately, the whole of the New Testament text points to the ending of the law i(ncluding Temple Ordinances, Aaronic Priesthood, etc.) Peter himself addresses this in his letters! This is not just a Pauline thing. Hebrews (most likely not a Pauline letter) and Luke talk about this. You cannot label this as strictly a Pauline issue.

    Please show me anything from the Biblical Text to support your assertion that Peter would of incorporated the Temple into New Testament Church worship if the environment would allow it. I cannot find it anywhere. I can, however, find numerous verses that cite an end of Temple worship and how the Temple is now made up of the Body of Christ (Believers). I will be happy to provide references if you would like. By the way this falls right in line with Peters’ teaching that Priesthood is now made up of the Believers (men and women)… further evidence that Peter agreed that the Aaronic Priesthood was done with. This also supports the fact that the Priesthood was not a special authority only given to worthy males… this contradicts the LDS teaching on the Priesthood.

    Darrell

  37. February 11, 2009 10:21 pm

    Seth: actually the TEMPLE DOES remain a big deal in NT terms in two ways:

    1)Jesus HIMSELF is our temple, at least the CORNERSTONE the most important part of the temple

    2)we ourselves , as indwelt with the Holy Spirit, have REPLACED the temple……this is the ASTOUNDING thing that I referred to….what WAS a building made with hands is now a SPIRITUAL building that will neither perish or crumble….I’d call that an upgrade.

    My point being : the temple does NOT disappear in the NT: it’s been upgraded to something permanent and much much better: the HOLY SPIRIT living inside of us: this is what the OLD system pointed to and foretold….now that the NEW is with us, why go back to the OLD ?? This same principle of OLD upgraded to NEW can also be seen in

    DIET (Jesus is our bread of life, and all foods are proclaimed clean..)
    CIRCUMCISION (now it’s a circumcision of the HEART)
    SABBATH (Jesus HIMSELF, and the presence of the HOLY SPIRIT have become our Sabbath rest)
    SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM (Jesus HIMSELF has now satisfied ALL the debt, and ALL the requirments of the law….there are no more sacrifices to be made except the sacrifice of thanks, worship, and praise…..

    even the DESIRE to go back to the OT system is a big swing and miss……we’ve been given something , or SOMEONE, better…..and if the JEWISH beleivers want to continue with a ceremonial practice of the law…there’s nothing wrong in that: I think most, if not all the early Jewish believers did that as well

    SIMPLE QUESTION FOR SETH: show me, ANYTHING from the Jewish system of the OT that was COMMANDED of Gentile believers…..look where these isssues are talked about in the NT and what was the outcome of those discussions ???

  38. February 11, 2009 10:44 pm

    Seth: I see the destruction of the temple somewhat differently ( I’ll let the surprise, shock, and awe die down a sec….)

    yes , it was a terrible thing and a huge adjustment for the church, but I thin GOD sovereignly used something very evil to drive HIS point home: you don’t need that anymore (though, as I said, Jewish believers COULD continue on with it if they so chose, and if there was a temple to go to…..) If there was any doubt BEFORE that JESUS HIMSELF was the big deal, the temple being destroyed should seal the deal….it’s JESUS as the “temple among men”..or sit moping your bad Jewish luck till the next temple gets built….

  39. February 11, 2009 11:47 pm

    Tad ~ However, I would be curious to hear how you see evangelical Christianity to be, as you put it, a restoration or/return to whatever Christianity was.

    From an LDS point of view a “restoration” or return to something implies that whatever is being “restored” was at one point in time lost.

    What is it that you feel was lost in the early Church that evangelical Christianity today is a restoration of or return to?

    The main features of evangelical Christianity are devotion to the Bible as our authority, zeal to preach the gospel with emphasis on the work of Christ’s death and resurrection, and a focus on the need for all men and women to make a personal conversion to Jesus. It’s not quite correct to say that these things were “lost” a la the LDS apostasy theory; I certainly don’t think every Christian between 500ish AD and the start of the evangelical movement in the 1700s was not saved. They weren’t being emphasized though, and I do believe that evangelicals are closer to practicing what the early church practiced than most Christians throughout the ages.

    Within evangelical Christianity, I’m a (somewhat skeptical) charismatic and an egalitarian, so I see us as also having returned to the practice of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues and a restoration of women’s roles in ministry. It amazes me that any church can claim to be God’s only true church and be missing these things, and the big three authority churches (LDS, Catholic, Orthodox) are all three missing these things. Their excuse is generally “We have the authority so we can change how it was done,” but the weakness of that argument is obvious. You wanna show me you restored the church, then show me. Don’t say “We restored this and this, and we could have restored that, but we decided not to.”

    All that said, the reason I would say that evangelical Christianity is closer to New Testament Christianity but not exactly like it is because I think both Mormons and evangelicals fail at restoring the socio-cultural context in which biblical ideas and teachings came into play; IOW I agree with what the Context Group is trying to do. See the article by my friend JP Holding here. All of these arguments between Mormons and evangelicals on the Trinity and I never see the evangelicals bring up Jewish Wisdom literature. Makes me want to pull my hair out.

  40. February 12, 2009 1:05 am

    Seth: how hard would it have been to set up SOME kind of building/tent and have SECRET ceremonies ??? I’m thinking not that hard…what was hard was preaching and being identified as a christian PUBLICLY, especially after the Romans got it into their thick pointy helmetted heads that the new religion was bad for Rome.

    I don’t see where some kind of mormon-like ceremony would have been hard to do in secret…..

    Jesus doing this or that in the temple doesn’t really help you because the Gentiles were not yet brought into the kingdom…..first the gospel goes to Israel, then the Gentiles….so a Jew (Jesus and HIS disciples) doing observant Jewish things is hardly surprising…..now if you can show me where Jeses taught that the Jewish thing was to endure forever….

  41. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 12, 2009 2:08 am

    Hello again Darrell,

    What you have provided in your most recent post (the one that is addressed to me) is again a very fine rendition of the way some forms of evangelical Christians process these ideas and the scriptures in question according to the paradigm out of which they are operating. As I read down your post, every line of scripture and every paragraph I can check off in my mind one right after the other as being a bulls eye representation of your type of evangelical Christian- and that’s great! And I love hearing how you see things!

    But, I myself as an LDS Christian can follow right behind you down every line of scripture and paragraph, and offer my own take on it in a way that is just as coherent from within my own paradigm- and that is great too. But after such tit for tat text proofing, if that’s all it is, where will be? It is a road I have been down many times before. I suspect that such an endeavor, in the end, could be summed by simply saying- you’re an Evangelical Christian and im a LDS Christian- and that’s it. And we both already knew that before we started.

    How can Evangelical and LDS Christians move beyond this dilemma into a more effective realm?

    My intuition on the matter leads me to believe that we move closer to this answer by striving to understand the others paradigm out of which the other people operate and less out of the scripture ping-pong and circular proof texting that so often occurs in these sorts of discussions. But that is just my opinion.

    Here are some of my comments on your post and some things to consider when exploring the LDS paradigm and the matter at hand.

    Darrells comments: —- In addition, show me how without the church organized specifically as the Mormons have it you cannot have the Good News of Jesus Christ. —-

    Darrell, this comment is a good place to start- because in this request you have expressed a major concern that evangelicals often have that if not addressed more times than not ends up as a roadblock to their understanding the LDS paradigm in any more helpful way.

    Lets use Roger Williams as an example. Roger Williams was a good and godly man doing the best he could with what he knew. I believe that he earnestly sought after truth and to do Gods will. To the degree that he followed that spirit I believe God is very, very please with him. Roger Williams is not going to somehow get “ripped off” or miss out on something in the eternities just because he lived on the earth at a time when the formal organization of the Church was not present. And so it is with all of Gods children.

    Roger Williams knew that God lives. He knew of his own fallen nature and of the distance that sin puts between man and God. He knew that he would never be able to bridge the gap on his own. He knew of the inspired word of God he found in the Bible. He had a testimony that Jesus Christ was in fact the Son of God as the scriptures so testify- and that He came to earth in mortality to do for us what we could never do for ourselves- atone for our sins. He knew of the great mercy, love and power of the redeemer. And when convicted of this reality he came unto God with a broken heart and contrite spirit, confessing Christ as Lord and asking God for forgiveness of his sins that he might be made clean through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Through this humble submission to God and his will his heart was transformed and made right with God. Having been cleansed by the atonement of Jesus Christ and made into a new creature- he then strove to follow God the best he could with what he knew, repenting when necessary.

    Is this not what you mean when you use the term the “Good News”?

    Like many, many other Christians throughout time Roger Williams had the “good news” according to this definition of it. And that is a good thing and something we as LDS Christians most certainly embrace, encourage and preach! It is in fact at the very center of all we do as LDS. All of the principles I just expressed with the example of Roger Williams are core principles that LDS Christians hold fast and true to. They are also principles and truths that many good Christian people come to without having access to the formal structure of Christ’s Church on the earth.

    So, to get back to your comment and question….. I cannot show you how you cannot have the “good news” as you understand the term (and as just illustrated in the Roger Williams example) without the formal organization of the LDS Church because we in fact do not believe you have to have the formal organization of the church on the earth to have the “good news” according to this definition! You are simply misguided in assuming we feel that way.

    The problem you are having is that underlying your concern and question is a fundamental lack of understanding of the LDS position and of the LDS experience on the matter. This problem is a very common one between Evangelicals and LDS.

    The reason why this problem exists (the main reason) is because when Evangelical Christians hear things like apostasy, restoration, fullness of the gospel, etc. it elicits within them a powerful sort of “knee-jerk” reaction. A reflex of sorts. This is because evangelicals have had very real, genuine and powerful experiences with the Lord in alignment with the example illustrated with Roger Williams. They really have come unto Christ as they understand it and have experienced the powerful regeneration that only He offers. The Spirit has born witness to them of the profound truthfulness of these things- and they know them clearly in their hearts and mind. So, when LDS speak of “restoration” and “fullness of the gospel” and the “formal organization of Christ’s church” etc. it sounds to Evangelical ears as something other that what their experience has been- foreign, different, odd… then the knee jerk reaction kicks in and they leap to all sorts of other erroneous assumptions. Mix with that some really bad anti-mormon material and you have a serious barrier to the sort of communication that brings real understanding.

    Evangelicals need to realize that LDS really do embrace all of the principles expressed in the example with Roger Williams and that they have had powerful spiritual experiences with the Lord similar to theirs. Evangelicals need to realize that LDS Christians really do know what it means to come unto Christ, that we really do know what it is like to feel conviction for sin and to call on God to do the work in us that we cannot do for ourselves, that we really do know of repentance and forgiveness- and that there are ways of experiencing and knowing these things that are not mutually excusive to all the other elements we have in the formal organization of the Church and with the restoration of the gospel.

    In my conversion from an Evangelical Christian to an LDS Christian I did not change from one power source to another. Rather I went from a 80 watt bulb to say a 250 watt bulb connected to the same power source.

    All the good and truth expressed in the Roger Williams example and in what you call the “good news” Darrell is still with me- just as it is with other LDS. It did not leave me or disappear but has been expanded upon- and it is at the core of the LDS church- even if evangelicals have a hard time believing that – or don’t want to see that.

    Darrell, you will recall in my previous post (the one addressed to you) that I took a position involving a definition of the term the “good news” that is more expansive from the way I have been employing it here in this post. This is no accident. I do believe the more expansive definition to be the more applicable and realistically appropriate version to incorporate when grappling with issues of authority, the NT church and especially when trying to get a realistic sense of what the NT church experienced as the “good news”. I do not consider your definition to be “wrong” because I wholeheartedly embrace all the good it contains- I just see it as incomplete and already engulfed within the more expansive definition.

    Evangelicals need to understand that there are ways of employing a more expansive grasp of the gospel or “good news” that do not exclude or violate the good they already know to be true.

    —-
    Darrells comments: —- Look at how Paul was called… did he go to meet with the other Apostles or Peter (whom Mormons claim was the Prophet) to be ordained? No, he went straight to preach and did not meet with them for 3 years!! —-

    Darrell, I honestly have not thought about this any further than reading about it in your post, partly because of time but mostly because- it doesn’t matter. Your preconceived notions of the LDS position out of which this concern flows are too simplistic to make the concern weighty at all. Maybe as we address other things we will come to a spot where you will understand what I mean by this. But I don’t want you to think im not listening or that im just glossing over your questions. Im am listening to you carefully- promise.

    —-
    Darrells comments: —- How about on the Day of Pentecost… did the disciples need the laying on of hands by someone in authority to receive the Holy Ghost? No! —-

    With all due respect my friend there are many ways the Spirit can work with man. You can be touched by the Spirit, Roger Williams was influenced by the Spirit. Everyone that has a testimony of Jesus Christ has been influenced by the Spirit- and all without having hands layed on them- right?

    There are many ways the spirit can work with man Darrell. The conflict you think you see here is a really just a conflict with your own misconceptions- and not about anything LDS.

    —-
    Darrells comments: —- Please show me the verse in Galations that supports your assertion that Paul was talking about a Church organization in Galations 1:6-9. I cannot find it. —-

    Darrell, just as you “cannot find it” I on the other hand “cannot not see it”! The Christians in the NT church were simply immersed in a whole array of things that were to them the experience of the gospel, or the Church or the “good news” (used in the more expansive sense now)

    I addressed some of this reality in greater length in my previous post to you. Maybe there are things in it we can touch on if you want to pursue this further.

