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Do you agree with Glenn Beck’s soteriology?

July 26, 2010

Wow!  This looks very promising!  I am praying for Thomas Monson – that he will soon start preaching this same gospel.

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86 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2010 3:43 am

    Yawn.

    Read any Stephen R. Robinson or Robert Millett lately?

    This is hardly revolutionary. I could give a similar talk to that in just about any North American LDS chapel on Sunday and not get so much as a blink from the audience.

  2. July 26, 2010 4:02 am

    “Faith without works is dead” is often used by Mormons in an attempt to demonstrate that salvation is at least partially works based. I remember entire talks being given in my old ward about how “traditional Christians” teach the damning error of salvation by faith alone. Good to hear that Beck sees it differently.

    Darrell

  3. shematwater permalink
    July 27, 2010 1:43 am

    DARREL

    Glenn Beck does not dee it differently. What he says agrees completely with all the quotes later given from the church leaders.

    Read his words again. “To receive his salvation you accept his forgiveness of sin, and LIVE YOUR LIFE ACCORDING TO HIS WILL.” What does this mean. It means that one does not only accept the gift, but does the works, and through the combination of both we receive his salvation.

    I agree with every word spoken by Glenn Beck as reported in this article, because it agrees with Church doctrine. He is not advocating Salvation by Faith alone, but Salvation by Faith through works.

  4. July 27, 2010 2:13 am

    Shem,

    So you admit that an individual’s salvation is wholly dependent upon the works that they do?

  5. July 27, 2010 2:30 am

    What must I DO to legitimately accept Christ Darrell?

  6. July 27, 2010 1:06 pm

    What do you do to accept a gift Seth?

    Bear in mind that Shem wasn’t talking about accepting Christ, Seth. He specifically said more than accepting Christ is required.

    It means that one does not only accept the gift, but does the works, and through the combination of both we receive his salvation. [emphasis mine]

    Is this a position with which you agree?

    Darrell

  7. shematwater permalink
    July 27, 2010 5:50 pm

    DARREL

    I never said that an individual’s salvation is wholey dependant upon the works they do. I do not admit this because it is false.

    What I said is that salvation is not wholey dependant upon Grace, but that in combining the two (and faith) Salvation is attainable.

    Salvation is not wholey dependant an any one thing, but is partially dependant on three different things.

  8. July 27, 2010 5:54 pm

    Shem,

    Sorry for the confusion… I understand how my use of the word “wholly” can contradict what you are saying.

    Okay, so your position could be summed up as follows:

    Sacrifice of Christ + Acceptance + Obedience (works) = Salvation

    Is this correct?

    Darrell

  9. Ethan permalink
    July 27, 2010 7:43 pm

    Protestants are still aproaching this as if the two concepts are mutually exclusive. You must either be saved by faith or works.

    If you ask a Mormon “Do you believe you are saved by faith or by works?” She will answer, “yes.”

    There is also a huge semantic issue here. According to LDS theology ALL are saved from death by Christ, without any works. All will resurrect and overcome death. So LDS believe we are “saved” without works.

    Protestants believe that to be “saved” you must perfom the specific WORK of accepting Jesus. If you don’t do this work you are not saved. So Evangelicals are the ones who believe we are “saved” by works.

    Now, LDS “exaltation,” which is an entirely different concept than “salvation,” is a whole different issue. Maybe Protestants have overlooked the meaning of life and are imposing a definition of “salvation” that the Bible does not share.

  10. July 27, 2010 8:53 pm

    Ethan,

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I tend to agree with you that the defintions of the terms we are using can sometimes get in the way of understanding one another. Having been on both sides of the fence on this issue, I firmly believe that once the terms are clearly defined, LDS and Christians are still miles apart on grace vs. works as it pertains to salvation. To use a C.S. Lewis phrase, the difference is a razor’s edge, but it makes all the difference in the world.

    For example, as you correctly noted, Mormons believe that all will be resurrected due solely to the Christ’s offering. Some may call this “being saved.” However, to the Christian, being raised from the dead only to be consigned to “outer darkness” or the “telestial or terrestrial kingdom” is certainly not heaven. As such, this is not being saved.

    Truly, salvation to the Christian would be spending life with God… this is what you term the Celestial Kingdom. As to the charge that this is imposing a definition of salvation that the Bible does not share… would you mind providing some evidence for this fact? Where in the Bible does it provide a definition for salvation that contradicts eternal life with God?

    Darrell

  11. July 27, 2010 8:58 pm

    Having debated with Christians for several years now, I fail to see any practical difference between what they call faith and works anyway.

    So the whole debate has become rather pointless to me. As far as I can tell, Evangelicals are just as hung up on doing stuff to get into heaven as anybody.

    They just frame it in language that SAYS they don’t believe in works. But as a practical matter – they do just as much as anybody out there.

  12. July 27, 2010 9:29 pm

    Seth,

    Care to provide any proof, evidence, or even substance to back up your claims. Your opinion of what “evangelicals believe” without providing information doesn’t really hold any sway in my book.

    Darrell

  13. July 27, 2010 9:39 pm

    Ethan,

    One more thought here… accepting a gift is not work. For example, when someone gives me a gift for Christmas, all I have to do is accept the gift. The word “gift” necessarily does away with the concept of work. If I had to work for it, it wasn’t a gift.

    Quite honestly, I have heard this argument from Mormons before (trying to equate accepting a gift as work), and it is a rather stupid argument. I guess you really work hard on Christmas morning as a child receiving all those gifts from mom and dad. Give me a break.

    Darrell

  14. July 27, 2010 10:52 pm

    As far as I can tell, Evangelicals are just as hung up on doing stuff to get into heaven as anybody.

    I don’t agree. 🙂

    I grew up in a Christian home and heard the gospel early and often. I attended Sunday school, church, Bible camps, VBS, the whole nine yards. I would easily be able to describe God’s plan of salvation to anyone who asked. In fact, I did explain the gospel to others. But I often had nagging doubts about my own salvation. I wasn’t hung up on “works” per se. And I don’t think a lot of LDS are necessarily hung up on “works” either. I really like what Ethan said about people accusing LDS of having a “works only” salvation. LDS do teach that salvation is by faith. It is just that they teach salvation is not only by faith. As a child and teenager I often felt very unsettled about my spiritual state. Even though I had “prayed the prayer” I had very uncertain feelings about my eternal security. I would solve the guilt and anxiety that this insecurity would produce by going again to prayer and repeating the “sinners prayer.” I would wonder if perhaps I hadn’t really said all the right things the first time I accepted Christ. Then I would worry about confession–had I truly repented of all my sins? What if I hadn’t really meant it the first time? When I was a teenager the Left Behind series was very popular and I was worried that I would be one of those “religious people” left behind when the true saints were raptured. The worst part about my experience was that I never shared my doubts with anyone and so I kept up the facade of “being saved” while inwardly I was very uncertain about my salvation. My repetitive prayers of salvation would temporarily ease the anxiety but they never left me with the free and satisfied feeling of knowing where I was going when I died.

    I was 15 when I came to really understand salvation by faith. I was reading Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians–a book written to offer hope and encouragement regarding the rapture of believers. When I came to the end of the book and read this passage something finally clicked in my head.

    For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him (5:9-10)

    Paul, in writing to believers, offered tremendous hope for people–not by pointing them to a prayer that they could pray the correct way (and really mean it) nor by giving them some sort of task to do. He pointed them to Jesus Who died for us. It was such a pivotal moment in my life and I still feel emotional when I think about the difference in mindset and view from what I had been trusting in to Who I should be trusting. I had been so dependent upon MY prayer, MY intentions, MY meaning, MY words, MY motives, MY confession, and MY repentance that I missed the whole message of the gospel. The gospel is not about me. The gospel is Christ and His death. He died for me so that, whether I wake or sleep (whether I am alive or dead) I would live together with Him. And that is where my faith began. It started when I trusted God at His word that He would keep my salvation and I could stop making an effort to do it myself.

    I cannot begin to describe the joy of knowing that my salvation is secure in the outstretched arms of Christ. It is a peace that my repetitive prayers (my works) were not able to provide.

  15. July 27, 2010 11:18 pm

    I love the way you explained that Stephanie. how true! It is not about us. It is about Him. It is about letting go and receiving a gift He is providing, and because He is the all-powerful, all-good, and all-knowing God, we can rest in His promise. We don’t have to rely upon our good works, which a really nothing more than filthy rags anyway.

