Mormonism vs. Christianity, Part Two

Posted: December 19, 2008 in Bible, bible study, Christian, faith, family, Religion, Thoughts, women
Tags: , , ,

 The doctrine of the Trinity or the Triune God of Christianity is revealed in the New Testament. The Old Testament is clear that there is one God, not many as Mormons believe. The Jewish shema in Deuteronomy 6:4 states, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” The Christian Godhead possesses omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence—attributes denied by the Mormon godhead. In addition to these qualities, both the Old and New Testaments recognizes a plurality of persons in God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in. The use of the Greek word trias to describe this doctrine was first employed by Theophilus (A.D. 168-183) indicating that the understanding of a plurality within the Godhead was recognized from the onset of the Christian faith.1 An examination of the essence of the one true God of scripture indicates that God the Father is God, God the Son is God, and God the Holy Spirit is God—three persons with one essence. Scripture is clear that God the Father is all powerful, not confined to one space in time, and all knowing.

 The Hebrew name Elohim is used for God the Creator in Genises 1:1. The plural term itself allows for a multiplicity within the Godhead, however, only in persons, not in essence, for there can be only one essence which is infinite, all powerful, or one all knowing. Jesus taught his disciples to pray to the first person of the Tri-unity calling Him “Father”in Matthew 6:9. The Father is omnipotent, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2. The Father is omnipresent, “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” 1 Kings 8:27. And the Father is omniscient, “then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men),” 1 Kings 8:39. A Being who is all powerful, all knowing and omnipresent cannot be a mere man as Mormons believe of the Father. Scriptures reveal that the Son shares the same essence as the Father.

 Jesus, the Son of God, claimed to be Yahweh in John 8:58 when he stated, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” prompting the Jews to pick up stones to kill him for such blasphemy. The gospels testify to the truth of Christ’s statement. Luke 5:22 refers to Jesus’s omniscience when he recorded, “Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” Jesus referred to his omnipresence in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” And Paul testified to Christ’s omnipotence in Colossians 1:15-17:

 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

 Jesus is obviously not a glorified man as the Mormons suggest, nor is he a spirit-child conceived through sexual relations between Elohim and Mary, nor is he Michael the archangel. Jesus claimed to be God and demonstrated his authority and power through his incarnation on earth. Jesus clearly stated the purpose of his incarnation in John 3:16-17:

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Salvation is found by grace through faith in Christ, not by works as Joseph Smith taught. Christians are eternally sealed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.
Just as the Father is called God and the Son is called God, the Holy Spirit is also called God. Luke records in Acts 5:3 that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, then he restates this in verse 4 saying, “You have not lied to men but to God.” The Spirit of God embodies the same attributes of the Godhead as the Father and the Son. He is omniscient in Corinthians 2:10-12:

 “but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

 In addition, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent as seen in Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  David expresses the omnipresence of God’s Spirit in Psalm 139 in that the presence of the God’s Spirit is everywhere such that he cannot hide from him. In John 14:16-17 Jesus tells his followers regarding salvation, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” God’s Spirit is very much immaterial in nature and can occupy all places in time and space contrary to the teachings of the Mormon Elder Talmage.

THE ONE TRUE GOD

 The Mormon teachings of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is polytheistic and contrary to Orthodox Christian teachings. The Bible refutes any teachings that God is a glorified man incapable of occupying more than one place in time. The Triune God of Christianity is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient—qualities not shared with man. The current campaign to identify the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Christian church is doomed to fail because the writings of their own prophets contradict biblical doctrines. The doctrine of the trinity may be explained as three subsistances properly identified in God, “though each possesses the same intelligence and will. Each of the Persons of the Trinity has a divine nature with all the attributes of God. Though the Trinity has three subsistences, they have but one and the same divine nature as one God.” 2 Mormon theology diverges from Christianity in denying the one true God of Scripture. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not only deceiving in name, but also in theology.

1. M. G. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), “Trinity” entry.

2. Lewis Chafer, Systematic Theology, Volume 1 (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press, 1988), 181.

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Comments
  1. Seth R. says:

    The problems occur when you get to this concept of “essence.”

