[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Different Joseph Smith?

by Matthew

Do Mormons believe in a different Joseph Smith* to us?

The Mormon believes that Joseph Smith was a pre-existent being before his birth. She believes that Joseph Smith was a morally upright man who encountered an angel and became a prophet. She believes that Joseph Smith has now become or will become a god.

Is this a different Joseph Smith to the one that you and I believe in?

No. There is only one Joseph Smith who founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This Joseph Smith was born in 1805 and died in 1844. There is only one Joseph Smith who married Emma Hale Smith in 1827. There is only one Joseph Smith who published the Book Of Mormon.

The fact that both the Mormon and I believe in the same Joseph Smith means that we can engage in dialogue about him. The Mormon can give me reasons to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. If they are convincing, they would affect my views on him. Likewise, I could give the Mormon reasons to believe that Joseph Smith was not an honest man. If she found them convincing, they would weaken her view that Joseph Smith was a prophet. If the Mormon and I believed in two ontologically parallel Joseph Smiths, this dialogue would be impossible (I am not necessarilly suggesting such a dialogue would be the most fruitful way to evangelize a Mormon).

In the same way, the Mormon and I believe in the same Jesus. We believe in the Jesus who was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, who spent his early years in Egypt, who worked as a carpenter, who performed miracles in Judea, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and who was raised from the dead. There is no other Jesus who fits this description. We know who we are talking about, just as I know who the Mormon is talking about when she says "I believe that Joseph Smith is a true prophet." The Mormon has an utterly warped and heretical view of Christ's deity, but she believes in the same Jesus who lived in the first century who is the subject of the four Gospels.

If this Mormon comes to believe that she posesses eternal life through Jesus Christ by faith alone, without seeing the error of her heretical christology, she has not failed to put her trust in the name of Jesus. She has consciously believed in the same Jesus who spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. For all we know, her christology may be more orthodox than the Samaritan woman's view of Jesus. Nevertheless, she has believed the offer of eternal life that is found in her own King James Bible. She would never thirst again.


*I am aware that there were actually five Mormon leaders called Joseph Smith. It is Joseph Smith Jr, the one who published the Book of Mormon that we are concerned with.

45 Comments:

  • eternal life through Jesus Christ by faith alone, not through baptism into the Mormon church or any other work or any other corporate body...not a likely scenario by any means, but I suppose not outside of the depths of the grace of God to reach one in such a "church".

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 5:10:00 AM  

  • Angie, thanks for your thoughts.

    Your comment inspired me to edit this post.

    You say this is unlikely. Do you think a Mormon is more likely to be persuaded of the doctrine of the Trinity than the free offer of eternal life?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 5:48:00 AM  

  • Yes, I do prefer the edited version better. I am glad I could inspire that kind of clarification. :)

    Interesting question you pose. I think they have a concept of an offer of eternal life, although I think it is really twisted. Even so it is probably a little bit more likely that they could understand the true offer of eternal life than to grasp the doctrine of the Trinity. Perhaps this is something that would differ from Mormon to Mormon. One may be more able to accept one truth and another more able to accept the other.

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 6:18:00 AM  

  • I have seldom found discussions on the Trinity with cult followers to be fruitful.

    I think the reason is that cults instill in their followers an irrational prejudice against the doctrine of the Trinity. They do everything to prepare their followers to resist this doctrine tooth and claw.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 6:58:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew.
    I am resisting the inclination to argue with you about this. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 7:03:00 AM  

  • Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic.--Edward de Bon

    You may think this Mormon story is logical, but it reveals a true lack of spiritual discernment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 7:15:00 AM  

  • Hi Blaurock,
    You don't need to present your ideas as anonymous. (site-meter)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 7:23:00 AM  

  • Rose~, that is fair enougth. It would be nice to know what you think, though.

    I fail to see how a person who believes in Jesus Christ for eternal life can be lost, nor do I see that failure to grasp the reality of Christ's full deity is essential to believing on Him for eternal life.

    We are not saved by our understanding of Christ or of how He can grant us His gift of life, but only by our child-like trust in His power and willingness to grant it.