    Beautifully put my sister in Christ.

    Darrell

  16. July 27, 2010 11:22 pm

    Darrell, what do I have to DO to properly accept Jesus Christ’s gift?

    Until you can answer that question without evading it, and in a way that makes sense, you do not have a viable position here.

    The end.

    Thanks for the attempt Stephanie, but that doesn’t really clarify much for me.

  17. July 27, 2010 11:40 pm

    What work is involved in properly receiving a gift Seth? Until you can demonstrate that receiving a gift requires work, your point remains woefully unproven. The burden of proof lies completely in your court here Seth.

    The end.

    Christ’s sacrifice is a gift, and a gift, by definition, involves no work.

    Good day sir!

    Darrell

  18. July 28, 2010 12:07 am

    OK Darrell.

    I accept Jesus.

    So I guess we have nothing more to talk about, right?

    Unless, of course, you believe that a person can fall from grace.

    Do you believe a person can fall from grace Darrell?

  19. July 28, 2010 12:13 am

    Which Jesus Seth?

    The one who is your older brother and who was spiritually born of a God who was once a man?

    Darrell

  20. July 28, 2010 12:21 am

    Oh…

    So you mean you have to have the correct theology in order to accept Jesus. Is that what you are saying?

    What works does my 3 year old son have to perform in order to gain this correct understanding of Jesus that you have Darrell?

  21. July 28, 2010 1:04 am

    If Paul is offering me a car as a gift, but I approach Peter to accept it, I won’t receive the gift. Peter doesn’t have the gift to give, even Igbo call him by the name of Paul when I approach Him.

    Still my “works” don’t play into this. Paul has offered the gift freely, I just haven’t accepted it. In the same sense, Romans 1 tells us that all of nature testifies of God, so no one is without excuse. Some just choose to refuse the gift.

    Darrell
    Darrell

  22. July 28, 2010 1:07 am

    IPhone typing again! Uuggghhhh!

    Darrell

  23. shematwater permalink
    July 28, 2010 1:13 am

    DARREL

    In a very simplified way I would agree that “Sacrifice of Christ + Acceptance + Obedience (works) = Salvation” when acceptance is understood to mean faith. However, this would only apply if the term Salvation is being defined as “Exaltation.”

    I am a firm believer that Salvation in Heaven (any of the degrees of Glory) is a free gift to all who do not commit the unpardonable sin, for Christ himself stated that all other sins shall be forgiven (including murder) with no condition on this forgiveness. It is only the unpardonable sin that prevents Salvation in Heaven. As this is basically a rejection of Christ and God, I think the basic idea is the same for both LDS and other Christians. The difference comes only in our understanding of what Heaven is.

    As to the work of accepting a gift, it is a mental work. Many people find it difficult to accept a gift, to lower their own pride enough to take it, and then to not be offended by it. It may not be a physical action, but it is definitely work to accept anything.

    STEPHANIE

    I think Seth is refering to the concept of “Saving Faith.” I have had many people tell me strait out that works don’t matter. But when asked concerning James epistle and the whole “Faith without works is dead” they say that if you don’t have the works you don’t have the faith.
    So we say that Faith+Works+Grace=salvation.
    You say that Faith+Grace+salvation=works.
    It is basically the same thing, as for either of us the removal of works voids the entire equation.

  24. July 28, 2010 1:15 am

    Except you guys seem to feel that quite a bit of work is needed to distinguish Peter from Paul.

  25. July 28, 2010 1:44 am

    Shem,

    It is just as I thought… our defintions are very different. I do not view the concept of the telestial or terrestrial kingdoms as heaven. They are not life spent with God. Salvation in Heaven is life with God in His fullness (at least as much as we can handle), and you believe works are a necessary component in getting us there.

    Can you provide any biblical evidence to support the idea that salvation is anything other than life with God?

    Furthermore, a gift, by definition, cannot involve works. If I have to work to get something, it is not a gift. As we are told in the Bible, works NULLIFIES grace.

    In reality, I believe quite the opposite of what you assert is true. Refusing a gift involves work (turning your back on it, sticking to your guns are relying on the false notion of self-sufficiency, etc.). Accepting a gift truly requires no work… all one has to do is receive… this is the ultimate LACK of work.

    Seth,

    One doesn’t have to work to distinguish Paul and Peter, i.e., the true God vs. all the false Gods. The evidence is all around us (Romans 1:20). In addition, God foreknows who is willing to accept the gift (Romans 8:28-30), and He, through His infinite power and sovereignty assures that they will receive the gospel. Again, no work on our part… it is all due to God’s grace. How wonderful it is!

    Darrell

  26. July 28, 2010 1:56 am

    Seth,

    I can see that you are irritated with Christians saying “Just believe! Just accept Christ!” when you DO believe. You DO accept Christ. I also am very irritated when I hear people make comments along the same line. I’m sorry if I conveyed that message to you when I was relating my own personal experience. I believe that what makes the NT presentation of the gospel different than the LDS presentation of the gospel is the combination of what you ARE doing with what you are NOT doing.

    The writer of Hebrews urges his readers to “labor therefore to enter into that rest” (Heb 4:11). This hardly sounds like a passive assent to the message of the gospel. And what is the “rest” for believers? Verse 10 says For he that is entered into rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. We have been urged to labor to not work! The author points out the seriousness of failing to follow God’s direction in this manner. The risk of not entering into that rest is “unbelief” (v. 11). God equates working for salvation with unbelief and hardness of heart (v. 7)

    I’d like to amend Shem’s formula to present this view of salvation:

    Christ’s work + not my work = salvation by grace (Titus 3:5)

  27. July 28, 2010 2:23 am

    I haven’t really been following Shem’s arguments in this thread.

  28. shematwater permalink
    July 28, 2010 5:17 pm

    STEPHANIE

    You can’t really add a negative, so that part of the equation becomes void. Which leads to the basic “Christ Works = Salvation by Grace.” Fine. So tell me, why would anyone be going to Hell?
    You need to amend your equation to say Christ + My Faith = Salvation by Grace or you have contradicted yourself.

    This is all fine, but it is not what most people actually profess. The problem with this is what James says; “Faith Without Works is Dead.” Thus, to have the faith that will complete this equation you must also have the works to prove that faith.

    If you do not agree with this than you logically (whether intentionally or not) espousing the idea that once we are saved we can engage in any kind of sin we want and it won’t matter, becuase what we do has no effect.

    So please explain which of these views you accept as the truth.

    DARREL

    The Doctrine of Salvation is basically the same between the two view points. Even the basic idea of verying rewards in Heaven in shared by many Evangelical Christians (at least most that I have spoken to). This is the logical doctrine of the Bible. All gain salvation in Heaven, but we will be judged by our works in the flesh, and from this receive our reward in Heaven. This is what the Bible teaches, and what most people actually believe, whether they are Christian or LDS (at least from my experience). So, what I said was accurate.

    As to the differences in our views of Heaven, this really comes mainly because we accept the Bible as teaching three Gods, or a Godhead. As such, all in the Telestial Glory will be in the presence of God, as will those in the Terrestral and the Celestial. They will all be in the presence of the One True God of Heaven and Earth. So, again we are the same in this most basic of understandings, in that both believe that all those in Heaven will be in the presence of the God.

    I agree that there is a difference in our doctrine, but I see a greater similarity than what most people want to admit to. The biggest difference is in what we believe the rewards to be that we will receive when we get to Heaven. In general we actually teach what these rewards are, while the rest of Christianity seems to have no clue.

    As to Biblical evidence, I really don’t care if there is or not. It does not have to be in the Bible to be true. However, I will say that I think there is. The word Salvation is not a word of a single meaning. Salvation can be used to mean being saved from anything. It can be rightly said that Abraham Lincoln brought salvation to the slaves; or that Moses brought salvation to the Israelites. These are both proper uses of the term. There are also synonomous words and phrases that can be used to convey the same idea. As such, any phrase in the Bible that speaks to the rescuing, or liberating, or any other such idea can rightly be termed a kind of salvation.
    So: 1 Corinthians 15: 22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” In this we can rightly apply the term salvation as being a Salvation from physical Death.
    And: John 8: 12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” In this we can rightly apply the term salvation as being a Salvation from Ignorance (or darkness).
    So, there are places in the Bible that support the use of the term Salvation for things other than to be with God.

