10
Apr
12

Temple Work for the Dead

Chapter 8 of the Teachings of George Albert Smith deals with Mormonism’s emphasis on doing temple work for the dead.  As this chapter points out, this isn’t restricted to baptisms for the dead, but includes all the ordinances that the living participate in.  There is so much that could be commented on but I will restrict my thoughts to three things.

First is the utter lack of biblical support for this.  In the entire chapter President Smith only cites one Bible passage, 1 Corinthians 15:19.  And that one is taken completely out of context!  Even a cursory reading of the context shows that it is talking about the resurrection and how we would have no hope in eternity if Christ had not been raised.  It is stressing the fact that Christ’s resurrection is the basis for our entire faith.  It is, as Paul says in Romans 4:25, the proof that Jesus had done everything for our being justified, acquitted, forgiven by God.

But President Smith applies it to eternal marriage!  He said:  “Grateful should we be for a knowledge of the eternity of the marriage covenant. If in this life only had we hope, we would indeed be of all men most miserable [see 1 Corinthians 15:19]. The assurance that our relationship here as parents and children, as husbands and wives will continue in heaven, and that this is but the beginning of a great and glorious kingdom that our Father has destined we shall inherit on the other side, fills us with hope and joy.”

The bottom line is that there is no biblical support for this practice.

The second point is his portrayal of how others view eternity.  He writes:  “If I were to think, as so many think, that now that my beloved wife and my beloved parents are gone, that they have passed out of my life forever and that I shall never see them again, it would deprive me of one of the greatest joys that I have in life: the contemplation of meeting them again, and receiving their welcome and their affection, and of thanking them from the depths of a grateful heart for all they have done for me.”

He doesn’t specifically say this is how Christians believe, but I have had numerous Mormons tell me that is what they think I believe.  Just to set the record straight.  The Bible teaches that we will be together forever with all our believing loved ones.  I expect not only to see them again but to live with them for all eternity.  The Bible does talk about an eternal family –God’s eternal family made up of all believers.  I will be spending eternity in this wonderful family – because Jesus did the necessary work for me.  Through Jesus’ perfect law-keeping for me; through his atoning death for all my sins, I and all my believing loved ones have been adopted into the greatest eternal family, heavenly Father’s family.  That is the family unit that will exist for all eternity.

Finally, I found the way he motivates members to do this work quite interesting.  More than once he talks about the blessings people forfeit by not doing this work.  For example he writes, “Our Heavenly Father told the people through Joseph Smith that, unless we performed the work for our dead, we would lose our own blessings, and we would be cut off.”   He then goes on to tell the story of two brothers: one who did temple work for the dead and the other one who didn’t.  The one who didn’t wasn’t received well in heaven.  He then asks: “What will be your reception when you go on the other side? Will you be the one they will reach out to and bless throughout the ages of eternity, or will you be like the brother who was selfishly working out his problems here and letting those who could not help themselves go on without his help?”

Does this mean that for some, being part of their eternal family won’t be pleasant?  Will it be like attending a family reunion where everybody shuns you?  That surely is the impression given.  That doesn’t sound like heaven to me.

But even more enlightening is again how, even here, the way that Mormonism motivates people to do work is by focusing on what they get out of it.  I went through the chapter again searching for any mention of doing this out of love for people.  But I couldn’t find that motivation mentioned.

How starkly different that is from how the Bible motivates believers.  There it is all about love.  Just this point alone illustrates again the great gap that exists between Mormonism and the Bible.  This again shows how they operate on two completely different wave lengths.

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127 Responses to “Temple Work for the Dead”


  1. April 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    You misrepresented the story of the two brothers. The brother (who never found time to serve those who have passed on) had a dream and it worried him. He shared it with his brother and asked him if he knew what it meant. The interpretation of that dream was a message to him personally which his brother helped him to see. It’s a message that we can all learn from in life…if we don’t love and serve others, we forfeit blessings we could have
    had…blessings of love and fellowship with God? Goodness, have you never experienced the blessings of helping others? In your own life, have you ever passed by someone in need and thought later on..I really should have
    helped them?

    Why would Jesus tell the rich man in Luke 18:22 to “sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the apoor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:” How does giving to the poor (serving others) lay up treasure in heaven? Why would Christ even mention that?

    In the manuals that focus on the teachings of prior prophets in the Church, quotes are taken to teach particular concepts and doctrine. You try to point out that we are only motivated by what we get out of it…if you mean that we are motivated to do temple work so we can see the blessings of having our families together eternally…if you mean that we are motivated to see that love endure forever…then I guess is that such a horrible thing? Seems to me that you are grasping at straws trying to point out something bad that isn’t there. Also, in the preceeding scripture I quoted, how is type of motivation is Jesus teaching with?

    As far as claiming there is no biblical evidence for Temple work, then again, you really should study your Bible. Perhaps reading some of the works for Margaret Barker, a non-lds biblical scholar might enlighten you about Temple theology.

  2. April 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Re: marriage.

    President Smith says -“The assurance that our relationship here as parents and children, as husbands and wives will continue in heaven,”

    “Jesus says in Mark 12:24-25 “24And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 25For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”

    Kate:

    “As far as claiming there is no biblical evidence for Temple work, then again, you really should study your Bible.”

    What Biblical support is that?

  3. 3 Kent
    April 11, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Kate said, “As far as claiming there is no biblical evidence for Temple work, then again, you really should study your Bible.”

    Yes there is support for temple work in the Bible, old testament temple work, when they sacrificed innocent animals to atone for their sins. This was done away with once and for by Christ’s sacrifice to atone for all of humanity’s sins at once.

    So if there if there is no need for the old testament temple, then there is certainly no need for all the extra rituals done in the Mormon temple. There is not even one example in the Bible of anything even closely resembling what is done in the Mormon temple.

    Name one example.

  4. 4 Kent
    April 11, 2012 at 1:47 am

    “But President Smith applies it to eternal marriage! He said: “Grateful should we be for a knowledge of the eternity of the marriage covenant. If in this life only had we hope, we would indeed be of all men most miserable [see 1 Corinthians 15:19]. The assurance that our relationship here as parents and children, as husbands and wives will continue in heaven, and that this is but the beginning of a great and glorious kingdom that our Father has destined we shall inherit on the other side, fills us with hope and joy.”

    This has nothing to do with eternal families or eternal marriage because, as Mark said, it is taken completely out of context as the whole passage is about how we would have no hope if Christ has not risen from the dead and we would still be in our sins if he hadn’t risen.

    I find it ironic that these passages point out how death came into the world by Adam and his disobedieance to God when he and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Mormons, don’t you realize that when you put on your aprons in your temple symbolizing the fall that you are in effect celebrating that death came into the world?

    1 Corinthians 15:1-22

    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
    9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
    12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
    20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

  5. 5 shematwater
    April 11, 2012 at 1:53 am

    MARK

    I think your analysis was made for the sole purpose of finding something that you could ridicule.

    On your first point, I am not going to argue any possible evidence, but I will make a comment on what you say concerning 1 Corinthians 15: 19.
    As you say, the topic of the chapter is the resurrection. However, what aspect of the resurrection is he talking about. He states in verse 19 “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” I ask, hope of what. Is it not the hope of eternal happiness in the presence of God? Is it not a hope of all things that Christ has promised? If then, as we believe, Christ has promised our marriage relations can last after this life, then is this not part of the hope that Paul talks about?

    Concerning your second point, I don’t think it helps your analysis of President Grant’s words to take a quote from him, and then comment on the thoughts of others. President Grant was lived at a time when Evolution and the scientific theories were gaining great support, and were being used by aethiest to prove that there is nothing after this life. This is what he was commenting on, and nothing else. For the subject at hand it doesn’t matter what others think concerning your personal beliefs.

    Now, to the third point. I have no idea what you were reading, but if you can claim that it had nothing to do with loving people and all that than I can’t be sure we read the same thing. What I read has more on love than anything else, with only two references to any negative consequences. Now, I admit that he never states directly “we do this because we love them.” But then, he doesn’t need to. He knows his audience, and he knows that when he speaks to the condition of their departed family members, or the need that the dead have of our help, or any of a number of emotional appeals, what he is saying is “If you love these people you will do what is needed to be done.”
    Immediately following the story of the two brothers (which I will also mention later) we read the following: “many people do not understand the seriousness and the sacredness of life; the do not understand the sacredness of eternal marriage. There are some of our people who have no interest in their genealogy…After we have been to the House of the Lord for our own blessings, let us think of our responsibility to our forebears.”
    These sentences are appealing to the love people have for their families, begging them to care about their ancestors enough to desire the same blessings for them, and to do the work necessary for them to receive those blessings.

    Lastly, I would like to comment on the story of the brothers. This story does not imply that one was shunned while the other wasn’t. What it does show is that the one had more people there eager to greet him, for he had made it possible for them to be there. The other did not have this reception because there was no one there that he had helped, and so no one who felt such gratitude towards him.
    The message of this story is summed up beautifully in this passage:
    “And if it so be that you should labor all your days…and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
    And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”
    The one brother had the joy of bringing many souls unto God, while the other had none of this joy, for he had brought no one. When the two are compared, the welcome of the second pales in comparison.

  6. April 11, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Kent, you would have to be a serious student of the Bible to understand the temple motifs and ascension motifs throughout the Bible. I’m not going to argue them here, since you would choose not to see them.

  7. 7 joshtried
    April 11, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Kent, to this: “Yes there is support for temple work in the Bible, old testament temple work, when they sacrificed innocent animals to atone for their sins.”

    Is this all that you think happened in the temple?

  8. 8 joshtried
    April 11, 2012 at 4:31 am

    1 corinthians 15:
    29Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

    This is not a new concept. This is something that was TOTALLY OBVIOUS at the time… Yet we are wrong for practicing this.

    For anyone to continue with saying Baptisms for the Dead are not of God, you are denying that they need this work when they arise.

  9. 9 joshtried
    April 11, 2012 at 5:10 am

    “How starkly different that is from how the Bible motivates believers. There it is all about love. Just this point alone illustrates again the great gap that exists between Mormonism and the Bible. This again shows how they operate on two completely different wave lengths.”

    So, God was all about love when he was going to kill off all the children of israel save Moses in the desert? God was all about love when he commanded one person to kill another (at any point in the bible)? God is all about love when Hell was created in the first place? He was all about love when he created anything that could do evil in the first place? What about all the Curses God has ever sent to earth? Those were sent in pure love? What about hardening the Pharaohs heart? Did he love the Pharaoh so much he wanted him to hold Israel prisoner? Could he have not softened the Pharaoh’s heart and allowed both sides to just live peacefully? Honestly, hardening Pharaoh’s heart did nothing for the people of Israel since they still turned from him. What about the people that were living in Israels land of inheritance. Couldnt He have just said “Go and live there peacefully”? They still didnt kill EVERYONE like they were supposed to (killing again). They still turned to false gods, even after God gave them this prime real estate. So, to kill anyone was completely unnecessary. Lots of love there for those people that got killed.

    The Bible is about obeying the word of God, or suffering the consequences. There is no right and wrong save God says it is right, and then it is so.
    I command thee to not murder, but i command thee personally to take out this person for the good of an entire nation. I command thee to wipe out this entire civilization. But remember, thou shalt not murder.

    Proverbs 9:10 states “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Fear is not love. (see donnie darko on how they are opposites).

  10. 10 RLO
    April 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Josh asks: “So, God was all about love when he was going to kill off all the children of Israel save Moses in the desert? God was all about love when he commanded one person to kill another (at any point in the bible)? God is all about love when Hell was created in the first place? He was all about love when he created anything that could do evil in the first place? What about all the Curses God has ever sent to earth? Those were sent in pure love? What about hardening the Pharaohs heart? Did he love the Pharaoh so much he wanted him to hold Israel prisoner? Could he have not softened the Pharaoh’s heart and allowed both sides to just live peacefully? Honestly, hardening Pharaoh’s heart did nothing for the people of Israel since they still turned from him. What about the people that were living in Israel’s land of inheritance. Couldn’t He have just said “Go and live there peacefully”? They still didn’t kill EVERYONE like they were supposed to (killing again). They still turned to false gods, even after God gave them this prime real estate. So, to kill anyone was completely unnecessary. Lots of love there for those people that got killed.”

    Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

    Yes, God is all about love. Even throughout all of these accounts as you have described them from the Bible, though it surpasses our human understanding. God is love.

    But what stands out more than anything in all of these questions is how angry we are with God – that He would have the audacity to exercise omniscience you and I simply do not possess – that we presumptuously question His love – because it doesn’t measure up to what we think love should look like.

    Yes, God was then, still is, and forever will be, all about love. But being the one-and-only God of Love does not preclude him from also being the one-and-only God of Judgment. And His being the God of Justice does not mean he ceases being the God of Love.

    So when one really and truly believes God is Love, all these questions simply vanish. But to persist in asking questions such as these is to express doubt that God really is what he says he is. A God of Love.

    “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power , together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19

  11. 11 joshtried
    April 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    “But what stands out more than anything in all of these questions is how angry we are with God”

    I am not anry with God, I am angry with people that twist what has been said thus allowing others to meet the same fate as those that God commanded to be killed. Those that say works arent necessary in any way. Once you start down this path, you make it so that people only have to say that the accept Christ, and then they go on to do whatever they want because they were taught false doctrine. When you are working for the lord, you know this and feel his spirit more strongly. When you are not, “idle hands are the devils playground”

    There are things God has given “us” that equate to an equal love for all, but not if you as a “Christian” make is so these are not exercised. God loves us all, yet he hardened Pharaohs heart and made it so that he was not listening to the word of God. By what we are given in christianity, this man goes to hell. He never returns because he did not accept God in “this” lifetime. Now, when you add in things like temple work, you see that God loves all and will give all a chance, even those he personally intervened in.

    I think my point was skewed more to the Bible initially, and that was a mistake on my part. It should have been skewed to the Christian view of eternities and how this played a role in each of these accounts. In “christianity” you have only this mortal life to make your decision. In “LDS” belief, you have beyond this life, because someone may have stepped in and fudged things up for you before you could properly choose. Pharaoh in this account did NOT get to choose God. God hardened his heart. Pharaoh therefore never has a chance, unless he gets his own choice after this life.

  12. April 11, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Mark, or RLO

    I wonder if this would be an appropriate time to bring Romans 9 into this discussion with Josh. Under the circumstances it seems highly appropriate but I was looking for your sense on this.