    The term essence is completely unbiblical. The scriptures do not demand it – it is merely implied by Christian theologians. Essence is nothing more than a philosophical construct (codified in the extra-Biblical creeds) that helped early Christian theologians in thinking about God. But the notion is not binding on any believer in the Bible.

    It’s only power is in its logical persuasiveness. I do not find this really all that compelling (as useful as Constantine’s churchmen doubtlessly found it). It seems to be a tool designed to answer an artificial problem that was solely of early Christians’ own making when they attempted to wed the true Gospel to Neoplatonist philosophical models. All this talk about substance, and essence is completely irrelevant and unnecessary if you do not share the neoplatonist ideas pioneered by thinkers such as Philo, and later Augustine.

    It also shows a remnant of the old Gnostic contempt for the physical body – which the earliest Christian fathers such as Tertullian and Ireneus were constantly arguing against.

    Christ ought to be the final definitive proof that God most certainly CAN be embodied. He we to such lengths to prove this point that I wonder at how most of Christianity can have so missed the boat here.

    The typical LDS phrase about the True embodied God is that “God the Father has a divine and glorified body – BUT his body does not have Him.” Just because God is divinely clothed in glorified flesh does not mean that this is a limitation in any sense upon His divinity and power. God’s power can be omnipresent throughout the universe in the same way the Sun’s power is present everywhere upon the surface of the earth.

    Add the new and mind-bending stuff we are constantly learning about quantum physics, and it starts to become entirely possible that physical matter can exist simultaneously in more than one place. Physicists even now are declaring that a particle moving on one side of the galaxy can INSTANTANEOUSLY and simultaneously resonate with a particle on the other side of the galaxy.

    Put simply – you don’t know, and we don’t know how physical matter works ultimately in the universe.

    You say physical matter can only be in one place.

    Says who?

    That’s right – just you, and other similarly limited human beings embarking on the 21st century.

    This is really just Copernicus all over again. Religion is once more imposing its own faulty and unwarranted assumptions on how the universe works. Theologians used to think God’s created earth was the center of the universe. And now they think that physical matter is somehow a “limitation.”

    Both were, and are, wrong.

  2. Nance says:

    Which brings us back to the initial argument that Mormons reject the triune God of Christianity, but insist they are Christians. Not unlike someone who hates chocolate insisting upon being called a chocolate lover. You do not love the Chrisitian God, why do you insist on being called a Christian?

  3. Seth R. says:

    I don’t know…

    Was Jesus Jewish, even though he rejected the mistaken turn that Judaism had taken?

  4. Nance says:

    Jesus did not reject the Jewish beliefs of the day, he rejected the self righteous practices of the Pharisees and the Saducees. He came as a unigue God-man to fulfill the law, to complete it, and usher in a new covenant.

    Are you suggesting that Joseph Smith is equivelant to Jesus?

  5. Seth R. says:

    All prophets are, in a sense an imitation of the First and greatest prophet of them all.

    • Nance says:

      I am so glad that you brought that up. I did not have an opportunity to cover Joseph Smith’s prophetic claims in my article, so let’s take a look at them now.

      We seem to agree that Jesus was at least a prophet. I believe he was much more, but let’s start with that.

      In addition to the over 100 prophesies fulfilled in Christ, He also performed miracles confirming his message. He predicted his own death and resurrection, performed many miracles, including healing and casting out demons, walking on water and such. I also think you and I can agree that Jesus was at least a righteous man, although I believe he was much more.

      But let’s see how Joseph Smith measures up…

      Prophecy: 1829/30; Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery were to raise money by going to Canada, where they would find a buyer for the copyright of the Book of Mormon (B.H. Roberts, (CHC, Vol. 1, 165)
      Failed: Cowdery and Page went to Canada but found no buyer

      Prophecy: March 7, 1831; The Saints were to gather land at Zion (i.e., Independence, MO) as an inheritance, where the wicked would not come (D&C45:64-74)
      Failed: Most of the Missouri property was abandoned or sold.

