New category: Baptist LDS

Ama over at Grace for Grace brought this man to my attention.  He lives in Independence, Missouri. 

What do you say about this?

I noticed one thing about Lynn Ridenhour’s new (2008 ) book, In the Trenches: Conversations with Mormons & Evangelicals.  One of his chapter titles seems to indicate that he believes the fundamentalist’s gospel is “another gospel.”

So I suppose this Baptist preacher rejects the fundamentals about Jesus and His work that set me free.  Or perhaps he believes that some fundamental doctrines in how God reveals himself are acceptable for rejection. 

What can you refuse to believe in the written Word while adamantly claiming that you are saved by the living Word?

43 comments

  1. I’ve read his website – he’s a nut. “Ordained” by a backwoods Baptist church, no formal seminary training (that I saw), a clear “falling out” of sorts at Falwell’s church and university.

    And make no bones about it – you can’t be Baptist AND Mormon. The 2 belief patterns are incompatible. I would say this guy is 100% Mormon, and 0% Baptist.

    Shame on him, honestly. He is indicative of the type of stuff that confuses the heck out of both Christians and non-Christians today, and blurs the lines, so to speak. But, he will answer for what he does. Not to me, mind you…

  2. “And make no bones about it – you can’t be Baptist AND Mormon. The 2 belief patterns are incompatible.”

    Well, I guess that’s true in general; however, neither Baptists (by definition) nor Mormons (of whatever stripe) baptize infants and both hold similar views on “the Sacrament”/”the Lord’s Supper”. Both are ikonoclastic (in the original sense of that word). Further, both have a belief in a “Great Apostasy”, although the Baptist view on that is generally more implicit than explicit these days.

    In any event, let’s not condemn the dude quite yet, huh? Let’s pray for his repentance.

  3. The differences go FAR deeper than infant baptism or the Lord’s Supper. And each’s belief in an “apostasy” are MUCH different.

    We can pray for his repentance, while still saying he has it wrong.

  4. You didn’t just “say he had it wrong” Brad. You did quite a bit more than that.

    For one thing, you called him a nut. Then you said shame on him. Then you implied he’s going to hell. That’s more than saying a person is wrong.

    Note that, for all I know, the guy may be a nut (he seems a bit odd to me personally). But you weren’t just disagreeing with him.

  5. Gee, Seth, get technical much? I never tried to say I JUST said he “had it wrong”. Simply a statement I made.

    Do I think he’s a nut? Yep. Do I think “shame on him?” Yep. Do I imply he’s going to hell, if he currently truly believes the way he says he does on his website? Yep. Is he wrong? Yep.

    You’re right – I don’t just disagree with him, it’s more than that. Why? B/c as I said, he really blurs the lines between Christianity and Mormonism. But like I said, he won’t answer to ME for it…

  6. Ama & Seth,

    Since the writing of the Bible, which clearly shows the way to go, and the way not to go. Has nothing to do with pride or self-insecurity, has to do with understanding what the Bible teaches.

    It’s always fun to watch Seth talk about others being prideful.

  7. If the Bible showed clearly which way to go, the rest of you Christians wouldn’t have been arguing about it and killing each other over it for the last 2000 years, now would you?

    Guess they just weren’t as smart as you, eh Brad?

  8. Seth,

    Just b/c the Bible shows it clearly, doesn’t mean all will accept it and follow it. Example: Mormons.

  9. And Catholics. Right Brad? Better add Eastern Orthodox for good measure. Then Unitarians, prosperity gospel types, Jews of course, and maybe Anglicans, but it depends on what kind. Then of course, there’s those ruddy Arminians too, can’t forget them.

    Basically, anyone who doesn’t agree with the Gospel according to Brad right?

  10. There is only one door, one way, one gospel.

    And even Baptists don’t have the monopoly. Only Christ alone.

    Sadly, some Baptist denominations have left that kind of gospel long ago, accepting a gospel of theological pluralism.

    Lately, I have been listening intently to Jesus’ words in John 10. Wow.

  11. Call it any religion, Seth. Call Southern Baptists out, if you want. Doesn’t matter – b/c the religion doesn’t matter, the beliefs and the relationship do. We are able to somewhat “generalize” beliefs according to the religion, only by looking at what the official beliefs of the religion are. Doesn’t mean every adherent to that particular religion follow the official beliefs. But, in general, if a particular religion’s official beliefs are not correct, there’s a better chance than not that the beliefs of its adherents are also not correct.

