MrShorty

"It's time Christians started including Latter-day Saints"

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https://broadview.org/its-time-christians-start-including-latter-day-saints/?fbclid=IwAR2A9PteT9jN5epVRhGee0NfRE_sFJVcszRXw2uNMFDjmpFrFfnHCixlH-A

The author claims to be a former president of the Canadian Council of Churches, and simply argues that "[The Mormons] should be welcomed to walk alongside the rest of us." The comments section certainly shows that not all agree with Rev. Christie. I guess it just shows that, while there are the counter-cult minsitries and individuals like Dr. Jeffress out there, there are also many who are more welcoming. The belief that Mormons aren't Christian is not universal.

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17 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

https://broadview.org/its-time-christians-start-including-latter-day-saints/?fbclid=IwAR2A9PteT9jN5epVRhGee0NfRE_sFJVcszRXw2uNMFDjmpFrFfnHCixlH-A

The author claims to be a former president of the Canadian Council of Churches, and simply argues that "[The Mormons] should be welcomed to walk alongside the rest of us." The comments section certainly shows that not all agree with Rev. Christie. I guess it just shows that, while there are the counter-cult minsitries and individuals like Dr. Jeffress out there, there are also many who are more welcoming. The belief that Mormons aren't Christian is not universal.

It never was.  So, what's new?

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25 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

The belief that Mormons aren't Christian is not universal.

It's close to it as far as official position from other churches go.   

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Maybe it's frowned upon for me to say so, but...if I were a so-called traditional Christian, I wouldn't include Latter-day Saints as Christians, either, at least not in an all-inclusive way. The fact alone of the existence and acceptance of the Book of Mormon, not to mention having yet other books of scritpure, modern prophets, a quorum of twelve apostles, and an active effort to proselytize people away from traditional Christian churches, would put them on the wrong side of what my ideas of "Christianity" would almost certainly include.

As a Latter-day Saint, I obviously believe we are Christians—in point of fact, the only true Christians. But in my beneficence, I am generously willing to extend that label to most of those who want to claim it, even though they may not quite live up to what I believe are the elements of a Christian. But then, when the guy who denies the divinity of Jesus and says that the "atonement" was merely a fairy tale wants to claim the title, I privately do not agree to that. So it would be inconsistent, if not hypocritical, for me to raise a huge stink about traditional Christians wanting to deny me the title.

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13 minutes ago, Vort said:

Maybe it's frowned upon for me to say so, but...if I were a so-called traditional Christian, I wouldn't include Latter-day Saints as Christians, either, at least not in an all-inclusive way. The fact alone of the existence and acceptance of the Book of Mormon, not to mention having yet other books of scritpure, modern prophets, a quorum of twelve apostles, and an active effort to proselytize people away from traditional Christian churches, would put them on the wrong side of what my ideas of "Christianity" would almost certainly include.

I believe the biggest issues other Christian churches have with our church, doctrine wise, is the belief than men can become like God and also that the Godhead is three different personages/beings.  

Believing in more than one God or that even that more than one exist is a no-no in most (probably all) other Christian churches. 

Also, a lot of them don't like us claiming to be the only true church or the only ones with the fullness of the gospel either, but the above are the biggest issues most of them have with our doctrine.    

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1 minute ago, Scott said:

I believe the biggest issues other Christian churches have with our church, doctrine wise, is the belief than men can become like God and also that the Godhead is three different personages/beings.     

I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (I thought the term "Mormon" is now frowned upon?) but I think of myself as very friendly to the Church and open to learning wherever I can find it.

As Scott said, this is also the biggest issue I've seen, but a close #2 is how Jesus and Lucifer are sometimes portrayed as spiritual brothers, which is a total, instantaneous, and irrevocable deal-breaker for many of my fellow Protestants, who simply cannot bring themselves to visualize Jesus and Lucifer as a sort of Cain and Abel.  I have studied this topic a bit and my understanding is that God is believed to be the Father of all beings, so in a sense we are all brothers and sisters.  But that concept can be awkwardly expressed in ways that frighten the daylights out of people who have never heard it before.

Maybe I'm a naive contrarian here, but I'd say many of my thoughtful friends define "Christendom" as "the set of all people who call themselves Christian," which seems like a reasonable starting point to me.

