27
Aug
10

Gospel

     When Mormons and Christians talk with each other, it is very important for both to realize that, although they often use the same words, many times they define them drastically different.  One example is seen in an article in the latest Ensign (the LDS monthly magazine).  It contains a brief article on the gospel.   It sums up the gospel with this statement about Jesus.  “His message was one of peace, love, and obedience to God’s commandments.”  A little bit later it says, “He also taught that ordinances, such as baptism, are necessary for us to return to our Heavenly Father.”  Finally it states:  “He taught the gospel clearly (see Matthew 5-7).”

     I don’t know if Mormons realize that, to a Christian, those words come off sounding like someone singing badly off tune.  For Christians, the first and only things that come to mind when they hear the word gospel are what Jesus has done for us – not what we are to do.  To a Christian, the gospel is not about our obedience, but his obedience for us.  It’s about his death on the cross as payment for all our sins. 

    That’s how the Bible describes it.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians:  “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”  (1 Corinthian 15:1-4)  There is no mention here of what we are to do.  The gospel is good news precisely because it’s not about what we have to do – but about what Jesus has done for us.

     But there is none of that in this Ensign article.  Nothing about Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Nothing about the Atonement or the forgiveness of sins.  Even its reference to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 underscores that – because that sermon is all about our response to the gospel – it’s not about the gospel itself.

     That brings us to the most sobering fact of all.  The different ways that Christianity and Mormonism define the word gospel highlights that they are teaching two different types of good news.  One focuses on what we do.  The other focuses on what Jesus did. Along with St. Paul I’m going to focus on what Jesus has done for me.  “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

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65 Responses to “Gospel”


  1. 1 faithoffathers
    August 29, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Mark,

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is very frustrating to read your articles that are so misleading about my faith and church.

    This article is a good example.

    You quote an unnamed article from a church magazine, The Ensign, which you only characterize as a “brief article on the gospel.” That doesn’t exactly narrow it down for the reader. Every issue of the magazine is composed of “brief articles on the gospel.”

    You then suggest that the following statements from that article are somehow false or misleading:

    “His message was one of peace, love, and obedience to God’s commandments.”

    And

    “He also taught that ordinances, such as baptism, are necessary for us to return to live with Heavenly Father.”

    And

    “He taught the gospel clearly.”

    First of all, I invite you to read the actual words of Christ Himself and explain to me how any of these statements are incorrect or misleading.

    Second, you do not speak for all “Christians.”

    Pointing out that a particular statement from Paul discussing the atonement happens to not emphasize obedience proves absolutely nothing. Again- read all the statements from Christ in the New Testament and tell me He didn’t teach obedience, repentance, love, service, forgiveness of others, etc. etc. He had a long list of things for us to do. Just look at the Sermon on the Mount.

    It is hard to argue with your assessment of the article to which you refer because I have no idea which article you are talking about. But insinuating that a brief article that doesn’t happen to emphasize the atonement somehow is representative of the core of our religion is dishonest.

    I have visited this site for over a year now. I do not remember one article that represented my faith fairly or accurately. I can only conclude that doing so is not your motive. You believe my religion is not true, and that is perfectly fine. But you apparently feel justified in cutting corners in honesty to promote the perception that my faith is not based on Christ, or that His wonderful atonement is not emphasized in my church. This is very offensive to me because I believe you are spinning truth.

    You and I can quibble over nuances in defining words, etc. all day. But the underlying problem is that to you, it seems the ends justify the means. And your end is to make my church look bad.

    Does Christ require honesty of us? I suppose if you do not believe He requires obedience, full honesty doesn’t matter because that would be requiring us to do something. Very convenient.

  2. 2 markcares
    August 30, 2010 at 12:25 am

    FOF:
    The article is on p. 10-11 of the September Ensign. It is the contribution to the monthly column “What We Believe”. Maybe you aren’t aware that the format of the Ensign was changed this year. That change was explained in the January 2010 edition. This is its decription of the column “What We Believe”. “brief explanation of basic gospel doctrine, designed to help us as members understand the doctrine better and help us explain our beliefs to others.”
    With this explanation and with the title “What We Believe” I submit that it is an excellent resource to see the basic teachings of the LDS Church. After all, that is the claim that the LDS Church makes for it.
    And please note the point of my post. Namely, that when Mormons use the word “gospel” and when Christians use the word “gospel”, they are meaning different things. Isn’t that an honest statement?
    Secondly, what is dishonest about my critique of that article especially keeping in mind the stated purpose of that column? My point was, and I repeat it, is that it is glaring to Christians to see a definition or summary of the gospel with no mention of Jesus’ obedient life for us or his suffering and death for us or his resurrection.

  3. 3 Echo
    August 30, 2010 at 6:53 am

    FOF said: “I do not remember one article that represented my faith fairly or accurately.”

    In all due fairness, I don’t think the problem is Mark. I honestly believe he represents your faith here as fairly and accurately as he possibly can. I believe the problem here is with your perception of what Mark is trying to convey to you.

    For Christians, the entire and complete Gospel message is a message that contains ONLY what Christ has done FOR US. The items mentioned in the LDS article that WE DO and that the LDS consider “Gospel”, to us, are not considered “Gospel.”

    You won’t find an article on the Gospel within Christianity that is void of mention of what Christ has done FOR US because that IS the sum total of our gospel message. For a Christian to read an LDS article such as the one Mark is discussing that makes no mention of what Christ has done FOR US, is for us Christians, an article containing no Gospel whatsoever.

  4. 4 Ralph Peterson
    August 30, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    FOF said: “I do not remember one article that represented my faith fairly or accurately.”

    And I have to agree.

    I guess honesty isn’t important to those that “are saved”.

    The first sentence of the article is this, “When Jesus Christ lived on the earth, He taught others a way to live that would lead them to happiness in this life and the next.”

    THAT is something Jesus did for us.

    So, for Echo to say “For a Christian to read an LDS article such as the one Mark is discussing that makes no mention of what Christ has done FOR US, is for us Christians, an article containing no Gospel whatsoever” is very misleading and frankly dishonest.

  5. 5 markcares
    August 30, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Let me clarify what I mean when I talk about what Jesus did for us. I am referring to actions he did as our Substitute – things he did vicariously for us. That is the heart of the gospel to Christians. As sometimes it is popularly stated: “The message of the gospel is done, not do.”

  6. 6 faithoffathers
    August 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Echo,

    I guess Al Jazeera is similarly portraying America fairly. It is just that as an American, it feels like they are spinning, manipulating, and disseminating carefully selected information, some of which is true, to smear America and its citizens and make her appear as evil and selfish as possible.

    How about I represent your faith to the world. Are you willing to let go of the things that I say to the public that, in your opinion, are incorrect or misleading.

    Mark is portraying this brief article as a comprehensive description of what we believe. And that is completely false, and I think he knows that.