    Is the “official” Catholic belief in salvation correct? No, not according to the Bible. Do ALL Catholics believe the “official” Catholic way? No – I know some who don’t. There are different kinds of Jews – but make no mistake, unless the Jews acknowledge Christ as their Savior, they are not saved. Period. Not b/c I said so, but b/c God says so in His Word. Unitarians – lost. Don’t know a lot about Eastern Orthodox, so can’t comment. Prosperity gospel isn’t what I’d call a religion, it’s a slant on Christianity. Can you be saved and still believe in it? I think so, b/c prosperity gospel doesn’t say much about salvation, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have it. i think it’s misleading, and incorrect, but not core doctrine. Anglicans – don’t know much about them. Arminians (is this as opposed to Calvinists?) would be more of a mindset, than a religion.

    Has nothing to do with the gospel according to Brad, though you love to make it sound that way, anymore than it does with the gospel according to Seth. Has to do with the gospel according to God.

  12. “Is the “official” Catholic belief in salvation correct? No, not according to the Bible.”

    Funny, doncha ya think, that no one realized that until Martin Luther and Calvin came along, 1,500 years after Christ? Must have been a “great apostasy”, no? Looks like the only difference here between you and the LDS has to do with when the “restoration” occurred.

    “…if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live.” – Romans 8:13 (RSV)

  13. I’m not saying (or claiming to know) WHEN the beliefs of the Catholic church were instituted, changed, modified or otherwise started. I can only speak of what the official beliefs NOW are. And the official beliefs NOW regarding salvation are NOT correct.

    You can pull Luther, Calvin and anyone else into the picture you wish. I didn’t.

  14. Brad, Luther and Calvin are completely relevant here, since, like it or not, you and your fellow believers are their spiritual heirs (especially Calvin, in the case of Baptists in general, but obviously not so much as confessional Presbyterians).

    As for Roman Catholic and especially, Orthodox beliefs concerning salvation having changed, well, read the Fathers of the Second Century and decide for yourself. Ironically, there is one change within Roman Catholicism (not Orthodoxy) which directly led to the Reformation, but which the Reformers embraced completely, and that is the Anselmian understanding of the atonement, of how Christ reconciles us to the Father. When one is an heir to Anselm, if one is to be completely consistent with the New Testament, then one must, as the Reformers did, draw a sharp line between “faith” and “works.” However, while the Anselmian understanding has been read into the New Testament, it is not there textually, and neither is said sharp divide. Which illustrates the larger problem: none of us, including you, can appeal to a direct, unbiased reading of “the Bible alone”. First, the text itself does not permit it, pointing, as it does, to the authority of the Church. Second, all of us, including you, approach Scripture (as well as any other text) with a set of pre-understandings. The question then becomes, from whence comes these pre-understandings? From the Church, upon whose authority, authenticated by the text itself, the biblical canon rests, or elsewhere?

  15. Greg,

    You can say what you wish. I place no authority of any kind in the “church.” Catholics do, Mormons certainly do, I don’t. I am not an “heir” of Luther, Calvin, the Pope, Joseph Smith, Billy Graham or anyone else – I am an heir of Christ, having salvation provided by Him and through Him. Nothing more, nothing less. The church has no authority over me – Christ does. Any “church” that interprets Scripture, would also do the same things you’re saying that all humans do, b/c it is, after all, humans in the “church” who would be doing the interpreting.

    But back to the point at hand, your ramblings aside, the Catholic church still, based on their official views, does not have its views of salvation correct.

    Of course, neither do Mormons.

  16. Evangelicalism- a religion where you can believe any fool thing you want, as long as you can provide a couple tenuous Bible proof-texts for it. Also a religion where you can weasel out of any uncomfortable teaching you want by simply shopping around for a different pastor.

    It means never having to say you’re sorry. Or that you even care.

  17. There were a couple of comments in this thread that I liked.

    #12

    “There is only one door, one way, one gospel.

    And even Baptists don’t have the monopoly. Only Christ alone.”

