Resurrection Aftermath!

At B.B.C. in Ammon, Idaho this weekend, we were packed.

The living God is doing some neat things in this LDS community.  Public fervor and worship of the living Christ is contagious.  Next Sunday morning, we will be focusing again on our fundamental belief in the living, triumphant Christ.

We pick up in John’s Gospel at verse 18 in chapter 14. 

Did you know that in believing and seeing the resurrected Christ, two truths become a bedrock certainty in your heart?

1.  The mutual indwelling oneness of Father and Son.  The unbelieving, religious Jews didn’t get it, back in John 10 starting with verse 30.  Neither did the Lord’s own disciples understand (see Philip’s question in John 14:8).  But “at that day”, everything became clear.  Hallelujah!

2.  The mutual indwelling oneness of Christ with his church.  The oneness is now for those who have the eyes of faith to see the resurrected Lord of all. 

But how does one illustrate this oneness with the King of glory?  Well, look at John 15.

In this new week of resurrection glory aftermath, I am overwhelmed by the Christ.

I will follow you, Lord.


  1. I am feasting on John 14:20.

    This is to be experienced now, Easter week, 2009.

    Here is a good definition for a disciple of the Christ: Jesus is dwelling in you, and you are dwelling in the Christ.


  2. There is a mutual indwelling of the Triune God and me, made possible only by amazing grace. This is a bedrock certainty in my life. The Christ of John’s Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit has made this sure in my heart.

    #1 topic in the Bible – the glory of the Triune God

    #2 topic in the Bible – how a sinful worm like me is ushered into that Glory.

    Of course, that only magnifies in front of all: the justice, and the holiness, and the power, and the love of this God, etc.

  3. But how can you be part of the One-Substance Trinity? I thought your premise was that God was an alien to us, not the same species, of a different substance, etc.

  4. God is not the alien.

    I am, John. 🙂

    But aliens can be engrafted in. That is what is so unbelievably incredible about it all.

    Hey, I have been meaning to ask you a question.

    When you say “substance” (and you bring up that word everytime we talk about the Trinity), are you equating substance with matter?

  5. I’m not entirely certain any of us really “gets” what substance means.

    If so, it’s rather silly that we argue about it.

  6. Seth, why is it that most LDS claim the restored, fuller detailed revelation on God, and yet on the other hand, don’t expound with me on these details.

    (Blake Ostler is an exception.)

    “So many ideas about God . . . what can we really understand about God? It must be just all good, whatever anybody shares in a sincere way.” – this seems to be the sentiment of a church-going Mormon.

    “I don’t even know if I believe in God” – this seems to be the sentiment of a thinking, cultural Mormon.

  7. Todd, Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are three personages that make up the Godhead. Do you think that the Mormon view complies with the Trinitarian notion of “One-Substance” (homoousios)? If not, why not? Is it because they are three separate, distinct beings that therefore do not share the same matter? Because if so, it looks like you are the one that is hung up on matter, not Mormons.

  8. “substance”=”ousia”=”nature”=”being”

    Humanity also is of one substance/ouia/nature/being, while each of us are distinct persons.

    Because of the fall, this unity of the human race is distorted. However, it is restored in Christ, of one being with the Father as God and of one being with us as man. Thus, St. Paul can write that Christians are “members one of another”. This is true because Christians are “members of Christ”.

  9. “…why is it that most LDS…”

    I’m highly skeptical that you know what “most LDS” claim or believe or say given your incredibly distorted caricatures of Mormons that follow in your comment. Do you really believe, after all this time in the bloggernacle (made up mostly of “thinking, cultural Mormons”?), that the overwhelming message is “I don’t even know if I believe in God”? C’mon Todd, you don’t get this kind of sloppy treatment from your LDS readers, so you shouldn’t dish it out on them.

  10. No, Brian, I would not equate the active percentage of LDS bloggernacle amid the larger bulk of cultural Mormonism in the Corridor. There is a large group of Americans within the bubble of cultural Mormonism in Idaho and Utah that do not actively post in bloggernacle.

    Is that fair?