    To claim that we do not define the gospel as centered on the atonement of Jesus Christ and what He has miraculously done for the world is either very dishonest or very informed. And I don’t think Mark lacks for information.

    fof

  7. 7 Echo
    August 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Is the LDS article written on the Gospel fairly representing your faith when it makes no mention of the atonement or of Christ?

    As Mark has pointed out. The sum total or entire message of the Gospel is what Jesus has: “DONE”. The Gospel doesn’t contain a “DO” message. Yet the LDS article on the Gospel is a “DO” message rather than a “DONE” message. The “DONE” message wasn’t fairly represented in the article.

  8. 8 Ralph Peterson
    August 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Acts 2:37 ¶ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
    38 Then Peter said unto them, Just believe that all is done.

    Oh wait! That isn’t what Peter said is it?

    But rather, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    Sounds like a “do” not a “done”!

    Acts 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Just believe that all is done.

    Oh wait! That isn’t what the Lord said is it?

    But rather, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

    Sounds like a “do” not a “done”!

    I could go on, but it would be wasted effort.

  9. 9 markcares
    August 30, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    FOF and Ralph:
    One of my frustrations, one that I have expressed numerous times, is that no matter what LDS source I cite, LDS members don’t stand behind it. In the past, i have even had LDS members tell me that they didn’t agree with something the living prophet had said at General Conference, even though the LDS Church said that his word is scripture.
    FOF: You say that I am protraying the article in question as a comprehesive description of LDS belief. Where did I ever say that? I even quoted the Jan. Ensign which describes it as a brief explanation. My point is – that a brief exmplanation, by it’s very nature, would emphasize the most imortant aspects of that doctrine. Especially when it is described as “designed to help us as members understand the doctrine better and help us explain our beliefs to others.”
    What is dishonest about critiquing an official article designed for that purpose? I’m taking the LDS Church at its word and am regarding this article as a clear explanation. Wouldn’t you agree that it carries more authority than your personal comments?

  10. 10 Echo
    August 30, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Faith and Repentance are something God works in us. They are his doing, his work in us, not our doing.

    Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”

    Romans 2:4 “not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

    Acts 5:31 “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.”

    2 Timothy 2:25 “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,”

  11. 11 Echo
    August 30, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I also want to mention that Faith and Repentance are a response that God works in us and it FOLLOWS what was DONE. Faith isn’t Gospel, Repentance isn’t Gospel. What Jesus did FOR US, that is Gospel.

  12. 12 Echo
    August 31, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Just to clarify my question: “Is the LDS article written on the Gospel fairly representing your faith when it makes no mention of the atonement or of Christ?” what I mean is: “Is the LDS article written on the Gospel fairly representing your faith when it makes no mention of the atonement or of what Christ has done FOR US? (i.e. his death, resurrection, or the forgiveness of sins”

  13. 13 faithoffathers
    August 31, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Mark and Echo,

    You often claim that everything is “done” that is needed for salvation because Christ said “it is finished” on the cross.

    I believe this was in reference to His atonement- it was completed (other than the final act of His resurrection).

    He did not mean in those three simple words that we have no responsibility to obey, follow, repent, etc. There is no reason to think that.

    Jump back to the last supper. The Savior said in His great intercessary prayer, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4 Using your logic, it was “finished” at that point- nothing more to do. Yet that would have left the suffering of Christ completely unfinished.

    How do you explain that.

    I argue that just as in the Savior’s words at the Last supper, the three words uttered on the Cross (“it is finished”) did not mean that there was nothing left to do for the salvation of man. He had completed His suffering, but the responsibility of other parties was not erased.

    I know this is a common claim of EVs regarding our works. But it simply has no logical support.

    fof

  14. 14 Ralph Peterson
    August 31, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    “Faith and Repentance are something God works in us. They are his doing, his work in us, not our doing.”

    doing?

    If I accept this premise, then God’s work is NOT done!! It is NOT finished! By your own admission.

    One of my frustrations, one that I have expressed numerous times, is that no matter what Biblical source I cite, Evangelical anti-Mormons don’t stand behind it.

  15. 15 Echo
    August 31, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    FOF, it’s not just single passage such as “It is finished” that lead us to the conclusion we have. Jesus said: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do”. This leads to the question: What is the work that God gave Jesus to do? The work that God gave Jesus to do was to RECONCILE God’s ENEMIES to God.

    Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

    We are all God’s enemies prior to conversion (being brought to faith and trust in Jesus alone for our salvation).

    The sermon on the mount is intended to be kept perfectly at all times without sinning, it isn’t intended to be a process which we grow in and then eventually we gain eternal life if we do our best to follow it all our lives. The sermon on the mount is like a balloon, one tiny small sin is like a small pin. It only takes one small sin(pin) to pop the entire balloon. A lawbreaker is a lawbreaker. We must keep the whole law at all times and in all ways without sinning or we are lawbreakers. (James 2:10) Lawbreakers reap the wages of eternal torment in Hell. That is all lawbreakers deserve, that is all lawbreakers will earn on judgment day. Since we are all lawbreakers, we have no hope of gaining eternal life because the sermon on the mount doesn’t bring LIFE to us but instead it puts us to DEATH because of our sin! The sermon on the mount only points out our sin and failures to be perfect. The one and only kingdom of heaven still has an entrance requirement of perfection. We must be perfect. We can’t do it. Those who try their best to live by the sermon on the mount will not be rewarded at all in the judgment, they will reap the same reward that all lawbreakers reap. An eternity of Torment in Hell. God doesn’t take sin lightly, even small sins are not taken lightly. ALL SIN deserves an eternity of punishment, all sin is deserving of only God’s wrath. We don’t like to hear that, but it is a fact. God is Holy, Holy, Holy and no unclean thing can enter his presence. This is pure 100% justice.

    But Jesus gives us pure 100% mercy and grace.
    So what does it mean: “to be reconciled to God”? It means that in the eyes of God we are now ALWAYS seen as perfect and as righteous as Jesus. When God looks at us, he sees the righteousness of Jesus and that status never changes. That is what Jesus finished FOR US, FOR YOU:

    Colossians 1:22 “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—“

    If you think of Christ’s perfect righteousness and holiness as a robe that you can wear. Christ has clothed us in HIS robe of righteousness and Holiness. It is HIS righteousness, not ours. Read the verses below slowly and carefully. Our righteousness comes as a gift from Christ and not from obeying the law as the LDS teaches. Please read it slowly and carefully:

    Romans 10:3-4 “Since they did not know the righteousness THAT COMES FROM God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

    Phillipians 3:9 “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith

    Isaiah 61:10 “For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness”

    Since we stand Holy in God’s sight, without blemish and free from accusation, we KNOW we have eternal life. The LDS cannot KNOW they have eternal life until after a lifetime of effort in obedience etc. But we know we have eternal life and Jesus taught that we could know:

    1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

    John 5:24 “”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he HAS crossed over from death to life.

