prisonchaplain

Mormons believe . . . WHAT?

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35 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

It depends on the import of the matter. If my disagreement concerns one of our 16 Fundamental Truths, I would report that on my annual renewal of ministerial credentials. Ultimately, I may lose those credentials, and would no longer be ordained by the Assemblies of God. If a member of the church disagreed s/he might feel compelled to speak to the pastor about it. Again, the person may lose their membership. However, even as a non-member, if the individual was not contentious about the matter, s/he could probably continue to attend. As an example, we have a person in our congregation who does not believe tithing is a New Testament practice. Nevertheless, her gifts to the church exceed 10%. She has taught classes in our church. However, because part of becoming a member of the church is committing to tithing, she chose to never officially join.

 

Thank you.  Not to be out of line, but I was thinking more along the lines of personally.  For example, when I struggle with a piece of doctrine and can't resolve it through study and prayer, I typically put it on a back burner for awhile.  Though it may be hard at times, I choose to sustain the leadership and just not focus on that issue.  I've never had an issue where I was convinced the church was wrong, so that may be a different situation.

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@Grunt Your approach is my go-to when I struggle with a teaching I have heard. I answered your question at the most extreme level. For most matters, if I cannot resolve it the back burner works well. Also, in Protestantism it is generally acceptable for church members to believe the preacher got something wrong. Quite often the perceived error won't even get mentioned, if it is not of fairly critical importance. I would just disagree and think s/he was wrong on that point.

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8 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

I believe this is a different question. First, it was who gave the authority not to look to a single human organization. Now, it's who gives the authority to interpret scripture.  And, I suppose this is the crux of the matter. Has it always been intended that all God's people would know his word, his will, his way, or was it meant for go-betweens to mediate? When Jesus told his disciples to go and make more, was he speaking to the leaders, and only the leaders? When Paul tells the Corinthians to discern the spirits as prophetic words are spoken, was it only the leaders who did this?  LDS also most agree with me on this. The priesthood is not for the elite. Approving leaders ordained by God is sustained by all members. So, it's not an arbitrary matter of taken authority meant for another, but rather that faith is both corporate and personal, just as God is both transcendent and intimate.

A friend of mine converted to Catholicism (Byzantine Rite). Recently he posted that when he did so (he's a former minister) he gave up his right to interpret scripture. That now falls on church hierarchy, for him. I do not begrudge him his belief, but my walk with God has always been more direct and accessible than that. I can come to him and his throne of grace boldly. I can embrace and understand his word in like manner.

The point of my previous question wasn't to deny people the right to interpret the scriptures on their own and apart from intermediaries,  Rather, it was to distinguish between authoritative and non-authoritative interpretations, and between interpretations that are authoritative by God and those that are authoritative by man.

I noticed that you didn't directly answer my previous question. So, let me ask some follow-up questions:

Do you agree that there is a broad range of conflicting interpretations of the Bible (there are three main divisions of Judaism, and more than 2000 different Christian denomination, many of which claim to interpret the Bible correctly)?

Do you agree that the conflicting interpretations are not all of God, and that many are "private" interpretations of men?. 

Do you think it wisdom in God that we all come to a unity of faithh--i.e. become of one mind and Spirit? (Eph 4:4-5,13); Phillipians 1:27)

Can that unity of faith occur in ways other than through authoritative interpretations from God? Can it come though authoritative interpretations of man representing the 2000 plus denominations, and/or through non-authoritative interpretations drawn from individuals scattered over more than one organization or who aren't associated with any organization? 

The point of my follow-up questions are to provide some rationale for God conferring, at the very least, His interpretive authority in one organization, one body (Eph 4:4-5,13), one household of God (Eph 2: 18-20)_ one church--i.e. Christ's bride, as opposed to multiple brides), and to give interpretive meaning to Christ calling and ordaining apostles and prophets and other authorities to his kingdom (organization) on earth (1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph 2:20; 3:54:11-13; Lk 11:;49-50; ;Act 16:4)

Thanks, -Wade Enlgund-

Edited by wenglund

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1 hour ago, wenglund said:

I'll try to answer these questions in text with bold.

