4 Comments

Heretics, Jesus, and Jarrod's Problem

Life has been unusually busy of late.  Sorry I haven’t posted very often–I’ll try to get back on track.  A lot of my posts take some time to research, but Jarrod gave me a softball.  Rather than leave his comments on my “About page, I thought I could churn out a quick post (requiring no research).  It’s obvious that Jarrod wanted to debate some of the same ole, same ole.  Jarrod doesn’t raise any new issues–these have been debated ad nauseum before, but since he just happened along my blog, I thought we could discuss them again here, especially since the issue got raised this week in the Mitt Romney campaign.  On my About page, I wrote:

Some have wondered why I call myself a heretic.  I have 2 reasons.  First, many say that Mormons are “not Christian”, but I believe they really mean that Mormons are heretics.  Mormons don’t subscribe to some aspects of traditional Christianity, such as the Trinity.  To many Christians, such as stance is heresy, but they confuse the issue by saying that we’re not Christian.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Not only do we share a belief that Jesus was born, died on the Cross, and was Resurrected, but we go further and have another set of scriptures called the Book of Mormon, which contains a record of Christ’s visit to another group of people.  However, this set of scriptures is also considered heretical, because most Christians believe that the Bible is all of God’s word.

Secondly, Here is a definition I really like,

Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma.[1] It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one’s religion, principles or cause,[2] and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion.[3] The founder or leader of a heretical movement is called a heresiarch, while individuals who espouse heresy or commit heresy, are known as heretics….Heretics usually do not perceive their own beliefs as heretical.

I see Abraham, Jesus, Joseph Smith, and Galileo as not only heretics, but probably a group of heresiarchs (Galileo is a stretch.)  These are the people I would like to emulate because I view them as “good heretics.”  I’m just trying to be a heretic like Jesus!

Apparently Jarrod didn’t like me calling Jesus a heretic.  He responded,

Jesus was not a heretic by definition because he did not cause “a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs”. Jesus was the fulfilled the old law. He did not destroy it or change it.

Ok, seriously Jarrod, did you read the definition of a heretic?  Jesus fits it to a T.  Are you saying Jesus was not controversial?  If so, why was he crucified?  Are you saying he didn’t cause a change to a system of beliefs?  Are you saying that Christians are really just Jews?

Yes, I agree with you that Jesus fulfilled the old law, but it’s just silly to try to say that Jesus was not controversial and did not cause a change in beliefs.  If Jesus didn’t cause a change in beliefs, then most of us would either be Jews, or we would have continued practicing gentile beliefs (Zues, Hades, Egyptian gods, Paganism, etc.)

Then Jarrod actually wants to tell me what he doesn’t like about Mormonism.  Once again, this has been debated ad nauseum, but to give Jarrod his 15 minutes of fame, let me re-write his comment here.

Here is my major problem with Mormonism.

The Deity of Jesus Christ is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, yet the Mormons deny this truth. He is exalted as a man to “god status”, but Jesus Christ is not acknowledged as the eternal Son of God in the Mormon church. The Mormon Jesus was a preexisting spirit who was exalted, just as Mormon followers hope to be exalted someday.

God is a Trinity (I Jn. 5:7), and the second Member of that Trinity is the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:1 says that “the Word was God,” and John 1:14 tells us that “the Word was made flesh.” Jesus Christ is the Word incarnate, and John 1:1 tells us that the Word was God; so Jesus Christ is God.

Jesus allowed Thomas to address Him as “My Lord and my God” in John 20:28. In Isaiah 9:6, He is called “The mighty God” and “The everlasting Father,” and we read in Micah 5:2 that Jesus is “from everlasting.”

Our Lord allowed people to worship him in John 10:38 and in Matthew 14:33, and since He is “God with us” (Mat. 1:23) He also has power to forgive sins (Mk. 2:5).

Jesus Christ is clearly Deity, yet this doctrine is denied by the Mormons.

Jarrod, on my “About” page I acknowledged differences.  You seem to claim to be an expert on Mormonism, but have made some factually incorrect statements.  Let me address them.

Incorrect statement #1:  “The Deity of Jesus Christ is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, yet the Mormons deny this truth.”  Jesus is divine.  I don’t know a single Mormon that would ever deny this.  You’ve got a misperception here.

Almost Correct statement:  ‘He is exalted as a man to “god status.”‘  This is partially true.  Jesus had a human mother, and a divine father.  HE has both divine and human qualities.

Incorrect statement #2: “but Jesus Christ is not acknowledged as the eternal Son of God in the Mormon church.”  FALSE.  Absolutely false.  I don’t know a single Mormon that believes this.

Correct Statement:  “The Mormon Jesus was a preexisting spirit who was exalted, just as Mormon followers hope to be exalted someday.

Incorrect statement:  “God is a Trinity (I Jn. 5:7)”. I acknowledge that Mormons don’t believe in the Trinity–we believe in the Godhead.  Frankly, this whole godhead/trinity issue is splitting hairs, but as a Mormon, let me give you the typical response.  Notice the word “Trinity” isn’t even mentioned any any version of the Bible, and especially not the verse you quoted:  Here are many translations from http://bible.cc/1_john/5-7.htm

New International Version (©1984)
For there are three that testify:New Living Translation (©2007)
So we have these three witnesses–

English Standard Version (©2001)
For there are three that testify:

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
For there are three that testify:

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

International Standard Version (©2008)
For there are three witnesses-

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
And The Spirit testifies because The Spirit is the truth.

