28 comments

  1. Jackson Hole has its own greatness (mostly due to the Grand Tetons, but as a Star Valley native I can tell you that there has been a prophecy for a long time that there would be a temple there someday. I was told the Tabernacle in Afton would be converted. I don’t know at this point if that is the plan, but there are more members in Star Valley (having 2 large stakes.)

    Star Valley is an original Mormon colony in Deseret and is a highly spiritual place. It is fitting that it receive Wyoming’s first temple.

    Allison (Larsen) Sullivan

  2. Jackson Hole does not even have a stake in it. It is in the Driggs, Idaho Stake. It is also horrible for roads, very narrow.

  3. Also About the “propehcy” about a temple for many years in SV, people please it has been quit the opposite. We as members need to stop the Fairy tale attitudes.

  4. Anonymous,

    I agree that we don’t repeat speculation, but this I don’t appreciate your comment about the “fairy tale attitude.” I am brave enough to sign my real name including my maiden name. Why aren’t you? 🙂

    Allison (Larsen) Sullivan

  5. What a blessing to have a Temple where ever the Lord designates, who are we to question? Be grateful and attend the Temples where ever you are. We are so blessed!

  6. P.J., I do question. I desire for you all to question a whole lot all of the newest temples promoted. We got something far greater than temples in the area.

    Much. Much. Much better.

  7. I like Thomas Oden’s start for this: Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, and Gregory the Great in the West, Chrysostom, Gregory Nanzianzus, Athanasius, and Basil in the East. Oden is an evangelical (in the Methodist tradition), but has done most of his work with patristics and “consensual Christianity” held by the fathers admired by the the three great divisions of Christendom (not that division is itself positive, but that there are three recognizable factions). As an Anglo-Lutheran Evangelical, I have no qualms viewing the fathers of the first 700 years as extremely important and needing to be consulted regarding exegesis and orthopraxy.

  8. Well, as you may know, Hayes, Augustine is pretty problemmatic for those of us rooted in the East…

    But at least Oden is not including Anselm in that list….

    Good list of Eastern Fathers, and the East certainly appreciates Pope Gregory the Great for his low view of the papacy.

    I wonder what Oden’s opinion is of Ephrem, Gregory of Nyssa, Severus of Antioch, and Isaac of Nineveh.

    I would also, I think, want to include the great Fathers of the Second Century, such as Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Ereneus of Lyons.

    Finally, there are five “great divisions” of Christianity. The Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Byzantine Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Protestant communities.

  9. Greg, Oden uses Gregory of Nyssa, and occasionally Ephrem. The Eastern fathers besides the four I listed that he uses frequently are Cyril of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, John of Damascus (frequently), Eusebius the historian, and Theophilus of Antioch. He does occasionally use Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Ignatius of Antioch (frequently). It is important to note that he (like me, and all Roman Catholics and traditional Protestants) is a Chalcedonian Christian, which is probably why the “three divisions” are utilized as opposed to “five.”

    As an “Anglo-Lutheran” Evangelical Catholic, I personally have found much of Anselm profitable, and Oden does use him, and uses Aquinas even more. Other Latin fathers (pre-East-West-Schism) he uses include Hilary of Poitiers (frequently), Bede, Leo I, Lactantius, and Cyprian of Carthage. He also uses Protestants such as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and Cranmer “in so far as they reflect the ancient ecumenical consensus.” (Classic Christianity, xvi).

    Just out of curiosity, is there a particular reason you are not in communion with Eastern Orthodoxy (or even Oriental Orthodoxy) proper and are instead aligned with a communion that is considered “Independent Catholic” and with a specific cultural tradition?

  10. Hayes, you write:

    “Just out of curiosity, is there a particular reason you are not in communion with Eastern Orthodoxy (or even Oriental Orthodoxy) proper and are instead aligned with a communion that is considered “Independent Catholic” and with a specific cultural tradition?”

    There is indeed:

    http://vagantepriest.blogspot.com/2011/02/progressive-dynamic-tradition-part-ii.html

    The “specific cultural tradition” aspect of this is exceedingly minor. None of us are Syrian, for example.

