Monday, July 9, 2007

A true dialogue between a Mormon and a Christian

This is a dialogue that is represented by a knowledgeable theologian and well respected Leader Dr. Mohler and a Mormon. The difference in this dialogue is Dr. Mohler is rightly calling out the differences between Christians and Mormons. If you don't read the Gospel Fellowship Blog then you might have missed this. I think this is worthwhile to read. http://blog.beliefnet.com/blogalogue/

Notable quote "The reason is simple – traditional Christian orthodoxy and Mormon theology are utterly incompatible." Dr. Mohler

16 Comments:

Barry said...

As a mormon, I don't think that we call ourselves orthodox christians. In fact, we think orthodoxy is wrong on several points...so perhaps the issue is moot.

Andy said...

Barry,

I think the question is Are Mormons Christians? The answer is not by the Biblical, or Historical definition of Christianity. Would you agree?

Barry said...

Yes by the biblical and yes by historical as it may depend on who writes the history.

The bible doesn't offer any definition of the word "christian" and the LDS church claims the authority of Peter and the other apostles at the time that the NT was written. I don't have any real substantial issues with the biblical text and I believe that it is the Word of God. My interpretations of what is going on is probably different than that developed later in christianity, but the LDS do not lay claim to orthodox christianity.

Historical. It depends on what is meant by the term. It certianly doesn't claim any adherence to the creeds and pretty much distances itself from orthodox christianity. I do feel quite at home with the ECF of the 1st and 2nd century. Only later writers and theologans give me pause. If anything, I am much more comfortable with historical christianity of that time period than that which existed after Nicea.

Darth Bill said...

Relating to the articles posted, it appears that the authors are talking past each other. I'm not exactly sure what is being addressed. Are mormons christian? Card asks about definition and the good Dr. talks about orthodoxy. Mormons don't claim orthodoxy. Even the Dr. can't claim orthodoxy by the RCC or EOC definition.

Now, Gnostics and Montanists are certainly christians in the acedemic sense. I don't know too many historians that would claim otherwise. They weren't orthodox either.

I'm more of a person that allows people to self-identify. I leave it up to the Lord to deal with the details.

Tracy Hall Jr said...

In fact, the revererend Doctor Mohler calls a spade a spud. He seeks to redefine "Christian" from one who follows Christ to one who bows to the incomprehensible, unbiblical creeds that were crafted and enforced by the state church of medieval Europe.

As one who believes in Jesus Christ, and who seeks earnestly to follow him, I am thankful that Dr. Mohler excludes me from his creed-bound club.

Tracy Hall Jr
Provo Canyon, Utah
hthalljr'gmail'com

Andy said...

Barry- thank you for your comments. You are right the Bible does not define or use the word Christian. Christians do and they as well as 2000 years of history get to define it. If a Hindu claimed to be a Christian because he acknowledged Jesus Christ was a person, we would say he is not.

Darth Bill- I do not think they are talking past one another what I do think is the Mormon would like to be called a "Christian" and that is the central part of the issue. Mormons want to blend in even though they disagree with all core and most other Christian Theology and Doctrine.

Tracy- Thanks for stopping by. The problem is the Jesus Christ Mormons believe in is not the same Jesus Christ (uncreated, eternal) Jesus Christ of the Bible. So anyone can claim they follow Christ but then when they redefine who He is and what He came for then they can be a follower of the wrong Christ.

Finally on the Creed issue. I find that Mormons and Atheist share a hatred for the Council of Nicea. Ironically the council was defending against Heretics like Gnostics and holding to the true Biblical, and Jesus taught principles. This idea that they changed something there is a fallacy that is fed to those who really dont believe in the Bible.

Finally before you take shots at the Creeds, consider the creeds that Mormons follow for example " As god is man may become." AHHHHHH that is a violation of the first, second and third commandment. No Bible lines up with this doctrine not even the JST version.

Darth Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darth Bill said...

>Christians do and they as well as 2000 years of history get to define it.

Actually, it wasn't christians that first used the term and as a christian, I get to use the term too. In the end, I know that I am a christian and if others have a problem with that, then its their problem, not mine.

>If a Hindu claimed to be a Christian because he acknowledged Jesus Christ was a person, we would say he is not.

