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Reflections on My Experiences In Multicultural Christianity

March 23, 2009

I had an awesome church experience this morning and I just wanted to share.  I was out of town for the weekend and I ended up visiting a church that is a bit outside my cultural tradition, but not totally unfamiliar territory for me.  The church was a fairly large, very active, independent fundamental Baptist church. They support over 365 foreign missionaries and are planning to take on 5 more.  They have a Christian school, a radio station, a bus ministry, jail & prison ministry, shut-in ministry, addictions ministry, Spanish and Korean services, and many other ministries.

Although this type of church is a little bit different for me, there are things I just love about their culture.  I love their zeal, their emphasis on soul winning and foreign missions, their bus ministries that pick up children who would not otherwise have a ride to church, their special music, and their sound Bible doctrine.  The people at this church seemed especially welcoming and friendly.

The sermon today was on the return of Christ and the pastor encouraged us from the scriptures that Jesus’ return seems so close at hand – we are to be watching and working while we await His coming.  He reminded us that we cannot be saved by our works, but we are saved to work – our work is to spread the gospel.

For some reason, I was more blessed than usual by the service today.  I was brought to tears a number of times by special music or things that were shared from the pulpit.  I think there is so much blessing we miss if we limit ourselves to one cultural tradition alone.  As Evangelicals, we need to remember to major on the majors and minor on the minors and enjoy fellowship with the whole body of Christ (without compromising in major doctrines of course – I Tim. 6:3-5).

I grew up in Baptist churches, but they were not independent fundamental.  They were more similar to mainstream evangelical churches (on the conservative side).  During my junior high and high school years my dad pastored in one community where the pastors of various denominations (Methodist, Southern Baptist, Conservative Baptist, Congregational, Non-denominational, Pentacostal, Assemblies of God) would meet together for prayer each week.  They went on prayer retreats together.  The churches would get together for community singspirations and we would participate together with other churches in gospel outreaches.  Our church was supposed to be Baptist but we had people from many different denominational backgrounds in attendance.  Sure, we didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but we thrived during that era by our unity in the essentials.

I then went to a non-denominational Bible college where I relished the diversity of views while remaining in agreement on the essentials.  I love a good theological debate over topics like Calvinism vs. Arminianism.  I don’t agree with either system and I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but I always gain a deeper understanding of God and His ways when I debate with someone who holds a view contrary to mine.

I was reflecting during my car ride home today about the bond that ties us together as believers in Jesus – we can enjoy fellowship across such a wide variety of denominations because we share the same core beliefs about who God is, who we are, and how we are saved.  There are minor differences that really don’t amount to a hill of beans.  Whenever you have a group of 2 you are going to have at least 2 opposing, strong opinions on unimportant things.  The institution of marriage illustrates this point.

But unimportant differences in non-essential beliefs are entirely inappropriate right now.  We need to keep focused on the essentials and not get sidetracked.  Jesus is coming soon!

To my LDS friends:  Is religion getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus?  Come join our multicultural crowd and let’s pursue Jesus alone!

We will welcome your strong, opposing views on “minor” details… 🙂

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76 Comments leave one →
  1. MadChemist permalink
    March 23, 2009 1:39 pm

    Dear Jessica,
    Wonderful post, it was good to see some of your insights on this.
    To answer your question, No, my religion doesn’t get in the way of my relationship with Jesus, and has only strengthened it.

    I will pursue Jesus and everything He taught, and everything that His authorized administrators have taught both recorded in the Bible, and in the Book of Mormon, and what is recorded today.

    I am willing to join in multicultural Christianity as long is it doesn’t try and force me to give up my spiritually-manifested believe. I’m willing to let you disagree about “who is right,” as long as we admit that Jesus gets the final say and not me, nor you.

  2. March 23, 2009 5:37 pm

    Jessica, what exactly are you “in the middle of” regarding the Calvinist/Arminian debate? There are several points of disagreement between those two camps and some relate to Mormonism more than others.

  3. Exitmusic permalink
    March 23, 2009 11:13 pm

    My relationship with Jesus Christ has never been hampered by His church. In fact, the church, with all its imperfect servants and members, has only aided me in my personal relationship with Him. General Conference is coming, and I anxiously await the chance to listen to those chosen by Him to give instruction and bear witness to His disciples. I feel intensely close to him in nearly every church-related event in my life.

    From outside the church, I think it would be hard to understand why we are so passionate about it.

  4. March 24, 2009 3:46 am

    Seth, I don’t think I’m in the middle, but I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I believe the two truths – the sovereignty of God and the free will of man – are both part of a truth spectrum that has to be held in tandem. I’m not a Calvinist or an Arminian and I love discussing this topic, but this isn’t the place for it (unfortunately!) so I will reign in my temptation to start it! 🙂 In keeping with the theme of my post, this is one of those non-essential differences between Christians. We all agree that God is sovereign and that He has given man a will. How that all works out in detail is what we currently see differently. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Cor. 13:12).

  5. March 24, 2009 2:10 pm

    Jessica: EXCELLENT quote

    I believe the two truths – the sovereignty of God and the free will of man – are both part of a truth spectrum that has to be held in tandem.

    this is like the faith/works tandem or obedience/grace tandem we could probably make a list ; SPOT ON, girl

    the good news: more and more christians are waking up to how some of these things are just not as delineated as “so and so’s” systematic theology says it is….. modernity meets post-modernity

    GERMIT

  6. March 25, 2009 1:19 am

    Or you could do an end run around the whole question Jessica, and just go Open Theist.

  7. March 25, 2009 1:39 am

    MadChemist, you said, “I am willing to join in multicultural Christianity as long is it doesn’t try and force me to give up my spiritually-manifested believe.”

    In the situation I described in my post – where all the pastors were meeting together for prayer – no one was operating on the basis of any exclusive, superior Holy Spirit experience. Usually charismatics and non-charismatics run into trouble if the charismatics start boasting that they have an extra-special dose of the Holy Spirit (whether their life reflects His presence or not). The non-charismatics are looking on and thinking “say what?” when a charismatic person’s life does not match their claims.

    I think there’s a comparison that can be made regarding Evangelicals’ responses to LDS claims, although the situation is further complicated by the major differences in theology.

    Charismatics and non-charismatics agree on (1) the nature of God, (2) the nature of man, and (3) how we are saved (although I know there are some Pentecostal groups that claim a post-salvation baptism with the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues is required for salvation, but I think that view is becoming pretty fringe).

