95 Theses for the I-15 Corridor (Five Years Later)

I wrote this five years ago and put it on this blog:

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther initiated discussion by submitting 95 theses for the Roman Catholic Church to consider. Today, 490 years later, as one who was born and has lived in Mormon country for most of my life, I earnestly submit my 95 theses for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) to consider. The religious leaders of the intermountain West need to completely rethink the foundational undergirdings that hold up the well-oiled, seasoned superstructure.

Governor Mitt Romney, a man who intrigues me, is seeking the presidency of the United States of America. The LDS religion is a topic of discussion throughout many parts of the country. In observing some of the conversation in the corridor, I am at least aware of many undercurrents in popular LDS thought and action. As a Bible preacher who considers himself a latter-day saint living within the I-15 Corridor, the stretch of interstate from the top of southeastern Idaho to St. George, Utah, I offer frank and honest propositions for LDS in 2007. I am sure that for each earnest and regenerated Christian, as he lives in and observes his particular cultural environment in America, thoughts of conviction from time to time will arise to the surface that need to be expressed. Here are some of mine:

  1. Christian authorities must be driven by one sole passion—making big the glory of the one, living, absolute God among all.
  2. All Christian authorities of integrity should passionately highlight the revealed nature of God, deeply study theology, and vividly share with others the blessed findings.
  3. God’s earthly authorities must communicate how God defines Himself.
  4. Each attribute of God is riveting; it is inexcusable to lay aside theology.
  5. Among all visible and invisible phenomena and consciousness, God is the utterly unique, holy One,
  6. because God is manifested in three spheres of consciousness, displaying perfect and particular thought, will and emotion;
  7. because in the multiplicity, He is clearly expressed through the unique love, initiation, response, submission, and other direction among the godhead.
  8. But in all the distinctiveness, there is one center of operation, concurrence of word and action among the three,
  9. hereby radically establishing as a moot point any possibility of the fracturing of the divine triune.
  10. The triune godhead—Father, Son, and Spirit—is the initiating, responding, and completing Elohim of all, the Jewish Yahweh of hosts.
  11. The Father, being Yahweh of all, is honored as we give the Son status of Yahweh.
  12. Christian authorities must lead in full, unreserved worship to the Christ
  13. Because to see the Son is to see the Father, to know the Son is to know the Father, and to hear the Son is to hear the Father.
  14. The Son exegetes the Father.
  15. Christian messages are not Christian at all if they are not saturated with the nature of Christ, the word of Christ, and the work of Christ.
  16. In addition, thankful adoration and worshipful praise are due to the Spirit of Yahweh.
  17. Christian formulas that limit one’s worship to exclusively any member of the Trinity ought to be smashed.
  18. Worship to the full triune God must flood contemporary veins of Christian hymnody.
  19. Yahweh is the eternally commanding, sovereign supreme over all other elohim, either interpreted as earthly or heavenly creatures. In fact, Yahweh is able to destroy the whole pantheon of heaven.
  20. These elohim creatures are held accountable because their lives are not self-existent.
  21. The Christ came down from heaven to be fully a man, but remember that a male body is not what defines God in essential essence.
  22. Animals, humans, and angels (representing three kinds of God’s creative power) have life directly derived from the triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit.
  23. All bear the stamp of the Creator, but none, absolutely none, are of the triune God’s exclusive kind.
  24. Yahweh, the Servant of Yahweh, and the Spirit of Yahweh are one God.
  25. It is unbiblical to force the distinctions into separate Gods altogether for humans to worship. Again: where would the main theme in the reading of any one biblical scroll or epistle clearly project this?
  26. Yahweh among elohim is the only Holy One (evidenced through Father, Son, and Spirit) who asserts self exaltation above all else in totality of life existence.
  27. Absolutely all who live must bow either joyfully or miserably to this truth forever.
  28. Either Yahweh is to be everlasting burnings or the King in His beauty to every human.
  29. Eternal judgment, often described in fire and brimstone, is final and forever; so every Christian authority must earnestly warn all of such awful penalty and just consequence for disbelief.