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52 minutes ago, Texan said:

As Scott said, this is also the biggest issue I've seen, but a close #2 is how Jesus and Lucifer are sometimes portrayed as spiritual brothers, which is a total, instantaneous, and irrevocable deal-breaker for many of my fellow Protestants, who simply cannot bring themselves to visualize Jesus and Lucifer as a sort of Cain and Abel.  I have studied this topic a bit and my understanding is that God is believed to be the Father of all beings, so in a sense we are all brothers and sisters.  But that concept can be awkwardly expressed in ways that frighten the daylights out of people who have never heard it before.

I ran into this a lot on my mission in Oklahoma and Missouri.  

"Mormons can't be Christians.  They believe Christ is the brother of Satan."

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1 hour ago, Texan said:

I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (I thought the term "Mormon" is now frowned upon?) but I think of myself as very friendly to the Church and open to learning wherever I can find it.

As Scott said, this is also the biggest issue I've seen, but a close #2 is how Jesus and Lucifer are sometimes portrayed as spiritual brothers, which is a total, instantaneous, and irrevocable deal-breaker for many of my fellow Protestants, who simply cannot bring themselves to visualize Jesus and Lucifer as a sort of Cain and Abel.  I have studied this topic a bit and my understanding is that God is believed to be the Father of all beings, so in a sense we are all brothers and sisters.  But that concept can be awkwardly expressed in ways that frighten the daylights out of people who have never heard it before.

Maybe I'm a naive contrarian here, but I'd say many of my thoughtful friends define "Christendom" as "the set of all people who call themselves Christian," which seems like a reasonable starting point to me.

Honestly, for me the biggest irked is when some people purposefully twist things to have that shock factor (the brothers thing being a classic example).  I'm just a bigger believe in being factual: be factual about what other people ACTUALLY believe, even if you totally disagree with it.  Any Christian does not need to rely of false sensationalism to "protect the flock". 

But, this article is about the good side: the many people are strong in Christ, willing to see others and acknowledge their relationship with Christ.  While they are not as loud, I do find the they are majority and a increasingly large majority.  And I celebrate with them, rejoicing from the bottom of my heart.

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I've started reading Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. He makes an interesting argument related to the term "Christian." His view is that Christian should refer to one who embraces a set of teachings. An obvious example would be the doctrine of the Trinity. The counter-argument is that many Trinitarians do not behave like good Christians. Lewis would say that such folk are bad Christians. They qualify because they believe as Christians. However, they are bad at their Christianity, so they are bad Christians. I suppose, if we accept this line of reasoning, then LDS folk should simply try to be the best members they can be, and stop worrying about not fitting in doctrinally with Christians (good or bad).

His argument is appealing, but old. Lewis argues powerfully against basing our word definitions on feelings. Yet, here we are, a half century later, doing just that. His other example is that a gentlemen used to mean an educated land-owning male. He might be a bad gentleman, but a gentleman he was. WELL...that is a lost cause. So, who knows. The day may come when LDS are considered Christians along with the traditional folk. If you win the word, you still won't get the original meaning, though.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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42 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I've started reading Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. He makes an interesting argument related to the term "Christian." His view is that Christian should refer to one who embraces a set of teachings. An obvious example would be the doctrine of the Trinity. The counter-argument is that many Trinitarians do not behave like good Christians. Lewis would say that such folk are bad Christians. They qualify because they believe as Christians. However, they are bad at their Christianity, so they are bad Christians. I suppose, if we accept this line of reasoning, then LDS folk should simply try to be the best members they can be, and stop worrying about not fitting in doctrinally with Christians (good or bad).

His argument is appealing, but old. Lewis argues powerfully against basing our word definitions on feelings. Yet, here we are, a half century later, doing just that. His other example is that a gentlemen used to mean an educated land-owning male. He might be a bad gentleman, but a gentleman he was. WELL...that is a lost cause. So, who knows. The day may come when LDS are considered Christians along with the traditional folk. If you win the word, you still won't get the original meaning, though.

When we say “original meaning”, do we mean that when Agrippa used the word (or its Greek equivalent) in Acts 26 he meant “Trinitarian”; or that he was referring to some doctrinal litmus year above and beyond “believer in the messiahship of Yesuha-bin-Yusuf”?

I agree with you generally that what we are is far more important than what we are called.  

That being said, and trying to approach the matter with a degree of detachment:  it strikes me that most of the litmus tests being offered by those who seek to monopolize the term in modern times have little to do with anything Jesus actually taught; and more to do with making sure that Mormons remain theologically, socially, and politically “otherized”.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

That being said, and trying to approach the matter with a degree of detachment:  it strikes me that most of the litmus tests being offered by those who seek to monopolize the term in modern times have little to do with anything Jesus actually taught; and more to do with making sure that Mormons remain theologically, socially, and politically “otherized”.