      Prophecy: July 20, 1831; Missouri is consecrated and named the City of Zion and was to have erected a temple, this is an everlasting inheritance (D&C157:1-5)
      Failed: The ““City of Zion”and the temple, have never been built

      Prophecy: January 4, 1833; Within the lifetime of his generation, the lost 10 tribes of Israel will convene on Missouri and Jesus will sweep the wicked from the Earth (History of the Church, vol. 1, 315-16)
      Failed: Smith’s generation passed away and Jesus did not return, nor did the 10 tribes gather in Missouri

      Prophecy: December 10, 1833; The Saints should retain their land, seek legal redress against their enemies, and God will avenge them if they should not obtain legal victory (God will destroy all the Saints enemies ––History of the Church, vol.1, 455)
      Failed: The Saints lost their legal claim, the ““wrongs” were not avenged, and their enemies were not destroyed

      There are many more where, just ask.

      Deuteronomy 18:20-22
      “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.”
      21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”

      And again in the New Testament Peter warns the church in 2 Peter 2:1-2,
      “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.”

      Not looking very good for your Joseph Smith, is it? He is hardly an imitation of any great prophet. But he imitates many false prophets very well.

      Was he a righteous man? Hardly! His own wife and earliest followers were so disgusted with his sexual immorality, that a few eventually published a well known dissertation you might remember called the Nauvoo Expositor printed June 7, 1844.

      Nope, Joseph Smith can hardly be called a prophet, much less a righteous man.

  6. Rickr0ll says:

    Oh, am i still banned? Cus i Really have some stuff for you Nance, on Jesus fulfilling prophecy.

    Oh do i ever…

    • Nance says:

      Last chance, rick. Not that you have done anything to deserve it. Copy and pasting my articles on atheist websites was really pathetic. Did you grow a conscience in the last month?

  7. Seth R. says:

    First, I think it would be useful to point out that Joseph is not the Son of God. Nor do any Mormons I know think he is. So obviously, you’d expect a difference in quality.

    Secondly, I think now is a good time to bring up the failed prophesy of Jonah. There are a couple more in the Old Testament, but citations aren’t handy at the moment.

    Thirdly, what do you do when you agree with many of the things a particular prophet taught, and have witnessed many of his prophesies coming true?

    Reject him because he doesn’t have a 100% batting average?

    Finally, what makes you think all those cites from the Doctrine and Covenants that you provided were actual “prophesies?”

    And by the way, none of the above should be read either one way or the other on the subject of whether Joseph made false or failed prophesies. I’m not saying he did, I’m not saying he didn’t. I am saying it doesn’t matter either way.

    I’m not a fan of inerrancy – either in prophets or in scripture. I think it is an utterly false and, ironically, entirely extra-biblical innovation of modern Evangelicals. I reject Biblical inerrancy now and always have.

    So pointing out how a prophet didn’t have a perfect track record is unlikely to impress me much.

    Now, funny thing about Deuteronomy 18:21…

    It never says that speaking “presumptuously” or falsely means that the individual is not a prophet. Never says anything of the sort. It says that you don’t need to listen to him in that thing. It also says that you should put him to death if he calls on you to worship idols. But since Joseph didn’t do that, I imagine he’s all clear.

    Still a prophet, even IF he did goof up (emphasis on the “if”).

  8. Nance says:

    If God says he should be put to death, doesn’t that mean NEVER listen to anything he says? If you would rather listen to man than God, just say so, but don’t try making excuses. Really, Seth, your grasping at straws here.

  9. Seth R. says:

    Nope, just reading carefully and without an Evangelical agenda. The charge of putting the prophet to death only occurs in connection with a call to idolatry.

    You also don’t make enough room for the possibility that a prophet may be “fallen” (such as Balaam – the guy with the talking donkey). You can be a perfectly valid prophet, with valid prophesies, and still fall off the wagon later in life.

    I’ve heard one or two “radical” Mormons even suggest that God allowed Joseph to die because he was preaching a false doctrine (polygamy in their argument). They are certainly a minority view among active LDS, but an interesting idea nonetheless.

    Where in the Bible does it give us any reason to believe that a even a “true prophet” is always 100% guaranteed to be completely legit?

    The entire Bible narrative is one of deeply flawed men and women seeking God and finding Him. Why do prophets get a free hall pass in your mind?

  10. Nance says:

    I’ve said all I have to say here. Moving on to the Wicca discussions. Seth and rickroll you are welcome to carry on the battle of wits.