  11. Is it fair that you don’t equate bloggernacle with larger LDS community? Sure, but it doesn’t address the unfairness of your previous comment.

  12. Let’s consider just the three LDS on this thread: Seth, Brian, and John.

    Seth: more broad on views of LDS God(s), more pluralistic in approach to LDS God(s)

    John: more narrow on views of LDS God(s), more exclusive in defining approach and obtaining oneness with LDS God(s). John communicates more with absolutes.

    Brian: in between Seth and John

    I think there are many LDS to the left of Seth in their projections of LDS God(s) and only a few situated within mainstream Mormonism to the right of John. Times are changing.

    But take this with a grain of salt. These are probably just simplistic, distorted views of a Baptist preacher on the outside.

  13. Well, it’s good to know that Todd, a prime example of the “loving Evangelical” still believes misrepresenting Mormons is a God-sanctioned activity.

    Ready to climb off the short bus yet?

  14. MC, those living within the cultural bubble of mormonism but don’t believe in the church attendance thing seem to be more agnostic. But you tell me what you think about cultural Mormonism within the I-15 Corridor.

    And for those attending church, when I press for details on the Godhead, I don’t receive a clear consensus.

    MC, would you consider what Seth might propose about the LDS Holy Spirit?

    Do you see alike with Brian on considering a LDS Heavenly Mother? How important is she?

    Do you agree with Blake on his views of YHWH?

    When it comes to LDS, who should I not misrepresent? Individual Mormons? or the General Authorities?

    What is your detailed views of God? And I will try to not misrepresent you.

    But in the end, does the average LDS church goer even care about the detailed theology?

    These are honest questions before you try to pull me off the bus, MC. The more I have read LDS views, the less I know what is the main view. Should I show more discernment in eliminating some LDS views in comparison to others?

    Tell me. What is the orthodox LDS view of God that must not be misrepresented?

    I am all ears.

  15. “The more I have read LDS views, the less I know what is the main view.”

    Very true, Todd. You really hit the nail on the head. And that is what bugged me about your initial comment—it seemed to sweep up all Mormons into only two categories, and yet I know that you know there is a huge diversity within Mormonism.

    And, btw, now that I understand what you mean by “cultural Mormon,” I take back what I said about the bloggernacle being made up mostly of them. The vast majority of bloggers I interact with are definitely not “cultural Mormons.”

  16. And since I’ve gotten after you on this thread, I’ll take a stab at your questions:

    “And for those attending church, when I press for details on the Godhead, I don’t receive a clear consensus.” I’ve talked to lifelong members of other Christian churches who adamantly hold that they believe every word in the Bible, but can’t even tell me who was born first: Abraham, Moses, or Isaiah. Most people go to church for comfort, not theology, so I’m not surprised when “the average member” can’t answer detailed questions.

    “MC, would you consider what Seth might propose about the LDS Holy Spirit?” I would consider what anyone proposed about anything. (but I don’t think that’s exactly what you meant)

    “Do you see alike with Brian on considering a LDS Heavenly Mother?” I don’t even know if I see alike with Brian… {smirk}

    “When it comes to LDS, who should I not misrepresent?” You shouldn’t misrepresent anyone. I think you just need to be clearer about who you are representing when you make your arguments/accusations. You wouldn’t let me get away with lumping you in with all those Baptists out there, would you?

    “But in the end, does the average LDS church goer even care about the detailed theology?” Not one bit. I see some Mary/Martha going on here: there are those who scurry about doing theology, dissecting every verse, composing detailed descriptions of God and hell and the mechanics of salvation—these are the Marthas—and there are those who just enjoy sitting at Jesus’ feet, letting his words calm their souls—these are Marys. (I know I’m taking a slightly unusual interpretation of that scripture.) I think it’s perfectly fine to be a Martha as long as I (you, we) don’t begrudge the Marys.

  17. Todd, I guess that the lack of a detailed LDS orthodoxy would be bothersome to you.

    But that’s only because you assumed that it’s an orthodox world in the first place.