    Anon, your perception may be greater than mine. Please accomodate my lack of spiritual perception by showing me from the Word of God how I am wrong.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 7:40:00 AM  

  • Matthew wrote:

    "...the Mormon and I believe in the same Jesus."

    2 Cor.11:4

    Matthew, if you are serious about this request, 2 Cor. 11:4 should be your starting point. I would be willing to write to you in e-mails. I could send you the text of one I sent Rose.

    (Dear Rose, I'd prefer my name not to be associated with this blog. Thanks for your consideration. But I do think Matthew is in need of deliverance from Antonio and Hk as you have been also)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 8:08:00 AM  

  • Thanks for that, Anon.

    4 "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."

    It is vital to recognise here that this warning is in connection with the message of false teaching.

    Paul is not making an ontological claim that if a person denies the deity of Christ, they believe in a different person to the historical Jesus.

    No, this is a rhetorical point. Paul's warning is essentially a warning that if the name of Jesus is used in connection with a false message, then essentially another Jesus is preached.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 8:26:00 AM  

  • 4 "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."(you put up with it well enough!NET Version)


    another Jesus
    another spirit,
    another gospel(

    Matthew,
    Look at what you said:

    "...essentially a warning that if the name of Jesus is used in connection with a false message, then essentially another Jesus is preached."

    This is not a "rhetorical" or to be looked at as "essentially..."

    It is a forthright rebuke for the Corinthian's toleration of Satan's servants bringing in a three-fold deception of #1 Another Jesus (Different in His Person)
    #2 Another spirit (one which would tolerate and promote another Jesus)and #3 another gospel (different than the one accepted.,(Cor.15:1-4)

    You are focusing on one aspect(free offer) of the more total death, burial and resurrection included in -#3, and making that the one essential, to the hurt and exclusion of #1 and #2 and completeness of #3 which are just as vital in the text here.

    Your conclusion shows the obvious error in your perception. This is another Jesus, different than ours, no matter what the Mormon thinks of a "Free-Gift."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 8:47:00 AM  

  • Ha ha, I like the analogy Matthew. Very funny, but thought provoking.

    I'm sure many Mormons would have a snit if you questioned the validity of their leader.

    By Blogger Jim, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 8:59:00 AM  

  • Jim, I have plenty of discussions with Mormons before.

    Anon, Paul is talking about people preaching a false message about Jesus, whether it His person or His work.

    To apply it to somebody who has a distorted understanding of Jesus' person is to misapply it.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:08:00 AM  

  • Matthew, You said;

    "Anon, Paul is talking about people preaching a false message about Jesus, whether it His person or His work.

    To apply it to somebody who has a distorted understanding of Jesus' person is to misapply it."

    Look at that statement again, and maybe you'll see the problem. It is Satan at work in all catagories, each being a devestation to the hearer.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:14:00 AM  

  • I would not deny the devastating effect of a distorted christology.

    Virtually everyone who has a wrong christology believes a false gospel.

    A false christology is an obstacle to knowing the truth. I would not deny this.

    However, this does not make having a correct christology a condition for trust in Christ for eternal life, nor does it prevent the Holy Spirit from leading a person to faith in Christ in spite of their wrong christology.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:19:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You, then, don't believe that the LDS version of salvation is a "false message" couched in the distorted view of Jesus? In other words don't you see the slippery slope of preaching a different (ontologically speaking--i.e. LDS belief that Jesus is the spirt brother of Lucifer) Jesus which leads to a different/false message of the "gospel"? These two are dialectically inter-connected, and should not be (and logically are incapable of) "torn" apart as you guys are trying to do!

    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:21:00 AM  

  • Look at your potential Gospel:

    May be God, maybe not.

    May have died, maybe not.

    May have risen, maybe not.

    Above not needed (as in believing) to be saved.

    Oh, lest we forget,
    But, you MUST not trust in works.

    This is another gospel and as wicked as the ones coming into Corinth in Paul's day.

    This is not a slam or an overstated theological body blow. It is obvious truth to anyone willing to listen to the Word of God without an agenda.