  11. Greg, considering my understanding of justification and original sin is very Western (I happen to think the Latin heritage is right on this, whether Roman or Protestant/Evangelical, I’m sure Todd is also in this camp as a Reformed Baptist), I have little problem with Anselm, with the caveat that he is contextually writing as one in the feudalistic system. I especially find him helpful in buttressing the believers position apologetically for God’s existence.

    The link you provided seems to be a caricature of the Western position, and nothing more. It is an argument by outrage, saying that “that seems so cruel, or harsh, or unloving” as if that somehow solves the argument. Skeptics do indeed make that argument, but only because there is evil in the world, not because God must punish sin. The article reads as someone who has not studied the arguments that arose in the 18th century in particular (Voltaire, Hume etc…) and the theodicy problem. Virtually every atheist I have seen argues because of the existence of evil, not because God must punish sin. I personally would have trouble worshiping a God who does not punish sin because of his holy, sovereign, and just nature. The fact that his son died in our place (which I willingly admit is in the Augustinian/Anselmian tradition) as “sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21), is the ultimate expression of love, and to claim that his somehow comes from some pantheistic presupposition is conjecture at best, and is extremely demeaning to Western Christians, whether Roman or Evangelical Protestant. It would be like me calling the Eastern Orthodox completely pagan because a select few (such as the late Seraphim Rose) advocate the idea of “toll houses” after death. There is also no reason that the substitutionary and ransom/victory themes cannot be complimentary, rather than exclusive.

    Finally, it is my experience that the ordination of women to the position of head pastor, bishop, priest etc…almost always leads to the ordination of homosexuals. The PCUSA just did this, and one only needs to look at the ELCA, ECUSA, Church of Christ etc…to see where this leads. Even if this were not the case, it has been my experience (not saying you are doing this) that most who advocate this are basically arguing a form of liberation theology/social gospel, which is a 20th century innovation, not the faith once received (perhaps this is unique to liberal Protestantism). The moment the local body I am in ordains a woman or homosexual to the role of head pastor/priest/bishop, is the moment I leave that body, as abandoning the created order set up in the church. We would no doubt have to get into eschatology here (since one of the arguments seems to be that women have authority over men is a sign of the last days), but this seems to be sort of mix of postmillennial and liberation theology, both of which have been rejected by orthodox believers for the most part, regardless of tradition.

    I have attached a link from Oden discussing the compatibility of the Western and Eastern views of the atonement, and how they can help correct each other (Oden says the two on the right are the most representative of the classical Christian tradition):

    http://hayesworldview.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/atonement-views.pdf

  12. I gotta go to work, Hayes, but a primordial, basic problem with what you are saying above sticks out like a sore thumb. You write, “God must punish sin”.

    God is omnipotent, radically free. God is not required to do anything, and that includes “punishing sin”.

    I am a recovering Western Christian. In “River of Fire,” I recognize the god with which I was raised. It is not, therefore, a charicature.

    Anselm on the existence of God, BTW, is a different matter. More later.

  13. Greg, I agree to a point, but God is also holy, and as such cannot tolerate sin. This does not inhibit his freedom, but means he cannot go against his own nature. Much like how he cannot lie etc…there are things God cannot do, otherwise goodness would not be his nature, but arbitrary. This doesn’t violate his freedom, it maintains his perfections. Anselm is excellent on this, when he points out that saying “God has goodness” is incorrect, but that “God is goodness” (This would also include his holiness, justice, love etc…), otherwise the traits would be greater then he is. This is far from the “pantheistic” idea presented in the link you provided, and demonstrates God’s transcendence.

  14. Hayes, holiness can tolerate the presence of sin, but not vice-versa. If this were not the case, Christ could not have become human, and certainly could not have submitted himself to the cross. No, holiness destroys sin.

    There is but one “ontological” statement in Scripture about God: “God IS love”. Everything else flows from that: all “punishment”, etc., beginning with the banishment from the garden, is therapeutic and is designed to protect humans from the themselves and bring them to repentance.

    Part of the problem is, we think we can define holiness, justice, etc., and then project our understanding of these qualities back on God. We can really do neither.

    We must understand all these things in terms of Christ “emptying Himself” and accepting death, death on the cross as the ultimate revelation of God. To move in the opposite direction, as Anselm does, simply re-establishes the “principalities and powers”. It does not triumph over them.

