Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Interesting conversation about Mormonism

This is a continued conversation from a discussion I was having with a wonderful gentleman from THIS blog. Please visit that Blog for the origin of the discussion. I needed to post my comments here, because blogspot.com has limitations as to length of comments.

Mr Faux,

I will try to answer each of your points in turn:

Well thank you so much for throwing me a curve ball! You chose the one Translation that I knew least about. I was so disturbed by that translation, I couldn't help but want to ensure that the Greek was sound. It is my belief that the only way one can truly listen to Gods Word, is to listen INTENTLY. How can one listen conceptually? Truly listening to His Word will reveal much to those who study much.

1 Corinthians 7:7 - For I wish that all men were even as I myself.....

As for Paul being a Prophet, there is no evidence that this is so. First of all, if he were a Prophet, the name of Acts would have been, "The Acts of the Prophets" and not "The Acts of the Apostles". Secondly, it is my understanding that the things Paul wrote about AND the visions were given to him by way of The Holy Spirit. To be frank, The Holy Spirit led me to your blog to start a dialogue with you, does that make me a Prophet? I don't believe so. Granted it certainly doesn't make me an Apostle either...lol Thirdly, Paul was NOT "authorized" by the Resurrected Jesus. Jesus has already ASCENDED to Heaven by the time Paul had his "conversation while on the road with his traveling companions. Are you testing me? lol...

God is NOT limited in ANY way, EXCEPT that he KEEPS HIS WORD. Since God can not lie, He is bound by Scripture to not "change His mind"...

Malachi 3:6 - "For I am the LORD, I do not change;..."

So based on Matthew 11:13, I say no, there can not be modern Paul's. That doesn't mean God is limited, it just means that God does not change his mind... I like that about God. I never have to GUESS what He Wills, I just KNOW....

Ahh... You bring up an excellent question regarding following a "Leaderless Christianity"... The answer is simple. If you want a "human" leader, that's one thing, but why bother with a fallible human leader when God already provided you The Holy Spirit as the ULTIMATE LEADER? Hmm? Having to choose between God Himself leading me or some "elected or appointed" official telling me his machinations based on books that are not Biblical, I would most certainly make the first!

You are right, Gods Word was not captured in a single book, it was captured in 66 BOOKS! A far cry from 1, yes? Additionally, we may all be "Gods Children", but we're not all part of Gods Family...

Mark 3:31-35 - Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You." But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?" And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

Now that's family!

As for leading yourself without a "Church Organization", how could you trust yourself indeed?

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?"

God makes it clear that we can not trust our own feelings. Rely on Him alone and Trust in Him alone and you've got all you need! As for the Bible being challenging to understand, I would say this to you...

"If you approach the Bible as a book, then all it will ever be to you is a book. A book is filled with information, concepts, wonderings and such. If that's what you want, "information, concepts, wonderings and such", then you might as well check out any book from the library (or get a map at a gas station for that matter...lol). No one can know how to understand the things that are in the Bible without "The official Guide", The Holy Spirit. I am proof of that. I did not grow up Christian, I did not get Indoctrinated into Christianity, I did not "say a prayer" and by some magic I was then a Christian. Verily I say unto you, that if you pray for The Holy Spirit to guide you while you read, you WILL come to understand what is contained within that "More than a Book" indeed."

Feel free to read my Testimony in the right-hand pane on my Blog.

Ok, as for the comment about "already believing Jesus is deity, what else do you need", I say this: First, you do not need faith in RevKeith, that's just silly. Secondly, there are only 2 things you need to do..

1. You need to repent of your sins (repent - turn from)
2. You need to place ALL OF YOUR TRUST in Jesus

If you place all of your trust in Jesus, then you're not wasting any on a "Religion" or any man's interpretation within that religion as being accurate. Remember, where there's Religion, there's Opinion. If you take away the religion, all you have left is Gods Word. Think about it...

"Why do I need RevKeith, who contacts me out of the blue on the web?" A most excellent question. I have heard it said that Rabbi's say that, "coincidence is not a kosher word". I have also read that in the Ancient Hebrew, there IS NO WORD for Coincidence. As someone who trys to keep Gods Laws to the best of his ability, I shall not lie to you. I in no way shape or form sought you out, I in no way shape or form looked for any mormons to interact with and I most certainly do not make a living arguing with people. lol... As for me needing you, I would WHOLE-HEARTEDLY AGREE! I do need you! I need everyone whom God has brought into my life. I may not know why at the onset, but The Holy Spirit makes it clear soon enough...

The falling away is happening right under our noses Mr. Faux. It's not a matter of me "not liking" the New Century, it's a matter of this... When I choose a Bible to read I immediately know if I CAN HEAR GOD in the Words. I personally HEARD GOD in the NKJV, KJV, Geneva, ESV (to some degree) and even a dynamic translation like the GW, which I must admit is not very good for studying, but it's great for contrasting. The NKJV is MY favorite though. I've read the criticism regarding it from the "KJV Only" crowd and all I can say is the things they complain about do NOT effect it's authenticity. Any time devoted to reading the original Greek will PROVE to you that the over 600 changes that Mr. Smith made to the KJV Bible are not true OR accurate. The Bible explicitly warns against adding to or detracting from its teaching (Rev. 22:18; Deut. 4:2). The New Testament contains the inspired and totally accurate witness of contemporary disciples and followers of Jesus. It alone claims to be fully inspired by God and usable for the establishment of doctrine (2 Tim. 3:15–17; 2 Pet. 1:19–21)

Hebrews is most certainly Scripture. And you just used that verse WAAAY out of context. That verse was used to "Set the Qualifications for the High Priesthood". It was designed to help us IDENTIFY Christ as the High Priest. It was also written to help ensure that we understood that Aaron was appointed to the position of priest by God Himself! Those who challenged Aaron's appointing were put to death BY GOD... Again, there can be no more High-Priests, as Jesus is the last.