    As to the Gift, to me any time we have to make a choice we are performing a work. If we make the right choice it is a good work, if we make the wrong choice it is a bad work. Thus, when presented with a gift we must make a choice. In the case of Christ’s gift, accepting it would be a good work, and rejecting it a bad one. But it is still a work because we have made the choice.

  29. July 28, 2010 8:27 pm

    Shem,

    Thanks for your response. I just want to address a couple of your comments.

    The Doctrine of Salvation is basically the same between the two view points…

    I have to disagree. Our views on how we get to heaven, as we have already discussed, are completely different, as are our concepts of what Heaven is. You view Heaven as anything avoiding Outer Darkness… Telestial Kingdom included. As the Temple Ceremony teaches, we are currently living in the Telestial Kingdom, and this is NOT what the Christian idea of Heaven is.

    As to Biblical evidence, I really don’t care if there is or not. It does not have to be in the Bible to be true.

    Shem, we are not talking about just any type of salvation here. We are talking about salvation in heaven, and you are taking the position that salvation in Heaven can be something other than life with the fullness of the God(head). If you don’t care to provide biblical support for your idea, that is fine. Just please understand how unpersuasive a position you are taking.

    Personally, I find zero biblical support for the LDS concept of the afterlife. When the Bible speaks of Heaven, it speaks of life with God, and, as the Bible makes very clear, there is, was, and will only ever be, One God. In addition, the Bible does not talk about Heaven being divided into separate places… Heaven is always spoken of as one place.

    As to the Gift, to me any time we have to make a choice we are performing a work.

    I can understand what you are saying here, but the Bible contradicts your position. Grace is a gift, and the the Bible teaches that it is either graceor works. It is not both grace and works.

    Romans 4:4-5 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

    Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

    If works are part of the equation, there is no grace, and as you have so elequently pointed out, the LDS formula for getting to the Celestial Kingdom (Heaven) includes works. Thus, there can be no grace.

    Blessings!!

    Darrell

  30. July 28, 2010 8:39 pm

    Well, heaven may turn out being something a little different than most Christians have assumed:

  31. July 28, 2010 9:02 pm

    Seth,

    There is nothing shocking in what he shares. The Bible teaches, and many biblically informed Christians believe (including my church) in exactly the process he speaks about. The “heaven” we go to upon death is a “temporary” place. After the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth, the earth is remade into a “New Earth” and this is the Heaven where we will spend eternity with God. This is the teaching of Revelation.

    Mormons don’t have a corner on this belief and they certainly weren’t the first to have it. It is a clear teaching of the Bible.

    The challenge for Mormons is defending the concept of “Heaven” being broken up into separate places, the CURRENT form of the earth being one… the Telestial Kingdom.

    Darrell

  32. July 28, 2010 9:14 pm

    As long as it isn’t clearly refuted by the Bible, it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.

    My experience is that the response from others outside of Mormonism to a tiered view of the afterlife is overwhelmingly positive.

  33. July 28, 2010 9:17 pm

    I applaud that the Right Reverend can take something spelled out in the creeds and produce a book as if it was something astonishingly new. Good for him.

  34. Ethan permalink
    July 29, 2010 2:13 am

    Stephanie, I found your post insightful. You concluded that “The gospel is not about me. The gospel is Christ and His death.”

    I think you hit on the major difference between our two mindsets. A crucial understanding of the nature of man and God.

    This has everything to do with why we are on Earth, why there is suffering here and why we believe in “works.”

    You believe that mankind is a creature of God, destined to live in His presence and bask in His greatness for it’s own sake and nothing more. Blissful stagnation where Heaven becomes a type of humanity zoo or glorified, narcissistic God-show where all is focused on Him. Where an egotistical God created mankind for the sole purpose of worshiping Him forever. It’s about God, not you. You were created because God was not complete without a fanclub.

    Now contrast that with another view. LDS believe that the purpose of life is to progress and refine ourselves for higher places so we can become like Christ. That we are children of God, not creatures. God lifts us up to where He is. His role is father, with every cultural and societal implication that entails, including being in His image and likeness and sharing His potential. We are apprentices to God. Works then are not some scoreboard point system to justify our salvation by “earning” abstract rewards, as some accuse LDS of believing. Rather, works are the transforming agent, our university and PhD program. They are the purpose of life on Earth, like homework and exams are the point of school.

    This is a profound difference. I see why you frown upon “works,” you don’t believe children can become like their parents in Heaven. Works are the way children become adults on Earth also. Fatherhood is not about having your kids remain in childhood to forever adore your awesome fatherness. Fatherhood is about teaching your kids to grow up and be self sufficient.

    Ultimately, people will have to ask themselves which view of God’s role resonates with them personally. For me it is no contest. The LDS view is the only non-insane, natural view. Who are we and what is the point of it all? Why do babies become adults? That question, when deeply pondered, should bring droves of people into the LDS Church.

  35. Ethan permalink
    July 29, 2010 2:48 am

    Seth,
    Great Protestant video with LDS doctrines. A purely biblical reading of how the Earth itself will die and resurrect physically as humans do and be rolled back into the presence of God as a new planet.

    Reverand Wright needs to read Article of Faith 10, as well as the true meaning of the beatitude: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the EARTH.” According to the view of the Left Behind crowd, who wants it?

  36. July 29, 2010 3:25 am

    Ethan,

    You believe that mankind is a creature of God, destined to live in His presence and bask in His greatness for it’s own sake and nothing more.

    You’ve forgotten one thing! We plan on doing this together. All of my brothers and sisters in Christ will be joined together in heaven worshiping God. I won’t be separated from my any of my friends and family. My dad often remarks about what a godly woman his grandmother was. She died a long time ago and I never had the opportunity of meeting her. Thankfully the Bible teaches that “families are forever.” I’ll be united with my spiritual family forever when I reach heaven and I never have to worry about being separated from them. I will spend forever with them while we worship God together!

    Blissful stagnation where Heaven becomes a type of humanity zoo or glorified, narcissistic God-show where all is focused on Him.

    Ouch! I’m blissfully stagnant? That hurts. My walk with Christ has been growing steadily ever since I came into a relationship with Him. As God continues His work of sanctification in my life and convicts me of sin and rebellion I’ve found that I can continue to be of greater and greater service to Him. When I look at my spiritual walk today compared with even one year ago I see remarkable differences.

    I have no problem with your description of the LDS program seeming “natural.” The vast majority of the world’s religions include some sort of works component–some larger than others. Of course that is natural. Human’s don’t behave like God. Its not natural for humans to think that they can get anything for free–certainly not eternal life.

    You’ve written quite a lengthy post describing the LDS versus traditional Christian view but I noticed that you haven’t interacted with the concept provided by the writer of Hebrews. How does that passage fit in with LDS teaching?

  37. Ethan permalink
    July 29, 2010 3:41 am

    Stephanie, in all of this you are still the equivalent of a glorified pet. An alien creature whose sole existence is designed to serve and glorify (loyally adore) your master.

    I dont’ want to be an eternal house cat, no matter how luxurious my pen is. Can you show me how the traditional view of Heaven not essentially this? How is a human in Heaven different than a Golden Retreiver on Earth. Even animals can talk in Heaven, are we just more advanced animals there? Are we a different species to God, created only to serve and worship Him?

    The LDS view of man is not only more dignified, but it is something worth living for. And it doesn’t make God look so self centered.

  38. Ethan permalink
    July 29, 2010 3:57 am

    You are right about the LDS view being widely prevelant in ancient tradition. We find it in Egypt and as far away as the enlightenment philosophies of Asian Zen teachings that stress mastering the carnal mind (via perfecting works) in an attempt to approach Godliness within us. In fact, all of the recent findings about archaic Near Eastern religion show an obsession with human development and divine potential of mankind. Margaret Barker has written volumes on the lost pre-exilic Israelite temple traditions that are full of these themes.

    If you strip these away you have a hollow shell of a life as creatures, similar to what is being taught by Christianity. Gone are the core elements of the ancient religion. Mormonism has preserved these beautifully.

    You’ll have to be more specific about Hebrews.

  39. Ethan permalink
    July 29, 2010 4:18 am

    I realize the “pet” analogy may seem a bit harsh. I’m sure you view it differently. But truly, at the end of the day this is essentially the Protestant Heaven. You may be reconciled to such an eternity, but I’d wager most people would find the LDS view of mankind and Heaven to be much more glorious once they see the differences.