  18. Seth and Brian, I spend every week in the Bible reading, and meditating, and relishing in the explicit details about God as told by prophets, and apostles, and the Savior Himself. It is manna for my soul. I am hanging on every word.

    Why is there such a disconnect today among the Modern Authorities? Why no rich feast of divine theology publicly being spread out in front of the people? Why no love for the descriptive details about God? Jesus is unfolding one mind-boggling detail after another in John’s Gospel.

    In my observations, when you find out what people love, they are bound to talk about and relish in the details because of the passion. For example, notice the conversations about politics, clothes, guns, scientific discovery, music, movies, etc. and etc. and etc. In the Gospel, the beloved apostle page after page likes to write about Father, Son, and Spirit. On the last crucial night before the Lord’s crucifixion, I find very powerful what is chief on the Savior’s mind.

    I want to hear the Marys of the I-15 Corridor talk about God and not just how they have been “called” (sigh) to the cannery this week by their priesthood Authorities. And the descriptive Book on God is ten times more exciting than wading through the page after page after detailed page in the Cub Scout Manual.

    Let women be set free to be Marys sitting at Savior’s feet in the Mormon Corridor.

    Secondly, I continually scratch my head over charges of misrepresentation by astute LDS like MC when there is no public claim to a united LDS orthodox view on God. I suppose LDS individuals will get mad when I ruffle their feathers, but the LDS Church United can never make that charge against me and excommunicate me from the bus discussion on orthodoxy.

    It is attacking orthopraxy when things get serious (and sadly, it is only on that side of the heart issues).

    And Seth, in the Mormon Corridor, I am the one actually considered heterodox (chuckling), and not the others within the LDS saturated ward boundaries.

  19. Todd, granted I am not in the I-15 corridor, but…. I spent yesterday at church listening to my brothers and sisters share their experiences of God’s love and blessing, comfort and grace, patience and mercy. That’s what they talked about. (This included the testimony of one non-member who comes only because his wife is Mormon; he spoke about prayer, and thanked us for our prayers on his family’s behalf, and testified that those prayers were heard by God.) The details they “relish in” are the details of their experiences—i.e., they love their personal relationship they have with their Savior. You want to steal that away from them. Why? because they aren’t loving God on your terms? Because their relationship is different than what you enjoy? In terms of heart issues, I think in this case you’re obstructing the left ventricle.

  20. The main view is that we must accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our own lives through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and through receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost through laying on of hands by those in proper priesthood authority.

    It is astounding that you do not know that this is the main view for Mormons after all the time you’ve spent with them. You’re not listening very closely.

    This is presumably because, for you, it doesn’t matter that Mormons so sincerely and fully believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings — because we don’t subscribe to the extra-biblical One-Substance Trinity we aren’t Christians.

    The lesson from this is that to be acceptable as a disciple of Jesus Christ to Todd Wood it doesn’t matter whether you believe in and follow Jesus Christ’s teachings (because it would be ludicrous to argue that Mormons do not, as you well know); what matters is solely whether you believe Jesus Christ is of One Substance with Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit as formulated in the fourth-century. As long as you believe the latter, you are a Christian in Todd Wood’s book and the case is closed.

  21. (chuckling)

    Who cares about Todd Wood’s opinion. I tell my church family that. Let it be proclaimed: “Surely, man doth not live by Todd Wood’s blog but by every word that procedeth from the mouth of God.”

    And in counter, who should value what Joseph Smith did to the KJV John’s Gospel?

    Let not his cross-outs and additions of the sacred text rule the I-15 Corridor. I reject what Joseph judges to be truth lost or truth corrupted right within the scriptural text.

    He thought he could steal my heritage (that’s not loving), but he was wrong.

    Yes, let not the case be closed.

  22. Todd, what I hear you saying is that because we don’t agree with the theory that Jesus Christ is of One Substance with the Father and the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t matter that we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the Word and that we follow his teachings as contained in the New Testament.

    Reference to the JST here is a red herring. Latter-day Saints carry the KJV to church with them every Sunday and use it in daily family and personal scripture reading. Material from the JST is contained here and there in footnotes and in an appendix at the back.