    —-
    Darrells comments: —- Everything I read in Hebrews tells me that only one Being holds the Melchezidek Priesthood… Jesus Christ. He is my High Priest and I do not need another. —-

    Actually Darrell there are at least 2 beings mentioned in the Bible that hold the Melchezidek Priesthood. Jesus Christ and Melchezidek himself. Don’t forget about him. 2 beings. Today there are many more!

    Jesus Christ is my high priest too Darrell and in the last day all the keys pertaining to that priesthood will at one time be returned to Jesus Christ where he will then rein in glory and honor forever! How awesome it is to be a part of the great preparatory work now within His restored church on the earth today!

    —-
    Darrells comments: —- Our ulitimate destiny is already mapped out by God…I know the arminians who read this willl likely not like this position… sorry. When we express faith in Christ we are expressing something that has already been determined by God and as a result are we are bound to Him… our destiny is assured. —-

    What you are referring to is of course the doctrine of predestination- which is, in my view, one of the most horrifying and awful doctrines ever created by man. I don’t blame you for it Darrell because I know you didn’t come up with it. But, the whole idea I find to be ugly and completely indefensible. A topic way off target for this thread I am sure.

    —-

    Darrell, would you be interested in talking about these issues together on the phone? We are both aware of the limitations of this format. I can more easily justify the much more effective phone time compared to what it takes to address everything in a written format here. I always feel I can never get to everything or do justice to everyone’s posts in a timely fashion.

    If talking on the phone or in person is of any interest to you, or to anyone else, please feel to e-mail me at: inhimdependent_lds@yahoo.com

    Thank you for your consideration.

    In Christ,

    -Tad

  42. February 12, 2009 3:54 am

    Tad,

    I think you forget that you are talking to someone who was LDS for years. I held numerous callings and understand LDS Doctrine very well. You seem to think that I “don’t understand” the LDS Paradigm… that is simply not true. I understand your paradigm all too well. I taught it for years and helped convert people over to it (God forgive me!!). Among other callings I was a early morning seminary teacher, served in the Bishopric, was a Ward Mission Leader, and served on the Stake High Council. I understand where you are coming from. So, please, stop attributing our differences to the fact that I simply do not UNDERSTAND where you are coming from. I understand it thoroughly.

    I respect where your opinions and understand the logic behind your arguements. That being said, I mean this as kindly as I can say it… I simply think you have accepted a false gospel… pure and simple. You are deceived.

    Let me ask you one question in relation to your Roger Williams example. According to your paradigm:

    If someone who is non-LDS dies without ever accepting the Restored Gospel, can they go to the Celestial Kingdom WITHOUT EVER ACCEPTING VICARIOUSLY IN THE SPIRIT WORLD the temple ordinances that will be performed for them after they die?

    You said:

    “Darrell, I honestly have not thought about this any further than reading about it in your post, partly because of time but mostly because- it doesn’t matter. ”

    Actually it matters a whole lot because your church teaches that a man must be called and ordained by the laying on of hands. If Peter was the prophet, why did Paul not go to him to be set apart? Did Paul receive his calling directly from Christ who bypassed the prophet? If so, that means that it does not need to happen the way the LDS Church says it does today. Besides that fact, at their very first meeting Paul called “the Prophet” Peter to the carpet… kind of goes against the whole authority concept! Paul made a decision to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles without “the prophet’s” consent. This does not match well with the LDS Church organization lines of authority today. So, no, this question matters a lot. Can you please explain the discrepencies? If you are going to assert that the LDS Church is setup the way Christ setup the New Testament church you have to be able to explain the problems here. This applies as well to how the Disciples received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost… it does not match what the church teaches today. Please explain.

    You said:

    Actually Darrell there are at least 2 beings mentioned in the Bible that hold the Melchezidek Priesthood. Jesus Christ and Melchezidek himself. Don’t forget about him. 2 beings. Today there are many more!

    Please show me where in The Bible it establishes the fact that more people can be called into the Melchezidek Priesthood after Christ. Why does this not match with Peter’s teaching about how ALL BELIEVERS (men and women) hold the priesthood today? Specific verses please.

    You said:

    Jesus Christ is my high priest too Darrell and in the last day all the keys pertaining to that priesthood will at one time be returned to Jesus Christ where he will then rein in glory and honor forever! How awesome it is to be a part of the great preparatory work now within His restored church on the earth today!

    Please show me the specific verses that established the “prepatory work” that is being done in LDS Temples. Where are the verses which teach eternal marriage? The tokens and signs? The celestial room? The true order of prayer? Where are the verses that establish the need for a Temple AT ALL? Why do they not match with the verses which say that WE are the Temple today? Specific verses please.

    You said:

    What you are referring to is of course the doctrine of predestination- which is, in my view, one of the most horrifying and awful doctrines ever created by man. I don’t blame you for it Darrell because I know you didn’t come up with it. But, the whole idea I find to be ugly and completely indefensible. A topic way off target for this thread I am sure.

    Sorry, I was not quoting man. I was quoting Christ. What He said does not fit well with the LDS idea that “Priesthood Holders” seal people together here on earth. Christ said that what we bind on earth HAS ALREADY BEEN BOUND IN HEAVEN. It is already determined and we affirm it. He has given us the Key to Heaven… faith in Him and once we express that Faith we are bound to Him. I find this very comforting. God is in control and not us… I like that idea. I like the idea that a perfect, all knowing, all powerfull God is in control and not finite, sinful, judgemental men.

    Darrell

  43. jessicasheley permalink*
    February 12, 2009 4:07 am

    Tad,

    I don’t want to ignore your questions, but I’ve been very busy the past few days and now that I have time to respond I feel like I would just end up regurgitating what others have already said. As I stated previously, I long for a deeper working of God’s Spirit and I am in prayer for this. I’m grieved at the way “traditional Christianity” is perceived by the world and by those outside our faith. This does not in any way, however, imply that the answer is found in Mormonism or any of the other churches/secret societies with an authority complex. Each one claims to hold the keys. They can’t all hold the keys. As I stated in my post, the Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers. Mormonism cannot defend its concept of priesthood authority from Scripture so it has to claim things are missing or vague. I find nothing missing or vague in Hebrews and I Peter concerning the NT priesthood. It’s crystal clear. The emphasis on a spiritual priesthood (I Pet. 2:5, 9) and heavenly temple (Heb. 9:23-24) meshes nicely with the theme of the NT and the change in dispensation from the old covenant to the new covenant.

    ________

    Seth,

    You said Mormonism is a restoration of the OT. Thank You!!! I believe you are right on target with your assessment. My question – does modern revelation nullify the work of Christ and put us back under the old covenant?

    “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). The law was a “shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Col. 2:17). “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious…how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?” (II Cor. 3:7-8). “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Rom. 7:4). “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God” (Gal. 2:19). “I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21).

    _________

    FoF,

    I think some people believe God went from a very highly structured organization in the Old Testament period including the law of Moses to one of essentially no structure, where an individual can simply believe in Christ and try to live a decent life.

    Well, there is a simplicity to the gospel… This is clearly noted in Scripture. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3). Life in the Spirit [Romans 8] is contrasted with life under the OT laws. This is a major theme throughout the NT. I don’t believe the answer is found in trying to live a decent life, though. I don’t think this can be done in our own strength. Those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord are, in truth, crucified to self (Rom. 6:6, Gal. 2:20). The Word tells us that the true source of victory in the Christian life is in recognizing the significance of the cross – not only as the source of our redemption, but as the source of power for our sanctification. We are to “reckon” (consider, count) ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin (Rom. 6:11). The Word says this is the truth of the matter – we have been crucified with Christ – but we must reckon it to be so as we live our lives in the power of His Spirit and dead to sin (Romans 6-8). I find in Romans 6-8 an understanding of the huge change from the dispensation of the law to the dispensation of grace. It doesn’t mean we can “simply believe” so we can do whatever we want. We can “simply believe” that giving our life to Christ means we die and He reigns in us.

  44. February 12, 2009 5:21 am

    “I don’t see where some kind of mormon-like ceremony would have been hard to do in secret…..”

    germit, I feel compelled to point out that IF exactly this sort of thing was occurring in early Christianity, it could have easily escaped inclusion in the New Testament as well.

    But either way, I would also point out that it could have just as easily not happened since the early Christians could have very easily been still in a state of dilemma over what to do with the temple. Isn’t it just possible that they weren’t sure how “their temple” – the one in the hands of the Jews – was supposed to be handled?

    It seems like a real possibility to me anyway.

    Jessica wrote:

    “My question – does modern revelation nullify the work of Christ and put us back under the old covenant?”

    Don’t put words in my mouth Jessica. You are trying to frame this in a pro-Protestant manner again. My point was that Jesus did NOT nullify the Old Testament. He did not nullify the “old covenant.” He fulfilled it. There is a very big difference.

    Evangelical arguments always seem to assume that when Jesus said he fulfilled the Old Covenant, that means we can just chuck all that “Old Testament stuff.”

    I find this assumption unsupportable.

    I mean, do you guys think the Ten Commandments are obsolete just because Jesus arrived?

    If not, what makes the temple any different?

  45. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 12, 2009 5:47 am

    Darrell,

    I did not, and do not, intend to minimize or take lightly your experience as a former LDS.

    My intention is to speak to the other Evangelicals here in a general way at the same time that i am speaking to you specifically- as well as address these issues as they exist in the ongoing Evangelical/LDS dialogue generally.

    Maybe there was a way i could have better worded my post to you- but, i think people here understand anyway. I didnt intend to diminish you or your capacity personally- im just trying to be as effective as i can in a format that has its limitations. The issues we are discussing are common concerns to a lot of people here and i want to be as helpful as i can.

    I can see ways in which your past experience as a LDS could come in helpful here. If you are willing you could help shed light on things that some evangelicals have a hard time believing LDS christians actually believe. That could really be useful in increasing dialogue and finding common ground.

    I, like everyone else here, am limited in the time i can invest in contributing here- but i will be responding more when i am able.

    In the meantime would you be interested in verifying for our other readers here that the principles expressed in the Roger Williams illustration are in fact all principles that we as LDS christians fully embrace and teach- and that they are at the very core of our understanding of things as LDS christians?

    That could really be useful in increasing dialogue and mutual understanding. Which is something im sure we would all agree we could use more of.

    In Christ,

    -Tad

  46. February 12, 2009 5:58 am

    Seth ~ Evangelical arguments always seem to assume that when Jesus said he fulfilled the Old Covenant, that means we can just chuck all that “Old Testament stuff.”

    I find this assumption unsupportable.

    Honest question, Seth: if you’re so big on the laws of the Old Testament being practiced, why does the LDS church not practice so many of them?

    Don’t make me pick examples ‘cuz they’re icky.

  47. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 12, 2009 5:59 am

    Hello again Jessica,

    While i do appreciate your sensitivity, thank-you, please dont ever let yourself feel pressured for a timely response to me. I know your busy. We all are.

    I never feel like i can fully keeping up anyway.

    -Tad

  48. February 12, 2009 2:26 pm

    Seth: thanks for the replies; you wrote

    My point was that Jesus did NOT nullify the Old Testament. He did not nullify the “old covenant.” He fulfilled it. There is a very big difference.

    and here seems to be the difference: you guys think Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant, and then busily went about trying to RESTORE it….christians believe HE fulfilled the Old Covenant, and then got very busy establishing and implimenting the NEW Covenant…. the LDS in general, and JS in particular , can’t make up their collective minds WHICH covenant they want to hang out in…this is Arthur Sido’s point all day and into the night: the OLD was found OBSOLETE: yes Jews can continue to go to the temple….and I’ll do the icky shuffle here (VERY old football reference….ask your grandpa)…..yes , they can get circumcised and remain obedient Jews….but Gentiles DO NOT have to join in…the old EVERYTHING is OUT (as mandetory), the NEW is in

    JS never got this….he had a fascination with the artifacts of the old….and never caught on; I’m sure the Masonic thing had his heart going a million miles an hour: so old, so ritualistic, so SECRET…..that’s cool…..but UNNECESSARY.

    SETH: your points about the temple really miss the point: they talked about everything that really mattered in the NT; the circumcision debates were a BIG deal….if the temple had been a big deal, they would have talked about that, and I would argue that temple observance would have been expected as part of the circumcision package….hey, if a guy will allow himself to be circumcised at an adult age, trust me, he WILL go to temple….turns out the gentiles were required to do NEITHER….and the NT is pretty clear about that

    as BJack noted, among others, you guys hardly restored ANYTHING.. I mean anything Jewish…show the LDS “packhage” to a Jew and have them comment….while they aren’t drinking something really hot….prepare for the ‘spew’, if they are… what happened to the ‘restoration’ ?? I imagine you’ll say modern revelation cleans this up… but you are left with a ‘restoration’ that is not defended by EITHER the OT or the NT: the OT is way too Jewish for you, and the NT points to the New Covenant, and an Old covenant that is OBSOLETE…what do you have left ??? Modern revelaton, I guess

  49. February 12, 2009 2:41 pm

    Germit kind of beat me to it but I will voice my opinion too on what Seth had to say.

    Seth Said…“I mean, do you guys think the Ten Commandments are obsolete just because Jesus arrived? If not, what makes the temple any different?”

    In a response to you earlier I said, “Do some OT things still have application in today’s world? Sure, I think we would all agree that the 10 commandments should be upheld and kept but we need to be careful not to overlook the simple message Christ taught and revert back to what was done in the Old Testament just because it has more structure. I would consider Christ’s words in the New Testament definitive when it comes to comparing Old Testament vs. New Testament living.”

    No one is saying do away with the Ten Commandments but when looking at Old Testament rituals or teachings I think we have to see how Christ relates to them. What was done in the temple? Rituals that were a type of Christ’s sacrifice for sin. So, if what was done in the temple was done to point to what Jesus would do for them, why then do they need to be continued after He came and fulfilled their purpose?