    This is almost a direct quote from the Bible from Ephesians 4:5 which states “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

    The LDS believe their baptism is the right way and the Baptists believe their baptism is the right one. Some Christians don’t believe in baptism at all. This confusion leads to comments such as found in #18 (although I feel this comment was a bit too snide) that Christians twist things around to many different doctrines, etc.

    We can sit and argue back and forth and share opinions and scripture supporting our views all day long, but in the end what good will it do?

    Instead, we should find common ground and build on it.

    For example, I really like comment #13 by Brad when he states “the relationship (with the Lord) is what matters”.

    I know that the Lord is no respector of persons and regardless of religion, race, or no religion at all he will hear and answer the prayers of the sincere and humble of heart. Rather than focusing on differences between religions, let’s focus on what we have in common and building a relationship with the Lord is a life-long pursuit and the cool thing is that He’s willing to have a relationship with anyone regardless of religion.

    http://www.graceforgrace.com

  18. Evangelicalism- a religion where you can believe any fool thing you want, as long as you can provide a couple tenuous Bible proof-texts for it.

    A couple? The Bible is full of passages that are all confirming each other, none of them in conflict. The “proof-texting” you speak of is actually most often done by cult groups, such as Mormons, who like to take a few verses (either in or out of context), and use them to back up what they say. A proper interpretation of the Bible wouldn’t follow this method. I don’t. Show me where I have used just a “couple tenuous Bible proof-texts” as all there is to support an idea, Seth.

    Also a religion where you can weasel out of any uncomfortable teaching you want by simply shopping around for a different pastor.

    You really like to get off-topic, don’t you? Why don’t you stick to the original issue? Is it b/c there’s not much to argue about with the original issue, so you have to try and find other things to talk about? ANY religion could do this, not just Evangelicals. Is it possible? Yes. Is it correct? Depends on if the pastor is correct in his teachings or not. If the pastor is correct, and the people just don’t like what he’s saying, then leaving is wrong. I’ve never said any different.

    It means never having to say you’re sorry. Or that you even care.

    This is just ignorant, Seth. Not much else to say. But I don’t expect much better from you, honestly, although from a lawyer, I’d think I’d get better arguments.

  19. B/c, Ama, we so often want to look for the commonalities so much, to try to connect all people, that we often either intentionally or unintentionally overlook the differences that truly are keeping people apart.

    Are their moral commonalities between Mormons and Christians? Sure. In fact, Mormons, as a whole, may be more “moral”, if you will, than many Christians. Are both devout to their religion? Yes. Do both believe in loving all people? Yes. Do both believe that certain things are sins (murder, lying, stealing, etc…)? Yes.

    But we can’t focus on the commonalities, at the expense of not focusing on the real religious differences that ARE keeping us apart.

  20. You’re the one who wanted to criticize having an authoritative Church structure Brad.

    I was simply pointing out that not having a centralized authority structure doesn’t give Evangelicals a free hall pass to disassociate with any uncomfortable history, or unsavory people in their faith tradition that they wish. You guys need to do a better job of owning your own history and your own forebears (which was what Greg was getting at).

    The whole “me, my Jesus, and my Bible” thing is really just empty posturing. Tradition always adds to the scripture. Many Evangelicals are historically and theologically aware enough to admit this and wrestle with it. Others prefer to throw rocks at the human reality of other faiths while simultaneously denying the human reality of their own. I enjoy talking to the former.

    By the way, if you are going to make this personal, isn’t it kind of gutless to attack the professional competence someone who has made his own internet profile public, while yours remains safely anonymous?

  21. You’re the one who wanted to criticize having an authoritative Church structure Brad.

    Actually, I said church structure plays no part for me. I don’t answer to a church, but to God.

    I was simply pointing out that not having a centralized authority structure doesn’t give Evangelicals a free hall pass to disassociate with any uncomfortable history, or unsavory people in their faith tradition that they wish. You guys need to do a better job of owning your own history and your own forebears (which was what Greg was getting at).

    You’re (continuing) to miss the point. I have no “Evangelical history” – I am Christian first. Where I go to church happens to fit in with my beliefs, but I am not bound by my church, but by God’s law. As such, there IS NO “uncomfortable history” with which I must deal, and no history I must “own”. Any more than you do (though Mormon history is much more associated with Mormonism than Christian history is with Christians, mainly b/c the Mormons have kept it that way).

    The whole “me, my Jesus, and my Bible” thing is really just empty posturing.