    As to the theory of Biblical inerrancy, that is just plain silly. Rejection of that theory in no way necessarily implies that one does not believe in and regard the Bible as holy scripture that teaches us the revelations that God has given to the human family through prophets and apostles.

  23. It is interesting, John, how Tyndale translates a phrase in the first inspired and masterful Greek sentence of The Epistle of St Paul unto the Hebrews.

    “very image of his substance”

    What do you think of that first English translation from the Greek?

  24. The “very image of his substance” does not necessarily mean “One Substance” just because the word “substance” is in both phrases.

    Pray tell me, what, exactly, was Tyndale translating?

  25. John, look at Hebrews 1:3.

    The KJV reads the phrase this way, “the express image of his person”.

    I have seen various words, such as substance or essence or person, etc. for the translation of hupostaseos. But I have never heard of anyone considering the meaning of this word to be of physical matter or spiritual body of flesh and bones until Joseph.

    Unlike Tyndale’s meaning in his translation, Joseph threw physical substance into the equation. He thinks that this must be the essence of God Almighty, and that God can not be God if this is not true. Joseph Smith made a very particular defining judgment upon the God of Christianity.

    By the way, this Sunday will be our first “Beholding His Glory” Sunday at Berean Baptist Church. Our text will be Hebrews 1:1-4, one magnificent sentence in the Greek.

    John, I wish you could come.

  26. qui cum sit splendor gloriae et figura substantiae eius portansque omnia verbo virtutis suae purgationem peccatorum faciens sedit ad dexteram Maiestatis in excelsis

    Ahh, you believe that Tyndale is corrupted by Jerome’s ancient vulgar of the day (and church councils).

    Are you thinking: Wycliffe is the morning star for Scripture freedom (though still retaining the word, substance) . Tyndale brought the Bible further along (though still retaining the word, substance). But the Geneva translators and John Calvin further released scripture from dark shackles to greater purity by maintaing the English translation of “person”. I suppose some LDS will maintain further clarity by Joseph Smith crossing out “substance” in the KJV Hebrews 11:1.

    Yet John what do you think of this post by Kerry (my friend here in Idaho Falls)? I think he likes the word, substance.

    And I think he gets the idea of the Father’s substance as physical matter from Joseph Smith.

  27. Todd, the Mormon understanding of God having a physical body doesn’t come from anything Joseph Smith said or didn’t say about the verse in Hebrews. It comes from the First Vision and revelations to Joseph Smith recorded in the Doctrine & Covenants, and also from the obvious point that the Bible doesn’t describe, define or mention the philosophical abstraction of the creedal Trinity.

    At any rate, I’m not bothered by the word “substance” in Tyndale’s translation of this verse. Even if Tyndale used it with the intention of conveying the philosophical concept of the creedal Trinity, that is not its necessary meaning, even in that very phrase/context.

    Todd, with regard to the Mormon article of faith that “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” — even you believe and hold to that maxim, don’t you? Do you believe that the Jehova’s Witnesses proprietary translation of the Bible is translated correctly? No, you don’t. But apparently, you believe the KJV to be translated correctly — and yet you continually harken back to isolated Greek words in your discussions of scriptures. This seems inconsistent with the idea that the KJV is translated correctly such that it is or can be an inerrant book.

    As to translation in this situation, which is it Todd? Is it “substance” or “person” or something else? What word was used in the original manuscript that Paul’s acolyte wrote at that spot when the Epistle to the Hebrews was first written — and what did that word mean to the writer in the original language? We have no idea since that document didn’t survive but rather only a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy until it appeared in one of the sources that we now still have to refer back to. We know what it says in the codex sinaiticus — but what did it say in 101 A.D.? What is the date of the earliest existing manuscript of the Epistle to the Hebrews?

  28. Arghh…so much confusion….maybe someone should ask God and see if he’ll call a modern day prophet and reveal to him what it is we are to believe so we can all quit being confused — then it’s just up to us as to whether or not we will believe the words of a prophet of God.

  29. The Greek word is overflowing with meaning. I don’t use the word “Substance” because LDS friends want to think immediately of physical matter. Essence is a good word. So is nature.