It is not Biblical for anyone to believe that there are "authorized Prophets and Apostles out there to be found". You are free to believe that, but it's not a Biblically accurate belief.

Being quirky doesn't concern me. Like I said in my previous post, either all of Scripture points to the same thing, or it's not Scripture. If Mr. Smith gave a Prophesy (which he did), that DID NOT HAPPEN and certainly CAN NOT happen now or ever (because he's already deceased), then by definition (not mine), that would qualify him as a "False Prophet".

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 - "If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, 'Let us follow other gods' (gods you have not known) 'and let us worship them,' you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you"

You may say the key to that verse is "follow other gods", but I say to you that anyone who would describe God or Jesus OR The Holy Ghost differently than what is contained within the OT & NT Canon is NOT the same God. Scripture backs this up, not me...

I agree with your last comment. I too am not in the same league with ANYONE listed above. I am a mere servant of God, doing my best to obey Him and His Word with every ounce of my being. God does speak in the fossil rocks, but just remember, fossils don't have offspring, nor can you prove a fossil had offspring either (but that is a whole different conversation).

Jesus did not leave anyone "hanging", he gave us The Holy Spirit to guide us, if we CHOOSE to follow...

I did not come here to "evangelize" you, that's not my intent. I just know right from wrong and accurate from deception, because The Holy Spirit has given it to me to know.

God Bless,


  1. RevKeith:

    I am happy to continue a bit of a conversation with you.

    I probably won't be responding to all your points in turn. I will respond according to what jumped out at me.

    The first thing that jumped was your reference to the resurrection. My LDS vocabulary and your evangelical vocabulary are just a little different. The LDS believe that Jesus NEVER cast off his body, once he was resurrected. He still is a physical being. So, yes, we believe Paul saw Jesus as a resurrected being, and as such, was a witness to the resurrection. We LDS believe that people today also can be witnesses.

    Concerning Paul as prophet: the LDS believe that apostles, like Paul, have in part a prophetic calling. Prophets, in LDS parlance, do not usually foretell the future. They might, but not usually. Instead, they are authorized leaders. The early Christian church HAD authorized leaders. Where are such authorized leaders now?

    You did not like my Hebrews quotation. Fine, but the principle remains. In the Early Christian Church the leaders did NOT call themselves. Instead, they were called in an orderly manner by others -- by Jesus and/or by authorized leaders. Why should the operations of the Church be different now?

    Sure, I understand that Jesus is the ultimate leader. But, the Early Church also had human leaders like Peter, James, and even Paul. I am not sure why that point would be a debate.

    Sorry, I am just dashing this off, because I have got to get back to work. It is fun talking to you. We have different perspectives and slightly different languages, causing us to talk past one another just a little.

    I do invite you to explore my website "Mormon Insights." I have about 400 fairly long essays posted there. Even so, I do NOT claim to have all the answers. Further, I definitely NEED all the Protestant friends that I can get. I learn a great deal from others. I read literatures from all perspectives.

    My background: I am an academic. My training is in the neurosciences and evolution. I am a strong advocate for science in general. I try to devote equal time (or more) to my theological studies. Science does not make me a good theologian, but it has NOT hurt me either.

    I have tremendous respect for the Protestants and Evangelicals. I have several friends who are ministers. Like it or not, I am a Christian. Jesus is my savior; He died for my sins; He has redeeming power; and my burdens are lifted by Him. It may be true that my conceptions of God are a little different from yours. Such is life.

    Bye for now...

  2. RevKeith:

    Is there a better format for our dialog? Comments are being scattered between your blog and mine, and I am getting confused (my normal state of mind anyway).

    Could we have email exchanges that could be then synthesized into both our blogs simultaneously? I might even consider a guest post on my blog.

    I am interested in the exchanged because I could learn something, but also I think you could. Also, I agree with your respectful approach. Also, I can tell you are quite learned. So, maybe something useful could emerge from this.

    I am a lifelong Mormon. I am not changing and neither are you. But, I think our perspectives have commonalities as well as differences. Further, there may be more commonalities than are apparent on the surface.

    OK, question: Do you believe in prayer? I am sure you do. Does this mean you believe in works? I would suspect you would say, "No way." Accusing Mormons of believing in works is sort of like accusing us of believing in prayer. We believe in Jesus, who then motivates us to do good works.

    True, Mormons seek perfection, but no one has attained that state except Jesus. We seek to be like Jesus, but that is a long-term goal, not accomplished in this life.

    We believe in the power of faith. It is the operating principle of the universe. But, we also believe faith without works is dead.

    Let me be careful here. You appreciate the need for scriptural context. Many times in the New Testament the reference to works is referring to the Law of Moses, which has been fulfilled by Jesus. We are not saved by the Law of Moses. Even so, Jesus stands for good behavior. Through him, we are enabled to behaves in ways we could not without him. We need God's help at ALL times.

    Grace is essential, and it is mentioned many times in the Book of Mormon, which I regard as scripture in addition to the Bible. Sorry, I know that statement will bother you.

    Anyway, back to the problem at hand. Could we go to an interview format? You ask questions, then I answer, then you respond, then I ask questions, you answer, and then I respond. Or, do you have another suggestion.

    I think I could attract readers to our exchange, but it has to be done in the right format (and always respectfully).

    What do you think? If this sounds like too much work, I fully understand.

    You make many good points. Further, I am not arrogant enough to believe I am 100% correct. But, we do have different perceptions of the world -- and maybe that is not so bad.

    Thanks for your attention. I have enjoyed it. Sorry for rambling.