    I don’t see how Mormons could join multicultural Christianity unless they first started questioning their spiritually-manifested beliefs though. Those beliefs are incompatible with Christianity. It started with JS who claimed that all the other churches were corrupt. Ironically, all of these Christian denominations that were in such conflict (according to JS) are all in agreement on the core Biblical doctrines I mentioned above AND are all in agreement that Mormonism is wrong.

    Seth,

    Me? An Open Theist? Nope. Not happening. 🙂

  8. Todd Wood permalink
    March 25, 2009 2:21 am

    Jessica went to an independent, fundamental Baptist church for Sunday worship?

    Nice.

    Of course, even we independent Baptists are of all kinds of unique, colorful flavors. (chuckling)

    The sovereign King is good, Jessica. So good.

  9. March 25, 2009 2:40 am

    Yes, He is! Amen!

    You know, you make a good point, Todd. Now that I think about it, there are actually cultures within cultures in Christianity. Each church is its own mini-subculture within the larger subculture of whatever denomination or non-denomination that it associates with. And there are some colorful flavors out there for sure! 🙂

  10. Tom permalink
    March 25, 2009 4:07 pm

    Jessica,

    Can Catholics participate in multi-cultural Christianity?

    Thanks for sharing your worship experience with us. It makes me remember all the similar experiences I have had – those moments when I can’t hold back the tears of joy, knowing that Jesus Christ paid the price for my sins and redeemed my soul. Those are sweet moments, indeed!

  11. March 25, 2009 6:40 pm

    Tom,

    I personally know a woman who was raised Catholic and still identifies in some ways with the culture of Catholicism, but she rejects the worship of Mary, the authority of the pope, and believes we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. She has rejected what I consider the major errors in Catholicism while still retaining some of the culture. I believe there are others in her category that I personally consider part of multi-cultural Christianity. I do not, however, consider the entire Catholic church or its system as part of multi-cultural Christianity. Catholicism is similar in many ways to Mormonism where they claim exclusive authority and have in their theology the role of a mediator between man and God (I don’t mean in the area of mediatorial prayer, but where LDS leaders have taught that there is no salvation without accepting JS) – that’s not compatible with multicultural Christianity that recognizes only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5).

    Thank you for sharing about your love for Christ, Tom! I do have one question for you – do you believe Jesus Christ paid the price for all of your sins?

  12. Tom permalink
    March 25, 2009 6:45 pm

    Yes.

  13. Tom permalink
    March 25, 2009 9:00 pm

    Jessica,

    “There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.”

    I agree there have been statements by modern prophets to this effect. But let’s make a few statements that are parallel and are not (I hope) offensive to you

    “There is no salvation without accepting the Bible as the word of God.”
    “There is no salvation without accepting Peter, James, and John as apostles of Jesus Christ.”

    Statements like these don’t mean we believe the Bible, Peter, James, or John are intermediaries between us and Christ – it just means that they are the medium through which we have God’s word, so we cannot reject them while accepting Christ. The teachings of the Bible, Peter, James, and John, must be followed for us to receive salvation because they are the teachings of Christ!

    As for Joseph Smith, our conviction is that Jesus Christ revealed things through Joseph Smith that are required for us to enter the Celestial Kingdom. Just because he revealed something doesn’t mean he’s the one who saves us – or even that he’s an intermediary any more than Moses, Isaiah, Peter, James, John, or Paul were intermediaries.

    Salvation is in Jesus Christ, and there is “none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God.” (2 Ne 31:21).

  14. Tom permalink
    March 25, 2009 9:03 pm

    Part of my post was ambiguous. My apologies.

    *Just because the Lord revealed something importnat through Joseph Smith doesn’t mean Joseph Smith is the one who saves us*

  15. March 26, 2009 12:39 am

    Tom,

    I guess I was thinking of the mediatorial role of Joseph Smith in terms of judgment – isn’t his approval required for entrance into the CK? At least this is what LDS leaders have taught. I will not answer to Moses, Isaiah, James, Peter, John, or Paul on that final day, but to Jesus Christ alone!

    “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22)

  16. Tom permalink
    March 26, 2009 1:04 am

    Jessica,

    We believe that Joseph Smith will judge in his role as an apostle just as Christ told His original Twelve Apostles that they would judge the tribes of Israel. (Matt. 19:28).

  17. Tom permalink
    March 26, 2009 1:07 am

    Parenthetically – Even if you and I are judged by an apostle of Jesus Christ, I expect that Jesus Himself will have the final say. I don’t think that point has been openly stated by any LDS leader, but it seems to be the order of how things work. Christ may delegate responsibilities, but ultimately we answer to Him.

  18. March 26, 2009 3:04 am

    Tom’s right. The only authority Joseph has or will ever have is delegated authority. I don’t mind him manning the pearly gates at all Jessica. He’ll behave himself. You needn’t worry about that.

  19. March 26, 2009 3:13 am

    No worries, Seth. He won’t be manning the pearly gates so I have no concerns about it.

    Here’s the thing. According to official LDS doctrine (not what buffet Mormons believe) where is someone like me going?

    Since I’ve had an opportunity to hear the LDS gospel and I have consciously rejected it – where will I be headed (according to official LDS doctrine)?

    I’ve not only had an opportunity to read the Book of Mormon, but I had a burning in the bosom experience while reading it – which I discerned to be a demonic spirit and which I resisted.

    So where am I headed?

  20. March 26, 2009 3:17 am

    Don’t forget to include all of my “anti-christ” activities such as on this blog and elsewhere in your assessment…

  21. March 26, 2009 3:48 am

    Ooo, can I take a crack at this question?

    As I understand it, when you die you’ll either go to spirit prison or spirit paradise, and since we’ve established that you’re wicked it will be the former. In spirit prison there will be missionaries pestering you to accept the gospel. It will be about as annoying as watching a Pauly Shore movie. In fact it will probably be Pauly Shore pestering you to accept the gospel. If that doesn’t terrify you, I don’t know what will.

    I’m actually not clear on whether or not people like you and me who rejected the gospel in this life will get the chance to accept it in the next. Some people tell me that I will and some people tell me that I’ll be outta luck. Let’s just assume that the latter group is right.

    From there you’ll either go to outer darkness, the telestial kingdom or the terrestrial kingdom. Except that you’re a woman, and most LDS church leaders have taught that women can’t be daughters of perdition and go to outer darkness, so we can probably scratch off outer darkness from the list. I know you’re as disappointed about that as I am.

    That leaves telestial or terrestrial kingdom. Honestly, I don’t even know what the difference is. I know plenty of Mormons who think Protestants will end up in the terrestrial kingdom, so that sounds good. Hopefully it will at least get you away from Pauly Shore.