  30. “Substance” is Latin. It is used to translate “ousia”. “Ousia” is Greek. “Essence” or “being” are the best English translations of “ousia”. (“Nature”, while not inappropriate, best translates “physis”.)

  31. Greg: Thanks but that isn’t the point really. If the KJV is inerrant, then Todd doesn’t need to refer to Latin and Greek words. I suspect that you don’t subscribe to the theory of Biblical inerrancy, so this is really an inquiry for Todd.

    What word did Paul’s acolyte write in the original manuscript? If you claim you can actually know that (you can’t), then please state what the exact translation of that word is in English. If you can’t then you are essentially claiming that knowledge of ancient Greek isn’t just nice as an interpretive aide but that it is necessary to be saved.

    If you believe that you should go back to the “original” Greek word for that (nevermind that the original manuscript does not exist or has not yet been found) and then go from there to try to find the best approximation in English, then you are doing at least two things: (1) you are basically endorsing the “as far as it is translated correctly” concept — you also believe that the Bible is the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly (everyone does), and (2) you are undermining the concept that any version of the Bible other than the original scrolls and manuscripts written by the Old Testament prophets, the Apostles and their disciples (as in the case of Hebrews) can actually be inerrant.

  32. Of course, I submit to #1. I think Joseph picked that up from conservative Protestant scholarship.

    But John, you really think that Joseph Smith would have signed his name to the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy if he lived 30 years ago?

    Did any LDS authorities?

    And what in the Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic do you feel is preserved from the original autographs? What percentage? Just give me a rough estimate.

  33. Here is one of the main problems: LDS scriptures are a piggyback to the KJV Bible (which for some LDS, they do not believe the Bible comes very close to the originals for accuracy and preservation and interpretation.)

    The LDS Authorities need to do an overhaul on all the texts they carry in their quads to reflect better and more accurately who they are and what they believe in 2009.

    I think it is silly that they carry the KJV Bible and yet despise the theology of the KJV translators.

  34. Honestly, I don’t think with all these Modern Prophets and Apostles that they can even begin to retranslate all their revelation into an authoritative communication to their people living in these latter days in the 21st century. They will need to piggyback on to someone or not at all.

    Imagine the ongoing and progressive layers of LDS tradition, year after year, decade after decade, Church commentary after commentary, to help them with the old language of the KJV.

    And century after century, they have never once been able to sign their names in agreement to the full KJV preface.

    From an outsider’s perspective, it is amusing to watch.

  35. It’s nice to see that you think we’re funny. Joseph Smith did not believe that the Bible is inerrant. Neither do current LDS authorities. The issue is much more complex than that. Only a cursory knowledge of the history of the region and of the documents that constitute the current Bible is necessary to disabuse one of the theory of Biblical inerrancy. On a deeper level, those who take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ and become disciples of Christ through baptism have been counseled to avoid idolatry, which would include the peculiar form of Bibolatry practiced by some North American creedal Christian sects in which the Bible itself is quasi-worshiped as if it were a living entity on its own.

    At any rate, not believing in Biblical inerrancy isn’t the same as disbelieving the Bible. Arguing that it is constitutes setting up a fatally flawed straw man argument and directs the discussion away from the Bible’s teachings about God’s religion, both under the Old Covenant and under the New.

    One of the biggest obstacles that you have to overcome in reaching out to Mormons is to convince them that you believe that Jesus’ New Testament teachings actually matter — and that you believe that God expects followers of Jesus Christ to follow those teachings. This is very important to Latter-day Saints because Latter-day Saints devoutly study the teachings of Jesus Christ and try to incorporate them into our lives as much as possible.

    If all they hear from you is that they must believe in an extra-biblical philosophical construct then the rest falls by the wayside. Mormons by and large aren’t interested in the musings of sixteenth-century philosopher-pastors so this will fall flat in your outreach.

  36. I am hearing you, John.

    Just as seriously as I need to take what Jesus says about His nature, I need to flesh out more and more of his commandment in my life through gospel grace:

    “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

    Have a good weekend, John.

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