  13. 13 RLO
    April 11, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Dave;

    Please, by all means, feel free to speak the truth in love for Josh from Romans 9 – and all of Romans, for that matter. You needn’t my sense of the matter.

    RLO

  14. April 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Sounds like you are ready to preach your interpretation of Romans to Josh. I am curious by the way…you all seem to put more importance on Paul’s words (or I should say, your interpretaion of them) than on Jesus’ words…can you explain that?

  15. April 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Josh
    I want to preface this with the following. Josh the LDS church has so distorted who God is (claiming he was once a sinful human being) and so diminished the enormity of the sacrifice of Jesus (being reduced to a lender, rather than the One who saves us from sin and who gives us His perfect righteousness to stand before God purely as an act of grace because of His love, being denied His being One with the Father) that you honestly have no idea how much God loves you. You don’t realize what he gave up to endure suffering and death on your behalf and you have been lied to about what Jesus’ atonement truly means.
    “9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son[b] into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for[c] our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
    “11Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekial 33:11
    When you don’t humanize God and let God be God you see that we simply cannot grasp how he works. But we do know it is always for our good and always perfect. “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. ” 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
    Why do some perish and others not? Realize that God knows how His plan works – He designed it.
    “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[a] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he[b] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
    11 In him we were also chosen,[c] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ezekial 1:3-11
    I think Romans 9 speaks to some of your questions. I just let it speak for itself. NOTICE WHO IS IN CONTROL OF YOUR SALVATION.
    Paul’s Anguish Over Israel
    1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.
    God’s Sovereign Choice
    6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[b] 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”[c]
    10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”[d] 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[e]
    14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,
    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]
    16 IT DOES NOT, THEREFORE, DEPEND ON HUMAN DESIRE OR EFFORT, BUT ON GOD’S MERCY. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
    19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
    22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:
    “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
    and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”[i]
    26 and,
    “In the very place where it was said to them,
    ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”[j]
    27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
    “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
    only the remnant will be saved.
    28 For the Lord will carry out
    his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”[k]
    29 It is just as Isaiah said previously:
    “Unless the Lord Almighty
    had left us descendants,
    we would have become like Sodom,
    we would have been like Gomorrah.”[l]
    Israel’s Unbelief
    30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
    “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall,
    and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[m]

  16. 16 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 12:06 am

    First off, you dont believe Jesus to be the son of God, you believe him to be God. (yet we distort who God is). He sent his one and only son…….. He did not send himself. Second, I know exactly what he gave up, and so does he. He gave up the carnal for the heavenly. Third, you just wrote out the plan of salvation, and how we hoped in Christ before earth. You dont believe this plan ever existed, yet there it is in black and white for you. Fourth, Romans 8:28 seems to stipulate God does not do good for all, but only those that love him, which would mean The Bible is not all about love, it is about obedience. If you love out of fear, does it still count? Maybe I will respond more at home, but your own ignorance to the things you are posting really hurts my head.

  17. 17 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 12:27 am

    To add to this predistined thing, there are only 2 possible choices.
    1. We must do something to partake of this, accepting Christ on our own and returning to him to work through him.
    2. It doesnt matter a single lick. Nothing does, it doesnt matter what I choose to do because. Only those predestined to return will, and it will be every single one that was predestined to return.
    If number 2 is correct, there is no reason for this blog to exist. There is no reason for any missionary (or any kind of person) to spread Gods word. There is no reason for you to try and convert me, or for me to convert you. So, which is it?

  18. April 12, 2012 at 12:41 am

    Josh

    “First off, you dont believe Jesus to be the son of God, you believe him to be God. (yet we distort who God is). He sent his one and only son…….. He did not send himself.”

    “30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:30

    The son of God IS God!

    “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1.

    “14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 14.

    “Third, you just wrote out the plan of salvation, and how we hoped in Christ before earth. You dont believe this plan ever existed, yet there it is in black and white for you.” Yes I do.

    You said:”The Bible is not all about love, it is about obedience.”

    “22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
    27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:22-29

    You also asked “If you love out of fear, does it still count?”

    “17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:17-18.

    This is why odedience to laws and ordinances out of an obligation to earn something for yourself is not faith.

  19. April 12, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Josh

    “9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.[a]” 2 Peter 3:9-10

  20. 20 RLO
    April 12, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Josh;

    Christians do believe Jesus is the Son of God. Christians do believe Jesus is the Son of Man. Christians do believe Jesus is God. Three distinct persons. Yet They are One God. The First Person (the Father) sent the Second Person (the Son). Yes, I know. The math doesn’t work, does it? We don’t believe it because it conforms to or satisfies our human reason. It simply doesn’t satisfy human reason. Rather, we believe it because that’s how God describes himself in the Bible. Yes, I know you don’t believe that’s how God describes Himself in the Bible. But He does. And yes, I know if you are shown, you will refuse to see it. So,

    I recommend for your reading, “The Two Natures In Christ” by Martin Chemnitz. Another good read for you would be, Bondage Of The Will by Martin Luther. And lastly, “The Foolishness Of God” by Siegbert Becker.

  21. 21 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Perhaps that was worded wrong, but Jesus is 3 people?
    To the second part, i want to be clear. You do believe that Christ has a Father. In this, are you saying that Christ and his father are separate being, or are you saying they are the same being?
    I believe Christ to be God, son of God the father. 2 separate “Gods”, one submitting to the other. Also to my understanding, it was “God” (Christ) that spoke with Moses, and it was “God” (Christ) that created this earth.

    “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
    The way we understand this is to read 2 different people. The word is clearly separate from God in the first part of this [I was with Jacob. Definition of with: accompanied by; accompanying, in some particular relation to (especially implying interaction, company, association, conjunction, or connection)]. First, we go to the second part: The Word was God (this being Christ). Second, we go back to the first part: The word (Christ) was with God (the Father).

    When God speaks to us, he speaks in terms we can clearly understand. He does not give to us to confuse us. If that were the case, then it would be in our best interests not to read the Bible. He doesnt say “son” to mean I am myself manifest. He would have said, I am God, born through this woman. He would not have said “would you that I do not do my fathers work”. He would have said “would you that I do not do my own work”. There would be no mention of there being a son of God if there was not in fact a son of God. Christ is the son of God. He is A God himself, he is NOT God the Father.

    One day i may take you up on those readings, but if you would, humor me in this debate and clarify whether Christ does or does not have a being separate from himself who is his Father. separate in what we understand to be physical forms, as i do openly concede that they are one in purpose; to bring people back to heaven.

  22. 22 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 2:57 am

    “9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

    “everyone come to repentance” & “and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

    This could be one of those thing people call contradictions. Is it wanting everyone to come to repentance, or is it we are all just clay, and we have no real choice in the matter. from my predestined post, is it choice 1, or is it choice 2?

  23. 23 RLO
    April 12, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Josh;

    I expect you will likely dismiss this out of hand as foolishness, but the best explanation for what Christians believe is accurately summarized as follows:

    The Athanasian Creed

    Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all else, hold to the true Christian faith. Whoever does not keep this faith pure in all points will certainly perish forever.

    Now this is the true Christian faith: We worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons or dividing the divine being. For each person – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – is distinct, but the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty.

    What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit. The Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy spirit uncreated; the Father is infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite; the Father is eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal; yet they are not three who are eternal, but there is one who is eternal, just as they are not three who are uncreated, nor three who are infinite, but there is one who is uncreated and one who is infinite.

    In the same way the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, the Holy Spirit is almighty: yet they are not three who are almighty, but there is one who is almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; yet they are not three gods, but one God. So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord; yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.

    For just as Christian truth compels us to confess each person individually to be God and Lord, so the true Christian faith forbids us to speak of three Gods or three Lords. The Father is neither made nor created nor begotten of anyone. The Son is neither made nor created, but is begotten of the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeds from the Father and the Son.

    So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And within this Trinity none comes before or after; none is greater or inferior, but all three persons are coequal and coeternal, so that in every way, as stated before, all three persons are to be worshiped as one God and one God worshiped as three persons. Whoever wishes to be saved must have this conviction of the Trinity.

    It is furthermore necessary for eternal salvation truly to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ also took on human flesh. Now this is the true Christian faith: We believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and man.

    He is God, eternally begotten from the nature of the Father, and he is man, born in time from the nature of his mother, fully God, fully man, with rational soul and human flesh, equal to the Father as to his deity, less than the Father as to his humanity; and though he is both God and man, Christ is not two persons but one, one, not by changing the deity into flesh, but by taking the humanity into God; one, indeed, not by mixture of the natures, but by unity in one person; for just as the rational soul and flesh are one human being, so God and man are one Christ.

    He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, and from there will come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming all people will rise with their own bodies to answer for their personal deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, but those who have done evil will go into eternal fire. This is the true Christian faith. Whoever does not faithfully and firmly believe this cannot be saved.

  24. 24 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 4:47 am

    RLO, while this is rather long and even somehwhat confusing, upon my first reading of it, it made sense and seemed similar to what is taught by LDS people. I honestly have not studied near enough to answer whether this creed is the position of our Church. What you posted, and what the first article of faith state do not seem to conflict with one another though:
    We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

    The part that I personally would contend with is “none is greater or inferior”. Christ said in Gethsamane “yet not my will, but yours be done.” To me, this is Christ submitting to the greater will of the Father… I will admit to not encountering this creed before, and as such, i have not studied it out in completeness. As to official church position on one being superior, again, i have not studied enough to answer. I didnt even realize this was a question that could or would be asked and answered.

    “so the true Christian faith forbids us to speak of three Gods or three Lords”
    Unless i am mistaken, this would be in reference to “I know of no other Gods”, correct? Now, bear with me, but if they are each God, and they are each their own separate person, what difference is their in saying they are each God, together in purpose.

    There may or may not be one point of contention with the LDS church here: “The Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy spirit uncreated”. I know that there has been said by LDS “As man is, God once was;” I can say that i do not understand either of these fully enough to comment. I have questions for both. I say may or may not be because i do not fully understand if this quote is or is not “official” church doctrine. I know the latter part of the quote “as god is man may become” is taught openly.
    1st, and the only question i will posthulate here is this: How was God before nothing? My mind has asked this question for roughly 20 years, and i do not understand this any better now then i did when i was 8.

    Finally: i want to merely point this out as it is said here and refuted by others in a very ongoing “christian” vs “LDS” debate… may the debate continue :P

    to answer for their personal deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, but those who have done evil will go into eternal fire.

  25. 25 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 4:51 am

    BTW, thank you for posting that. From the rounds some of the LDS members have went with the Christian members, and from the responses that I have remembered, i really hope this creed gets read by BOTH sides… official positions help a ton when trying to understand one another.

  26. 26 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Also RLO, i thought it important to state WHY i had previously dismissed some things. When a person says in one post Jesus is Gods son, and then in a completely different post says that Christ is God himself, these are possibly 2 very different things. When you put them together in a complete post with as much detail as you have in this, it is possible to fully understand your position. While it was not the most well thought out of either of us, it did bring to light the fullness of your understanding, which to me seems like what we were both trying to get to. You know what you believe, and i know what limited information I am given on your beliefs. The more information i have about your beliefs, and you on mine, the more we can fully evaluate each others beliefs and begin to find the truth, whichever side is right.

  27. 27 RLO
    April 12, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Josh commented: “The part that I personally would contend with is ‘none is greater or inferior.’ Christ said in Gethsamane ‘yet not my will, but yours be done.’ To me, this is Christ submitting to the greater will of the Father…”

    I believe this is addressed in the eighth paragraph of the Creed above, which states, “… equal to the Father as to his deity, less than the Father as to his humanity…”

    Again, this is precisely why I have recommended you read “The Two Natures In Christ” by Martin Chemnitz. I just recently finished a hard, hard eight months of reading and re-reading this exhaustive work on the doctrine of the two natures, and discussing each chapter with others. And due to the depth of the doctrine, clearly no amount of blog discussion could possibly do it justice.

  28. 28 Kent
    April 12, 2012 at 6:04 am

    “What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit. The Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy spirit uncreated; the Father is infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite; the Father is eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal; yet they are not three who are eternal, but there is one who is eternal, just as they are not three who are uncreated, nor three who are infinite, but there is one who is uncreated and one who is infinite.”

    Joshtried, that is why we don’t believe Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers as Jesus is uncreated while Satan is a created being as “all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” including Satan and since Jesus is uncreated, eternal, he had no beginning while Satan, a creation, had a beginning. Notice how it says that without Him nothing that was made that was made and it doesn’t just say that it is only everything on earth that was made through Him. This is backed up by Hebrews 1 that says the worlds were made through Him.

    John 1:1-3

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

    Hebrews 1:1-2

    1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds

  29. 29 choosethechrist
    April 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Hebrews 9:27 states that it is appointed to man to die once and then the judgment. This indicates that after death, there is the judgment, and there is no mention of a second chance. In Jesus’ parables of the kingdom, judgment follows after death. One example is Luke 16, Lazarus and the rich man. Immediately after they died, Lazarus was taken to Abraham’s bosom and the rich man to hell. Even in hell the rich man saw that he was wrong and sorry for his sin but could not change his outcome.

    Luke 16
    The Rich Man and Lazarus
    19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
    22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

    25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

    27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

    29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

    30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

    31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

    This clearly shows that people can not cross from hell to heaven:

    26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

    This clearly shows there are no second chances:

    27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

    29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

    30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

    31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

    This clearly shows that the witness of the Scriptures is sufficient for salvation for those who believe it, and no other revelation will bring about salvation to those who do not. No second, third or fourth chances.

    If Lazarus can’t cross the chasm and bring the rich man a drip of water to cool his tongue or take the message of salvation to the rich man’s family, the mormons can’t cross the chasm and offer the rich man the LDS gospel or LDS baptism.

  30. 30 choosethechrist
    April 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Why did Joseph Smith teach “baptisms for the dead” in order for the deceased to obtain salvation when the Book of Mormon clearly says that if a man does not repent in this life that becomes his FINAL state? The Book of Mormon states there is no second chance after death!

    The Book of Mormon says:

    34 Ye CANNOT say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will REPENT, that I will RETURN to my God. Nay, ye CANNOT say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. 35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth SEAL you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the FINAL state of the wicked. 36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb. (Alma 34:34-36)

    However, in the D&C 128, (begin reading in verse 13) Joseph Smith proclaimed that the dead could receive salvation through proxy baptisms for the dead. If the Book of Mormon is correct, why did Joseph Smith and why does the LDS church teach that through baptism for the death, a person can have a second chance by having someone else do his temple work, etc for him?