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
There are three witnesses:

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.

American King James Version
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

American Standard Version
And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth.

Bible in Basic English
And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is true.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.

Darby Bible Translation
For they that bear witness are three:

English Revised Version
And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth.

Webster’s Bible Translation
For there are three that bear testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.

Weymouth New Testament
For there are three that give testimony– the Spirit, the water, and the blood;

World English Bible
For there are three who testify:

Young’s Literal Translation
because three are who are testifying in the heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these — the three — are one;

To be honest, Jarrod, if I changed the wording of your comment, Mormons would find tremendous agreement with you.  Here’s how a Mormon would re-word your comment.

God is [part of the Godhead] (I Jn. 5:7), and the second Member of that [Godhead] is the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:1 says that “the Word was God,” and John 1:14 tells us that “the Word was made flesh.” Jesus Christ is the Word incarnate, and John 1:1 tells us that the Word was God; so Jesus Christ is God.

See, a few changes, and now we are on the same page!  I have nothing to disagree with here.

Jesus allowed Thomas to address Him as “My Lord and my God” in John 20:28. In Isaiah 9:6, He is called “The mighty God” and “The everlasting Father,” and we read in Micah 5:2 that Jesus is “from everlasting.”

Our Lord allowed people to worship him in John 10:38 and in Matthew 14:33, and since He is “God with us” (Mat. 1:23) He also has power to forgive sins (Mk. 2:5).

Then you tie a false and true statement together.

True statement “Jesus Christ is clearly Deity.”  You’ll get no argument from me.

False statement: “yet this doctrine is denied by the Mormons.”

Jarrod, you need a Mormonism 201 course.  Would you like to present Mormon beliefs correctly, or do you prefer to issue false statements about Mormon beliefs?

4 comments on “Heretics, Jesus, and Jarrod's Problem

  1. M.H. I had been meaning to ask you why you call yourself a heretic. I have to agree with you that Mormonism is heretical to the beliefs of mainstream Christianity as it is today and was in Joseph Smith’s day. That is because the belief’s of Chriatianity have changed over the centuries. That is why Jesus can be considered a heretic by the mainstream Jews of His time. If the Jews had understood their own prophets, Jesus would indeed have been seen as the Savior and Redeemer that Christianity sees him as, rather than a heretic. If mainstream Christianity understood their own scriptures, they would see the restoration as a fulfillment of some of those scriptures rather than a heretical abomination.
    However, you will not make any headway with Jerrod. The non-LDS Christians are very happy to educate us on our beliefs.

    Glenn

  2. I am a Christian and very curious to learn more about LDS. This “Book of Mormon” you speak of, I have heard of it but know nothing about it. Who is the author of this book and can it’s “spiritual authenticity” be verified by other writings both religious and historical?

  3. Trish, Welcome. If you want to read it online, click on this link and you can either download a copy or read it in your browser: http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng Or, I would be happy to send you a copy of the Book of Mormon if you’re interested in reading it. Just send me an email to mormon heretic at gmail dot com.

    In 1820, Joseph Smith prayed to God in order to know which church to go to. He received a visit from God that he shouldn’t join any other churches. This was the first of many angelic visitations. A few years later, an angel told him of a record of an ancient people was inscribed on golden plates. Joseph was directed to a location in New York, found the plates in a stone box, and then “translated” them into what we now have as the Book of Mormon.

    Here is a very brief summary of the book. Around 600 BC, several prophets (such as Jeremiah, found in the Bible), prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed if the people did not repent. Another prophet named Lehi was directed by the Lord to leave Jerusalem with his family. As we know from the Bible, Jerusalem was conquered by the Assyrians and Jeremiah was taken prisoner.

    Lehi’s descendants traveled to a “promised land”, and the Book of Mormon details an approximately 1000 year history of the descendants of Lehi. A prophet by the name of Mormon compiled many of the spiritual writings over these 1000 years on golden plates. The Book or Mormon gets its name from this ancient prophet Mormon. (Following the publication of the Book of Mormon, many others referred to is as the “golden bible.”)

    The pinnacle of this book occurs when Jesus Christ appears to Lehi’s descendants. In the Bible, John 10:16 records

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be cone fold, and one shepherd.

    In the Book of Mormon, Jesus says in 3 Nephi 15:21-24,

    21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

    22 And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.

    23 And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice—that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.

    24 But behold, ye have both heard amy voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me.

    The book contains a promise that if a person reads it, and prays about it, God will witness the “spiritual authenticity” of the book by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    Can the book be verified by other writings both religious and historical? Well, that depends who you ask. Believers would say “yes.” Unbelievers would say “no”. I’ve tried to discuss these issues openly here on my blog. Terryl Givens has written a book discussing the scholarship debate between Mormons and Evangelicals. The most impressive archaeological evidence of the Book of Mormon is the recently discovered city of Nahom, Yemen, though that is still hotly debated by non-believers.

    Long answer to a short question–I’ll stop here. Let me know if you have other questions.

  4. Thank you for the link. I believe I will read it in my browser. I will let you know what I think. If what you say is true, the Holy Ghost will authenticate it for me. Thank you so much for the information, I look forward to learning more.

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