    I am amazed that you can’t see the difference between the two.

    If it is a restoration of the OT temple then you have to ask why do we need it. In contrast, If it is not a restoration of the Biblical temple rituals and worship, then what is it?

  50. February 12, 2009 3:14 pm

    Soy YO; good morning bro

    you wrote:

    If it is not a restoration of the Biblical temple rituals and worship, then what is it?

    this reminds me of the Far Side cartoon where two guys are casually drinkng their cocktails at a party and talking…..one guy has a hideous alien-looking thing attached to his head….he seems unconcerned….his friend leans over and asks
    “…so tell me Bob…..what IS that thing??…….”

    exactly: telll me LDS , what IS that “restoration” thing attached to your head ?? this is a serious question because it’s not Jewish……this could quickly become a thread all it’s own…..and it’s not required by NT directives…..so WHAT IS THAT THING ??

  51. February 12, 2009 3:21 pm

    By they way… the 10 commandements were taught by Christ (minus the Sabbath Day Observance… it is the ONE ten commandement that is NOT taught by Christ). So I would say yes the 10 commandments are OBVIOUSLY still in effect. However, in contrast, Temple observance is clearly taught as no longer being required… as Hebrews 8:2,5,6 & 13 tell us… the earthly tabernacle is done with and we now have a new tabernacle setup in Heaven. The earthly tabernacle was only a shadow of what exists in Heaven and we now have a perfect High Priest who serves us there. We no longer need the earthly. Why have a shadow when you have the real thing?

    Darrell

  52. February 12, 2009 3:27 pm

    Darrell, that is interesting about the Sabbath Day Observance was left out of Christ’s teaching. I have never noticed that but then again, I am pretty new to the Bible. Thanks for that piece of knowledge. I’ll have to look more into it when I am in my personal study time.

  53. February 12, 2009 4:00 pm

    Tad,

    You asked:

    “In the meantime would you be interested in verifying for our other readers here that the principles expressed in the Roger Williams illustration are in fact all principles that we as LDS christians fully embrace and teach- and that they are at the very core of our understanding of things as LDS christians?”

    I will be happy to comment on this. Before I do, I would like for you to respond a question I asked in my previous post:

    “If someone who is non-LDS dies without ever accepting the Restored Gospel, can they go to the Celestial Kingdom WITHOUT EVER ACCEPTING VICARIOUSLY IN THE SPIRIT WORLD the temple ordinances that will be performed for them after they die?”

    Your yes or no answer to this question will help shed more light on this issue so that I can explain further.

    Thanks!!

    Darrell

  54. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 12, 2009 5:10 pm

    Darrell,

    Darrell’s question: —- “If someone who is non-LDS dies without ever accepting the Restored Gospel, can they go to the Celestial Kingdom WITHOUT EVER ACCEPTING VICARIOUSLY IN THE SPIRIT WORLD the temple ordinances that will be performed for them after they die?” —-

    No.

    FYI:- i am leaving to go out of town later today and will be gone until late this weekend- but i promise to respond when i return.

  55. faithoffathers permalink
    February 12, 2009 5:29 pm

    I think there is one important point many are missing. Many are equating the whole Old Testament to the Law of Moses. Moses was born around 1400 B.C. The law of Moses of course came several decades later. What of the promises and covenants made with prophets that lived and preached in the millenia BEFORE Moses? The interval between Adam and Moses was Longer than the interval between Moses and Christ.

    It seems people here, as is common, lump pre-Law of Moses prophets and covenants all into the Law of Moses. The “Old Covenant” refers to the Law of Moses, not the entire Old Testament. So when Christ or His Apostles say that the Old Law is fulfilled or done away with, they are referring to the Law of Moses, not every ordinance and covenant instituted from Adam to Christ.

    We know a few things for sure:

    1. There were ordinances including but not limited to blood sacrifice along with priesthood activity before Moses.

    2. The Law of Moses was a change from that which preceded it, and the change was made to more closely guide Israel’s heart(s) toward the future atonement of the Son of God. The Law of Moses was given because Israel failed to live up to the higher law. It could be viewed as a step down from what preceded it.

    3. Christ’s atonement fulfilled the Law of Moses and ended blood sacrifices.

    4. Christ brought a higher law than what was functional under the Law of Moses.

    We cannot conclude that all covenants and ordinances from the whole Old Testament- not just the Law of Moses- were done away with. What of the higher law and ordinances that existed before Moses?

    Another point we often overlook: Moses wrote the earliest scripture we have today (for those who do not believe the Book of Abraham), starting with Genesis. He of course told the stories of the ancient prophets as he had access to them. But think about this- those early prophets lived an awfully long time and were some pretty amazing individuals. Their epoch histories are summed up in the 50-70 page (roughly) book of Genesis. Fifty pages to sum up at least 2600 years. We have a mere glimpse into those years. I think it a little presumptuous to simply lump that period with “the Law of Moses.”

    Just some thoughts.

    fof

  56. February 12, 2009 8:45 pm

    FoF: great to hear from you, may GOD shine HIS face on you and yours

    I’ll start with one of your quotes, and work backwards to your list, or at least parts of it

    We cannot conclude that all covenants and ordinances from the whole Old Testament- not just the Law of Moses- were done away with. What of the higher law and ordinances that existed before Moses?

    I think this is called a “just so” story”…..you would really like there to be stuff that was around and curiously not recorded prior to the age of Jewish record keeping, the recording of the pentatuech…..this is very wishful on your part. POSSIBLE ?? Sure , very possible…..PLAUSIBLE ?? Not to the fair minded observer:

    1)the Jews who were scrupulous about oral tradition somehow lost track of these stories ?? My gosh, they were pretty careful about there history and Gods’ acts with them for centuries….yes I know these were handed down orally, but WHOOSH….they just up and disappear ?? Why would I believe that scenario OTHER THAN it just so happens to bail you guys out on the absence of OT evidence for you alleged OT “restoration” ??

    2)your argument seems to be built on the premise that the Jews prior to Moses were of a more obedient, righteous sort, therefore they had the HIGHER, BETTER version of the covenants, or a different set altogether that THEY could handle, but Moses and friends could not. FOF: have you read (this is rhetorical) the life of ABRAHAM ? Does…”Oh, heck no…..she is NOT my wife……she’s my sister…..” ring any bells ?? I thank GOD DAILY that HE wisely recorded people (Prophets, kings, apostles and all) as they REALLY were, not thru some rose colored Bible-land prism. Trying to make these pre-Levitical folk a better class of believer is one tough sell, given what we know about people and how they DON”T change much thru the years….come to think of it, YOU YOURSELF have commented on that very thing before…..hmmmm

    3)it is REASONABLE , though not irrefutable, to assume that what GOD wanted to tell us about the OT age , HE DID. To have big gaps because of GOD-knows-what makes GOD out to be rather wimpy, in my opinion….isn’t this the most important kind of information in the entire human experience……vanished down some black hole of disobedience and circumstance ??? God couldn’t preserve that information until….almost 4,000 yrs later…..then we’re back in the game ?? and I thought the ev. conception of GOD was hard to defend !!!! Your God comes off as quite the slacker…

    4)Christs’ atonement ended MUCH more than just blood sacrifice, so there are some glaring omissions in this statement….see my earlier post, where I mentioned DIET, SABBATH DAY , CIRCUMCISION, and TEMPLE observance….. Your problem here FoF, is that SEVERAL Old Covenant items are dealt with and given a consistent upgrade, so it’s NOT just a matter of the temple being done away with, it’s the WHOLE SYSTEM upgraded in the person and work of Christ….. to suggest that Christ wanted to drop kick MOST of this system, but hold onto some weird other-than-Jewish form of the temple strains at credulity…..esp. when HE has flat out told us that HE HIMSELF is our temple…..

    this post is swelling up like a bail out clause on a warm Feb. day…….more later

    keep the faith…….once given to ALL the saints heee heee

    GERMIT

  57. faithoffathers permalink
    February 12, 2009 9:47 pm

    germit,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response as always.

    I suppose I am suggesting that what you claim is complete is actually incomplete- that is our view of the ancients- those who preceded Moses. I don’t expect you to accept all that I believe about those people just because there is no record. What I am saying is that a curious person, in my opinion, will look at the fact that almost 3000 years is summed up in a short treatment in Genesis as not exactly exhaustive or complete. And considering that those prophets were some pretty holy guys with extremely close relationships to God (Abraham, Enoch, Adam, etc.) we would likely learn a huge amount if we had their writings, revelations.

    And what of the religion of the patriarchs (pre-Moses). Genesis gives a fairly limited view of their understanding of God and the mission of Christ. Did they simply not know much? This is super hard for me to believe.

    One way we differ is our view of the Bible- no surprise to you. While I do see God’s hand in bringing it forth in recent centuries, I by no means see any reason to believe that everything God has revealed is contained within it- I see this stated nowhere in the scriptures. Or that everything God wants man to know is contained in it. I find this a huge assumption by many- that if the Bible is not absolutely complete, somehow that suggest a failure on the part of God. I find no logic to that conclusion.

    We have both mentioned temples. What of Isaiah’s prophecy “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains……” This prophecy clearly states that something would be established that would be the source of information about God and His ways. What else is to be suggested by these verses? (Isaiah 2:2-3)

    Enjoying the conversation!

    fof

  58. February 12, 2009 10:21 pm

    FoF: some rough thots while I kill the afternoon hours…..this would not have happened back in the days when I was a painter….I’d be “slingin’ it” at this time of day, but that’s a younger man’s game

    there is a BIG difference between “we could learn a lot from Abraham, enoch, and Adam……” and “these guys had some covenants, ordinances, etx. that were NOT revealed to us later in the OT” you have taken a huge leap, my good friend…OF COURSE we could learn a lot from them , and these would be interesting stories of faith and action, BUT it strains my credulity to think that the GOD if Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob gave them something BETTER and HIGHER than what HE revealed through HIS Holy word, and then son-of-a-gun….where did I PUT THAT THING…..OH HEAVENLY MOTHER ……..have you seen the BETTER OLDER COVENANTS ANYWHERE ??? OK. a little over the top…..that’s how I roll… but you get the point: why establish the GOOD stuff , and then KEEP IT A SECRET ?? this makes no sense to me….unless your “obedience theory” is true ……but like I said, THAT doesn’t realllymake sense to me either….what did you think of my rebuttal to that ?? I mean, when we look at the life of Abraham, we see undeniable faith, but we see a LOT of Homer simpson, as well…..kind of like you and me…..eh ???

    the ENTIRE MIND of GOD is certainly not contained in the Bible, and Christians of every group do NOT believe that….and we know that , as my pastor puts it, “GOD is a talker”…..HE is ALWAYS saying something… but the communication in HIS WORD is on more authoritative level, a “plumb line” so to speak. that’s the orthodox position , at least.

    I’ll look at Isaiah 2 tonight, after walking the dog and cleaning up….

    blessings on you and yours

    GERmIT

  59. Anonymous permalink
    February 13, 2009 12:19 am

    FoF: you wrote:

    And what of the religion of the patriarchs (pre-Moses). Genesis gives a fairly limited view of their understanding of God and the mission of Christ. Did they simply not know much? This is super hard for me to believe.

    I think this captures a large area of disagreement between us. I haven’t thought about it much, but as far as the gospel of grace, my short answer would be “No, I don’t think they did know much..” yes, they enjoyed friendship with God the Father, but they did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit either. So, compared with believers from the resurrection on, they were at a disadvantage. Why GOD would put ME in this age, and someone like Joshua in THAT age is beyond me…..I am NOT making a case for my virtue or anything of that sort. God does what HE does….

    My understanding of the LDS position is that Adam had the fullness of the gospel plan…so I think we differ quite a bit on this. This doesn’t seem to fit with Paul and others talking about “the mystery of the gospel NOW revealed…..” that’s a close paraphrase….. if it’s been around since ADAM, how is it NOW revealed…in fact I seem to recall the gospel described as “the mystery which has been hidden in past ages….” how HIDDEN if it’s been with us since ADAM ??

    More on Isaiah 2 as I get it….

    GERMIT

  60. February 13, 2009 12:34 am

    “if the temple had been a big deal, they would have talked about that”

    Pure argument from silence germit. Especially when you are talking to a Mormon who does not accept the Bible as the be-all-end-all final word. I submit that there could just have easily been “big deal” issues that never made it in the text you have today.

    “I am amazed that you can’t see the difference between the two.”

    That’s only because you are so stuck in the Evangelical paradigm So Yo. I find the Evangelical rejection of any ritual continuity between Old and New Testaments to be a seriously gaping theological hole. Just because Jesus came doesn’t mean that all you need to have Church worship is a guy with blue jeans, a guitar, and warm glowing feeling in his heart.

  61. February 13, 2009 1:27 am

    Seth: well, they managed to talk about plenty from the levitical law: diet, circimcision, the priesthood (as in everyone now has it), and the sabbath…..so it’s not like they avoided the topic….it seems more like, now that you know what is and isn’t a big deal,, we move on…..and you are ignoring the references to both Christ AND we as HIS believers being the temple ourselves….that isn’t silence: it’s a simple statement: Christ and HIS people are now the big deal

    your hangup doesn’t seem to be what the Bible says or doesn’t say, your hang up seems to be you purely don’t trust this book as authoritative ……can’t help ya there, bro…..

    GERMIT

  62. February 13, 2009 2:26 am

    Seth: you wrote

    Just because Jesus came doesn’t mean that all you need to have Church worship is a guy with blue jeans, a guitar, and warm glowing feeling in his heart.