  22. March 26, 2009 3:55 am

    I’m actually not clear on whether or not people like you and me who rejected the gospel in this life will get the chance to accept it in the next.

    I’m not clear on that either.

    LDS/former LDS? What’s the official position of the church?

  23. MadChemist permalink
    March 26, 2009 3:56 am

    Jessica,
    I hope you’re not accusing Seth, Tom or I of Buffet-Mormonism.

    You will end up where-ever Christ determines you will go. I personally would expect that those who have heard the restored gospel being preached, and refused to ask God and receive an answer through prayer would end up in the terrestrial kingdom, based on my reading of DC 76, assuming they repent in the spirit world.

    We have no answer for those who (think) they have honestly searched and asked God in prayer, and believe they receive an answer to not join. It’s really not my problem, you see, because I don’t get to judge whether or not someone is truly Christian or where they end up in eternity. Quite frankly, that’s Jesus’ job, and I’m not quite arrogant enough to tell Him and others what He should do in judging you. And yes, I expect the same of Evangelicals, but alas. I’m left rewarding good for evil. I do think, that those who reject the witness of the Holy Ghost end up where Jesus said they will end up,. It’s really between you and Christ to determine whether or not you’ve truly had a witness of the spirit. If you have, and you’ve rejected it, and refuse to repent, ever-you will be damned. If you have heard it and reject it in this life, and repent in the spirit world, you’ll probably end up in the terrestrial kingdom. If you haven’t heard the spirit, and you rejected indigestion, all bets are off, Jesus’ll probably be merciful.

    But, you really shouldn’t mis-attribute or misquote Joseph Smith. I consider it to be bearing false-witness. I’m not judging whether you’re doing it intentionally or out of ignorance, but I am informing you that you bear false-witness when you say: ” It started with JS who claimed that all the other churches were corrupt. ” You may not have a graduate degree, but I do expect you to be able to extract the following facts from LDS canon. Joseph Smith History 1:19.
    All the sects existent at the time were wrong.
    Their creeds were an abomination in God’s sight.
    That “those” professors were all corrupt.
    I am not a mind reader, and I know that you aren’t either; the antecedent to “those” is not explictly stated in the text. One may make one of two assumptions. Either “those” refers to “every professor of every sect in existence”, or it refers to “a select group of religious ministers who were corrupt.” You are welcome to interpret it how you like, however you are not free to openly state a non-truth. “With every lie, you make baby Jesus cry.” Your interpretive statement, does not make sense with the following historical facts. When Sidney Rigdon was called to preach in our church, DC 35:3 doesn’t condemn him for having been a “corrupt Christian” as Jessica here would assert. Instead, Jesus calls Sidney Rigdon to a “greater work.” Previously, Sidney had been a regular christian minister, working in baptist congregations and campbelite denominations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Rigdon. Joseph often taught that other religions played an important role in God’s work, and to impose some sort of false denounciation just doesn’t match all of the historical data.

    19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

  24. March 26, 2009 4:04 am

    MadChemist, you said, But, you really shouldn’t mis-attribute or misquote Joseph Smith. I consider it to be bearing false-witness. I’m not judging whether you’re doing it intentionally or out of ignorance, but I am informing you that you bear false-witness when you say: ” It started with JS who claimed that all the other churches were corrupt. ” You may not have a graduate degree, but I do expect you to be able to extract the following facts from LDS canon.

    Actually, I do have a graduate degree, but it’s not in quoting historical data accurately. 🙂

    I hereby do amend my statement from “JS claimed the other churches were corrupt” to “JS claimed all the other churches were wrong and those professors were all corrupt”

  25. MadChemist permalink
    March 26, 2009 4:11 am

    Officially we believe DC 76, DC 137. I don’t know of an official interpretatioin of those. We can point you to verses, and offer our own understanding, but that is the canon.

    The difference between the telestial kingdom and the terrestrial kingdom is this: In the terrestrial kingdom one can enjoy the presence of the Son and the Holy Ghost, but not the Father. In the terrestrial kingdom, one can receive ministriations from those in the Celestial kingdom. The familial relatinoship does not continue. In the telestial kingdom, one can enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost, but neither the presence of the Father or the Son. One can receive ministrations from those in the Celestial and Terrestrial kingdoms.

    Symbolically, we are told the differences in the glories of the kingdom differs as much as the glory of the Sun differs from the moon, that differs from the glory of the stars. Solar telescopes start paper on fire. Lunar telescopes don’t, and star telescopes have very little light. I guess, you ask yourself how much of Christ’s glory you will accept. If you insist on limiting Him, He won’t force much glory into your life. You can tell Him that He has incommunicable attributes. The rest of us aren’t phased. Our God is a mighty God.

    [God] said (in the Bible) that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine.
    C. S. Lewis,
    Beyond Personality (London: The Centenary Press, 1945), 48.
    Also contained in Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan Company, 1952), 174-175. .

  26. MadChemist permalink
    March 26, 2009 4:14 am

    Jessica
    Amendation noted, thank you.
    Apologies for my inability to spell @ 11:00 pm with Sourdough bread cooling in the kitchen. My brain turns off when sourdough is made…

  27. March 26, 2009 5:36 am

    LDS/former LDS? What’s the official position of the church?

    Come on. Don’t you guys know yet that there *is* no official position of the church on much of anything?

    (Sorry if that was a little snarky. But let’s face it, it’s true.)

    The majority of Mormons would put you in the Terrestrial Kingdom, I’d wager. Sorry. But I like both of you well enough that I’d give you at least lower-middle Celestial. Maybe if God lets me man the Pearly Gates for a few judgments, I can sneak you in.

    FWIW, Jack, I seriously object to your non-doctrinal declaration that Pauly Shore will be preaching the gospel in Spirit Prison. It’s gonna be Steve Martin, and we both know it.

  28. Tom permalink
    March 26, 2009 4:51 pm

    MadChemist had it right, Jessica – only Jesus can tell you where you’re going. Period.

    You say you read the Book of Mormon. The whole thing? One verse? Somewhere in between? I’m not asking the question for my own benefit, because I cannot judge your experience. My point is – If you honestly read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, who am I to go against the answer you feel you received? Although you don’t mention praying about it, so I could be off base in how I’m interpreting your experience. On that note:

    If the Book of Mormon is true (or if we sincerely want to know if it is true), then we must take seriously Moroni’s injunction in Moroni 10:3-5 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/moro/10/3-5#3), which involves pondering on God’s mercy since the days of Adam and praying to know the truth of the Book of Mormon, with faith in Christ to give you the answer. “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” The Holy Ghost manifests Himself differently to every person – so it is for YOU ALONE to judge what your answer is. I do think, however, that one must pray about it and get the answer from God, because our reasoning and logic can be deeply flawed. If the Book of Mormon is true, of course an evil spirit doesn’t want you to believe it! Are you really going to accept your answer from an evil spirit? Why not wait for God’s answer?

