Are Mormons really Christians?, Part II

A Mormon on a now-defunct blog wrote the following after I pointed out how it is frustrating for them to play the “We’re Christians, too” card while simultaneously trying to save us via their worldview.  I really appreciated his candor, especially in contrast to the kind of responses I got on Part I.

I can see that we do double speak, trying to stand on both sides of the line and often feint ignorance until called out. I found my self doing it with that last post. I almost took the polyandry references out because I wanted to protect other LDS readers who I know are following this conversation. I realize that I have this knowledge and my tendency is to hide it from less informed members of my faith. Ultimately I decided to leave it in and that is in large part due to reading your criticisms in other places and not wanting to be apart of this legitimate frustration.

I fully understand that as a Mormon, I am dishonest if I try to make our doctrines sound the same as yours so that we can get along better. They are different and I know that. When bloggers say, “Billy Mormon would never talk bad about your beliefs” it is just silly. By definition, our church proclaims that yours is wrong. We send out missionaries to say other churches are wrong, come be baptized here instead. I saw these types of comments and I recognize them for what they are.

What he wrote was the opposite of what many Mormons have said on this blog and elsewhere.  I realize that not all Christians agree on every topic and not all Mormons agree on every topic, but what he addressed was obviously related to the essentials of their faith.  So if Mormons don’t agree with him then one of you isn’t a Mormon (or at least one of you isn’t well educated in your faith).

Again, kudos to him for his honesty.  That goes a long way towards having productive dialogues.  It doesn’t bother me if people disagree with me, but I don’t like to waste time with folks who insist that they agree and disagree with me at the same time on the same subject.

P.S. I think this is one of the items we were discussing at the time:

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 150: “When our father Adam came to the garden of Eden he came into it with a celestial body, and he brought eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world.

He is Michael, the archangel the ancient of days, about whom holy men have written and spoken he is our father and our god and the only god with whom we have to do.”

Those are irreconcilable differences in who God is and how the world works. Different God. Different creation narrative. Adam = God and Michael ??!! You can’t even get out of Genesis 1 without seeing the clear differences, let alone John 1 or countless other passages.

0 thoughts on “Are Mormons really Christians?, Part II”

  1. Here is my hypothetical. At the moment of death God the Father asks everyone if they want to accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in expiation for their sins. Yes-Heaven, No-Hell.
    If you are fortunate to know Christ in your lifetime all the better.

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    1. Hi Bill,

      I don’t see evidence for that in the Bible, though. How would you apply that to the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, for example? Seems like your hypothetical would have factored into that somehow. Did the rich man chose Hell? Jesus seems rather specific in saying that ignoring the salvation message on earth would lead to Hell.

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  2. Neil,
    There is a place for that between verses 22 and 23. There is one last opportunity for vanity and pride or humility and remorse. The devil and his angels also chose against heaven, perhaps not aware that hell (separation from God) is more painful than they imagined. Note that the rich man still expects that Lazarus should serve him. vs 24. Prideful even in Hell.
    22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

    23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

    24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

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  3. Bill,
    Luke 16:26 shows the problem – there is a chasm that no one can cross. But Hebrews 9:27 sums up the problems nicely – Man is destined to die once, and AFTER that (i.e., death) is judgment. No second chance.

    God offers everyone the chance to follow Christ before their death, and that’s it.

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  4. I didn’t pull Galatians 3:28 out of text Glenn. I was quoting Neil’s other post. Please point to me where Jesus says he came to die for our sins. I must have missed that one.

    I do believe he says he did not come to replace the law, but fulfill it so how could any of that involve MURDER (uh last I checked that was against the law), and please don’t tell me its a lesson is grace for MURDER, because that’s more justification for the same.

    They murdered Christ and have been running around arguing and spewing erroneous doctrine like chickens with their heads cut off, just like Isaiah said would happen. (9:6-16)

    No one really has the right to call anyone out, because we have been CUT OFF until he returns. I say we get over ourselves and listen to the Hebrew.

    Love each other, you never know if its an angel or not!

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  5. Please point to me where Jesus says he came to die for our sins.

    Matthew 20:28: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Matthew 26:28: “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. ”

    John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

    There are more, but it’s time to leave for church!

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  6. Thank you Marie. I don’t have the time to devote to Mizclark – I ‘ve been on her site and it is rife with false teachings. Neil’s been doing a very good job trying to reach her, and I did a post on the divinity of Christ, but she isn’t accepting that.