    Wow: I actually like this quite a bit, it slipped by me….I think this is pure money, and I’d have to say that a LOT what we ev.s have to “peddle” is not ritualistic enough….but I would not go so far as to say THIS package is the deal, or that one is….the NT just doesn’t say much except that there was a sense of AWE during the worship and breaking of bread….as a religious culture, we ev’s talk more about AWE than produce an environment where AWE is encouraged… this is honestly an area where the E. orthodox and Roman Catholics have it over us….though again , their insistence on one certain style/presentation doesn’t do the NT flexibility justice..

  63. February 13, 2009 2:36 am

    Seth ~ Just because Jesus came doesn’t mean that all you need to have Church worship is a guy with blue jeans, a guitar, and warm glowing feeling in his heart.

    Honestly Seth. As someone who used to lead worship in blue jeans with nothing more than a guitar and a passion for it, I’m rather sad to hear you say that.

  64. February 13, 2009 3:07 am

    Seth,
    I was a Mormon for 29 years and have just begun to see the truth in the Bible that I missed out on as an LDS. I see both sides of the coin very well and sometimes I like that but other times I think it is a hindrance to me seeing things clearly.

    I don’t reject all ritual since I do think baptism and communion are rituals that should be done but those were taught by Christ. I still stick to my statement that if what was done in the temple pointed to what Jesus would do, then once he finished what he came here to do, there is no more need to look forward to it by doing those rituals. That would make the temple obsolete. I’d be interested in hearing what you see are rituals found in the Mormon temples that are also in the Old Testament.

    In regards to what you need to have church worship, I think it is folly to think that it is a religion, church building, congregation or Pastor/Prophet/Apostle that brings you closer to God and salvation. That can be had only through a personal relationship with Christ and you don’t need any of those things to have that.

  65. February 13, 2009 4:13 pm

    Bjack and others: OK , call me Wallace the Waffle Whiffer, but I’m going to waffle a little on the rirual thing….you can blame BJack, why not, because her post reminded me of my earliest born again days when I was goiing to a “real bible believing house church”. we had NO paid clergy, a plurality of leadership (no ladies, sorry BJack) , and LOTS of acoustic guitar with scripture put to music….

    it was AWESOME……and the Spirits’ presence was tangible…you could Taste HIS presence there, like incense in the air…

    So it seems like LOTS of ritual ,, or very little ritual , to ME, may not be the big deal….but a gathering of like minded, in-love-with-Jesus worshippers…..
    Seems like this can and does happen in a variety of settings, with a variety of music, and a variety of packages regarding the “ordinances”.

    thanks BJack for the trip down “Jesus is Just Alright With Me ” lane…… although we were more of a Randy Stonehill, Keith Green, Larry Norman kind of crowd…..maybe a little Amy Grant on the side…..oh, the flashbacks…….

  66. February 13, 2009 6:56 pm

    “your hang up seems to be you purely don’t trust this book as authoritative”

    Not really germit. I do take the Bible as authoritative.

    I just don’t take it as sufficient and comprehensive. There is a difference.

    Jack, if it’s a woman with a guitar, that’s an entirely different matter.

    “if what was done in the temple pointed to what Jesus would do, then once he finished what he came here to do, there is no more need to look forward to it by doing those rituals. That would make the temple obsolete.”

    I don’t think this follows Soy Yo.

    I agree with you that what was done in the temple pointed to Jesus and his mortal ministry.

    But if there was a need for a temple in ancient times to point forward, why is there not still a need for a temple to point backward?

  67. February 13, 2009 7:46 pm

    Seth ~ Jack, if it’s a woman with a guitar, that’s an entirely different matter.

    Sly, Seth. Real sly.

    germit ~ a plurality of leadership (no ladies, sorry BJack)

    Heretic. And honestly you can just call me Jack. Everyone does (except my stubborn relatives).

    In high school we used to take our guitars into the church bathrooms and play and sing there because the echo was awesome; we played a lot of Jars of Clay stuff because it sounds so good acoustic. I’m sure it was the best worship from a bathroom God ever received.

    Obviously I’m a lot different now, I even like dressing up for church. But it worked at the time.

    As for Keith Green, ever read No Compromise? That man was amazing.

  68. February 13, 2009 8:45 pm

    Jack……which fits you since it was C.S. Lewis name of choice…. no I never did, but that would be great life story to catch up with, and especially timely , Keith’s was a strong voice to his generation….the word “prophet” gets thrown around a lot, and most of those who want the label are so lame…and I’m thinking of a zillion examples mentally from the ev.and charasmatic communities, so no hate mail from my LDS friends, puh-leeze…… what I also like about him is that when he was bone headed (pushing the “catholic chronicles”) he realized it and fessed up….that’s a real man of God in my book. the other big biography back then was Elisabeth Elliott’s “through gates of splendor” which told the story of the violent death’s of her husband , JIM, and I think 3 others at the hands of the Auca (sp?) indians in central america…that’s a tough read, but worth it

    jars of clay…huh..?? Oh yeah, “Crazy Times” and “Flood” get full volume , or as much as my 2001 camry can stand……. I tried to get some of my sibs into JOC, but it just didn’t ‘take”…… lately I’ve been shamelessly backsliding (joke) and getting into Crash Test Dummies “God Shuffled His Feet”…..not really worship music, more like social and religious commentary, esp. the title cut

    Seth: I can accept your answer, I just know for me, that brand of “authoritative” would just never work……I’d rather be a beach junkie into modern novels or something than go the “incomplete…kind of tampered with…but really still God’s word…thing” to me that dog don’t hunt…..but that’s just GERmIT

    Happy Val’s day to one and all………by nice to the spouse(s) for the FLDS out there

  69. February 13, 2009 9:59 pm

    Seth: I think the simple answer is
    would you rather have a SOMETHING that points to Jesus (forwards, or backwards)
    OR would you rather have JESUS HIMSELF…..and yes I realize that LDS claim they have Jesus, that’s not my point (here) only that to the orthodox position, what you are offering, a signpost, a billboard, an advert, doesn’t really jazz us because we’d rather have the whole enchilada…….uh-oh….I’m going to make myself hungry here

    your arrangement comes across ,to us, as a humongous downgrade: Jesus says I AM the temple……and you want to give us the sign that points to HIM……does this make sense ??

  70. February 13, 2009 10:36 pm

    This is my own view of it:

    The temple was made in Old Testament times as a place for God’s presence to dwell. I don’t believe the Gift of the Holy Ghost existed in Old Testament times; that was why God spoke to men through prophets. After the ascension, we got the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and now God’s presence can literally dwell within us and God can speak to each one of us, negating the need for a temple as well as prophets.

    That’s why the Paul says we are God’s temple. (1 Cor. 3:16)

    I realize that’s going to be different than the LDS view since we work from different paradigms and don’t accept the same facts about the Holy Ghost, but from a sola scriptura point of view, it works.

  71. February 13, 2009 10:49 pm

    I’d call this a “two-fer”; well said Jack

    and now God’s presence can literally dwell within us and God can speak to each one of us, negating the need for a temple as well as prophets.

    now that our sin has been taken care of (what USED to be the ritualistic sacrifices done in the temple foreshadowing CHRIST) we can meet together as those who know the presence of GOD (the gift of the Holy Spirit) Gathering together for this reason is not a “have to” it becomes a “get to”…..we celebrate what Jack was talking about…. and women who play the guitar….LOL

  72. February 13, 2009 10:52 pm

    lol, “the Paul.” I has typo!

  73. February 13, 2009 11:08 pm

    I guess if you get somebody all healed up with the shadow of your cloak, then you get to be THE PAUL……he’s rolling his eyes on that one…….

  74. February 14, 2009 6:10 am

    germit, how do you “have” Jesus in a way that Mormons don’t?

    This notion of “having” Jesus is one of those extremely fuzzy concepts that seems almost indefinable. Sure, it makes good rhetoric if you’re preaching to the choir. But it doesn’t resonate much to me.

    I feel like I “have” Jesus just as much as any Evangelical. And keep in mind, having the real thing is no excuse to throw out a ritual/symbolic interface with God. Even while Jesus was with his disciples in the flesh, he still spoke in parables rich in symbolism. Why the need for the symbol if you’ve got the real Christ sitting next to you?

    Well, Jesus didn’t seem to share your view and neither do I. I think symbolic and ritual interface with God is a vital and necessary part of true religion.

  75. February 14, 2009 7:18 am

    Seth: good questions and your point about this becoming “fuzzy” and “undefinable” is well taken…it ‘feels’ that way to me as well, but words are all we have, so I’ll give it another shot and pray that GOD has other, more articulate spokespeople blogging it up with you…

    for the OT folks, there access to GOD was through the law observance, the reading of the Torah, and temple…. reg. the temple, there was a middle man, the high priest: he goes inside as a representative. this is kind of “dicey” really, and they tie a rope to his foot, just in case things go wrong (priest’s fault, not GOD”s) and they have to haul the dead body back out !! very confidence producing….no doubt

    Jesus comes with the New Covenant , and the whole deal gets reconfigured, upgraded: NO MORE MIDDLEMAN….now we have Jesus HIMSELF; the earthly temple , as MANDATORY is now obsolete, but there are still gatherings of beleivers who worship together….I recap just to make clear, I’m not throwing out ALL use of the symbolic…and some traditions use this more than others, the RC and E.orthodox come to mind…..I have no prob. with icons as long as you don’t worship the icon itself…. if anything , the ev’s could probably use SOME kind of iconic “jolt” or “infusion” and indeed a lot of the emergent churches are heading back to some kind of catholic looking symbolic helps (candles, organized group prayer, some basic liturgy, etx) again: no prob. with that: BUT STILL, NO PRIEST AS MIDDLE MAN NECESSARY, and in that sense, the LDS IN GENERAL, do not have Jesus…..whether or not YOU as an individual have, or do not have Jesus, of course , is between you and GOD…how would I know ?? but the temple as the requisite place to access GOD, and the HP as the GUY….these don’t fly……

    hope that helped

    GERMIT

  76. February 14, 2009 7:32 am

    it bears repeating about the Holy Spirit…reread Jacks post, the giving of the Holy Spirit cannot be understated….and again, whether or not YOU as an individual have the Holy Spirit, I’m not to judge….but with the indwelling of the H.S., what USED to be done at Temple can now be done DIRECTLY, and without the necessity of the human high priest..this does NOT mean that all meeting together is done away with….and MANY protestants have (foolishly, and unnecessarily) fallen headlong into this ditch. Yes, we meet together for mutual building up of one another, encouragement, worship, and praise….but access to GOD is no longer on the table: that’s been taken care of.

    as a sidenote: I dont’ think there is any way to falsely inflate the importance of the temple, without bringing Jesus down, even if unintentionally…..not saying that this is intended, but when GOD makes something obsolete (Lev. law as the big deal: including mandatory temple) then it’s best to go that way….Jesus doesn’t become center stage when something else is there instead…does this make sense ?????

    this is rough and as coherent as I get at 1:30am…..52 with restless leg syndrome….this earthly temple/the body could use a BIG upgrade….lol

  77. February 14, 2009 1:04 pm

    faithoffathers was quoted:

    “LDS interpretation of these verse [Matthew 16:16-19], in my opinion, is the only one that makes sense and provides the cohesive context for why these concepts are placed together. 1. Spirit of Revelation of Christ 2. Establishment of Church on a foundation 3. Keys of authority. Other interpretations break up these verses into different topics. ”

    When I was an LDS teacher (gospel doctrine, Elder’s quorum and High Priest group), I also taught this progression of the concepts, that each statement builds on the other. However, I have come to realize that each statement is built upon the first. Each one points back to the original question and thesis: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v.16).

    Let’s look at each statement and discover that the antecedent in each case is v.16 not the statement which immediately precedes it

    Statement: “for flesh and blood hath not revealed it” (v. 17)
    Immediate antecedent: “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona”
    Correct Antecedent: The “it” of verse 17 is “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”
    Conclusion: The Spirit of Revelation (as faithoffathers puts it).

    Statement: “upon this rock I will build my church” v. 18

    Immediate antecedent: “That thou art Peter”
    Correct Antecedent: The “this rock” of verse 18 is “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”
    Conclusion: Establishment of Church on a foundation (as faithoffathers puts it) is upon Jesus’ “Christ-ness,” if you will, and not upon Peter the man (or his office as the Catholics would insist).

    Statement: “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (v. 19)

    Immediate antecedent: “gates of hell shall not prevail against it”
    Correct Antecedent: The “keys of the kingdom of heaven” of verse 17 is “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”
    Conclusion: Keys of authority (as faithoffathers puts it) to open and shut the doors of the kingdom based on the testimony of the divinely-given knowledge that Jesus is the “Christ, the Son of the living God” not based on man-made ordinances and ceremonies.

    John MacArthur teaches that binding and loosing (v.19) are about forbidding and permitting entrance based on testimony that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” The keys are authority based on revelation.

    “Then Jesus said, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind [forbid] on earth [shall have been forbidden] in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose [permit] on earth [shall have been permitted] in heaven.’ The apostles’ decisions would reflect the will of God.” (Christ Displays His Glory)

    “In other words, when you say to someone…’You won’t repent, you’re bound in your sin,’heaven is in agreement with that. You’re doing on earth what has been done in heaven, like the disciples’ prayer says. And if you say to someone, ‘You know, I want to tell you, because of your confession of faith in Jesus Christ and your affirmation that He’s your Savior and Lord, your sins are loosed from you, you are forgiven,’ and when you said that you know you’re saying on earth what heaven has already said. So here we are, this great eternal plan is being worked out that God ordained before time began with the Son and heaven is on schedule with it and we get to be the earthly gate keepers who act in harmony with heaven. What a privilege.” (I Will Build My Church)

  78. February 14, 2009 2:27 pm

    DaveyMike: thanks for the great post; I liked the last paragraph the best, that spells it out, for me.