  11. Rickr0ll says:

    So Seth, doesn’t that mean you’ve won? I mean, you Did have the last word. 😉

    Or so it would seem…..

  12. Seth R. says:

    Very well Nance. I hope you don’t think I was being too critical or anything. I’ve tried to answer the issues seriously.

    If we’re pretty-much finished here, I do have an answer to the specific questions of whether certain prophesies of Joseph’s were in fact “failed” or “false” or not. I was putting off addressing that in favor of establishing why it should matter to begin with.

    But I do understand that the conversation is getting a bit old and if you’d like to move on, fine by me.

    • Nance says:

      I felt that we were at a standstill. I had expressed why it mattered that Joseph Smith made false prophesies (God forbids it), but you deny that it matters. You are welcome to join any discussion that crops up on Wicca.

  13. Rickr0ll says:

    “If God says he should be put to death, doesn’t that mean NEVER listen to anything he says?”

    Yes, emphatically so. The whole reason the law was instituted was to weed out heretics who would distort God’s Word, and, as we all know, most of the prophets wrote a great deal other than prophecy. They were to be killed because they were not from God. It’s really that simple.

    You said that the discussion was at a standstill, but you have a lot to answer for here that i have brought evidence for.

  14. Nance says:

    Listening to a skeptic explain scripture is like listening to a short order cook explain biophysics. I’m not impressed.

  15. Rickr0ll says:

    So you only want people who already agree with you to talk to about Yehweh? I’m afraid i must retun your sentiment; how unimpressive, and shockingly predictable. A skeptic is Who you want to hear from, like for example, say UFO’s, or Bigfoot. I don’t want to hear Anything from someone believes what they saw wholeheartedly and with no compuction, no inspection. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If there is extraordinary evidence, “let them eat cake!”; if not, then it comes off as pushy and

    It’s not a very philosophical, nor Biblical, approach to the topic, either. Doubts are what drive you back to your Bible, when it comes down to it. It certainly did me. And look where i am now 😉 (Ok, maybe not me, but most athiests/ Skeptics are very well read on the subject matter.)

    So….where’s your response? “Unimpressed” is something you say after watching a movie, not watching someone destroy the foundation of your faith. It only seems like a weak macho bluff, to be perfectly frank. And it sounds like a Fallacy of Accident, can’t short order cooks be well-versed in biophysics? Not to mention that it is a false analogy in the first place.

    And i got news for ya- there’s a staggering amount where that came from. If you are at all interested in the refutations that is. but i guess one at a time is plenty for the both of us.

    • Nance says:

      Right, rick, I only listen to people who agree with me. That’s why I engage in discussions with pagans, mormons, atheists, secularists, witches, etc.

  16. Rickr0ll says:

    Then why the sudden change of heart towards JLA? What makes this one Deist so special?

  17. Rickr0ll says:

    John L Armstrong.

  18. Rickr0ll says:

    the guy in the video; hello. Skeptic Bible Studies are his big thing, though he does also do the Quran as well, recently.

    By the way, i like the new look.

  19. Nance says:

    OK, you want to know why I disregard his teaching as false. I’ll tell you why, but I’m not going to argue about it.

    He is applying a meaning to the text based on false presuppositions, for instance that Jesus is not God. He is basically saying Jesus actions were not in agreement with law. But JLA has no understanding of covenant, nor does he comprehend that Jesus as God fulfilled the law and ushered a new covenant. Which by the way he had full authority to do since he is God. Communion is far more than JLA’s interpretation.

    That is just one tiny deviation from truth committed by Armstrong that most Christians recognize right away and reject, but unbelievers willingly embrace the lie, because, well, that is the nature of the decieved.

    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Co 1:18

    Now, I know from my experience with you that you are probably laughing yourself right out of your chair about now. And that’s fine by me. I don’t expect you to agree with me.

    And just so we’re clear, my faith is the same faith that carried the apostles and countless others through suffering and martyrdom. A video on youtube can hardly shake a foundation of faith built upon the Rock of Ages.

    Glad you like the new thumbnail. When are you going to get your own blog?

  20. Nance says:

    Arguing spiritual matters with a man who denies his own soul is a waste of time.

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