    It’s like choosing between a black & white TV and HDTV. Such possibilities resonate with something primordial and basic inside everyone. We are all creators by nature. Let it out.

  40. July 29, 2010 4:26 am

    Ethan, I usually only whip out the “narcissistic God playing with his action figures” line when Darrell is being a jerk about the Mormon afterlife.

    I don’t usually bring it up with Protestants otherwise.

    You kind of have to be asking for it before caricatures like that are called for. You might want to tone it down a notch. Especially since these questions are kind of tangential to the main post.

  41. July 29, 2010 10:50 am

    Seth

    You kind of have to be asking for it before caricatures like that are called for. You might want to tone it down a notch.

    Thanks for the effort, Seth, but its a little late. If my eyes could get any wider reading Ethan’s responses my eyeballs would fall out.

    Ethan

    You’ll have to be more specific about Hebrews.

    I was referring to chapter 4–Sabbath rest apart from works.

  42. July 29, 2010 2:53 pm

    Another Mormon blog has taken up the issue of Glen Beck’s comments and MRM’s response:

    http://www.libertypages.com/cgw/2010/07/28/beck-mormonism-and-evangelicalism/

  43. Ethan permalink
    July 29, 2010 6:17 pm

    Just calling it exactly like it is.

  44. Ethan permalink
    July 29, 2010 6:19 pm

    It is not a caricature really. This is ultimately one of the fundamental choices people considering between LDS/Protestant afterlives will need to consider. It is extremely relevant. I am open to any other explanations of the Protestant view of the nature of God and man.

  45. July 29, 2010 7:10 pm

    Ethan,

    What you fail to see is that you are only critiquing a very extreme view of Christianity… 5 Point Calvinism. Not all Christians, in fact really only a very small minority, are 5 Point Calvinists. As such, your critique is highly uniformed and very unpersuasive… in reality, it is nothing more than a straw man to most of us.

    Darrell

  46. July 29, 2010 8:27 pm

    Don’t worry Ethan your critique doesn’t exactly address Calvinism either so you are batting 1000.

  47. July 29, 2010 9:08 pm

    I am open to any other explanations of the Protestant view of the nature of God and man.

    The Bible presents man as lost and utterly hopeless without Christ. Christians are extremely aware of their own lack of ability to save themselves and as such they are grateful to God who gives them grace. As far as blatant sins go, my life has been fairly tame. I’m not a former druggie or axe murderer. But I am reminded over and over again of just how merciful God is. I honestly can’t understand how He could be patient enough to give me so many second chances. He has forgiven me for so many things that I’ve done wrong. It would not be too much for me to worship Him forever in eternity for what He has done for me.

    The reason that I was shocked and amazed at your comments wasn’t because they were “calling it exactly like it is.” I was floored by your arrogance. You are speaking to Christians who believe that God’s gift of His Son gave them EVERYTHING! It wasn’t just one piece of the puzzle, one stepping stone to achieving godhood ourselves. The word that came to mind as I read your comments (all of them) was blasphemy. I can’t speak to your relationship with God, but I can talk about my own. I have a very deep and personal relationship with God and as I’ve grown in that relationship my own self-righteousness has begun to look more and more shabby. I’ve grown in personal humility as I’ve watched my view of God grow. Perhaps our views of God are different, but I’m not sure I want to follow any religion that leaves its male membership going around half-cocked as they prepare for a lifetime reigning as deity.

  48. July 29, 2010 9:48 pm

    “but I’m not sure I want to follow any religion that leaves its male membership going around half-cocked as they prepare for a lifetime reigning as deity.”

    What, don’t you believe in the power of the Atonement?

    As for half-cocked – you’ve just described the male membership of just about every religious denomination in the United States.

  49. July 29, 2010 11:19 pm

    You know what Gundeck. I think you are right. After rereading Ethan’s comments, I am not sure exactly what he is critiquing. At first glance, his “glorified pet” comment had me thinking it was a poor caricature of Calvinism, but after a second read, I have no idea what he is crtiquing. Whatever it is, it certainly isn’t Christianity.

    Darrell

  50. July 30, 2010 12:53 am

    Ethan pretty much stole the “eternal house cat” line from my own assessment of the Mormon heaven, here. Guess that criticism really stuck in his craw for him to be trying to flip it back on Protestants now.

    I, in turn, stole it from the Mormon feminist philosophy blog Zelophehad’s Daughters, a post by Kiskilili entitled “The Role of Women in Heaven” (I’m not going to link to it so that my comment won’t be queued).

    I guess it just goes to show . . .

    “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. ” ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9 [TNIV]

    “All knowledge is plagiarized; only stupidity is original.” ~ Buddhist Proverb

  51. July 30, 2010 12:59 am

    As for half-cocked – you’ve just described the male membership of just about every religious denomination in the United States.

    I’m not aware of any Christian denomination in the U.S. that teaches that men will become gods. If that doesn’t lead to arrogance and pride I’m not sure what does!

    The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18

  52. July 30, 2010 3:35 am

    “AS FOR HALF-COCKED, you’ve just described the male membership of just about every religious denomination in the United States.”

  53. July 30, 2010 10:16 am

    I think you know that we are talking about behavior and mindset, not physical characteristics of the male species. 🙂

  54. July 30, 2010 12:57 pm

    Yup. I do know that.

    Thus my comment above.

  55. July 30, 2010 1:18 pm

    This “half-cocked” argument: fill me in here.

    Stephanie is saying that the male LDS population is ill-prepared for godhood.

    Seth is saying that the male membership in most other Christian churches is ill-prepared . . . for what, exactly? And why is the male membership in said churches ill-prepared but not the female membership?

  56. shematwater permalink
    July 30, 2010 5:11 pm

    DARREL

    Tell me if you agree with what these two statement say.

    “Entrance into Heaven is a free gift of God to all the faithful.”
    “All those who dwell in heaven will dwell in the presence of the One True God of Heaven and Earth.”

    Your dislike of what I said concerning Biblical Evidence is understandable, but in the question given you did not specify what kind of Salvation you wanted evidence for. So I gave a few samples.
    Personally, besides Exodus 14: 13, I do not think there is a passage in the Bible using the term salvation that does not refer to Exaltation. So, in this sense there is no evidence from the use of the word.
    Now, as you want evidence that Salvation in Heaven is not necessarily being in the Presence of the Father, I will attempt to explain where I see it.
    First, we read in Matthew 12: 31-32 that “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
    And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
    In Mark 3: 29 it says “All sins.”
    From this I understand that there is nothing that will not be forgiven eventually. Even murder will be forgiven. The only sin not forgiven in denying the Holy Ghost (the unpardonable sin). Because everything else will be forgiven it is logical to conclude that all will eventually enter heaven (or can) including murderers.

    However, we read in 1 John 3: 15 that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
    Then in John 17: 3 we read “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

    A murderer does not have eternal life. Eternal Life is to know God, which can only be fully realized if we are in God’s presence. But, a murderer can still be in heaven.
    So, a murderer is in heaven, but he cannot be in the presence of God, as this is what Eternal Life means. He has received the free gift of salvation in Heaven, but not the Salvation that is living in the presence of God.

    STEPHIE (and anyone else)

    Just answer this very simple question. Why did God create us? I do not want another discourse on how much he has done for you, and how unworthy we all are. Simply answer this very basic question (which is the central point to what Ethan is saying). Why did God create us?

  57. July 30, 2010 5:22 pm

    God created us because he loved us and it pleased him to do so.

    Incidentally, I think my own reasons for choosing to have a child were about the same.

  58. July 30, 2010 6:37 pm

    Jack,

    Stephanie is saying that the male LDS population is ill-prepared for godhood.

    Kind of. But I was mostly alluding to the fact that Ethan’s arrogance does not bode well for him. I was kind of waiting for him to begin quoting this passage from Isaiah to support his claims.

    I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

    I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Isa. 14:13-14

  59. July 30, 2010 6:58 pm

    Shemmie (Its only fair since you called me Stephie) 🙂

    Why did God create us?

    Paul tells us that everything was created by and for God. He is the all -powerful Creator who holds the universe together. He chose to create us out of His own good pleasure, out of His love for us.