  79. faithoffathers permalink
    February 15, 2009 4:13 am

    DaveyMike,

    Somebody said not long ago that what really separates us is the verses in the Bible that we chose to take literally and those we take symbolically. I think there is some truth to that.

    I appreciate your argument for the conversation between Christ and Peter. What I said in my post above is that the three concepts were related to eachother, not necessarily that each new concept built on the previous concept.

    Ultimately, it appears you are interpreting this statement from Christ figuratively or symbolically. Forgive me, but I disagree.

    You say that the keys Peter received were the knowledge he had of Christ’s divinity. Well, Peter had already received that knowledge from the Father when Christ told him “I will give unto thee the keys….” So, what you are saying doesn’t really make sense. If your definition of the “keys” is correct, Peter already had them when Christ told him that He would give Peter the keys. The keys were clearly not the knowledge he had recevied from the Father, but rather some binding power he would receive from Christ.

    The argument that the sealing power was the power of Peter’s testimony honestly seems wishy washy. It seems like a slight of hand.

    And doesn’t the idea of Peter, a mortal, having the binding power to “permit or forbid entrance” into the kingdom of God go against everything evangelicals have said on this site about not needing an earthly official to come between us and Christ? Was Peter’s authority different from any other believer? If so, what was his additional authority? EVs often criticize LDS doctrine because we believe in such earthly gate-keepers- prophets, and other priesthood officials. Your argument doesn’t stand up to logic and makes EV doctrine appear contradictory.

    And where is the need for such gate-keepers in your theology? What about when there is nobody to say “’You won’t repent, you’re bound in your sin?” Is that situation different. How does that statement from a witness change anything?

    The argument against an earthly church structure with Priesthood and ordinances, etc. is problematic when you consider that:

    1. Christ Himself was baptized
    2. Christ sent Apostles who baptized others
    3. The Gift of the Holy Ghost was bestowed by laying on of hands (by only certain people)
    4. Church officials (Priesthood holders) had hands laid upon their heads before they performed their duties
    5. Christ taught very clearly that baptism was required for salvation
    6. The position of Judas among the apostles was filled after his betrayal and death.
    7. The simple fact that different officers in the church had different titles.
    8. Peter was given Keys to the kingdom of God, with binding power.

    Could go on, but you get the idea. This post is getting too long, so I will stop. But I think your argument on the definition of “keys” doesn’t hold much water in my opinion.

    Thanks for your post.

    fof

  80. February 15, 2009 8:28 pm

    Tad,

    You asked me to respond to your comment about “Roger Williams”. Before answering I asked you to respond to the following question:

    “If someone who is non-LDS dies without ever accepting the Restored Gospel, can they go to the Celestial Kingdom WITHOUT EVER ACCEPTING VICARIOUSLY IN THE SPIRIT WORLD the temple ordinances that will be performed for them after they die?”

    You gave the answer I expected… “No.”

    Thank you for your honesty. So that readers won’t have to go searching back through this lengthy post, I will copy your comments about Roger Williams along with your question…

    “Lets use Roger Williams as an example. Roger Williams was a good and godly man doing the best he could with what he knew. I believe that he earnestly sought after truth and to do Gods will. To the degree that he followed that spirit I believe God is very, very please with him. Roger Williams is not going to somehow get “ripped off” or miss out on something in the eternities just because he lived on the earth at a time when the formal organization of the Church was not present. And so it is with all of Gods children. Roger Williams knew that God lives. He knew of his own fallen nature and of the distance that sin puts between man and God. He knew that he would never be able to bridge the gap on his own. He knew of the inspired word of God he found in the Bible. He had a testimony that Jesus Christ was in fact the Son of God as the scriptures so testify- and that He came to earth in mortality to do for us what we could never do for ourselves- atone for our sins. He knew of the great mercy, love and power of the redeemer. And when convicted of this reality he came unto God with a broken heart and contrite spirit, confessing Christ as Lord and asking God for forgiveness of his sins that he might be made clean through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Through this humble submission to God and his will his heart was transformed and made right with God. Having been cleansed by the atonement of Jesus Christ and made into a new creature- he then strove to follow God the best he could with what he knew, repenting when necessary.

    Is this not what you mean when you use the term the “Good News”?”

    The simple answer to this is that No, this is not the definition of Good News. Many times, perhaps unintentionally, Mormons can be a little misleading by their comments. You will often hear them say, much as you did, something to the effect of “We believe all Christians can/will go to Heaven.” or “You don’t have to be a member of the Mormon Church to get to Heaven”. Without defining this further it may appear that all Mormons believe one needs to get to Heaven is to know and follow Christ. This is simply NOT TRUE.

    Depending on the Mormon you tallk to you may not be talking about the same thing when you say Heaven… is it the Celestial Kingdom only? Or do you mean the Terrestrial or Telestial as well? Simply put, to a Christian Heaven is life with God the Father or, under your terminology, ONLY THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM… anything less is NOT “Good News” because NOTHING ELSE EXISTS. This is one of those times when a Mormon and a Christian need to define the terms they are using before talking. Otherwise, a Christian may walk away thinking the Mormon is just like any other Protestant Christian in that they believe all Christians will get to Heaven… when they DON’T. Under your scenario, even according to your theology, Roger will have to become a Mormon in the Spirit World in order to go to Heaven… BECAUSE ONLY THOSE WHO BECOME MORMONS WILL BE IN HEAVEN.

    Darrell

  81. February 15, 2009 8:54 pm

    FOF,

    Listed below are some of your points and my comments..

    1. Christ Himself was baptized – This has absolutely nothing to do with “Keys” and in no way supports or validates the Mormon view of “Keys”. I am not sure what you are getting at.

    2. Christ sent Apostles who baptized others – Same as above

    3. The Gift of the Holy Ghost was bestowed by laying on of hands (by only certain people) – And many people received it without the laying on of hands… please explain that. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Holy Ghost can ONLY be received by the laying on of hands by one in authority… you are reading something into the Scriptures that does not exist.

    4. Church officials (Priesthood holders) had hands laid upon their heads before they performed their duties – No, they did not always have this done. Please show me the specific verses which say that this is required. Paul did not even met Peter or any of the other apostles for three years. In addition, in their first meeting he called Peter (the PROPHET according to you) to the carpet… kind of goes against your idea of authority. You need to supply verses to support your assertion that this is somehow a requirement.

    5. Christ taught very clearly that baptism was required for salvation – No, he did not. Please show me specific verses where he taught this as required. And, please don’t bring up the conversation with Nicodemus… the Mormon reading on that is not supported by the context.

    6. The position of Judas among the apostles was filled after his betrayal and death. – yes… I am not sure of your point here. Are you implying that this one time means there had to be an endless succession? That is not taught in the Bible. Again, you are reading something into the Scriptures that does not exist. Please show me the specific verses that teach an endless succession. You won’t find them because the Bible teaches very clearly that IT IS A REQUIREMENT that an Apostle has PERSONALLY WITNESSED Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry. Therefore, there cannot be an endless succession.

    7. The simple fact that different officers in the church had different titles. – This in no way validates the Mormon position on Keys. I am not sure what you are implying.

    8. Peter was given Keys to the kingdom of God, with binding power. – No, Peter was not given the power to bind anything. I will repost what I said earlier…

    “Another comment to this about the binding… the correct translation of what Christ said is this:

    “whatever you bind on earth HAVE BEEN bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth HAVE BEEN loosed in heaven.”

    Christ was not saying that whatever Peter does will also be DONE in Heaven. Christ was saying that whatever we do on earth HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE/DETERMINED in Heaven. Big difference…God has already determined it… it is part of God’s soverign will and foreknowledge. We simply affirm God’s soverign will when we express faith in Him. In other words, God already knows who is going to express faith and come to Him. Our ulitimate destiny is already mapped out by God…I know the arminians who read this willl likely not like this position… sorry. When we express faith in Christ we are expressing something that has already been determined by God and as a result are we are bound to Him… our destiny is assured.”

    When you read the verse correctly it goes completely counter to what the Mormon Church teaches. Peter was not given the power to do anything. We are simply given the ability to affirm what has already been determined by God.

    Darrell

  82. February 15, 2009 11:05 pm

    FoF: I’ll throw in a “loose thought” , in a LIMITED way, I agree with you that apostleship and the keys are connected….the entry into the Kingdom will hinge on people knowing who Jesus really is. Remember the BIG question that starts the chapter off??? “Who do people say that I am ??” this is the big deal, get this wrong and there will be no entry into the Kingdom…..we MIGHT agree on this point….. the APOSTLES would be those who would proclaim the message of the gospel with a special kind of authority, NOT because their revelation was of a superior quality, think of the experiences of Steven and Philip….these are not lesser experiences… but the APOSTOLIC authority , as Darrell noted was having been WITH the physical Jesus, and therefore able to be solid witnesses to the good news. Yes, they were also men of faith and character, but the GOSPEL itself, as buttressed by these witnesses, and others, would be the entry point into the KINGDOM.

    Notice that in Matt. 18, this “binding and loosening” is applied to “two or three together” and this came to be understood to apply to believers IN GENERAL: so the authority, delegated by Jesus, radiates out from the person of Jesus HIMSELF and the true knowledge of who HE really is.

    NONE of this is built ,primarily ,on any church office or position. Yes, APOSTLES play a key role in seeing the gospel get started, but as they die out, the knowledge of who Jesus is becomes more and more connected to the written accounts (logically) and so the “keys” really are accessible to ALL believers who can see anyone brought in with a faithful re-telling of that account, often attested to by some kind of work by the Holy Spirit , whether that’s internal/mental/spiritual or external: healing, words of knowledge, supernatural sign, etx.

    this is Matt 18:20 from Kenneth Wuest expanded translation
    for where there are two or three who have been joined together into MY name with the result THAT I AM THE COMMON OBJECT OF THEIR FAITH , there I am in their midst. I’m convinced that all the authority questions are tied up in this: a delegated authority born of faith in Jesus the Messiah King, an acceptance of who HE really is.

  83. faithoffathers permalink
    February 17, 2009 4:37 pm

    Darrell,

    Thanks for the response. The list I posted wasn’t necessarily all related to “keys.” Rather general evidences that there was an actual organization and order that Christ created. So, in answer to your answers:

    1. Christ was baptized for a reason. What was that reason? He didn’t have sins to be cleansed from. He was baptized to show others the way- the way He wanted them to follow. He went to John the Baptist who held the Aaronic Priesthood- there was a reason for it and there was order.

    2. Christ “chose” apostles and ordained them. He sent them after instructing them. They did not choose themselves or ordain themselves. This again shows order originating from Christ. What does it mean to ordain?

    3. Laying on of hands- how about “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” 2 Timothy 1:6. What gift was this? This is clear that this gift was bestowed by the laying on of Paul’s hands. If it wasn’t the gift of the Holy Ghost, the other possibility is the Priesthood, but I doubt you will go along with that.

    Also: “Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost.” Hebrews 6: 2-4

    4. Authority bestowed by laying on of hands:
    “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Acts 13:2-3

    ” And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” Acts 6:5-6

    “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” 1 Timothy 4:14

    5. Christ taught baptism required:
    “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15-16

    6. Judas being replaced: Why was he replaced? And where does the Bible say it is a requirement that an Apostle “has PERSONALLY WITNESSED Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry?” Acts 1:22 doesn’t say this, by the way.

    Why did Christ say he would give Peter the “keys” if it had no significance? That is essentially what you are saying. He clearly said (after Peter already knew from God that Christ was God’s son) that He would give Peter the “keys” and binding power. Your argument comes nowhere near adequately explaining this.

    Other scriptures that apply:

    “Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation.” Luke 11:49

    And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits.” Mark 6:7

    Christ Himself is likening apostles to prophets, or placing in them in the same category. Why, if the apostles were so different from the prophets? Also, what was that power He gave the apostles over unclean spirits?

    fof

  84. February 17, 2009 8:21 pm

    FoF: hope Darrell doesn’t mind the company….please remember these are GERMIT’s ramblings, and if you only have time to respond to ONE, make it Darrell…he was here first….

    1. Baptism: really there’s not much I can tell you that you haven’t already heard, there is a difference (to the ev. christians , at least) between something being a commandment,and something being necesary for salvation ; this point ends up being a LOT like the faith/works line of thought: we see baptism as something that saved people gladly do, as a public proclamation of their entering into the community of faith. So we BOTH recognize the commandment aspect to it, that is a non-issue: we will allow the thief on the cross into heaven, with or without baptism (and as I recall, you and I differ as to what “PARADISE” is all about, I recognize that)

    2. Yes, we agree that Jesus chose and sent out the apostles, HIMSELF in person (PAUL gets a visitation from the risen CHRIST, so Paul ALSO qualifies as someone who has BEEN WITH the physical Christ. So: how many of your apostles HAVE BEEN WITH THE PHYSICAL RISEN CHRIST ?? Build a solid case for this and I might be interested in admitting their authentic apostleship. Note that Judas replacement was picked by lot, a neat way of letting GOD Himself do the choosing, so no one could say “he was Peter’s favorite…” or “james’ favorite….” etx. this process , then, was NOT one man picking another, but GOD Himself doing it.