    Matthew, you are a reader of Brethren stuff. None of the Brethren who we know as men of the Word would ever hold to this gospel you are defending. They would be shocked. Ironside and men like Stedman who was his friend and a great writer and pastor who was familiar with their writings, would wonder how this got into your mind. I wonder myself. This has not come from the English greats. It is a deviant view. I implore you to let it go, and rebuke the very thought of it. It is not from God.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:32:00 AM  

  • The Mormon church attempts to smother the light with the darkness of their gospel, but the question is whether the true offer of eternal life can be seen by one who espouses Mormon beliefs, at least in name (or is strongly influenced by LDS teaching). In order to accept the offer of eternal life through Jesus Christ alone by faith alone that Mormon is necessarily denying the message that their church teaches, whether or not there is an awareness of the difference at the time on the part of said Mormon. Can God use His word to reach one exposed to such false doctrine? Absolutely. The Bible is present to some degree, though horribly mistaught, so it is possible for the light of truth to shine through to one who reads it. Hopefully such a one would realize the difference between the grace they know and the false gospel preached and leave the Mormon church, but I do not think it is impossible, regardless of how difficult or unlikely it may be. Saying that this is possible for such a thing to happen is not to say that their teaching is acceptable. It is wrong; let them be anathema.

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:58:00 AM  

  • Ibex said:

    "..so it is possible for the light of truth to shine through to one who reads it."

    You're right,
    The light can shine through. But the debate here is focused on how much light is necessary.

    The Bible presents a conversion of the whole man: Mind, Will and Emotions.

    The Spirit of God convinces the mind concerning Christ as Lord and Messiah, not angel and devil kin.

    The Spirit of God convinces the mind of the worth of the death and resurrection, not just the absence of works alone.

    The Spirit of God convicts the emotions and makes sin a thing of loathing, and the cross appears glorious.

    The Spirit of God converts the will in His opening up of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ.

    The man is now touched in all parts and by faith takes hold of eternal life, and is regenerated.

    If any one of these aspects is missing, the man is still just religious and unregenerate.

    We don't preach a customized version of "eternal well being" in an "offer" of "free-grace." We present the the Lord of Heaven, who became man and died, was buried and rose for the justification of those who would believe on Him as He is. He is jealous for His glory, and will be glorified in His offer of cleansing us by faith only if we believe the truth. The Spirit is the One who makes this known, and if He doesn't, the person will not be saved.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 10:27:00 AM  

  • Matthew wrote:

    "... nor does it prevent the Holy Spirit from leading a person to faith in Christ in spite of their wrong christology."

    This is a very distorted view of the work of the Spirit in salvation.
    He testifies of Christ as a primary role. He does not save unto a distorted Christ, but from a distorted Christ. Remember that "Christology" is nothing more than beliefs concerning "Christ."

    The Spirit of God "Opens" the eyes concerning Christ for the purpose of saving.

    We can get almost anyone to take an offer of heaven with enough salesmenship and experience, but only the Spirit of God can touch a man in all parts to the saving of the soul.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 10:39:00 AM  

  • "You, then, don't believe that the LDS version of salvation is a "false message" couched in the distorted view of Jesus?"

    Of course it is a false message.

    I do not see that the Mormons do believe in an ontologically different Jesus. I do not think that when Paul says 'another Jesus' he is making an ontological statement about the nature of the belief of false teachers.

    Tell me, Bobby, do you believe in an ontologically different Joseph Smith from that of the Mormon?

    The Mormon view of Jesus is false and leads to a false gospel message.

    However, logical consistency is not the ground of our salvation. Just as a person may have an orthodox christology and fail to see its theological implications, a person may believe a false christology and yet come to see the true Gospel and believe it.

    Anonymous, I can tell you that is not the message I preach in the street.

    Yes, what I am saying would not go down well in traditional Brethren circles.

    Interestingly, the Raven/ Taylor Exclusives believe the Apollinarian heresy and yet have not departed from orthodoxy in their view of soteriology (though they have said funny things about eternal life).

    I do not see your view of conversion as Scriptural. Faith in Scripture is consistently presented as a passive trust in Christ for eternal life.

    To bring the emotions into conversion is to introduce the tyranny of subjectivism.

    Yes, indeed the Holy Ghost reveals Christ. Hence, nearly all who are saved come to believe the truth about His person.