And you know that mormons do much more than claim he was "a person".

>Mormons want to blend in even though they disagree with all core and most other Christian Theology and Doctrine.

I don't want to blend in. I'm not interested in being included in mainstream christianity. That isn't the reason we self-identify with the term christians. We self-identify as christians because we accept Jesus as our personal savior and the only one that can atone for our sins. The reason I think the good Dr. and Mr. Card are talking past each other is that they are looking at different times in history and claiming the definitions. LDS are not creedal christians. We are not orthodox christians. We are the first to state so. However, we do identify with the NT church, just not the proto-orthodox that came into existance in the 3rd century.

BTW, Barry and DB are the same person.

>As god is man may become

Actually, it is stated by John that we will "know who He is as we will be like him." Theosis is one of the most accepted christian doctrines and similar statements were made by many ECF and Post-Nicean fathers. It is accepted doctrine by the RCC and EOC and is held by most of the christians, even using Dr. Mohler's definition, that inhabit or inhabited this planet. JS did not do anything new in this regard. St. Athanasius, who I believe fostered the Nicean Creed, stated "God became man so that man may become God". Your denial of the doctrine puts you in the clear minority of christianity. Perhaps you don't fit the definition proposed by Dr. Mohler either. It is true that LDS do not adhere to the "creator-creature" beliefs that might come into play in theosis and if you strip off speculation by LDS leadership in the 19th century, the LDS position and those held by the RCC and EOC are not at all different. I've had many discussions with members of both churches and it is one of the few things we agree on.

Andy said...

Darth Barry No Christian believes he can become a God, Christians believe there is one God. And sure you can call yourself a "Christian" but I do not know why you would since you follow a man Joseph Smith who said all Christians are an abomination. Mormons believe the Jesus is the Brother of Satan and you and I for that matter, that is NOT the uncreated unequal Jesus of the Bible. Unitarians call themselves Christian yet they oppose clear Christian doctrine like John 14:6. Your Hermeneutic of John is incorrect. The verse does not mean you can become a God, it is pointing you to follow Jesus' example. Jesus did not become a God HE WAS always GOD. Read John 1:1-10 Context is very important.

Again the Nicene thing you got the wrong person, wrong quote and have bought into a lie that the Nicene Council changed something. They were defending against people who had HERETICAL Theology. One of those is Gnosticism the other was Arianism. Arius began teaching a heretical doctrine and so Athanasius stood up with the rest of the Apostles disciples and had the Council in order to get the Heresey of Arius OUT OF THE CHURCH.

Mormons believe in that same Heresey that Jesus was created was introduced by Arius. Which is again why Mormons are not Christian. Those people were deemed Anathema.

All Mormons have the same argument about the Nicene Council so someone is feeding you guys from a dirty trough. In fact many secular Historians would disagree that something was changed during that council. It is a "Da Vinci Code" myth. It is ironic that Dan Brown's wife is a Mormon. Please do the research on this stuff. If you like Athanasian please read his creed. Here is a good part of it

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.

For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one Eternal.

Leonard said...

Well, let's just see if mormons are Christian. Being a Christian would mean following the Biblical Jesus Christ, not just someone who goes by that Name.

Many have come claiming to be Jesus, but have, infact been frauds. So, lets see who the mormon jesus is.....

He is a created being.

He is the brother of lucifer.

He is the product of a physical, incestual relationship between his dad who just happens to be an evolving god too, and his human mom.

He is merely one of many gods who have all earned their right to be god.

He is a polygamist.

He has directed the mormons to preach, teach, and write contradictory statements and doctrines time and time again.

His grace is only enough to "make up the difference" that we don't work to.

He atoned for the sins of the mormon people in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And we could go on all day......

Now, the Jesus I speak of is

The Mighty God, and the Everlasting Father, who was born of a the virgin Mary.

He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies given of Him.

He came and died on a cross for me and His grace is sufficient for my sins and my works are merely filthy rags before His holiness when used as a means of justification.

My Jesus is God from everlasting to everlasting. He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, filled with wrath and mercy.

He is the One each of us will stand before and give an account of our lives to.