    For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Col. 1:16-17

    In my opinion the Mormon presentation of heaven is a bit of false advertising. The churches slogan “families are forever” really doesn’t hold true. If the Mormon worldview were true each man could go on to achieve godhood on his own planet. His wife would go with him to help to create spirit children, but if his sons progressed to godhood they would have their own worlds. His father would have presumably also achieved godhood, having his own world. So, in reality, instead of proclaiming that “families are forever” they really should only teach that “marriage is forever.” But marriage is really not forever in the sense of it being an exclusive relationship because the man progressing to godhood will need additional wives to help him spawn more spirit children. These additional wives would fundamentally alter his original marriage with his earthly wife. In contrast, the Bible teaches that in heaven we will all be united together glorifying God. We will have relationships with not only our family and friends but also all the great Christians who have gone on before. I especially look forward to meeting Peter, David, Job, Esther, and Joseph. Can you understand why Christians would look forward to going to heaven? We are excited about being in the presence of God and in the sweet fellowship of other believers–without the possibility of ever being separated from them.

  60. NChristine permalink
    July 30, 2010 8:18 pm

    Hi Shem,

    I hope you don’t mind if I interject. I noticed that at least twice you made the argument that Matthew 12 and Mark 3 imply that all sins will be forgiven wholesale. This gives the idea that no one (or hardly anyone) is in danger of judgment. But is this a valid way of interpreting these passages?

    A quick reading could yield one of two meanings. First, Jesus’ words could mean that “every sin” (i.e., every kind of sin) would be, or could be, forgiven. That does not imply that every particular sin (or sinner) would be forgiven. Second, He could mean that “every single sin” for every sinner would be forgiven automatically, wholesale, and without any response to Him necessary on the part of the sinner. So if we could hastily form either conclusion, we need to look at Jesus’ teachings as a whole in order to see which is accurate. In favor of the second option, you noted that there is “no condition” mentioned. In this line of reasoning, all will eventually be “saved” from judgment. However, in the whole of Jesus’ teachings, He repeatedly discussed the very real danger of hell and made it clear that sin–and not just some special, very rare sin–leads someone to hell.

    For example, in Matthew 5:22 he declared that those who simply call their brother a “fool” are in danger of hell (Gehenna) fire. In Matthew 10 he admonished fear of God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. In Mark 9:42-50 he recommended cutting off a body part that “causes you to sin” rather than being cast into hell. Most importantly, Jesus specifically explained that at the end, when He will physically raise the dead (which Mormons call general “salvation”), some will be “raised” to be sent to “damnation.”

    Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

    In LDS theology, physical resurrection equals salvation. But Jesus said that some of those who are physically resurrected will be damned! (Compare this with the two different resurrections of Revelation 20:5-6, 11-15.) And what is the cause of the damnation? Jesus said very clearly that it is a result of doing “evil.” It is a very dangerous thing to minimize sin and minimize judgment, because the entire Old Testament and New Testament are centered around the problem of sin and the remedy for that sin. And this remedy is not automatic. Jesus indicated that “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat,” but that the way that leads to life is “narrow,” and “few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Certainly this is far from teaching that all people, or most people, will be automatically forgiven of the sin that sends them to hell.

    The Bible focuses not only on sin but on its remedy, as well. In the same passage in which Jesus talked about the two resurrections, with the resurrection of damnation for those who do evil, he also set forth the remedy:

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24).

    So what did Jesus mean in Matthew 12/Mark 3 when he said “all things” would be forgiven men? Notice that in Matthew 12:31 He explicitly said that “all manner of sin” would be forgiven. This is absolutely true. Consider the Corinthian believers, some of whom had previously been “fornicators…idolaters…adulterers…homosexuals…sodomites…thieves..coveteous…drunkards…revilers…extortioners” (I Corinthians 6:9-11). The apostle Paul said of them, “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” If you take Jesus’ words any other way, you must say that He contradicted Himself repeatedly.

    The Scripture gives no promises of automatic forgiveness to those who do not accept it. The problem of sin is very real, and the danger of judgment is very real. That is why the gift of forgiveness through Christ is so precious and sweet.

  61. shematwater permalink
    July 31, 2010 11:40 pm

    STEPHANIE

    Sorry for the mispelled name.

    Your answer is really what I thought it would be. However, I have another question.
    You said “He chose to create us out of His own good pleasure, out of His love for us.”
    If he created us out of nothing (as is general taught by the Christian world) what did he love before he created us? In other words, we did not exist before he created us, and so how could he love what did not yet exist?

    Now, I do not think you have a proper understanding of the Eternal Worlds and how things work there. In all truth the exact nature is not even openly taught, and is not really known. As such, what you describe, though a common belief, is not accurately called church doctrine.
    I will tell you that from what I understand of Church Doctrine the family will be forever. All the righteous of this Earth will still live here after we are all resurrected and glorified, for the “Meek shall inherit the Earth.” We will not go off to our own planets and be separated from our families, but will live here with them. Yes, we will all create planets for our children. However, just as our Father lives on Kolob with the gods of his generation, we shall all live on this earth with those of our generation.
    This is just my ideas, but they are fully supported by the actual doctrine of the church.

    CHRISTINE

    The way I see the passage in Matthew is that all sins will be forgiven eventually. Those who are evil will suffer eternal torment for a period of time sufficient to pay for their sins, and then be admitted into the lowest realms of heaven. This is the fate of murderers.
    No, I do not think this verse indicates a wholesale forgiveness, but it does indicate forgiveness for every sin. It is not just a possibility, but a certainty, for all those who do not deny the Holy Ghost. What will happen before that forgiveness is granted is a different matter.

  62. NChristine permalink
    August 1, 2010 3:28 am

    Hi Shem,

    Thanks for the comment. Can you provide biblical evidence for any of the following statements?

    Those who are evil will suffer eternal torment for a period of time sufficient to pay for their sins

    Those who are evil will…then be admitted into the lowest realms of heaven.

    This is the fate of murderers.

    It is not just a possibility, but a certainty, for all those who do not deny the Holy Ghost.

    Other than a couple of misinterpreted passages Catholics use to try to prove purgatory, I know of no passages supporting items 1 or 2. I am aware of no passage that indicates that murderers will suffer a different fate than other sinners. And I am unaware of any passage at all indicating that all who do not “deny the Holy Ghost” will be forgiven of all their sins–at any point. [It should be noted that because of the context, many interpret denial of the Holy Ghost to mean ultimate rejection of the Holy Spirit’s witness to Christ. If so, this would apply to everyone who never receives Jesus.] Can you think of any biblical evidence for these beliefs? Also, how do you explain the scriptures I quoted previously (and there are many others)?

    NChristine

  63. August 1, 2010 4:11 am

    Shem,

    I was just teasing about the name. 🙂

    You asked “What did He love before He created us?” I would suggest that you, as a parent, loved your child before he or she was born. You knew nothing about the personality, character traits, strengths and weakness–nothing really! Up until a certain point you didn’t even know the baby’s gender. You just knew that it was yours. If you are a human and are capable of that kind of love, what about our Heavenly Father? As a Christian, I do believe in God’s omniscience. God told the prophet Jeremiah

    Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (1:5)

    I believe that God exists outside of time and that He knows every decision that humans will make. He loves us even in the face of all our sin and weakness.

    It seems as though you are shifting the conversation to the pre-existence. [That’s fine by the way. No one is discussing Glen Beck anyway 🙂 ] Before we completely de-rail onto a different topic, though, I would like to go back to address your response to Hebrews 4. Did you read Hebrews 4 before you responded? Because your response is contradicted by that passage. This is what you said:

    I never said that an individual’s salvation is wholey dependant upon the works they do. I do not admit this because it is false.
    What I said is that salvation is not wholey dependant upon Grace, but that in combining the two (and faith) Salvation is attainable.

    You also said:

    Thus, to have the faith that will complete this equation you must also have the works to prove that faith.

    This is what Hebrews 4 says:

    There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Heb 4:9-11)

    Your statements are directly refuted by Hebrews 4. Further, what you are advocating in your combination method is referred to by the author of Hebrews as “unbelief.”

  64. August 1, 2010 1:54 pm

    Shematwater,

    You have confused creation ex nihilo with the creation of man. A quick reading of Gen 2:7 shows that “God formed man of the dust of the ground” not out of nothing or some form of pre-existing intelligence matter. I am interested in clarifying some of your positions.