  31. 31 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Kent, if you and I are to be adopted, we would be brothers with Christ as we would be adopted by the father, and not by the son. I dont think LDS ever teaches Satan was completely equal with Christ. We say that separate plans were presented. Christianity says Satan rebelled against God, it does not say what exactly he did to rebell (that I have seen). Some on here have said that Satan wanted to be God himself ( I read this as Satan wanted to be “I AM”) & LDS also teach this. While I understand that the point.of this thread is not particularly to discuss Satan, when you say our Jesus is not the same because of who Satan is, then Satan must be discussed so that we can really see the truth. I dont think anyone here discusses Satan to worship him, we discuss him to either verify or cast aside what LDS believe.

  32. 32 Kent
    April 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    joshtried, I also believe that Satan and all the angels, including Michael the archangel, were created sometime between the beginning of Genesis 1:1 and when the foundations of the earth were laid as although it doesn’t say exactly when, the Bible does say the host of heaven, the angels, were part of the work he rested from on the seventh day of creation. So that is how they could be there to celebrate the foundations of the earth being laid.
    So nothing existed before the beginning of Genesis 1:1 except God the Father, God the Son through all things were made, and God the Holy Spirit, who was hovering over the face of the waters, one God but three persons.

    So, no planets (the worlds) existed for God to have been a man on first and there was no heaven for spirit children to exist in before the beginning of Genesis 1:1 when God created the heavens and the earth. That is why I don’t believe in the pre existence. Yes I believe God knew He would create all of us and who we would be, that is how He knew us before we came to be, but He hadn’t created any of us before Genesis 1:1, even spiritually.

    Only God existed before Genesis 1:1 as only He is completely eternal, with no beginning and no end and He has always been God and He will always be God. So He was never a man before He was God. God is the creator while man is His creation.

    Genesis 1:1-2

    1 In THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And THE SPIRIT OF GOD was hovering over the face of the waters.

    Genesis 2:1-2
    1 THUS THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, AND ALL THE HOST OF THEM, WERE FINISHED. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

    John 1:1-3

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 ALL THINGS WERE MADE THROUGH HIM, AND WITHOUT HIM NOTHING WAS MADE THAT WAS MADE.

    Hebrews 1:1-2

    1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, THROUGH WHOM ALSO HE MADE THE WORLDS.

  33. 33 Kent
    April 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Josh, my point is Satan is a created being while Jesus is the creator they are not of the same essence. As I said in my follow up post, Satan had a beginning but Jesus didn’t have a beginning. I guess, in a way, one could say that Satan and Michael are brothers and both are angels, created beings, but not that Jesus and Satan are brothers.

    I made no comment about Jesus and Satan being equals just that one is the creator and the other is a creation.

  34. 34 Kent
    April 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    At least on this point, that there are no second chances in the afterlife, the BOM agrees with the Bible. So Mormons don’t follow what they call the most correct book on earth anymore?

    The Book of Mormon says:

    34 Ye CANNOT say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will REPENT, that I will RETURN to my God. Nay, ye CANNOT say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. 35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth SEAL you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the FINAL state of the wicked. 36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb. (Alma 34:34-36)

    AND

    Hebrews 9:27

    “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment

  35. 35 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    you are correct that both scriptures are taught in the Bible. I will admit that my understand of why in particular the baptisms were done may be partial incorrect. the why here does not seem of particular consequence. The important point for me is that there are dead people that must be baptized to enter heaven. We do not judge peoples lifes and determine worthiness, we baptize all and let God sort it out. “He told them “the plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of the law of God” (Journal History of the Church, 15 Aug. 1840).” Whether they get a second chance is not our concern, or should not be. The point is some accepted Chtist (Christ chooses who has or has not accepted him), but may not have understood baptism, or they could not get to the proper place to be baptized. I believe shem has posted some stuff before on the second chance thing. Perhaps he will revisit that for the sake of this discussion? perhaps others know where the second chance thing came from as well and would like to post it.

  36. April 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I don’t have time to explain much today, but thought this might help to clear up the misunderstanding of that scripture.

    “One of the more frequently quoted yet misunderstood passages of the Book of Mormon is found in Alma 34:32–34, where Amulek declares that this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. . . . Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

    Critics have suggested that these verses contradict the LDS belief in preaching the gospel to the dead, since Amulek says that “there can be no labor performed” after death. But his words were addressed to the Zoramites, who had dissented from the Nephite religion and had already “received so many witnesses” (Alma 34:30). Unlike those who die without having heard the gospel (see D&C 138:32–34), the Zoramites had heard and accepted the gospel but then had rejected it. Amulek was calling upon them to repent and return to the fold lest they die in their sins, thereby placing their souls in eternal jeopardy (see Mosiah 2:33; D&C 76:31–38).

    Another misreading of the passage has led some people to believe that the “same spirit” (Alma 34:34) refers to a person’s own spirit, which they suppose cannot change after death. Occasionally, some have suggested that this means that a smoker, for example, will still have a craving for tobacco after he dies, but that his spirit will not be able to satisfy this craving. However, a careful reading of the next verse shows what Amulek meant. Speaking to these people who had already been members of the church, he declared:

    [I]f ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. (Alma 34:35)

    From this it is clear that the “same spirit” that possesses the wicked person and will continue to possess him in the hereafter is the devil, not the individual’s spirit. Those who do the devil’s will and refuse to repent will come under his power both in this world and the world to come. This is particularly true of those who have already entered into the covenant by being baptized.

    King Benjamin taught this same principle to his people assembled at the temple in Zarahemla:

    [I]f ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved—I say unto you, that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God; therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righteousness. . . . Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, . . . mercy hath no claim on that man. (Mosiah 2:36–39)

    By John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew P. Roper

  37. April 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I think it’s important to readers here to remember…if you haven’t read the Book of Mormon all the way through, and have studied it (same with the Bible), you will get caught up with problems of scriptures quoted and interpreted out of context. This happens a lot with Paul here on the weblog…only with Paul, it’s more of a refusal to look at context…especially because if you truly understand the context, you would see that the scriptures you use to refute our doctrine would no longer have any strength.

  38. April 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Josh

    You posted:
    “To add to this predistined thing, there are only 2 possible choices.
    1. We must do something to partake of this, accepting Christ on our own and returning to him to work through him.
    2. It doesnt matter a single lick. Nothing does, it doesnt matter what I choose to do because. Only those predestined to return will, and it will be every single one that was predestined to return.
    If number 2 is correct, there is no reason for this blog to exist. There is no reason for any missionary (or any kind of person) to spread Gods word. There is no reason for you to try and convert me, or for me to convert you. So, which is it?”

    And then posted:

    “9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
    “everyone come to repentance” & “and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”
    This could be one of those thing people call contradictions. Is it wanting everyone to come to repentance, or is it we are all just clay, and we have no real choice in the matter. from my predestined post, is it choice 1, or is it choice 2?

    Josh your questions sound much like what is quoted in Romans 9:14-21:
    14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]”16 IT DOES NOT, THEREFORE, DEPEND ON HUMAN DESIRE OR EFFORT, BUT ON GOD’S MERCY. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
    19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

    The truth has always been that salvation does not depend on us. It is entirely the result of God’s undeserved grace and mercy. Grace after “all you can do” is not grace at all. We do nothing to partake of God’s mercy, but it does extend to all who believe. He chose us, we don’t choose Him. “12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent,[a] NOR OF HUMAN DECISION or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13.
    God chose to extend His grace through faith in Jesus’ substitutionary work for us on the cross. We could not be in better hands! Jesus NEVER fails!

    “38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:38-40

    I want to address one remark in particular:

    “If number 2 is correct, there is no reason for this blog to exist. There is no reason for any missionary (or any kind of person) to spread Gods word. There is no reason for you to try and convert me, or for me to convert you. So, which is it?””

    There is EVERY reason for us to have these discussions with you. Jesus gave the great commission ” 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20.

    You have to let God be God. You have to let Jesus, and Him alone, save you completely, all by Himself. Listen to your true Savior “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and WHOEVER comes to me I will NEVER drive away.” Go to Him! Turn away from trusting in your efforts to be worthy and the LDS doctrine and turn toward His true Word in the Bible. “11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”[a] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:11-13

    We don’t work for faith, God provides faith and grace comes to us through that faith. They are both gifts from God. See Ephesians 2:-8-9. Where does faith come from? “17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17.

    “2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3

    Jesus took away the sins of the world. Not one sin was omitted. He took away your sins with Him on the cross. ” 1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2. “9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10

  39. April 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    David, You always ignore Paul here when he says, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Phillipians 2:12.

    Here are some commentaries that are NOT LDS. How do you reconcile this scripture with what you are professing here.

    Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:

    Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed – The Philippians had from the beginning manifested a remarkable readiness to show respect to the apostle, and to listen to his teaching. This readiness he more than once refers to and commends. He still appeals to them, and urges them to follow his counsels, that they might secure their salvation.

    Now much more in my absence – Though they had been obedient when he was with them, yet circumstances had occurred in his absence which made their obedience more remarkable, and more worthy of special commendation.

    Work out your own salvation – This important command was first addressed to Christians, but there is no reason why the same command should not be regarded as addressed to all – for it is equally applicable to all. The duty of doing this is enjoined here; the reason for making the effort, or the encouragement for the effort, is stated in the next verse. In regard to the command here, it is natural to inquire why it is a duty; and what is necessary to be done in order to comply with it? On the first of these inquiries, it may be observed that it is a duty to make a personal effort to secure salvation, or to work out our salvation:

    (1) Because God commands it. There is no command more frequently repeated in the Scriptures, than the command to make to ourselves a new heart; to strive to enter in at the strait gate; to break off from sin, and to repent.

    (2) it is a duty because it is our own personal interest that is at stake. No one else has, or can have, as much interest in our salvation as we have. It is every person’s duty to be as happy as possible here, and to be prepared for eternal happiness in the future world. No person has a right either to throw away his life or his soul. He has no more right to do the one than the other; and if it is a person’s duty to endeavor to save his life when in danger of drowning, it is no less his duty to endeavor to save his soul when in danger of hell.

    (3) our earthly friends cannot save us. No effort of theirs can deliver us from eternal death without our own exertion. Great as may be their solicitude for us, and much as they may do, there is a point where their efforts must stop – and that point is always short of our salvation, unless we are roused to seek salvation. They may pray, and weep, and plead, but they cannot save us. There is a work to be done on our own hearts which they cannot do.

    (4) it is a duty, because the salvation of the soul will not take care of itself without an effort on our part. There is no more reason to suppose this than that health and life will take care of themselves without our own exertion. And yet many live as if they supposed that somehow all would yet be well; that the matter of salvation need not give them any concern, for that things will so arrange themselves that they will be saved. Why should they suppose this anymore in regard to religion than in regard to anything else?

    (5) it is a duty, because there is no reason to expect the divine interposition without our own effort. No such interposition is promised to any man, and why should he expect it? In the case of all who have been saved, they have made an effort – and why should we expect that God will favor us more than he did them? “God helps them who help themselves;” and what reason has any man to suppose that he will interfere in his case and save him, if he will put forth no effort to “work out his own salvation?” In regard to the other inquiry – What does the command imply; or what is necessary to be done in order to comply with it? We may observe, that it does not mean:

    (a) that we are to attempt to deserve salvation on the ground of merit. That is out of the question; for what can man do that shall be an equivalent for eternal happiness in heaven? Nor,

    (b) does it mean that we are to endeavor to make atonement for past sins. That would be equally impossible, and it is, besides, unnecessary. That work has been done by the great Redeemer. But it means:

    (i) that we are to make an honest effort to be saved in the way which God has appointed;

    (ii) that we are to break off from our sins by true repentance;

    (iii) that we are to believe in the Saviour, and honestly to put our trust in him;

    (iv) that we are to give up all that we have to God;

    continued…
    Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible:

    As ye have always obeyed – Continue to act on the same principles and from the same motives; having the same disposition which was in Christ; laboring so as to promote his glory.

    Work out your own salvation – Go on, walking by the same rule, and minding the same thing, till your salvation be completed: till, filled with love to God and man, ye walk unblamably in all his testimonies, having your fruit unto holiness, and your end everlasting life.

    With fear and trembling – Considering the difficulty of the work, and the danger of miscarriage. If you do not watch, pray and continually depend on God, your enemies will surprise you, and your light and life will become extinct; and then consider what an awful account you must give to Him whose Spirit ye have grieved, and of whose glory ye have come short.

  40. 40 joshtried
    April 12, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    David, in highlighting “it depends on Gods mercy”, I ask you to answer if God has described the circumstances where his mercy would be shown? I do not ask this to say we can judge if these things are met, I ask this to see if God has listed rules for giving his mercy. Are there also instances where he will not show mercy?

  41. April 12, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Josh:

    “Are there also instances where he will not show mercy?”

    Impenitent sin is one.
    Unbelief is another.

    “15 “If your brother sins against you,[b] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
    18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven. ” Matthew 18:15-18

    “16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16

    Now see these:

    Psalm 32:5
    “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

    Acts 16:30-32
    “30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
    31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. “

  42. 42 shematwater
    April 13, 2012 at 2:14 am

    I am not going to reply to any particular post. I will give my thoughts, and expound the true doctrine of the gospel on a few points.

    First, I would like to say a few words concerning the notion of second chances. This is, technically, true, but must be fully understood. To do this I must call your attention to the degrees of Glory within Heaven: Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial.
    The Celestial is the Highest Glory, and only the faithful righteous will be allowed to enter into it. We read in D&C 76: 53 “and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.” It must be understood that there is no second chance to inherit this glory. There is only one chance. If you receive it in this life you will not receive it in the next. However, if you do not receive that chance in this life, the opportunity will be presented in the next. We read in D&C 137: 7-9 “Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.”

    So, where then is the second chance. It comes in reference to the lower two Kingdoms. People do have a second chance to avoid consignment in the Telestial and gain the Terrestrial. We read in D&C 76: 72-75 “Behold, these are they who died without law; And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it. These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.” We know from 1 Peter 3: 19-20 that he preached to those who died in the flood at the time of Noah, who had rejected the gospel when it was preached to them by Noah. These people will have the opportunity to accept it in the next life, and thus gain the Terrestrial Kingdom.

