Month: May 2010

“Christian” – an elastic term

Stephen Prothero writes in his latest book, God is Not One (HarperOne, 2010) (see the latest review):

Christianity is now so elastic that it seems a stretch to use this term to cover the beliefs and behaviors of Pentecostals in Brazil, Mormons in Utah, Roman Catholics in Italy, and the Orthodox in Moscow. (p. 67)

Verily, I think it is a stretch.  But my Mormon friends don’t.

Notice the section in the book devoted to Mormonism (pp. 82-84).

Hebrews – what the English translator thought 475 years ago

Do you know what William Tyndale wrote as he translated Hebrews into English, around 475 years ago?

 . . . Now therefore to come to our purposes again, though this epistle (as it saith in the sixth) lay not the ground of the faith of Christ, yet it buildeth cunningly thereon pure gold, silver and precious stones, and proveth the priesthood of Christ with scriptures inevitable.  Moreover there is no work in all scripture that so plainly declareth the meaning and significations of the sacrifices, ceremonies and figures of the old testament, as this epistle: in so much that if wilful blindness and malicious malice were not the cause, this epistle only were enough to weed out of the hearts of the papists that cankered heresy of justifying of works, concerning our sacraments, ceremonies and all manner of traditions of their own invention. . . .

Some more Joseph Smith ouch to John’s Gospel

John 6:65 – And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

John 9:4 – I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

John 13:10 – Jesus saith to him, he that has washed his hands and his head needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit:  and ye are clean, but not all.  Now this was the custom of the Jews under their law: wherefore, Jesus did this that the law might be fulfilled. (JST)

John 14:30 – Hereafter I will not talk much with you:  for the prince of darkness, who is of this world cometh, but hath no power over me, but he hath power over you. (JST)

John 19:17 – And he was bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:


And what in the world?  How do these interpretations jive with John’s Gospel?

John 14:1-5 – “Of this passage the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, ” ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions.’ It should be–‘In my Father’s kingdom are many kingdoms,’ in order that ye may be heirs of God and joint-heirs with me. . . . There are mansions for those who obey the celestial law, and there are other mansions for those who come short of the law[,] every man in his own order (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 366).”

John 17:20-26 – “To establish Zion, then, we must become of one heart and one mind.  God seems to be celebrating not diversity but unity.  That may not be too popular a notion in the world, but the Godhead is encouraging us to become as they are–to feel and to think as they do.  And where are we more united, as one, than any other place?  In the House of God.  In his Holy Temple we present ourselves equally before the Lord, all dressed in the same white clothing symbolic of cleanliness and purity, not one better than anyone else (no matter how much money we possess, what executive position we have, or what Church position we serve in)–all are alike before God.  As we learned from Joseph Smith about the washing of feet, that ordinance and all ordinances of the Temple unite us, helping us to become one. . . . Surely the three Gods are teaching us mortals the fundamental and indispensable principle that will lead us to become as they are.  In this great intercessory prayer, our Advocate with the Father is pleading:  ‘Holy Father, keep . . . those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are’ (John 17:11).”

John 20:14-17 – ” ‘Hold me not,’ he gently explained to her, ‘for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God’ (JST John 20:17).  There would now be a respectful separation between immortals and mortals.  Jesus taught: He is first my Father and God, then your Father and God.  And Jesus himself was now more than mortal friend and associate in the divine work; he was Savior, Lord, and God to those brethren and sisters and to all mankind.  If, as the Savior indicated, he had not yet ascended to his Father, where had he been?  The answer is more gloriously and plainly presented in Doctrine and Covenants 138 than anywhere else in scripture.  The Lord Jesus Christ had not yet ascended to the home of his Father but had gone only to the spirit world, which is the place of all spirit beings and living things occupying the very same space as this physical Earth.  He had organized in the world of spirits, among the billions of the Father’s children who had lived from the days of Adam and Eve until his own day, that same missionary effort that he had organized on earth during his mortal ministry.  ‘And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on condition of repentance’  (D&C 138:19).”

John 21:23-25 – “The word spread:  John the Beloved was not going to die a mortal death but would continue to live as a translated being in the mortal sphere until the Lord returned to reign during the Millennium (Matthew 16:28).”

– taken from Verse by Verse: The Four Gospels  (Deseret, 2006) by D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C. Skinner

August 20, 2006

That date marked the day when our church family began a serious study of The Gospel of John.  And it was soon after, I began Heart Issues for LDS (HI4LDS).

Yesterday, we finished our examination of the 879 verses.  I am greatly privileged that my church family would allow me to lead them in over 150 hours in this study.  And I will always treasure the hours of meditation and prayer in my personal journey through this book.  The Gospel has changed my life.

And this is no mere hyperbole:

And there are many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.  Amen.

Two Clear Categories: Made and Unmade

Two categories:

Unmade – The eternal Triune God

Made – Everything else

By reading the 66 books of the Bible, is this not clear to the reader?  For starters, clear off your shelves every other religious work and contemporary author, and spend the next three years reading and rereading three books:  Genesis, Isaiah, and John’s Gospel.

And let the Spirit of God build within you this presuppositional conviction as we see at the end of John’s Gospel:

“We know that his testimony is true.”

A Divine Spark in Humans

“The problem with both Platonic and Gnostic ideas is similar to the problem of early twentieth-century liberalism in that they all advocate a divine spark in humans.  But human beings are not divine, not even a small part of them.  They are created beings, and even when they join God in his presence they are still not divine.  They are still his creations.  There is basic qualitative difference between God or Jesus and humans, and it will remain so.  Nevertheless, humans can experience life that is eternal, but it is not part of their essence; it is a gift given by God” (John 3:16; 10:27-28).  – Gerald Borchert

Unlike Father, Son, and Spirit, man is not of the species of Jehovah.

In Ammon, Idaho, we read this.  We know this to be true by our study of John’s Gospel.