If you do not know Him, it won't matter if you claimed to have followed your jesus because you were following the wrong one.

The differences prove that those who follow this false jesus are not Christians.

Turn from your sins and trust in the Jesus of the Bible ALONE. Beg His forgiveness and live for Him. Your eternal welfare hinges on this decision.

Jason Epps -- Salt Lake City, Utah, USA said...

Hi guys,

I do try to refrain from writing too much on these blogs as they have the tendency to consume much of one's day. With that in mind, please allow me to offer just a few comments concerning the present thread.

1) The continual references in these comments to the "Early Church Fathers" and the church "before Nicea" are far less relevant than they are being represented to be. The writings we now possess from the ECF are scattered and incomplete at best. In addition, some of those writing contain some strange teachings that neither the Christian, Catholic, nor LDS Church would currently endorse. Hence, pointing to a fragmentary source that contains a teaching from an ECF is not evidence, substantiation, or proof of anything. This brings me to my primary point: All the talk here about councils, creeds, orthodoxy, history, etc. is irrelevant. As a Christian, what's written in the Bible is the first and only test of sound doctrine. Therefore, when dealing with LDS doctrine that man may become a god, there's no sense in bringing creeds, the early church father, Nicea or anything else into the conversation because one cannot even get past Scripture alone in trying to substantiate such a teaching. While there are plenty of reference in Scripture to man being able to become "like God" in the sense of His lovingkindness and mercy, there is no Scripture whatsoever that would teach anything even remotely close to the idea that a man could become like or equal to God in His divine attributes. This is why God Himself says in Isaiah 44:8, "I know of no other gods besides me. So at the end of the day, before what the ECF said becomes an issue, one first has to deal with Scriptures clear teaching that there is only one who is like God and that the Christian's ultimate goal in life and eternity is not to become like Him, but to be with, worship, and glorify Him.

2) Such statements as the one given above from Athanasius concerning man's becoming like God are often taken out of context. You'll notice that the above commenter only included a small piece of what Athanasius said. Why? Because in context, Athanasius' statement means the same thing that Scripture means when it makes similar ones: man can and should become like God in the sense of His lovingkindness and mercy. However, if you only recite that one small piece of Athanasius' teaching, you can certainly provide a proof-text for the teaching that man can become totally like God. But then again, this is always been the problem with LDS interpretation and LDS thinking in general. It begins with a belief or a teaching and then goes to Scripture to find a text that could possibly "prove" it. The teaching on baptism for the dead is a perfect example. The LDS church wants to baptize for the dead, and in the process of so doing, they construct an entire theology around this desire. In addition, they have specific guidelines and a specific procedure by which this is to be done. The problem? There is only one mention of baptism of the dead in Scripture, and the mention is made in the indicative mood as opposed ton the imperative. Even so, the LDS church will point to that one vague Scripture and say, "See! We're right! It's Scriptural!" Unfortunately for the LDS interpreter, this method of interpretation is about as legitimate as trying to justify the use of marijuana by referring to the fact that God made every green plant for us to enjoy. When it all is said and done, one can make the Bible and Church History say anything one wants them to say. All one must do is simply take the text out of context, and therefore demonstrate a pretext. However, if one in concerned with truth, the Scripture reference (or history reference) must be viewed against the backdrop of the spirit of the whole. Otherwise there is no grounds for objectivity, and without objectivity, there can be no truth.

Blessings,
Dr. J

Andy said...

Actually the Bible does use the word "Christian" Acts 11:26. Their is also an implied definition because the "Christians" were disciples of Christ. The Christ of the Bible.

Darth Bill said...

>He is a created being.

Dang, I didn't know I believed that.

>He is the brother of lucifer.

He is?

>He is the product of a physical, incestual relationship between his dad who just happens to be an evolving god too, and his human mom.

He was?

>He is merely one of many gods who have all earned their right to be god.

Really?

>He is a polygamist.

Then the mormons must know his wive's names. Do you know who they are?

>He has directed the mormons to preach, teach, and write contradictory statements and doctrines time and time again.

Have you read what atheists say about the bible?

>His grace is only enough to "make up the difference" that we don't work to.

Since it is in quotes, there must be a place in mormon scripture that says this then. I've read the BoM most of my life and I don't remember the phrase.