My thought is that a better example with which to examine this premise would be the oneness Pentecostals. Doctrine-wise, they line up 95-99% with me. Their worship is awesome. They love Jesus--oh do they love Jesus. They are conservative, biblical literalists, and they do Pentecost they way we use to do it. BUT, they deny the Trinity. If I were to officiate a baptism using their formula ("I baptize you in the name of Jesus, for the remission of sins) I would be defrocked.  So, are they Christians? I suppose C.S. Lewis would say no. Many of the groups you consider "Anti" would deny them as well. I'm pretty sure they would be denied membership in the National or World Council of Churches. Again...are they Christian? If doctrinal orthodoxy determines the word's meaning, then no. If it is something else, then maybe or probably.

Honestly...I don't argue the word. If Lewis is right, then the word does not refer to "what Jesus actually taught," because by that definition Muslims could be Christian. After all, they argue that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God, and that his disciples corrupted his message. If Lewis is wrong, and the word's meaning based on anything subjective, then, like the word "gentlemen," just about anyone can use it, but the word becomes most imprecise in meaning. I suspect that's where the larger Christian world is heading--to a very broad, all-encompassing definition--one that includes rather than excludes.

To get at where someone is really at, the term Christian will need to be followed up with, "What kind?"

One more example. A guy at work told me he was Catholic, but that he disagreed with some of the church's teachings. Which ones? Abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc. etc. I quipped, "Are you a Christmas/Easter only Catholic?" He look a bit embarrassed and said, "Well...I don't really go that often."

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There was a giant Christian Seminary in my mission, whose stance on salvation was the “confess Christ and your saved” approach to salvation, and once a year they did a course on Mormons and invited the missionaries to come teach. For years the mission president and APs would go and spend one day teaching the basic doctrines and then the next day answering questions that had nothing to do with basic doctrines.

The last year of my mission, my MP talked them into a corner where they admitted the only reason we are going to Hell is because we confessed the wrong Christ is our savior. Because we confessed to a savior we believed had a physical body, we were going to hell.

(on a side note, a girl that had snuck into these classes just to heckle and brutally argue with the missionaries got baptized after this meeting)

Edited by Fether

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

(on a side note, a girl that had snuck into these classes just to heckle and brutally argue with the missionaries got baptized after this meeting)

Good for the girl in your story, but her sudden baptism does raise a question in my mind.  I have heard conficting stories about how swiftly investigators can be baptized.  There are old posts right here on Third Hour (although it was called something else back then) that say a person can walk right into a meetinghouse and get baptized on the spot after answering a few questions about Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and so forth.  But I've also heard stories that investigators cannot be baptized until they attend x sacrament meetings or go through y missionary lessons, where x and y are generally small numbers.  Does the waiting time vary from mission to mission in 2019?

And did the Christian Seminary in your mission repeat their course on Mormons the following year, or did the unintended consequences shut that all down?

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21 minutes ago, Texan said:

  Does the waiting time vary from mission to mission in 2019?

The short answer is yes. In my mission the shortest amount of time you could get baptized in was two weeks. Generally that's someone who meets the missionaries, is immediately interested and gung ho, attends church at least twice etc. I had one baptism that happened after three weeks of teaching myself. However, I would say the average baptism took longer than that. Most people need time to gain a testimony, work through personal struggles, study up on what they are doing and so forth. So while the basic baptismal questions could be answered truthfully by someone right away (many of our early leaders were baptized after listening to one sermon), most people take longer.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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3 hours ago, Texan said:

Good for the girl in your story, but her sudden baptism does raise a question in my mind.  I have heard conficting stories about how swiftly investigators can be baptized.  There are old posts right here on Third Hour (although it was called something else back then) that say a person can walk right into a meetinghouse and get baptized on the spot after answering a few questions about Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and so forth.  But I've also heard stories that investigators cannot be baptized until they attend x sacrament meetings or go through y missionary lessons, where x and y are generally small numbers.  Does the waiting time vary from mission to mission in 2019?

And did the Christian Seminary in your mission repeat their course on Mormons the following year, or did the unintended consequences shut that all down?

The story of the girl was not an in depth one and was deliberately vague cause it would distract from my main post. But Yes, she had to go through all the lessons, attend church 3 times, quit coffee and tea, and commit to living all the laws. She is attending school at BYU-I right now.