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  7. Thanks Marie!

    I was looking more for where he specifically says his purpose was to die for our sins. All of these are examples of where he said he would die because of sin and there is a difference.

    Why did they kill him? They said for blasphemy, but can’t you understand if they believed they would have known he wasn’t blaspheming, and theywouldn’t havekilled him.

    Glenn, I would hope you not have the time to devote to me, your devotion belongs to HIM. My site is not for teaching. It is a community for non-judgemental thinkers to discuss what has been posted.

    If you have read and did not understand, then it is not meant for you at this time. Neil has done a fantastic job in reaching me. I have and plan to continue to learn much more.

    The most important lesson we can learn from Neil is his Christ-like approach to dissenting opinion, and his ‘house’ is much like my Father’s that way.

    Since you seem to think we follow different God’s Glenn, I prefer to keep mine because I can seem to find Him anywhere I look!

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  8. Hi Mizclark,

    Thanks for clarifying that – I see what you’re saying. To clarify, your contention is that Christ died because of sin, in that His murder was the greatest evil and injustice ever committed? I would certainly agree with you that He was unjustly murdered by sinful men, and the fact that His betrayer (Judas) was damned is evidence of that.

    However, I would also submit that God, in His sovereign foreknowledge, knew who would do what and how it would happen. He used that time and place in history (‘In the fullness of time’) to acheive His plan of redemption. Was it sin? Yes. Did God know that they would commit it? Yes. Was He able to use it to acheive His purpose (Christ dying on our behalf)? Oh yes.

    As John Piper once wrote, ‘Jesus would have nailed Himself to the Cross if necessary.’

    Now, the following verses clarify the doctrine that Christ did indeed die for our sins:

    Romans 3:25: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”

    1 John 2:2: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    1 John 4:10: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

    I quoted the KJV in these, because of the precision of the word “propitiation”. The NIV translates it “sacrifice of atonement”, which is not wrong either; but check out the definition of propitiation: satisfaction or appeasment, specifically towards God. Propitiation is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross by which He appeases the wrath of God who would otherwise be offended by our sin and demand that we pay the penalty for it. The concept of propitiation is often associated with the idea of a substitutionary atonement.

    The book of Hebrews really expands on this concept, explaining in detail how Christ died for our sins in an act of substitutionary atonement. John the Baptist alluded to this when he declared, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

    Later, Jesus Himself warned His disciples of the necessity of His death and resurrection (Matthew 16 and Mark 8), using the word “must” be killed. It was the necessity of His death (the perfect sacrifice) to atone for sins that caused Him so much anguish in the Garden. He spelled it out so clearly during the Last Supper (John 15:13; Luke 22:19; Matthew 26:28) that there really was no ambiguity in His purpose. Why did He rebuke Peter so sternly in Matthew 16? Because He was trying to dissuade Him from His purpose (dying for mankind’s sin). Jesus stated plainly that He laid down His life; no one took it from Him (John 10:18). It wasn’t simply that sin killed Him – He specifically came, suffered and died to redeem sinners from sin’s penalty (eternal death – Romans 3:23).

    Check out Romans 8:32 a: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all;”

    and Galatians 1:4: “who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,”

    and Ephesians 5:2: “just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

    and 1 Timothy 2:6: “who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.”

    When Jesus spoke about laying down His life for the sheep, He knew exactly what He was doing. Mark 14:41 has Him telling the apostles plainly, “The hour has come”. If you read it in context, you can see what “hour” it is – His purpose in coming. Suffering and dying for our sake. He even witnessed to Pilate – “for this I have come into the world” a few hours later.

    There’s just too much focus throughout the New Testament (I haven’t even gotten to the OT Messianic prophecies) to misinterpret Christ’s mission.

    Please don’t read any tension or animosity into my words; none whatsoever is intended! I like having these types of conversations. I could talk about the Lord all day (‘cept today I can’t; I hafta go get dressed and go to work later). Have a blessed day!

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  9. YES, this is exactly what I was looking for Marie! THANKS!!! This is where I was going. The death of Jesus was necessitated by the fact that he wasn’t believed.

    Yes the Father knew he would not be believed, and knew humans would rather murder him than know the truth, and the fact Jesus was willing to accept that is no big surprise either. As the eldest child of the family he most certainly already knew the meaning of sacrfice after the death of his ‘earth’ father.