    Now, let us tie this into the story of Lazarus and the Rich man. The first thing that must be understood about this story is that it is being told concerning the state of those currently in prison, before Christ visited the Spirit World and declared the opening of the prison (Isaiah 61: 1). So, at this time it was impossible to bridge the divide between them.
    Besides this, the rich man had had the opportunity in this life to accept, and he didn’t do it. For him there is no second chance to inherit Celestial Glory. He has forever lost that. However, he can come out of prison and inherit the Terrestrial because Christ has bridged the divide, proclaimed the opening of the prison, and declared the salvation of the dead, that they may be judged according to men in the flesh (1 Peter 4: 6).

    Moving on to other topics, I noticed that someone had decided to once again make the false claim that the LDS church teaches the God was once a sinner. I have to put this strait, as such false and inflamatory claims cannot go unnoticed. I will proclaim here to all who read this that God, our eternal Father, is a perfect being, that he had been perfect from all eternity to all eternity, and that he was never a sinner. While I do acknowledge that some people, in their ignorance to the truth and their desire for comfort, do choose to believe this idea, it is truly contrary to everything that is taught by all the prophets, and anyone who truly understands the true gospel cannot help but feel indignation towards anyone who would level such an accusation against our Father.
    John 5: 19 “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” Joseph Smith, in the King Follet Discourse, taught that when Christ came to this earth he came to do what his Father had done before him. This, taken with the quote from John, shows clearly that the Father himself lived a completely perfect and sinless life, just as Christ did, and anyone who claims otherwise has no understanding.

  43. 43 shematwater
    April 13, 2012 at 2:41 am

    I would now like to breifly comment on Alma 34: 34-36. As it has been quoted three times, I will not do so here. I will simply discuss it in terms of the idea of the second chance that I brieviously discussed.
    It is true that the the spirit that possessed us at death will have power to possess us after death, and Kate does give a true explanation that this does refer to the Devil or the Lord. This is seen in the cross reference from the word possess in this passage.
    So, if this is true than how could there ever be a second chance? If you are possess by the devil after death how can you ever be saved.
    The answer is simple. Just because a person has not had the opportunity to receive the gospel, or even if they have and refected it, that does not mean that they are possess by the devil.
    There are those who never hear the gospel, but are truly good men who are seeking to live their lives as best as they can. These people are not possessed by the spirit of the devil, but are possessed by the spirit of God. Thus, when they leave this world it is still that spirit that possess them, and when they do hear the gospel they embrace it.
    There are also those who strive to live the best life they can, but, as was quoted in D&C 76: 73, they are deceived by men, and thus when they hear the gospel they reject it. They are not possessed of the spirit of the devil, for they truly seek to fulfill righteousness. So, in the next life, when they again here the gospel, having the evidence of their prison existence before them, they embrace the gospel.
    Those who are possessed of the Devil are those who not only engage in wickedness, but glory in it and find pleasure in all manner of evil acts. The Zoramites, to whom this passage in Alma was directed, is of this category. These are murderers, adulterers, idoliters, and all the other abominable wicked that reject the gospel both in this life and the next, because they are possess of the spirit of the devil.
    So, when Amulek tells the people to prepare now, and not procrastinate, he is talking to a people who have discented fromt he truth, many of which did take pleasure in wickedness and gloried in evil. The evidence of this is in the mass murder of woman and children. Many were possessed by the devil, but they did not procrastinate, but broke that bond, such as Zeezrom, and thus are saved in heaven.

    I would like to make a final comment on the Judgment. Hebrews 9: 27 has been quoted again, which states that “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” This is a very true statement, for there is a judgment immediately following death.
    However, Revelation 20: 12-13 is also true, which states “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”
    From this we learn a few important things, but the one I want to comment on is that many who had died, and had been judged and sent to Hell, are here brought out of Hell and are judged again. This clearly shows that there will be a second, or final judgment that will occur and the very end of all things, which is a different judgment than the one that occurs immediately following death.
    So, the question is, if the people have already been judged and sent to Hell, what is the need of the Final judgment? The answer is clearly that a different sentence is possible at the second judgment. If this is true, as clearly taught in the Bible, then there has to be the possibility of something happening after the initial judgment and the final judgment that would cause such an alteration in sentence.

    In closing I would like to extend a personal invitation to Josh to email me if he is interesting in hearing more about the quote “as man is God once was, and as God is man may become.” This is a topic to which I have devoted much study, and I would love to share what I have learned. I will not do so on this blog, as such would only be ridiculed and mocked, and it is a subject that I find most sacred.

  44. 44 joshtried
    April 13, 2012 at 3:25 am

    David,
    You and I both know that God has described the situations in which he will show mercy, and when he will not. My point was to get you to evaluate these instances. If he has described anything we must do (accepting Christ) then this is choice 1 from my previous predestined thing. WE must choose this. If it is not us choosing this, then it is God, and absolutely nothing else we do matters, because it would be God acting through us. My question did not include of God CAN control us, that is obvious (or should be….). My question was IS he controlling us.
    I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]“16 IT DOES NOT, THEREFORE, DEPEND ON HUMAN DESIRE OR EFFORT, BUT ON GOD’S MERCY
    To me, the intent of this passage is to say Man does not get to decide who God shows mercy to. It is not in the Bible to say no human effort needed. If it was, it WOULD directly contradict other scripture.

    I depend on God’s mercy to get back to heaven, correct?
    God says to have mercy on me I must first accept Christ, correct?
    God says if i dont accept Christ he will not have mercy on me, and I must then go to hell, correct?

    The point in this is JOSHUA does not get to decide JOSHUA’s mercy. David does not get to decide Josh’s mercy, and neither does Shem, or Echo, or Mark, or anyone else. GOD gets to decide JOSHUA’s mercy. I can say all day that i have repented, but it doesnt make it so. Shem can say i seem to have repented. Echo can rejoice that I accept the Lutheran gospel (this wont happen… I am merely making a point). Then God will pull up his little book and say “well there, i see you yelled at x person in traffic”, and then i will go “oh snap.” When this book of all the junk i have pulled in my life is finished, if there are NO “good works” (performed through Christ) i am going to hell. I dont do the works to not go to hell, though that is a nice little prod in the back of my mind. I do them because I love God, and he has commanded I love others. If I love them, I do good unto them as Christ would.

  45. 45 Kent
    April 13, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Shem said, “In closing I would like to extend a personal invitation to Josh to email me if he is interesting in hearing more about the quote “as man is God once was, and as God is man may become.” This is a topic to which I have devoted much study, and I would love to share what I have learned. I will not do so on this blog, as such would only be ridiculed and mocked, and it is a subject that I find most sacred.”

    God was a man first is something that is sacred? Contradicting the Bible which says God has always been God is not sacred. Pointing out a falsehood is not ridicule as God was never a man first as He has always been and He will always be God. The problem with the very idea that God could have possibly been a man first is that if He had been a man first, that would mean human beings would have a chance to be gods themselves but if He has always been God and was never ever a man,, then it is isn’t possible for men to be gods ever, which is the absolute truth.

    Psalm 90:2

    2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
    Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
    Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

    Isaiah 40:28

    28 Have you not known?
    Have you not heard?
    The everlasting God, the Lord,
    The Creator of the ends of the earth,
    Neither faints nor is weary.
    His understanding is unsearchable.

  46. April 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Kate

    “David, You always ignore Paul here when he says, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Phillipians 2:12.”

    People who do not believe the true gospel of Jesus can’t do anything to bring themselves to God. This is true because by nature they are spiritually dead. Only God has the power to raise them up and connect them to himself. He accomplishes this with the message of salvation through Jesus found only in the Bible. God works faith in their hearts and gives them all the spiritual blessings that Jesus won by his life, death and resurrection. They do not obtain faith or grace after working for it – it is all God doing all the giving.

    Paul is not contradicting this truth when he gives the instruction “to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” He is speaking to people in whom God has already worked saving faith. Before he gives this instruction he was talking about how their attitude should be like that of Christ. It is by the grace of God and the power of the true gospel, that they are believers. At the time they were living waiting for the fulfilled hope of salvation in eternity which God promised through Jesus.

    Paul is well aware that the believers’ life is a struggle. Paul looks at himself and his own struggle with sin and says “24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He knows there are obstacles and dangers to true faith. It’s enough to make us tremble with fear because we know how weak we are. Peter warns as well in 1 Peter 5:8 “8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Through spiritual laziness, falling into unrepentant sin, turning away from God’s true Word in the Bible, believers could turn aside from the way of salvation and lose all the blessings that Jesus won.

    There is nothing more precious than the gift we have been freely given through Jesus Christ. And there is nothing that could have come at a higher price. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. It is such a humbling thing to know that Jesus came down from heaven and literally gave everything He had to give as the Son of Man, while being the Son of God with the power to stop it anytime He wanted, to endure “sorrow to the point of death,” scorn, insults, mockery, excruciating pain for hours on end, and worst of all being forsaken by His own Father, all so that we could be spared the punishment we deserve and live with Him in Heaven. Sin is such a serious matter. God took no shortcuts in taking away the sins of the world. It is a humbling thing to know God loved us that much, that we, wretches that we are, are that precious to Him. He wants us to know He loves us and He proved it by sending us Jesus who willingly gave us EVERYTHING He had to give. The very thought that there are dangers out there that can cause us to lose that faith and all of those hard won blessings – yes it ought to make us tremble with fear. That is why it is so important to trust and stay in His true Word and find comfort in His promises, His faithfulness, His unfailing love, His grace and mercy, in Jesus’ promise that He would never leave us, and in the victory Jesus won for us that credits us with His perfect righteousness through faith alone in Him. We find our confidence and strength in Him and so we can find that when we are weak He makes us strong.

  47. April 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Josh

    “God says to have mercy on me I must first accept Christ, correct?”

    It is not a human decision. “Accept” makes it sound as though sinful people can play an active role in being converted. That is not the case. We can only come to faith in Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word and Baptism. Bringing us to faith is by the grace of God.

    “12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent,[a] NOR OF HUMAN DECISION or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13.

  48. April 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Dave: “Through spiritual laziness, falling into unrepentant sin, turning away from God’s true Word in the Bible, believers could turn aside from the way of salvation and lose all the blessings that Jesus won.”

    You have now contradicted everything you have espoused in the weblog with this statement. Further, you have made a statement for which you condemn us for believing. This statement confirms that one must not be spiritually

  49. April 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Having computer issues:

    This statement confirms that one must not be spiritually lazy (meaning works), must repent (works), must not turn away from truth (works), or they will lose salvation. Therefore it requires effort on your part to not lose faith and salvation and all the blessings Jesus won for you.

  50. April 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    David: you are such a contradiction. Now you say this: “It is not a human decision. “Accept” makes it sound as though sinful people can play an active role in being converted. That is not the case. We can only come to faith in Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word and Baptism. Bringing us to faith is by the grace of God.”

    What is it you really believe? Do you believe we are only puppets? Do you not believe that man has free will? Do you believe that Jesus decides who will have faith and and who will not? That too is a contradiction with everything the Bible teaches. “Come follow me” is a command…it requires the decision on our part to do so.

  51. 51 joshtried
    April 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    David, If God says that we must accept Christ, and then accepts Christ for us, he has defeated the purpose of his word, and of this life.

    Again, He did NOT say “for me to have mercy, I must accept Christ for you”
    He did say “For me to have mercy you must accept Christ.”

    “children born not of natural descent,[a] NOR OF HUMAN DECISION or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
    Faith is an interesting thing. It has been relegated below what it really is, and as such this really needs to be corrected.
    Fatih is NOT KNOWING and believeing. Faith in Christ is not a “human” decision, it is our first step to knowing the ways of God. There are many people in this world to whom each of us have discussed God, of this I am sure. Why are each and every one of them not “Christian” in some way or another? Because THEY chose not to believe. THEY choose. In math and english we learn about converse statements, or opposites. The opposite of this statement is THEY choose to believe, thus becoming “Christians”. This is where i again begin to get frustrated. If you say that “God” is making this first choice, you have done 2 things.
    1. You have eliminated free will from the equation. I did not have a choice whether or not to choose God. Therefore free will does not exist.
    2. You have proven God not to be a God of love. God sent Christ to this earth for EVERYONE. If HE turns around and picks and chooses who HE wants to accept Christ, then he did not send Christ for EVERYONE. He sent him for a select few, which actually brings us a 3rd thing within this paradime.
    3. This makes God a liar. Either it is truly for everyone, and God WOULD have everyone return, or God is lying and really only wants a certain amount of people to return to heaven.

    So, David, do WE have a choice, or is God a liar?

  52. April 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Kate

    There are no contradictions. Only your accusations which are false.

  53. April 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Josh

    Go back and read Romans 9 again.

  54. April 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    David,
    I proved the contradiction. Everyone can see that. Here you go again…hands over your ears/eyes saying ‘blah, blah, blah”
    Very childish David…

  55. 55 joshtried
    April 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    David, I appreciate the reference. But I would like a straight answer from you. I want to understand YOUR beliefs. Do we have a choice or not? It is a very simple questions, and a very simple answer. Yes or No.

  56. 56 RLO
    April 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Kate asks: “What is it you really believe? Do you believe we are only puppets? Do you not believe that man has free will?

    And Josh asks: David, I appreciate the reference. But I would like a straight answer from you. I want to understand YOUR beliefs. Do we have a choice or not? It is a very simple questions, and a very simple answer. Yes or No.

    For Kate:

    “The puppeteer’s puppets?”

    I think a more accurate and biblical characterization would be,

    “The Potter’s clay.”

    For Kate and/or Josh:

    If either (or both) of you wish to compare and discuss Lutheran and non-Lutheran perspectives on the question of “Free Will,” I would be happy to do so with you. Perhaps we could each read together through “The Bondage of the Will” by Martin Luther. Then we could discuss what we have read, and ask questions of each other as we go – call it an “online book club” of sorts. I’m not asking either of you to agree with the Lutheran perspective. I am only giving each of you an opportunity for understanding it. And I can think of no better way to understanding the Lutheran perspective on the question of “Free Will,” than actually reading the very words of Luther himself.

    So what do you say? Would either of you be interested?

  57. April 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Josh

    “David, I appreciate the reference. But I would like a straight answer from you. I want to understand YOUR beliefs. Do we have a choice or not? It is a very simple questions, and a very simple answer. Yes or No.”

    I gave you a direct answer in post 47. And Romans 9 is not just a reference, It gives you your answer, so if you would like to know what the Bible teaches, read it. Then you won’t have my interpretation to disgree with.

    .

  58. 58 joshtried
    April 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    David
    Post 47 does not clarify whether you accept God or God accepts God.

    I agree with you that Faith is only possible BECAUSE God has had grace and mercy and allowed Christ to come to this earth and step in for our punishment allowing us eternal salvation.