    Given all that – let’s assume that you truly prayed about it and truly got the answer that the Book of Mormon is false. I fully respect your answer, as I expect you to respect mine (even as you try to convert me). If you have truly prayed about it, with real intent, then you are an earnest seeker of truth and I do not believe God will condemn you. My reading of the DC says to me that you WOULD hear the gospel again in the spirit world.

    In summary, rejecting it because you trusted in your preconceived notions rather than asking God is COMPLETELY different than rejecting it because you prayed and felt the Spirit tell you it wasn’t true. ONLY YOU can discern for yourself which it is. It simply isn’t my place or anyone else’s to try to take your experience and attempt to guess where Jesus will send you in the afterlife!

  29. Tom permalink
    March 26, 2009 4:57 pm

    Also, Jessica – I don’t see your activities here as anti-Christ unless you have some intent other than helping your readers come unto Christ. Again, you and Christ are the judge of that. Not me.

    I do sense a slight air of ridicule in some of your posts when you use language that is uniquely LDS, but perhaps I’m misinterpreting it. I ask you to be a little more thoughtful in how you word things.

    To LDS readers – I sense a little ridicule on our side from time to time as well.

    Let’s all stay above that – I do not believe it is of Christ.

  30. GERMIT permalink
    March 26, 2009 5:48 pm

    Madchemist: my reply to your line of reasoning with Jessica above is that sometimes JS found it expedient to lay into the other denominations and create his own niche, and sometimes he found it expedient to “play nice” and applaud the work of GOD in other groups and people. I find his comments and stance ambivalent and “waffley”. Yes, that is my interpretaton, but it explains how JS could make (within not too great a time span, really) seemingly contradictory statements. He did not have an eye for his own contradictions, consistency was not a value to him. I don’t see how your view is any more fair to history than Jessica’s or mine. I realize, of course that we BOTH are interpreting……

    GERmIT

  31. March 26, 2009 7:37 pm

    For the record, as I have stated before elsewhere, I believe that God can validly tell a person to stay OUT of the LDS Church – even if the LDS Church’s truth claims are valid.

    I also think we can have a valid spiritual experience and totally misinterpret what the message of that experience is.

  32. Tom permalink
    March 26, 2009 8:19 pm

    Good point Seth. I also think it’s important to reiterate that Mormons do NOT believe that everyone who isn’t Mormon is damned – and I’m not just saying evangelicals aren’t damned. Hindus, Buddhists, etc. will be commended by God for living according to the light they have.

    Jesus is the true light that “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” I believe that many are, as a result, inspired to do good things without knowing that the inspiration is coming from Christ. This is (in my opinion) one meaning of John’s statement that the “light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” Thus, even though these individuals may have never heard of Jesus Christ, they can still do Christ’s work. I believe that when they do hear Christ preached, they will accept Him (because they humbly, earnestly seek to do what is right).

    Cyrus in the OT is a great example – not a covenant member of Israel, but the Lord used him to do a great work. In Isaiah, the Lord calls Cyrus, “my shepherd” and “his anointed.” Clearly the Lord is pleased with Cyrus, even though he is not a covenant member of Israel. I think it’s also very important to note that Cyrus couldn’t have brought about the reconstructions of the temple if he HAD been a covenant member of Israel (i.e. he would not have been a powerful political leader of Persia / Babylon).

    I guess it boils down to – Christ will use everyone who will listen to further His purposes on the earth. No one should be patting themselves on the back for being part of the “true faith.” Rather, we should all spend more time asking ourselves, “What does the Lord want me to do today to further His work?”

  33. GERMIT permalink
    March 26, 2009 8:55 pm

    TOM
    Rather, we should all spend more time asking ourselves, “What does the Lord want me to do today to further His work?”

    what if this involves housework ??

    teasing….sort of….excellent point, TOM

    GERMIT

  34. Tom permalink
    March 26, 2009 9:25 pm

    Germit – LOL.

    “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” I guess the Lord *does* want us to keep a clean house? 🙂

  35. March 26, 2009 10:11 pm

    Tom ~ Mormons do NOT believe that everyone who isn’t Mormon is damned – and I’m not just saying evangelicals aren’t damned.

    What if I want to be damned, though?

    Come on, Mormons. What must I do to be damned?

  36. Anonymous permalink
    March 26, 2009 10:16 pm

    Tom,

    You made the comment, “Clearly the Lord is pleased with Cyrus, even though he is not a covenant member of Israel.” The verses that you are quoting tell us more about the power of God than they do the state of Cyrus’s immortal soul.

    First the fact that Isaiah could predict that Cyrus would in fact allow the temple to be rebuilt is an amazing prophesy.

    Second Saul in 2 Sam. 5:2 was called to be the Shepard, so this is not a ringing endorsement.

    Finally looking at Isaiah 45:1 this anointing has more to do with the sovereignty of God to subdue nations and kings than the righteousness of Cyrus.

  37. March 26, 2009 10:18 pm

    Sorry that was my Anonymous comment.

  38. Tom permalink
    March 26, 2009 11:23 pm

    That’s just how I read the text Gundeck. If you are bent on going against everything I say, so be it, but I put that out there as a personal opinion, so make of it what you will. I’m not even trying to say that is even remotely representative of LDS doctrine.

    Moreover, please don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say Cyrus was assured salvation. I was not making a statement about his immortal soul. I just said that the Lord was pleased with what he had done, and I hold to that. I think the Lord WAS pleased with the work Cyrus had done, which is the point of my overall post – the Lord is pleased when we respond to promptings to do good! (To receive salvation, Cyrus would eventually have to enter the Lord’s covenant, but I don’t know what became of him).

    I also think Saul had the Lord’s approval which he later lost through sin.

    So what’s your point?

    Jack – define “damned.” 🙂

  39. March 26, 2009 11:32 pm

    Tom, you said “I do sense a slight air of ridicule in some of your posts when you use language that is uniquely LDS, but perhaps I’m misinterpreting it. I ask you to be a little more thoughtful in how you word things.”