    It’s not a “thing” – that’s what you don’t understand. It is a relationship. Mormons (that I’ve met and talked to) tend to have one with their church; Christians with their God.

    Tradition always adds to the scripture.

    For some (Catholicism and Mormonism are 2 that come to mind, though I’m sure there are others). For others, including myself, tradition may dictate the flow of the church service, but never changes the teachings of the gospel or the Bible in general, and the teachings are NEVER influenced by “what we’ve always done”, i.e. tradition.

    Many Evangelicals are historically and theologically aware enough to admit this and wrestle with it. Others prefer to throw rocks at the human reality of other faiths while simultaneously denying the human reality of their own. I enjoy talking to the former.

    Then feel free to talk to the former, Seth. I deny nothing about my faith or relationship. You’re trying to make it something more complex than what it is. But Mormons (that I’ve met and talked to) always love to do that, in part b/c theirs is so complex.

    By the way, if you are going to make this personal, isn’t it kind of gutless to attack the professional competence someone who has made his own internet profile public, while yours remains safely anonymous?

    No – you chose to publish yours, I didn’t. That’s your issue. To you, I could be a 15 year-old girl, just as easily as I could be a 90 year-old man. I could be black, white, or red. I could be liberal or conservative. I could be a doctor or a trash collector. I like you not knowing. Evidently, you didn’t mind if the whole world knew about you.

    I know you think you’re a theological and intellectual foe to be reckoned with, Seth; you can tell it by your attitude. But I’ve had more intelligent conversations about religion, and Mormonism, with high schoolers who haven’t graduated yet (both Mormon and Christian) than you’ve offered.

  22. “For others, including myself, tradition may dictate the flow of the church service, but never changes the teachings of the gospel or the Bible in general, and the teachings are NEVER influenced by “what we’ve always done”, i.e. tradition.”

    Oh come on Brad, the entire premise of the trinity is essentially a traditional read on select Biblical passages. It is not a required read of that same Bible. There are other examples, but I’d rather not get bogged down in a proof-texting duel that doesn’t have much to do with the topic (you’re right – we have wandered a bit afield).

    Now, I’m not saying whether that tradition got it right or not. As far as the outside observer is concerned, it might have or might not. But tradition it is.

    You may think you are coming to this with a fresh blank slate, but each of us brings his own assumptions and baggage to the text of the Bible. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with having a theological tradition, but recognizing it is part of being self-aware and part of acknowledging the debt you owe to those who have come before.

  23. The entire premise of the Trinity is a CORRECT read on the Bible as a whole – not just select passages. I firmly believe that.

    I don’t pretend to come to anything with a blank slate. My beliefs shape what I say and do, as do everyone’s. And I don’t think tradition is “bad”, per se, unless that tradition is causing a person or group of people to go against what is clearly taught in Scripture. Then, it becomes harmful.

  24. “The entire premise of the Trinity is a CORRECT read on the Bible as a whole – not just select passages. I firmly believe that.”

    Arguably, yes, although the word “homoousios” does not appear in the Bible.

    Of course, the Orthodox/Roman Catholic read on ecclesiology and the sacraments is indubitably correct, and that, my friend, flies in the face of your denial of Church authority as well as your denial of the role of the sacraments in salvation.

    “For we are members one of another.” – St. Paul in both Romans and Ephesians

  25. Greg,

    There IS NO role of sacraments in salvation. We need to neither be baptized, nor have partaken of the Lord’s Supper (the whole misconception of transubstantiation aside) to be saved. These are things we do and observe AFTER we receive salvation, not in order to receive salvation.

    The word “Mormon” doesn’t appear in the Bible either – doesn’t mean there aren’t Mormons today.

    But we can go on and on, as far as Catholic arguments go. Peter supposedly the 1st Pope, etc…

  26. Brad, I think you’re confusing the Mormon use of the word “salvation” with “exaltation.”

    Under Mormon belief, everyone is “saved” in some sense as a free gift from Christ, regardless of Baptism, sacraments, or temple attendance. All are resurrected, and all receive a degree of glory (except for Sons of Perdition – which most Mormons understand to apply to a very, very, limited slice of humanity). In this sense, every IS saved, regardless of works, in Mormonism.