    3.and 4. Yes , there are times that the Holy Spirit is specifically linked with the laying on of hands; are you saying that the NT shows that this is 1)normative 2)necessary whenever the Holy Spirit is in operation 3) needed to show the establishment of a leader
    If you want to make any or all these points: the mike is open…….
    you might want to remember that what GOD does ONCE or occaisionally , is not the same as a directive to do it every time, necessarily

    5. interesting that when it came to the “damned” part , Jesus did NOT say “he that is not baptised , is damned” HE said “he that BELIEVETH NOT is damned”…… this might seem like quibbling to you….again, the ev. position does NOT make light of baptism, but commanded, and salvific are two different things (to us)

    6.let me do some leg work on apostleship conected to seeing or being with the LORD Himself…..

    7. the “keys” : I think I made some brilliant never-before-thought-of points in my previous posts, soon to be a TV mini-series…….I’m trying to get Jim Cavezel to play my character, but only if the beard is right…….

    8. I think your linking apostles and prophets a little curious….let me think on that one awhile…..

    thanks for the bandwidth, and letting me work off lunch…..

    GERMIT

  85. inhimdependent_lds permalink
    February 18, 2009 1:53 pm

    Hello again Darrell,

    I have read your most recent post to me. Here are some of my thoughts on it.

    The first thing I said to myself after reading your post is….. this is exactly why we need a relational approach and not an “apologetic” approach to our dialogues if we ever hope to move beyond the surface in our discussions.

    I see in your comments a careful tip-toeing through the minefield of “apologetic” discourse on the issue. A selective and thoughtful manipulation of the necessary conceptual constructs needed to prop the “argument” up- as you understand it. But, after all is said and done a sense remains that what we are ultimately left with is just an “argument” or “conceptual construct” and not truth or real understanding. I am confident that if I chose to rebut in the same manor with my own “argument” that you would get the same sense about my answer that I do of yours.

    How do evangelical and LDS Christians move beyond such isolationistic rhetoric into more substantive relational dialogue and understanding?

    However, in this case this dilemma does not have to be fully resolved in order to better address the issue in question. The “apologetic” or “definitional” approach can all be pushed to the side in this case.

    That is because when it comes to the “good news” as experienced by Roger Williams (or anyone else) it is much less about articulating or maintaining precise definitional conceptual and philosophical constructs- or any sort of apologetic “argument”- and more about a matter of the heart.

    Here is what I mean by this….

    I am a big fan of the very wise and spiritually mature protestant leader Billy Graham. Some have called him the greatest evangelist of all time as im sure you are aware. In all my times of hearing him preach the “good news” though- (mostly at crusades I think)- I cannot recall him ever hashing out all the fine theological distinctions necessary for an exact understanding of “heaven” (as you have claimed necessary) as a pre curser to coming unto Christ.

    When I hear him speak I dont see him sorting out everyone’s “different Jesus” dividing all the good ones from the bad ones. On the contrary his very strength- the strength of his message lies in the fact that his message is so simple- so basic and generic even. Simple fundamental gospel principles- God lives, God loves you, God has a plan for you, awareness of our sin, realization of our separation from God, knowledge of His redemptive plan, knowledge of the Savior, knowledge that Jesus is Gods son, that He is the way, faith in Him, admission of sin, confession and repentance, submittal and surrender of ones will, accepting Jesus as Lord of your life, being make into a new creature in Christ. (These are all principles of which we as LDS Christians readily embrace and are at the very core of the way LDS see things.)

    Each of us can look at these principles in an “apologetic” way if we choose to do so.

    However, in practice though- in my opinion this simple message is less a matter of theology, doctrine or apologetics- but much more a matter of the heart- and I personally believe that is what God is more interested in. He is ultimately more interested in the direction of our hearts than he is with our specific “definitions” and argumentation. He is much more interested in our “broken heart and contrite spirit” than whether or not we have all our fine points of theology worked out over the proper way to understand “heaven” or Jesus or anything else. He is more concerned over our “broken heart and contrite spirits”- than he is with all the “different Jesus” out there- the different ways we each understand Him or other details of the eternities. This is the heart of the “good news” as evangelicals understand it- out of which all else flows out of. This is also at the very center and heart of the LDS paradigm.

    Gods Spirit and testimony of Jesus and the light of Gods plan can penetrate ALL our apologetics, arguments and all our “different Jesus’”.

    People do not have to have all of their doctrine crystallized before they can have their hearts pointed in the right direction- or grasp the “good news”.

    The direction of our heart trumps all argumentation, debate and even theology.

    Consider this quote from Billy Graham himself.

    “The Body of Christ comes from all Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups. I think everybody who loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they are members of the Body of Christ Thats what God is doing today: He is calling people out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world or the Buddhist world or the Christian world or the nonbelieveing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they have been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their heart that they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved and that they are going to be with us in heaven.

    -Billy Graham

    “Context”, November 1, 1997, pg. 4 (this is actually part of a transcript of Robert Schullers “Hour of Power” June 1, 1997 reprinted in “Context”)
    —-

    Notice the overwhelming love just oozing out of Billy Graham in this statement. A quality chillingly absent from some critics of the LDS church.

    One may argue that Billy Graham does in fact personally hold very specific views in regard to his theology and “heaven” and the eternities etc.- that may very well be true. But for our purposes here it should be clear from this statement that he believes the being Jesus Christ to be bigger and more powerful than the details of his own conceptual construct of Him- for he certainly does not feel the need to impose them on his listeners or insist that they are a necessary pre-requisite to “come unto Christ”. I have never heard him go to great lengths to sort out all the “definitions of heaven” or the “different Jesus” people may conceive. Rather he preaches the one physical Jesus with confidence and faith that Gods Spirit can penetrate all of our different ways of understanding these other things.

    This is the “good news” as evangelicals understand it Darrell. I know you know it is.

    Also, I would point out that the way Billy Graham has chosen to express it in this quote is very much in alignment with the way we as LDS see thing. In other words- this is good LDS thinking!!- even though most evangelicals will not recognize it (or at least admit it is there) within the LDS understanding of things

    It should also be stated that in my opinion- in the statement above- Billy Graham is NOT saying that all the different ways to understand heaven or Jesus etc. are unimportant- he may personally very well feel some are better than others (i sure do)- but I believe he feels that they are subordinate to the direction that our hearts are pointing in. The conceptual or definitional understanding is subordinate to the overriding power of God and the person of Jesus Christ- because what this is really about is our hearts.

    His statement will even allow that those who are not even professing Christians are in a way coming unto Christ if they are moving toward the best of what light they have. This is again beautiful LDS thinking!!!!

    How many here would have would have dug into this quote with their “apologetic” razors, slicing it to pieces with all manor of argumentation, had I claimed that it was a quote by Joseph Smith, or other LDS leader, and not Billy Graham? How quickly many here would be to claim that such a quote is “wrong” or not “Biblical- so quick to criticize and undermine some would be.

    However, because this quote is by Billy Graham maybe some evangelicals here can give pause, take a deep breath and think for a moment. Maybe they can be open to the reality that even within their own traditions there are trains of thought that allow God to operate in the lives of people that are bigger, better and more powerful than the tiny box they insist He is limited to. Is there not more common ground here that we should be joined together on rather than such contending?

    Evangelicals who spend their time and energies contending against LDS Christians need to pause and ask themselves if what they are doing is really the best use of their time in the eyes of the Lord. Is contending against other people who are earnestly and sincerely striving to emulate and follow Jesus Christ where He would have them invest their efforts?- especially when there are so many other clear evils in this world?

    In my opinion many people who get caught up in “apologetics” or “debate” or flirt with the spirit of contention often end up losing touch with the sweet spirit we find expressed in the quote by Billy Graham. They lose touch with the great good and love of God and the Savior and His capacity to reach out and heal ALL those who come to him with a broken heart and contrite spirit.

    Evangelicals need to open themselves to the possibility that God is in fact big enough and good enough to touch the lives and hearts of others in ways that are outside of the tiny little box some evangelicals think God must operate out of.

    Darrell, you made the claim that sometimes LDS can be misleading in their comments. I disagree with that take on it but in case it comes across like that now let me let me make it crystal clear now. Everything expressed in the “good news” as expressed in both the Roger Williams example and in the quote by Billy Graham is already present and swallowed up in the greater good of the expanded LDS paradigm. We as LDS Christians most certainly have the “good news”. We just also have more.

    If evangelicals want to claim that LDS having “more” than the “good news” is a problem for them, or that that somehow makes LDS “wrong” or not in alignment with the Bible I can more easily understand that concern than I can the constant self imposed blindness or denial of the truths we do in fact hold and believe.

    Some evangelical Christians are often very leery of admitting or confessing to others the very real and true things they know LDS Christians actually embrace and adhere to as truth and fundamental about the savior and what it means to come unto him. But this reality has less to do with the truth of the LDS position and more to do with evangelical concern for the rest of the “flock” and what I would describe as “border patrol”. They are very self-conscious about giving the “wrong impression”. A natural consequence of this and how it is perceived by LDS should be self-evident. Fortunately, we are seeing the state of this situation change some recently between the two communities. This is a good thing and something we should all hope to see continue.

    —-
    There is much more I would like to say on the issue. I have been out of town and these are the thoughts I can get down at the moment.

    My offer still stands if you (or anyone else) would like to discuss these issues, or any others, on the phone I am always open for that.

    In Christ,

    -Tad

  86. February 18, 2009 2:06 pm

    FoF: the LDS appoach to how the Holy Spirity is administered is kind of odd, note the following

    Titus 3: 4-7 But when the kindness of GOD our Savior and HIS love for manking appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to HIS mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom HE poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by HIS grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    there are many such areas in the NT where the giving of the HS is mentioned and NOTHING about the “laying on of hands”….so why would we assume that in order to have the Holy Spirit, there MUST be this action taken ? It makes more sense to me that, yes, at times the Holy Spirit came after prayer and the laying on of hands. Why make this normative ??

    As to authority; what do you do with Matt 28:18,19 ?? Who is to “make disciples of all the nations, etc…” Isn’t this commandment for ALL of Christ’s followers ?? If that’s the case, don’t we ALL get the delegated authority specifically emphasized in v.18 ?? Notice v.20: …and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” connect this to Matt 18:20 ” for where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”

    It sounds to ME like the big deal with authority is the CONTINUED PRESENCE of Jesus, through the HOLY SPIRIT….shout out to Jack, for a reference to this in an earlier post…. BOTH Matt 18 and Matt 28 make no big deal of prists, prophets, or postitions…..but a very big deal about Jesus staying with us ALWAYS….. why would I want some other authority ??

  87. February 18, 2009 3:36 pm

    I’d endorse Inhimdependent’s remarks. It’s a better response than I would have given (being somewhat contentious myself).

    I will say that I never fully understood why some aren’t willing to advocate for change and progress WITHIN the LDS paradigm. Why is the only possible solution for many Evangelicals – to get the person OUT of the LDS Church entirely.

    It’s as if many Evangelicals believe that correct thought or progress can never occur within a person until that person is out of the LDS Church. As if merely being a member of the LDS faith is a crime that negates any other good that person does.

    There’s a quote from the famous Civil War general Stonewall Jackson when his rebel troops where admiring the bravery of the Union charge.

    “I don’t want them brave. I want them dead.”

    I see a similar attitude towards Mormonism with Evangelicals. They don’t want it improved. They don’t want it correct. They don’t want it admirable.

    They want it wiped out. Annihilated. Meaning the religion of course – not the people.

    I think this is why I see such a violent and venomous reaction from certain Evangelical quarters whenever a Mormon shows signs of being more like them, or more admirable, or improving on what his or her Mormon forebears have done.

    Whenever a Mormon writer advocates a focus on grace for example, you can almost hear the panicked Evangelical rush to isolate this “rogue Mormon” and make him irrelevant within the Mormon movement. He must be called a liar. Or he must be shown to be in conflict with Mormonism in such a way that he cannot possibly co-exist with it.

    Like Stonewall Jackson, many Evangelicals do not want Mormonism improved. They want it wiped out. Any move that makes Mormonism less of a target of criticism for them is met with outrage. It’s almost as if many Evangelicals WANT us to be as kooky as possible – and therefore an easier target.

    Ironically, some of the biggest advocates for a purely works-centered theology in the LDS Church, are our Evangelical critics. Collectively, the counter-cult community does a far better job of discouraging reliance on grace in the LDS Church than any Mormon ever could.

    Really, just step back a moment and think about it.

    This is “advocating” for Jesus? What kind of a witness for Christ’s “good news” goes around encouraging people to reject grace and embrace works?

    Which is exactly what many Evangelicals are doing. Any time a Mormon on the internet starts to embrace grace, there’s a mad Evangelical rush to make sure that the Mormon in question understands that the toll for accepting Jesus is higher than he can pay.

    It’s like “Mr. Glass” in the movie Unbreakable who lives so out of touch with reality that he devotes his life to CREATING his own arch-nemesis. Someone to finally give his own strange existence meaning.

    Don’t think I’m trying to be superior here. I’m as guilty of “boundary patrol” as anybody. It’s just I wonder why we cannot simply enjoy improvements in each other for what they are, rather than seeing them as threats to our turf.

  88. February 18, 2009 4:50 pm

    Seth: excellent, thought provoking post. You wrote:

    Don’t think I’m trying to be superior here. I’m as guilty of “boundary patrol” as anybody. It’s just I wonder why we cannot simply enjoy improvements in each other for what they are, rather than seeing them as threats to our turf.