    Could you give me a specific example? I assure you my heart is not to ridicule Mormons. I would certainly like to be more thoughtful in how I word things, but I need something more specific to go on. Or perhaps it is just a misunderstanding that I can hopefully clarify.

    Thank you

  40. March 26, 2009 11:39 pm

    Tom, you said, “If the Book of Mormon is true (or if we sincerely want to know if it is true), then we must take seriously Moroni’s injunction in Moroni 10:3-5 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/moro/10/3-5#3), which involves pondering on God’s mercy since the days of Adam and praying to know the truth of the Book of Mormon, with faith in Christ to give you the answer. “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

    I’m not going to say more about my experiences with the Book of Mormon here because it needs its own post and it will require a lot more prayer before I am able to write more fully about it. For now, though, I do have one comment to make: if the Book of Mormon is NOT true, then Moroni 10:3-5 is not true either.

  41. March 27, 2009 1:35 am

    Tom,

    I think that you are taking my comments personally and they are not intended that way. You also said, “Hindus, Buddhists, etc. will be commended by God for living according to the light they have.” I took your reference to Cyrus to be on the same subject of a universalist approach to salvation. If I misunderstood you meaning then I am sorry.

    I choose the comments that I make carefully, I try not to argue for the sake of arguing. I do not post to score debating points against people. There are some subjects that I find unprofitable even to try to approach on the Internet because it lends itself to sound bites. For instance I do not know Mormon theology, every time I think I am getting a handle on it I find out something totally new, so you will not find me telling you what you believe. There are other subjects that come up that you will never see me comment on, but that is irrelevant.

    With that said, generally I watch for how people use the Bible. When I see quotes out of context or propositions that cannot be supported by a reasonable reading of the verses I try to put forth a response. I see a great many people who will stand up a claim that this verse means this and then will not explain themselves. I am not that way, I will spend the time to explain my position from the Bible. I will explain a passage in relation to all of redemptive history. That is what interests me, it is not personal against you and I hope that you do not take it to be.

  42. Tom permalink
    March 27, 2009 2:45 am

    Again, “commended by God” does not equal salvation.

    Do you disagree that God is pleased when people do good things, regardless of their religion?

    I am convinced that God can further his work through anyone, for we all have the light of Christ even if we don’t comprehend it yet.

    I’m not a universalist.

  43. Tom permalink
    March 27, 2009 4:04 am

    Jessica,

    “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” -Moroni 10:5

    There are two assumptions I take to be self-evident:

    1) This verse applies only to things that CAN be known by mortals.
    2) This verse only applies to truth God is willing to reveal to mortals.

    Even if the Book of Mormon is false, I don’t think any Christian can honestly say the principle presented in that verse is wrong.

    But it all boils down to the same question – how do you know it’s false? If by the Holy Spirit, I have nothing else to say. I only want you to do what the Spirit directs, nothing more, nothing less.

  44. Tom permalink
    March 27, 2009 4:07 am

    I should have stated that the truth of the Book of Mormon fits both of the two criteria I mentioned – it can be known and God is willing to reveal it to us.

  45. March 27, 2009 4:07 am

    “I do have one comment to make: if the Book of Mormon is NOT true, then Moroni 10:3-5 is not true either.”

    Not a logical statement Jessica. Even assuming the Book of Mormon is not revelation and just the product of a mortal mind, it could still have true passages in it.

    I just got done reading a Tom Clancy novel. I thought there were some true thoughts and passages in it. But I would never say the book itself was “true.”

    This black-and-white thinking is a serious mental handicap. Free your mind a little and look at the possibilities. You can’t take anything for granted here.

  46. March 27, 2009 1:59 pm

    Seth; lets restate this a little

    If the book of Mormon is not the revealed mind and plan of GOD, then Moroni 10:3-5 does not rise to the level of scriptural authority. And hence, not to be trusted the same way that scripture is trusted.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what Jessica had in mind, but she’s all grown up, I’m interested to hear her take.

  47. Tom permalink
    March 27, 2009 5:13 pm

    Yes, germit, I agree.

    There is a slight definition problem. Truth is truth regardless of where it is found. Whether or not that truth is scriptural is a different consideration.

    My point was simply – the way to know truth from God is through the Holy Ghost. I think we can all agree on that.

    To be more explicit about a previous point:

    A demonic spirit’s purpose is to lie and deceive and keep us from the truth. Thus, any influence or ministration from such a spirit inherently cannot be trusted, regardless of what that spirit is telling you.

    On the other hand, God will never lie to us. We should rely on Him for our answers, not the logic of men, not the activities of demonic spirits.

  48. March 27, 2009 5:48 pm

    There is no higher authority than truth – no matter what packaging it arrives at your doorstep in.

  49. March 27, 2009 6:05 pm

    Germit, you said “If the book of Mormon is not the revealed mind and plan of GOD, then Moroni 10:3-5 does not rise to the level of scriptural authority. And hence, not to be trusted the same way that scripture is trusted.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what Jessica had in mind, but she’s all grown up, I’m interested to hear her take.”

    Yes, Germit, that’s exactly what I meant. Here’s what I see as the circular reasoning behind this method:

    How do we know the Book of Mormon is of God? Because Moroni 10:3-5 promises that if we ask God He will manifest the truth of it to us. How do we know the promise in Moroni 10:3-5 is from God? Because the Book of Mormon is from God.

    Do you see what I’m saying? Did anyone who prayed for a testimony of the Book of Mormon simultaneously resist the devil at the same time in case the book was not from God and the promise in Moroni 10:3-5 was not from God? When the spiritual manifestation occurred, did anyone consider that it might not be from God?

    “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

  50. Tom permalink
    March 27, 2009 6:27 pm

    Jessica, I think you are slightly misinterpreting the logic – the logic is

    1) God will reveal truth through the Holy Spirit
    2) If we ask God about the Book of Mormon, He will tell us if it’s true or false.

    I hope you believe those 2 points. And as you pointed out, you can resist the devil, he will flee from you. Then you can wait for God’s answer.

    We don’t say the Book of Mormon is true because of Moroni 10:3-5. We just say, “Look, if you want to know ask God and he’ll tell you.” We happen to think that Moroni has a good way of extending that invitation. Maybe you disagree, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask God if it’s true and get your answer from Him. We know the principle in Moroni 10:5 is true because we also believe the Bible and it is consistent with the Bible.But that raises the question of how we know the Bible is true. The answer for me? The Holy Spirit tells me it is true.