    Exaltation is receiving the highest degree of heaven. For that, yes, Mormons have necessary ordinances. But the ordinances are almost entirely about re-invoking Christ’s Atonement and transformative power in the individual’s life on a regular basis.

    If you press a regular Mormon on the street about what they mean by “salvation,” I think you’ll find the opinion a little different than a straight saved-by-works view. Most lay Mormons (and lay Evangelicals for that matter) aren’t that careful about their theological language, and some use words like salvation, heaven, and exaltation interchangeably – which can be very confusing. But most Mormons do believe in a sort of “saved” status for all as a free gift from Christ that is very similar to the Evangelical notion.

  27. “There IS NO role of sacraments in salvation. We need to neither be baptized, nor have partaken of the Lord’s Supper (the whole misconception of transubstantiation aside) to be saved. These are things we do and observe AFTER we receive salvation, not in order to receive salvation.”

    That’s what YOU say, Brad. That’s NOT what the Bible says:

    “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” Jesus, John 3:5

    “As many as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ.” St. Paul, Gal. 3:27

    “Baptism…now saves you…” I Peter 3:21

    “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ” Acts 2:37-38

    “…when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit…” St. Paul, Titus 3:4-5

    See also Romans 6, especially 1-5

    “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life within you.” Jesus in John 6

    As I could go on, as I assume you know, but this is sufficient for the moment. Of course, I doubt that any of these passages are underlined in your copy of the Bible!

  28. Brad, I think you’re confusing the Mormon use of the word “salvation” with “exaltation.”

    I’m not confusing it, Seth – I understand the difference in terminology. I use Christian terminology, which I know differs from Mormon terminology. I believe that what Mormons think of, when they think of “salvation” and “exaltation”, is completely false.

    Under Mormon belief, everyone is “saved” in some sense as a free gift from Christ, regardless of Baptism, sacraments, or temple attendance. All are resurrected, and all receive a degree of glory (except for Sons of Perdition – which most Mormons understand to apply to a very, very, limited slice of humanity). In this sense, every IS saved, regardless of works, in Mormonism.

    Yep. Essentially, a hell does exist, but VERY few go there. Where’s the Biblical basis for that, Seth? The Bible speaks clearly of eternal punishment, for more than just a “very, very limited slice of humanity.”

    Exaltation is receiving the highest degree of heaven. For that, yes, Mormons have necessary ordinances. But the ordinances are almost entirely about re-invoking Christ’s Atonement and transformative power in the individual’s life on a regular basis.

    Yep. So now we’re onto works-based exaltation. Do more, and you get a better level of heaven. Again, where’s the Biblical basis for it, Seth?

    If you press a regular Mormon on the street about what they mean by “salvation,” I think you’ll find the opinion a little different than a straight saved-by-works view. Most lay Mormons (and lay Evangelicals for that matter) aren’t that careful about their theological language, and some use words like salvation, heaven, and exaltation interchangeably – which can be very confusing. But most Mormons do believe in a sort of “saved” status for all as a free gift from Christ that is very similar to the Evangelical notion.

    The words aren’t used interchangeably – Christians and Mormons simply have a different view of what each represents. We don’t use the word “salvation” interchangeably with Mormons – we believe it means something else entirely. We’re farther apart than most Mormons are willing to concede.

  29. That’s what YOU say, Brad. That’s NOT what the Bible says:

    It IS what the Bible says, Greg. Some to follow:

    “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” Jesus, John 3:5

    Define “born of water and the Spirit”. My guess is you think it means something entirely different than it does.

    “As many as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ.” St. Paul, Gal. 3:27

    Shows nothing specific to salvation. I’ve been baptized, and I have also “put on” Christ. But I was saved PRIOR to baptism. This verse doesn’t contradict that.

    “Baptism…now saves you…” I Peter 3:21

    Nice to shorten what it says, isn’t it Greg? This passage in 1 Peter is MUCH more complicated, than to be able to put ellipses to shorten it. Again, you certainly would have a much different interpretation of this than others.

    “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ” Acts 2:37-38

    And? More on this later.

    “…when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit…” St. Paul, Titus 3:4-5

    Says nothing specifically about baptizing. You’re reading “washing of regeneration and renewal” as baptism, when the text doesn’t specify that.

    “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life within you.” Jesus in John 6

    Where is baptism in this? Assumably your talking about the Lord’s Supper, but transubstantiation is a far leap from this, my friend.