 

The point of my previous question wasn't to deny people the right to interpret the scriptures on their own and apart from intermediaries,  Rather, it was to distinguish between authoritative and non-authoritative interpretations, and between interpretations that are authoritative by God and those that are authoritative by man.

Within LDS and Catholic traditions the hierarchy offers official interpretations of scripture. Most Protestants would allow that even the creeds, or our official denominational/church statements of faith, are not "authoritative." Only scripture itself is.

Do you agree that there is a broad range of conflicting interpretations of the Bible (there are three main divisions of Judaism, and more than 2000 different Christian denomination, many of which claim to interpret the Bible correctly)?

With the caveat that these many many groups actually have relatively few major disagreements. I joined in Sacred Assembly with so many different Christian brothers from independent and denominational groups (including Catholic, Messianic Jewish, etc.) at the Promise Keepers gathering in Oct 1997. The group did have about five statements of truth we all agreed to, but it was tremendous to see so much unity, despite our diversity.

Do you agree that the conflicting interpretations are not all of God, and that many are "private" interpretations of men?

Every teaching can and should be studied and spiritually discerned. We hold to no authority above scripture itself. I'd also point out that the most common Bible translation in Evangelical churches is the New International Version, which is written at a 7th grade reading level. Most Christians go through most days not worrying about Predestination vs. Free Will, or whether or not a church should use wine or grape juice for Communion.

Do you think it wisdom in God that we all come to a unity of faithh--i.e. become of one mind and Spirit? (Eph 4:4-5,13); Phillipians 1:27)

And again, I marvel at the unity among the many denominations. Faith statements are so much more similar than they are diverse. We don't argue much at all. My perception is that we are much like the New Testament churches (even the 7 in Revelation 2-3). Different congregations/denominations have their struggles, but those who seek first the kingdom of God, and strive to walk in Jesus' will and way find much favor with God.

Can that unity of faith occur in ways other than through authoritative interpretations from God? Can it come though authoritative interpretations of man representing the 2000 plus denominations, and/or through non-authoritative interpretations drawn from individuals scattered over more than one organization or who aren't associated with any organization?

I find much more unity in Christianity. Frankly, I find more agreement with the 78-year old Catholic priest I work with than I do with some of our younger pastors, who are heavily influenced by post-modernism. I enjoy great fellowship with a Southern Baptist minister friend of mine, though we don't agree about Pentecost. And, while our differences may be strong, I find much to agree with from many posters on this site. Having a single human organization to call the authorized church might put a unity-face on Christianity, but I suspect internal differences and diversities would be just as great.

The point of my follow-up questions are to provide some rationale for God conferring, at the very least, His interpretive authority in one organization, one body (Eph 4:4-5,13), one household of God (Eph 2: 18-20)_ one church--i.e. Christ's bride, as opposed to multiple brides), and to give interpretive meaning to Christ calling and ordaining apostles and prophets and other authorities to his kingdom (organization) on earth (1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph 2:20; 3:54:11-13; Lk 11:;49-50; ;Act 16:4)

Thanks, -Wade Enlgund-

I do understand the appeal, and admit that I have always had a great tolerance for God expressing himself through the many Christian denominations. It never threw me the way it did Joseph Smith, who ended up asking God, "Which church is right?" I never felt the need to ask that question. Perhaps that's why I am a chaplain. 🙂

 

Edited by prisonchaplain

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On 6/2/2018 at 1:55 AM, prisonchaplain said:

 I do understand the appeal, and admit that I have always had a great tolerance for God expressing himself through the many Christian denominations. It never threw me the way it did Joseph Smith, who ended up asking God, "Which church is right?" I never felt the need to ask that question. Perhaps that's why I am a chaplain. 🙂

That is a good point. Perhaps it is a difference in times and personal experiences. I know that during Joseph Smith's day, there was intense contention between the different Christian denominations--including protestants, each claiming to be correct and the Church of God, while others were not  

For may part, having participated on several multi-faith discussion boards for several decades, I found that certain protestant denominations were as ardently opposed, if not more so, to Catholics as they were Mormons. The oneness Protestants were often seriously at odds with the Trinitarian Protestants. And, the traditional Trinitarians were aghast at the presumed heresies of Social Trinitarians, and on and on.