    I have considered from time to time that my answer may have been from the devil. I have had many times in my life when I felt my faith was weak, and the Lord has strengthened me and given me the hope and strength to carry on. He has reaffirmed to me many times the truth of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The fruits in my life are consistent with the fruits of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” In the DC, the Lord says, “I will tell you in your mind and your heart.” That is good doctrine to me! He has told me in my mind and my heart the truth of the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

    In short, I have done what the Savior said: “If any man shall do his will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are of God because I have read, studied, prayed, and lived the doctrine they preach. The Holy Spirit tells me they are true and I cannot deny it!

  51. March 27, 2009 6:45 pm

    Evangelical ministries usually miss the point of “Moroni’s Promise.” Not that I blame them, since a lot of Mormons miss the point too.

    Read the ENTIRE chapter closely, rather than just the one verse about praying for a witness.

    You’ll find that Moroni is in fact encouraging you to read the entire Book of Mormon in-depth, to study it from all angles, to compare it with what you already know of God’s dealings with us (whether that be from the Bible or somewhere else), and THEN – ONLY THEN – do you get to “pray for a witness.”

    This is so far from simply taking the book in isolation and hoping for a “warm fuzzy.” Moroni 10 has nothing to do with “warm fuzzies.” What it calls for is serious meditation, study (both religious AND secular), and then an informed question. It’s a highly disciplined and intellectually rigorous approach.

    The very idea that an Evangelical could read a counter-cult pamphlet or two, grab the book in their hand, and ask God whether “it’s true” or not is utterly ludicrous.

    Of course He isn’t going to give you an answer worth spit in a pan.

    You didn’t do anything to deserve an answer in the first place. So I imagine He would just tell you to carry on and quit bugging Him over stuff you can figure out for yourself.

  52. March 27, 2009 7:12 pm

    Tom,

    Can you explain what you mean by this, “I also think it’s important to reiterate that Mormons do NOT believe that everyone who isn’t Mormon is damned – and I’m not just saying evangelicals aren’t damned. Hindus, Buddhists, etc. will be commended by God for living according to the light they have.”

    I am not trying to put words in your mouth but I hope that you can understand that this appears to be somewhat open in approaching salvation?

  53. Tom permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:29 pm

    Seth,

    It reminds me of the story (I think it’s a joke) where a man says he knows the Book of Mormon is false because he asked God to strike him dead if it were true, and he’s still living. Tongue in cheek, of course.

    Your point is well taken, though. We have to take more thought than just to ask off-handedly. We must seriously, earnestly study what the Book of Mormon presents, and THEN ask God. I believe the same goes for the Bible – without studying it and pondering the message it contains, you can’t know if it’s true.

    Jessica, how do you help people come to know the Bible is true? For that matter how do you know for yourself the Bible is true?

    Gundeck – I’ll have to address your question later when I have more time.

  54. March 27, 2009 8:40 pm

    TOM: I like the “package” you have above concerning the prayer: your point #1 and #2 include the possibility the Book of Mormon is false….I know this sounds picky but the great majority of the time I hear this situation explained it’s “how do I know if it’s true…” not even a whiff, or hint that our concern is to get it right, and that means this could go either way. I’d say the same thing, incidentally about the Bible. Maybe you think the possibility of “false” is built into the usual LDS appeal, and maybe it is, but I think it wiser to lay out all the cards.

    SETH wrote
    You’ll find that Moroni is in fact encouraging you to read the entire Book of Mormon in-depth, to study it from all angles, to compare it with what you already know of God’s dealings with us (whether that be from the Bible or somewhere else), and THEN – ONLY THEN – do you get to “pray for a witness.”
    I’ll disagree slightly, I say why wait?? Start praying from the get go, do the necessary homework, study it out, but pray as you go….. maybe that’s what you meant, Seth, I think what you’re getting at is a thorough, prayer filled examination….if that’s what you mean, then we agree.

    Have a great weekend one and all
    GERMIT

  55. Tom permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:51 pm

    Germit,

    I can’t speak for Seth, but I think you are right. Pray from the get go for the Lord to guide your reading and study, realizing that the Lord may not give you the answer until you have done a great deal of study and prayer.

    “Maybe you think the possibility of “false” is built into the usual LDS appeal, and maybe it is, but I think it wiser to lay out all the cards. ”

    I think you are right on – we do assume that the “false” possibility is built in, and we should be more explicit!

    In essence, don’t take our word for it! Ask God and He will let you know one way or the other.

    Germit – thanks for an edifying conversation! One of my reasons for engaging in dialog with people of other faiths is that I believe I can learn from anyone as we discuss the scriptures – everyone has had different insights and experiences, and I can learn from them. In addition, I am learning how better to describe my own faith in terms non-LDS will understand.

  56. March 27, 2009 8:59 pm

    “I think what you’re getting at is a thorough, prayer filled examination….if that’s what you mean, then we agree.”

    Agreed.

  57. March 27, 2009 9:38 pm

    In addition, I am learning how better to describe my own faith in terms non-LDS will understand.

    the above is a lofty enterprise, and a lot of work if (thinking of myself here) the mouth is working much harder than either of the ears … 🙂

    You seem to have a gift for trying to see things from another’s vantage point. maybe a gift you’ve cultivated. When and if I have a chance to teach a class on Mormonism at my church, I’m going to pound away at the importance of just this exact thing.

    Seth: I had a hunch we agreed on that. and if I didn’t say this earlier, I thoroughly agree that all truth is GOD”s truth. I don’t really hold to sacred vs. secular truth.

  58. Tom permalink
    March 27, 2009 10:20 pm

    Germit – thanks for your kind words. I have also appreciated your approach very much – especially when you discern what people are trying to say and don’t say it correctly. I frequently have that problem.

    I’m sure we’ll have opportunities to learn from each other in the future. I look forward to it!

  59. March 28, 2009 1:05 am

    Tom, you said, Your point is well taken, though. We have to take more thought than just to ask off-handedly. We must seriously, earnestly study what the Book of Mormon presents, and THEN ask God. I believe the same goes for the Bible – without studying it and pondering the message it contains, you can’t know if it’s true.

    Jessica, how do you help people come to know the Bible is true? For that matter how do you know for yourself the Bible is true?

    First of all, the Bible is a firmly established historical record. We see the same geography today, the same names of cities, countries, etc. because the Bible is founded in truth – it matches the historical and archeological record. It is true. Secular and religious scholars, historians, and archeologists agree that the Bible is historical/true. So, to answer your questions regarding how I help people come to know the Bible is true and how I know for myself the Bible is true does not have to do with reading it and praying about it to have the Holy Spirit tell me whether or not it is true. It is true because it is historical. To accept that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be – the inspired Word of God – requires faith. But this faith is founded in a record that has been proven to be true/historical.