    My question is WHO CHOOSES FAITH, you or God?

    Romans 9 does give the answer. But obviously it does not give the same answer to both of us. If it did, i would not still be having this discussion with you. It says (to paraphrase) it is God’s choice alone WHO he has mercy on. You do not deny God has given the keys for us to partake of said mercy, this made clear by previous posts. The question then boils down to WHO chooses. This is what i continue to ask you. This is what i feel you continue to dodge.

  59. 59 Echo
    April 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Josh said: “So, David, do WE have a choice?”

    No.

    Josh said: “My question is WHO CHOOSES FAITH, you or God?”

    Faith is a gift from God to us.

  60. 60 joshtried
    April 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Echo. As with any gift, the recipient must accept it. I can give you a book of mormon as a gift. You can throw it in the trash.
    Thank you for answering if we have a choice. I understand this is a core part of Lutheran belief (that we infact dont have a choice to begin with). I would prefer to comment more about this at home (im on my phone).

  61. 61 joshtried
    April 14, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Am i correct in Lutheran belief that Man cannot choose because there are “none good on the face of the earth” and that Man is inherantly evil, or would choose evil? So the first step of our choosing must be done by God, and any subsequent choice is made by you?

    While I at least se the rationale behind this thought process, it still does not fully compute with my understand of Christ’s death. Christ died for everyone, then comes back and chooses only certain people?

    Also, I must ask a question regarding the nature of this Blog if God in fact does choose for us. Why are any of you here? We have the Bible and the Holy Ghost. With this combination, theoretically God should have been able to choose us by now. Must we come to the Lutheran understanding before God chooses us? I dont get this part.. When does God choose us? The end all be all here is IF God is taking the very first step, then absolutely nothing any of you say matters at all. It is all up to God to come into my heart right now and convert me to the lutheran way of life. So, any of your arguements should be based around this premise. It does not matter if I am wrong in my LDS beliefs, God will either choose me or he wont. In this, any and all arguements put forth AGAINST us are completely unnecessary. Either God will step in and “rescue” us, or we will go to hell. Nothing you say on this matter will change God’s mind as it is said: “NOR OF HUMAN DECISION or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

    On top of this, explain to me how it works when someone decides not to believe God after He has chosen them? Do we negate this by saying that God never chose them in the first place?

    To Echo: i guess in a way you have answered this, but faith is a “forced” gift? In saying this, you have taken away the very definition of both things. Faith is believing without knowledge of absolute truth of any given subject. If God gives you faith, it is knowledge of God because he is the one giving, thereby negating completely the faith part.

    Finally, David – if you are lutheran, and I had been told this before, i appologize for the drawn out nature of this thread. I would have started here in the first place. If you are not, then “game on” with our discussion. Honestly, i am on a learning curve with denominations. I know Echo, RLO and Mark and lutheran… And that Kate, Shem and I are LDS. Other than that i have no idea.

  62. 62 joshtried
    April 14, 2012 at 3:22 am

    RLO, I have ordered the book, and will read it as you seem to be stuck on this :P
    It is only fair if you have read and attempted to understand any of LDS teachings that i do the same. Book will be here in a few days. Happy reading!

  63. 63 Echo
    April 14, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Josh said: “Echo. As with any gift, the recipient must accept it. I can give you a book of mormon as a gift. You can throw it in the trash.”

    But if you are dead, you need God to bring you back to life.

    Like Lazarus was raised from having physically died, we also need to be raised to spiritual life. Before conversion we are spiritually dead. This gift of faith is the gift of life.

  64. 64 Echo
    April 14, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Josh said: “RLO, I have ordered the book”

    You ordered Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther? Awesome.

  65. 65 shematwater
    April 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    ECHO

    “But if you are dead, you need God to bring you back to life.”

    So, is it a gift, or is it forced on us. That is what Josh seems to be getting at. If we are dead, as you have said several times, than we do not have the ability to either accept or reject, and then you seem to have proven Josh’s point that this entier blog is meaningless.

    KENT

    “the very idea that God could have possibly been a man first is that if He had been a man first, that would mean human beings would have a chance to be gods themselves”

    Exactly. You have hit is on the head. And since the Bible is clear that we will inherit everything that is God’s (including his divine status, but not his authority) the Bible itself proves that he was indeed once a man, just as we are. Any other understanding contradicts the Bible.

  66. April 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Shem said: “So, is it a gift, or is it forced on us.”

    If you think and believe that Lazarus was forced to come back to life, Then yes, we are forced back to life.
    If like me you think it was a gift that Lazarus was brought back to life, then yes, it was a gift.

  67. April 15, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Shem,

    “Exactly. You have hit is on the head. And since the Bible is clear that we will inherit everything that is God’s (including his divine status, but not his authority) the Bible itself proves that he was indeed once a man, just as we are. Any other understanding contradicts the Bible.”

    This shows the lengths to which the plain meaning of scripture has to be tortured and tied into knots to square with Mormonism:

    Isaiah 43:10 (KJV)
    “10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

    Mark 12:24-25
    “24And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
    25For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”

    Isaiah 44:6
    “6Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

    Isaiah 44:8
    “8Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

    Note that God even says He even knows of NO OTHER GODS – That means NONE – which completely destroys the whole LDS teaching that God had his own set of parents plus the fact that he Knows there are no other guards.

  68. 68 Kent
    April 15, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Shem you only quoted part of what I said so, in effect, it sounds like i was saying it was possible for God to have been a man first which isn’t what I was saying at all.

    This what I said:

    “God was a man first is something that is sacred? Contradicting the Bible which says God has always been God is not sacred. Pointing out a falsehood is not ridicule as God was never a man first as He has always been and He will always be God. The problem with the very idea that God could have possibly been a man first is that if He had been a man first, that would mean human beings would have a chance to be gods themselves but if He has always been God and was never ever a man,, then it is isn’t possible for men to be gods ever, which is the absolute truth.”

    I find it ironic that even the Book of Mormon, which at least on this issue agrees with the Bible, does not teach that God was a man first who became God, that idea came later in their other scriptures which contradicts the supposed most correct book on earth, and it teaches that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, that God created the heavens and the earth. So 1. God has always been God, he doesn’t change and 2. There were no planets for God to have been a man on first as there were no heavens for planets yet to exist in until God created the heavens.
    Besides, how can a man create the heavens and he earth? He can’t, so God was never a man first. Man is a creation of God but not the creator.

    Mormon 9:9-11

    9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
    10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
    11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.

    Psalm 90:2

    2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
    Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
    Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

    Isaiah 40:28

    28 Have you not known?
    Have you not heard?
    The everlasting God, the Lord,
    The Creator of the ends of the earth,
    Neither faints nor is weary.
    His understanding is unsearchable.

  69. 69 shematwater
    April 15, 2012 at 4:34 am

    ECHO

    So, you are saying that Lazarus had the choice to not come back if he didn’t want to. If it was truly a gift than this has to be true.
    So, do we have a choice in accepting Christ or not? Did Lazarus ahve a choice in coming back or not?

    DAVID

    I have actually addressed every verse you give, and have clearly shown how they contradict nothing. It is just that yuo refuse to accept that anyone could possibly interpret the Bible in any way other than your way, so if they profess anything different than what you say they can’t possibly be in line with the Bible.

    KENT

    I know what you posted, and it was not my intention to make it appear that you had said anything else. Your comments are right there, easy for anyone to see and know what you said.
    What I was doing was pointing out that the reasoning you gave is perfectly true reasoning, and whether you accept it or not, it is the reasoning of the Bible. That was my point.

    As to your attempt to use the Book of Mormon, nothing quoted contradicts anything we believe. I have addressed this before, but you seem to have forgotten.
    First notice the terms yesterday and today both imply specific periods of time. It is only in reference to the future that an unspecified time period is given.
    Also notice that the descriptions of God’s unchanging nature are all in the present tense. It never says he never changed; it says he doesn’t.
    Lastly, one must realize that the scriptures are written from the perspective of this life and this planet.
    Knowing all of these things helps us to understand the meaning of this passage, without forcing our narrow view to it.
    There was a set period of time in the past when God was God (yesterday) and a set period of time in which he is God (today), and he will never cease to be God (forever). What was this time? It has reference to what might be refered to as Eternal Ages, or times in Eternity between one mortal existance and the next.
    Thus he was God yesterday, or in the Eternal time after his mortal existence but before ours. He is God today, our during our mortal existence. He will be God forevfer, throughout all times of eternity and all mortal existences to come.
    From our perspective He was the same yesterday as He is today, and He forever will be.

  70. 70 Kent
    April 15, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Shem, it is you, not the word of God saying it, that the creation story of Genesis 1 is just talking about the perspective of the earth only as the word of God, the Bible, says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, not just the earth, which, at least on this point, the Book of Mormon agrees with in Mormon 9.

    Also, Hebrews 1 shows that the worlds were created through Jesus Christ, not just the earth, and John 1 shows that nothing, not just the earth, but nothing, was made yet until He made them. So it follows that the heavens and all the planets didn’t exist so, no, there were no planets yet for God to have been a man on before He created them.

    So since the creation, man included, didn’t exist before the beginning of Genesis 1 and since the creation, man, can’t create anything as only the creator, God, can create, God couldn’t have been a man first. Because when He was just a man He couldn’t have made the the heavens, the earth, and all the worlds. The only way He could have done this is if He has always been God.

    Genesis 1:1-2

    1 IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

    Hebrews 1:1-2

    God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by HIS SON, whom He has appointed heir of all things, THROUGH WHOM ALSO HE MADE THE WORLDS

    John 1:1-3

    1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 ALL THINGS WERE MADE THROUGH HIM, AND WITHOUT HIM NOTHING WAS MADE THAT WAS MADE.

    Mormon 9:9-11

    9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
    10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
    11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that SAME GOD WHO CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, AND ALL THINGS THAT IN THEM ARE.

  71. 71 Kent
    April 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Shem said, “There was a set period of time in the past when God was God (yesterday) and a set period of time in which he is God (today), and he will never cease to be God (forever). What was this time? It has reference to what might be refered to as Eternal Ages, or times in between one mortal existance and the next.
    Thus he was God yesterday, or in the Eternal time after his mortal existence but before ours. He is God today, our during our mortal existence. He will be God forevfer, throughout all times of eternity and all mortal existences to come. From our perspective He was the same yesterday as He is today, and He forever will be.”

    The word of God, the Bible, says God is the everlasting God so He has always been God so since synonyms for everlasting are eternal, endless, ceaseless, never-ending, perpetual, and unending, it follows that God has always been God and that He was never a man.

    Isaiah 40:28

    28 Have you not known?
    Have you not heard?
    The everlasting God, the Lord,
    The Creator of the ends of the earth,
    Neither faints nor is weary.
    His understanding is unsearchable.

  72. 72 Kent
    April 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I accidently put my follow up comment on the wrong thread here it is again,

    Shem, if someone were to read the Bible alone or even the Bible and the Book of Mormon and nothing else he or she would never come to the conclusion that God was a man first before He became God and not only that, they would never believe that God progressed to be God as those later teachings contradict not only the Bible but the book the Mormons call the most correct book on earth, the Book of Mormon as well.

  73. 73 shematwater
    April 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    KENT

    Hebrews 1 and John 1 are very true, and yet they do not contradict anything I have said. Again, they are written from the perspective of this life, and thus are speaking concerning this earth.
    Actaully, I would say that Christ has taken part in all the creations of the Father, and so it is rightly said that he created all things, not just pertaining to this earth, but to all the earths created as swelling places for the children of his Father.

    As to Genesis, it most certainly states that it pertaining only to this Earth. It states that in the Beginning God created the Heavens and Earth. Thus, the very first thing that happened in the Narrative of Genesis is the formation of the Earth. It has no dealings with what happened before the creation of this Earth. So, to say that it shows anything other than what concerns this earth is false.
    If we want to know what happened before the creation we must go elsewhere, as the book of Genesis does not tell us.

    “The only way He could have done this is if He has always been God.”

    Your reasoning here is baffling. You seem to be saying that if there was a time that he couldn’t do this then he never could, but since he can there was never a time when he couldn’t.
    Yet, we know that people are able to do things later in life that they couldn’t in the past. for instance, one must learn to ride a bike. Truly, one must learn to walk, as at birth their limbs are not yet developed enough to perform such a task.
    Why is it that our reasoning must be different in regards to eternity? That is something that I have never understood. Just because God has the power now, does not mean he necessarily always had the power?

    I will gladly admit that I do not understand all things. I know that before he was born Christ was still God; he held the authority of the second member of the Godhead, even though he was still spirit and not yet an immortal and exalted being. I also know that the Father did exactly what the Son did, and so he was also God before he lived as a man, in the same way as the Son. I do not understanding the origin of the Spirit, or at what time as a spirit Christ attained his authority as God, and thus I do not understand when the Father did. I know that for my entire existence (as spirit and mortal) he has been my God, and that is sufficient for me.

    “Everlasting God”

    This does not necessarily mean what you claim.
    Notice these references from the Bible:
    “in danger of eternal damnation” Mark 3:29
    “became the author of eternal salvation” Heb. 5:9
    “receive the promise of eternal inheritance” Heb. 9:15
    “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” Jude 1:7

    So, by your reasoning, if something is eternal than it always was, and thus if we inherit eternal life we always had eternal life; and if we receive eternal damnation we always had eternal damnation.
    If we are to gain eternal life, we will then be eternal beings, and yet we will have first been mortal beings.
    God is eternal, which describes his current state, as his power, authority and knowledge are beyond a finite comprehension, and he is never changing, put continues as he is. Is this not eternal?

    As to reading the Bible, your statement assumes that everyone will interpret things in the same way you do; an assumption that is not very realistic. I have talked to people who have read the Bible and were convinced that it promoted a Henotheistic belief system. Others read it and see only superstition and a changing belief system (Historians divide it into two periods, one before the captivity and one after). I know a man who, through reading only the Bible, having no contact with the LDS church, believed fully that the Father had a physical body, just as the son did. Because of this it was only the next logical thing to believe that the Father once lived a mortal life, just as the Son had.
    All people will have pre-set assumptions concerning life and truth, and the Bible has been preserved in such a way as to allow most anyone find whatever they want to find in it.

  74. April 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Shem said: “So, you are saying that Lazarus had the choice to not come back if he didn’t want to. If it was truly a gift than this has to be true.
    So, do we have a choice in accepting Christ or not? Did Lazarus have a choice in coming back or not?”