    John 8:35-36 “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

    There you have a salvation that is DONE. Finished!

    All the DO’s in scripture come into the picture after the DONE. The DONE must be in place first. It produces the power and motivation to now DO.

  16. 16 Echo
    August 31, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Ralph said: ““Faith and Repentance are something God works in us. They are his doing, his work in us, not our doing.”

    doing?

    If I accept this premise, then God’s work is NOT done!! It is NOT finished! By your own admission.

    One of my frustrations, one that I have expressed numerous times, is that no matter what Biblical source I cite, Evangelical anti-Mormons don’t stand behind it.”

    Christ’s work is finished. He did everything for us for our salvation. All of this work he finished you will find in the message of the Gospel. Faith and repentance are not Gospel. They come after.

  17. September 3, 2010 at 4:42 am

    “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    Repentance and the ability to repent is the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word convicting people of sin. Therefore it is not something that man does, and he can take no credit for. All our good works, including that of repentance, is to be ascribed unto God.

  18. 18 faithoffathers
    September 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Echo,

    The path to salvation has been paved by Christ indeed. But we must walk that path- have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end.

    If everything is truly done, why does God continue to allow this planet to exist? Has everybody been saved that will be saved? I thought everything was done?

    Why share the gospel with a neighbor or friend? It is all done. Why should we do anything?

    fof

  19. 19 adb
    September 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Ralph,

    I think Jesus addressed the confusion you seem to have. He was approached by someone sharing the same struggles it seems you have, who asked, “What must we DO to DO the works God requires?”

    “Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to BELIEVE in the one he has sent” (John 6:28,29 NIV).

    See, the words of Jesus himself clear up the confusion. There is no DO, only BELIEVE. And of course, what is one to believe? That in Christ, it has been DONE.

    When we come across commands in Scripture like the ones you cite (“Repent,” “Be baptized”), those commands in and of themselves are calls to faith, to believe. Think about it–the only way someone will follow such commands, or “DO” is if he already believes. Otherwise, if he didn’t have faith in his heart (through those very words which call/invite him to faith, and at the same time give him the power to believe), why on earth would anyone follow through and bother repenting and being baptized? Faith/belief comes first, and then a heart of faith seeks to do and carry out God’s will out of gratitude, not obligation (for at that point, faith is the gift that has already been received, by which one is connected to the saving work of Jesus, and thereby made holy). Sorry for getting off point:)

  20. 20 Ralph Peterson
    September 3, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    “Repentance and the ability to repent is the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word convicting people of sin.”

    So God’s work is NOT done.

    Is being baptized a work?

    Are all baptisms done?

    Who performs the baptisms?

    You claim we need to do something and then you claim it is already done. You claim that God did it all, then claim repentance, His work, isn’t done yet. You guys are all over the map.

  21. 21 Ralph Peterson
    September 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Someone also asked Him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”

    And He answered, “if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

  22. September 3, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Very nice work Ralph, way to take a Law passage of scripture and turn it into Gospel.

    “if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    Good Ralph, keep the commandments then. How about the greatest commandment, Ralph. Love the Lord your God with all your might, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Do you do this?

  23. September 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    “Is being baptized a work?”

    Yes, God’s work.

    “Are all baptisms done?”

    No, not until the end of the world.

    “Who performs the baptisms?”

    Usually a called minister of the Word and Sacrament. Which would not include Mormons since they are not Christians, but heretics who will burn for eternity in Hell.

  24. September 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    “You guys are all over the map.”

    Don’t be a moron Ralph. Did you actually read what I wrote? Where in my comment did I say that repentance is done?

  25. 25 markcares
    September 4, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I think this thread amply demonstrates the original point I made in my post, namely, Christianity and Mormonism define gospel differently. When Christians and Mormons interact with each other, it is very helpful for both to keep this in mind.

  26. 26 Ralph Peterson
    September 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Very nice work Joe, way to take the teachings of Jesus and DENY they apply to you.

    Good Joe, deny the teachings of Jesus.

    Is this a “Law passage of scripture”?
    Rom 2:6 [God] Who will render to every man ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:
    7 To them who by PATIENT CONTINUANCE IN WELL DOING seek for glory and honour and immortality, ETERNAL LIFE:
    8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
    9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
    10 But GLORY, HONOUR, AND PEACE, TO EVERY MAN THAT WORKETH GOOD, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
    11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

    How about this one?
    1 Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him [Christ], and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
    5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
    6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

  27. 27 Ralph Peterson
    September 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    “Usually a called minister of the Word and Sacrament.”
    So the work isn’t done and someone other than God has to do it.

    “Which would not include Mormons since they are not Christians, but heretics who will burn for eternity in Hell.”

    Why the hatred and vitriol?

    Is “eternity in Hell” the punishment for sin?

  28. 28 Echo
    September 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Joseph said: “Don’t be a moron Ralph”

    I think we always need to try our best to be kind and loving in our words towards the Mormons who post here.

  29. 29 Joseph S.
    September 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Ralph, how about answering my question? Do you keep the greatest commandment 100% of the time?

    “… way to take the teachings of Jesus and DENY they apply to you.”

    How in the world did I deny the statements of Jesus apply to me with regard to keeping the commandments? The keeping of the commandments is absolutely required, but nobody keeps the commandments, that is the whole point of St. Paul in first three chapters of Romans if you have not read it.

    Martin Luther in his dispute with Erasmus on free will put it best, “as often as you throw in my teeth the Words of the law, so often I throw in yours that of Paul, “By the law is the knowledge of sin,” – not of the power of the will. Heap together, therefore, out of the large Concordances all the imperative words into one chaos, provided that, they be not words of the promise but of the requirement of the law only, and I will immediately declare, that by them is always shewn what men ought to do, not what they can do, or do do. And even common grammarians and every little school-boy in the street knows, that by verbs of the imperative mood, nothing else is signified than that which ought to be done, and that, what is done or can be done, is expressed by verbs of the indicative mood.”

  30. 30 Ralph Peterson
    September 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    “The keeping of the commandments is absolutely required, but nobody keeps the commandments . . .”

    Luke 1:5 ¶ THERE was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
    6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

    Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

  31. 31 Echo
    September 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Ralph, do you keep all the cammandments and ordinances?

  32. 32 Ralph Peterson
    September 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Echo,
    Do you still beat your spouse?

  33. 33 Echo
    September 11, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Ralph, I don’t beat my spouse. Do you keep all the commandments and are you blameless?

  34. 34 Echo
    September 11, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Ralph, I just am requesting a “YES” or “NO” answer. I won’t ask for the details if the answer is no.
    I personally would have to answer “NO” to that same question if that makes you more comfortable in answering it yourself.

    Just to give you and idea where I am going with this, if your response is “NO” my next question would be this:

    What do you think you and I must do to become blameless or has God done something for us?

  35. 35 Ralph Peterson
    September 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Echo, have you stopped beating your spouse.