    Secondly, even if I agree (for the most part) with the general orthodoxy of the Book of Mormon that is not going to convince me that Mormonism is true. So, the invitation to pray about the truth of the Book of Mormon is an enigma to me. Why don’t LDS missionaries invite investigators to read and pray about the D&C or BOA? I think that would help change the perceptions that Evangelicals have that the LDS church is being dishonest and deceptive with investigators.

    With the exception of some troubling passages that indicate works are required for salvation, overall the Book of Mormon doesn’t contain any of the doctrines unique to Mormonism. So, the best expression I’ve heard for this is a bait and switch.

  60. March 28, 2009 2:21 am

    None of the faith claims of the Bible have ever been historically verified.

  61. March 28, 2009 2:26 am

    I guess I don’t understand what you mean by “faith claims” Seth. What about fulfilled prophecy?

  62. March 28, 2009 6:28 pm

    Since most of the texts outlining the “fulfilled prophecy” where written by people who lived after the predicted events, I’m not sure what this empirically proves.

  63. Tom permalink
    March 28, 2009 9:10 pm

    Jessica,

    I find your response troubling on many levels.

    The biggest concern is that I do not see how your logic fits with Biblical doctrine about how to know truth.

    “…[N]o man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

    “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

    “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

    To found one’s faith on history is inherently to found it on the learning and understanding of men which is always changing – the proverbial sandy foundation. To require the learning of men to provide historical evidence for something before you will believe it is to ignore God and the revelation He can give you directly. History can never prove the divinity of Jesus Christ, that He rose fromt the grave, ascended into heaven, and has all power both in heaven and in earth.

    Many Biblical critics use history to try to show that the Bible isn’t true. I do not understand how a historically based faith can give rise to a belief in Biblical inerrancy or sole scriptural authority of the Bible. If I were a hardcore Bible critic, I would say that the earliest complete Bible we have is about 1000 AD, so the divine claims are just made up after the fact and should be treated as mythology, not taken literally.

    A friend of mine told me of an experience he had in college. He was a
    history major and he took a class on ancient Egypt. The professor was
    adamant that there was NO historical evidence for Moses being in
    Egypt, so the Biblical record of Moses being in Egypt must be false.
    In the next lecture he talked about how we only know about 10% of what
    happened in ancient Egypt. My friend was sitting there thinking, “What
    about the other 90% – might it prove that Moses was in Egypt?”

    Just because historians looked for evidence of something and didn’t
    find it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It may just mean they haven’t
    yet gathered enough information. If we base our faith on history, then
    as history uncovers new things, we are forced to update our faith
    accordingly. Essentially, we are trusting men as the source of our
    faith.

    What if archaeologists found extensive evidence of a fallen civilization that matches with the Book of Mormon record? Would that convince you to have faith in the Book of Mormon? I hope not, because that archaelogical evidence cannot prove the divine claims of the Book of Mormon.

    The Lord said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my wasy, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    We cannot allow our faith to be based on men’s ways and men’s thoughts. The Lord does not intend it to be that way, and I hope that anyone reading these words will seek the Lord’s answers on the truth of the Bible and the Book of Mormon and the divinity of His Son Jesus Christ.

  64. March 28, 2009 10:33 pm

    And even if you could prove Jesus walked on water, that doesn’t automatically mean we have to worship him.

    I’m not saying the historical verification thing isn’t nice. A lot of things factor into a religious conviction. It’s just my experience that Evangelicals who debate with Mormons tend to over-emphasize the focus on empiricism (and tend to overestimate how “empirically testable” their own religion is).

  65. MadChemist permalink
    March 29, 2009 3:13 am

    Germit:
    Should I selectively choose certain data points to present about Evangelical theology and then instruct Evangelicals to pray to God to determine if the fact the Holocaust happened proves Calvinism? Or maybe I could create the Evangelical equivalent of CARM, and exclude the data that I can’t explain. The problem with your “praying from the get go” is that in practice, several dishonest Evangelicals misuse it, withhold the Christology of the Book of Mormon, and only go for the wierdest portions (Cureloms, etc.). The first thing I taught as a Missionary was about God, how to pray. The assumption is that people will be praying the entire time they read. But until you know anything about the BoM, wouldn’t you feel a little ungracious if you expected God to give you insight if you refuse to fully read it before you ask about it’s truth? I know I feel it is dishonest when Evangelicals publish lists of problems, that are used by Evangelicals who do not read the BoM first, and instead focus solely on the problems. Quite frankly, I understand why Evangelicals don’t like “Misquoting Jesus” because atheists can read it instead of the Bible and only find the problems with the Evangelical assumptions. The difference is I have read the bible quite a bit, and know a bit about it. My faith was confirmed before I went to the problems. Yet I don’t ignore the problems. But I really wouldn’t have much of a foundation if I hadn’t already thought alot about the bible before I went to the highly critical literature. I see some Evangelicals willing to output only the “problems” of the book of Mormon with the full knowledge that few of their adherents will examine the entire book and will instead focus only on the “problems.”

    As for bait and switch, I really don’t think Evangelicals have any sort of moral high ground. You claim “sola scriptura” and then claim “historical orthodox christianity” and “creeds” are necessary. You claim “grace only” and then claim “the right beliefs are necessary”. While Jack is less dogmatic about the homoousian portion of trinitiarian understanding, it is probably safe to say she’d rather we believe ‘the orthodox belief.’ I mean, how many future Christians fully think through the ontological basis of the Godhead before they accept the altar call that gives them salvation! And then you kick them out if they don’t have the right belief! I don’t really care that you engage in this totally dishonest bait and switch, but just wish you would less hypocritical about it.! /{end tongue-partially-in-cheek rant}

  66. March 29, 2009 5:50 am

    MadChemist ~ While Jack is less dogmatic about the homoousian portion of trinitiarian understanding, it is probably safe to say she’d rather we believe ‘the orthodox belief.’

    I’d rather everyone believe exactly as I do. I am right about everything, after all.

  67. Tom permalink
    March 29, 2009 1:17 pm

    Jack – ROFL!

    you can’t be right about everything because I’m right about everything!!!