>He atoned for the sins of the mormon people in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Was he standing next to Jesus when the burden fell on Him for the sins of the world?

>And we could go on all day......

Please do.

>The Mighty God, and the Everlasting Father, who was born of a the virgin Mary.

Mine too, if Isaiah is to be believed.

>He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies given of Him.

Well, hundreds is a bit of an exageration but it looks good so far.

>He came and died on a cross for me and His grace is sufficient for my sins and my works are merely filthy rags before His holiness when used as a means of justification.

Absolutely!

>My Jesus is God from everlasting to everlasting. He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, filled with wrath and mercy.

Wow. Just like the Lord I worship! This is amazing.

>He is the One each of us will stand before and give an account of our lives to.

Yeppers!

>If you do not know Him, it won't matter if you claimed to have followed your jesus because you were following the wrong one.

Wait, you lost me. We're talking about that guy from the New Testiment, right?

>The differences prove that those who follow this false jesus are not Christians.

I guess you're in trouble, brother.

>Turn from your sins and trust in the Jesus of the Bible ALONE. Beg His forgiveness and live for Him. Your eternal welfare hinges on this decision.

So you worship Jesus of Bible. I like the one from Nazareth.

And yes Andy, I am not so dim as to not know that the word christians is in the bible. However, it isn't evident that the christians created the term. Just like mormons, others gave them that term first.

And I don't mind being called a heretic. Acts 6:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Thanks for the entertainment.

Leonard said...

Darth,

You are so very typical of the modern mormon. Don't even know your own church doctrine and if you do, you certainly try to wiggle out of believing it. If you were around in the time of Joe Smith, you would be excommunicated. You can sit here and try to deny some of these sick things your church teaches but it will do you no good. The records of it all are available for all to see.

Go on over to www.utlm.org and check them out.

And as for the prophecies of Jesus? Yes, HUNDREDS!! In fact, it was 300 prophecies concerning His birth, life, death, and resurrection.

Oh, BTW, I too have read your BOM several times. Am an ex-temple mormon who has been on the bishopbric, the ward mission leader twice, and several other callings. So, you can try and blow smoke up some peoples patuties, but it won't work here.

I still stand on this. Your church (and at least Gordy B. was man enough to admit it) worships a "different jesus." and since this is so, there is no salvation in him.

Turn from your sins and to the Biblical Jesus.

BTW, forgot to mention in my comparison;

My Jesus was born, just as the prophecy foretold, in Bethlehem, not as the book of mormon say, in the "land of Jerusalem." That was a distinct prophecy given and your book turns it upside down.

G'day.

Andy said...

I think the distinction is clear from LDS Theology that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate gods. This is contrary to Exodus 20, Isaiah 43:10 etc.

That is all that needs to be said to show that they are not Christian.

Darth Bill said...

>Don't even know your own church doctrine and if you do, you certainly try to wiggle out of believing it.

No. I know the difference between doctrine, speculation and logical supposition.

> If you were around in the time of Joe Smith, you would be excommunicated. You can sit here and try to deny some of these sick things your church teaches but it will do you no good. The records of it all are available for all to see.

I might be, but it's immaterial. I'm not around in JS' time. I'm here now and I'm well aware of what my church teaches.

>Am an ex-temple mormon who has been on the bishopbric, the ward mission leader twice, and several other callings. So, you can try and blow smoke up some peoples patuties, but it won't work here.

And you wear it well. Shall we compare callings? And this would mean... Like I said, I know the difference between doctrine and speculation. Much of what people want to put on the LDS church is speculation. For example, God having a wife. I don't care who said what. Show it to me in the standard works.

>I still stand on this. Your church (and at least Gordy B. was man enough to admit it) worships a "different jesus." and since this is so, there is no salvation in him.

And you really missed the point of the talk.

>Bethlehem, not as the book of mormon say, in the "land of Jerusalem." That was a distinct prophecy given and your book turns it upside down.

And this has been dealt with so darn often it numbs the mind.

>God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate gods. This is contrary to Exodus 20, Isaiah 43:10 etc.

Please juxtaposition this with the three separate persons of the trinity.