Though, I can respect that your experience may be far different.

And, It makes sense that for those of us who see widespread and deep division, would yearn for order amidst the seeming interpretive chaos, and to consider authority as a means for establishing order--not just interpretive order, but also administrative as well as salvific order.

Likewise, it makes sense that those, such as yourself, who see relatively significant unity and cohesion and order.among the diverse Christian denominations, would find little value in authority.

Either way, I think we can both agree that, regardless of our respective personal experience and perception about unity within Christianity, or what questions may be generated therefrom, what matters is God's will for us.

I suspect that , even given different perspectives from your's, Joseph Smith, like me and other LDS, would have been perfectly fine were God to have said that it doesn't matter which Christian denomination to join since they are all of one faith and one baptism and follow the one shepherd as they should. If that was fine with God, then who are we to say otherwise.

However, according to what we LDS believe was revealed, and witnessed to each of us by the Holy Spirit, God said otherwise, so who are we to question that.

In other words, our reason, as LDS, for believing that authority is needed, isn't a function of what we personally believe is necessary due to our perception of  disunity among Christians, but simply because, as we believe, tit is what God has revealed.

I can respect if you believe otherwise.

Thanks, -Wade Enlgund-

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@wenglund, your posts offer a great explanation for why Joseph Smith asked his question about which church is true. Further, I agree that if he were alive today and spent much time on social media religious sites, he would ask the same question. We do tend to emphasize our differences online. It is not shocking to me that Joseph Smith believed God called him to establish a new church, and that so many since them have believed his account of what God told him. The largest Christian church in the world still claims half of those who align with Jesus. The idea of a main or "mother" true church is appealing. Those that believe the errors of Catholicism are significant and lasting, might find refuge in the LDS faith, with its similar declarations. FWIW, you posts reaffirmed some of what I have heard previously, and they have made those views even clearer. So, thank you.

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On 6/4/2018 at 8:01 AM, prisonchaplain said:

FWIW, you posts reaffirmed some of what I have heard previously, and they have made those views even clearer. So, thank you.

Turn on the faucets!  This AoG chaplain is ready for baptism! 🤠

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@anatess2 it was the scarf that did it.  :P

If nothing else, this discussion does help me understand why some Catholics find the transition to LDS fairly easy to make. I had always thought it would be easier for Evangelicals, given our common social mores, and our tendency to quote a lot of scripture. However, all the talk about unity of faith and having a united true/mother church--I can see Catholics finding that appealing. Alas, I'm still a "separated brother."

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On June 1, 2018 at 2:09 AM, prisonchaplain said:

I run a risk with this comment, but I'll make it anyway. The chance to argue against Greek philosophical corruption of church teaching and against the Trinitarian explanation for God's nature was about 1,700 years ago. Of course, I say that because I believe that despite some of the politicking that took place, God oversaw and directed the outcome. My statement is dangerous because now @MaryJehanne can suggest that the Roman Catholic church remains dominant after 2,000 years, so isn't it time for me to come home? My answer to that, and my support of the priesthood of all believers (as well as the ultimate authority being scripture) is that my reading of the New Testament is of a Christian movement, mostly gathering in local groups, definitely headed by pastors (shepherds, if you will), but not one in which a powerful, centralized church hierarchy had much leverage. Yes, there was the council in Acts that resolved an attempt at turning Christians back over to the Law of Moses. Yes, the Apostle Paul wrote letters and traveled, to offer instruction and correction for churches. Still, broader leadership seemed mostly intent on vision-casting and offering broad direction, not on managing and overseeing compliant congregations. The call to witness is for all Christians. The calls to holiness are for all Christians. The calls to be knowledgeable of scripture appears to be for all Christians. Leaders coach, members are out on the playing field. I tell the inmates that come to chapel this all the time--I'm just your coach--you are the players.