  15. Greg, the argument that I am making is that the Triune God is the transcendent reality, and that all positive goodness and the traits that go with them, he has to the maximum (hence justice, holiness, mercy, judgement etc…). This is far from saying a “principality” or “power,” but saying that these traits and attributes is God. Otherwise they would indeed be “powers” as you say, because they would be separate from him as concepts, meaning he would be less free, and forced to act under those concepts, rather then being the traits and attributes themselves.

    Perhaps part of the argument that I (and other Western Christians, Roman or Protestant) am making is has to do with God being a God of moral order. I will quote Oden on this point, as he says it better then me:

    The Moral Necessity of Penalty

    Only the fair and rightful execution of penalty guarantees the continuity and intelligibility of a reliable moral order. God does not forgive without atonement or expiation of for past guilt. To do this would be to treat God’s own moral order flippantly. This is why atonement was necessary.

    It was necessary that the penalty be applied if violated, for to establish a just penalty for a violation of law and then to permit the violation to pass with impunity is to mock justice. Pardon without atonement nullifies justice. Absolute impunity mocks fairness. A law without penalty is morally unserious, even dangerous. Withhold from your child all negative feedback and see what happens (Oecumenius, Fragments on Heb 12.9). That takes uncommonly optimistic assumptions about humanity to assume that all negative reinforcement can be taken away without human harm. Suppose a legislature passed a law against theft with a specific reasonable penalty yet the executive refused ever to enforce the law and no penalty was ever administered. Would that not have the effect of making void the law, making it a mere matter of words, thereby risking the increase of theft? Suppose God had ordered the moral universe in this way-issuing commands or requirements with penalties that were never administered-would not that end in a morally ruinous situation repugnant to moral order and law?

    Oden, Classic Christianity, 418.

  16. The primordial order is that of Love. The “moral order” only kicks in because of the fall and does so in order to protect humanity from itself, to keep it going until “the fullness of time” when the Redeemer comes and his redemption will once again, in the end, fully restore the original order, that of Love (as a reflection of the primordial, Trinitarian Divine Love).

    Again, and I think Oden might agree, punishment is only for the sake for the above, and that includes bringing people to repentance. Further, most such is on the order of natural consequence: “the wages of sin is death”.

  17. Just out of curiosity, how do you divine evil? As a western Christian, I have most often heard it as a “privation of the good” after Augustine (or rebellion against God’s order, love etc…)…meaning it can have a beginning, but good has no beginning. I would argue that the satisfaction/substitution motif of the atonement in order to allow us to partake in the “primordial order” that you refer to. Hence the belief that the “Christus Victor/Ransom” motif is completely compatible with the satisfaction/substitution motif. One has a focus on the satisfaction of justice and order, the other the defeat of the forces of evil and the sentence of death. I think both perspectives are necessary, found in scripture, and in church tradition.

  18. In my view, evil is perversion and the corruption of the good and therefore, cancer is an extremely good metaphor for evil in general.

    I think what gets missed in all this is that it is the elements of the post-fall “moral order” that themselves are the instruments of the unjust execution of Christ: Torah, the state, culture. None of these are evil, but they are unable to withstand corruption and hence, become the instruments of evil. Thus, not only is sin and death conquered by the death and resurrection of Jesus, but these also are radically relativized and will, in the end, also pass away. Thus, the death of Jesus does not re-establish the post fall “moral order”, but subverts it; it is radically transcended by the primordial order of love and communion; the latter is coming in power, while the former is passing away.

  19. Also, Hayes, please note that “satisfaction” and “substitution” are separate issues…

    Jesus indeed dies (and rises) for me, on my behalf, doing for me what I cannot do for myself. However, what He is doing is defeating sin, death, and and Satan and is thereby restoring communion between the Holy Trinity and humanity. He is not somehow placating the Father’s “wrath” which, according to both St. Paul and St. John, is “to come”. Why will it come? Because the sacrifice of Christ, the path to this restoration of communion, is rejected by those “who do not obey the gospel”.

    IOW, the wrath of God is eschatological. It is poured out, not merely because of sin (cf. Acts 17:30-31), but because,when all is said and done, humanity rejects God’s solution for sin, the path to salvation, return to communion with God.

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