    However, believing in the deity of Christ is not how we are saved. We are saved through our faith in Him for eternal life. Through the instrument of faith in Christ's promise we receive life in Christ.

    Angie, good thoughts.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 11:40:00 AM  

  • I have stayed out of most this debate since it began. God is so clear in His word. We must believe the testimony concerning His Son.

    John 11:25-27
    25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
    26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
    27She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."

    Martha's reply to Jesus was I believe that you are the messiah, the SON of GOD.

    I agree with anon and most all the others that have disagreed with this thinking. How can anyone say they believe the testimony of God about His Son if they don't believe Jesus is His Son(diety).

    This issue was what caused the scribes and Pharisees to burn with anger against Jesus. Heck its why they crucified Him. He claimed to be equal with God and they accused Him of blasphemy, even saying His works were of beelzebub.

    Mormans are believing in a different Jesus, if they weren't they wouldn't be Mormans.

    Only God can save man, a man must believe that Jesus is the Son of God before they are believing the testimony of God concerning His Son.

    By Blogger Kris, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 11:50:00 AM  

  • Kris, Jesus does not ask her whether she believes that He is the Son of God. The question is whether she believes He provides eternal life. Her knowledge that He indeed is the Resurrection and the Life confirms to her that He is the Son of God.

    "Mormans are believing in a different Jesus, if they weren't they wouldn't be Mormans."

    Do you believe in a different Joseph Smith to that of the Mormon?

    "Only God can save man, a man must believe that Jesus is the Son of God before they are believing the testimony of God concerning His Son."

    Only God can save man. Very true. Now tell me why one must understand this to believe on Jesus for eternal life.

    We need to believe in Jesus as little children do.

    Children trust their parents. Do they know why their parents are trustworthy? Do they understand the motivations behind their parents care and protection?

    No.

    And in the same way, we are nto saved by understanding the theology of how we are saved, but by believing in the one who secures our salvation.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 12:02:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    You have twisted what I said around for what ever reason I don't know.

    I said:
    "Only God can save man, a man must believe that Jesus is the Son of God before they are believing the testimony of God concerning His Son."

    you said:
    Only God can save man. Very true. Now tell me why one must understand this to believe on Jesus for eternal life.

    I did not say that man has to understand that only God can save man before believing in Christ. I said that man must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. We must believe the testimony of God concerning His SON and that testimony is believe in His SON for everlasting life. A child who believes in Jesus believes that He is God's Son.

    Matthew, I never said we are saved by believing the theology of salvation, I never even implied it. It is simple we must believe on Jesus and if we don't believe that Jesus is the Son of God then we are believing in a different Jesus than who God says He is.

    I don't understand your point of insisting that a person does not have to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus being the Son of God is the foundation of believing in Him for everlasting life.

    By Blogger Kris, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 2:39:00 PM  

  • What I find curious about the Free-Grace approach here, specifically Matthew's articulation, is that he wants to highlight and emphasize the fact that we believe in Jesus for "eternal life"--but fails to define what in fact "eternal life" is. According to John 17:3--

    "And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

    Implicit within the "quality" (vs the "quanatative view FG is forwarding here) of "eternal life" is the relational knowledge of WHO Jesus (God) IS. This seems to directly undercut the teachings of Matthew and Antonio relative to the content of salvation; not only that but it creates a straw man via not presenting a fully orbed or developed view of what in fact the gospel of John presents as the "offer of eternal life" (e.g. all that entails).

    I believe this presents a huge "defeater" to the current arguments of Antonio, Matthew, and Jodie--and that they should abandon their "reductionistic" soteriological program.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Bobby Grow

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 5:38:00 PM  

  • Bobby, you are making a grave mistake in your assessment of John 17:3, for you are confusing the result witht the condition.

    In verse 2 we have the Son dispensing eternal life, in verse 3 we have the description of what eternal life is.

    And this IS eternal life (not "And this is how one receives eternal life"), in order that they may know you, the only true God, and the one whom You sent, Jesus Christ.

    The result of the reception of eternal life is a true beginning, starting place, of the knowledge of God the Father, and of Jesus Christ. It is the inception, the genesis of a relationship.