    For instance if the “Father lives on Kolob [I thought Kolob was a star] with the gods of his generation” what are we to think of the promises to spend eternity with God? Ethan is insistent that after the resurrection humans will live in the “presence of God as a new planet”. You on the other hand argue that salvation is possible apart from eternity with God and that generations of gods remain on their home planet. The question is, are families forever or can we expect the presence of God on the new Earth?

    I am also having some difficulty with your claim that “those who are evil will suffer eternal torment for a period of time sufficient to pay for their sins…” There seems to be an inherent contradiction in this position. If eternal torment is required to expiate sins when exactly does it end? If eternal isn’t forever what does that tell us about the duration of eternal life?

    I don’t quite understand how your expiatory eternal torment squares with Ethan’s position that “the purpose of life is to progress and refine ourselves for higher places so we can become like Christ.” Is submission to divine eternal torture required to teach people how to pick themselves up by their spiritual bootstraps and exalt themselves? An eternal purging inquisition of torment makes you wonder why there was a rebellion in your pre-existence.

    Am I understanding you correctly about the need for perfect obedience, eternal torment for sin, and the non-presence of God on the new Earth?

  65. August 1, 2010 2:20 pm

    It should be noted that at least some of what Shem is doing here is speculation. For instance, that “God” and “gods of his generation” stuff about living near Kolob (you are right to be confused there Gundeck – scripture speaks of God living near Kolob, not on it). This is purely Shem making stuff up. True, he’s drawing inferences from LDS writing, but that’s all he’s doing. I’ve seen him engage in this kind of thing before in an attempt to logically sort out LDS theology, and I can’t say I always follow or agree with his conclusions.

    Just keep in mind that Shem doesn’t speak for every Mormon out there. Many of his arguments in the past have left me scratching my head – which is why I often tend to make my arguments independent of whatever he’s discussing at the moment.

  66. August 1, 2010 10:14 pm

    Seth,

    I totally understand. There are opinions and speculations in Protestant theology. There are also apologetic arguments that I won’t use because they ultimately conflict with my own confessional beliefs.

  67. shematwater permalink
    August 5, 2010 11:44 pm

    SETH

    I stated these were my opinions, as I usually do when there is no actual doctrine that explains something.

    GUNDECK

    We will be in the presence of God, but we will be on this Earth. This is what I believe. When the Earth was first created it also revolved around Kolob (yes it is near, not on, sorry). When it is resurrected it will return to that revolution. Thus, we will be in the same place as God. He will be on his planet, and we will be on ours, but we will be neighbors.
    It is also true, that being in the presence of God does not mean every second. God will have his work, and we will have ours.

    As to Eternal Torment, I will explain. The word Eternal does not refer to the duration of the torment, but the type of torment. It is a torment that has existed from all eternity and will to all eternity. It was prepared before time began for the wicked. When the evil are cast into it they will suffer for a time sufficient to pay for their sins and then be released.
    And this is church doctrine, not just my opinion.

    Stephanie

    I did love my children, but then I have a firm belief that they existed before this, and so I was not loving what did not yet exist. Nor did I do anything to create them.

    Now, I can’t remember what my comments were of Hebrews, or why I made them, and I don’t have time now to reread them. I have read Hebrews chapter four, and this is what I see. The Rest that we may enter into is Heaven (first the paradise of spirits and then Exaltation), where we may rest from all our labours of mortality.
    He says “Let us Labour” to enter into the rest. This would indicate that work must be done before we can enter into it. Thus showing that it is through combining our works with his grace that we are saved.
    I see Hebrews 4, and indeed the entire epistle, as one of the strongest parts of the Bible in support of LDS doctrine.

    CHRISTINE

    I can give no single passage in the Bible that support each of these things you talk about. However, when considering what each verse says and comparing meanings I think we can come to this conclusion.
    I gave the references from Christ that stated that all sins would be forgiven, and I take that literally, for he was not talking in parables at the time.
    I also take verses like the ones you quoted that show that the evil will be punished, as well as those that teach the justice of God. Because of these I understand that the evil will suffer torment, as it says a “Lake of fire and brimstone.”
    These verses must all be true. But how? Your explanation of the verses I give does not fit the wording of the verses. It does not say they can be, but that they shall. So, if they shall, but the wicked must be punished, the only logical conclusion is that the punishment will be meeted out, and after it is over they will receive their forgiveness.
    It is simply a logical conclusion as to the meaning of the passages.

  68. August 6, 2010 6:57 am

    I am not sure that being in God’s galactic neighborhood is the most natural reading of either John or Paul when they said:

    “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

    “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

    Have you considered the implications of your doctrinal redefinition of “eternal” from an expression of infinite time and duration to a “type”? We must question if eternal life is in fact everlasting following your definition. The Lord Jesus Himself teaches of “everlasting punishment” and “eternal life” in the same sentence. Using the exact same adjective modify punishment and life. I am having trouble understanding how you can limit the duration of [αἰώνιον] punishment without also limiting the duration of [αἰώνιον] life.

  69. shematwater permalink
    August 7, 2010 9:52 pm

    GUNDECK

    The references you give refer to Christ when they use the term God. Christ will live on this Earth, for it is the planet he lived on in mortality. This will be the central planet of our generation, and so we will live in the presence of God.

    What the Presence of God truly means is that we will have the priviledge of seeing him personally when he is on this planet. The Father still has great work to do, and so will not be here every second. Neither will Christ, for he also has great work. Of course, we won’t be either, as we will also have a great work to do. But, we will have the right to be with him when he does come, and that is what is meant by being in his presence. Those of a lower glory can never stand in the presence of the Father, and the lowest cannot stand in the presence of the son.
    To share his glory is to be in his presence.

    As to Eternal being an adjective, I believe it is used this way in the phrase Eternal Life, as is the word Everlasting when used in similar ways. However, we know that this life will last forever, because God has told us this. We also know that the torment will not last forever for all people, because God has told us this.
    When we gain Eternal Life we have all the same power and knowledge as God does. We are gods, and this cannot be undone.

  70. August 7, 2010 10:04 pm

    Shem
    I see Hebrews 4, and indeed the entire epistle, as one of the strongest parts of the Bible in support of LDS doctrine.

    The author of Hebrews begins his argument about “rest” in the middle of chapter 3. The example is used of the Israelites in the wilderness–unable to pass into the Promised Land because of their unbelief. “So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest” (3:11). God had promised the Israelites a wonderful land but they didn’t trust Him and as a result God did not allow them to enter into “rest.” Chapter 3 concludes:

    So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (v. 19).

    Chapter 4 begins by showing that God rested from His works after creation (v. 4). In this sense, rest implies a finished work. But there remains a rest for the people of God (v. 9). Just as God rested from his works after creating the world, the believer rests from his works in the perfect redemption of Christ (v. 10). Verse 11 admonishes the believer to “labor” to “rest.” How does one work so that they might rest? The end of the verse clearly states the results of failure to properly “labor.”

    Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

    Again and again in chapters 3 and 4 the author points out that God’s people are prevented from entering His rest by unbelief. Jesus’ followers asked Him how they might “labor” and Jesus’ response fits in with the message of Hebrews. They asked, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

    Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (John 6:28-29)

    How can we be sure that Hebrews 4:11 is referring to present-day rest and not a future, permanent rest in heaven? The verses following 11 don’t refer to believers resting in heaven. They deal with present-day experiences. Verse 12 discusses the power of the Word of God (on earth) to search out our hearts. Verse 13 teaches that no one is able to hide himself from the sight of God. Verse 14-16 teach that, since Christ ascended into heaven, we have a great High Priest who can help us in the here and now. We have been urged to “come boldly” to the throne of grace so that we can find mercy and help. Why would Christians need that if they were in heaven?

  71. August 8, 2010 3:52 am

    Shematwater,

    I have looked closely at Revelation 21:3-4 ff. I do not see how you can claim that this passage is only referring to the Second person of the Holy Trinity. First, you have a direct parallel to the “I will be your God, you shall be my people…” passages found throughout redemptive history (Gen 17:7-8; Jer 11:4; 24;7; 31:31-34; 32:38; Ezek 34:24; 37:21-28 etc.), we have discussed the Genesis passages in great detail and this new interpretation causes some amount of difficulty for your past explanations.

    Second, Revelation 21:7 reads, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” If as you propose this passage is only referring to the presence of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, on the new Earth how can you explain the saints being the “son’s” of Jesus?