    As I could go on, as I assume you know, but this is sufficient for the moment. Of course, I doubt that any of these passages are underlined in your copy of the Bible!

    Yes, I don’t have your extra non-canonical books. Could really care less what the Macabbees thought about anything.

    “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, not by works, lest any man should boast” Eph 2:8-9 (any mention of baptism or communion necessary for salvation??)

    “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (I’m sure you know the Scripture – again, any reference to baptism or communion for salvation??)

    “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Rom 10:9-10 (again, any mention of baptism or communion being necessary??)

    I could go on, as I assume you know, but this is sufficient for the moment.

    You believe differently, Greg. We won’t reconcile. I don’t like it, but I can’t do anything about it. It is what it is.

  30. “You believe differently, Greg. We won’t reconcile. I don’t like it, but I can’t do anything about it. It is what it is.”

    Indeed, and unfortunately, as I said earlier, your reading of Scripture is one-sided. (In this, once again, you prove yourself to be the spiritual son of John Calvin, whether you like it or not.) The passages you quote must be understood in terms of the passages I quote and vice-versa. You cannot simply ignore, or try to explain away, the passages I quote, and still make a credible claim to ground your faith in the whole Bible.

    Or are you a hyper-dispensationalist?

  31. I don’t care if the Bible explicitly backs up everything in my religion Brad.

    It’s enough for me to know that the Bible doesn’t contradict it.

  32. Well, Seth, guess I’m gonna have to open up a second front here (although these are relevant to you, too, Brad, since the Reformers’ concept of a great apostasy created the space for the Mormon doctrine).

    “…I will build my Church, and the gates fo hell will not prevail against it.” Jesus, Matthew 16:18

    “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” Jesus, Matthew 28:20

    The Lord kinda blows any concept of a great apostasy outta the water, doesn’t he?

  33. Indeed, and unfortunately, as I said earlier, your reading of Scripture is one-sided. (In this, once again, you prove yourself to be the spiritual son of John Calvin, whether you like it or not.) The passages you quote must be understood in terms of the passages I quote and vice-versa. You cannot simply ignore, or try to explain away, the passages I quote, and still make a credible claim to ground your faith in the whole Bible.

    Or are you a hyper-dispensationalist?

    And you DON’T have a one-sided view? You DON’T approach the Bible with your OWN preconceived notions? Nice how you can try to corner someone on that, but try to make it like it’s not the case for you. Hogwash.

    You can think whatever you wish of me, John Calvin, the Easter Bunny, Indiana Jones or anyone else you wish. Doesn’t really matter to me, Greg.

    The passages YOU quote must also be understood in terms of the entire Bible, not just the passages you quote. Again, though you accuse me of approaching the situation from an “I’ve got the correct interpretation, and you don’t” mentality, you are also approaching it from a similar mentality on your end. Nothing different. And as I said, Greg, we will have to agree to disagree, b/c you will not convince me, and I doubt I will convince you, so it is what it is. You also can’t “simply ignore, or try to explain away, the passages I quote, and still make a credible claim to ground your faith in the whole Bible.” Works both ways, Greg.

  34. I don’t care if the Bible explicitly backs up everything in my religion Brad.

    It’s enough for me to know that the Bible doesn’t contradict it.

    And there you have it, folks. The entire problem, summed up in 2 sentences by Seth.

    Problem is, the Bible does contradict it. But as with Greg, Seth won’t convince me, nor will I convince Seth. It is what it is.

  35. “You also can’t “simply ignore, or try to explain away, the passages I quote, and still make a credible claim to ground your faith in the whole Bible.” Works both ways, Greg.”

    First, no, I won’t convince you. However, I pray the Holy Spirit will. I’ve been where you are, and so have many others who are now where I am. For at least two decades, there has been a steady stream of converts to Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, including many pastors, who once believed as you do. (For example, google “Peter Gillquist” and “Gordon Walker”.) It’s all about reading the whole Bible, not just selected passages.

    Second, indeed it works both ways, as I said. But I, reading with the Tradition, attested by the New Testament itself, and forming my preconceptions, see no contradiction, no need to explain away. (Let’s throw John 20:23 into the mix as well, shall we?) I can take both sets of citations (or any others which are relevant) at face value. Why? One reason is that my understanding, the traditional understanding, of what faith is, of what belief is, in no way excludes the role of the sacraments in salvation, which the New Testament attests. Second, my understanding of salvation, which is also found in the NT, is that salvation is not simply a one-time event, but is also a process, one that is not complete this side of glory.