    I just am requesting a “YES” or “NO” answer. I won’t ask for the details if the answer is no.

  36. 36 adb
    September 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Why is it that when asked directly if they keep the required commandments perfectly, the LDS either a) seem to skirt the issue and avoid answering the question, or b) admit that they don’t, but then claim that’s OK because they repent, which itself is only good insofar as one is able to stop committing the sin over which he/she repented (which they just admitted they haven’t done)? How is that different from a dog chasing his tail around in circles?

    It seems the LDS love to point out demands of perfect obedience to the law, but then skirt the issue when faced with the music that they cannot measure up to their own expectations.

    Let the law do it’s work and paint you into an inescapable corner so that you see Jesus alone as the only way out. He’s not your creditor, he’s your Savior. Why won’t you let him be that???

  37. 37 Echo
    September 20, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Well said ADB. I agree, I have lost count of how many Mormons I have asked this question of and they all skirt the issue. Why? I don’t know.

    Ralph. You teach others to obey all the commandments but you yourself don’t obey all the commandments. This is what you should do:

    Obey all the commandments, THEN teach others to obey all the commandments. Don’t teach others to do what you yourself have not done. Because if you teach others to DO that which you cannot do yourself, God’s name is blasphemed among unbelievers because of you. Is this a serious offence and sin against God? Nothing is more serious than this!

    Romans 2:19-24 “if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

    Like ADB said, let God’s law paint you into a corner that you can’t get out of. Let it nail you down until you can no longer move. That is what total honesty before God requires of you both now and most certainly in the judgment! Your going to face the judgment one day and have to answer the very question I asked you. You won’t be able to skirt the issue! Answer it NOW while you still can be rescued! In the judgment there is no rescue! An Eternity of torment in Hell awaits all who answer the question: “Have you obeyed all the commandments?” With a NO! or who attempt to skirt the issue!

    It’s only when you truthfully admit that it’s impossible to keep ALL the commandments that your own heart is prepared to embrace the one TRUE Savior who knew this fact about you already and who, out of amazing love for you, has rescued you by keeping all the commandments for you and in your place. His perfect obedience has been credited to your account. Believe it! Be free! Perfect peace with God!

  38. 38 Ralph Peterson
    September 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Why is it that when painted into a theological corner EV’s always ask directly and personally if an individual keeps the required commandments perfectly? Why do they always want to get personal to skirt the issue and avoid addressing the hard questions?

    It seems the Ev’s love to point out the imperfections of others as an excuse for ignoring God’s demands for perfect obedience to His commandments.

    Rom 2:6 (God) Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
    7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    “Patient continuance in well doing” is a process, not an event. Those that “seek for glory and honour and immortality” by participating in this process will be rewarded with “eternal life”.

    It is by the “patient continuance in well doing” that we emulate Christ. How can you know the master that you have not served? By serving Him by obedience we come to know Him and become like Him.

    A spiritual life is a process, not an event.

  39. 39 Ralph Peterson
    September 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Jesus taught,

    Matt 5:19 . . . but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    And,
    Matt 28:19 ¶ Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, . . .
    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: . . .

  40. 40 Echo
    September 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Ralph, to clear up some of the confusion you have:

    We DON’T teach people that obeying ALL the commandments is neccesary for their salvation because that only makes people slaves rather than sons. Slaves MUST obey all the commandments in order to become a son. When obedience to all the commandments is made a requirement of salvation, that only produces slaves.

    We DO teach people that God, through his son Jesus Christ, has ALONE made us his sons. All apart from our obedience to ALL the commandments. Salvation is through faith alone. Therefore we DO teach people to obey ALL the commandments, but not because they HAVE TO(slave), but because they WANT TO(son).

    Since you appear unsatisified with our responses and in order that we might more fully answer your questions for your own understanding and satisfaction, what are the “hard questions” and the “theological corner” you “feel” we have skirted?

  41. 41 Ralph Peterson
    September 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I know what you teach, but what did Jesus teach?

    Matt 5:19 . . . but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    And,
    Matt 28:19 ¶ Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, . . .
    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: . . .

    Matt. 19:17 . . . but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    Matt. 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

    Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

    Rev. 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

    John 14:15 ¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments.
    • • •
    21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
    • • •
    14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

    Rev. 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    When there is a difference, I think that it is better to trust what Jesus taught than what Echo is teaching.

  42. 42 Echo
    September 21, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Ralph, you forgot to answer my question so that I may help you. I will repeat it here: “Since you appear unsatisified with our responses and in order that we might more fully answer your questions for your own understanding and satisfaction, what are the “hard questions” and the “theological corner” you “feel” we have skirted?”

    Ralph said: “I know what you teach, but what did Jesus teach?

    Matt 5:19 . . . but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    We Do do them and teach them. Here is where I said that in my last post: “We DO teach people that God, through his son Jesus Christ, has ALONE made us his sons. All apart from our obedience to ALL the commandments. Salvation is through faith alone. Therefore we DO teach people to obey ALL the commandments, but not because they HAVE TO(slave), but because they WANT TO(son).”

    Ralph, since you stated that you know what I teach. 1) What did I teach in my statement? and 2) how is that different from Jesus?

  43. 43 Ralph Peterson
    September 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Echo says “We DON’T teach people that obeying ALL the commandments is neccesary[sic] for their salvation . . . “.

    Jesus taught,
    Matt. 19:17 . . . but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    Matt. 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

    Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

    Rev. 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

    Rev. 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    According to Jesus, reception of eternal life is dependent upon obedience. According to Echo, it isn’t.

    Humm, who should I believe?

  44. 44 Ralph Peterson
    September 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    As for the hard issues, this is the one that I just can’t seem to get a satisfactory answer to. It will take a little discussion to get it fleshed out.

    According to Evangelical theology (as I understand it), the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God. Is that correct?

  45. 45 Echo
    September 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Ralph said: “As for the hard issues, this is the one that I just can’t seem to get a satisfactory answer to. It will take a little discussion to get it fleshed out.”

    Let’s keep discussing it then until you are satisfied. It’s impossible for us to know at what point that goal of satisfaction on your part has been reached. At times we assume that goal has been reached when in reality it hasn’t.

    Ralph said: “According to Jesus, reception of eternal life is dependent upon obedience. According to Echo, it isn’t. Humm, who should I believe?”

    You yourself have not obeyed all the commandments yet you believe that Salvation is possible only through obedience to the commandments. I believe it is impossible. Just to repeat the point, you believe it is possible, I believe it is impossible.

    If we read the context in which Jesus made this statement that you referred to in” Matt. 19:17 “. . . but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus ALSO said: Matt 19:26 “…With man this is impossible…”

    Ralph, which one of us is teaching what Jesus taught? Aren’t you yourself proving Jesus’ words of “with man this is impossible” to be true since you have not obeyed all the commandments?

    Ralph asked: “According to Evangelical theology (as I understand it), the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God. Is that correct?”