Hi, Prisonchaplain! 

I certainly agree that the call to witness and the call to holiness are for all! But without direction, God would have been leaving us, the human race and His bride, the Church, to flounder. Someone who rejects the papacy might say that He didn't leave us without direction, but rather left us with His word in the Bible we compiled as our guide. However, if He didn't establish a base to infallibly teach the Faith, the morals and passages found in the Bible could be reinterpreted in a million different ways. That wouldn't be guidance; that would be chaos! Unless Christ Himself is here to correct us and teach us, then He wouldn't be a good shepherd unless He established a shepherd to guide us in His absence, to stand in His place until He comes again. 

If you're all right with some reading, I'd suggest The Authority of the Pope: Part 1 (https://www.catholic.com/tract/the-authority-of-the-pope-part-i), Peter and the Papacy (https://www.catholic.com/tract/peter-and-the-papacy), Peter's Authority (https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/peters-authority), The Papacy in Scripture - No Rocks Required (https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/the-papacy-in-scripture-no-rocks-required), and Defending the Papacy (https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/defending-the-papacy). Although not free, there's also 20 Answers - The Papacy for $4 on Kindle (http://a.co/9EejiHV)!

I am completely open to continue to discuss this, if you want to. :)

God bless!

 

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It is nice to have inter faith discussions without it becoming heated! Often one side will feel ganged up on and the other will feel attacked.

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@Crypto  The reason we can be so calm is that we all know we are right, and we just have to help the others who disagree with us realize that they are wrong about thinking they are right. 😜  In all seriousness, the civility here is a treasure in the world of interfaith dialogue--especially online.

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19 hours ago, MaryJehanne said:

If you're all right with some reading, I'd suggest The Authority of the Pope: Part 1 (https://www.catholic.com/tract/the-authority-of-the-pope-part-i), Peter and the Papacy (https://www.catholic.com/tract/peter-and-the-papacy), Peter's Authority (https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/peters-authority), The Papacy in Scripture - No Rocks Required (https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/the-papacy-in-scripture-no-rocks-required), and Defending the Papacy (https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/defending-the-papacy). Although not free, there's also 20 Answers - The Papacy for $4 on Kindle (http://a.co/9EejiHV)!

I am completely open to continue to discuss this, if you want to. :)

God bless!

 

I will give the links a look-over. I am familiar with Catholic Answers. They do a fine job of explaining the faith using Evangelical-speak, so I should be able to digest them just fine. If questions arise that seem general, I'll post here. Otherwise, I may send you a message. God's rich blessings be yours, as well.

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On ‎5‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 10:49 PM, prisonchaplain said:

The title is actually that of a book by Gary Lawrence, and LDS member, former bishop, and professional analyst. He grapples with the most common accusations, "Anti" attacks, and questions, mostly that would come from traditional Christians. Perhaps the biggest take away from his writing is that the LDS claim to be the one true church is meant to indicate the church's unique authority, not that it is the sole container of truth. Other Christians, including myself, may not agree or appreciate the belief. However, focusing on authority gets to the heart of LDS vs. traditionalist disagreement. In fact, even between Protestants, Catholics, and the Orthodox, the real issue is authority. One could even argue that authority is what divides Jews and Christians (does Jesus have authority as Messiah and Son of God or not?).

THOUGHTS?

 

I believe words are important.    The LDS or Mormon church talks about the “true Church”.  I believe these words are not quite complete.  In the same manner Christians claim to worship the “true G-d”.  The full expressions should be the “True and Living G-d” and the “True and Living Church” or “Kingdom” of G-d.