    "know" is a polymorphous word and thus can be used in a variety of nuances. I can say "I know my teacher but I just don't know him" and it would be legetimate. Eternal life is the beginning of knowledge of the Father and Jesus that should be built upon.

    Eternal life is not a static entity, but is an experience that should be grown, which has great potentials.

    But again, you confuse a result with a condition, which is unfortunate.

    For all those who take a "more knowledge necessary" view, saying one must know a multitude of facts concerning the ontological nature of Christ and other Christological facts, you have yet to precisely enumerate them for us in a statement.

    Just EXACTLY what needs to be believed in order to be saved, and where does the bible support your answer?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 6:47:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    The part about the woman at the well in your story was beautiful.

    That is precisely the point. When she is convinced she has eternal life by faith in Christ, she will never thirst again, regardless of her blindspots or misconceptions about Christology.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, May 30, 2006 7:46:00 PM  

  • Antonio, thnaks. Nice to see you.

    Kris, Jesus did not reveal to the Samaritan woman what it meant to be the Son of God. Rather, He showed what the Son of God was to accomplish. A person believes on the Son of God not by acknowledging specific truths about His person, but by believing His offer of eternal life. The discovery of the Son of God is relational. It comes through the initial trust in the offer of eternal life.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:33:00 AM  

  • Bobby and Kris, neither of you have said whether you think the Mormons believe in an ontologically distinct Joseph Smith.

    I would contend that the idea of a 'different Jesus' in the way it is used conventionally is philosophically flawed.

    If this is so, then you must say that not everyone who believes on the Son has everlasting life.

    The promise of John 3 has a hidden qualification.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:36:00 AM  

  • Bobby, I have to say that with regard to John 17:3 that I think Antonio is right that you are confusing the prerequisite with the perquisite. When one believes one is given the right to be called the child of God and to have a relationship with Him. The process of knowing God begins there. As much as I am generally much more inclined to agree with you than I am to agree with Antonio, he has the upper hand on this point.

    I am, to be sure, quite convinced that none will believe without the Holy Spirit opening their eyes to the truth. I also think that belief is probably not going to come without some basic understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done.

    Here's a question that I am pondering, prompted by this discussion. Do we believe only that which we can articulate?

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 5:47:00 AM  

  • Angie,

    I agree that my articulation of Jn 17:3 wasn't as careful as it should've been--but Antonio, relative to Jn does not have the "upper hand". I say this in the sense that Antonio's distinction is artificial, I'm not denying the ingressive nature of Jn 17:3--what I'm challenging is that anyone will ever "enter" into a viable union with Christ, w/o general recognition of the Jesus who in fact saves (incarnate God). In other words a mormon or JW cannot call upon their Jesus and be saved, because they have a wrong conception of who the real Jesus is (which makes Him a false Jesus, one of the many Messiahs Jesus spoke of Mt 24). Furthermore, I Kings 18 and 19, and the Elijah narrative found there, more than sufficiently demonstrate that one must call upon the true God (YHWH) to be genuninely "saved"--one cannot call upon the god of the mountains and the valleys, or call upon a syncrestic view of God (as many of the Israelites did), and expect to be saved. This parallels what Antonio, Matthew, and Jodie are advocating; e.g. the idea that a mormon can call upon a false God and actually be saved (save their "misconceptions")--this is wrong erroneous thinking, IBEX!

    Antonio,

    I don't confuse "condition" and "result"--because logically your condition is actually an a priori assumption of the text, i.e. Jesus is God, so your argument is logically, a non-starter. In fact your minimalist approach questions the need for the atonment at all, i.e. the gospel of John never articulates the substitutionary atonement--and yet w/o Christ's atonement there is no possibility for eternal life (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45). In other words, from your perspective, a person doesn't seem to need to recognize "why" they need a Savior or eternal life, your view doesn't speak of sin and the consequent penalty that only an infinite perfect God/man could pay for. Gal. 2:16 also provides insight here (don't have time to develop any further--I will be doing some more in depth rebuttal posts on my site in the near future).