    Just to let you know, I am not “Evangelical” in the sense that that description is used today. I am Lutheran (WELS).

    To answer your question: Yes, the punishment for ALL sin is eternal separation from God. All sin (big sin, little sin) carries the same consequence. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)

  46. 46 Ralph Peterson
    September 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Matt 19:26 “…With man this is impossible…”

    Matt 19:26 “…But with God, ALL THINGS are possible.”

    Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, ALL THINGS are possible to him that believeth.

    Where have I ever said that God is not involved with our obedience?

    Echo said, “Yes, the punishment for ALL sin is eternal separation from God.”

    Did Jesus take this punishment for your (and my) sins?

  47. 47 Echo
    September 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Ralph,

    Immediately after Jesus said: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Peter said: “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?”

    1) Why do you think Peter said this?
    2) What do you think he meant?

    Ralph asked: “Did Jesus take this punishment for your (and my) sins?

    Yes

  48. 48 Ralph Peterson
    September 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    So, in addition to being obedient to the commandments, Peter (and others, thus the “we”) had forsaken all and followed Jesus. I seems obvious that Peter was inquiring about what additional blessings might be in store for them. Jesus answered, “That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    So in addition to eternal life, they would be given the honor of “judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    Echo said “Yes”.

    So, you are saying that Jesus is eternally separated from God.

  49. 49 Echo
    September 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Ralph said: “So, in addition to being obedient to the commandments, Peter (and others, thus the “we”) had forsaken all and followed Jesus. I[sic] seems obvious that Peter was inquiring about what additional blessings might be in store for them. Jesus answered, “That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    So in addition to eternal life, they would be given the honor of “judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    If Peter and the others(disciples) had in fact obeyed all the commandments already at this time, why did the disiples ask: “Who then can be saved?” ?

    Ralph said: “So, you are saying that Jesus is eternally separated from God.”

    No, Jesus is not eternally seperated from God. Sin seperates eternally from God. Jesus was sinless. Jesus was and is God. Unless we(you and I)are perfect(sinless) we too will be seperated eternally from God. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) That fact never changes, the wages of sin will always be death.

  50. 50 Ralph Peterson
    September 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    “why did the disiples ask: “Who then can be saved?”” ?

    Because Jesus has just told them that “That a RICH MAN shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven”. 24 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a RICH MAN to enter into the kingdom of God.”

    The context is rather clear that question is referring to the RICH.

    – –

    “No, Jesus is not eternally seperated from God.”

    Then He didn’t suffer the punishment for your sins.

    “Sin seperates eternally from God. Jesus was sinless.”

    That doesn’t change the fact that He DID NOT suffer the punishment for your sins.

    “Jesus was and is God.”

    So, are you saying that He was INCAPABLE of suffering the punishment for your sins? Why does He then require a punishment for sin that He is INCAPABLE of suffering?

    “Unless we(you and I)are perfect(sinless) we too will be seperated eternally from God.”

    That doesn’t change the fact that He DID NOT suffer the punishment for your sins.

    ” “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) That fact never changes, the wages of sin will always be death.”

    That doesn’t change the fact that He DID NOT suffer the punishment for your sins. Period! And according to your theology, he is INCAPABLE of doing so.

  51. 51 Echo
    September 23, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Ralph said: “The context is rather clear that question is referring to the RICH.”

    Are you saying the Rich man wasn’t saved because he failed to be perfect? (Mathew 19:21 “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”)

    Ralph said: “Then He didn’t suffer the punishment for your sins.” and ”

    When a person DIES physically his sin HOLDS HIM in death. He is eternally separated from God AT THE MOMENT OF HIS PHYSICAL DEATH. He is in Hell and will not get out. His sin HOLDS HIM him there. “No unclean thing can enter God’s presence” The Father is God, Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Again…”no unclean thing can enter God’s presence” therefore no unclean thing can enter the presence of the Father(God), nor the Son(Jesus)(God) nor the Holy Spirit(God).

    As I stated, eternal separation from God takes place upon physical death. Jesus died that physical death. Unlike man, death could not HOLD HIM because he(Jesus) was sinless.
    Acts 2:24 “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its HOLD on him.”

    I hope that answers all the points you made.

  52. 52 Echo
    September 23, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Ralph, I slipped up on the positioning of my Italics. The sentence beginning: “Are you saying…” should not be in Italics.

  53. 53 Ralph Peterson
    September 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I said what I said. In answer to your question “why did the disiples ask: “Who then can be saved?”?” I said, “The context is rather clear that question is referring to the RICH.”

    – –

    You said, “He is eternally separated from God AT THE MOMENT OF HIS PHYSICAL DEATH.”

    Did Christ experience this separation from God or not?

    You asked, “I hope that answers all the points you made.”

    No, you haven’t answered at all. The point is, that according to your theology, Christ did NOT suffer the punishment for your sins. According to your theology, He is INCAPABLE of doing so.

    You said that “When a person DIES physically his sin HOLDS HIM in death.”

    You are confusing physical death with spiritual death.

    The scriptures clearly show that both the wicked and the righteous will be resurrected, thus being saved from physical death.

    John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
    29 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.

    1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL BE MADE ALIVE.

    Just to make it clear. The Jesus of your theology, DID NOT SUFFER THE PUNISHMENT FOR YOUR SINS! He is INCAPABLE of doing so. He can not experience spiritual death (separation from God), the punishment for your sins. He can not experience separation, neither eternally nor temporarily, because he is not a separate being.

  54. 54 Echo
    September 24, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Ralph said: “I said what I said. In answer to your question “why did the disciples ask: “Who then can be saved?”?” I said, “The context is rather clear that question is referring to the RICH.”

    Correct me if I am wrong… You think Peter and the others were obedient to all the commandments and had forsaken everything to follow Jesus. You think that the Rich have to be perfect or they can’t be saved. But what about everyone else? Do they have to be perfect to be saved? (see: Mathew 19:21 “Jesus answered, “If you want to be PERFECT, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”)

    I am not perfect Ralph, so let me put myself in the position of a person needing your help.

    1) What about YOU?
    2) Are you perfect?
    3) Are you saved?
    4) If Peter and the others were obedient to all the commandments, then haven’t they shown you by their example that they HAVE done all they can do?
    5) And doesn’t that mean that if they can do it then so can you?
    6) Have you done all you can do?
    7) If not, why not?
    8) What happens to all those who haven’t done all they can do?
    9) Can an unclean person enter God’s presence?
    10) Is the Father God?
    11) Is the Son (Jesus) God?
    12) Is the Holy Spirit God?
    13) Since the Father’s presence is in the celestial kingdom, Jesus’ presence is in the tellestial kingdom and the Holy Spirit’s presence in the terrestrial kingdom. Can an unclean person enter into one of these kingdoms?