    Lazarus doesn’t have to have a choice in order for this to be a gift. A friend of mine sent me a gift in the mail a few weeks back, it was a rare print of Martin Luther. I didn’t choose this gift; I didn’t even know he was sending me this gift. When the gift arrived, I was surprised and thankful for it. It most definitely is a gift.

  75. April 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Shem

    “I have actually addressed every verse you give, and have clearly shown how they contradict nothing. It is just that yuo refuse to accept that anyone could possibly interpret the Bible in any way other than your way, so if they profess anything different than what you say they can’t possibly be in line with the Bible.”

    I know other people can interpret the Bible differently. “Interpretation” however is one thing, total fabrication and distortion to deny what the Bible actually says is another. A quote is a quote – not an intepretation. What you refuse to do is admit is that your “interpretation” which construes these passages to mean what they do NOT say is, is actaully a direct rejection of the verses themselves

  76. 76 shematwater
    April 16, 2012 at 1:41 am

    ECHO

    “I didn’t choose this gift; I didn’t even know he was sending me this gift.”

    Did you keep the gift, or did you throw it in the trash and send it to the dump?
    In other words, were you forced to accept the gift, or were you allowed the choice to keep it or to get rid of it.
    Yes, there has to be a choice for something to be a gift. If there is no choice then it is not a gift. That is the nature of a gift.

    DAVID

    I am done discussing these thigns with you. I have given your iterpretations, but in your blind stubborness you label them as you want so that you can more easily reject them. To continue to try and teach you the truth would be to cast pearls before swine, which Christ himself has told us not to do. While I may continue dialogue with you on other threads, I end it on this thread.
    I will simply state, in the plainest language I can, that God was indeed once a mortal man, that he progressed to his current status, and that we all, as children of divine parents, have the potential to becomes gods ourselves, and live a life that is like our Fathers. This is what the Bible teaches, and anyone who rejects this has rejected not only the word of God but God himself, and he will be called to account for it at the judgment.

  77. 77 joshtried
    April 16, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Echo:
    I didn’t choose this gift; I didn’t even know he was sending me this gift. When the gift arrived, I was surprised and thankful for it. It most definitely is a gift.
    You could have left this in the mail box, or simply thrown it away, thereby completely rejecting this gift. It is still a gift, either way you slice it. We are not debating whether any of this IS a gift, we are debating the acceptance of the gift. When we state “gift” we generally infer that the gift may be accepted OR rejected. To say that one does not have the choice to reject the gift, that makes it less of a “gift” and more of a “mandate” (Lazarus, you WILL rise from the dead. Echo, you WILL be Christian). To LDS, this “gift” (believing in Christ) is out there on a table like at a job fair. Walk by and grab the gift of life on your way out. People can take one, or they can leave it set on the table. Or when you go trick-or-treating and there is always that one wierdo handing out apples, or vegetables… This would be good for you (if it is not laced with something), but if you dont take the apple, then you have rejected this “treat”. The Gift of life is the biggest “gift” i can think of that i have right now. Without it, i do not have the chance to find God in the same way that mortality allows. I can give up this “gift” right now in any number of ways, but to do so in most ways or for most reasons would be completely foolish. Not accepting Christ to me is also foolish, but to say that it is not my choice (to LDS) makes it not a gift.

    David:
    “What you refuse to do is admit is that your “interpretation” which construes these passages to mean what they do NOT say is, is actaully a direct rejection of the verses themselves.
    David, through reading any of the scriptures, there is the possibility to take each purely on face value. With this, we also see times where if taken purely at face value, scriptures SEEM to contradict one another. For instance, if the only 3 scriptures you read were “Thou shalt not murder” and “And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand” (exodus 2:12 regarding moses) and “Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me [proclaim my name holy] in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.’ ” (Numbers 20:12) then you would say God did not seem to have a problem with murder, if this is taken purely on face value.

    Interpertation is necessary for a lot of reasons, to allow the scriptures to work together. When you fail to see the correct interpertation, it sucks, but you must admit you are wrong if proven so. Or, you can stay delusional, and become upset. For instance, Echo has said that he is reading to truthfully understand whether Joseph Smith’s prophecies were false prophecies. At the end of this, there are only 3 possible outcomes. #1, he proves me completely wrong, and i “should” renounce LDS faith, #2, he finds some questions and we further this particular discussion, #3, he does not find fault with Joseph Smiths Prophecies and “should” accept him as a prophet. Once either side has proven fully that something is wrong, then that should be the end of the discussion. Until that time, it is important to be tolerant of all the questions asked. The questions asked “should” be questions that get to the down right TRUTH of the matter. I understand that everyone has done some deflecting on this blog, including myself. For the most part though, we are asking to understand how you see the truth, and you are asking to understand how we see the truth. To come out in the middle of the discussion and say “your interpertation is wrong” and not give any more substance is not only bad for the overall understanding of everyone, it leads to the negativity that should not really be a part of ANY “Christians” life. We are to be tolerant and long suffering, short to anger, not to spout accusations. (this last part is not directed at any ONE person…. but to ALL, including of course myself)

    As i have stated before, purely taken at face value anyone can claim the scriptures agree with just about every belief system in the world.

  78. 78 joshtried
    April 16, 2012 at 2:18 am

    sorry to repost what shem wrote… i guess we were typing at the same time..

  79. April 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Shem and Josh

    Shem said:

    “I am done discussing these thigns with you. I have given your iterpretations, but in your blind stubborness you label them as you want so that you can more easily reject them.”

    Interpretation is a matter of giving meaning to what the words actually say, not the opposite of what they say. For example:

    The Bible – “10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” Isaiah 43:10

    My interpretation – There are no other God’s before or since God.

    Your Interpretation – There were other Gods before God and there will be afterwards.

    The Bible – “6Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6

    My interpretation – There are no other Gods besides God See Isaiah 44:6

    Your Interpretation – There are other Gods besides God

    The Bible – “8Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” Isaiah 44:8

    My Interpretation – God knows of no other Gods and there are none.

    Your Interpretation – He knows of others (certainly His parents) but He is not saying so.

    My only point in continuing this dialogue is simply to point out to you, that your interpretation cannot possibly supported unless two things are taking place: 1. Asserting things as true which have no basis in the Bible when all passages (even those relied on by LDS members to defend the notion of other Gods that I have not cited about being like god or as gods) are taken in context so that they ALL passages have meaning; and 2. The passages I have quoted are being interpreted by you to mean what they DO NOT say in order to line up with LDS scripture. My purpose was not to frustrate either one of you, although I should have made my purpose clearer earlier on in the discussion.

  80. 80 shematwater
    April 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    JOSH

    You may notice that what David claims as our interpretation of these passages is not our interpretation. He has taken our doctrine and claimed that it is an interpretation of these passages, despite the fact that we have given interpretations to them that are not what he claims. He seems to be forced to fabricate things, claiming to know what we teach and believe, despite our direct statements to the contrary; this is the only way he can support his delusional beliefs about us.

  81. 81 shematwater
    April 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I know I said I would not respond to David, but I have to make one comment concerning his interpretation of Isaiah 44: 6.
    “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

    David said “[His] interpretation – There are no other Gods besides God”

    Notice how he changes the wording of this verse to fit his interpretation. He says there is no other God besides God.
    Now, the the word Besides is an adverb, meaning other than, or in addition too. The definition, as given at dictionary.com is “1. moreover; furthermore; also; 2. in addition; 3. otherwise; else.
    This is the word that David uses to describe his interpretation.

    However, the word used in the passage is the word beside, which is a preposition, meaning next to, or compared with. As giving at dictionary.com it is 1. by or at the side of; near; 2. compared with; 3. apart from; not connected with.

    I know that the only difference in the two words is a single letter ‘s’ but what a difference it makes. If we stick with the actual wording of the passage, we get a very different understanding than what David declares. Instead of there being no Gods other that God, or in addition to God, we understand that God is the supreme being, the Head God; that there is no other God that is at his side, or equal to him, and thus none can be compared with him, for he is the greatest. If we apply the third definition we understand that he is not only the greatest and highest of all gods, but that there is not a true god that is not connected with, and thus serving under him. Apart from him, or not being affiliated with him, there is no God, for he is the highest, the Head of the Gods, which no other God is compared with or equal to.

    You will also notice that I did not change the words or their meaning in anyway, although I have no doubt David will try to claim I did. What I truly did was to take the words that are there, seek a full understanding of what those words actually mean, and then gave an interpretation of the passage based on the meaning of the words.

  82. April 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    It also might interest you to know the words spoken in Isaiah 44:6 are representative of the Lord Jesus Christ speaking, not God the Father. Now, for you guys who think they are the same person, you are left to err and truly not understand the interpretation of that scripture. That is your choice.

  83. April 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Shem –

    “Instead of there being no Gods other that God, or in addition to God, we understand that God is the supreme being, the Head God; that there is no other God that is at his side, or equal to him, and thus none can be compared with him, for he is the greatest.”

    You actually just made my point by reading something into it that isn;’t there. He doesn’t say He is the greatest among others, He says there are NO others. You didn’t address the other phrase in Isaiah 44:6.
    – “I am the first, and I am the last; So when he says here “beside me there is no God” this is also consistent with his other way of expressing the same thing “I am the first the last.” Which is consistent with “there are no other” gods.

    (the “besides” in my post, which was inadvertant, is nevertheless an irrelevent distinciton in context because beside and besides both can mean “other than” which is what I mean’t and which is the meaning consistent with “I am the first and the last” and “there are no other”) Being the “First and the last” does not support your interpretation that the be the head of other gods.

    And yes, you absolutely DID change the meaning of every passage. All these passages I qouted say the same thing in different ways. The meaning couldn’t be any clearer. There are no other Gods and your interpretation denies that.

  84. 84 joshtried
    April 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    David, GENESIS, which comes MUCH before Isaiah, has this to say:
    22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

    God did not say “behold, man is become like ME”. He said as one of US. If this is referencing Angels also, how low a pedestool is this for God to put himself on? God, this all powerful and jealous God; comparing himself with angels? I really dont think so. There is more than one.

  85. April 17, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Josh

    The trouble is JOsh – you just can’t look at Genesis and ignore the other passages I quoted and think they mean nothing. ALL paasages have meaning so they must be read so as not to contradict each other rendering other passages meaningless. Genesis is the Word of God as Isaiah is the Word of God. One book of the Bible doesn’t out rank another. Look at the context of the text you quoted. “the man is beoms AS one of us to know good and evil.” Are we like them in every way Josh? Is that the context? No, the context is now we have knowlegde of good and evil – no more – no less. GOd did NOT say “they ARE Gods or they will become Gods.” In fact, under LDS teaching, Adam and Eve were to be as Gods whether or not they ever ate the fruit correct? In fact, eating the fruit would have slowed their progression to exaltation down, isn’t that true? This quote you cited in Genesis actually makes no sense in the context of LDS teachings. Eating the fruit, according to LDS teachings, could NOT have been what made them “as gods” because they were supposed to be working toward their exaltation anyway. Explain to me how, what you quoted in Genesis makes any sense given what the LDS church teaches about the whole reason they were placed on this earth.

    If that is your method of interpreting, to disregard one passage to give the meaning you want to another, how do you decide which passges to ignore and which ones to believe? ALL of the BIBLE is God breathed scripture and contains no inaccuracies.

  86. 86 shematwater
    April 17, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Okay, I know I said I would not respond to David, but given such ignorance as is displayed in his post to Josh I just can’t help it.

    Here are David’s questions spoken in ignorance, and the truth of the matter.

    Q: In fact, under LDS teaching, Adam and Eve were to be as Gods whether or not they ever ate the fruit correct?

    A: False. The plan was for them to become as God, yes. But this was not possible without the eating of the fruit. The Fall of Adam was a crucial step in their (and our) progression, without which they would have continued in the stagnate existence that was the life of the Garden of Eden.

    Q: In fact, eating the fruit would have slowed their progression to exaltation down, isn’t that true?

    A: Again, false. Given the answer to the first question it is obvious that eating the fruit is what made progression possible, and thus it could not have slowed it down.

    Q: Eating the fruit, according to LDS teachings, could NOT have been what made them “as gods” because they were supposed to be working toward their exaltation anyway.
    (This is actually a statement, but I include it as it is very important.)

    A: False. Eating the fruit is exactly what made them like God, in the matter of understanding; and it is eating the fruit that opened the way to becoming like God in all aspects of character.

    As to interpretation, I added nothing. I used the exact words that were present in the verse and showed how they do not mean what was claimed. I could do the same with the phrase “Beginning and End” but there would be little point.

  87. April 17, 2012 at 3:50 am

    !!!! I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE EVERY LDS READER TO READ THIS POST!!!!

    Shem said:

    “The Fall of Adam was a crucial step in their (and our) progression, without which they would have continued in the stagnate existence that was the life of the Garden of Eden.”

    WOW! Continuing in a perfect relationship with GOD is a stagnate existence? So the LDS church teaches that the fall of man, and the entry of sin and death into the world was actually better than living with God in the Garden of Eden? And they teach that eating the fruit is what enables man to progress to being a god. This is a very very critically important claim Shem is making here for the reasons explained in connection with his next quote.

    Shem said:

    “A: False. Eating the fruit is exactly what made them like God, in the matter of understanding; and it is eating the fruit that opened the way to becoming like God in all aspects of character.”

    According to LDS teachings then it is the sinful act of eating the fruit that is “exactly” what “opened the way to becoming like God . . .” A couple of points to make with respect to that. First, this LDS claim is that committing sin is what enables people to become Gods. Second, the LDS church’s teaching above must be rooted in the belief that when Satan tempted Eve in the Graden of Eden promising them they will be as gods, the LDS church believes Satan told them the truth! Satan is the father of lies and he was lying to Eve.

    This answer shows the LDS church looks at the fall of man as a positive and empowering event which made it all possible for people to become gods.

    “13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 13-15

  88. 88 joshtried
    April 17, 2012 at 4:25 am

    David, we have gone round and round on this point: “Second, the LDS church’s teaching above must be rooted in the belief that when Satan tempted Eve in the Graden of Eden promising them they will be as gods, the LDS church believes Satan told them the truth! Satan is the father of lies and he was lying to Eve.”
    If he was lying to Eve, than in no way does knowing Good and Evil make Man like God.
    Just because you fail to see that man did in fact become like God in this point, does not make us followers of Satan. God himself said that man did become like “US” (which is like Himself at the very least, as US includes the person saying it)

    To this:
    Continuing in a perfect relationship with GOD is a stagnate existence?
    It is if your purpose on earth is to do something different. Did God need to create Earth for us to continue in a perfect relationship with him? Unless i am sorely mistaken, we would have been just fine in that “perfect relationship” in the heavens, or ANYWHERE. We came to this earth to be tested, to accept Christ’s death and Life and come back to the Father.