  68. MadChemist permalink
    March 29, 2009 7:04 pm

    Jessica says, “The Bible is a firmly established historical record.” What on earth does that mean? Does that mean that everything in the book has a historical evidence behind it. It better not, because then that statement becomes a blatant falsehood. There is absolutely no “historical evidence” of a 6×24 hour creation, and yet, Genesis 1 clearly teaches that. While there certainly is an easy to see correspondence between some cities mentioned in the Bible and cities that exist today (or have been found by archeologists), the implication that all cities mentioned in the Bible is present is certainly misleading. In fact, modern archeology has cast doubt into the “story of Jericho.” Not all secular and religious scholars believe that the bible is historical, and only believing religous scholars believe the bible is true. So we won’t accept blatant falsehoods about the current state of biblical studies to say “the bible is historical because no one believes parts of it aren’t”. That’s simply ignoring facts. If that’s really how you know the Bible is true, your testimony is on a pretty shaky foundation. The Bible never says, “You know this is true because the archeology matches up.” When the archeology doesn’t match up, must we automatically throw out the book?
    “To accept that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be – the inspired Word of God – requires faith. But this faith is founded in a record that has been proven to be true/historical. “ Except when it has not been proven. Tell me, has archeology proven Adam and Eve existed, or Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Melchisedek, Isaac, Jacob. Heck, there are even scholars who doubt that King David was a real person. It isn’t really even till Hezekiah we have a written record from anything outside of the Hebrew religious tradition that says these kings existed. Does that mean I give up my faith that they’re true. According to Jessica’s logic, I must. Of course, I don’t because I reject the assumption, “I can only believe what has been proven historically.”
    The Bible very clearly, and explictly states that we can ask God for knowledge. James 1:5. Note that I don’t have to rely on an incomplete archeological record, the various and contradicting assumptions and traditions of the Evangelicals, Protestants, orthodox, or catholics to determine what this verse plainly teaches. I’d suggest, that if these other organizations proof-text other verses to obscure the plainness of James, (for instance, by calling the book of James an epistle of Straw, ahem, Luther) there is something wrong with that organization.

    Jessica, have you ever gotten the chance to see the new musical Wicked? Here’s a line, that’s very pertinent to our discussion. The wizard to to Elpheba:
    “Elpheba, we believe all sorts of things that aren’t true. We call it history. Is one called a traitor, or liberator. A rich man’s a thief or philanthropist? Is one a crusader, or ruthless invader, it’s all in which label is able to persist. There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities, so we act as if they don’t exist.”

    Humanity is fallen. Our intellect is fallen. Our reasoning is broken. God is good, and God is right. He is the source of all truth and knowledge. Quoting some random Evangelical, “All power is given unto me, Jesus said, NOT to the books you will eventually write.”
    “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” Contrast that with, “trust our interpretation of the biblical data. It’s what everyone else is doing. We’ve done it for so long, there’s no way we could be wrong.”

    Tom,
    While a completed manuscript was only found after 1000AD, most of the individual books were found before that. The damaging part for evagnelicals are the changes that have been made in those manuscripts. While they can be debated about today, what of before. Does the Bible lose salvific effect if words, like the Johanine comma, are added? Was the Bible not the word of God while the comma was present? Certianly, scholars note that Mark lacks a deified description of Christ. Compare that with John who describes Jesus as Logos, with God and was God. John was written well before 1000 AD. To discuss these, I really need to do a post on Misquoting Jesus, if I write it, Jessica, can I email it to you?

    Further, any professor teaching about ancient Egypt who didn’t know that Moses is a better egyptian name than Hebrew is dense and shouldn’t be listened to. But your point is apt. It is incredibly difficult to prove something didn’t occur based on a limited data set of what DID occur.

  69. germit permalink
    March 30, 2009 12:19 am

    Madchemist: I appreciate you thoughts, but I’m going to stick with “pray as you go”; I would maintain that GOD is always busy outgiving us, even when our motives are less than the best. The GOD I believe in is not going to crack that whip and say “if you aren’t serious enough to read MY book, then why should I give you anything ??” Should we read the entire book (yours or mine) ? Well sure…. but I”m confident that GOD is looking to show us more of HIMSELF when HE gets the opportunity.

    Hoping you are finding GOD generous, today
    GERMIT

  70. germit permalink
    March 30, 2009 12:23 am

    JacK: if you’re going to wear the robes of infallibility, you simply MUST accessorize: I demand to see the JACK hat……. and some kind of staff wouldn’t be too bad either….

  71. March 30, 2009 12:52 am

    “Well sure…. but I”m confident that GOD is looking to show us more of HIMSELF when HE gets the opportunity.”

    i don’t care about that attitude germit. Sounds good to me.

    What bugs me is when Evangelicals don’t allow it to apply equally to us.

  72. germit permalink
    March 30, 2009 2:06 am

    Seth: your post has me, and will have me, thinking….. it is next to impossible for our respective ‘sides’ to give the other the benefit of the doubt; hmmm

    we’d say, surely if the lDS were open to GOD’s voice then….x,y, and z

    the LDS, surely if you’re hearing from GOD, then …..

    could GOD find a way to talk to BOTH groups, even with our widely divergent theologies ??

    this is food for thought

    looking to a GOD WHO still surprises
    GERmIT

  73. Tom permalink
    March 30, 2009 2:53 pm

    Gundeck –

    About my comment about people of other faiths not being damned. The Lord told Joseph Smith in DC 137:

    “All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God.”

    We don’t walk around telling people who’s saved and who’s damned. That judgment is reserved for God. We DO say that every individual should live according to the truth they have – whatever level of understanding that may be.

  74. MadChemist permalink
    April 1, 2009 1:26 pm

    Germit,
    I’m always glad when people live every day in faith and prayer. I would never suggest otherwise, I would just hope that people become a little less dogmatic about what they “know”. I will always find squirly little Evangelicals dishonest who just study Mormonism trying to find a way to disprove it. And the same is true if any Mormon studies Evangelicism with the sole purpose of trying to disprove it. In my experience, there are many more of the former than the latter.

  75. April 1, 2009 1:51 pm

    Mad Chemist: well said, but think of our respective motivation: you are told we are (probably) headed to some level of heaven; we are told you are (probably) headed to HELL. that can make us self-righteous and hateful, OR we can be trying to help you avoid eternal torment. I don’t want to make this smug, but the different theologies alone will lead to some differences in “what to do next”.

    from whence cometh our help….our eyes are lifted UP…..
    GERmIT

  76. GERMIT permalink
    April 1, 2009 6:12 pm

    PS:
    would just hope that people become a little less dogmatic about what they “know”.

    very well said, not so easily done, but this is a sound direction

    “let every man be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger….”
    tastefully emboidered (by hand) on Mr. Jack’s pillow, no doubt 🙂

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