And no they did not shut it down. It’s a course all the students take once a year. This particular girl snuck into the class a second time when she wasn’t suppose to because she just got so heated the prior year. From what I heard, most the class was kinda annoyed she snuck in for a round 2 haha

Edited by Fether

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I think I misunderstood your original comment.  Somehow I got the idea that the young lady darted out of the course after it was over and flagged down a taxi to take her to the nearest meetinghouse for an emergency baptism.  Glad to hear things were more orderly. 

Your story was very interesting to me.  Church members in my part of the country are certainly present and visible in significant numbers, but I've never seen any of them participate in a heated Q&A session with heckling and brutal arguments.  Perhaps I travel in rather different circles.    

 

 

 

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As I finished reading Acts 10 - 15 for this weeks CFM, I picked up the manual to see what it said. Interestingly, there was a section referring to Acts 11:26 that called for reflection on Christian and names and such. Questions posed: What does it mean to be Christian? Is Trinitarianism (as perhaps PC and perhaps "Elder" C. S. Lewis suggest) an essential part of being Christian? What does it mean to take upon you the name of Christ? (My question) Are these two necessarily the same thing?

In some ways, I like Vort's somewhat philosophical response. I don't want to be overly worried whether the rest of Christendom wants to accept that I am a Christian. I don't want to deny others the right of self-identification either. But names have meaning, and to tell me that I am not a true Christian because of a "technicality" (is Nicene Trinitarianism a technicality or something more fundamental?) doesn't sit well with me.

I guess it boils down to what C S Lewis talks about. Christian has to mean something definable, or it becomes meaningless. But what are the defining beliefs of a true Christian? Trinitarianism is often cited. I have seen some Protestants try to define Christian by the uniquely Protestant solae (faith alone, scripture alone, etc.) which leads to not only exclude Mormons but also Catholics and many others. I have seen Catholics try to tie "Christian" to a belief in the pope in an effort to exclude Protestants from what Christian means. I have mentioned before that I liked the essay defining "Christian" by something like the basic kerygma given in 1 Cor. 15.

When all is said and done, maybe part of the reason I end up in a "who cares" attitude towards being called Christian stems from the fact that the question just makes me tired.

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I don't know if this adds to the discussion, but I thought of another potential parallel in one of my other hobbies. Several years ago, as those in charge of deciding exactly what it means to be a planet were considering our 9 planets, they decided that little Pluto does not meet all of the criteria to be called a planet. This has set off years of debates over whether Pluto should be called a planet or not. Those who want to call Pluto a planet sometimes argue that the definition of planet could be changed just a little bit and it would allow Pluto (and maybe a few other solar system objects like Ceres) to be considered a planet. Should we change the definition of planet just to accomadate those who feel it is an insult to Pluto to be merely a dwarf planet?

Edited by MrShorty

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4 hours ago, Texan said:

Your story was very interesting to me.  Church members in my part of the country are certainly present and visible in significant numbers, but I've never seen any of them participate in a heated Q&A session with heckling and brutal arguments.  Perhaps I travel in rather different circles.    

From theological and cultural reasons, LDS Christians generally strive to avoid heckling situations-- they drive away the Spirit and just spawn angst on all sides.  My guess is that in the case with the Seminary there was previously established good will between the LDS Christians and the Christians that ran the Seminary.  Good will they weren't going to let be ruined just due to one wayward student.  

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Why ask to join the Canadian Council of Churches anyway? Sounds like just another body of "I don't need church, I have a social conscience, and that's enough to make me feel better" with its own meetings and letterhead. It's a little rich to read the bit on Trinitarianism. I would bet that when those members even think of the trinity it is tritheism they actually believe in....

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On ‎7‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 11:14 AM, Fether said:

She is attending school at BYU-I right now.

There should be no further questions. That's where the true-believers go, right?

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3 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

From theological and cultural reasons, LDS Christians generally strive to avoid heckling situations-- they drive away the Spirit and just spawn angst on all sides.  My guess is that in the case with the Seminary there was previously established good will between the LDS Christians and the Christians that ran the Seminary.  Good will they weren't going to let be ruined just due to one wayward student.  

Thanks for your comment.  I noticed that you used the term "LDS Christian" twice.  Is this the preferred term nowadays?  If so, I like it.  It's certainly easier to say and write than "member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," which I have heard missionaries say. 