  89. 89 joshtried
    April 17, 2012 at 4:33 am

    (trying to keep this is small batches…)
    David, you said:
    Are we like them in every way Josh?
    First of all, not yet, and i do not know in what ways we yet lack. There may be 10million more ways to be like God once we get to heaven. To know good and evil is ONE of those.
    Second, who is THEM? This is a very important question, as it illustrates my point that you do recognize there is more than one of “something”. I do not take one scripture, and hold it over the other in the way you describe, though scripture is interperted differently as I have a different starting point. I start in Genesis, and very early on read “US”. You start in Isaiah and read “no other”. We have also debated before as to the original word in this scripture, and if i am not mistaken “elohim” is used. Elohim, again, if i am not mistaken, CAN mean judge, thus relegating this scripture into a more meaningful place under our understanding.
    I think we can agree that there will be no other judge once we die (regardless of whether THIS scripture is interpreted my way or yours).

  90. 90 Echo
    April 18, 2012 at 5:06 am

    Josh, yes, the gift can be rejected.

  91. 91 joshtried
    April 18, 2012 at 7:10 am

    If it can be rejected, then God cannot choose for us. If God were to choose for us, it could not be rejected (for who can resist the will of God?), and therefore it could not be a gift.
    Does this make sense to you Echo?

    One of the more fundamental beliefs of LDS is that of free will. From the very beginning, angels and demons could choose which side they wished to follow, what they wished to aspire to. Satan (according to LDS belief) has been trying to take away free will this entire time. We believe that he presented a plan to God that said “every last soul will return to God’s presence. I will make sure of it!” In this case, no one would have had free will, we would have all accepted God, and all returned to God’s presence. If God really wanted this, then man would never have been given free will in the first place. Christ’s plan reflected his understanding of our creation. We were made to choose. Now, i understand some creations are made merely for God to use in a given circumstance, but this is not by any means the majority. Christ allows each and every one of us to retain our free will, but promises great things if we use it to choose to accept God. I hope you understand this. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, of course ask away.

  92. 92 shematwater
    April 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    DAVID

    “I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE EVERY LDS READER TO READ THIS POST”

    Again you show your ignorance because this is a common doctrine, and I would be very surprised to find many LDS members who do not already know this. It is not some great secret.

    “Second, the LDS church’s teaching above must be rooted in the belief that when Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden promising them they will be as gods, the LDS church believes Satan told them the truth! Satan is the father of lies and he was lying to Eve.”

    First of all, this doctrine is not rooted in the belief that Satan told the truth. It is rooted in the belief that Satan cannot defeat God in anyway. As such, if God had not planned for the fall to occur, if it was not part of everything that he wanted, he would not have allowed it to happened. Because he not only allowed it to happen, but set everything up to guarantee it happening, we believe that he fully intended it to happen, and as such it was a good thing, as nothing he does can be evil.

    As to Satan lying, of course he lied, but only in saying that eating would not cause them to die. This was the lie, and of the most dangerous sort, for it was mixed with a truth that was very tempting. It was also a lie when he implied that God gave the command not to eat to prevent them from becoming like god.
    Was Satan telling the truth when he said “in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3: 5) No, as we have the confirmation from God himself that “the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3: 22). So we know that this wasn’t a lie.

    Why is it that people get the idea that just because Satan is called the father of lies he can never tell the truth. The most dangerous and deceptive lie is the one that is a half-truth.

  93. April 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Shem

    “Again you show your ignorance because this is a common doctrine, . . .”

    Thanks for verifying my post. I’m sure you believe all the false doctrine that glorifies Adam’s fall into sin, the death it brought with it to everyone, and the seperation from God that followed as a result. And you actually believe God WANTED Adam to sin and to be disobedient. I’m sure nothing I can say will change your mind. But, here are some uninterpreted scripture passages for you to ponder:

    “13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; ” James 1:13

    “32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32

    “The LORD detests the way of the wicked but he loves those who pursue righteousness.”Proverbs 15:9

    One other point. There was someone who wanted Adam to sin and it wasn’t God. And who is it that you think is leading the LDS church when it teaches that the fall into sin “was a good thing”?

  94. April 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Josh said: “If it can be rejected, then God cannot choose for us. If God were to choose for us, it could not be rejected (for who can resist the will of God?), and therefore it could not be a gift.
    Does this make sense to you Echo?”

    As I explained earlier, a friend sent me a gift in the mail. I did not choose this gift, I did not choose for him to send me this gift, I did not even know I was getting a gift. The gift arrived; it was a print of Martin Luther. I loved the gift and was thankful for the gift and of course I kept it. I could have thrown the gift in the garbage if I didn’t like it.

    So you see, God can choose us and we can reject it.

  95. 95 joshtried
    April 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Lets try this in a different way. The Holy Ghost is also a gift correct? The Holy Ghost is to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel correct? Why then does not everyone know of the truthfulness? According to your understanding of how gifts work, every single person should understand the truth of the gospel. This obviously is not the case. Why is it not the case?

  96. 96 joshtried
    April 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    As to the gift your friend sent you: I am not negating it is a gift. You accepted the gift. The gift was not forced, it was offered. You could have returned it, you could have let it set in the mailbox. You could have done 1000 different things with it. You chose to accept it. It is definitely a gift, I do not debate this, because of the manner in which it was received. I honestly can not think of an example of something we receive that is not a gift to show to you the difference, something that is forced upon us that we have no choice in.
    The only thing that comes to mind to show you the difference is the scripture that was posted a little bit back. It said “who am I to go against the will of God.” If it is the will of God, there is no way that I might reject his will. If God wills that I accept him, then I cannot reject this and it is not a gift, but rather a mandate that I accept.

  97. April 19, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Josh, I have never been “offered” a gift in my entire life. All the gifts I have received were given to me, not offered to me.

  98. 98 shematwater
    April 19, 2012 at 5:57 am

    DAVID

    I know the scriptures, and since you are not giving an interpretation I can that I agree completely with what you have posted in them, and this it in no way contradicts what I have said. I will also refrain from interpreting.

  99. 99 shematwater
    April 19, 2012 at 6:04 am

    ECHO

    The only difference in the words offer and give are connotations of expection. To offer means the one giving has an unclear expection as to whether what they present is going to be accepted or not. To give indicates more an expectation of acceptence.

    In other words: “I am offering this too you” indicates that I am acknowledging your right to reject it; while “I am giving this to you” indicates more that I am expecting you to accept, regardless of any right you may have to reject it.

    Actually, if you look in a thesarus you will find that the first synonym listed for give is offer, and vice versa.

  100. April 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Shem

    “and this it in no way contradicts what I have said”

    It comes as no surprise that you say you see no contradiction. You see no contradiction between 2 Nephi 23-25 and 2 Ephesians 8-9. You see no contradiction between the Isaiah passages ( as well as others) that say there are no other Gods and the Mormon belief that there are other Gods. So of course you see no contradiction between passages that show how God feels about sin and calling the entry of evil into the world, the entry of death into the world, and seperation from God “a good thing.” You see Adam’s disobedience to God as a “good thing.” I see the complete opposite. God punishes sin, he does not tempt people to sin. He does not want anyone to sin. God’s knowedge that someone will commit a particular sin, does not mean it is what he wanted them to do or that it was his idea that they sin or His plan that they sin.

    So tell me. If that little voice that tells you Joseph Smith was a true prophet says that someone else, perhaps even you, was supposed to commit some sin – Like Adam did- in order start someother phase of a newly revealed part of the LDS plan of salvation would you do it? Would you commit a sin if your spirit told you to or if an LDS apostle told you to?

  101. April 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Josh said: “Lets try this in a different way. The Holy Ghost is also a gift correct? The Holy Ghost is to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel correct? Why then does not everyone know of the truthfulness? According to your understanding of how gifts work, every single person should understand the truth of the gospel. This obviously is not the case. Why is it not the case?”

    People lose common sense when they allow themselves to be indoctrinated by false doctrines.

  102. 102 joshtried
    April 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    David, how do you reconcile Genesis where it says “us”, and Isaiah where it says “no other”. You claim we ignore things when we simply reconcile them with each other.

  103. April 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Josh

    I think I have answered this one before but. “Us” refers to the three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three in one God. I recall another Lutheran blogger posting the Athanasian creed before which answers this. But since you ask the question I thought I would post it here.

    THE ATHANASIAN CREED

    Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all else, hold to the true Christian faith. Whoever does not keep this faith pure in all points will certainly perish forever.

    Now this is the true Christian faith: We worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons or dividing the divine being. For each person—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—is distinct, but the deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty. What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit. The Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Spirit uncreated; the Father is infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite; the Father is eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal; yet they are not three who are eternal, but there is one who is eternal, just as they are not three who are uncreated, nor three who are infinite, but there is one who is uncreated and one who is infinite. In the same way the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty; yet they are not three who are almighty, but there is one who is almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord; yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord. For just as Christian truth compels us to confess each person individually to be God and Lord, so the true Christian faith forbids us to speak of three Gods or three Lords. The Father is neither made nor created nor begotten of anyone. The Son is neither made nor created, but is begotten of the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeds from the Father and the Son. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And within this Trinity none comes before or after; none is greater or inferior, but all three persons are coequal and coeternal, so that in every way, as stated before, all three persons are to be worshiped as one God and one God worshiped as three persons. Whoever wishes to be saved must have this conviction of the Trinity.

    It is furthermore necessary for eternal salvation truly to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ also took on human flesh. Now this is the true Christian faith: We believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and man. He is God, eternally begotten from the nature of the Father, and he is man, born in time from the nature of his mother, fully God, fully man, with rational soul and human flesh, equal to the Father as to his deity, less than the Father as to his humanity; and though he is both God and Man, Christ is not two persons but one, one, not by changing the deity into flesh, but by taking the humanity into God; one, indeed, not by mixture of the natures, but by unity in one person; for just as the rational soul and flesh are one human being, so God and man are one Christ. He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, and from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming all people will rise with their own bodies to answer for their personal deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, but those who have done evil will go into eternal fire.

    This is the true Christian faith. Whoever does not faithfully and firmly believe this cannot be saved.

  104. 104 joshtried
    April 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    David, if you have posted before that you are lutheran, I appologize for the line of questions. I do have a hard time keeping track of individual beliefs. I see everyone as merely christian until it gets pounded into my head. I have not seen that creed used outside of lutherans, though I am sure there are others that accept it.

  105. April 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I love Elder Jeffrey R Holland’s talk about the creeds:

    “In the year A.D. 325 the Roman emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea to address—among other things—the growing issue of God’s alleged “trinity in unity.” What emerged from the heated contentions of churchmen, philosophers, and ecclesiastical dignitaries came to be known (after another 125 years and three more major councils)[ 4] as the Nicene Creed, with later reformulations such as the Athanasian Creed. These various evolutions and iterations of creeds—and others to come over the centuries—declared the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, immanent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable, without body, parts, or passions and dwelling outside space and time. In such creeds all three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted “mystery of the trinity.” They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who is incomprehensible.

    We agree with our critics on at least that point—that such a formulation for divinity is truly incomprehensible. With such a confusing definition of God being imposed upon the church, little wonder that a fourth-century monk cried out, “Woe is me! They have taken my God away from me, … and I know not whom to adore or to address.” [5] How are we to trust, love, worship, to say nothing of strive to be like, One who is incomprehensible and unknowable? What of Jesus’s prayer to His Father in Heaven that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”? [6] (for my thoughts on us “knowing” please refer to my comments in the GUILTY post.)

    It is not our purpose to demean any person’s belief nor the doctrine of any religion. We extend to all the same respect for their doctrine that we are asking for ours. (That, too, is an article of our faith.) But if one says we are not Christians because we do not hold a fourth- or fifth-century view of the Godhead, then what of those first Christian Saints, many of whom were eyewitnesses of the living Christ, who did not hold such a view either? [7]

    We declare it is self-evident from the scriptures that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons, three divine beings, noting such unequivocal illustrations as the Savior’s great Intercessory Prayer just mentioned, His baptism at the hands of John, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the martyrdom of Stephen—to name just four.

    With these New Testament sources and more [8] ringing in our ears, it may be redundant to ask what Jesus meant when He said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” [9] On another occasion He said, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” [10] Of His antagonists He said, “[They have] … seen and hated both me and my Father.” [11] And there is, of course, that always deferential subordination to His Father that had Jesus say, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” [12] “My father is greater than I.” [13]

    To whom was Jesus pleading so fervently all those years, including in such anguished cries as “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” [14] and “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”? [15] To acknowledge the scriptural evidence that otherwise perfectly united members of the Godhead are nevertheless separate and distinct beings is not to be guilty of polytheism; it is, rather, part of the great revelation Jesus came to deliver concerning the nature of divine beings. Perhaps the Apostle Paul said it best: “Christ Jesus … being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” [16]

    A related reason The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is excluded from the Christian category by some is because we believe, as did the ancient prophets and apostles, in an embodied—but certainly glorified—God. [17] To those who criticize this scripturally based belief, I ask at least rhetorically: If the idea of an embodied God is repugnant, why are the central doctrines and singularly most distinguishing characteristics of all Christianity the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? If having a body is not only not needed but not desirable by Deity, why did the Redeemer of mankind redeem His body, redeeming it from the grasp of death and the grave, guaranteeing it would never again be separated from His spirit in time or eternity? [18] Any who dismiss the concept of an embodied God dismiss both the mortal and the resurrected Christ. No one claiming to be a true Christian will want to do that.

    Now, to anyone within the sound of my voice who has wondered regarding our Christianity, I bear this witness. I testify that Jesus Christ is the literal, living Son of our literal, living God. This Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer who, under the guidance of the Father, was the Creator of heaven and earth and all things that in them are. I bear witness that He was born of a virgin mother, that in His lifetime He performed mighty miracles observed by legions of His disciples and by His enemies as well. I testify that He had power over death because He was divine but that He willingly subjected Himself to death for our sake because for a period of time He was also mortal. I declare that in His willing submission to death He took upon Himself the sins of the world, paying an infinite price for every sorrow and sickness, every heartache and unhappiness from Adam to the end of the world. In doing so He conquered both the grave physically and hell spiritually and set the human family free. I bear witness that He was literally resurrected from the tomb and, after ascending to His Father to complete the process of that Resurrection, He appeared, repeatedly, to hundreds of disciples in the Old World and in the New. I know He is the Holy One of Israel, the Messiah who will one day come again in final glory, to reign on earth as Lord of lords and King of kings. I know that there is no other name given under heaven whereby a man can be saved and that only by relying wholly upon His merits, mercy, and everlasting grace [19] can we gain eternal life.”