    If you’re not perfect…

    14) Can you, with a clear conscience, teach me to obey all the commandments before having first obeyed them all yourself in light of the following WARNING passages against one VERY DEADLY SERIOUS SIN?

    Romans 2:17-24 “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? YOU WHO BRAG ABOUT THE LAW, DO YOU DISHONOR GOD BY BREAKING THE LAW? AS IT IS WRITTEN: GOD”S NAME IS BLASPHEMED AMONT GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU”

    Ralph said: “Did Christ experience this separation from God or not?”

    Somehow I have this thought in my mind that your idea of separation from God and mine differ.
    Hell is not in heaven. It is separate. Heaven is a place where we reside eternally with God who loves us and blesses us. A place of permanent love, happiness and joy etc.

    Hell is the place where God’s love and blessings are absent. A place of weeping, gnashing, agony and torment etc.
    Hell is eternal because MANS SIN HOLDS man in Hell through to the judgment and through to eternity.
    When Jesus died, he descended into Hell. Jesus was sinless, the AGONY of Death and Hell could not HOLD him. Acts 2:24 “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
    So Christ, in Hell, experienced the seperation of God(agony)

    Ralph said: “No, you haven’t answered at all. The point is, that according to your theology, Christ did NOT suffer the punishment for your sins. According to your theology, He is INCAPABLE of doing so.”

    1) Ralph, according to your theology, what is the punishment that you believe man deserves for his sins?

    2) According to your theology, was Christ capable of suffering the punishment of your sins?

    3) According to your theology, what benefit comes to you as a result of Christ suffering for the punishment of your sins?

    Ralph said: “You are confusing physical death with spiritual death. The scriptures clearly show that both the wicked and the righteous will be resurrected, thus being saved from physical death.”

    I imagine your definition of spiritual death and mine differ.
    We are born into this world spiritually dead: faithless and steeped in sin. Without forgiveness for ALL our sins, there is no spiritual life, no eternal life. The opposite of “eternal life” is “eternal death”. We both know and agree that after death man faces eternity.

    However , you either live eternally (hence: eternal life) or you die eternally (hence: eternal death)

    “NO UNCLEAN THING CAN ENTER GOD’S PRESENCE”. The Father is GOD, Jesus is GOD, the Holy Spirit is GOD. The fact that no unclean thing can enter God’s presence narrows the true heaven down to one heaven wherein no unclean thing can dwell. For where you have heaven, there you have God’s presence. For the unclean, that only leaves man entering the presence of Satan since Satan is not God and is the only alternative besides God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

    If a man dies physically in a state of being spiritually dead prior to his death, his spirit goes to Hell, his body goes to the grave. If a man dies clean, his spirit goes to heaven; his body goes to the grave. Unforgiven sin HOLDS and keeps man in that state of spiritual death even though he will be alive in Hell. Those who are clean are sinless! Their spirits go to heaven. All bodies in the grave will be resurrected in the judgment.
    So Spiritual death is basically: Unbelief. Not believing all our sins HAVE been forgiven apart from anything we have done or will do. What this means is that every LDS person who believes in LDS theology is presently in a *state* of spiritual death. This *state* is only changeable in THIS LIFE. The state you die in, is the state that will HOLD you for all eternity.

    Ralph, Are you sinless? Are you clean? What will happen to YOU if you should DIE TODAY?

    Anyways, I am going out of town for the weekend tomorrow morning. If I don’t catch up with you again today, I will talk to you again next week. Have a good weekend.

  55. 55 adb
    September 24, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Ralph, did you care to respond to Echo’s question from post 23? It’s really quite a simple question, and your response would help me to see where you’re coming from. Thanks.

  56. 56 Ralph Peterson
    September 24, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Echo,

    Separation from God is separation from God. I don’t have any idea what you think it means, but to me separation from God is separation from God.

    Now you can try to make this about me or about my theology if you want. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Jesus of your theology didn’t suffer the punishment for your sins nor is he capable of doing so.

    Sorry but nothing you have presented actually addresses this problem. But in the interest of continued discussion, I will answer your questions.

    1) Ralph, according to your theology, what is the punishment that you believe man deserves for his sins?

    Total and complete separation from God, the Father.

    2) According to your theology, was Christ capable of suffering the punishment of your sins?

    Yes. As a separate being, Christ was able to be totally and completely separated from God, the Father.

    3) According to your theology, what benefit comes to you as a result of Christ suffering for the punishment of your sins?

    Well, I will let the Lord, Jesus Christ answer this question. (From D&C 19)
    “1 I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.
    . . .
    15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
    16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, THAT THEY MIGHT NOT SUFFER IF THEY WOULD REPENT;
    17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
    18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
    19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
    20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.

  57. 57 adb
    September 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Ralph,

    I don’t want to speak for Echo, but I’m wondering if his third question might be an effort on his part to understand how you personally would apply to yourself the meaning of the passages you cited. In other words, what does it mean to Ralph that Jesus is the “Redeemer of the world”? What does it mean to Ralph that Jesus holds out the promise of deliverance from suffering? Does that make sense?

  58. 58 Ralph Peterson
    September 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    ” . . . I’m wondering if his third question might be an effort on his part to understand how you personally would apply to yourself the meaning of the passages you cited.”

    You would have to ask Echo.

    “. . . what does it mean to Ralph that Jesus is the “Redeemer of the world”?”

    That is a broader question than his original one. Being the “Redeemer of the world” entails much more than “suffering for the punishment of [my] sins”. There is insufficient time for me to answer your question.

  59. 59 Echo
    September 28, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    According to your theology, If God the Father and Jesus are two separate Gods, why didn’t God the Father suffer for your sins rather than having his son do it? Was he (The Father) incapable? Was he unwilling? You have only the Son suffering for the sins of the world and not the Father. Isn’t the son then greater than the Father? And if the Son is greater than the Father then can the Father be God? If the Father is not God, how can Jesus be God? Doesn’t that leave a mere man named Jesus who is not God, dying for your sins?

    Since we believe in ONE God (in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) we have ONE God, THEE God of all the universe suffering for your sins.

    Which is far greater do you think?

    The Bible teaches that there is only One God
    The Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.

    It’s true that you may not be able to comprehend our theology. But does that make God’s truth any less true? Are God’s ways hemmed in by a mere man’s intellectual deductions or is it possible that God is bigger, greater, wiser and more powerful than man? That his ways are beyond tracing out by intellectual deductions when using our intellect all apart from his already revealed word written to us in the bible? Aren’t his ways beyond tracing out even when we are enlightened by his revealed word? (Romans 11:33)

    We submit to what God has revealed to us rather than dictate to him who he and what he can or cannot do based on our intellectual deductions. We are his servants not his master. He is our God, we are not a God over him. Our intellect only goes as far as it is capable. But God is greater than we are, his intellect is beyond that of ours.