    If you want to see an EXCELLENT, in my opinion, example of this , the internetmonk, Michael Spencer, has the “Liturgical Gangstas” on stage this week: a group of six different voices anwering the question from their diverse traditions. This weeks question has to do with the strenghs and weaknesses of their respective groups, and what they could learn from each other. The commenters over there are very diverse as well, and are as “meaty” as the article. Here comes the BIG BUT:

    I applaud that, and the i-monk is a daily read for me, but ALL these folks have the same gospel: RC, eastern orthodox, baptist,,,,,yada yada….. I am fully aware that it is problematic when the idea of a “false gospel” is raised, but to NOT raise it, for ANYBODY, is to make nonsense of the NT, where false prophets, and false teachings are given the sternest of warnings….of course none of the applies to you and the LDS….but do these scriptural imperatives mean anything to you ?? How do you walk them out ?? What does a modern day application of Jesus and the pharisees and sadducees look like to you…..tho I’m hestiant to use the reference because EVERYBODY is ready to “make the whip” and start flogging indescriminately….for lots of folks, you’ve probably met a few, it’s like “flog first…..ask questons later…” not the greatest “Jesus shaped spirituality” we’d both agree.

    I spen zero, zip, nada time nit-picking the MANY other traditions that fall under the orthodox umbrella, and there are LOTS of different folks under there….some of them reek…..sometimes it ‘s ME that reeks…..but there you go….that’s family for ya….your GOSPEL, not your kind behaviors, which are many, puts you outside the umbrella….I did’nt think that up, or at least that’s my claim….if I”D made a religion, it would have looked and smelled a lot more west-meets-east buddhism, a little this a little that…..lots of flowers….probably lots of women…. but I never got around to starting my own deal…

    I deeply appreciate your points and questions about representing Jesus, and that is something I think about a LOT, and question myself… but from where I sit, apologetics and charity and insistence on civility CAN go together, even if the “divide” between groups remains of canyonesque proportions.

    Grace and Peace to you and yours.
    GERMIT

  89. February 18, 2009 4:55 pm

    One correction: I probably DO nit-pick an orthodox tradition from time to time: ;MY OWN: the Ev’s….though my hope is that it’s not nit-picking….I can be just as up front and all up in your grill with my own homies…though it’s not in the context of saved/not-saved (usually) but matters of applying the Word to our culture and the church itself. And we (the Ev’s ) can be, and often are, the Homer Simpsons of the orthodox world…again, vist the i-monk (himself a ‘cranky’ ev.) and you’ll get a taste of what I mean.

  90. faithoffathers permalink
    February 18, 2009 5:17 pm

    Germit,

    If the Apostles had authority simply because they had witnessed Christ’s ministry, why were not others who also witnessed His ministry called to be Apostles? What made them different? Why not women?

    As far as the Holy Ghost being poured out, such a statement could readily be made in an LDS meeting and make perfect sense. Not every time a principle or truth is mentioned does the complete background of that principle have to be articulated. Sometimes in the New Testament when the gift of the Holy Ghost is mentioned, it also mentions the laying on of hands preceding the gift. Others, it does not. To me, the New Testament letters to the saints were letters of encouragement, instruction, correction. They didn’t necessarily have to repeat every detail of the doctrines alluded to and mentioned. The same is true in the Book of Mormon. Within a community of believers who have a common doctrinal foundation, communication between members often assumes an understanding of that foundation. But as I think you see it differently as it relates to the NT, I then ask- what was the laying on of hands all about? Why did Christ and His Apostles do such a thing if there were not some real meaning or requirement? Why would they do it sometimes and not others?

    As far as Christ’s statement that “whosoever believeth not shall be damned,” I think it is a reasonable assumption that somebody who does not believe is not going to be baptized. Would you agree?

    Also regarding the “keys”- as I mentioned to DaveyMike, Christ’s statment came AFTER Peter had made his statment “Thou art the Christ.” So it doesn’t make sense for the keys to be Peter’s testimony.

    Not sure of your point in Matt 28. I am referring to the KJV. Are you using another? Christ says essentially “All power is given to Me from heaven. I send you out to teach all nations, baptizing, etc.”

    Matt 18: 17 “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
    Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    He of course is talking about a “brother” who trespasses and how to handle him. Ultimately, if he does not “hear” the church, or submit to church authority/doctrine/etc. he is no longer counted as a member- he is basically excommunicated. Again- this is something that would involve Priesthood authority in nullifying priesthood ordinances previously performed- binding on earth and having that have effect in heaven.

    I think this is the more likely reference for “binding in heaven” from these verses.

    Having the Holy Ghost with us is indeed a huge deal. But my position is that it is bestowed by those who hold Christ’s delegated authority- the Priesthood.

    P.S. Jim Cavezel portrays Jesus better than anybody else I have seen!

    fof

  91. February 18, 2009 5:45 pm

    Seth ~ I will say that I never fully understood why some aren’t willing to advocate for change and progress WITHIN the LDS paradigm. Why is the only possible solution for many Evangelicals – to get the person OUT of the LDS Church entirely.

    It’s as if many Evangelicals believe that correct thought or progress can never occur within a person until that person is out of the LDS Church. As if merely being a member of the LDS faith is a crime that negates any other good that person does.

    I’d like to see evangelicals change on this as well. It’s why I don’t advocate that converting people out of the LDS church is necessarily the best solution; I’d rather see the church reform from within. And why I don’t attack Mormons as dishonest for accepting the more grace-based soteriologies of folks like Robinson and Millet, or for changing the temple ceremony back in 1990. In my book that’s all positive movement and positive change. And if the prophet of the church wants to say that he doesn’t know that the church teaches God the Father was once a man, good for him.

    In fact, I’m even willing to grant that there are people whom God wants in the LDS church at least for right now. I know, I know, heresy, right?

    What would really make me happy is to see the LDS church have a Vatican II moment and accept the baptisms and Holy Ghost experiences of non-LDS Christians. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, but I’m sure that once upon a time, it didn’t look like the Catholic church would change their minds on baptism, either.

    In the meantime I’m willing to convert Mormons if the opportunity arises, and I rather doubt there are any Mormons out there who wouldn’t convert evangelicals if they saw an opening. But I don’t approach every Latter-day Saint I meet with the attitude of “I need to get this person out of the church, stat.” I’d rather wait and let God tell me what the best thing to do is.

    It’s like “Mr. Glass” in the movie Unbreakable who lives so out of touch with reality that he devotes his life to CREATING his own arch-nemesis. Someone to finally give his own strange existence meaning.

    That happens to be my husband’s favorite movie.

  92. February 18, 2009 5:58 pm

    FoF; just a thot or two before lunch….as usual, thanks for the posts and the courteous back and forth

    Also regarding the “keys”- as I mentioned to DaveyMike, Christ’s statment came AFTER Peter had made his statment “Thou art the Christ.” So it doesn’t make sense for the keys to be Peter’s testimony.

    Yes, after, IMMEDIATELY after….isn’t that important?? How can you not connect the two when they are quite literally “cheek by jowl” in the verses.. Jesus doen’s wait a day or two, HE”S all over Peter’s reply…. that’s how it reads to me. Also: this confession fits neatly in with Matt 18 and that reference to binding and loosening because it is the confesion of that group of two or three (gathered together in MY NAME) that produces the authority, not any (seemingly) church position, or priestly power. “Priest” is not even mentioned in Matt.18 and yet the power is there….how do these two (Matt 16 and Matt 18 not fit ??)

    Not sure of your point in Matt 28. I am referring to the KJV. Are you using another? Christ says essentially “All power is given to Me from heaven. I send you out to teach all nations, baptizing, etc.”

    My quote is from the New American Standard: my point , once again, is that the AUTHORITY clearlly delegated by the LORD is linked to being commisioned by the LORD through believing in HIM….again, no particular position, role, or Priestly blessing is referenced , FOLLOWERS/DISCIPLES of Jesus, are making NEW DISCIPLES….using the delegated POWER and AUTHORITY of Jesus….across the board.

    AS to “why the apostles” I’d say the quick answer is, as you have wisely noted, SOME kind of structure and hierarchy is needed, people being people, and also to maintain and preserve the purity of the message, the good news. There WAS and IS some need for administsration, the apostles and elders live this out: the “witness of the LORD” function of the apostles dies out as the gospel goes forward and the NT is written, the function of the elders continues, people still need some oversight. God keeps the hierarchy, and the delegated authority, to a minimum, UNTIL the Romans make the new group the state religion….what WAS a good thing (apostleship) is about to get weird….

    more later.

    enjoy the posts. GERMIT

  93. February 18, 2009 5:59 pm

    FOF,

    Thanks for replying to my post. I think most of what we are discussing in our different points really boils down to the issue of authority. The LDS Church asserts that Peter was given special authority or “power” of the Priesthood by Christ and that this authority is now by the Mormon Church. Unfortunately, nothing that Peter himself ever says about the Priesthood agrees with this. He, in fact, teaches something VERY DIFFERENT about Priesthood in his own letters. He teaches that EVERY BELIEVER (male and female) is a member of the Priesthood. Why the disagreement? If Peter was given a special power in the form of The Priesthood why is this NEVER discussed in the New Testament? If this was such a profound doctrine and so important why is it never brought up? Why is it never brought up in the BOM even? Why was it not until JS – 1800 years later – that this doctrine was clarified? This makes no sense.

    Peter taught clearly that EVERY BELIEVER is a member of the Priesthood. The keys that were given to Peter were not meant for him alone. They are available to EVERY BELIEVER through faith in Jesus Christ… this is what Paul taught in Romans 5:2 when he told us what gives us access to Heaven (the key) is faith. In addition, this is exactly what PETER HIMSELF teaches in his own letters. I am quite sure that if Peter held a special power that was only given to him he would have mentioned it somewhere in his letters and would not have freely said that EVERY BELIEVER holds this Priesthood Power… logically this make zero sense.

    As for the idea that baptism is required for entrance to Heaven… none of the verses you cited say this. They all teach that baptism is wonderful ordinance that displays outwardly something that has already occurred inwardly… and I agree with this. I believe that it is something that every believer should do once they accept Christ… however, it is not something that HAS TO BE DONE or you will not get into Heaven. I did a post last night over on my blog about this…. I do find it interesting to discuss because there is no Biblical support for bapstism being a mandate for entrance to heaven. In addition, I can find no Biblical support for the idea that baptism can only be performed by those holding a special “priesthood” authority. Where is that in the Bible? Surely Peter would have mentioned this at some point.

    Darrell

  94. February 18, 2009 6:29 pm

    Tad,

    Thanks for your post… I will see if I can address a few things before lunch ends. This afternoon is going to be crazy for me!!

    I fully agree that coming to Christ is a matter of the heart. God is bigger than any organization of man and is working all across His wonderful world to bring people to Him. People can come to Him and be saved and guaranteed entrance into Heaven simply by calling on His name and turning their hearts to Him. Coming to Him has zero to do with joining any particular church or manmade institution… I am in 100% agreement on this point.

    However, this is NOT the ulitmate position of the LDS Church. Yes, they will say that God is working through other religions and institutions to bring people to Him… but, do they believe that people can ulitmately reach Him and be guanteed a spot in Heaven simply by calling on Christ? Be honest now… do they teach this? NO!! The only way to get to Heaven (the Celestial Kingdom) is by receiving the ordinances of the LDS Church either in this life or the spirit world. To them, God is working through other religions TO PREPARE THEM TO RECEIVE THE FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL AND JOIN THE MORMON CHURCH. This is NOT an apologetic argument… I am simply stating the truth. If the LDS Church really believes that the good news is simply coming to Christ, why do you try and convert EVERYBODY… even Christians who have a relationship with Christ… to your church? Becuase you believe that they CANNOT get into Heaven WITHOUT THE POWER AND AUTHORITY YOU HOLD.

    I am not saying this to be argumentative or to be disagreeable… I am simply saying it to be truthful. Many times when Mormons talk to those who do not really understand them they will lead people to believe that they think just like any other “Christian Denomination” when they don’t. The Missionaries are great at saying “We believe just like you do… we just believe a little more”. The “little more” is the DIFFERENCE. You don’t believe a person is going to Heaven without the Mormon Church… period!

    The Baptists (which I am one of) don’t think the Methodists need to become Baptist to get into Heaven (of course there are your kooks out there that think this.. but there are kooks in any religion!!). The Presbyterians don’t think the Baptists are going to hell… the Baptists don’t think the Lutherans are going to hell. Our preacher does a GREAT JOB of demonstrating this when we have the Lord’s Supper. He always makes it a point of telling everyone who is present that if they are a believer in Christ they can take the Lord’s Supper… no matter WHAT church they are member of. He says “This is not the Baptist table of Cornerstone’s table… this is the Lord’s table and any believer in Him, no matter what denomination (Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, etc) you are, is free to partake.” I attended a Methodist church a couple of weeks ago to teach a special Sunday School class… I attend a BAPTIST CHURCH but was asked to come and teach Sunday School at a Methodist Church… why? Because they know I am a believer in Christ and that we are members of the same faith… would the LDS Church EVER ask someone who is a member of the Baptist Church to come and teach a Sunday School Lesson? Guess what, while I was there they were serving the Lord’s Supper… and guess what, the minister said almost verbatim the same thing my Pastor says … “This is not the Methodist table, this is the Lord’s table and all believers, no matter what church you attend, are free to partake.” And I partook!! The minister himself handed it to me and smiled at me… knowing I am a Baptist!!

    That is NOT the position the LDS Church takes… they set themselves apart as having SPECIAL AUTHORITY that everyone must receive from them to get to Heaven. To them, it is not just about having faith in Christ… that is not the Fullness of the Gospel or Good News. Instead, the fullness of the Gospel is about having faith in Christ AND becoming a member of their church… if you don’t (either in this life or the spirit world) you will not get to heaven.