  30. After death, there is an uncrossable chasm between hell and heaven.
  31. Thank God for the gospel! *“The right and true treasure of the Church is the most Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God. This treasure, however, is deservedly most hateful, for it makes the first to be the last.”
  32. Personal depravity condemns oneself as spiritually bankrupt and hopelessly destitute of individual merit, signifying the whole redemptive activity a marvelous intervention of God by grace alone. We do not come to this earth to merit righteousness for our personal exaltation.
  33. The single efficacious work of God by which man is justified as righteous occurs through belief.
  34. The object of that faith, not the alleged sincerity of the faith, determines whether it is truly salvific.
  35. Christian authorities have nothing to boast in because it is impossible for any of them to contribute efficaciously to their own justification, their own sanctification, or their own glorification in the greater and final work of God in man’s salvation.
  36. Today, Jesus Christ exclusively carries the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood.
  37. In Him is joined both priestly and prophetic authority.
  38. His sacrificial work as High Priest is altogether sufficient, justifying ungodly men by grace alone through faith alone in Him alone,
  39. breaking through the wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles, and tearing down the veil before the Holy of Holies,
  40. thereby making all regenerated believers, equally men and women, as individual priests,
  41. and graciously giving them direct access to the throne room of God.
  42. No other earthly human authority need stand between those who have become true sons and daughters on this earth and Almighty God.
  43. “Christians should be taught” that there need be no other earthly authority as the gateway for them in experiencing more intimate and sacred communion with God.
  44. “Christians should be taught” that in having Jesus as the meeting place, no other temple is necessary for a more perfect connection.
  45. For today’s prophetic voice, the Holy Spirit provides illumination for accurate forth telling rather than inspired foretelling. What prophet in America has ever foretold perfectly in every prophetic utterance?
  46. Prophetic authority is only as reliable as it is faithful to the already inspired prophetic voice of the one divine Author in the texts.
  47. Inspired scrolls are trustworthy; complete messages are intact.
  48. If I may use the scriptural analogy, mates to God’s words are never lost; written words are central for Christian authority.
  49. Christian authorities reveal no trust in God’s process of inspiration when they implicate that precious truths of Christian biblical texts have been either corrupted by Greek philosophies or falsely layered by early ecclesiastical redactors,
  50. and one is sadly told he is unable to easily recognize the full fundamental doctrines of the New Testament era within the ancient texts.
  51. It is a vain charge, both deceptive and divisive to the living body of Christ, the household of faith.
  52. To take a submissive stroll through biblical scripture is to enter the mind of God, to taste and see His goodness, and to come away momentarily with even a greater appetite for the experiences of knowing Him.
  53. Christian authorities who are unfaithful to inspired biblical messages should be swiftly removed by Christian communities.
  54. Christian authorities reveal their lack of authority when sidestepping or laying aside as secondary Christian theology rooted in Scripture.
  55. “Christians should be taught” that every contemporary message must be held accountable to the plumb line of Scripture before acknowledging trust and affirmation.
  56. Written biblical scrolls and epistles, on close and careful examination, have proven to be absolutely sufficient in pointing people to the Servant of Yahweh and in immersing them in the gospel plan for their full salvation.
  57. Messages from the mind of God are to be seen for each generation through both specific and general revelation;
  58. Thus, each person in whatever place on this earth is accountable to the light shown to him.
  59. For evangelicals and Latter-Day Saints in the corridor, the stakes are the highest in America for individual responsibility to the true Son, eternal God of God,
  60. because of the overwhelming availability of scriptural revelation in Sunday meetings, regular seminary classes, daily televised programs, radio broadcasts, established bookstores, major-length feature movies, etc.,
  61. because for more than any other large land region in the country there is the advertisement of Jesus Christ through every venue conceivable.
  62. Surely, knowing this, there is no other place in this green U.S.A. for cultivating the possibilities of damnable judgment through false prophets and deceived doers.