    Third, you have the very same problem with Paul in 2 Cor 6:18 that you had with John. You insist that 2 Cor 6:16 is a reference to only the Son of God, Jesus Christ, but in 2 Cor 6:18 Paul writes, “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” While this fits perfectly with other passages of the revealed word of God (Ex 4:22; 2 Sam 7:8, 14; Isa 43:6; Jer 31:9; Hos 1:10; Rev 21:7 etc.) it conflicts with your view that this is a reference to only Jesus Christ and not the “Holy, Consubstantial, Life-giving and Undivided Trinity”.

    I have provided you with an example where Jesus Christ Himself said, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matt 25:46). As I said, the words translated everlasting and eternal are the exact same Greek word, but don’t take my word for it. In fact Rev 21:8 refers to this as the “second death”. I would be interested in where exactly God tells us that the second death is temporary or that everlasting punishment is not everlasting? Can you provide me with a Biblical reference?

    You will of course, have to excuse me if I do not agree that you will ever have the same knowledge and power as God.

  72. shematwater permalink
    August 10, 2010 9:06 pm

    GUNDECK

    Cross Reference the Revelations reference with Ezekial 48: 35, which is a vision of the same city. In this it says the Lord, not God. Christ is the only one of the three that is refered to as Lord, and thus I conclude that this passage is speaking more directly of Christ.

    It poses no problem with the other Old Testiment references, because Christ is the God of the Old Testiment. It was Christ who made the Covenant with Abraham. As such it is all in harmony.

    There is also no problem with calling us his sons. For we are his sons, through the adoption of Grace. All born on this Earth are the spirit offsping of the Father, but all the faithful are the spiritually begotten of Christ, and are thus his sons through adoption.

    The same things can be said of the 2 Corinthians reference (which should be cross referenced to Leviticus 26: 12 to show us that it is not literally inside the person that God will dwell, but among us, or in our society.

    The Biblical reference is the same as you have given. For it is written “Everlasting Punishment” not “Punished everlasting.” Or “Eternal Punishment,” and not “Punished Eternally.” It is the location of the word in the sentence that alters its meaning to that of an adjective as I have explained. They are not punished eternally, but cast into Eternal Punishment. This, with the reference I gave stating that they would be forgiven shows clearly that this will not be permanent.

    STEPHANIE

    I agree that Paul is using Israel as an example. However, where did God ever get angry because they simply didn’t believe. I know this is what it says, but their unbelief had to be proven first, just as belief must be proven.
    Ancient Israel did not enter into the Rest of God because their unbelief caused them to disobey. They refused to go in against the Canaanites, because of the report of the ten spies. This refusal, this disobedience is what caused God to deny them the right to enter into his Rest. Joshua and Celeb were allowed to enter into that Rest because they had given a good report, and through their actions had proven their faith.
    So, when Paul says that it was because of Unbelief he is right, because their unbelief caused disobedience, which is the effect that unbelief usually has. But he does say to work that we may enter the rest of God. Just as the Israelites had been commanded to do certain things to enter the Promised Land, so we are required to do certian things to enter God’s Rest, and so we must labour to be found worthy.

    As to the rest of the chapter, after verse 11: This is simple explaining that God knows what we are doing. In other words, do your labours, for God will know if you don’t. Of course, added to this he states that don’t think that he cannot comfort and help you, for he has experienced it all.

    So, chapter four is stating: If you want to get into heaven do not do as the unbelieving Israelites, for they were not permitted to enter God’s Rest. Do not be like them, but do what is required that you may enter. Do not think that you can not do it and hide form God, for he knows all things that you do. And do not be discourage, for God has done all this himself, and perfectly, and so he can guide you through.
    Not quite as poetic as Paul was, but it does get right to the point.

  73. August 10, 2010 11:09 pm

    Shematwater,

    Let me understand you correctly, when Paul says “Abba Father” in Romans 8:15 he is referring to Jesus Christ?

    ” For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

    LORD only refers to Jesus? Or does it refer to yhwh the One True God? Don’t take my word for it look it up.

    If you look at Matt 25:46 again, note that it does not say “Live Eternally”. You don’t seem to want to accept that despite the two different words used in your KJV “everlasting” and “eternal” are the EXACT SAME Greek words in every way including structural placement in the sentence. Don’t take my word for it, look it up. You must be willing to apply same changes you make to the meaning of eternal punishment to the meaning of eternal life. Otherwise you are expecting me to believe that Shematwater better qualified to teach about these matters than Jesus Christ.

  74. shematwater permalink
    August 14, 2010 9:05 pm

    GUNDECK

    Romans 8: 15 is likely speaking of Christ, yes. If you cross reference verse 15 with Isaiah 56: 3 we understand this adoption to be bringing a non-Israelite into the faith. As such this adoption would make them the sons of Christ.
    In verse 23 we also read about the adoption, but in this verse it refers to the resurrection (to wit, the redemption of our body.)

    As to Lord, I do apologize. It is most commonly used to refer to Christ. In the Bible it is used to refer to the Father only a few times, and at these times it is in large capital letters (LORD). When refering to Christ it is in small capital letters. When refering to some other entity it is not in capital letters.
    Now, this is in reference to yhwh, or Jehovah. These are simply other names for Christ, who was the God of the Old Testiment.

    As to Eternal and Everlasting, I would like to correct one thing, and I do apologize for the mistake. I should not have describe them as adjectives, which shows my poor understanding of grammer. More accurately they are used as nouns when so coupled with Life, or damnation, and so on. A name given to God is Eternal. As such all things that are his can properly be called after this name. Thus the life that God lives is Eternal Life; the punishment God uses is Eternal Punishment. The word everlasting is also a name of God, and is thus used in a similar way to name those things pertaining to God.

    It is written that the evil and wicked will endure Eternal Punishment, but it is not written that there will be no end to this punishment. It is also written that the righteous will inherit Eternal Life, and it is written that this cannot be undone.

  75. August 15, 2010 12:56 am

    Shematwater,

    Your Christology has become difficult to follow, but if you cross reference Rom 8:15 with the LDS Bible Dictionary you find:

    “Abba: A personal, familial term for father as used in Hebrew. It is Aramaic for father, and in Talmudic times was used as a title of honor. It was used in the language of Jesus and the apostles, and later by Greek-speaking Christians, as an intimate name for the Father in Heaven. See Mark 14: 36; Rom. 8: 15; Gal. 4: 6.”

    If I were you I would probably consult the teachings of my Church on these matters. I crossed referenced Rom 8:15 with a number of LDS books on my shelf and cannot find your view anywhere. Never is Abba seen as a reference to the Son. For instance in his book JESUS THE CHRIST: A Study of the Messiah and His Mission according to Holy Scriptures both Ancient and Modern, James E. Talmage writes:

    “”Abba” is expressive of combined affection and honor, and signifies “Father.” It is applied to the Eternal Father by Jesus in the passage above, and by Paul (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).”

    While Talmage’s view is remarkably similar to the LDS Bible Dictionary, including referenced passages, there is a discernible difference between your views and the views of Talmage (a past general authority in your church) and the presently published LDS Bible Dictionary. Is the LDS Bible dictionary wrong or is your argument one of convenience?

    Unless you are able to provide specific examples, I find your various explanations for “Lord” to be without merit and recommend that you read about the Tetragrammaton and the affect that this has had on transliteration and translation.

    I should say that so far you have not presented anything that would lead me to the conclusion that only Jesus Christ will live with us on the new Earth. You seem to have fallen into the King James only trap of trying to identify the specific persons of the Holy Trinity in the idiosyncrasies of the translation process of the KJV. Good luck with that.

    Moving on to “everlasting punishment” you would like to try a new argument by making αἰώνιον (everlasting/eternal) a noun? Unfortunately this new perspective on αἰώνιον won’t work because the Greek language doesn’t work that way. αἰώνιον is an adjective. It is always an adjective, never a noun. End of Story. If Matthew was trying to name life or punishment he would have used a noun such as “αἰῶνος” rendered “eternity” in 2 Peter 3:18.

    Despite yet another valiant attempt your position that κόλασιν αἰώνιον (everlasting punishment) can be limited in duration, without also limiting ζωὴν αἰώνιον (life eternal) has fallen flat. In fact you may be approaching serious error when you try to assign αἰώνιον as simply a name for God denying His eternal nature. Good luck with that one too.