    Darrell

  95. February 18, 2009 6:56 pm

    Seth,

    Just a note…

    I am all for the LDS Church reforming… I don’t think it will ever happen but I am all for it. Just in case you may have been directing some of your comments to my position about Millett… let me clarify.

    I am in full agreement with ANY LDS person who wants to emphasize grace or any other “Christian position” more. However, I do not like it when an individual makes it seem that this position is held officially by the church. There are several occassions where Millett has “stretched the truth” or been a little “less than honest” to make it appear that the LDS Church teaches something officially that it in fact DOES NOT teach. Those are the points I take issue with. Let me give an example…

    In an interview on NPR in 2007/2008 Millet was commenting about how he is sometimes asked by Ministers of other christian churches about “why do Mormons try to convert members of other churches who already believe”. Millet’s answer was very sly… he said…

    ‘When you look out at that congregation, can you literally tell at one glance who of all those people have truly been converted? Who of all those people have had a personal conversion experience? Who of all those people have been born again? Who of all those people have, in your language, accepted Jesus as their savior? Do you know in each case?’ And he said, ‘Well, no, of course not.’ I said, ‘Neither do we.’ And so we approach everyone. “

    What??? Mormons try to convert people because they don’t know who has accepted Jesus? Because they don’t know who is converted? That is a flat out misleading statement!! The honest answser is Mormons don’t really care if you “have been converted”… they believe that you will not go to Heaven unless you become a member of their church… that is why they try to convert EVERYONE. Why be misleading… just tell the truth!

    Those are the kind of things I take issue with. I am all for the LDS Church turning more towards the truth of grace and Christianity. I am simply not in favor of making it “appear” like the LDS Church as a whole believes something they don’t in fact believe.

    Darrell

  96. February 18, 2009 8:16 pm

    Seth: best response I can give your heartfelt post are Darrell’s words with an addendum,..

    That is NOT the position the LDS Church takes… they set themselves apart as having SPECIAL AUTHORITY that everyone must receive from them to get to Heaven. To them, it is not just about having faith in Christ… that is not the Fullness of the Gospel or Good News. Instead, the fullness of the Gospel is about having faith in Christ AND becoming a member of their church… if you don’t (either in this life or the spirit world) you will not get to heaven.

    and by “heaven”, I’d assume he means the celestial heaven…so INDIVIDUAL Mormons can be as ecumenical as they choose to be, the above still stands. Would I wish that to change, institutionally ? Of course . Is it possible ? All things are possible, so sure , it could. In the meantime I blog, talk, pray, try to maintain a charitable outlook, and wait. Much the same, I suppose, as you, Ladonna, Tad, FoF, and friends do….

  97. February 18, 2009 8:25 pm

    “and by “heaven”, I’d assume he means the celestial heaven”

    You are correct… in Mormon Theology, anything else, Telestial or Terrestrial, is NOT eternal life with God the Father… it is a lesser glory. True Heaven to any Christian is life with God the Father…. which in Mormon Theology would mean you have to get to the Celestial Kingdom. Under their paradigm we can’t do it unless we become Mormon.

    Darrell

  98. February 18, 2009 8:40 pm

    Wild and happy Wed. Jack: you wrote

    What would really make me happy is to see the LDS church have a Vatican II moment and accept the baptisms and Holy Ghost experiences of non-LDS Christians. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, but I’m sure that once upon a time, it didn’t look like the Catholic church would change their minds on baptism, either.

    Well that’s a great and helpful thought….but if you’ve looked closely at the Roman Catholic church lately, and compared the mindset of the CURRENT vatican with that of Vatican II, you will be bummed royally….this is a source of major frustration for RC’s like my mom who were REALLY jazzed about Vatican II, only to see it wither….I won’t say “and die”, but really, how much of Vatican II is still around…?? Here’s my long winded point: this was kind probable, if not inevitable, given the kind of hierarchy and structure that church has…even the good intentions of a very Christ minded Pope , Pope Paul 23rd, I think, got ground down by the Roman Machine…

    .I don’t want to be unnecessarily gloomy, but the huge probability is that the LDS will go the same way….although I know that GOD is not constrained by odds, still, the institution ITSELF is just not happy, in general, with large, fundamental changes….the ones that hurt….jeez, come to think of it, neither am I….painted myself into THAT one… in my case it’s a guy with his wife cracking the whip (metaphorically). I think this is a different story when you’ve got millions of people, and multiple billions in assets and almost 200yrs of going a certain way….

    Still, love believes all things, hopes all things…….

    GERMIT

  99. faithoffathers permalink
    February 18, 2009 8:56 pm

    Couple thoughts,

    I cringe when I hear people say “a person has to become mormon, either in this life or the next to have eternal life.” The word “mormon” connotes many things in addition to doctrines and ordinances- it suggests cultural and other elements. Maybe that is why we don’t like that tag very much.

    Anyway, I have said before that I believe God is much less interested in labels than we are. We like to label ourselves and separate ourselves, viewing others as “them.” We are all so much more alike than we are different. In saying that, I do not say we don’t have huge doctrinal differences. I mean that, putting those things aside, we are all created by God and have the same natures, problems, potential, etc.

    I absolutely believe that in order to live forever with God, one must accept certain truths and obey certain laws and ordinances. I also believe that the ordinances and doctrines that must be accepted are found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This does not mean that truth does not exist elsewhere, or that good people are not found elsewhere. In fact, this in no way suggests that LDS are better people than anybody else.

    The restored gospel is a perfect combination of God’s law-abiding nature and loving desire to extend His grace to all people. In other words, there are absolutes that must be met for a person to live with God, and all people will be given a chance to understand and accept those absolutes. It is the perfect blend of Justice and Mercy.

    Darrell- yes, in LDS terminology, “heaven” refers to the celestial kingdom.

    I would not hold your breath on the church changing to the extent of accepting worldly doctrines, or those that are more acceptable. I believe the church will stand strong on the bedrock doctrines and standards of morality.

    fof

  100. February 18, 2009 9:26 pm

    I’m posting this excerpt from Bridging the Divide because I think it’s relevant and funny:

    [Greg Johnson]: When I was able to speak to Stephen [Robinson], I said, “Well, Dr. Robinson, obviously I don’t embrace Joseph Smith as an inspired latter-day prophet and don’t believe it is important to embrace the Book of Mormon as scripture. Yet I believe I’m a Christian … Am I a Christian, Dr. Robinson? Am I a Christian from your perspective?” He kind of hemmed and hawed a little bit and he said, “Well, it’s like this. You’re like a 60-watt light bulb and I’m a 100-watt light bulb.” And I said, “Ok, let me be honest with you: if I’m a 60-watt light bulb and you’re a 100-watt light bulb and I could be a 100 watt light bulb, I’d like to be. But the mere fact that you don’t think I am, defines the reality that you think there’s a significant difference between us. And I’m okay with that, the same way that many Evangelicals do not believe Mormonism to be Christian. You surely must realize that being called a 60-watt bulb is not very flattering, either.”

    [Robert Millet]: And you ought to know that I’ve never said such a thing to Greg. I’ve told him that he’s at least a 70-watt light bulb.

    You know what? I’m pretty sure that even if Mormonism is true, I’m still a 100-watt light bulb. At least. Maybe even one of those awesome vampire-killing UV light bulbs.

  101. February 18, 2009 9:47 pm

    Darrell, I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who browses the shelves at the nearest Deseret Book that a much, much stronger focus on grace is simply where the LDS Church is heading. Millett is not alone here. I saw at least a dozen titles on the bookshelves from various LDS authors taking exactly the same tack. I’ve heard General Conference talks of the same stripe. This IS where the LDS Church is going right now.

    Why attempt to sabotage that just for scoring debate points?

  102. February 18, 2009 9:56 pm

    FoF: you wrote

    The restored gospel is a perfect combination of God’s law-abiding nature and loving desire to extend His grace to all people. In other words, there are absolutes that must be met for a person to live with God, and all people will be given a chance to understand and accept those absolutes. It is the perfect blend of Justice and Mercy.

    ….and for GERMIT, there is no “perfect package” or even “best of the best” package….yes, some reflect GOD”S heart and goals better than others, but clinging to a “God’s chosen (fill in the institution)” is just a colossal swing and miss to me

    Love what you say about the heart condition, though. and to me “hearts made perfect (eventually)” speaks volumes to me…..I had a ‘scarey” moment this aft. when I imagined my future meeting with the LORD….HE was not overly impressed (or offended) by my hours blogging and reading….HE wanted to know when I”d fed the hungry, visited the prisoners, clothed the naked……I told HIM to wait a sec, I was just finishing up a zinger to FoF…….like I said…”scarey”

    GERMIT

  103. February 18, 2009 10:01 pm

    Jack: yeah, that is funny…..and now I get to try and get the picture of you and Wesley Snipes, sending Vampires to their…..wherever they go when they’ve had a really, really, bad day……

    hey, if it gets ya to Sat…….

    GERmIT

  104. February 18, 2009 11:19 pm

    “Why attempt to sabotage that just for scoring debate points?”

    You see, Seth, that is the thing… this is not about a debate to me. I believe this is about something much, much more important than a debate. It is about the salvation of souls. I don’t minister to Mormons to “win a debate”. I do it because they are lost and are not worshipping the only True and Living God.

    As I said, if the LDS Church moves to a more grace focused gospel I think that would be wonderful. However, this is something that will have to come from the LEADERSHIP of the church… not from the likes of Millett or any other BYU scholar. They hold no authority in the church. I hope you are right and that the leadership is moving more towards grace.

    Unfortunately though… that would be just the tip of the iceberg… they have a lot more important things to change. To me, the PARAMOUNT issue is not faith versus works. It is the nature of God. That is all screwed up. Believing that Jesus is our older spirit brother and was formed/spiritually birthed by God the Father is flat out un-biblical. That is why I simply do not believe the LDS Church is Christian. They have got to get that one right before I can accept it as not “another gospel” which preaches “another Jesus” and leads people away from God.

    Darrell

  105. February 18, 2009 11:31 pm

    Well, that’s another thing Darrell. Because I’ve actually listened to Evangelical sermons (we have a major Christian radio station here in the Denver area) and read various stuff from Evangelicals when they are only talking to themselves – and an awful lot of their statements about works are utterly indistinguishable from what Mormons say about it.

    I acknowledge several areas of extreme divergence between the Mormon and Evangelical traditions. But I just don’t think faith vs. works is one of them. If there is a divide between us on this issue, it’s paper-thin at best.

    It seems to me that when Evangelicals are just talking amongst themselves, they tend to sound pretty much like Mormons on the grace vs. works thing. It’s only when a Mormon wanders into the conversation that the rhetoric grows more extreme and the barriers fly up.

  106. February 18, 2009 11:56 pm

    Seth,

    Depending on the Ev and the Mormon you are talking about you may be right. Although I think there is something very distiguishable between our camps on Faith Vs. Works… especially when one lumps the Temple into works. Mormons do believe one MUST go to the temple to get to Heaven afterall. Therefore, works are definately part fo the picture for them. In addition, Moroni 10:32 says that it is only AFTER you deny yourself of all unrighteousness that grace kicks in… that is heavily laden with works.

    Nevertheless, as I mentioned, to me there are more important things that LDS need to work out prior to this issue… the nature of God is the paramount issue to me. For, if an individual is not worshipping the True God it doesn’t matter if they get faith versus works right.

    Darrell

  107. February 19, 2009 3:37 am

    “For, if an individual is not worshipping the True God it doesn’t matter if they get faith versus works right.”

    On that limited point, I agree.

  108. February 19, 2009 2:25 pm

    Seth: liked the post on faith/works and after thrashing through some of that over at Mormon Coffee to the tune of plus100 post threads, I’ve come to the same conclusion you have: there really isn’t that much difference, in my eyes, depending on which ev. and which LDS is talking. sometimes it’s comical, we BOTH run to C.S. Lewis to prove a point, and whoever quotes him first wins…..funny. Really , baptism is almost the same with me: since I see it as REALLY important, though not salvific, I’m not going to have a cow over the LDS position, unless maybe they are telling my 10yr granddaughter she’d better get with the program, etx…. this could just as easily happen in some evangelical or charismatic circles , so there ya go…

    Having said all that, there are huge differences, but those two would not be in my top three.

  109. February 19, 2009 3:10 pm

    HEY SETH: the following is from today’s internetmonk….just wondering if you and M.Spencer are sharing a brain…maybe one of those Vulcan mind-meld things….

    In effect, the NeoReformed are a new form of Fundamentalism, so one might describe them accurately as the NeoFundamentalists. Which means they seem to need a trend or an opponent upon whom they can vent their frustrations (see Rene Girard). This results in two clear traits: the exaltation of some peripheral doctrine to central status and the demonization of a person. The goal in such cases seems to be to win at all costs.

    I close with this:

    I recently wrote to a friend of mine, a Reformed theologian, and described what is the essence of this post and this is what he wrote back:

    The problem, as I see it is these, whom you are calling neoreformed, are to me simply the old fundamentalists in nicer clothes with better vocabularies. They are just as mean-spirited, just as graceless, and just as exclusive. I believe that the fundamentalism of my youth was harmful to the gospel. I believe that anyone who refuses to come out of his “room” (confessional church) and into the hall of “mere Christianity”, to use Lewis’s term, is doomed to a narrow and problematic exegesis of the text. Who is going to tell us that we are wrong if we only stay in our room and speak to people who agree with us all the time?

    One thing I like about my LDS/others interchange is that it’s “gotten me out of my room” I think that’s a positive thing….hope it’s been positive for others as well.

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