    Obviously your, view, Antonio, comes from an un-healthy over-simplified committment to the gospel of John as the only source for understanding how one is to appropriate salvation. This has the unwanted consequence of relegating the rest of the NT corpus, i.e. the Pauline and Petrine discourse to secondary when it comes to things salvific--this is wrong-headed thinking that actually undercuts the whole premise and one of the criterion of canonicity. In effect you folks have created "a canon within the canon"--with seriously flawed consequences as your view-point continues to demonstrate!

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 8:26:00 AM  

  • Bobby, as I see it, Antonio is doing Biblical theology. He is allowing the Gospel of John to speak for itself instead of imposing a interpretive framework derived from other texts on it.

    One does not call upon God to be saved. One believes on a person. That personis Jesus Christ. One discovers this person through the pages of Scripture. If you believe in the same Jesus that you find in the Scripture for eternal life, you will have eternal life.

    Angie, if there is some minimum that must be understood about Jesus, what does it include?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 9:02:00 AM  

  • Bobby, I know what you are saying, but I would not use that verse to prove that point. I would go elsewhere, personally. I've tried it without changing the way anyone thinks. (You can ask Matthew about that!)

    Matthew, I honestly think that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ together with a concept, if not understanding, of "Son of God" is what is essential to understand. You know I have Lordship leanings, I think, so faith is not a concept I would use lightly (and that is not to say that anyone else is using it lightly). My question about belief and articulation is directly related to this issue.

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 9:19:00 AM  

  • Okay, Angie.

    So if a person in India believes John 3:16 after hearing it quoted by missionaries, but has never heard of the cross or the resurrection of Christ, will he be saved?

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 9:35:00 AM  

  • As I stated before, none believe without the Holy Spirit working in them. This is partly why I ponder the connection between what we believe versus what we can actually articulate. I am inclined to say that it is possible, but won't make a dogmatic statement about that. I think it more likely that a seed may be planted in that instance, but I would hope that the missionaries were not using that verse in a vacuum to share the gospel.

    I think the essence of the gospel is in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures


    Verse 3 is rendered "of first importance" in NASB. The death, burial and resurrection are of first importance, so that's what the missionary, in my opinion, should be preaching. I tend to think that "eternal life" without some context is a nebulous concept that may pique interest in the message. Ultimately I am more concerned with how the gospel is preached than with the minimum understanding required for salvation. If we preach a "complete" gospel then let the Spirit work in the hearer we would do well, I think.

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 10:14:00 AM  

  • What Angie said.
    I don't get it how you can present "eternal life" without the gospel, which seems to be where your logic, carried to its conclusion would lead.

    Oops - I wasn't going to argue about it. Maybe I changed my mind.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11:32:00 AM  

  • Rose~ and Angie, I am not talking about the preaching of the Gospel. I preach Christ crucified. I preach justification in the risen Christ. This is fundamental to my theology.

    The question is whether a person is saved by his belief in these truths or by his trust in the person of Christ alone.

    You really need to deal with the fact that Jesus was able to offer a genuine offer of eternal life that was abstracted from His death and resurrection and His deity.

    To inist upon belief in specific doctrines other than Christ as the source of eternal life is to impose an interpretive framework on the Gospel of John which prevents it seaking for itself and defining its own terms.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:17:00 AM  

  • I know what you preach, Matthew, and I do not question you on that. Notice that I refused to make a dogmatic statement. I am still pondering these things. Ultimately I think that what we preach about Jesus is a much more important issue, although I know that our soteriology is going to greatly affect our approach. God alone can judge the heart of a man, so tell him the story of Jesus and let the Spirit work. I think I'm going to bow gracefully out of this discussion for now and resolve to know nothing among you but Christ crucified.

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Thursday, June 01, 2006 2:23:00 AM  

  • I would just say that rather than Antonio's fear of affirming Jesus as God as a condition for salvation; I would frame this as the "PRESUPPOSITION" of the Christian theistic perspective. In other words, as Mt 16 (Peter's confession), articulates "Who Jesus Is (Messiah/God in Flesh [Son of God]) provides framework and the shape in which the "gospel is communicated".

    So what's the consequence relative to this discussion?