  76. shematwater permalink
    August 17, 2010 7:38 pm

    GUNDECK

    I said that Romans 8: 15 was “likely” speaking of Christ. I purposely used the term likely to indicate that I was not sure, and was open to correction if I was wrong. I thank you for the correction you have provided, and will remain with that.
    I did have my doubts because the term Abba is used, but I was not completely certain.

    As to Everlasting and Eternal, what I say is still valid. To use them as a noun as I have described is make them a title. As such, an adjective can be made a proper noun when used in this way.
    God is the Eternal Father. Eternal is part of his title, and is thus a noun.
    It is Eternal Punishment. Eternal is part of the name of the punishment, and is thus a noun.
    So, what I have said is perfectly plausible. One need not be punished forever for the punishment to be called Eternal.
    I have already admitted that using this understanding one could say that Eternal Life may not be forever either.
    Thus we must look to other passages to determine the length of each.

  77. August 17, 2010 11:20 pm

    Shematwater,
    While I do not dispute that God is eternally the Father, I am unaware of any passage where He names Himself “Eternal Father”. Maybe you can help me find it?

    I think that we are discussing two different topics with the word αἰώνιον (everlasting/eternal). I am looking at Greek grammar not plausible English. In the Greek language αἰώνιον is simply an adjective the inflection “ιον” indicates this. An adjective does not become a proper noun in the Greek language. If Matthew had wanted to use a noun he would have used a noun such as αἰῶνας (Eph: 3:11 [eternal], 2 Pet 3:18 [eternity]). αἰώνιον is in the predicate position as an adjective in Matt 25:46. I am sorry but what you are proposing just does not happen in the Greek language. That dog don’t hunt.

    If you have a passage the shows that everlasting punishment is not in fact everlasting, I would be interested in looking at it.

    So it was likely, that Abba referring to the Son would be convenient to your argument? Or was it just plausible? This seems to undercut your adopted sons of the Son position, odd as it was. Honestly it shows that Stephanie made an insightful comment when she said the whole families are forever thing won’t work if everybody is off on their own worlds. Eventually families will have to separate under the plan of eternal progression if they are going to create worlds, universes, and eternities (except for the woman, they don’t have much to look forward to).

    You and I both know that Stephanie was correct in her observation, as far as it went. Instead of trying to explain the doctrine of families being forever in light of the doctrine of eternal progression by acknowledging the nuances, you have gone out on a limb, and speculated convenient positions to match your argument. This is not the first time that your arguments have skirted Mormon theology. You were called out on this by Seth recently.

    Let me give you a suggestion. Try looking things up before you hit submit because many of non-Mormons have a pretty good grasp of your theology. And purposely using the word likely does not help your plausibility.

  78. shematwater permalink
    August 20, 2010 1:07 am

    GUNDECK

    I have not skirted Mormon Doctrine. What I have done is skirted the Bible, because the Bible is not clear on this point.

    Most of what I said is not found directly int he Bible, but is explained in other places. God is called the Eternal Father, not in the Bible, but in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. He is called simply Eternal (as a name) in the Book of Moses.

    Section 19 of the Doctrine and covenants states “Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
    Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory….
    For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
    Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
    Endless punishment is God’s punishment.”
    (Verse 6-8, 10-12)

    This is LDS doctrine, strait from the standard works of the Church. I really don’t care what the Greek language allows. English didn’t allow a whole lot until creative men started playing around with it (like shakespeare). Language is a fluid thing, always changing. Some changes take hold and become common, while others are shortlived, understood only be a few. This is the nature of the wording of the Bible. It was understood by the Early saints to have this meaning, but modern scholars fail to see it as they do not comprehend the workings of God.

    Also, what Stephanie said is not correct in her observations about the family, and many quotes and references can be given by many leaders of the church showing that they disagreed with her.
    It states in the Bible that the “Meek shall inherit the Earth.” This means that this will be our home. In also says in the Doctrine and Covenants 130: 9 that “This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.”
    This is our home, where we will live as a family with all the faithful of this earth. Yes we will build worlds and we will spend a great deal of time in our work for our spirit children. But that does not mean we will not come home and be a family. Just as in mortality the father must go to work, and the mother must leave the home at times, but the family remains a family, and will always return home.

  79. August 20, 2010 3:19 am

    Shematwater,

    There is something that we can finally agree on, you are certainly skirting the Bible I think that your comment that Abba refers to the Son showed that. I have also come to understand that you have no concern for the Greek that Paul used to write his letters.

  80. shematwater permalink
    August 22, 2010 12:43 am

    GUNDECK

    I have little concern with what modern scholars have to say about the Greek Paul wrote with. I have every concern with what God has to say about the Greek Paul wrote with.

    I think that skirting may be the wrong phrase.
    I was trying to explain a doctrinal truth using only the Bible, even thought it is not clearly stated in the Bible. As such I was forced to used allusions, hints, and other interpretive devices in my attempt. I have failed, which I readily admit.

    I will not admit that what I say is untrue, or even unBiblical. Only that I failed to show it through the use of the Bible only.

  81. August 23, 2010 2:50 pm

    Shematwater,

    What does God say about Greek grammar?

    Is your disregard only for today’s scholars of Greek or do have equal disdain for the Greek scholars of 1611 and 1769?

  82. shematwater permalink
    August 23, 2010 7:00 pm

    GUNDECK

    I do not have a distain for scholars. I only place them second to God, which is as it should be. As such, if God has declared something to be truth I am not concerned with what mortal scholars have to say against it. It is all rather simple.

    As to what God said, read again the passage from D&C 19. God has stated that Paul used the adjective form of the word meaning Eternal as a noun when teaching these doctrines. As such, I really am not concerned with mortal scholars declaring that Paul could not have done it, because God says that he did.

    In all truth it would make sense that he did. God is eternal, in that he existed before this world was, and he will continue to exist after it has ended. In this sense eternal describes God, and is thus an adjective. In the same sense the word describes the damnation or punishment, meaning that it existed before this world, and will after it.
    Thus, God is given the name/title of Eternal because it is a fit description for him, and the same name/title is applied to those things that are like him.
    A good example from modern times: in the play Man of La Mancha the star is knighted and given the title “Knight of the Woeful Countinence.” Now the word “woeful” is not a noun, and could never be a noun when used in general grammer. However, since it is part of his title it becomes a noun when thus used.

  83. August 23, 2010 8:00 pm

    Shematwater,

    Your D&C 19 has redefined eternal into meaninglessness. In the attempt to redefine eternal punishment you have taken away the significance of eternal life. This is not what I would call a divine grammar lesson.

    Rather than assume that Matthew didn’t know the difference between a noun and and adjective, it seems a better explanation is that Joseph Smith didn’t have a clue that King James’ translators following the lead of the Tyndale and Geneva Bibles by using two different English words for the Greek word αἰώνιον. Mathew knew the difference between αἰώνιον and αἰῶνας, he used both words. Sadly, I don’t think that Smith did.

  84. shematwater permalink
    August 25, 2010 7:22 pm

    GUNDECK

    It does not take the significance away from Eternal Life. In fact, it makes it much grander than simply living forever. As Eternal punishment is the punishment of God, so to is Eternal Life the life of God. In this way we know that Eternal Life is not merely living forever, but living forever in the same manner in which our Father lives, as a god.
    This is truly significant, for it teaches the great truth of the devine potential of man, and what God’s true plan for us is. It does this beautifully.

    You say that using the term in this makes it so that Eternal Life is not necessarily forever. I have agreed that the phrase, by itself, can cause this confusion. However, when you understand that it is the life that God enjoys, and we know that God cannot cease to be God, we also know that those who gain eternal life will never loose, just as God never looses it.

    It is more express, and teaches a great significance for both doctrines, and is among the most beautiful uses of language in the world.
    The Lord knows what he is doing.

  85. Gundek permalink
    August 25, 2010 11:10 pm

    Shematwater,

    I think that the escatological promises in the Bible go further than living forever, but eternal life is a promise of life everlasting.

    I don’t dispute that the Lord knows what he is doing, just that Smith knew what the Lord was saying in Matthew’s Gospel.

  86. shematwater permalink
    August 26, 2010 12:37 am

    That is fine, and on this we will probably never agree. As long as you understand it that is all that I really care about right now.

    This thread is getting very long, so I think this will be the last of it.
    It has been nice talking with you again.

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