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Perhaps one measure to consider, on a personal level would be whether or not I find the word Christian to be definitive enough. In other words, if someone asks me, "Oh...are you a Christian?" is it enough for me to say, "Yes, I am," and leave it at that? OR, would I feel the need to say, "Why yes, I belong to the Assemblies of God...I'm Pentecostal...or I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"

On a general level, we could probably all say yes. However, what if we were dating, and the girl was Southern Baptist (or Catholic)? What if the person was planning a Christian festival, and then said, "Great. Do you think your church wants to join?"

I think I know how Jehovah's Witnesses would answer. Likewise with Methodists. My guess is that most here would say that it would very much be a case-by-case matter.

So, to my thought on this subject. The easier it would be for me to say, "Yes, I am a Christian," and just leave it at that, the more mainstream I am. Catholics own the biggest stream, btw...though it might be an argument as to whether its huge swath runs down the middle of Main Street or not.

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30 minutes ago, Texan said:

Thanks for your comment.  I noticed that you used the term "LDS Christian" twice.  Is this the preferred term nowadays?  If so, I like it.  It's certainly easier to say and write than "member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," which I have heard missionaries say. 

It's the shorthand term I personally like.  It shows yes, I am a Christian (cause I am of course), but also can specify at the same time (because LDS Christians don't always agree with Baptist Christians or Catholic Christians, etc).  

If it's a conversation with somebody new, I will use the full long name for starting out to establish things, and after that's established use shorthand.   

 

Side note:  I personally really don't like the term "just a Christian" as the only in depth descriptor, as I've heard some other folks use (frequently non-denominationals).     

Edited by Jane_Doe

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On 7/16/2019 at 8:58 PM, prisonchaplain said:

[1]My thought is that a better example with which to examine this premise would be the oneness Pentecostals. Doctrine-wise, they line up 95-99% with me. Their worship is awesome. They love Jesus--oh do they love Jesus. They are conservative, biblical literalists, and they do Pentecost they way we use to do it. BUT, they deny the Trinity. If I were to officiate a baptism using their formula ("I baptize you in the name of Jesus, for the remission of sins) I would be defrocked.  So, are they Christians? I suppose C.S. Lewis would say no. Many of the groups you consider "Anti" would deny them as well. I'm pretty sure they would be denied membership in the National or World Council of Churches. Again...are they Christian? If doctrinal orthodoxy determines the word's meaning, then no. If it is something else, then maybe or probably.

[2]Honestly...I don't argue the word. If Lewis is right, then the word does not refer to "what Jesus actually taught," because by that definition Muslims could be Christian. After all, they argue that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God, and that his disciples corrupted his message. If Lewis is wrong, and the word's meaning based on anything subjective, then, like the word "gentlemen," just about anyone can use it, but the word becomes most imprecise in meaning. I suspect that's where the larger Christian world is heading--to a very broad, all-encompassing definition--one that includes rather than excludes.

[3]To get at where someone is really at, the term Christian will need to be followed up with, "What kind?"

[4]One more example. A guy at work told me he was Catholic, but that he disagreed with some of the church's teachings. Which ones? Abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc. etc. I quipped, "Are you a Christmas/Easter only Catholic?" He look a bit embarrassed and said, "Well...I don't really go that often."

1.  This, of course, begs the question:  what defines “doctrinal orthodoxy”, for purposes of defining who is “Christian”?

2.  But one might reply that the word “Christian” is already imprecise in meaning, having been appropriated and bastardized in ahistorical and extra-scriptural ways by a variety of sects who claim the term belongs to them and them alone.  

3.  Why, exactly, do we need to know “where someone is really at”?  (I’m not trying to be snarky here; I’m thinking that if we can really explore the issue from this angle we can reveal a lot of the subtexts that generally occur in the “who’s the REAL Christian?” sorts of discussions.)

4.  But of course, Catholicism has an institutional hierarchy with final say over what it means to be “Catholic” (indeed, for nearly 3/4 of the Common Era, that hierarchy or its antecedents had final say over what it means to be “Christian”).  If the Pope is willing to claim man such as your friend as a Catholic, who are we to try to declare him out-of-bounds—notwithstanding the gravity of his heresies?  

And by the same token:  if the Lord Jesus Christ is willing to claim me as a Christian, whose business is it to try to tell me that I’m really not a “Christian” at all?

As I understand it, the whole point of Protestantism was that no mortal man has the divine authority to tell me I’m insufficiently Christian or to pronounce damnation upon my head.  If that’s the game some of them want to play, why didn’t they just stay Catholics? 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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