18
Jul
12

Different Premises Complicate Communication

There has been a lot of “discussion” in the last couple of threads about individual statements and what they meant or what they didn’t mean.  Instead of commenting on specifics, I’m going to take a more general view and propose one reason at least, that often makes communication between Mormons and Christians difficult.  I cite that reason in the title:  different premises complicate communication.

This is what I mean by that.  It takes concerted effort to understand what a person means when they approach a topic from a completely different viewpoint – when they hold to a completely different premise.  When a person does that I first have to listen very carefully so that I don’t interpret their statements in a way that is colored by my premises. And even after I have done, I need to consciously work on remembering that or else I will slip back into my default mode, namely, looking at it from my viewpoint, according to my premise.  When I do that I will respond not to what the other person said but how I interpreted what they said through my filters.  Every expert on communication talks about how difficult it is and one of the most difficult aspects of it is being a careful listener.

Here are just two examples of different premises.

1) Mormonism teaches that it has the fullness of the gospel – that its teachings do not contradict the Bible but expands biblical teaching.  Therefore it is common to hear Mormons tell Christians that they can continue to believe the truths they already know while believing in the additional truths of Mormonism. A member of the LDS Church just told me that yesterday.  A Christian’s premise, however, is one diametrically opposed to that.  We don’t see Mormonism as complementing the Bible, but as contradicting it.  One illustration commonly used to show that is the comparison between Ephesians 2:8-9 and 2 Nephi 25:23.

Ephesians 2:8-9:  “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man boast.”

2 Nephi 25:23:  “For we know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do.”

A Christian sees no way that these two verses can be reconciled.  And that is just one of many examples.  But here’s the main point I want to make.  Because of that, there is no way that the Christian can accept the foundational premise espoused by Mormonism, namely, that it is not a different gospel but rather the fullness of the gospel.  This fact, however, often gets lost in the heat of discussions with the result that a lot of fruitless talking takes place over specifics – discussions that have no common ground on which to build and thus achieve little.

2) Another example of different premises is seen in the question asking why I have this blog?  My premise for having this blog is not to debate or even to engage in dialogue with Mormons.  Rather my premise for having this blog is to proclaim the wonderful truth that salvation is entirely God’s work for us.  That premise is based on the passages that tell us how powerful God’s Word is – that the Holy Spirit works powerfully through that Word to bring people to faith.  On top of that, over the years, I have seen wonderful examples of that.  As I write this, I can picture numerous people who, when I first met them, were vehemently rejecting that truth – people who now, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are tenaciously clinging to that truth.  What caused the change?  The simple proclamation of that truth.

My premise is that one of the most powerful things I can do is to continue to proclaim that truth.  But persons who don’ share that premise, not only have a difficult time understanding it, but often become quite frustrated because of it.

I, for one, am going to recommit myself 1) to trying to listen carefully and understand where people are coming from and 2) trying to clearly state where I am coming from.

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8 Responses to “Different Premises Complicate Communication”


  1. July 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Mark said: “I, for one, am going to recommit myself 1) to trying to listen carefully and understand where people are coming from and 2) trying to clearly state where I am coming from.”

    I’ll join you in this. Thank you for the reminder. We all need it from time to time.

  2. 2 Kent
    July 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Yes, that is my goal as well. I want people to read what I post, look at the scriptures that I am quoting and for them to see why I believe what I believe, and even if they don’t agree with me, I want them to see why I have my point of view. It is the Holy Spirit’s job, really, to teach them. Others, as Mark pointed out, have come to the same conclusions that we have and they have left the Mormon faith and come to saving faith in who Jesus is and what He did to save us (give us eternal life) by dying on the cross and rising again on the third day.

    The reason why I end my posts they way I do is to remind people that I believe saved, eternal life, and everlasting life mean the same thing. So when I say, for example, saved or everlasting life, I am saying eternal life. I am not using the Mormon definition of general salvation where people live in the afterlife with just a chance to gain eternal life.

    So I believe that the jailer in Acts 16, when he was saved, has eternal life in the mansion where God and Jesus Christ are, not just a chance for eternal life.

    Acts 16:29-34

    29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

    31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

    in closing again:

    WHOEVER BELIEVES IN THE SON HAS ETERNAL LIFE!

    SAVED=ETERNAL LIFE=EVERLASTING LIFE!

    BY NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!

  3. 3 JBR
    July 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Unfortunatly, it is very easy to get side tracked from the goal of witnessing.

    The goals in the last paragraph are ones that hopefully will be remembered as we continue onward toward our eternal home.

  4. 4 joshtried
    July 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    “My premise for having this blog is not to debate or even to engage in dialogue with Mormons. Rather my premise for having this blog is to proclaim the wonderful truth that salvation is entirely God’s work for us.”

    Thanks for this info.. once again, im out. you obviously have no want to understand the truth of our gospels. You also dont seem to really want Mormons around here. Well, you have it. I am out too.

    In the event that there is someone who wishes to discuss LDS events or theology with and open mind, you may contact me at williams.joshuajames@yahoo.com

    And by the way Echo… Still waiting on your report of that prophecy.

  5. 5 Kent
    July 20, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Josh said, “Thanks for this info.. once again, im out. you obviously have no want to understand the truth of our gospels. You also dont seem to really want Mormons around here. Well, you have it. I am out too.”

    One would think from looking at this response that this is a Mormon blog and we, who don’t believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, who don’t believe the Mormon Church is true, who don’t believe the Book of Mormon is true, and who don’t believe the Mormon president is God’s living prophet, etc. have somehow stepped over the boundaries.

    However, does Josh other Mormons understand why we believe what we believe from reading what we post and the Bible passages that we quote?

    Is it clear, for example, that what I believe is different than what Mormons believe? Because that is my goal to show why I believe what I believe, not to completely understand all the nuances of LDS beliefs and then it is up to others to decide, Mormons especially, if they share my beliefs.

    An example of what I believe is found in the following Bible verse.

    John 14:6

    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

    Is it clear, on the face value of this verse, that when I say that I don’t need Joseph Smith’s consent to enter into the mansion where Heavenly Father is, that I believe Joseph Smith has nothing to do with me being there? That I believe I can only get to Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ alone?

    WHOEVER BELIEVES IN THE SON HAS ETERNAL LIFE!

    SAVED=ETERNAL LIFE=EVERLASTING LIFE!

    BY NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!

  6. 6 choosethechrist
    July 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I appreciate the reminder too.

    To add to what Kent said, I think it is unfortunate that Josh thinks we don’t want him around. I also think it is unfortunate that the mormons who have posted here seem to have misunderstood the purpose of this blog i.e. Josh’s statement: “you obviously have no want to understand the truth of our gospels.”. I do not come to this blog to gain an understanding of the mormon gospel. I come to this blog to support Mark in his mission “to proclaim the wonderful truth that salvation is entirely God’s work for us”. I hope that Josh will continue to read this blog because I know that we all want what is best for Josh which is the Biblical gospel and not the false gospel of mormonism.

  7. 7 choosethechrist
    July 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

    ~ John 1:12, NLT

  8. July 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Josh, we love having you around here.


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