    What we do know from Scripture is this:

    Jesus is God (divine nature). This is made apparent from all that he did.
    Jesus is Man (human nature). This too is made apparent from all that he did.
    Jesus is God (divine nature) and Jesus is man (human nature). Not half man, half God, but rather fully God, fully man.

    Does God sleep? Does God need to eat in order to live? According to scripture God never sleeps and doesn’t need to eat to live so the answer is NO. Yet Jesus had the need to eat and sleep! Jesus as God (divine nature) didn’t need to eat and sleep. Jesus as man (human nature) needed to eat and sleep. Yet Jesus ate and slept. Jesus is God, therefore God needed to eat and sleep.

    Can God die? According to scripture God can’t die so the answer is NO. Jesus according to his divine nature cannot die. Jesus according to his human nature died! Yet because Jesus is fully God and fully man, when Jesus died, God died.

    We know that Jesus’ divine nature was there when he died because he then rose from the dead and his body didn’t see decay. So we could say that his divine nature was “along for the ride.”

    Can God forsake himself? According to scripture God cannot forsake himself so the answer is NO. Yet Jesus was forsaken by God!: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mathew 27:46) Yet because Jesus is fully God and fully man, God was forsaken!

    These are but a few examples of others just like them. You will find them in the scriptures. There is a pattern here, can you see it?

    It’s also true that since Jesus substituted “FOR US” or “AS US” in his suffering and death according to his human nature, HE, that is WE were forsaken by God.

    While I have separated the two natures of Jesus to help you get a small glimpse of what actually happened, the reality is that the two natures cannot be separated.
    Jesus accomplished our salvation from beginning to finish as both God and Man. A salvation that requires us to DO anything therefore would require us to be both God and Man. Your salvation as an LDS requires YOU to be both God and man.

    Run all of that through your intellectual deductions apart from God’s revealed word and chances are that you will come up bankrupt. Does that make theses truths any less true? NO. We submit to what God has revealed in his written word and can do nothing more.
    We call that: “Faith”

    Yes Ralph, I am asking and would like to understand what does it mean to YOU that Jesus is the “Redeemer of the world”? What does it mean to YOU that Jesus holds out the promise of deliverance from suffering?

    For the record, you didn’t answer all the questions I asked in my last post. I would like to hear your answers.

  60. 60 Echo
    September 29, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Correction. This sentence:

    “We submit to what God has revealed to us rather than dictate to him who he and what he can or cannot do based on our intellectual deductions.”

    Should read as follows:

    “We submit to what God has revealed to us rather than dictate to him who he IS and what he can or cannot do based on our intellectual deductions.”

  61. 61 Ralph Peterson
    September 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Echo,

    I see that you are trying to make this about my theology. How unsurprising.

    FACT: The Jesus of your theology didn’t suffer the punishment for your sins nor is he capable of doing so.

    Nothing you have posted changes that FACT.

    I will address some of your complaints.

    “The Bible teaches that there is only One God”

    Untrue. The Bible acknowledges the existence of other real gods. Many Bible scholars agree.

    Here are just a few verses that acknowledge the existence of other real gods that give obeisance to God.

    Josh. 22:22 The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us not this day,)

    Deut. 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

    Ps. 136:2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

    Dan. 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

    Dan. 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

    In responding to the false teacher Noetus, Hippolytus [170 -236 AD]said:

    “Father and Logos (Word, Christ) are two distinct persons.”
    “If again he (Jesus) alleges his own word when he said “I and the Father are one”
    let him (Noetus) attend to the fact, and understand that he (Jesus) DID NOT SAY “I AND THE FATHER AM ONE, BUT ARE ONE.” For the word “are” is not said of one person but it refers to two persons, and one power. He has himself made this clear, when he spoke to the Father concerning the disciples, “The glory which Thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be made perfect in one, that the world may know that thou has sent me. What have the Noetians to say to these things? Are all one body in respect to substance, or is that we become one in power and disposition of unity of mind? A man therefore, even though he will it not, is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit and that these therefore are three. It is the Father who commands, and the Son who obey and the Holy Spirit who gives under-standing against the heresy of Noetus.”
    (Against the Heresey of Noetus).

    The oneness of God isn’t oneness of being, but oneness of purpose and will.

    IF this,
    John 10:30 I (singular) and my Father (singular) are (plural) one (singular).

    means two persons in one being, then this,

    1 Cor 3:6 I (singular) have planted, Apollos (singular) watered; . . .
    7 So then neither is he (singular) that planteth any thing, neither he (singular) that watereth; . . .
    8 Now he (singular) that planteth and he (singular) that watereth are (plural) one (singular): . . .

    also means two persons in one being.

    – – – – –

    “The Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.”

    Actually that is inaccurate. Jesus taught that God, the Father was God.

    Jesus speaking to God, the Father, in prayer said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

    The Apostles taught that God, the Father, was God, and the Jesus was Lord.

    Eph. 1:2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
    • • •
    17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

    1 Thes. 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • • •
    3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

    2 Cor. 1: 2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

    Col. 1: 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

    1 Thes. 3:11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
    • • •
    13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

    2 Thes. 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, aunto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
    2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Rom. 1: 7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Rom. 15: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 Cor. 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 Cor. 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

    2 Cor. 11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

    Gal. 1: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

    Eph. 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

    Eph. 6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Philip. 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Philip. 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Col. 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

    2 Thes. 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

    1 Tim. 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

    2 Tim. 1:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

    Philem. 1:3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

    2 Jn. 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

    I don’t find any Biblical scripture that plainly teaches that the Holy Ghost is God. To get there you have to infer things that aren’t there.

    More, later, if I have time.

  62. 62 Echo
    September 29, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Ralph said: “see that you are trying to make this about my theology. How unsurprising.”
    Don’t blame me for your choosing to avoid my questions. Your two-faced. Your sinning against God. You expect and demand that we answer all your questions (and we are willing to do that for you, given time) yet you won’t answer ours. Answer the questions Ralph. Obey ALL the commandments for the entire law is summed up: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Ralph, you have just broken God’s entire law! You teach others that they must obey all the commandments for their salvation and yet you don’t. Romans 2:23-24 “You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

    Ralph said: “FACT: The Jesus of your theology didn’t suffer the punishment for your sins nor is he capable of doing so.

    Nothing you have posted changes that FACT.

    What I posted does indeed show that Jesus was capable of suffering and did suffer the punishment for our sins. What is it that you aren’t understanding yet? Try reading it again and asking more questions. I can’t get into your mind to find out where you are lost or confused, you need to help me there otherwise how else can I answer your question. I have already answered your question in my mind.

    Echo said: “The Bible teaches that there is only One God” ***Ralph replied:
    “Untrue. The Bible acknowledges the existence of other real gods. Many Bible scholars agree.”

    The Bible does acknowledge the existence of other Gods. But not other “real” Gods. The Bible acknowledges that all other Gods are idols. False Gods. God’s fashioned in the minds of men. Not “real” Gods.