  36. You’re E. Orthodox Greg?

    Your faith falls a bit outside the usual Mormon narrative. The usual narrative runs: Apostles – Catholics – Protestant Reformers – The Restoration (us of course). Eastern Orthodoxy tends to get a bit ignored, alas.

    What little I’ve seen of it, I’ve liked anyway.

    Over at Pen and Parchment blog, they’re having a discussion of the difference between:

    -Dual Source Theory
    -Prima scriptura
    -Regula fidei
    -Sola scriptura
    -Solo scriptura

    Which one is E. Orthodox?

  37. Thanks, Brad. Hope to meet you on the other side, if not before. You are a baptized, Trinitarian Christian: therefore, like or it not, “we are members one of another”.

    Seth: My Church in an independent body which, while being historically rooted in Old Catholicism, embraces the faith and practice of the Oriental Orthodox Tradition, specifically in its Syriac iteration. The main difference between Oriental Orthodoxy (Syriac, Indian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Armenian) and Eastern, or “Byzantine” Orthodoxy (Greeks, Russians, Syro-Arabs, Serbians, etc.) has to do with the status of the Council of Chalcedon, held in AD 451. Does it, or does not it, fully and adequately express the common Christology of both Traditions (and, on the pro-chalcedonian side, that of Rome and most Protestants)? However, this really is not relevant to your question, since the answer equally applies to both the OO and the EO, which are about 99% in accord, except for the above issue. However, I think full disclosure is important, and most EO’s would probably not like me identifying as one of them, given the fact that we are both non-chalcedonian and independent. At the same time, I think that the vast majority of knowledgeable EO’s would find little to disagree with in what I have written above, with the possible exception of the fact that Oriental Orthodoxy in general is more open to the Roman Church than are many EO’s.

    In any event, the answer to your question is: “none of the above” (although perhaps “prima scriptura” and the “two source theory” are within shouting distance.) A section in Greek Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware’s book, “The Orthodox Church”, is entitled ” Holy Tradition: The Source of the Orthodox Faith”. In this section, he writes:

    “Orthodox are always talking about Tradition. What do they mean by the word? A tradition, says the Oxford Dictionary, is an opinion, belief, or custom handed down from ancestors to posterity. Christian Tradition, in that case, is the faith which Jesus Christ imparted to the Apostles, and which since the Apostles’ time has been handed down from generation to generation in the Church (Compare Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3). But to an Orthodox Christian, Tradition means something more concrete and specific than this. It means the books of the Bible; it means the Creed; it means the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils and the writings of the Fathers; it means the Canons, the Service Books, the Holy Icons — in fact, the whole system of doctrine, Church government, worship, and art which Orthodoxy has articulated over the ages. The Orthodox Christian of today sees himself as heir and guardian to a great inheritance received from the past, and he believes that it is his duty to transmit this inheritance unimpaired to the future.

    “Note that the Bible forms a part of Tradition. Sometimes Tradition is defined as ‘the oral teaching of Christ, not recorded in writing by his immediate disciples’ (Oxford Dictionary). Not only non-Orthodox but many Orthodox writers have adopted this way of speaking, treating Scripture and Tradition as two different things, two distinct sources of the Christian faith. But in reality there is only one source, since Scripture exists within Tradition. To separate and contrast the two is to impoverish the idea of both alike.

    “Orthodox, while reverencing this inheritance. from the past, are also well aware that not everything received from the past is of equal value. Among the various elements of Tradition, a unique pre-eminence belongs to the Bible, to the Creed, to the doctrinal definitions of the Ecumenical Councils: these things the Orthodox accept as something absolute and unchanging, something which cannot be cancelled or revised. The other parts of Tradition do not have quite the same authority. The decrees of Jassy or Jerusalem do not stand on the same level as the Nicene Creed, nor do the writings of an Athanasius, or a Symeon the New Theologian, occupy the same position as the Gospel of Saint John.”

    I’m trying to avoid the spam filter, but if you’d like, I can post a link to excerpts from Ware’s book, which are found online.

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