Month: November 2009

Becki & His Healing Now

Some LDS women might be tempted to rest in all their hard work and achievements.

And yet some “Latter Day Saint” women boast in the cross, the blood of Jesus Christ, and righteousness obtained through exhilarating, undeserved grace.

Listen to Becki’s story.  It brought tears of joy to my eyes on this Monday morning in Southeastern Idaho.  This is the joy of Christmas.

Mormon Women: Portraits and Conversations (2009)

It seems that this book, put together by James N. Kimball and Kent Miles, seeks to break the old stereotypes and pay tribute.

I read with keen interest on the professor at Harvard — Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s biographical essay.  She begins,

Sugar City, Idaho, was lively for a tiny little town of nine hundred people when I grew up there.  It’s five miles north of Rexburg along the highway toward Yellowstone.  The whole town washed away in the Teton Flood of 1976.  By then, my parents had moved to Idaho Falls, but we went back that year to visit.  There were two or three buildings still standing that I could remember.  Even trees were washed away.

It ‘s an interesting feeling having the material of your childhood washed away.  Not that there was a lot of there anyway, because it was a new town of 1906.  It was sugar factory town.  Now it’s like a subdivision bedroom community of Rexburg. 

This is a Mormon life story because it begins with ancestors.  My grandparents had homesteaded in Teton City, near Sugar City, and that’s where my mom was born.  My dad was also born in Idaho, in the little town of Thatcher.  So both of my parents grew up in the age of cattle and sheep, and both of them had sheep, if I’m not mistaken.  Dad was a school teacher.  The only job he could get was in Teton, and he came out and boarded with my mother’s parents.  That’s how they met.  My parents spent almost all of their married life in southeastern Idaho.

We used to say Sugar City was 99.44 percent Mormon.  And it really was a very intact and very active Mormon town.  Whereas Teton, where my mother grew up, was a backsliding Mormon town, and my mother’s family, the Sidoways, were among the backsliders.  That was a great dynamic to grow up with.  I had Thatcher relatives who were active in the Church and Sidoways who weren’t” (pp. 87-88).

(1) As a seven year old, I helped my dad stack sand bags during the Teton Flood.

(2) And Laurel’s comments on Sugar City and Teton City are true to this day.


Robert L. Millet & Charles G. Finney

I have recently read Millet’s book, Holding Fast: Dealing with Doubt in the Latter Days (Deseret, 2008).

He writes in chapter 9:

In the early nineteenth century there grew up in the northeastern part of the United States a novel approach to preaching the gospel and making disciples.  In a very real sense, it was a reaction to the high Calvinism of the day that emphasized God’s total sovereignty and control over the infinite details of our lives.

Charles Grandison Finney, an attorney by training, built upon the concepts of the camp meetings so prevalent in the area, which became known as the “Burnt Over District” because of the fiery messages and baptisms by fire that had taken place.  Finney came to be known as the master of revivalism, inasmuch as he treated the phenomenon of conversion as a science, a systematic program that could and did accomplish predesigned ends, namely, new followers of Christ.  Indeed, Finney published pamphlets and books that explained in the minutest of details how to set up and carry out an effective revival.  He became to revivals what Fanny Farmer became to cookbooks.

I mentioned earlier that Finney’s approach to revivalism ran counter to the spirit of what John Calvin had taught: namely–that individuals were either saved or damned from the foundation of the world, that the atonement of Jesus Christ was efficacious only for the elect, and that those who were saved would be led and directed to accept the gospel.  Those led to the gospel were not saved because they chose to be so but rather because God’s sovereign will, the efficacious call, would always be realized, and that once they had come unto Christ they could never fall from that lofty state of grace.  Finney’s approach allowed more readily for individual moral agency and stressing that man and God were working together toward the salvation of the soul.  The gathering place was preached.  The mood was established.  The gospel was preached.  The invitation on the part of the preacher was extended to the audience, and members of that congregation were fervently encouraged to “make a decision for Christ” or to “make a commitment for the Lord” (pp. 123-124).

I must admit.  I am not a  fan of Charles G. Finney’s theology.

So thankful . . .

  1. So thankful for the eternal, absolute trustworthiness of our Three-Person’d God.  Father.  Son.  Spirit. 
  2. So thankful for God creating me and my family . . . miraculously bringing us into existence. 
  3. So thankful for all that I see around me . . . the overwhelming, superabundant, good gifts of God to mankind.
  4. So thankful for the absolute trustworthiness of what God says.  God’s Word is truth and sets me apart.  I have been given purpose.  I have a mission.
  5. So thankful for God becoming like us and yet still not like us.
  6. So thankful for the full and complete salvation wrought by all Three — Father, Son, and Spirit — on my behalf.
  7. So thankful for the Church – living stones fitted together that give glory to the living, one, true God.
  8. So thankful to be in the world, but not of the world.
  9. So thankful for suffering where I can be brought into closer fellowship with my merciful, compassionate Savior.
  10. And I must conclude with this:  I am thankful for internet.  I have read a lot of tremendous things, and I have made a lot of friends.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Baptists using “Released Time Education”

When in seminary, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, was the Christian family in Greenville, S.C. for my family.

And I am thankful for Jamie, writer for World Magazine, who spotlights in her latest article, “Catch & release” (Nov. 21), how my South Carolina church family is using released time education in the public school system.

In the years ahead, Berean Baptist Church in Idaho Falls, needs to be solidly in the trenches lovingly providing this very ministry to public school students.