  63. We need spiritual awakening; we need a pouring out of the Spirit from on high.
  64. We need people of all ages through the corridor to stop and call upon God daily for mercy and for Him to bring about a new transformational restoration to individuals and families,
  65. where hearts are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, thereby experiencing a revival of true, joyous thanksgiving toward the self-exalting God,
  66. where we would be released from seeking Jesus out of mere appetite to appease ourselves,
  67. where we could be set free from our unbalanced preoccupation with success in business venture and material gain,
  68. where we would be set free from the undue attention to earthly gifts granted to us by our sovereign Creator: family status and even our own bodily appearance.
  69. In the beginning, God created so that all else might come into existence.
  70. All life is sourced in and dependent upon and accountable to the ultimately unique, lovingly personal, divinely perfect, infinitely eternal triune relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit.
  71. But know this: there is only one God, for the demons who know the spiritual entities believe and tremble before one God.
  72. You do well to believe in this one theos.
  73. You do even better if your life-works prove before others the transformational change wrought by this one God whom you believe upon for the imputation of righteousness.
  74. All professing Christian leaders must cling to the imputation of righteousness made available by the triune God’s sacrificial work, specifically the Son dying on the cross, to be truly Christian.
  75. The suffering Savior brought about the greatest gift of all—the imputation of His perfect righteousness in exchange for sin’s awful penalty incurred by the unjust creature in rebellion against God’s glory.
  76. It is a vain grasping for the label “Christian” when one believes that Jesus Christ’s work of grace is insufficient for freely receiving the gift of justification, sanctification, and glorification in the plan of salvation.
  77. It is hugely problematic when a Christian says he likewise eternally preexisted as spirit with the only preexistent Man.
  78. This belief highlights a circle of life beyond the self-exalting triune God, who will tolerate no other with similar potential.
  79. The belief in the preexistence of all spirits skews the creative work of the triune God,
  80. thereby reducing Jesus Christ to a reorganizer or restorer rather than God who is able to create from nothing such miraculous wonder.
  81. For Christians, Jesus Christ is not deity by divine investiture.
  82. The truth of Jesus Christ is singular among the multitude of various confusing and competing alternatives. His Word is clear in enforcing that which is essential.
  83. The judgment of Jesus Christ will be final and forever.
  84. The love of Jesus Christ is relentless in the pursuit of His lost sheep. Many might ignore His call, fight His shepherd’s crook, or squirm under His hand.
  85. But He will break, bind, and heal all the same among His beloved sheep.
  86. Not all who call themselves “Christians” are Christians. Not all who seek Jesus seek Jesus for Jesus’ sake.
  87. The mercy and compassion of Jesus Christ is gentle and patient, but He does not compromise or capitulate in His message or methods.
  88. The ways of Jesus Christ do not always appear safe or logical to our limited and often senseless reasoning.
  89. The omniscience of Jesus Christ enables Him to see every one of our inward heart issues.
  90. He sees beyond the outward dialogue and cuts straight to the core of men’s pride, fear, and lusts.
  91. Jesus Christ is the Wonderful Counselor. So why does mankind in the corridor run first to the family counseling centers, filled with psychologists and therapists?
  92. His wisdom is infinite. His responses are always the right answers.
  93. *“Christians should be exhorted to endeavor to follow Christ their Head” despite bureaucratic business, compromising dialogue, social and familial persecution, liberal scholarship, and the hundreds of clamoring voices in America defining who He is.
  94. Let the inspired written Word, the historical biblical words of Jesus Himself, bring the clear definition to the sundry of confused ideas in the corridor.
  95. For the love of Christ supremely, discount any prophet, apostle, authority, scholarly professor, church teacher, or Christian laymen who seek any less.

*translated from a contemporaneous German rendering of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (Christian Beacon, October 27, 1983)

3 comments

  1. One repeated idea I see over and over in your theses is that a Christian Authority must agree with you to be a Christian Authority.

    Why is the authority of the Baptist Church greater then that of other Protestant denominations?

    fred

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s