    References:
    4. Constantinople, A.D. 381; Ephesus, A.D. 431; Chalcedon, A.D. 451.

    5. Quoted in Owen Chadwick, Western Asceticism (1958), 235.

    6. John 17:3; emphasis added.

    7. For a thorough discussion of this issue, see Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christian? 71–89; see also Robert Millet, Getting at the Truth (2004), 106–22.

    8. See, for example, John 12:27–30; John 14:26; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:1–3.

    9. John 5:19; see also John 14:10.

    10. John 6:38.

    11. John 15:24.

    12. Matthew 19:17.

    13. John 14:28.

    14. Matthew 26:39.

    15. Matthew 27:46.

    16. Philippians 2:5–6.

    17. See David L. Paulsen, “Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity: Origen and Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses,” Harvard Theological Review, vol. 83, no. 2 (1990): 105–16; David L. Paulsen, “The Doctrine of Divine Embodiment: Restoration, Judeo-Christian, and Philosophical Perspectives,” BYU Studies, vol. 35, no. 4 (1996): 7–94; James L. Kugel, The God of Old: Inside the Lost World of the Bible (2003), xi–xii, 5–6, 104–6, 134–35; Clark Pinnock, Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God’s Openness (2001), 33–34.

    18. See Romans 6:9; Alma 11:45.

    19. See 1 Nephi 10:6; 2 Nephi 2:8; 31:19; Moroni 6:4; Joseph Smith Translation, Romans 3:24.

  106. April 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Just have to say….how can anyone read that testimony and not feel the truth of it by the Spirit! Truly awesome!

  107. 107 shematwater
    April 20, 2012 at 2:14 am

    DAVID

    “Would you commit a sin if your spirit told you to or if an LDS apostle told you to?”

    No, because if God commanded it it would not be sin. However, I would like to think that I would be willing to do anything that God required of me, no matter what else was written by others.
    Just as Abraham knew that God had commanded “Thou shalt not kill,” but he still did not hesitate to obey the command to sacrifice his son, Isaac, when the Lord required it. So too do I wish to be able to respond to any command God may choose to give me.

    ECHO

    “People lose common sense when they allow themselves to be indoctrinated by false doctrines.”

    Nice evasion. So, explain to us how this does not make sense.

  108. April 20, 2012 at 4:04 am

    ““Echo said: “People lose common sense when they allow themselves to be indoctrinated by false doctrines.”

    Shem replied: “Nice evasion. So, explain to us how this does not make sense.”

    I did explain it.

  109. 109 joshtried
    April 20, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Echo,
    You say God chooses us. We know that we can not in any way go against Gods will. Then you say people “allow themselves to be indoctrinated by false doctrines.” How can this person allow themselves to be indoctrinated? Unless this indoctrination is the will of God, it can not happen.

    I want to take a very short exert from “The bondage of Will” by Martin Luther, as i have began to read it. It is startling, and i will explain why as i continue…
    “”from my seeing the cause of “Free-will” handled by all the powers of such and so great talents, and so far from being bettered, left worse than it was before which leaves evident proof, that “Free-will” is a downright lie:”
    This is in the introduction, and is said to be to D. Erasmus of Rotterdam.
    I want to comment on a few parts of this.
    1. Free will is a lie because men choose to do bad. This is the conclusion we are first introduced to in the introduction of this book. Free will is a lie because man degrades it. Free will is a lie because the actions dont make the person better. It seems to me that Luther did not even understand what free will is, but rather he thought free will was only used when something better came about. Free will is the choice to do good OR evil, not just good.
    2. In saying “free will is a lie”, you have created a very difficult thing within ANY Christian group. You have just said that Eve did not eat the apple because of her choice. If it was not her choice, and Adam does not have “free will” to eat the apple after her, then none of these can be attributed to them, and they are no longer held accountable for these actions. Neither am i accountable for my actions when i decide to sleep with someone other than my wife. I cannot be judged because it was not of me that I committed the act. I was acted on by an outside source. My will played absolutely no part in the matter, whether the action be good or bad. If my will doesnt matter, how then can i be punished?

  110. April 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Josh said: “You say God chooses us. We know that we can not in any way go against Gods will.”

    Actually, God chooses us. We can go against his will…

    Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”

    Josh quoted: “from my seeing the cause of “Free-will” handled by all the powers of such and so great talents, and so far from being bettered, left worse than it was before which leaves evident proof, that “Free-will” is a downright lie:”

    Page number?

    When Luther talks about free will, he is specifically talking about free will in matters pertaining to God. Luther believed that the unconverted man has free will in a different sense. Keep reading.
    To give you a bit of Lutheran background for reading this book. We believe Adam and Eve had free will in matters pertaining to God BEFORE the Fall. In the fall, this was lost. Keep reading.

  111. 111 shematwater
    April 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    ECHO

    “I did explain it.”

    When? I recall a few run downs of your beliefs, but never any actual comment on Josh’s reasoning, other to say that it is wrong and lacks common sense, which does not explain how?

  112. 112 joshtried
    April 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Echo, Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” does not state that the Holy Spirit has choosen us to be “Chrisitan”.

    The holy spirit confesses truth to everyone! If Christ/ God accept this truth for us, we could not turn against it. (i really wish i could remember scripture better, insert “who can resist the will of God” scripture here…..)
    Being able to turn away states that God DID NOT choose us, for we CAN NOT resist the will of God, And if God wills that we worship him, we cannot resist it.

  113. 113 joshtried
    April 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    As to the page number… didnt know we were going to get that technical :P
    It is page #11, 3rd page of the introduction. The paragraph starts “And who knows but that God”
    the ISBN of the specific book i have is 978-1-60386-393-3

    While this may be the case (When Luther talks about free will, he is specifically talking about free will in matters pertaining to God.), I see many problems with this. Do I have free will to allow Christ to perform “works” through me? If not, how then will i be judged based on my works?

  114. April 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Shem said: “When? I recall a few run downs of your beliefs, but never any actual comment on Josh’s reasoning, other to say that it is wrong and lacks common sense, which does not explain how?”

    Because allowing ourselves to be indoctrinated with false doctrine changes the way we think about things. In that process, we sometimes lose our common sense.

  115. April 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Josh said: “The holy spirit confesses truth to everyone!”

    I agree.

    Josh said: “If Christ/ God accept this truth for us”

    What are you trying to say here?

    Josh said: “(i really wish i could remember scripture better, insert “who can resist the will of God” scripture here…..) Being able to turn away states that God DID NOT choose us, for we CAN NOT resist the will of God, And if God wills that we worship him, we cannot resist it.”

    Yes we can resist God’s will. The scripture you are looking for is Romans 9:20 read it in context.

    Josh said: “Being able to turn away states that God DID NOT choose us, for we CAN NOT resist the will of God, And if God wills that we worship him, we cannot resist it.”

    God chooses us but he doesn’t force us to do his will.

  116. April 20, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Josh said: “As to the page number… didnt know we were going to get that technical :P”

    I don’t mean to get technical, I just didn’t recall reading that and would like to look it up and re-read it within context.

    Is this the book you have…

    http://www.books-by-isbn.com/1-60386/1603863931-The-Bondage-of-the-Will-Martin-Luther-1-60386-393-1.html

    If so, then we don’t have the same book. I have Bondage of the Will – Martin Luther – Translated by J.I Packer & O.R. Johnston…

    http://www.amazon.com/Bondage-Will-The-J-Packer/dp/0800753429

  117. 117 joshtried
    April 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Echo: being indoctrinated with “false doctrine” has nothing to do with the gift of the Holy Ghosts testimony. We are discussing whether a gift is a gift. If you say that you have no choice but to accept a gift, then every person would accept the gift the holy Ghost has given them in his confession of the truthfulness of God. So, either we have a choice to either accept or reject everything, having the free will to do so, or we can not accept it, and therefore we all know the truth of God. The Holy Ghost will not provide false testimony.

  118. April 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    The Holy Ghost has written down the words of his testimony so that we can be certain that it is indeed his testimony and not the testimony of the devil pretending to be the Holy Ghost. You will find the Testimony of the Holy Ghost in the Bible. The Bible is the Holy Ghost’s written testimony. The Holy Ghost works through his word to lead us to faith (which is conversion or being born again) and to guide us in all truth. When we reject what the Holy Ghost says in the Bible, we reject God.

    Thanks or rather no thanks to Adam and Eve, we are all born into this world spiritually dead… We are born in depravity. We are born enemies of God. We are born children of the devil. Everything we think, feel, do and are is all in accordance with the devil’s will.

    This is why Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

    What does the fact that we must be born again tell you about our physical birth and the whole life and everything that we are and do that follows along after that birth? What does that tell you about everything we think, feel, do and are? It tells us that everything we think, feel, do and are is completely and totally corrupt and evil without possibility of change. It tells us that we will sincerely follow and sincerely believe in any religion but the only one true religion. It tells us loud and clear that our whole life is only deserving of God’s wrath both now and in an eternity in outer darkness.

    That’s why Jesus said: we must be born again.

    Our parents are solely responsible for giving us our physical birth. Our parents are solely responsible for choosing to give us physical life. We had absolutely nothing to do with it.
    God is solely responsible for giving us our spiritual birth. God is solely responsible for choosing to give us spiritual life. We have absolutely nothing to do with it.

    Our parents didn’t offer to give us life if we wanted it and they didn’t give us the option to be born. It happened all apart from our “will”. We had no free will in this particular matter.
    God doesn’t offer to give us life either and he doesn’t give us the option to be born again. It happens all apart from our “will”. We have no free will in this particular matter.

  119. 119 shematwater
    April 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    ECHO

    “Because allowing ourselves to be indoctrinated with false doctrine changes the way we think about things. In that process, we sometimes lose our common sense.”

    So, by your reasoning Josh’s logic lacks common sense because he believes in false doctrine, according to you.
    This explains nothing. It evades the question and makes an assumption with no evidence to support it. It is basically saying “Since you don’t agree with me you don’t make any sense, and so we shouldn’t even listen to you.”
    I repeat, one more time, exactly what is it in Josh’s statement that lacks common sense?

    “God doesn’t offer to give us life either and he doesn’t give us the option to be born again. It happens all apart from our “will”. We have no free will in this particular matter.”

    Then why is there anyone who is not born again, seeing as how it happens apart from us. Why is there anyone that God does not force this on?
    And if this is true than it is no longer a gift. The gift of life is no longer a gift, as there is no option to reject it.

  120. April 21, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Shem said: “I repeat, one more time, exactly what is it in Josh’s statement that lacks common sense?”

    I wasn’t talking about Josh, I was answering his question.

    Shem said: “Then why is there anyone who is not born again, seeing as how it happens apart from us. Why is there anyone that God does not force this on? And if this is true than it is no longer a gift. The gift of life is no longer a gift, as there is no option to reject it.”

    You think It was a terrible misfortune that your parents gave you life because they forced you to live huh Shem?.

  121. April 21, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Shem

    “Then why is there anyone who is not born again, seeing as how it happens apart from us. Why is there anyone that God does not force this on? And if this is true than it is no longer a gift. The gift of life is no longer a gift, as there is no option to reject it.”

    This is the kind seeking the LDS church has reduced you to. You are searching in the wrong place and for the wrong things.

  122. 122 joshtried
    April 21, 2012 at 2:54 am

    “The Holy Ghost has written down the words of his testimony”
    So, the holy ghost is a physical being that is able to write and to be with the scriptures 24/7?

    “The Holy Ghost works through his word to lead us to faith”
    so, he does not comfort us and where to us spiritually his testimony? He only works through the Bible?

    With this, you are correct “Our parents didn’t offer to give us life if we wanted it and they didn’t give us the option to be born.”
    But, you are incorrect with the rest of your statement. Before we ever got to this earth, GOD asked if we wanted to be born here. GOD gave us this choice.

    “You think It was a terrible misfortune that your parents gave you life because they forced you to live huh Shem?.”
    My parents gave me absolutely nothing, As GOD has given all. My mother provided a vessel for me to be born to this earth, clean and pure! (romans 9:11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

  123. 123 joshtried
    April 21, 2012 at 3:02 am

    To this, i wanted to reply completely separately.. “This is the kind seeking the LDS church has reduced you to. You are searching in the wrong place and for the wrong things.”

    We are seeking for the truth of free will. To do that, tough questions must be asked. Either they are answered satisfactorily, or they are not. If they had been answered satisfactorily by now, then we would not still be asking this question.
    To us, a “gift” equates to free will. And rightly so, as you can do whatever you want with a gift. If you say that we do not have a choice in accepting this gift, that God has said “you WILL accept this gift”, then it is no longer a gift, it is a mandate. It is forcing redemption only a select few people, because according to you, I have not been chosen by Christ yet, as i am still being led by Satan according to you. Well, IF the atonement is for EVERYONE, and EVERYONE is not FORCED to receive this gift, then Christ is a liar, because everyone does not have this gift.

  124. 124 shematwater
    April 21, 2012 at 4:40 am

    ECHO

    Okay. I think I might understand now. You are saying that everyone, at one time, did know the truth, but lost that understanding when they got indoctrinated in false doctrine.

    “You think It was a terrible misfortune that your parents gave you life because they forced you to live huh Shem?”

    Try not to put words in my mouth. I never said it was a misfortune. I merely said it was not a gift. The two things are not synonymous.

    DAVID

    So, what you are saying is that you can’t actually answer the question, and do you prefer that I don’t ask it.

  125. April 23, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Shem

    “So, what you are saying is that you can’t actually answer the question, and do you prefer that I don’t ask it.”

    No, I said what I meant.

  126. 126 shematwater
    April 23, 2012 at 1:32 am

    DAVID

    All you did was deflect the question.
    Whether you think I should or shouldn’t be asking the question doesn’t change the fact that you don’t want me ask it. That much is perfectly clear from your response.

  127. 127 shematwater
    April 23, 2012 at 1:33 am

    DAVID

    Also, why do you think of seeking the truth as being reduced in some way? Why is asking a lagitamate question concerning your doctrine asking the wrong thing?


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