    Can you please give me verses that indicate there is more than one “real” God? Actually, you cannot. What you have said is untrue.

    ***********************************************************************************************

    ***Here are some verses that indicate that there is only ONE REAL GOD***

    Isaiah 43:10-11 “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even ,I am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior.”

    “Before me” (singular) “there was NO GOD FORMED. Nor shall there be after me” (No God before or after the ONE TRUE God.)

    Isaiah 44:6 “This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”

    “I am” (singular) “apart from ME” (singular) (RALPH, who is our Redeemer and King? )

    Isaiah 44:8 “ Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

    “Did I” (singular) “Is there any God”(singular) “besides me” (singular)” “NO, there in no other Rock, I know NOT ONE” (Only One God!)

    Isaiah 46:9 “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.”

    “I” (singular) “am God” (singular) “and THERE IS NO OTHER”

    2 Kings 19:15 “”O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”

    “you” (singular) “alone”(singular) “are God”(singular) (ONE TRUE GOD)

    2 Kings 19:19 “Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”

    “our God” (singular) “you” (singular) “alone” (singular)…”are God”(singular)

    Psalm 62:1 “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.”

    “God” (singular) “from him” (singular)

    Psalm 86:10 “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.”

    “You” (singular) “alone” (singular) “are God” (singular)
    ***********************************************************************************************

    Echo said : “The Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.” ***RALPH responded: “Actually that is inaccurate. Jesus taught that God, the Father was God. Jesus speaking to God, the Father, in prayer said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)”

    The Bible teaches that the Father is God. You and I both agree on that so I won’t post passages in support of that.

    ***********************************************************************************************

    ***Passages referring to Jesus as God***

    Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, MIGHTY GOD, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

    The “child born” is Jesus. He will be called “mighty God”.

    John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,”

    Jesus is “the Word” “and the Word was God”

    John 20:28 “ And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

    Thomas said TO HIM. (not to Jesus and the Father)

    1 Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory”

    GOD was manifested in the flesh…believed on in the world…received up in glory. That’s Jesus!

    Hebrews 1:8 “ But to the Son He says: “ Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”

    “To the son” (Jesus) he says: “Your” (Jesus’) “throne, O GOD”

    John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

    Jesus is the one at the Father’s side. Here he (Jesus) is referred to as “God the One and Only”.

    Romans 9:5 “Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

    Christ is God over all!

    Titus 2:13-14 “while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

    “Our great GOD AND SAVIOR who gave HIMSELF for us” The “himself” is referring to both “God” and “savior” Note: Only Jesus is going to appear, not the Father and Jesus. So both “God” and “Savior” are referring to Jesus.

    Mathew 1:23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.”

    Jesus’ name is “God with us” They will call HIM: “God with us”

    ***********************************************************************************************

    Ralph said: “I don’t find any Biblical scripture that plainly teaches that the Holy Ghost is God. To get there you have to infer things that aren’t there.”

    Are you LDS? Even the LDS believes the Holy Spirit is God:

    “God the Holy Ghost: The Holy Ghost is also a God and is called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit, and the Spirit of God, among other similar names and titles. With the aid of the Holy Ghost, man can know the will of God the Father and know that Jesus is the Christ (1 Cor. 12: 3).”
    (www.lds.org – Guide to the scriptures under God/Godhead)

    ***********************************************************************************************

    If we put all of this information together, we have ONE God, thee only God.
    The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God.
    One God in 3 persons. The Trinity.

    Now could you please answer all my previous questions? Thanks!

  63. 63 Ralph Peterson
    September 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    “Your[sic] two-faced. Your sinning against God.”

    Well, that is a conversation killer.

  64. 64 Echo
    September 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Psalm 141:5 “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.”

  65. 65 Echo
    September 30, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Ralph, let’s be friends, can we be friends?

    I think I learned something today but let me tell you what I was thinking before I learned something and then I will tell you what I learned.

    When I first read your response in post 63, my first thought was that you are unwilling to take responsibility for your sins like so many Mormons before you have done. So I posted Psalm 141:5 in hopes that you would realize that a rebuke is a “kindness”. My hope was that it would lead you to sorrow and in so doing it would repair the discussion between us by leading you to stop judging me in a negative light. I have noticed that ALL Mormons do this. I know of not one exception. Why? (I wonder to myself) Honestly, without trying to be mean or offensive but just honest, I have never met a more judgmental group than Mormons. Their main goal seems to be to cut people down and trample all over them until they look real bad.

    This evening I read something about Mormons online that I think might have opened my eyes to something. This Mormon did everything in her power to live up to all the demands, the lists, the rules of Mormonism. She became very critical of everyone around her who wasn’t living up to the demands of Mormonism. She was temple worthy and had many leadership roles in the LDS Church. She was THEE GOOD Mormon. Year after year after year she would continue keeping up with the new lists of what a worthy Mormon should do and she tried her best to carry them all out as prescribed. Over time, the lists became a curse to her as do all lists. She was now feeling the pressure of trying to be worthy in a world where no one is worthy. She was failing at it no matter how hard she tried. She hid it. She was THEE GOOD Mormon on the outside, but all along she wasn’t THEE GOOD Mormon on the inside. Her life began to fall apart. Her children rebelled against her critical expectation of perfection. She and her temple worthy husband eventually parted ways. She hung a rope from the ceiling in the garage and hung herself. She is dead.

    This true story got me thinking about why you reacted the way you did in post 63. Here I was thinking you were unrepentant but that’s not it, is it? So I thought: why would something that is supposed to be a “kindness” be taken as a “curse” to you instead? Is it because you are feeling the pressure of having to live up to all of the lists of what you must do to become worthy? Are the demands of Mormonism finally taking their tole on you or beginning to take their tole on you? Are you running from the conversation because you see my “kindness” as another TO DO on the never ending list of things you must do to become worthy? Am I placing another weight on the side of the scale that’s already off balance in the wrong direction? (http://www.choosehypnosis.com/weight_scales.bmp) And if any of this is true, will you continue to hide it like this Mormon until it destroys you and your family and leads you to depression and/or suicide?

    Be open, be honest! I can help you! I care! TRUE religion isn’t about rules and lists, it’s about a relationship with Jesus! Jesus knows your scales are off balance in the wrong direction so he jumped on the other side of the scale FOR YOU! The right side! He is a heavy weight, he is perfect! He doesn’t plan on getting off your scale unless you push him off!
    Throw out the lists! Enjoy the God who loves you unconditionally and rescued you!

    The Lists, rules and demands of Mormonism or any religion cause us to be cursed:

    Galatians 3:10 “CURSED is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

    Jesus redeemed us from the Curse of lists, rules and demands:

    Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the CURSE of the law by becoming a CURSE for us, for it is written: “CURSED is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

    This woman who took her own life was cursed. That is to say she finally felt the pressure of not being able to live up to the demands of Mormonism. It creeps up on you ever so slowly but slowly increases over time until you can’t take it anymore.


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