    I have studied the OT prophecies and am still studying them. I felt it was important to understand the scriptures in the way they did. We have to understand the laws and customs of the era to really understand his mission and the pressure placed on him by a people under Roman rule.

    I am also beginning to wonder if his murder was a political move. Pilate trying to keep his position and the Sanhedrin retaliating because he wouldn’t assist them in taking over. I base all of this on the conversations and many arguements he had.

    It seems they were willing to believe him only if it were an earthly kingdom, if he would share power with the Jewish leaders and when he refused they killed him. I’m also trying to figure out if they took advantage of the disagreements between the apostles and maybe took liberties with texts in an effort to ‘calm the storm’.

    As Neil has already pointed out the Dead Sea Scrolls prove much hasn’t been changed at all, but I think its still important to read the earlier translations to pick up on subtle differences. Language has changed so much over time, I think its foolish not to assume the texts changed with it.

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  10. Mizclark, you have taken my words and twisted them the way you have twisted Scripture. There was no context of personal devotion to you as you imply; the context was setting aside time to address the many false teachings you propagate. Between other works of ministry that I do, my paying job, my work around the home, and so many other things that require time, I am left without the hours of time it would require to address all the false teachings on your site. I was not intending to say that you are not worth the time and effort, rather I was only saying that I don’t have hours to spend on the computer addressing every false teaching I come across on the Internet. I saw where Neil was doing an excellent job working with you and I posted what I thought would demonstrate a problem with your thinking about Jesus’ divinity and decided to let it go at that (although I did have that final comment about your denigration of Paul’s writings while favoring the writings of liberal theologians who are 2000 years removed from the source). As I stated on your site, I challenge you to drop all your pre-conceived notions of theology that you have acquired over the years and start from scratch with the Bible, with some help understanding by solid, fundamental, orthodox commentaries.

    You say your site is not for teaching but that is exactly what you do on that site. You also say it is for “non-judgmental” thinkers to discuss, but every “thinker” is making judgments about what is said. Scripture calls on us to judge all teachings by Scripture.

    You said, “If you have read and did not understand, then it is not meant for you at this time.” This implies that you have the truth and that it is not the time yet for me to understand your “truth.” However, as much as it pains me to say this, your teachings are mostly in error so it has nothing to do with whether it is “time” for me to have your teachings.

    The problem you and Marie are discussing still seems to be more than semantics. Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth incarnate as man was to be the sacrifice for our sin. He did not say it was because of people sinning against him that he was going to be killed, he said he was to be killed as a sacrificial atonement for sin – propitiation for our sin, as Marie said. The reasons the Jewish leaders gave for killing Jesus were all trumped up and false as the Bible points out. That was THEIR excuses supporting their purpose in killing Jesus, but it was not Jesus’ reason for being sacrificed. Marie has done an excellent explanation of the problem, and clarification that Christ did indeed die for our sin. Please consider carefully what she has written.

    Unfortunately, you have again misread Marie and brought in your own ideas. You said, “The death of Jesus was necessitated by the fact that he wasn’t believed.” NO, it was necessitated by the fact that we couldn’t pay for our own sin and Jesus had to die to do it for us! From a human standpoint the Romans certainly had him killed for political purposes, but the Jewish leaders did indeed understand his claims and they killed him because they didn’t want His Kingdom as it was offered – they wanted a conquering Messiah, not a suffering one. No one took “liberties” with any biblical text. It is not “foolish” to believe that.

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  11. From a human standpoint the Romans certainly had him killed for political purposes, but the Jewish leaders did indeed understand his claims and they killed him because they didn’t want His Kingdom as it was offered – they wanted a conquering Messiah, not a suffering one.

    This is the point I was making with Marie Glenn thanks for understanding. Saying it is not for you at this time does not imply I have the truth.

    You do not understand me Glenn nor do you have any idea how much of the Bible I have read. You speak as if it is something that is read once and put down and this is not the case.

    The postings as I have said are not to teach, but to start discourse because if I am on the wrong track I need to know. Just as I said to you, if I read and don’t understand then it is not for me…yet.

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  12. I would NEVER say the Bible is something you read once and then put down; I read it as often as possible and am continuously studying it.

    As long as you pick and choose what to believe in the Scripture, you will not learn. You claim Paul is equivalent to Joseph Smith, but Paul was indeed an apostle of God chosen personally by Christ. His writings are indeed authentic and need to studied.

    I think we have long gotten off the track of this particular post and perhaps we should let this discussion rest.

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