    1.)The Mormon and JW have a different a priori presupposition (e.g. Jesus as the spirit brother of Lucifer, and Jesus as a "generate" subordinate created being) which does not provide framework which the "offer" of eternal life is ever provided for.

    2.)Consequently, if, as Antonio, and others are asserting, a Mormon or JW appropriates genuine eternal life through Christ, they have crossed thresholds and no longer are operating within the frameworks provided by their particular belief systems. Since within their belief systems (given their shaping presupposition)an offer for "eternal life" (i.e. a biblical offer) will never be made in the same way as it is freely offered within the Christian theistic framework of understanding.

    3.)Conclusion: There are different definitional presuppositions that shape particular belief systems. Christian theism is shaped by the presupposition that Jesus is God (Mt 16) which provides context and framework which, logically, the free offer of the gospel is and must be made (Eph. 2:8-9). Other belief systems (LDS JW et al.) do not start at the same point, consequently their offers for salvation are skewed and end up pointing man back to self as the instrument for appropriating salvation. If Mormons or LDS call out for eternal life through Jesus Christ, they have crossed over a threshold and are now operating within the Christian Theistic Worldview, which is presupposed by the deity of Jesus Christ!

    I will develop my thoughts further here, on the PRESUPPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL, in the near future on my blog!

    In Christ,

    Bobby Grow

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:41:00 AM  

  • Bobby, do you really expect every person who hears the Gospel to be logically consistent in their theology? Do people never believe things which are inconsistent with their worldview?

    Certainly, if a Mormon came to believe that they posessed eternal life through faith in Christ alone, their Mormon theology would probably fall to pieces.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:51:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I guess you failed to recognize the "POINT" of my comment. I didn't argue that the "hearer" and "receiver" of the gospel would consciously (necessarily/logically) affirm anything about Jesus; rather from a theological/exegetical perspective--the gospel presentation is presupposed by something else, namely the Messiahship and Deity of Jesus. I actually think this is a rather profound idea that Mt 16 articulates, i.e. the Petrine confession, and the fact that Jesus said He would build His church upon His ontological identity.

    Why would you want to argue with this, Matthew, in fact how can you? I thought you might rather agree with my short presentation on the presupposition of the gospel (it looks like you partially have with your clause on the LDS).

    This has been my contention with you guys all along, I just haven't been able to articulate why until now. I'm not trying to smuggle affirmation of the deity of Jesus Christ into the gospel message as a condition; rather it is the presupposition of the gospel message (as Mt 16 w/o a doubt articulates and affirms).

    And Matthew I've already answered your Joseph Smith parallel over at my old blog when you presented me with the same argument; but used your Clark Kent/Superman analogy instead of this one--remember (see my Chalcedonian Christology article and subsequenct comment thread for this interaction--on my "old blog").

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:43:00 AM  

  • You might be interested in:

    JesusNotJoseph.com

    By Blogger Aaron Shafovaloff, at Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:12:00 PM  

  • Good post, Matthew.

    In my view, it is as important that we don't exaggerate the boundaries between us and other faiths as it is that we don't blur those boundaries.

    In other words, I think what you and Antonio have shown is that the "different Jesus" line of attack is not really accurate, and too easy, even simplistic. It is more accurate to say Mormon's have an erroneous view of Jesus.

    God bless

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, June 11, 2006 7:48:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Jodie.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, June 12, 2006 1:37:00 AM  

  • I'm new here, and may be jumping in too quickly, but would like to point out that Scripture is clear that when we form God in our own image,into whom we "think" or "feel" that He is, that is a form of idolatry -which is the worship of a false god. The Mormon Jesus is a false god, because the Mormon Jesus is a created being, a brother to Lucifer. Therefore, the Jesus that a Mormon places his or her faith in is not the Jesus of Christianity, and can therefore not give them eternal life.
    "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

    An interesting note on a famous Mormon:Stephen Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" wrote that Mormons should not seek "any kind of 'special relationship' with Jesus Christ". He also says that salvation by grace alone is a false concept and an apostate doctrine, and instead, Mormon truths can "equip people with godlike powers and capabilites".

    By Blogger Ms.Green, at Sunday, July 02, 2006 1:25:00 PM  

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