The correct concept is that there is only one “true” G-d and that the “true” G-d presides over the “true” kingdom or church.  Note that in scripture G-d is referenced as a King and his followers belonging to a Kingdom – the kingdom of G-d on earth (Heaven is also referred to as the Kingdom of heaven where G-d is the King.  Thus, if there is one “true and living” G-d then there must be one “true and living” kingdom of G-d on earth – in other words one unique church.

If there can be many churches (kingdoms) then there are many kings or G-ds that preside over the many different kingdoms and churches.

 

The Traveler

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I feel safe suggesting that most Protestants strongly agree that there is only one true kingdom of the one true God. We question whether "kingdom" and "church" are synonymous. Maybe denominations are like provinces. :cool:

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On 5/30/2018 at 11:49 PM, prisonchaplain said:

The title is actually that of a book by Gary Lawrence, and LDS member, former bishop, and professional analyst. He grapples with the most common accusations, "Anti" attacks, and questions, mostly that would come from traditional Christians. Perhaps the biggest take away from his writing is that the LDS claim to be the one true church is meant to indicate the church's unique authority, not that it is the sole container of truth. Other Christians, including myself, may not agree or appreciate the belief. However, focusing on authority gets to the heart of LDS vs. traditionalist disagreement. In fact, even between Protestants, Catholics, and the Orthodox, the real issue is authority. One could even argue that authority is what divides Jews and Christians (does Jesus have authority as Messiah and Son of God or not?).

THOUGHTS?

I think that often, the biggest argument that a "traditional" (whatever exactly that means, as it will differ among even those who call themselves by that label) Christian will have with the LDS Church is the Great Apostasy. As a traditional Lutheran, (Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod), I reject the idea that any kind of apostasy occurred at all. Throughout the history of the Church, from the time of Jesus and His Holy Apostles, there have been Faithful Pastors (Presbyters) and Deacons who upheld the Faith. Bishops were just a higher degree of Presbyter. We of course depend, as do other parts of the Universal (Catholic, but not necessarily Roman) Church, on the Church Fathers for the Deposit of Faith handed down by the Apostles.

Now, that having been said, there is ALWAYS another hand, is there not? I have read the Quad I own, every word of it. There is much of the Book of Mormon that I can appreciate. I even have my favourite passages. Is the text literally true, as the LDS Church teaches? I honestly do not know the answer to that question, or to the related one of whether the Nephites and Lamanites truly existed or not. But I do know that the Book of Mormon contains unique doctrines on the Fall of Adam and Eve, the Atonement, and many other topics of considerable interest to Christians. One cannot just take the text and toss it in the waste bin because one is not a Latter-day Saint!

 

So, I encourage all Christians everywhere to consider the Quad and its contents very seriously. Although as a Lutheran I am hardly trying to missionise for the LDS Church, I think one cannot ignore that said Church has contributed something very unique and enduring to our literary culture. We risk ignoring it at our considerable peril, if you ask me.

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@Diego, if you are uncertain as to the spiritual inspiration and literal-historical truth of the Book of Mormon, do you value it in the same way you might the inter-testamental books in the Catholic Bible, or perhaps the Jewish Talmud? LDS accept  both the OT and NT, but not those extra books, as scripture. Perhaps their scholars would study them,  but not most members. So, is it pastors/bishops and professor you are commending the Triple to or all traditional (i.e. non-LDS) church members?

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PRISON CHAPLAIN, to be honest, probably more to our scholars. Having been raised Roman Catholic, I have also read the Intertestamental Books, and, from personal interest, many of the Apocryphal/Pseudopigraphical books. I have also read the Qur'an and parts of Talmud. Although I recommend the Intertestamental books  (and the Triple) to anyone who has the time, I realise that most people do not. 

 

So I guess that kind of answers that. Most non-Mormons are not going to look at the Triple, but would be edified if they did, I think.

Edited by Diego

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